STEP Computer Build 2017

STEP Computer Project


Type of Project: Artistic/Creative Endeavor

This project was to challenge myself by learning how to build a desktop computer. I already had the case to assemble it, so I only needed the internal parts, and learned how to handle and assemble them. I also learned how certain components interacted with each other, to help troubleshoot problems. I finished my project by displaying my build at Hackathon, speaking with students and faculty.

When I first started this project, I thought that I already knew a lot about computers and that it would be a fairly simple process. I discovered that it was much more difficult than I originally thought, and I needed to go to others for help. Building a computer led me to recognize and realize the value of my support network. In addition, it gave me insight into how I view the world, and how that view has changed. There is so much to every aspect of our lives to rediscover. My project helped me to learn the value of true understanding—it was not just about knowing where the parts go, but about handling them, and knowing how they interact. All of these things translate into skills, which are applicable in other, bigger projects. However, this project was not just about completing a goal or learning about computers. This project was about setting my mind to the goals that I have and pushing myself to achieve them. To me, this project was about goal-setting, planning, and accomplishing. These are in every aspect of life, and I learned new ways to approach my own goals.

The events that really inspired this change started when I first began my project, then when I completed my project. When ordering the parts, I found that they costed around what I planned. The tax for some was surprisingly large. The sheer number of pieces all boxed and laid out in front of me when I first started was much more than I originally thought it would be. I organized my build by what needed to be done first, and started on them one by one. This was what helped me to learn how to work through a large and complicated project—to work it into manageable sections and focus only on what needs done at one time while taking the big-picture plan into consideration.

The mid-way point through my project felt repetitive—I removed and reassembled the CPU fan on the motherboard, which involved taking off the back of the tower. Taking a break and coming back helped me to stay refreshed and focused on what matters. I decided to take the time to enhance my knowledge about what I was doing—really reading through the manuals and directions as well as consulting others allowed me to get started faster. Without the challenges from this computer build, I would not have been able to grow as a person, bettering my abilities to deal with frustration, finding resources to learn how to assemble as well as diagnose problems for the computer, and how to approach problems in my life.

Toward the end of my computer building-process, I thought that it was completed—but then it did not start. It took me some time to troubleshoot to discover the problem, and to correct the problems. This portion was the most difficult for me, and I discussed the issue to my family, friends who have completed STEP, and my brother, who also is working through his STEP project. After taking off several big parts, the large video card, the memory sticks, and the CPU fan, and putting them back on firmly and without interfering with the other pieces already in place, the computer started. It was a lot more complex and intensive than I thought would be, and I realized the value of a support network as well as skills to complete large independent projects.

This computer project taught me a lot about myself, and how I deal with frustrations and setbacks. I learned about how to better deal with frustration, and ways to prepare, plan, and overcome setbacks in life, not just in my project. Building a computer showed me how to approach goal-setting. I was ale to recognize the true value of hard work and dedication, and the challenges that exist in every endeavor. This is always a personal goal of mine, and I am glad that I had this project to improve upon myself and make myself a better person. This was an academic goal of mine as well, because I needed to learn so much about computers to complete it—something that I have wanted to do for quite some time but had not been able to. This also fulfills a professional goal of mine: to have a highly functioning computer to use and have something reliable to do all my professional needs on. The reason I chose this project was so that I could work on all my goals, and not necessarily just one aspect. STEP has given me the opportunity to achieve my goals and make these transformations. This computer build has given me the tools to develop myself, broaden my perspectives, and to accomplish what I set my mind to.

This build was both exciting and interesting. Through the process of building it, constant troubleshooting, and reflecting on it, I have learned a lot. The Hackathon event gave me some time to reflect on what I have learned, and realize just how much I now know, and how much I have yet to learn. I spoke with students visiting my build display, and I was able to guide them through my process, while speaking to them in technical terms that I would not have known before starting this project. I think this event let me realize just how transformational STEP was. I did not realize before this just how much I know. I was able to talk to computer-tech students without a real background in it, but I could because of STEP. I realized that the other STEP students are a good resource, and so are the STEPMakers for this computer build. I talked with the other STEP students presenting and learned a lot. We talked about our build processes, but also budgeting. There are some tips and tricks when ordering parts to not spend more than you need to. In addition, we had some parts similar to all of our builds, and it was very helpful to see which works best and what gave us trouble.

Business Model Canvas Journey

I worked with a team to collaborate to solve a specific problem- a lack of developmental collaboration space for art majors, namely the Art Scholars at Ohio State. To do this, we decided that we could create an “art house,” where we would bring talented art majors together for a better living and work space and sense of community. Through this house, we would provide a community, work space, and exposure to like-minds, talented art majors. Initially we considered making this house for any art major, but the equipment they would need would be too diverse, which is why we decided on design majors and related majors. There was more that we could later develop, but we realized that this should start as our minimum viable product, and the best to offer it initially to artists through an application process. Our Business Model Canvas (BMC) is:

Art House - Business Model Canvas

Highlighted in green is our minimum viable product and yellow is one step past the minimum. Our full BMC would require additional steps.

Along with the social networking, we would supply various art supplies, to add convenience and value to the house. Again, we first considered gallery space and professional networks, but this was more than an early project could do. Ohio State’s School of Visual Arts and their Alum & Job Network is our two main channels. We decided it would be best to start as a nonprofit to begin the program. Instagram and our wordpress site, is how we plan to spread our vision and the various talents of the artists. I was part of a great team throughout this journey, putting in many weekly meetings while bonding with friends.


Who I am

Motivation, determination, and dedication. I believe that each person can influence their own life path. My name is Alex Comshaw-Arnold. I’m a Stadium Scholar, ICE (Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship) Scholar, and a freshman at The Ohio State University. I am majoring in Economics and minoring in Mathematics. Outside of the classroom, I spend my time lifting weights- power lifting, but I enjoy other aspects, like certain grip, strongman, and arm wrestling events. Chess, pool, coin collecting, reading, and occasionally running and swimming compose my hobbies. I enjoy the outdoors as well- hiking, fishing, archery, and target shooting. I believe that being well-rounded provides more skills, knowledge, and ability. I am always striving to better myself by learning and doing more.DSC_0500

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


Global Awareness:

I wanted a global education. Throughout my time as a student, I have taken a large variety of courses to achieve this goal. The coursework I have taken is in many fields and times, from the Grecian Age in my history class to the Roman times in my Latin language sequence. I learned both about the history and cultures of these places. My British literature course was enriching—it was very different from the standard American literature taught in high school and offered me a new perspective. I have even taken a major course on the economic history of the Americas, which gave me a new, broader perspective on cultures that I thought I knew. I have explored other topics throughout my courses, but I plan to stay an active learner in my work. I also continue to be involved in the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Scholars Program and the Stadium Scholars Program at The Ohio State University. These two programs have a diverse group of students, and throughout the activities I do in them I learn more about the people and their cultures. It gives me a better understanding of the world to understand the people in it.

Original Inquiry:

There are many things that I have done and plan to do to better my understanding of research, and how to create new ideas on your own. The scholars group I am involved in, Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Scholars, is all about finding the “niche” in the market and creating your own personal brand. These entrepreneurial skills translate to much more than starting a business. They are ways to approach life—with your own plans, goals, and aspirations, and working in your own special way to achieve them. Another way I have learned more on the research process was to take a course specifically on research. The economics research seminar has given me plenty of insight on how research is conducted, and the steps that go into it. I plan to complete a senior thesis to further develop my research skills, and to work more with my own original work. This is something that will thoroughly develop my research skills, and it will enhance my skills to start a project and accomplish it. Research and original creative effort plays such a vital role in society, and it is good to be a part of it and know about it.

Academic Enrichment:

I have devoted a large portion of my higher education to academic enrichment. My honors contract goes beyond the minimal requirements in breadth and depth. I took courses not to satisfy requirements, but also to challenge me. I chose courses that peaked my interest, and I knew that they would be difficult to complete. I chose rigorous coursework to build a foundation for my life. This is what I consider on of the most important aspects of a college education. Skills and lessons learned from my large range of courses will easily translate into any career. I chose my major to set me ahead in the business field. I chose my minor, mathematics, not because it is a good addition to economics, but because it is applicable, difficult, and enriching. I want to graduate college with a large set of skills, knowledge, and satisfied with my education. Using my education, I will be able to learn more throughout life and grow as a person as well.

Leadership Development:

As a student at The Ohio State University, I have been involved in two major activities throughout my time as a student here. I am an honors student and a scholars student of the Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Scholars program. I have learned valuable leadership skills, the importance of working as a team, and how to build a successful one. I mentor two first-year scholars students for this year, teaching them skills on how to excel in their college experience. I am also involved in the Stadium Scholars Program, which has many different learning aspects. Of these, working with people on a team for the many activities we do really makes a difference in the quality of leadership. These interactions teach me valuable skills of how to talk with people and learn from them, in addition to learning different ways to lead others. I am also a STEP student for this year, and in my STEP project I will incorporate different parts of leadership into it. These different activities all relate to my career goals of having a leadership position, as well as possibly working or dealing with entrepreneurs in business.

Service Engagement:

Service is a way to give back to the community and grow as a person. The Stadium Scholars and Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Scholars Programs have both given me opportunities to give back. They host and require service events in their programs, and are always enjoyable and rewarding. I have had the opportunity to make capes for cancer ward children, cleanup a local park, and clean the streets around me, in addition to giving back to the programs themselves through cleaning and volunteering my time. I have learned a lot through my time at Ohio State and the importance of being charitable and grateful. Service is not something that ends when you get a diploma; it is a lifelong endeavor. Giving back to the community, and the university as well, or any community that you are a part of, whether through money or time, is always worthwhile. Being engaged in charities and charity events are other ways to serve the community.


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]