Internship Reflection

Name: Varsha Challapally

Type of Project: Internship

For my STEP Signature project, I participated in the Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP), offered through the John Glenn College of Public Affairs here at Ohio State. I lived in Washington, D.C. from August 2017 – December 2017, and I interned at the Partnership for Public Service, while taking courses and participating in additional programming required through WAIP, including policy salons, networking events, and study tours.

Through my participation in WAIP, I gained a deeper understanding of what I want to do after graduation, and learned about a plethora of different industries, careers, and positions I did not know about before. Participating in WAIP has really helped me narrow down my post-graduation plans, and develop connections and a network in an amazing city that I want to move back to after graduation in May. As a Political Science and Public Affairs double major, I have always been interested in government and politics. However, WAIP truly helped me narrow down my true passions and I now have a clear vision of what I want to do after graduation. Additionally, WAIP has given me the the tools to achieve my goals through the growth I felt from living in a brand new city for four months. I started off WAIP as an eager intern wanting to learn more about the city I was living in, and do well in my internship, and completed the program with a firm grasp of what I want out of my professional life, and the tools to carve out a path to achieving my goals.

My internship, the various informational interviews I completed, the study tours WAIP offered, and the coursework that WAIP consisted off truly helped me with the aforementioned transformation. To begin, my internship at the Partnership for Public Service was one of the most positively impactful experiences of my life. I learned more about the nonprofit sector and worked closely with government employees. This enriched my knowledge and understanding about federal agencies, and helped me gain a more holistic view of nonprofits, and allowed me to understand the kind of organizational culture I wanted to be a part of, during my future career.

Moreover, WAIP requires that all participants partake in informational interviews with individuals who live and work in Washington. I had the privilege of completing a plethora of informational interviews, all with kind, passionate, and high achieving people who worked at different organizations and industries, including the federal government, consulting, foreign service, and on Capitol Hill. Having the opportunity to speak with and learn from these indivduals was truly transformative, as I got to learn more about their story and their career path, while also receiving advice as I prepare to graduate in May. Overall, completing informational interviews was truly impactful, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from some incredible individuals, through this capacity.

To continue, the WAIP program requires participation in Study Tours every Friday. Study tours are similar to field trips, and the entire WAIP cohort visits an important place, or has a meal with an influential Ohio State alumni. This included the Pentagon, the State Department, NPR, the White House, and many more interesting places with an enriching history and function in America society. Study tours really helped me gain a holistic view and understanding of Washington, D.C., in addition to the 32 hours of interning and other WAIP programming. Study tours helped me feel as though I was truly a part of the city I lived in, and I got to see more of Washington, D.C., than I knew existed. Additionally, we almost always had an Ohio State alum lead the study tour site, which reaffirmed the Buckeye connections in Washington. It became evident that Ohio State alum are widespread and prominent in Washington, and it made me even more proud to attend a university that is so well respected and has camaraderie and spirit all over the world. I have attached 2 photos of me on study tours, both led by Ohio State alumni who work at the places we were visiting. This first is on the Speaker’s Balcony at the U.S. Capitol Building, and the second photo is when we visited the Pentagon. 

 

 

Finally, in addition to interning and study tours, WAIP also has 12 credit hours of courses that are taught by an adjunct professor. Throughout the semester, WAIP participants have to choose a policy area that is of interest to them, and write a 20-25 page research Capstone paper regarding the issue. I was very passionate about the issue I chose, and felt that writing a research paper about a policy in the city where laws and policies are created, really helped me enrich my understanding of the issue and elevate my passion to be an advocate for the subject. While writing the paper took a lot of effort, I was very proud of my completed version of the research paper and consider it to be a large accomplishment.

Overall, I could not be more grateful for all the incredible opportunities that participating in WAIP has given me. I am now in my last semester of college, and am confident that the experiences and connections I have gained through WAIP have helped me greatly through my job search, as I prepare to graduate in May. I plan on moving to Washington, D.C. after graduation, and know that the experiences I’ve had through the program have truly transformed me into a young professional, and have helped me narrow down what I am passionate about. Having the opportunity to live in Washington is a one of a kind experience. Everyone in the city is ambitious and passionate about something, and being around that positive energy is truly inspiring, and makes me want to work as hard as I can to create positive change. I am very grateful for the experience I’ve had through WAIP and know that my career path and passions would not be the same without it.

STEP Reflection

STEP Reflection:

 

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. In the Theatre Management internship, there were many hats that I wore. Some days I would be writing letters to potential donors, other days I was analyzing data for certain pattern, and others I was brainstorming and researching new fundraising and marketing initiatives. In all small arts organizations, the Executive Director wears a great many hats, and while working closely with Steep’s Executive Director, I gained experience in a wide spectrum of theatre management. I was exposed to finance, facilities management, board cultivation, contract administration, individual and organizational giving, marketing, PR, and myriad other functions and had the opportunity to design projects to meet my individual academic and professional goals. 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. Having this mentorship was truly transformational.

 

Working with Steep opened my mind to all of the possibilities for jobs out there, which was transformational. 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 which was a problem that I had in the past and this experience helped me transform. 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.

Check out more at https://opportunityisoutthere.wordpress.com/

STEP Reflection

For my STEP project I conducted research with Dr. Vadivelu at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. During this time, I worked in a lab focusing on moyamoya disease, a brain vasculature disease that occurs in children at a young age and causes ischemic strokes.

My project and lab experience was transformational. I never really enjoyed research before and I dreaded being in a lab, but working at Children’s changed my outlook on medicine and my future. I knew that I always wanted to be a physician and I did everything I could to get myself on that path. However, it was not until my STEP experience that I understood the importance of research and medicine – the two are so intertwined and crucial to one another that you cannot separate them.

Therefore, I changed my career path. Instead of pursuing just a M.D., I have decided to pursue a M.D. PhD in my future endeavors. I have decided to dedicate half of my future studies to research, more specifically neuroscience research in developing pediatric brains. I want to have a career in which I translate research from my lab to the clinic and vise versa. It is crucial to know both aspects of the story – the molecular and the clinical – and changing my career path is the most successful way I can achieve this dream.

I realized this importance during my first summer at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. With my lab mentor, I learned a variety of different techniques that I had not been exposed to before in my undergraduate experience. More importantly though, I sat in on conferences and meetings interacting other physicians how held labs at Children’s. From them I learned that science without research or research without science was impossible. They spoke to understanding their patients better because of the scientific lens they also had. They taught me that it is crucial to understand and love both to become a great physician.

During my second summer our lab lost 2 of the lab technicians and I was running the lab by myself for a month before the new hirers started working. This was the largest learning curve that I have experienced in my undergraduate learning career. I fell in love with research at this point. I did everything in the lab from staining to managing the mouse room to working on publications. I was a part of every aspect of the cycle, and although the work was sometimes too much to handle, I grew to appreciate the work before me. I loved what I was doing and knew that I wanted this to be a part of my future.

The hard work payed off as I went on to present at various conferences, earning a 2nd and 3rd place prize at two of the conferences – on national and one at at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and the University of Cincinnati. The hard work and hours gave way to these amazing opportunities and this recognition. When I tell people about my research, it leaves them intrigued – wanting to know what our results of our next project are. I enjoyed being a source of good news when I tell interested individuals that we may have a new screening method for children other than an MRI. All these experiences have lead me to the decision to incorporate research in my career path.

This change makes me excited about my future. I truly believe that the 2 to 3 extra years of schooling will help me become a better physician, as I grow my knowledge base. The experience only reinforced my love for neuroscience confirming my path of becoming a pediatric neurosurgeon. It made me realize that this was the way I can create change in my life, and this is the way I give back to a country and community that gave me a home. I am grateful to STEP and my mentors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital for this wonderful and transformational experience.

Finance Summer Internship

Name: Dean

Type of Project: Internship

This summer, I had the opportunity to complete a 14 week internship program with Key Bank. My internship was as a management associate in Key Bank’s Management Associate Rotational Program. Over the course of my 14 weeks in the program, I rotated to multiple Key Bank locations throughout the Cleveland, Ohio area. At these branch locations, I was given the opportunity to work closely with Key Bank personnel. Some of the employees that I worked with were branch managers, financial advisors, mortgage officers, personal bankers, and bank tellers. I was also given the opportunity to work with other interns in the same program as me. The other interns and I were able to shadow the different Key Bank personnel that I mentioned above. I learned many new things in the financial services industry. Finance and economics are my majors at The Ohio State University; therefore, this internship was very helpful in showing me the kinds of work that I could be doing in my future career in the financial industry.

At the beginning of my internship, I was very shy. I did not ask a lot of questions to my supervisors and also did not talk to many of the other interns. I soon realized that if I wanted to be successful in this internship or in this particular field I was going to have to let my personality shine. I would need to be outgoing and let myself be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Eventually if I were to put myself out there, I would hopefully have a successful internship and learn many new things. As the weeks went on throughout the internship, I began to become more and more comfortable with the other employees. I was also given the opportunity to work as a bank teller and interact with clients.

I learned that in any situation in life, if you put yourself out there and ask as many questions as possible you will benefit. Because I eventually became comfortable with reaching out to the other employees, they were able to build relationships with me. I felt like some of them took me under their wing and truly wanted me to succeed at the internship. It was a good feeling knowing that because I showed an interest in others they also took an interest in me. My biggest transformation from this internship that I can see is that I now feel confident talking to professionals in any atmosphere. I will not be afraid to go to the career fair and share with the recruiters what I have to offer to a company.

The reason why I was able to successfully realize that my personality and level of comfort can contribute to my success was because of the relationships that I was able to build with some of my coworkers. Certain people that I worked with were so invested in me and truly wanted me to succeed. Once I found similarities with some of the other workers and learned their story, I was able to feel comfortable with them. I was also given the opportunity to have one on one sessions with the branch managers that I visited. Receiving advice from someone who has knowledge in your field is a great way to learn how to take on the right tasks to have the best chance at succeeding.

As mentioned above, I was also given the chance to bond with some of the other interns. There were a total of seventeen of us. We were all spread out at different locations across Cleveland, but we still were able to find the time to meet with one another whether it was at meetings or for lunch or dinner after work. We were able to participate in service projects together which were good bonding experiences. We participated in an event to clean up a local neighborhood in downtown Cleveland through landscaping. I now know sixteen new people that go to colleges all throughout the state of Ohio. The relationships that I have built with some of these people at my internship in just a short fourteen week period have been strong. I was at some bank locations for as little as three weeks, but when I left I felt like I had been working with the staff for months.

The transformation of becoming more outgoing and comfortable with myself in new situations that I am put in will be something that will benefit me for the rest of my life. I now feel like I can go into any situation that I find myself in and start up a conversation with someone about anything. As long as I am able to find common ground with an individual, the conversation can be endless. Overall, I had a very interesting summer internship. I learned a lot of things not only in the financial industry but also about myself. I look forward to going back to work for Key in the summer next school year and plan on reconnecting with so many of the great coworkers that I have met this past summer.

Summer Marketing Internship

Name: Linda McDonagh

Type of Project: Internship

This summer, I interned with the marketing department of MedAmerica (an organization that provides operations support to a nationwide physician’s group) in the Bay Area. This internship was relevant to my in-progress degree for Marketing, and my responsibilities focused largely on a semimonthly internal communications newsletter on a commonly-used web platform, assisting in preparation for a new launch, and redesigning archives and databases for optimum user experience.

I think the biggest realization I had while completing this internship was that I would like to focus more so on my design minor. In my previous internship, I worked as both design and marketing intern, and found that I greatly enjoyed the design aspects of my work. While I enjoyed my internship experience, I did miss that aspect in my everyday life. Looking forward, I am concentrating my job search efforts on obtaining either an entry-level position/internship as a designer or continuing my education further in design.

I also noticed another large change from my previous internship; there is a large difference between working for a large company and for a start-up in its infancy. My first internship was in a half-a-year old tech start-up, and I felt things often moved faster as there were less complications in any given decision-making process. Still, while working for a larger organization, I found that things may have taken longer or required more information-sharing meetings, but there was more direction and ultimately results.

As I previously mentioned, the greatest change I faced throughout the course of my STEP project was my realization that I wanted to focus more so on design rather than marketing. While I enjoy much of what marketing entails, I believe that design is a better option for me due to the creativity that it allows. I also found that I did not find my work quite as compelling, interesting, or fulfilling as I did when working with more design-oriented projects. For example, when I had the opportunity to redesign and test out different user experiences for the team’s databases, I was able to immerse myself completely in the work. Overall, I simply found these projects more personally valuable – though not less important – than some of the more marketing-oriented ones I contributed to.

Another contributing factor to this was my relationship with my supervisor during my internship. He was the lead graphic designer and was gracious enough to spend several hours reviewing his most often utilized tips and tricks for corporate design, as well as some approaches to the overall design process. These really opened my eyes to what design is like within a larger team made up of many members – each with their own opinion. I found these workshops to be extremely insightful and useful, and I firmly believe I will be able to use what I learn in the future.

I also had the experience of being able to speak to, view presentations of projects, and at times shadow other designers on the team and found that while their time constraints seemed daunting, they genuinely enjoyed their jobs and collaborating with their coworkers. These types of experiences were some of the highlights of my internship, and I would love to be able to replicate this experience in my own career.

Today, I am looking for my next step for after my graduation in December. I am currently considering two options, although both relate to my newfound goal of focusing my career on design. The first option is to look for a junior or entry-level position for design, and the second is to pursue and complete a design internship to gain more experience and later approach the first option. While I do this, I am working on my own to continue developing my skills, particularly in graphic design and typography.

For more about my experience, including photos, please feel free to look through the blog I kept during the duration of my STEP project here.

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

 

Internship

  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?’”