For my STEP project, I purchased a laptop and music production equipment. Using these tools, I began exploring the world of music production learning mostly from the internet and listening to various genres of music.


During this experience, I noticed an ongoing growth musically. I started off with limited knowledge of the FL Studio software and music theory in general. My original music reflected this lack of knowledge. However, as I began to practice, watch more videos, and listen to better producers, I began to grow as an artist. I noticed that my ear has become more musically inclined. By that I mean, I am able to hear the different layers in songs as well as the different instruments used in them. I have been able to apply this knowledge to my production and create more depth in my music. I also noticed personal changes. I am better able to understand how I learn and the capacity that I have to learn. Visual and audial exposure as well as practice and application were the most successful methods for learning. Making music takes patience, problem solving skills, and dedication. These skills that I further developed over the summer have transferred over to my schoolwork and extracurricular activities.

Road to Transformation:

I started from scratch in my project. I knew a little bit about an earlier version of the software, but most of that knowledge did not apply to the updated version that I purchased. So, I took to google and Youtube to find out more about music theory and FL Studio itself. For the first few weeks, I would just watch videos with the FL Studio screen open and practiced while being instructed. This process changed my goal for the project. My goal became to learn the software as much as possible over the course of 2015. To mark the progress of this goal, I have been making a beat every month. It has gotten more complicated to do this since classes have started, I am an RA, and with involvement on campus. However; the dedication and patience that applied over the summer have carried over to the school year and I will continue to make time to grow musically.

I have also been able to grow through support from my interactions. Family members and friends have reviewed my music since the beginning stages and provided constructive criticism, tips, and even templates for practice. In addition to this, I have been interacting with other musicians through social media and Soundcloud. Listening to these musicians and providing feedback for them helped me to see the things that needed to be touched up in my own work. Hearing the different aspects of different music genres enabled me to expand the applications of my music. Music doesn’t have to be restricted to a specific style and knowing this has allowed me to reach “outside the box” and create music that reflects my own personal style instead of fitting into a mold. This is important for my music because I really want to make Christian/gospel music. Most of the time, people stick to an old-school, churchy sound. I would like to expand the reach of gospel music to a larger audience and finding my voice in music this summer has been a major step toward doing so.

A major roadblock that I had to overcome is frustration. Learning something new requires patience. When I didn’t see progress as quickly as I wanted or a song doesn’t sound as good as a professionals, it was easy to feel defeated. However, after talking with a few friends who have been doing production for years, I realized that I wouldn’t be a master in three months. I felt freedom in knowing that. So, instead of focusing on getting to everyone else’s level, I decided to work on my own personal growth. This way, I was able to learn more and enjoy my learning experience. I was able to look at the little things that I had improved instead of beating myself up over perfection. Overcoming frustration gave me the confidence to continue my project and become a better artist and more patient person.


I experienced a lot of personal growth through this project. I have become more patient, resilient, and enhanced skills that are applicable to my major and career goals including problem solving, project development, and adaptability. These skills will be important for being a medical doctor and thriving as a biological engineering major. My main goal for this project was to create a 5 song EP to release next summer. However, a secondary goal developed over the summer. That goal was to learn the basics of the FL Studio software. That goal was tracked by producing songs over time to reflect my growth over the few months I had. Overall, I’d say I successfully learned the basics, developed my voice as an artist, and developed skills that will contribute to my success creatively as well as professionally in the future.


STEP Reporting Back Journal – The Stock Market

For my STEP experience, I have chosen to invest money in the stock market. Over the course of many months, I have been learning invaluable experience about the way money works through first-hand experiences that wouldn’t have been possible any other way.

I have been learning many things and my view of the world continues to change as I engage in my STEP experience everyday. This is one thing that I particularly like about my STEP experience, it is something that I get to learn from each and everyday. I know because of STEP I will continue to grow as an individual in regards to my understanding of how money works. Because I get to watch the stock market everyday, I gradually begin to understand the cause and effect of events that happen around the globe. 

Whether an earthquake takes place in a country where my t-shirts are made, or there’s a strike at a company that I buy electronic devices from, I’m much more observant about what causes fluctuations in stock price. I’m still no expert by any means, but I now understand my assumptions of how the stock market worked were wrong. It is so much more than just supply vs. demand. Just understanding the basics of money and stocks requires an extreme amount of vocabulary that you must know. If I had to say what the biggest change has been for me, it is that I’m much more observant of how the money world around me works.

For my experience, I have to first thank my incredible cohort leader Crystal Dunlevy for encouraging my cohort to pursue whatever it was that we wanted to do. I truly believe without her I wouldn’t have been able to do something so awesome. It was through an inspirational thought that I realized what I wanted to pursue and Crystal was always supportive.

Beyond this, there were many events that led me to the different views I now hold about how money works. After my experience got accepted and I received my money, I immediately began investing in the companies I had been researching for months. A lot of what I have learned has been through research; however, they didn’t truly hit home until I had the opportunity to get real world experience. You will always read about what it’s like to have your portfolio jump 15% in a day only to lose it all the next day, but you never really know what it feels like until it happens. You gain a real sense of respect for the power money can have. 

One of the great relationships I had that helped me really become excited about investing was that of a friend I made through STEP. When I initially came up with the idea, Seth was 100% on board with me. He was very much excited about the idea of learning about stocks together and without him I don’t know if I would have gone through with it. It’s always good to have a second opinion and really make sure that your stock picks were on board with what your initial plans were. Seth and I have made a friendship through STEP and a common interest and that’s something I’m very grateful for.

This change has impacted my life in numerous ways and not all of them are even surrounding my STEP experience. I have gained a number of friends, and I even still get coffee with Crystal which is very nice. Beyond this, I know money will always play a role in my life. It’s comforting knowing that I understand that much more about an issue that affects us all everyday. I feel much more secure about my future and my ability to be financially independent. This matters for any number of reasons but among them all, it has changed my future happiness and well being.

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Design Your Own Internship

1) For my STEP Signature Project, I designed my own internship in which I learned more about web design. I used the first part of the summer to take a few online classes on HTML and CSS, and then, after about a month, I received and internship with The Center Of Design and Manufacturing Excellence and The Ohio Manufacturing Institute at The Ohio State University.

2) During the duration of my STEP project, I discovered that designs for clients are a lot different then designing for a project. In our classroom setting, all the designs that we create are based on our opinions of what we want and what we think looks the best. However, I quickly realized that once you had a client, the design became less about what I thought it should look like, and more about the client’s wishes. This was a difficult realization to have. It is tough to decide between what you know will look better, but what the client thinks they want. Finding a compromise that both the designer and the client agree on is a big hurdle in the design industry.

3) Working for two companies this summer was a big factor in expanding my design knowledge and connections. Not only did I have the opportunity to work with faculty and designers at Ohio State, but I also had the pleasure of designing for the state of Ohio and for a few start-up corporations. Each person that I worked with had different ideas, tastes, needs, and styles. By working with different groups of people, I feel that I got a wider range of tasks that have truly expanded my abilities as a designer.

For example, for The Center of Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) I worked mainly with my boss to create a website and new branding so that they can become a growing center for companies to rely on. Working for CDME allowed me to use my new web design knowledge and put it into practice. I also had to design within The Ohio State branding guidelines, so I learned how the process of approval works in larger organizations. Having never worked with branding guidelines before, this was a good intro experience that I would not have gotten had I not had this opportunity.

While working for The Ohio Manufacturing Institute (OMI) I was able to create logos and brochures for a few of their start up organizations! Working with Kathryn Kelley, my boss, I felt that I got to meet a wide variety of people to grow my connections in the Ohio business world. I was also exposed to a lot of different views on my design work. Most of the people I worked with were not designers, so I had to learn to present my ideas in a way that made sense to everyone and listen to suggestions in order to create the brand they were looking for.

4) Through developing the companies’ brands, I realized that this is the side of design I enjoy the most. This experience helped me realize the direction I would like to take my design career. I am truly grateful to have this experience that has immensely boosted my portfolio for future internships and jobs to come. I know that this experience will help me as I continue my career at Ohio State and as I enter the job world in the next few years. I am now entering my junior year with a better understanding of who I am as a designer and what I need to work on for the future.





Zenith Media PC (Avalanche) STEP Project Reflection

Hello, like I stated in a previous post if you are interested in building a computer yourself my primary site will be I will also be posting content about the computer building process and other budget technologies on the youtube channel ZenithTech (Link -> ) with Gautham Sivakumar.


Here is my STEP reflection.


My STEP project involved building a workstation computer so that I am better able to work on content creation and 3D rendering.  Initially I had to pick the components that I could best utilize within the budget, then building the computer, and now using the computer to create content.  Here is a video tutorial on how to build this computer ->


Throughout this process I learned quite a bit, covered by this -> video, however here is a summary of what I discuss.


Building a computer is no small task, and during the process I learned about my work ethic, my passions and my complete lack of knowledge in the media creation field.  I have always wanted to build a computer and this was the perfect opportunity to fulfill that dream.  During my high school years I had no idea that doing something on this scale would even be possible.  I knew that people built PCs but I had no idea about the beauty that I would find in some of the pieces of artwork that exist out there.  Going into freshman year my daily use computer was a laptop that fit what I needed and nothing more.  Eventually heard about this program through a friend, Gautham Sivakumar (see his STEP project here ), who was building a computer with his funds.  He pointed me, like a starved teenager towards a buffet table, to some technology resources online and I took off.  Over the next few months I discovered the wonders of modern technology with regards to mobile, desktop, laptop, drones and anything else I could get my hands on.  This has since turned me into ‘tech support’ for those around me, but I don’t mind because I enjoy it so much.

My passion led me to assisting Gautham with his build and eventually planning on creating a media group, ZenithMedia, that would create content for those that need it.  We discussed it at length with one of the STEP supervisors and were able to work with Archie Griffin and Alex Bandar when they presented to one of the STEP groups last year.  I did what I could on my laptop but it struggled in the most basic image editing and SolidWorks creations.  That is when I decided to build my own computer through the STEP program.  Unknowingly this took my passion to a whole new level.  Just knowing that if I had the chance to build my own computer sent me into a rampage looking through all of the options that I could possibly have.  After many months of scouring the internet for better more optimized components and finally completing my sophomore year I built my computer.

Since then I have been able to record my computer build and create a build guide (See video here -> ), work with various Adobe products (including After Effects and Premier Pro), trouble shoot overclocking and other computer issues and share some of my experiences with others.  I would say it has been a fantastic transformative experience.  Without this experience I don’t know if I would have found the same passion for technology, however I know this experience will stay with me for the rest of my life.

If you need specific events that affected the change that I saw throughout this process I don’t know if I could point you to one specific thing.  Once I discovered that this program could allow me to follow my dreams there was nothing that could have held me back from finishing it.  The most influential steps of the process were picking the parts and creating the content because those two processes respectively showed me the importance of budget allocation and the true awe that comes with creating something that impresses yourself.  The entire process was my transformation and there are no specific parts that really are more influential than the rest.

This change is significant to me because it is allowing me to expand into a variety of topics and pursue my dreams.  Also, finding my passion was a process that will change who I am forever.  Being a well rounded engineer is a something that I have been striving for and this is a fantastic step forward (see what I did there?).  So, thank you STEP for giving me an opportunity that has changed who I am and who I will be into the future.

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P.S. The number of things that I have learned, since the creation of the two videos in the reflection, that would improve content quality is incredible. So apologies for the not so great quality on these videos, the learning curve, on the Adobe suite of products and content creation, is incredibly steep.

P.S.S Here is an panoramic image I put together as part of the Archie Griffin project

Archie Griffin with a STEP group after his presentation late last year

Archie Griffin with a STEP group after his presentation late last year

If you read this far, thank you for investing your time in my project!

John Coffey.153


-RE: Prompt #2: Through this project I have furthered my understanding that I am a multifaceted individual that is totally unique and I need to use this to my advantage.  Due to my training in engineering I was able to diagnose a variety of problems, as well as learn about the process of starting a business.  My view of the world has expanded due to this project because I now know that I am part of more than just the engineering world, but I can be part of the creative world of media as well.  Without this project I would have never learned of my love of technology, the internet, and media creation.


Prompt #3:  Specific events in this project that led to my transformation include, but are not limited to, learning about the STEP program and the ability to build a computer with the money that I earn by going through the project,  being introduced to LinusTechTips and his computer  build guides, purchasing all of the components and tracking their shipments, putting the computer together and analyzing the problems that my system had, as well as utilizing the computer to expand on my creative side via media creation. In addition to these new experiences I was able to have, I was also challenged in ways I did not anticipate. For example when at first my original design concept for the computer did not work out I had to come up with a completely new idea that was still within the budget I made. Throughout the building process I also ran across a few issues due to faulty parts that unfortunately are still plaguing me today.  Fortunately however I am able to adapt how I use my system so that I an avoid the issues with the motherboard.  Due to this project, I have gained relationships with quite a few professors around OSU that are asking about having content created for them as well as people from around the world within the media creation industry.  The process of building a computer (or creating content) is a transformation experience because from the moment you have the idea any number of compatibility and optimization issues arise.  For instance, I could have built a very simple system with the biggest baddest graphics card out there and limited everything else, but that system would be inefficient and severely bottlenecked.  Or I could have put all of the money into the RAM and the CPU to optimize render times for content, but then the storage solution would bottleneck the render times and the graphics card would slow progress due to some prerendering that goes on while I’m working on content.  What I ended up with was the best optimization that I could find that is slightly skewed towards video editing, so now there are very few bottlenecks (I could use another 16Gb of RAM for example) and my render times/storage solution/graphics card are all the best that I could find for my use case.  I have never participated in a project that required so much research and time to optimize, however I am incredibly glad that I did it.  Now I not only have a very capable system, but I know how to think outside the box and look at all aspects of compatibility within any type of system. I have the abilities to analyze problems that occur within the computers that, as an engineer and a human of the modern era, will be working with for the rest of my life.

Pediatric Nursing Conference (Chicago, IL)

For my STEP experience, I attended a Pediatric Nursing Conference in Chicago, IL. I was able to learn about new products and advancements in pediatric nursing, as well as networking with advance nursing clinicians and current nursing students.

This experience changed me as a person tremendously. I was pushed outside of my comfort zone by meeting, working, and discussing with new people. We were able to speak of current problems in the pediatric nursing world as well as our own personal experiences in the field. My perspective of pediatric nursing in different geographic locations was greatly impacted. Learning how different standards or procedures can be in different locations was incredible. Also, learning how similar nurses from all across the country treat and care for their patients gave me great hope and excitement for my future in this field.I was impacted and inspired by all the amazing nurses at this conference and all they are doing to help those in need all over the world.

One of the greatest impacts or take aways I personally had from this conference was talking about the current social epidemics and how they relate to the pediatric nursing world. For example, obesity is becoming a large issue in America. We discussed at great lengths how childhood obesity is on the rise and how we as nurses can handle, teach, and heal appropriately. Likewise, we learned about patient discrimination based on weight and how to avoid letting our own biases impact our care and how to teach peers and colleagues to do the same.

Another great experience I had at the conference was speaking with a woman who had done research on new nebulizing equipment to treat young children diagnosed with asthma. She spoke about the need for a national standard for treating young patients with asthma, and I learned a lot from her. I learned not just about caring for young children with asthma but also about finding a niche in the pediatric field that you love and how many different directions you can take nursing in your future.

Lastly, I had a great experience speaking with a woman whom recently graduated with her BSN and is now employed at the Children’s Hospital of Kansas City. She talked about how she is still not in her dream job but taking the steps to get there is important. She also spoke about how she moved away from friends and family for her first job. She had great insight on how graduating and entering the job filed with a nursing degree can be more difficult than you think. She was a great resource of knowledge pertaining to how my life may look in a few, close years.

This experience has been incredibly valuable to my life, my career, and my studies. I was able to see how the information I am learning in my nursing classes at Ohio State pertains to the clinical world. I saw the current events tie into past learned information, and how I can relate the two when I begin working as a nurse in just a few short years. I was also able to network and speak with those currently working in the pediatric nursing field. This helped me gain large amount of knowledge on the specifics of working in a pediatric hospital, how to get hired, and what experiences will help you succeed in finding your dream job. Lastly, I personally pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and changed my life in more ways than i thought was possible. I got to explore the city of Chicago while learning about one of my greatest passions. This trip will be a memory I will never forget, and one that will continue to impact me personally and professionally for the rest of my life.





Drumline: STEP Edition

Chad Selmek

Artistic and Creative Endeavor

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

My STEP Project took my great passion: drumming and gave me the tools to better understand it and hopefully one day teach others about it. My goal is to teach drumlines and spread my love of drumming to others. I learned how to write music with professional software, I spent time at band camps teaching kids and gathered the materials necessary to be a drumline instructor.

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

During my STEP project I found that I am a very capable teacher and as one of my students put it “doesn’t give up”. This was a huge confidence boost for me, as I never really taught a large group of people before this summer. With the help of those around me I was able to begin to understand what it means to be a drumline instructor. I assumed the kids I worked with would have better understand of the art of drumming and I quickly realized not everyone had the same background as I, and weren’t fortunate enough to take lessons. So I got to work with many different levels of experience and was challenged to make it challenging for everyone at every level. While working with the School for the Blind so many of my views on the marching arts changed, I was blown away to see these kids marching and playing as well as they were. I learned how to teach blind kids music and that made me such a better teacher within one week. The challenges I faced were very unique and incredibly eye opening and more importantly inspiring. Music is something that everyone can participate in no matter what and that is why I love it so much.


  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?

Working with my drumline instructor was an amazing experience, I had one of the best percussion arrangers at my finger tips to ask questions and pick his brain. The best way to learn an art form is to study from one of the best and luckily that is what I was able to do this summer. As amazing as he was the most important events took place at the Blind Band Camp, where I met volunteers who were some of the most amazing and inspiring people; from all different musical backgrounds coming here to help these kids learn more. But it was during my individual teaching of sectionals that really transformed me. I was able to work with the kids one on one and hone their skills, and as much as they wanted to goof off I stayed true to what I know, and at the end I know the kids loved it. One even told me “Thank you for not giving up on me, I’m not used to that” and I was genuinely touched. From that moment on I knew I would be fine and couldn’t wait until my next band camp.


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

This change and upbringing from a musician to teach is incredible because it means I can spread the word and share my passion with others. I strongly believe music is one of the most important activities a kid can be a part of growing up. I am going into a career in the health care field so helping people is what I’ll be doing my whole life. This gives me an escape from that, but still being able to help others. I will teach music to others and that has always been my dream.


For photos of my project please see my blog posts from throughout the summer 🙂 And I will have plenty at my expo!!