My revised STEP reflection

Name: Megan McKean


Type of Project: STEP internship


  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

I interned at Advanced Therapy and Fitness in Ashland, Ohio. Besides just observing, I was also able to do some hands on activities and help the professionals when needed. Often, I would be the first to greet the patient who is rehabbing and I would set them up on their first exercise. Once I got to know the patients personally, and once I became more familiar with the exercises and how to perform them properly, the therapists would let me work with some of the patient’s one on one.


  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

During my step internship, I had a blast. However, after completing the project, I actually decided to have a change in heart of what I would like to do with the rest of my life. I came into college wanting to be a dentist. One mediocre grade scared me into thinking I could not achieve that goal so I decided to switch my major and career plan. Then, I dived into the new career path, physical therapy, but after this internship I decided that I was not the right fit for the job, and now I am going back to dentistry. At first, I thought that I had misused my funding and I felt horrible that my experience did not further enhance my want to be a physical therapist. But, after talking to STEP advisors and several people about my experience, I realized that the money was still put to good use because I still learned more about myself, and now I am directed down the right path. Who knows how long I could have continued to want to be a physical therapist if I had not completed this internship.



  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?

There is not one singular event that I can pinpoint that lead to my transformation and change of career goal. I was at Advanced Therapy and Fitness for a whole summer, and I truly did enjoy the people I met and worked with. My experience was still every enjoyable and rewarding.

I think the first time I began to question my desire to be a physical therapist was when I was a month into the internship and the new feel of the job began to wear off. I started to work clients on my own, and I had a consistent routine. Being able to work on one’s own was very exciting, but I realized that I was not truly enjoying myself. If I was going to do something for the rest of my life, I want to love what I do. Besides growing connections with the patients, I was not finding very many ways that the job of a physical therapist pushed me to be better and excited me to come to work.

The last straw that kind of pushed me over my edge was when I completed an anatomy course here at The Ohio State University. I loved every aspect of that course and the knowledge that I gained. I ended up passing the course with flying colors. This got me to thinking that I wanted to not settle, in a way, for physical therapy, because I am smarter than I think. A good friend of mine just got into the Dental school here at OSU, so I consulted him on some advice and he was very persistent on me switching. He believed in me, and to this day I know I made the correct choice. I am challenging myself and I would have never re-directed to the right path if I hadn’t completed this internship, or if I had, it would have caused me to lose a lot more time.


  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? 

This change is very valuable to my life because now I am challenging myself to pursue the career I always intended on being since I was beginning high school. If I had not completed this internship when I did, I may have been several years behind, or would have continued down the path and maybe not have realized until in graduate school. I am saving myself a lot of time, money, and hard work. I am very thankful that STEP allowed me to perform this internship, because I truly feel that my life is back on track. Not only am I one hundred percent confident in the career goal I am now taking, I am one percent confident that I will someday achieve it.


STEP Reflection

Madison Curtis

Internship at The Washington Post Express

For my STEP internship, I worked over the summer as an editorial design intern at the commuter paper of the Washington Post. I worked Sunday through Thursday and laid out the People, BlogLog, and EyeOpeners pages as well as designing a few covers.

During my time as an intern I transformed in that I became much more confident in my choice to pursue a career in the print media industry. Prior to working this internship I served as the Design Editor at The Lantern. I loved designing print papers, but students rarely look at print newspapers so I was unsure if I would actually be able to succeed in the print media world. This internship assured me that print media is an industry capable of thriving and that if I continue to work hard and apply myself at internships that I will be able to succeed in the industry. The greatest part of this internship was the confidence that it gave me in choosing my career path.

There were a lot of things that contributed to my newfound confidence after this internship. Seeing people read the print newspaper was immensely impactful. My boss and mentor also played an important role in my transformation. Lastly, the freedom that I was given ensured me that I am capable of applying myself and being successful on my own.

My main problem with the print news industry was that I believed no one read print papers. Working at Express changed my mind, big time. In DC, most commuters take the Metro (like the NYC Subway) to get around the city. Underground, on the Metro, there is no WiFi so cell phones are rendered useless. This means that riders cannot check Twitter to stay up to date on the day’s news. Express provides riders with a free, respected source of news. It may be one of the only options for readers to get up to date on the news, but riders appreciate it. I have never seen a print newspaper being read more thoroughly by more people at one time. It really gives me hope about the use of print newspapers and assures me that there is a need for print papers and that they will not die entirely.

My boss, Jon, was also instrumental in my transformation. Jon didn’t sugarcoat much of anything. He told me that the print media industry is indeed shrinking, and fast. He steered me in the direction of other types of design, however, and helped me understand that I could be successful in print design no matter what, but especially if I read up on some coding and online design. He assured me that I wasn’t crazy for wanting to go into this field, but he also told me that it will be difficult to break into the field. Knowing that he believes I can make it in the field said a lot to me, though, because he has been in the industry for years and knows a good designer when he sees one.

Lastly, I was given so much creative freedom with the pages I designed. If a mistake was truly instrumental it would be changed by editors when the pages were printed and edited. However, I was left much to myself to decide which pictures worked where and how to juxtapose and edit images for maximum impact. I learned so much about when to ask for help and when to figure something out for myself. Not to say that this method wasn’t without trial and error (there were many a time I was walked through mistakes that were very wrong, but I couldn’t seem to figure out how to fix). Having so much freedom in my work was key in my transformation because it taught me that I really am talented and hardworking enough to assert myself and succeed in the industry.inspirationcat         people2

This change was key to my future because up until I took the internship I was very on the rocks about what I would spend the rest of my life doing. I wasn’t sure if I should look into other forms of communication and become more invested in things like Public Relations. Not only did this internship assure me that I’m capable of succeeding in the world of print design, but it also showed me that I can be extremely successful if I open myself up to other opportunities like web design or coding. These skills would make me a star candidate for editorial design jobs. Ultimately this internship instilled in me a confidence that I did not have before. Had I not worked this internship, I may have not ever become as confident as I am now and I am truly thankful to STEP for allowing me to experience that opportunity.

metro        movies

STEP Reflection

My project was based off of being able to accept an internship with a large automotive manufacturing company. In order to do this successfully I needed to possess all the tools one typically needs for a job. The one key piece I was missing was transportation to and from work every day.

Going into my internship, I knew it would be a very technical assignment. I felt prepared and the schooling I had received so far was adequate to complete all the tasks assigned to me. But what I found changed the most during my internship, was everything but my technical skills. Specifically, I completely reevaluated how I viewed leadership and effective communication, especially in the workplace. The biggest assumptions that were changed were on leadership. Previously I felt as though the way to lead was by taking command and ordering the tasks to be accomplish. I had had success with this in the past, but that was with my peers, not Team Members that had worked for General Motors for more years that I had been alive. So after watching multiple successful leaders and some less successful leaders, I changed my views on leadership. Another area that I found myself lacking experience in was successful communication. I did not realize as an engineer just how important it was to communicate your ideas correctly and accurately. Furthermore, if the people you are talking to are not engaged and do not want to listen to your ideas, you definitely will not succeed, so the way they are communicated is definitely important.

One of the biggest interactions that shaped my view on communication was my supervisor for the first half of the internship. Since the nature of this assignment was different, it allowed me to see another way that communication was important. For the first half of the internship, I worked in a production atmosphere. One of the important lessons my supervisor imposed on me was that, as a supervisor, especially a young and inexperienced one, a lot of the people that have been around for a long time would try and take advantage of me in little ways. As crazy as it sounds, I experienced this my first day supervising and knew that he had been right. In order to prevent this, he showed through example what it meant to be firm yet fair. He respected all of his employees and made sure they were safe, never putting them in harm’s way. However, he was definitely not afraid to “bring down the hammer” and prove that respect was not to be taken as a weakness. While some would think this unnecessary, it became clear to me that these methods worked.
Another person that helped shaped my views on leadership was one of the people that mentored me for the second half of my internship. While he had only been working with the company for two years, he had already earned the respect of many of the Team Members and upper leadership. His leadership style was simple, he helped the most amount of people he could, while still performing his duties. And when he needed to make a decision that might be controversial, he clearly explained to all those involved why and how he came to the decision. When people started realizing the factors behind his decisions and they realized he was helping the company in the long run, they were more than eager to help. While there are many obstacles, especially while working in a unionized manufacturing plant, this mentor of mine showed me that if you treat people with respect, and you approach them all the same way, they will respond positively. He also allowed me to take on more challenging projects and forced me to interact with others so I too would develop my skills.
Finally, I learned a lot by being able to help another intern. At the end of the term, each student must present their work in front of all of the senior leadership. I remember my first time I was definitely very nervous, and those nerves stopped me from doing well. Had I known how to prepare, I would have performed significantly better in my. Since this was my second term, I knew some tips on how to anticipate this presentation. I was able to help another intern get ready for his presentation, and through these efforts he was able to perform well. It was really exciting that all the knowledge and observations I had learned from my mentors could be applied by me at the end of the internship and I could help mentor someone else. With the successful outcome of this event, it changed the way I view helping mentor people and my confidence on the subject. Since I was able to do it successfully one, I feel as though if the opportunity presented itself again, I would be able to do it once more.

Overall, seeing the different styles of communication impacted me in a very positive way. I learned so much about behavior and effective communication and I truly believe that this assignment, while technical in nature, was more people oriented. Many engineers may not consider this a challenge or interesting, but to learn how to lead and manage people is definitely a skill I want to possess. Getting experience at a young age is difficult since most teams that a college student ever leads are just comprised of peers. That is why having the experience of supervising a 28 person assembly line in a real world setting changed my outlook on what it meant to be a supervisor and an engineer. Aside from the communication and leadership skills, I learned about how designing new processes and equipment could help or hurt the people they are designed for. A lot of people forget that the person who knows the process best is the person doing it 400 times per day. This knowledge and new outlook, I believe, will allow me to be a better engineer, by designing new processes and components that improve production and are accepted by those who use it.


Picture of the car I ultimately purchased:


Reflection for STEP

By: Megan McKean

This summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to explore more into the future career goal of my choice. I want to be a physical therapist, so over the course of the summer I observed a physical therapist and several physical therapy assistants as my STEP experience. Thankfully, I chose a very welcoming facility, Advanced Therapy and Fitness in Ashland, so my time spent observing was less of an internship and more of a place for me to grow and learn where I was able to work with several phenomenal people. Besides just observing, I was also able to do some hands on activities and help the professionals when needed. Often, I would be the first to greet the patient who is rehabbing and I would set them up on their first exercise. Once I got to know the patients personally, and once I became more familiar with the exercises and how to perform them properly, the therapists would let me work with some of the patient’s one on one. I would move weights to set up different amounts for the patient to lift, I used the stop clock to time the patient in various moves, I held the thera band when performing exercises like dorsiflexion and plantar flexion, and I walked through several exercises while watching the patient carefully to make sure he/she was performing the exercise correctly. For example, I observed several people doing the balance board, pulleys, bike, shuffle board, and more. It is very important to keep an eye while someone is rehabbing so as they do not reinjure themselves by doing a movement wrong. Several different types of injuries I was able to see being rehabbed were knee replacement surgeries, ankle replacement surgeries, shoulder pain, back pain, wrist pain, sprained ankles, a kid who had an accident on a snowmobile and broke his leg, and several others.  Also, I helped set up the e-stim machine which is a machine that fires the injured spot and helps stimulate the muscle. For the machine I would set it all up by grabbing the heating pads and electrodes, and I also would tear it down and clean it once the process was over. Another first time experience I had was being able to actually perform an ultra sound on a foot. All I had to do was massage the foot with the device and make sure I never left the surface for eight minutes, so as to not disrupt the procedure. I enjoyed that experience! Besides all of the actual therapy work I got to observe and help out with, I also picked up around the facility. I joined in on cleaning tables, cleaning equipment, running the washer and dryers, and even refilling all of the sanitary bottles. Lastly, I was able to create a pamphlet for Advanced Therapy and Fitness to keep and use in their office. The other intern of the summer, Shelby, was the model on the pamphlet, while I was the person who took the pictures and made sure she was performing the position correctly. We provided examples of several exercises that Brian Finger, the physical therapist, asked of us and we typed descriptions of the move next to each picture. It was nice to be able to learn in that aspect as well.

This STEP experience has definitely further increased my want to continue down the path of physical therapy. I am even more excited for my future now. I am very glad I had this opportunity to dive into the field more, so as to make sure that this is the right career choice for me. Thankfully, STEP provided me with this opportunity because I was able to make some very important connections and learn some information and techniques that will be very valuable as I continue. Thank you STEP program and STEP advisors for this experience; I could not be more thankful to have been in the program and I will only encourage others to be in the group if asked.Intern Program