STEP Signature Project: For my signature project, I spent 3 months of my summer taking an internship at Eaton Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA. I worked in the Electronics Division working on Molded Case and Power Circuit Breakers, devices found in commercial and industrial applications. STEP made it possible for me to move out to Pittsburgh and take on this wonderful challenge, which has already had great impacts on the start of my career.
Self Understanding: The biggest impact my STEP Signature Project has had on my, in the way of self-understanding, is it has made me much more confident in my field. Before taking this real world work experience, everything I had done engineering related had been through a class setting. The real world was mysterious and scary and I was set with the assumption that I was not capable of making an impact, at least not yet. Before my STEP Signature Project I assumed real life work experience was scary; after STEP afforded me the opportunity to participate in this opportunity, I no longer fear finding an engineering position at a major company. I now feel more confident in my abilities to compete for top tier jobs. I feel confident in interviews because I can talk about my STEP Experience. I feel more confident in my studies having experienced a snapshot of why I’m at school in the first place.
Key Events: One of the best relationships I made over the summer during my STEP Signature Project was with my manager at Eaton. He was in charge of about 15 engineers and was constantly in meetings because nearly every decision had to pass through him. Even with all of this responsibility, he was able to be a great mentor to me. He went above and beyond teaching me the hands on fundamentals necessary to strive in the real world, but skills not easily taught in a classroom setting.
The best interactions I had with my manager were during our biweekly “electronics talks”. This because a time where we met each week and I could ask him questions about anything and I used this as a one on one way method to maximize my learning during my STEP experience. I used these sessions to ask him as many electronics questions as I could, which in turn fostered my love for electronics and the work I was doing even more.
Another even that led to my self confidence boost was living in a city completely new to me where I was four hours away from friends and family. This was a great opportunity for me to meet new people as the interns all ate lunch together. This was a great opportunity to communicate with students at other universities and learn about the differences and similarities between other schools and Ohio State. This confidence to live on my own and be so far away from what is familiar to me opened up so many doors as I am now confident in taking an internship in another city and, eventually, moving away to find a full time position.
Value: STEP allowed me the opportunity to fully immerse myself in my summer internship. Because of this, I gained a sense of confidence that has followed me in my personal life, my academic career, and my professional development. Coming from a music background, I fully understand how important confidence is in accomplishing ones goals but before STEP, I never had considered applying that same background to engineering. During our weekly STEP meetings, we did a lot of activities that helped us understand how best we learn. One of these activities that had a meaningful impact on me was when we participated in a Briggs Meyers’ Personality Test. This was my first time having done so and during our meeting we were walked through how to select a STEP experience that complements our personality. By choosing to do something like an internship and expose myself (as I consider myself a very shy person) was the best thing I could do in order to impact my personal life and future goals. While I will never change my personality type, not that I would want to, participating in my unique STEP experience allowed me to experience the self confidence and openness to change required in the business world. Because of STEP, I feel much more confident that I can achieve my future plans.