Professional Development: EMT Certification

Michael Liesen


Artistic and Creative Endeavors, Professional Development


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


As a pre-medical student my project was under the artistic and creative endeavors sub topic of professional development. I took an intensive 10 credit hour emergency medical technician course with combined laboratory and lecture at College of Dupage to get a certification. This included a clinical portion working in a hospital emergency room at Edward Hospital.


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


I gained a better understanding of our medical system and a much deeper understanding of the emergency side of medicine. I gained valuable experience working as an emergency room technician during the clinical portion of my class. I understand more of what it will take to achieve my goal of working in medicine and a more realistic view of what it means to achieve this goal.


  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?


The largest portion of my experience was the in class time spent every week three days a week for six and a half hours. We were separated into “crews” on the first days with five people on each crew. We grew very close throughout the summer. Two were similar to me, in college home for the summer with plans of going to medical school. Another was an ex-marine who planned on becoming a paramedic and a firefighter. The last was a former chef 34 year old who planned on applying to Physician Assistant School. We were taught by three paramedic instructors Joe, Steve and Amy each bringing us very different styles of teaching and care giving. The class was made of only 5 crews and we were given a lot of individual time with these instructors. Joe seemed to focus on the medical side of care-giving, being a critical care paramedic and a lot of experience with a wide variety of medical scenarios. Amy was a fire fighter above all else and was focused on the technical side of every subject and scenario when teaching. Steve was very patient focused humanizing every aspect with what we’re doing and was especially helpful during the psych unit with a reputation among other paramedics for being particularly good at handling psych calls without needing to restrain the patient. These perspectives helped make our education more complete and our training more worthwhile and helpful for when we had to apply it.

We were assessed every week on different aspects of emergency medicine ranging from anatomy and CPR to proper ways to clean an ambulance. We were given a multiple choice written test and then five practical tests each week. The practicals were usually scenarios in which each of the crew took different roles from the medical lead to the patient. We learned proper assessment skills for medical and trauma assessments of patients and proper lifting maneuvers to move critical patients. Taking vitals was a very basic skill and part of every single practical that was completed. We learned what these readings meant and which were a cause for concern and which allowed us more time assessing before transporting the patient. Transporting was always the end goal and we quickly learned how to move patients and stabilize quickly in order to minimize discomfort and protect their well-being. All of the practicals and knowledge was put to the test towards the end of the class.

Near the end of the class our knowledge was used during our clinical one of the most valuable parts of this experience to me in professional development. We had to spend 16 hours of time in an emergency room with the duties of an emergency room technician in order to complete the class. We had a list of skills that we needed to use or observe in order to pass the clinical and were reviewed by either the nursing staff we worked with or an emergency room technician. I was able to pass this portion with positive reviews by using my training and listening to the more experienced health care professionals around me. I observed and participated in stabilizing a patient who had an aneurysm on my first shift and on my final a cancer patient coding. In-between I saw the variety of patients who entered the ER from a man with a splinter in his foot to unstable psych patients under 24 hour watch. This showed exactly how crazy and how normal things can get in this profession and my passing through helped give me the confidence to carry on trying to enter it now that I have experience in it.


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


Experience is hard to come by for a pre-medical student. Much of the work we do is important and academic in nature but does very little to prepare us for the rigors of treating real people who are in pain or dying. I now have, if nothing else, a small amount of experience in this area, treating patients in this regard. While I am still nowhere near experienced enough to completely understand the future rigors I hope to go through I do understand them better. After going through all this over the summer I have ended with something to show for it. I have a certificate qualifying me as an Emergency Medical Technician graduating from the program with high honors. Beyond all the practical knowledge and experience this program has given me I now have the qualifications to work at this entry level position in the medical field.

Licensed to Fly

1.) With the money I received from the STEP program I got my Private Pilot’s License. The money went into lessons and test costs. While I spent time in the sky I captured my experiences through aerial photography.


2.)During my project I really transformed into a better person. Getting your pilots license is not an easy task and there were times I wanted to give up but I persevered. I saw a goal and I worked towards it. Along with this I was fortunate enough to be able to see the world from above. Its absolutely breath taking. I wanted to be able to share the beauty I saw with my friends and family and this helped push me through to the end.


3.) My instructor, Jamie, was really a blessing through the entire process. He was always patient when I didn’t understand something and would take time out of his day to help me even if we didn’t have anything scheduled that day. I am also his first student to solo an airplane AND to get their license! This was a huge honor for me and I’m glad I could go start to finish with Jamie.

My grandpa was also a huge inspiration. He’s been flying since before I was born and owns his own plane. I was exposed to small planes at such a young age that I’ve always just had a fascination for them. In the past few years he has decided that he can no longer operate the plane by himself and so its pushed me to get done with my license faster so that I can fly with him again, but this time I’ll be in the pilot seat!

I also happen to work at the airport I learned to fly at! I’ve made some great friendships during my time there and I cherish every one of them. The airport is family owned and operated outside of my hometown that is a grass strip, both rare traits these days! People come from all over to fly our taildraggers and with our instructors. All of the people I’ve met or work with have all invested time into me so that I could get my license and it means so much to me how much they cared and cheered me on.


4.) This transformation into someone I believe is a better person has really set me up to continue changing and to continue to become someone better than I am. This project taught me that all good things come with hard work and perseverance even in the face of defeat. I learned that I always have friends who care for me and that I can make friends and acquaintances so easily. Academically, I now know that even the toughest of projects can be finished on a deadline and can be done well. And to top it all off, I get to fly an airplane through the sky and see all that the world has to offer.


Check out my blog  “clarifies” to learn more about my experiences at the link below! Posts are housed under the left menu button.

Expanding My Musical Ability

Logan Harvey

Artistic and Creative Endeavor

1. With my STEP funds, I decided to teach myself to play the guitar. I purchased a guitar, amplifier, and pedalboard. With these things, I taught myself how to play the guitar. I taught myself mostly jazz scales and chords.

2. During my experience, I learned that I am much more creative that I previously expected. I knew that I would be a decent guitar player due to my experience with the piano. I also gained some confidence as a musician, expanding my knowledge, and realizing that music is something that comes natural to me. With this, I feel that I can definitely be a successful musician and more confident as a person.

3. I learned many things about my musical abilities during my STEP experience. Many moments and experiences led to this. When learning to play the guitar I felt that it came very naturally. While learning some of my favorite songs I found myself putting my own spin on them. I learned that playing in front of people was not a problem for me, while playing for friends and family. After learning some of the basic jazz chords, I found myself putting them together and making my own rhythms. When I learned some jazz scales, I started putting them together and making up my own riffs.

Eventually, I was experimenting with different tunings, and found that the guitar is much more versatile than I expected. Recently, while learning one of my favorite guitar solos, which is played out of an alternate tuning, I picked it up very quickly. Within that same day, I was playing it at full speed and eventually, I was playing the solo without even looking at my hands. Later that same week I was working on learning the entire song. After a while I had memorized the whole song, without looking at the music.

A challenge that I overcame while learning to play the guitar, was learning to play standing up. I had initially learned to play sitting down, with the guitar resting on my lap. At first it was very difficult to play standing up, but after about a week I had greatly improved and now I prefer to play this way.  All of this made me realize that I am more talented and creative than I thought and gave me a lot of confidence as a musician.

4. This is all very important to me as a musician. It has increased my self confidence and made me more creative. I have been uncomfortable as a musician because I only knew how to play the piano, so learning the guitar really helped with this. Throughout my life, I have struggled with anxiety and depression. My improved musical abilities have greatly helped me through my personal struggles.

I also find myself being more motivated to work on my musical skills. When I am listening to music I find myself craving to learning how to play a specific riff, chord progression, or even an entire song. With the endless resources on the internet I am able to learn whatever I want. I have even been able to figure out some stuff just by ear. With my improved musical ear I have gained an interest in singing, something that I would have previously been opposed to.

The importance of my STEP Experience revolves around my improved confidence, knowledge, and creativity. I hope to start a band and have my musical career take off. This experience has made me realize that I am a unique person with unique abilities, and I have a very bright future.

Introduction to 3D Printing

1) This summer I built a 3D printer out of a kit. Using it, I designed and printed a phone stand that used a servo motor to adjust the angle.

2) This project had an unexpectedly large impact on me personally. Before I started building the printer, I had no idea the scale of the project that I was undertaking. It really astounded me that I was able to build an almost four foot tall machine that could print objects with such precise resolution. In this way, the project really helped me see what I could accomplish when I was invested in something.

3) The project was also very emotionally and physically exhausting. It took a very long time to build, with constant delays when I realized I messed up an aspect of the construction. Through this, my patience was constantly tested and I had to learn to accept my mistakes and continue working.

Once the printer was built, I had to work on my ability to constantly refine a process. I had to constantly tweak parameters over and over in order to achieve nice looking prints. This project helped me to develop the ability to constantly strive for improvement.

4) Building a 3D printer helped me both academically and at my internship. As the company I worked for had a 3D printer, I was able to apply my knowledge and experience with 3D printers and SolidWorks to make use of their 3D printer. I ended up designing and printing enclosures to fit a signal generator I created using an Arduino microcontroller.

At school, I have found an Undergraduate Research Opportunity conducting research on 3D printers and their application in the field of antennas and RF devices that I hope to take part in. In addition, the building of the printer helped me better understand things like stepper motors that will be useful in my Electrical Engineering classes. Finally, building a servo-powered phone stand helped me develop my understanding of electronics that will be very useful going forward.

STEP Into Nikon School


I went to Chicago from May 15 -17, 2015 and took three Nikon School workshops. The first workshop was Basics of Exposure and Camera Controls, the second was Creative Lighting, and the final workshop was Action and People Photography.


Going into the workshops, I barely knew how to operate my DSLR camera after having it for almost four years. I was always shooting in auto mode and starting to think that photography was just a natural talent I could never achieve. I assumed that since I had not been able to take great photographs after such a long time that it would never be possible. My STEP Signature Project showed me that just a small amount of training can make a huge difference in the world of photography.

Key Aspects

The first class, the Basics of Exposure and Camera Control, was great for me because I had always seen all the different controls on my camera but had never really ventured from the auto setting on what I now know as the “exposure dial.” I learned about three main factors involved with exposure: ISO, shutter speed, and aperture. On the exposure dial, I had always glanced past the M, A, S, and P settings, or Manual, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Program. Much like they sound, the aperture priority setting lets the user choose the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed, while the shutter priority setting does the opposite. I learned what the different aperture and shutter speed values mean and when to make them bigger or smaller. Another feature I found particularly interesting was exposure compensation, meaning making the shot purposely undersaturated or oversaturated.

The second workshop of the day was all about creative lighting. It was cool to learn how to modify the built-in flash on my camera as well as how to utilize additional flashes. Similar to the exposure compensation, there is also a flash compensation setting. It was amazing to see the difference between three pictures where one had no flash, one had full direct flash, and the third had some flash but not full power. Using a flash greatly helped the image even in daylight, but lessening the flash a little bit really enhanced the natural look of the image. Before today, I knew nothing about Speedlights so it was awesome to learn how this additional attachable flash can make such a difference in the lighting of the photo.  I loved seeing the differences in the photos with direct flash versus the ones where the Speedlight flash had been bounced, allowing for a much more naturally lit look. The orange and green “gels” to put over the flash were so cool because they changed the temperature of the photograph, blending with the available light.  I also learned about white balance, which is another setting I had never touched on my camera.  I now know about the different options depending on what environment I am in, such as incandescent and cloudy daylight.

This last workshop was great because it focused on what I am most interested in photographing — people.  Also, many action shots are of people doing things.    Over and over the instructors mentioned the 50mm f1.8 lens and how great it was for people photography because this low aperture allows the person to be in focus with the background almost completely blurred.  This is the exact look I hoped to create with my photography.


These lessons taught me so much and gave me the confidence to go out and take pictures. I can see my own improvement with each shoot and want to keep learning more and more. Academically, I was able to use my knowledge of camera settings to help a professor at the Ohio State College of Optometry by taking photographs of eyes. It was great for me to be able to apply my skills and to see how photography can be used in optometry. With the future of imaging ahead, I think the skills I gained from this experience will be beneficial as an overlap in the optometric world.

The greatest impact of all was on my personal and life goal of being an amateur photographer for my friends and family. My first photoshoot after I returned from Chicago was a graduation session around Ohio State’s campus. This was my first time using my new f1.8 lens, which was highly recommended by my instructors. The low aperture of the f.18 lens allows the person to be in focus, with the background almost completely blurred. This is the exact look I had always hoped to create with my photography. Next, I did a photoshoot during what is endearingly known in the photography world as “golden hour” because of the perfect natural glow. Taking pictures is so much fun and something I truly love to do. I love spending time with people during the shoots, creating this fun art form, and producing end products that people enjoy. I hope to increasingly make photography a part of my life and to capture moments in the lives of those around me, and maybe someday this will lead to bigger endeavors that all started with STEP.








Expanding Musical Ability and Playing a Benefits Concert


For my STEP project, I decided to supplement my knowledge of guitar by purchasing an electric guitar and accessories.  I already had some understanding of guitar after playing acoustic for a while, but I wanted to take my overall skill set to the next level.  The experience culminated in a benefits concert I played with my band on November 6, 2015.

The equipment I bought with the STEP grant.

The guitar, amplifier, case, pedal, and other accessories I acquired with the STEP grant.




In all honesty, going into my STEP project, I did not expect to learn as much as I did about myself or about guitar.  I thought playing electric guitar would be a lot like acoustic guitar, and that strumming and plucking some chords was all I would need to do.  I thought the equipment did not matter as much as the musician.  In reality, electric guitar opens up a new world of musical possibilities.  My constricted view of the world of music has greatly expanded, and it feels like there are limitless opportunities for creativity.

I also did not anticipate how much I truly would enjoy playing an electric guitar.  It’s an odd feeling to start practicing some scales or chords, then looking up and realizing an hour has passed.  Participating in the STEP project has made me realize that there truly is nothing I like better than just playing music.



It only took a couple times playing the new Strat to realize just what was possible once you have the right tools.  Each time I practice is like a dream come true, and each of those times contributes a little more to the experience and my transformation as a person.  I focus mainly on guitar theory when I practice, and have supplemented my practice with reading on the subject.  I bought a guitar theory book to compliment the STEP project and have been studying it and practicing the principles it teaches.  Reading up on the theory has both expanded my abilities and made me more confident, which has greatly contributed to my transformation.

Some of the music theory and guitar theory material I studied during my STEP experience.

Some of the music theory and guitar theory material I studied during my STEP experience.

Something else that has really helped lead to my transformation is practicing with my band.  Before the project, I had been using an acoustic guitar with my band.  We primarily play both classic and alternative rock music, for which the acoustic guitar is ill-suited.  The acoustic was limited and overpowered by the other instruments, and did not contribute to the sound we wanted.  The Stratocaster changed all of that.  With the new equipment, I’m no longer just a background sound in the band.  The versatility of the Strat, amplifier, and pedal allow me to gel with the other sounds any way I want, which has given the band the sound we had hoped for.  Each time we practice, we get a little better and a little more comfortable with each other, and I personally enjoy it more.  Each practice has made me realize just how much my bandmates and band matter to me, and how big a part of my life it has become.  Having the right equipment has definitely helped me reach that conclusion.

The entire experience more or less culminated in a benefit concert that we played at the Ohio Union on November 6th.  The lineup consisted of three bands, us being in the middle time slot.  The ticket sales from the concert went toward aiding the fight against the global water crisis, thanks to the Splash: Sustenance organization.  This was the first time I had played a show with the new equipment, and setting up on stage with the other bands was surreal.  Watching the other acts perform was both rewarding and educational, but playing in front of so many people with professional-grade equipment for the first time was exhilarating and a fantastic confidence boost.  We played a set that lasted just over an hour, with a mix of original music and covers.  It was a wonderful experience being able to do what I love in order to benefit a great cause, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

My band, The Week Knights, playing at the Splash: Sustenance benefit concert on November 6th.

My band, The Week Knights, playing at the Splash: Sustenance benefit concert on November 6th.




The STEP project has made a significant impact on my life.  To start, having the right musical equipment gives me a constructive, creative hobby which pairs nicely with school.  There are few things better than taking a break from class or homework and just jamming for a little while.  It clears the mind, gets creative juices flowing, and is a fantastic way to de-stress.  Playing guitar is going to be a life-long hobby for me, without a doubt.  And I now have a guitar that I plan on keeping and playing for my whole life.

Personally and professionally, I would love to pursue a career in music.  Having a professional-quality guitar like the Stratocaster is important if I’m going to play professionally.  As of right now, being a full-time musician is a stretch, and I still want to get a degree in mechanical engineering.  However, regardless of what happens, I have found a hobby that I am truly passionate about.  Thanks to STEP, I have been able to acquire the necessary tools to pursue that passion.

A group picture of my band after the Splash: Sustenance concert at the Ohio Union.

A group picture of my band, The Week Knights, after the Splash: Sustenance concert at the Ohio Union.

Building a PC and Recording Music


Pictures from experience

Pictures from experience

My Artistic and Creative Endeavor this summer was to research components to build a personal desktop computer.  I then used that computer and its significatant performance to record myself playing a song on the saxophone.  Then, I edited that track and added some effects.  Additionally, I use the computer for academic and other personal purposes, and it has been highly beneficial in all areas.

During the course of this project, I had to make many decisions regarding which components to use, how to go about building the PC, and deciding which audio program and which songs to record.  Evaluating myself during these decisions is interesting, because I can see how I approach situations and how I move through the decision process.  It really helped me to understand where my strengths and weaknesses are in that area, and in that way this was transformational.  The project also allowed me to get up close and personal with the hardware, which, as a Computer Science and Engineering major, I do not get as much experience with through coursework.  It provided me with an opportunity to learn about things first hand which I would not otherwise have a chance to experience.  At the outset of this project, I expected the marrying of my two passions, computer science and music, to be exciting, but I had no idea just how phenomenal that experience would be.  It was so much fun to record myself and to play with the editing software, and see how my new computer affected that process.  This is something that I will continue throughout my life.

I was able to interact with several people throughout this process, including several of my friends, my brother, and my dad.  I also discussed this project with a professor, who I still keep in touch with today.  These interactions were enriching in several ways; for one, the building of relationship around the project.  We still talk about our PCs today, and the process of building and maintaining and using them is something we can bond over continuously.  During the planning phase, I was in contact with multiple people regarding the choices of components and the pros and cons of each choice.  I spoke with my brother, who built his own PC a few years ago, and it was fun to go back and forth with him about that.  Also, my roommates built their own PCs, so being a part of that group during the selection process was enriching as well.

During the building part itself, I worked with my brother and my dad to assemble the different parts and add the software to make the computer run well.  The six or seven hour process was educational and enriching, both technically and relationally.  I was able to ask for help when I needed it, and seeing the different components go together how they are supposed to go together was very enlightening and educational for me as a Computer Science major.  Physically putting the components together and into the case was an opportunity that few are fortunate enough to get, and it will be highly beneficial to me in my career.

Finally, the recording part was a personal experience that I am very grateful to have had. I love playing the saxophone, and having the ability to record and listen to myself is invaluable to my growth as a musician.  I also enjoyed using my computer to be creative, because I using a computer that I built to do what I love doing.  It was a highly enjoyable and transformational experience, because it showed me how I can combine two passions that I love.

Computer Science and Engineering is a highly technical field.  Having this ability to add some creativity and musical art to my life will be incredibly valuable, because it can be a stress reliever in the midst of all the technical things.  Like I have said, playing music is a passion of mine, and I know that it will continue through my life, but combining it with my career passion and my love of computer science opens the door for more creativity and fun in the future, which is significant for me.  Academically, this project opened the door for more robust projects; even now, I am working on a project for my job which I literally cannot do on my laptop because my laptop is not powerful enough to run the project.  In that way, this project allows me to do things academically that I was unable to do before, and this will really benefit me in my future career.  Overall, this experience was completely invaluable and transformational, for me personally, in my relationships with other people, and for my academic and professional futures.

A Summer of Android Development – STEP Reflection


Name: Joshua Clark

Type of Project: Artistic and Creative Endeavor



Over the course of the summer, I utilized my spare time to complete the Udacity online courses and study online documentation in order to better my understanding of Android development, and further my experience as an Android developer. I established a schedule on when and how I wanted to complete the courses in my free time, and made sure to enforce the schedule throughout the summer. I utilized my STEP funds in order to pay for the Udacity course over the course of the summer, and to establish a workspace that contained the proper tools I would need in order to pursue Android development. I set up a comfortable office space, and supplied a Nexus 6 and a Moto 360 in order to have simple-to-use platforms on which I could physically test my Android phone and wearable applications on. After progressing through the online courses, I have continued to use this working environment in order to further study the Android development platform and begin creation of personal Android application projects.


Personal Change

Before completing my STEP experience, I had experienced difficulty in regards to self taught development and pursuing extracurricular coding projects. Throughout this experience, I worked towards bettering myself in both of these regards. By the end of it all, I learned a lot about my personal development habits and what I need to do in order to continue bettering them. I realized the importance of being passionate about the projects I work on, and sticking with the learning process even when I am confused. Gaining this experience really improved my confidence overall as a developer, which in turn gave me peace of mind for my future career as a software engineer. The habits I trained over the course of the summer will continue to influence my learning process not only throughout college classwork, but also during internships and future jobs after graduation.


Tools of the trade - the Moto 360 and the Nexus 6

Tools of the trade – the Moto 360 and the Nexus 6


Key Aspects of the Experience

The main reason why this experience was so impactful to me was that I was able to take time away from learning classroom materials and focus on  something I personally wanted to learn, and all goals and deadlines were set by myself. I knew that there was a lot of material that I would need to cover and that I wouldn’t get anywhere if I didn’t have some sort of organization. I set goals while simultaneously making sure that I didn’t bore myself with too many tutorials. I varied what I would do every time I worked, some days advancing in the tutorials, and on days where that didn’t interest me I simply focused on coding my app. Even though I hadn’t completed the tutorials on those days, I was able to get a lot accomplished by simply searching online documentation on how to solve any issues I came across. With this methodology, I was able to keep up with the work, and I learned more about how to work and learn effectively on my own.

Another important part of this project was the brainstorming aspect of my development. This project, along with several other recent coding projects I have had throughout classes and internships, have taught me that the planning phase for any coding project is usually one of the most important parts of the development process. In many projects, it’s important to plan for the future to avoid having to completely overhaul your system later on. With Android development, I learned that this idea still applies. When creating an app, it’s important to plan out what functionality you wish to include, because this functionality is usually what is used to draw out and plan the user interface’s layout. If you wish to add functionality later on that wasn’t planned for, the UI may need to be redesigned and reformatted, otherwise it could become cluttered and difficult to use. In addition to this practical use, the planning stage when developing an Android app is important because apps are usually designed with an idea in mind. Many are created to solve a problem or make something more convenient, and having a good idea backing your app can influence the success of your app as well as your motivation to program it. Over the course of this experience, creating my application reinforced this importance of the planning stage of development, and I will definitely be sure to keep this in mind for all future programming projects.

Lastly, in regards to my confidence as a developer, the most rewarding part of the whole process was simply running my application and seeing it work. Being able to see the application I had made running on my own phone was a nice personal verification of what I was accomplishing throughout the course of this experience. It’s one thing to watch the tutorials and learn the content, its another to use what you learn to create something different and see it functioning before you. This was extremely gratifying for me, and encouraged me to continue working on my app and any future applications I want to create. In that sense, this experience has really kickstarted my development projects and gave me a reason to follow them through.


Significance of the Experience

Academically, I was able to add more development experience to my existing skill set. Android development, which is in high demand as the mobile and wearable markets continue to grow, is something I will continue to learn and will hopefully utilize in future college classwork, and in potential internships or careers. In terms of personal and life goals, my main aspiration is to find a position or career in the field of computer science that will bring me the most happiness to work in. Although I am fully confident in my choice to pursue computer science, there are many different types of programming career opportunities available for me after graduation. Some of them revolve around Android and mobile development, while others work with web development, systems software, desktop applications, embedded systems, and more. I am still in search of which field in computer science I want to pursue, and my STEP experience has influenced me to research more about mobile development as a potential career choice. In addition, the habits and skills I developed throughout this experience will help me explore other computer science fields and technologies in order to continue my search for my optimal career.




Stock Market Endeavor

Name: Seth Maack

Type of Project: Creative Endeavor

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

I used basic analytics tools to develop a well diversified stock portfolio. I tracked trends in industry, mutual funds, and the market itself to maximize the use of my STEP funds.

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

I learned that people are the most important resource for anyone. Nothing gets done without the help of other knowledgeable people and a good support network. I also learned that I do truly like working with data and markets. This real world experience has helped me affirm what I want to pursue in a future career.

Time management was an important aspect that I learned throughout the STEP experience. I assumed it would be easy to complete the proposal in STEP, and I was wrong. It’s not difficult if you plan everything out and stick to a schedule, and a schedule I had, but stick to it I did not. I had to rush my final proposal, but it turned out fine in the end. I did learn a valuable lesson though, deadlines and schedules are important and everything is much easier if you stick to them.

The process of writing the proposal helped me tremendously with the completion of my actual project. I learned valuable time management skills that allowed me to stay on track with my investment project. These skills are also valuable to have for anything in life. Whether it be in the classroom, or at my future job, good time management skills are always important to have.

3. 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?

Well the first event was my friend Finn creating the idea that both of use would end up pursuing as our STEP endeavors. Finn was also in my STEP group early on and came up with the idea of investing. We both thought it was a good idea and worked together a lot to make our specific versions of the idea as best as possible.

The interactions with Finn led to a great friendship that still continues between us. I also gained a great friend in my STEP coordinator. Professor Dunlevy is a great person and mentor that has taught me a lot about myself through out the STEP process. We still remain in contact and frequently talk about her current STEP group and how to make their experience even better.

This project has also helped me discover that I love working with the stock market. It coincides nicely with my love of data and hopefully it will lead to a prosperous career in the world of finance. It would not have been possible to gain this real world experience with out the help of the STEP program and I am very thankful for what this experience has given me.

When I started STEP I followed a detailed schedule laid out for me by my coordinator. After awhile my classes began to become more rigorous. I began to push other activities aside for later which continued for awhile. I ended up cramming my final proposal into one weekend and that was a rough weekend. From that I learned that even if I do get busy, I can always make time to catch up or stay on schedule for my long term projects. I used this new found time management skill in my Analytics Industry Cluster program through Fisher this semester. We completed a semester long project and I didn’t have to rush at the end because I kept to schedule and actually received a 100% on the project.

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

The work that I accomplished in this project gave me valuable experience that I will use for the rest of my life. My knowledge of how markets and individual assets work continues to grow. The friendships that I have made through STEP will also continue to grow. Finn and I continue to be great friends and are currently working together. Professor Dunlevy is a great friend and mentor that I continue to remain in contact with.

STEP has truly helped me in more ways than imaginable. I have gained knowledge, skills, and friends through STEP at a magnitude that I was not expecting. I am very grateful for this opportunity and it made my college experience much more enjoyable.