Public Affairs Intern, Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel
- STEP made it possible for me to serve as a Public Affairs Intern with the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel (OCC), Ohio’s utility consumer advocate. I have worked in the public affairs department, which manages the agency’s communication with consumers and news media. From downtown Columbus, I have learned about utility issues affecting Ohioans, the regulations governing utilities and even pending legislation.
- I have learned that I would like my career to be about advocacy. Representation is a core value of our government and country, and that’s what the Consumers’ Counsel is, a representative of Ohio utility ratepayers. Utility service is truly life giving for everyone; where would we be without our electric, gas, water and phone?As an advocate, I want to be a voice for issues that are important to people. Besides utilities, there are advocates in many other sectors and aspects of life. They share a vision similar to that of the OCC’s, a vision to represent and speak for other people. This vision is how I see public service, and my experience has made me understand that I want to serve the public good in my career.
- One of my biggest projects was a campus outreach project. I developed materials for the outreach and education staff to use on college campuses with students across the state. Many large campuses in Ohio have a majority of students living off-campus or commuting, and these first-time renters could use help setting-up utility service, understanding their bill and paying on time.The outreach materials I prepared responded to those concerns and highlighted some other significant utility issues, like door-to-door salesmen and common bill scams. I kept students like myself and my peers in mind throughout the process. Keeping consumers in mind, whether they were students, senior citizens or somewhere in between, kept my work relevant and kept me motivated.
This project, like most of my projects, required significant research, writing and revising. As a result, I have gained a lot of knowledge about utility policy and regulation. All along, I have been eager to learn more. As I have done in this internship experience, I hope to find a career that fulfills my interest in learning.
- In this internship experience, I have decided I want to go on to law school. Now that my decision has been made, I have been motivated to research law schools and prepare for the LSAT. In my STEP proposal, I said I hoped my internship would make me a better candidate for law school, and it has. I am fortunate for this opportunity, made possible by STEP, to explore my career potential.