J.Crew NYC Internship

My STEP project was my summer internship in New York City with J.Crew. My project occurred from June to August of this year. I used my funds to live in New York and pay for rent, food, transportation, and clothing which exceeded the amount allowed because of the cost of living. During my internship I learned a lot about the fashion industry and how retail operates at a certain corporate level.

I was really excited to meet some passionate people in the retail industry and learn a lot. I interned in production which I had no previous knowledge of before the internship. Unfortunately, because of various factors including being put on a team that was not expecting an intern, I did not have the best experience relating to learning how the overall process works and how it all comes together. I always believed I was a very observant person regarding people and situations. I learned a lot after my experience such as trusting my instinct is usually right. I also learned to be more independent and be comfortable with being alone at times.  The last thing I learned is the importance of budgeting (how can you not when you are living in one of the most expensive cities in the world!)

I did not click with the team I was on in the company and this made it difficult to have excitement to come to work everyday. Also, much of the work I did was explained and then not checked back up on or reviewed so much of what I did felt incomplete or insignificant. My gut instinct told me I should have met with my manager a lot sooner to review my progress but I did not do this and when we met to speak at the end she admitted to forgetting to sit down with me and explain the process of production and really teach me the business to the extent I could have learned it. I felt disheartened, but after speaking with friends and family they helped me realize all the learnings to take away from the experience and focus on the positives. These including being paid to work in fashion, making it to New York, getting my foot in the door, building my network, and taking a risk in life.

Moving to New York has been amazing, but also lonely at times. Although I do have a lot of family close by and I live with my brother, I miss my friends from back at school. I got so used to being at school and having a close friend in the next close, in the other bedroom, or waiting for me to join them for lunch on campus. Speaking with those people only every so often which was difficult to adjust to. I have learned it takes time to build a network of friends in a new place and living in a new city comes with challenges such as those. Luckily during my internship at J.Crew, I did make friends with the other interns and enjoyed their company a lot.

I do believe I have become a little more like my dad in the sense of money management. I was always a spender in Ohio because my parents were supporting me more and the cost of living in Ohio is around half the cost of living in New York. I always told myself that I would never be frugal in life because it was annoying when my parents did not want to spend money but now I understand. Sometimes life forces you to see things differently and understand why having a budget is so important. I have learned to eat out a lot less and really inspect the prices of everything I buy, and I am looking for a good deal and free events. It is not impossible to live on a strict budget, it’s just a big life adjustment than what I was previously used to. I have to say that for me at least, it is worth it to walk the streets of New York everyday and experience that rush even if I have to give up having Starbucks and Chipotle without thinking when swiping my card a few times a week.

All of these learnings I believe are very significant to me in my life right now. Looking back at my time in school, one thing I could have gained a lesson on was responsibility. Living in New York has taught me more of that in so many ways as well as given me a chance to see if the big lights and city is what I really want in life or not. I always pictured myself living in NYC for the long term but the choice becomes clear when you really experience it and weigh all the pros and cons.

I always saw myself as having a strong personality with valid opinions and a thirst for knowledge, but working on a team that does not feel right made me questions some things about myself. I also am a people pleaser and want to do my best all the time and sometimes I assume people know these things about me right away. I realized that sometimes I need to take initiative and push for my opinions to be heard and speaking up can be very important and really change how a whole experience plays out. I think I have matured a lot through my STEP experience and am already putting these life learnings into the internship I am currently in.

I decided to take off the semester and stay in New York. I am currently interning in supply chain for Ralph Lauren and it is an amazing experience. My manager is truly sensational and I believe this opportunity I currently have is pushing me to learn so much about the world of business as a whole. I am learning more than I thought possible in my current role and I am excited to finish my degree in the Spring and come right back to New York and truly start my career. I am more open-minded now than ever and cannot wait to see where life takes me next.

A Steep Experience

Name: Imani Davis

Type of Project: Internship


This summer, I finally had the ability to take on my STEP transformation project. I was fortunate enough to have an internship in the city of Chicago with Steep Theatre Company, an acclaimed storefront theatre (which was once a small grocery store) focused on telling the stories that illuminate larger societal issues.


Being a film and theatre major, I have always known that I wanted to work in the arts but did not know in what capacity. In college, I realized that I love coming up with new ideas and being in a collaborative environment focused on one goal. I love social media and graphic design. I love getting out there and sharing the word about something that I’m passionate about. All of these interests led me to looking more at the business and managing side of the industry. I was surprised and elated to know that internships were offered in these exact fields, which led me right to the doors of Steep. Interning with this company has solidified my decision about my career path. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else than working with theatre and film in the capacity that I did this summer. I learned about not only about the industry, but also about myself and what kind of work I do the best at.


My internship was focused on theatre management and I worked closely with the Executive Director of Steep, Kate Piatt-Eckert. We worked heavily with fundraising and publicity in order to craft an experience around the topics that I’m most passionate about. Fundraising was never something that I thought that I would be good at but I actually thoroughly enjoyed it. When breaking it down, it makes sense: fundraising requires thinking outside of the box and constantly coming up with new ways to innovate on what you’ve already been doing. Through coming up with ideas for fundraising for Steep, I came across the idea of consulting, another form of work that I would love to do. My own mentor, Kate, was so receptive to my ideas and valued them which made me feel secure in my abilities to come up with new things and new ways of doing.


Working with Steep opened my mind to all of the possibilities for jobs out there. It made me confident in my decision to pursue this path and ignore the naysayers that I encountered every time that I told them my major. The arts are something that surround us. Someone has to be working in the arts for that to happen, so why not me? I wish to be a mentor for other students who want to pursue anything arts-related to reinforce that it is very possible to be whatever you want to be. Steep is extremely successful and growing, yet it is small, young, and there are thousands more like it. The opportunity is definitely there and I realize that now with my experiences in with this company. I will remember and reflect on this experience for the rest of my life, looking back on the lessons that I learned and people I met. I feel as though this internship really prepared me for what I want to do and I can’t wait to come back and show that to others who aren’t as confident in their abilities or are puzzled at what they want to do.

Interning at Rockwell Automation

My STEP project was my finance internship at Rockwell Automation this summer. My internship consisted of 3 projects that I had to complete over the course of the summer. My biggest project was to reconcile the CVB business unit’s cost centers as there were discrepancies in between their work location and cost center location. During my internship I got to do other fun activities such as taking a cruise trip on the Cuyahoga river in Cleveland OH.

I’d say that as a result of this internship, I gained more insight on what the corporate world is since I was able to experience different aspects of it. That is, I was able to make great connections with different business professionals at my location in Mayfield Heights, OH which is pretty valuable because now those people are part of my network. In addition, I was able to greatly improve on my communication skills as well as my excel skills which is something that I am really proud of. On the personal development side, I was able to experience what it’s like to live alone and be responsible for a lot the everyday things such as paying bills. grocery shopping, cooking etc which is also good to be comfortable with early on since I will be doing those things all over gain after college.

Some of the events that led me to evolve in my personal/professional development are definitely the people I was able to interact with throughout the summer. I was able to get great advice whether it was on how to be more efficient with certain work related things or also on a personal growth level as well as how to efficiently negotiate a an offer in the future. I had a very open mind throughout the internship which allowed me to really learn in my opinion. I never took any criticism in a bad way but instead tried to figure out how to improve on it which was very valuable for my learning experience.

My internship is valuable in the professional aspect of my life because it truly taught me a lot about myself such as skills, learning style, my personality etc. For example I took an personality assessment test during my internship and that taught me that I have an amiable type of personality which is a good thing but it can be bad at times since you are always trying to accommodate other personality styles. With that I learned that while valuing relationships, sometimes it is important to be firm and stand your ground to avoid being overstepped on. In addition, I believe this will also allow me to find other career opportunities in the future due to the exposure to professional career setting and other skills (softwares) that I learned while at Rockwell Automation.


Summer Internship with Buckeye Service Dogs

Elizabeth Spahr



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

I interned with Buckeye Service Dogs over the summer. It was an amazing experience in which I was able to shadow my supervisor on visits with clients who were interested in getting service dogs and work with service dogs-in-training. Aside from working with people and dogs, I was lucky enough to also work with horses and ball pythons.


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

Having worked with this organization before my internship began I was unsure that I would be able to experience something that would definitively change or transform. However, I could not have been more wrong. Coming into this internship I knew that there was an emphasis on both the dog aspect and the human aspect, but I figured the focus was much more on the dogs. It turns out that people are almost equallyessential to animal-related businesses of any kind.

While working with horses, I also learned that training methods and behavior studies can mostly be applied across species. Though my internship supervisor is specifically in the service dog business, she does work with horses as well. I began to see horses differently by working with her; and though I in no way believe that horses and dogs are the same, I now think that if you understand how to train one, you can learn how to train the other.


  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?

During my internship, I was lucky enough to be able to go along with my supervisor to several different types of meetings. These meetings really hoped transform my views on what is important in the service dog industry. The first kind of meeting I was able to go to was a meeting with a family that was considering getting a service dog from our organization. During interviews like this, my supervisor likes to get an understanding of what daily life is like for the clients. She looks specifically for whether or not their lifestyle would support having a dog, because while service dogs are considered “medical equipment” she still has a responsibility to the dog to ensure it has a good life. This was the first meeting that really allowed me to see that the people are just as important: if the people are not willing to put in the work with the dog or unable to provide it with all the necessities, it is nearly impossible to place the dog in that home.

The other two kinds of meetings are also important. The next kind of meeting is the one where the person and their future service dog meet. During these meetings, we needed to see whether or not the people would “click” with the dog. In one of these that I attended, we actually brought two service dogs-in-training to meet with a person as we were unsure of which would be a better fit. In this case the human aspect and dog aspect of this business meet and it is very important to make the best possible team. The last type of meeting is a sort of check-up: after about a month of the team being together, my supervisor will make a short trip out to see if everything is still going well. During this meeting, she assesses whether or not the human team member is continuing with the training and keeping up their end of the contract.

My internship supervisor allowed me to help her work with her horses so that I could get some experience with training horses as well. While I was with her, I began to notice more and more similarities between training horses and training dogs. My supervisor even trained her horse to do some of the same things we train the dogs to do! Horses seem to be just as reward driven as our dogs, as well as eager to work. I would say the biggest difference between training dogs and training horses is that horses typically do not respond to voice commands like dogs and mostly rely on body language and signaling.

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

I believe that most people like me that are animal science majors and on the pre-veterinary track are much more interested in animals than people, For me, at least, this was especially true as I knew from a young age that I wanted to work with animals. I think it is easy to forget that working with humans is just as important, whether they are owners or other doctors. I am grateful for this experience as it has truly helped me be better prepared for life after vet school and I am now better equipped to understand more people. This internship also contributed greatly to my breadth of experience with animals. Prior to this past summer I had never worked with reptiles or horses and now I can say that I am comfortable with both!


My Summer Internship

Name: Liya Gebru

Type of Project: Internship


I worked as an intern at Star Dental Clinic. As an intern, I attended the office daily and sometimes on weekends and assisted with tasks. These tasks included restocking cabinets, setting up rooms for appointments, cleaning around the office, patient-side assistance, and running errands for the dentist I shadowed.

As a future health professional, my desire to make addressing health disparities a lifetime goal of mine was reaffirmed. A fear of mine as a prospective dental student was always that I would grow desensitized to the things I see. After completing a certain amount of redundant dental procedures, could I remain interested in the work I do? This internship, however, illustrated the impression dentistry has on you beyond physicality.

Being able to work closely with patients of different ethnic, financial, cultural, religious, etc. backgrounds is more satisfying and stimulating than the actual physical work I will be doing. The parts I enjoyed most as an intern were conversing and building relationships with all the patients that would come in. Additionally, being able to work in a low-income area allowed me to witness the disparities that are present in oral care. It was inspiring to see that the dentist I shadowed was willing to treat patients regardless of their financial condition. She was not motivated by money, but rather the desire to do good things for people. And that was reaffirming of the kindness that exists in the world.

As a student, I can say that I have been relatively successful. My passion for success came not only from the desire to benefit myself and my family living in a third world country, but also as a fear of failure. As an adolescent, so much pressure was put on me to be an extraordinary student. I spent hours upon hours studying and striving for success not because I had such a desire to do so, but because I feared what judgement would be bestowed on me if I was not what everyone expected.

Carrying that fear into college, I needed to find a way to be sure I would happy with the occupation I chose to pursue. This internship gave me the tools I needed to affirm my passion to become a dentist. The daily interactions with patients, particularly, gave me the extra push in continuing to pursue this career path. For example, with one simple visit with a 10-year-old, I learned that he has only visited the dentist twice before in his life. From the smile on his face, I could see the tooth decay that is already taking place and the amount of money that it will cost to address his issues. I could see his mother’s concern when the dentist informs her of the measures that will need to be taken to correct the issue. Seeing this with different people causes an obligatory feeling of duty to overcome me.

I want to be a dentist that can help people who may not be as fortunate receive the oral care they are entitled to. The relationships I built with patients and other staff reassured me that dentistry is the work of a team. And within a team, there is one primary goal. This transformation gave me different motivations for wanting to be successful. They go beyond my family and I. They extend beyond the depths of my greatest fear and tap into depths of my greatest passions.

This transformation is extremely significant to me because it enabled me to answer the ultimate question that would decide my professional life. When tasked with answering the question, “Why dentistry?”, I have an answer. I began the 2017 application cycle for dental school prior to the start of this project, and I found myself at a standstill. I was confident that I wanted to be a dentist, but I was unsure how to describe exactly why. This project encouraged me to explore more, and with that, I was able to write this paragraph in my personal statement.

“With the experiences I continue to gain while shadowing, I am confident that dentistry fits my passions and values. The doctors I work under share the ability to create long-lasting relationships with hundreds of individuals, each with a different story to tell. Regardless of the differences between them, any unique combination of persons will have at least two things in common within the walls of each of these dental offices: a dentist that cares about their health and well-being and the need for oral care. In a time where people are being divided because of their disparate identities, the community that dentistry is still able to inspire is what I think of when people ask me, “Why dentistry?’”


STEP Reflection

STEP Reflection


For my STEP Project, I used my funds in an educational format while developing my career through an internship. The funds were used for housing in an area away from home, groceries, a leadership development conference, and professional attire for the internship. The STEP funds allotted gave me the unique ability to take part in an export internship where I worked for Zephyr Solutions, LLC, a small company looking to expand the business on a global scale.

While completing my internship and STEP project, I believe I changed a little bit. I think I gained an understanding of myself through living in a completely new environment with really no close friends to be around during the week. Not that it was a bad thing; it was just greatly different because I had never spent a prolonged amount of time away from home. I did fun things on my own or with new friends I had made in the Cleveland area. It was a summer of hard work, and working more on myself compared to my relationships with others. I lost weight at a local gym, lived healthier, and did some things for myself like reading books in the park and playing golf early in the morning with a nice cup of coffee on my lonesome. My view of the world changed in the way that I knew wherever I ended up, I was going to make the most of it. It was essential to have as much fun as I could wherever I may end up later in life.

I met some amazing people in Cleveland this summer during my internship and project. Through my internship, I met a great deal of people in the Shipping and Logistics fields of business that I was able to create a relationship that could eventually lead to a job after college. One of these people actually has become one of my mentors as I gain experience in the Logistics realm of business. As a Freight Forwarder, my mentor, Mark Vinesky, has shipped and dealt with freight all over the globe. His expertise in exporting and importing goods gives me a great chance to suck up all the knowledge I can from him. He has become a great friend and mentor, and I would not have such a relationship with him if it were not for STEP.

Another great individual I met through the program was Mr. Tom Mitchell. As my STEP mentor, he provided me with many opportunities to network, give advice about my major and career path, brainstorm ideas for the project, and help with anything I needed for the program. Tom even went the extra steps to helping me in the future, offering that I use him on resumes as a reference and even to stay in touch with my life after I graduate. It is hard to really communicate how important it was to hold a relationship with a professor at The Ohio State University. I think that in general, a professor’s want for his/her students to succeed is lost in the difficulty of creating a relationship with the vast student population that each professor is designated. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the majority of professors do care about your well-being and want to help you throughout your time here at OSU.

The last relationship and one of my big, new experiences of the summer was with the sweetest lady that not only allowed me to rent a room from her, but gave me a relationship with her family that I will always cherish. Thank you to Ms. Siobhan O’Donnell for letting me into your home and for being such a good friend this summer and for years to come. She was an international flight attendant so I had responsibility of the house for much Rent in Cleveland was not cheap, so I was fortunate to find Siobhan through a member of my work place with so little time before the summer! I paid for my Columbus rent with the STEP Project while using the other money for groceries, leadership opportunities, and professional attire in Cleveland.

All of these relationships and interactions allowed me to grow individually as well as make friends with people that wanted to help me as much as they could where they could. They were not in any way overbearing, and let me go my own path for much of the project and much of the summer. It was beneficial to me in so much more than just helping me with expenses. I was able to grow as a person through all of these people and what they did for me, and will always be grateful for this.

I believe the transformation and changes I experienced through this project will give me the clarity going forward to make the most of my opportunities and decisions regarding those opportunities. And that matters. It matters in an academic sense because it makes me believe in my career path and understand that knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life is a rarity in the college years. Following the paths I have is now something I believe in because of my transformation. Personally and professionally, it says much the same. I think this summer gave me the opportunity to not listen the buzz around me. I grew from the experience of being away from family and friends by making new friends and focusing on myself in health and optimistic mentality. I have the STEP program to thank for this fantastic adventure, and I will always remember how much it gave me in the form of growth and change in myself. Thank you!

Melissa Eperjesi STEP Project: Summer Internship with JDRF

For my STEP Signature Project, I was able to serve as an intern at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, or JDRF, Central Ohio at their office in Worthington. Throughout my internship, I was able to work with JDRF to plan community programs for the JDRF families in the Columbus area, as well as compile information for the weekly newsletter that is emailed to families involved with Central Ohio’s JDRF chapter.

Coming into this internship experience as a person with type 1 diabetes, I assumed that I would be changed in some way after my internship was over. I did not realize, however, how great that change would be in my life. I found myself becoming more confident with managing my diabetes through working with the JDRF children and families. Additionally, I was able to more personally understand how health literacy issue impact so many individuals and families. I had to keep this in mind as I was writing the weekly newsletter.

The very first JDRF event that I attended as an intern was their annual gala event. I was tasked with aiding with advocacy and fundraising, as well as watching over the youth ambassadors while they performed their various duties throughout the night. It was beyond inspiring to witness the ambassadors’ transparency and confidence throughout the night as they discussed their journey with type one diabetes to guests.

Personally, having been diagnosed with type one over 11 years ago, I can say that they challenged me to push myself out of my comfort zone, and be “more proud,” to say that I have the disease. While it might be some peoples’ preference to conceal their diabetes, this option did not seem viable to the youth ambassadors. They were excited to let everyone know about their disease, so as to be their own public health advocates in fighting toward a cure. I was most definitely inspired by the youth ambassadors that night. This energy was carried on by the youth ambassadors and children within other JDRF families through the various programs that I helped to plan, and then attend throughout the summer such as research updates, family social gatherings, and other fundraising events.

I think that another key perspective that I was able to gain during my time at JDRF completely unrelated to myself was the fact that health literacy, or the lack thereof, is really not universal. In some of my public health classes, we discuss the fact that, in the United States, the average individual reads at a 6th grade level. I honestly did not expect this fact to so deeply affect the work that I did with the newsletter throughout the summer. When compiling information for the weekly newsletter, I would have to have it censored by both of my bosses just to “peer review,” in a way. This act was to make sure that families who have requested that the newsletter be reported in a lower-literacy level in the past, would have their needs met. Then one day, it really sunk in for me. I have been able to attend great schools up to and including college; I would like to think that my literacy is pretty great in terms of reading and understanding basic scientific and logistical information. However, I then took a step back and realized that not all individuals with type 1, or someone in a family with a with type 1, may not have had this same “literacy experience,” as I and others have had. This information is still crucial for them to understand too. Thus, my work in the newsletter was extremely important, and really rewarding when I discovered how much it meant to our families that it was written in a more health-literate manner.

After graduating in the Spring of 2018 with my Sociological BSPH, I will remain at O.S.U. for one more year, as I finish the combined Bachelors and Masters program through The College of Public Health. I will then graduate in the Spring of 2019 with my MPH in Health Behavior and Health Promotion with a concentration in Communication. I plan to utilize my education in working toward the goal of becoming a certified diabetes educator for people with type 1 diabetes, like myself. I believe that my internship experience with JDRF allowed me to comprehend how truly important community and public health programs are in advocating for awareness around a certain community or cause. Additionally, I witnessed the first-hand, empowering nature of these programs on JDRF families and those with type 1. I feel that my viewing health as a holistic well-being, rather than just a presence or lack of a physical ailment, was further solidified through my experiences with JDRF. These ideals will continually appear through my treating and educating patients about their disease.

Kraft Heinz Corporate Management Internship

For my STEP Signature Project, I was a Corporate Management Intern in Research and Development for Kraft Heinz in Chicago, Illinois. My role consisted of developing external packaging for a 2018 Innovation Project. I worked on cross functional research and development teams to qualify and implement a new product line and helped my department to reach integral goals and maintain timelines.

The transformation that I experienced this summer included increased confidence in myself, both personally and professionally. I learned that even though I am quiet, strong bonds can be formed. I learned how to form relationships with people who have different backgrounds than me, both personally and professionally. Lastly, I learned that just because I am learning, does not mean that my work is subpar. This transformation will carry through my senior year, as well as my post-graduation endeavors.
I have lived in central Ohio my entire life, with a short stint in Minneapolis. Columbus is nicknamed The Biggest Small Town in America due to the values alongside a growing population. This summer, living in Chicago, was starkly different. My intern cohort consisted of intelligent, driven students from across the country, with a wide variety of majors and backgrounds. Their presence was integral in the personal development over the summer. I lived with 7 people and worked with 28 other interns. I learned more about myself while working and going around the city with these students than I have in any other 10-week period. I bettered my interactions in casual settings, continuously held conversations with people I didn’t know well, and made the most of exploring a new city. I became more social and independent with these peers. This led to many new relationships and a strong network of soon to be professionals, all of which I think will thrive and become exceptional engineers, scientists, marketers, and financiers.

R&D Interns exploring the architecture of Chicago


I had no prior experience in packaging engineering, which is a lot more complex than one may think. It combines materials science, mechanical engineering, marketing and design. I am particularly interested in combining mechanical engineering with design, so this opportunity was a great introduction in to the paths I could take. Some of my coworkers became influential in my professional growth and learning. One coworker would ask about my happiness, what they can do to help my project, and we frequently would talk about our long-term goals. My coworkers frequently vocalized their confidence in my abilities. Thus, I became more confident in my work. This confidence will carry through this year during my senior project work. In addition, I will be more confident when looking at post-graduation opportunities. I know that I can work hard, learn quickly and add value in any role.

My project allowed me to work on an extremely cross functional team. I worked with marketing, the manufacturing plant, process engineers, and product engineers, in addition to several other departments. This was influential in understanding the viewpoints of other functions. My role was to take the two conflicting requests of marketing and the manufacturing plant, and direct the team to the best option for all parties and stakeholders. In the past, I have only worked with other engineers. This opportunity increased my professional development, because I learned how to communicate for the specific audience. Since my long-term goal is to work on cross functional teams, this is a critical skill to learn.

Increasing my confidence in my personal and professional skills is important with both my current endeavors and future goals. I am becoming more and more confident in my abilities to connect with people and strengthen my network of professionals. In addition, I have become more confident in my work. This confidence will reflect in the caliber of jobs and graduate schools I will apply to. Overall, this experience was incredible. I learned about a sector of business with which I was unfamiliar, as well as finance, marketing, sales, logistics, R&D. I met inventive and tenacious peers, and became a confident professional that will learn quickly and become a valuable employee.

Internship with U.S. Department of Justice in Columbus, OH

My STEP signature project this past summer was an internship with the United States Department of Justice in Columbus, Ohio. Over the course of ten weeks I had the opportunity to work alongside many analysts, experts, and law enforcement officials on a variety of projects in order to serve the city of Columbus. My main activities included conducting research, gathering data, planning projects, creating reports, and assisting my mentors through short and long-term goals.

During my internship, I learned to work with a variety of people who were very different than me. I was one of three interns assigned to my unit and each of us had different majors, backgrounds, and career interests. Between the three of us there was a healthy competitiveness within the workplace in regards to the opportunities that were offered and the different projects we wanted to work on. While each of us specialized in something unique, many projects required us to learn to work together and use one another’s skills and backgrounds in order to accomplish our tasks. This balance of healthy competition and productive collaboration was a unique dynamic that I had not experienced before. I certainly had to learn to adapt to the work environment in order to be successful.

Through my work, I discovered more of my interests and the type of work that I am good at. I was able to use my science background in several projects as well as enhance my skills in conducting research and data gathering. My internship this summer also affirmed my interests in the field of public health and a future career in public service. I was able to seize a variety of opportunities related to these areas of interests, which enabled me to learn more about my self and what I want to do in my future. Additionally, I was able to speak to many experts in countless fields who offered different perspectives and greater insight within the cross roads of law enforcement, science, and public health.

A specific internship opportunity that affirmed my career interests and enabled my transformation this summer was a conference work trip in New Orleans, Louisiana. This two-day trip consisted of a radiological awareness workshop and isotope crossroads simulation. While this opportunity was not originally offered to interns, I went above and beyond to express my interest in the program offered and requested to attend the workshop. After conveying how the program would benefit me, I was ecstatic to learn that my office approved my request and I was able to use my STEP funds to cover much of the costs.

The conference invited law enforcement officials, emergency response teams, and public health experts from across the country to attend the training. Here, I had the opportunity to directly see how public health, science, and law enforcement intersect with each other in order to serve the American people, specifically in disaster prevention and public safety. During the radiological awareness workshop, I learned how public health agencies work with law enforcement to identify radiological incidents and keep people safe. The isotope crossroads simulation allowed collaboration between government, stakeholders, and health officials in response to a case simulation.

At the conference I was able to meet with an official from the Center for Disease Control who was a knowledgeable expert in her field. We spoke about graduate schools as well as career fields in public health and she was able to give me some great guidance and support. I also had a chance to network among people within the military and law enforcement who gave me great life advice. This opportunity was significant to me because it allowed me to experience a greater perspective of the field I wish to work in. It was an amazing networking opportunity where I met professionals who shared with me their knowledge in both science and law enforcement. This conference workshop was the highlight of my STEP project and has made a meaningful impact on me.


Darby Lasure: Ohio Department of Insurance Internship Summer 2017


For my STEP signature project I was an intern at the Ohio Department of Insurance in the OSHIIP Division (Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program). For my internship I accepted and responded to phone calls into the State of Ohio office regarding Medicare, Medicaid and various other health insurance issues for those who are Medicare eligible.

I would say my view of the World (state) has definitely changed. Before I accepted this internship I had no idea about how government agencies worked and how they helped folks that needed help. After my internship I know now that there is many state programs to help those who are Medicare eligible. Since it is a huge topic in recent elections and political agendas I was able to express and further my opinion as an informed individual.

I have also learned to understand myself more. Before accepting this internship I did not have the chance to work for a state agency or hold any other job besides being a team member at Dicks Sporting Goods. I was able to learn how I function in a “corporate” world. I also was able to learn more about my actual feelings of helping people in my future job. Meaning, I always wanted to hold a job that helps people from a financial standpoint, and I think that working for any state agency in the future would allow me to accomplish that goal. I also assumed that the entire public knew their options when it came to healthcare and Medicare specifically, but this is very untrue. This made me want to educate those who are Medicare eligible around me outside of work.

During my internship I had the chance to meet a lot of great people. These folks I dealt with everyday and they will help me in my future endeavors. However, there wasn’t really a chance for events or special things considering we are funded through a state budget. So the only time I had the chance to bond with those around me was in the office while I was working. Just working everyday with the public with a group of other like minded individuals helped me gain knowledge and want to go to work everyday and help those that called in and needed assistance. I think that the most valuable relationships I am apart of are those with the analyst that help me when I was confused during a phone call.

I received about 30-50 phone calls each day, but there were about 5 that really stick out from the entire summer. I think one was a man that I remember actually started as a bad experience. He spoke very angrily and by the end of the phone call he thanked me and said I was helpful and that he didn’t have another experience like the one I gave him with a state agency. It was really rewarding to be able to turn a bad experience into a good one for a caller, especially one who thought the experience would have been a bad one. It was experiences like these that made me want to go to work everyday and help those around me, and that made me want to continue my internship until I graduate this December.

This transformation is significant in my life because I needed it. I needed to help people and I wanted to help people. Those who are Medicare eligible in today’s society are seen many times to my generation as a burden or problem causers. I really wanted to take a situation and make it better. I accepted about 1000 phone calls just this summer and I know each one, even though phone calls didn’t go as planned, was at least treated with respect and given knowledge about their situation that they definitely needed to continue living their lives. This relates to my personal goals because I want to obtain a job helping people, and with the help of STEP I was able to accomplish that.