Plant-Based Nutrition Certification

For my STEP Signature Project, I enrolled in a Plant-Based Nutrition Certification course through eCornell.  The course was entirely online, and consisted of three two-week sessions which focused on different pillars of Plant-Based Nutrition. The material was taught through online lectures by healthcare professionals, discussion posts, and quizzes.

While completing the certification course, I found my views about nutrition to be somewhat challenged.  While I had already heard of and mostly understood the benefits of a plant-based diet, I was unaware of the true nutritional and environmental consequences of the Western diet. Food plays a massive role in culture and togetherness; so learning that the food and eating habits that the American culture is based on have severe detrimental effects was a difficult reality to face.

Over the six weeks of courses, I was repeatedly reminded of the magnitude of the problem at hand, relating to both our individual health and to the health of our planet.  As a result of this course, I have transformed into a more knowledgeable, introspective, and conscious individual. I understand that the choices I make, however small, may have a dramatic impact on my health and even on the environment.

Being that the entirety of my STEP Signature Project took place in an online learning environment, it provided me with the unique opportunity to learn from and engage with students and teachers from all around the world.  Each two-week lesson consisted of several online discussions, similar to what many online classes have on Carmen here at OSU.  The discussion prompt would typically ask for a summary of a topic that we had covered in depth that week, while also asking students to expand upon the topic and provide their own insight.  Being that many topics in nutrition are contentious, the content of the responses varied dramatically from student to student.

While students were required to post their own response to the discussion prompt, they were also encouraged to respond to others’ posts.  This online discussion provided a productive dialogue among individuals who came from any walk of life. Some were health care professionals and others were just beginning their health journey – and many more were somewhere in between the these two points.  We were all learning the same content, but the opportunity to see how each individual interpreted and internalized the material was a truly unique learning experience.

Having the chance to learn from health care professionals from across the globe provided me with immense insight into the health epidemic at hand.  Being able to discuss what I learned with likeminded individuals challenged me to be more receptive to new ideas, more empathetic, and more knowledgeable in my field of study.

I am currently studying Nutrition in Industry with a minor in Public Policy; my goal is to use my education to positively impact communities that are lacking access to healthy, fresh produce and to nutrition education.  Oftentimes nutrition education involves telling people things they don’t exactly want to hear about their health and lifestyle – taking part in this certification course has enhanced my communication skills, specifically when speaking with people who may have differing views than I do.  I think this skill will be beneficial throughout my career.  Additionally, I am now fully versed in a whole new sector of nutrition that many people don’t know much about.  I believe that this new knowledge on Plant-Based Nutrition will make me an attractive candidate for future healthcare positions, and make me more of a reliable and educated healthcare professional in the future.

American Public Health Association Conference

       For my STEP Experience, I traveled to San Diego, CA to attend the annual American Public Health Association Conference. This year’s topic was “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now.” As an undergraduate student, I attended to gain more knowledge about topics discussed in major course classes and received numerous networking opportunities with public health professionals. I also had the opportunity to present my research about African American women and health disparities.

        Through this STEP experience, my understanding of public and all of its sectors has drastically changed. It has been amazing to see that public health and the professionals in this field are not only epidemiologists, but nurses, doctors, social workers, community workers, and policy makers. Meeting all of these people have pushed me change how I look at my future decisions towards my specialization in my master’s program. I was able to change my network for public health and high-standing individuals in public health come see work that I’ve done.

        I stayed in a hostel that was in downtown San Diego and 10 minutes from the convention center. I met different people who were from different countries coming for the APHA conference as well as just in the area for tourism. I loved the people I got to meet in the hostel, especially one doctor from New York who offered me an internship next summer based on a passing conversation we had. The location of the hostel put me relatively close to historical sites in San Diego such as the Museum of Art, The History of San Diego Museum, and Japanese Zen Garden that were either free or very reasonable priced.

         I also loved going to different seminars about topics that I love like African American women’s health, community health work, and restorative justice. The US General Surgeon, Jerome Adams, gave a great speech about restoring health disparities in the US from a economic standpoint. One thing that I loved about the seminars was that everyone got to freely share their opinions and felt safe to ask any questions. There were a variety of events you could attend, from films/documentaries to lectures to caucus debates to official policy meetings. I had the chance to meet one of my biggest public health inspirations, Dr. Camara Jones.

         The most exciting section of the trip was being able to present about my research entitled Inclusion of health status to ‘Black Girl Magic’ movement: An innovative method to improve and transition the future health and wellness of African American women. The presentation was on a poster board. People were able to read my abstract online and come prepared with questions and comments about my research. I had one woman walk up to me and say, “I favorited your abstract. This research is so beautiful.” The director of the Black Caucus of Community Health Workers came up to me and even took a picture with me. She told me my work was strong. She gave me suggestions on how I could improve and even told me that I should make corrections and apply to present again this year at the conference in 2019.

          All in all, this experience changed so much for me. Professionally, it allowed me to get to meet professionals and put my name out into the field. Personally, it showed me how much I  love my major, public health, and the health care sector that I currently work in. Thanks to STEP, I was able to take a risk and think creatively about what I could do to immerse myself more in public health. This experience even led for my college to write an article about me. Since I have come home from APHA, I have had more opportunities to help with new research, receive a promotion in my job, and even opened my world to more summer internships. I appreciate everything STEP has offered me, and I hope this opportunity is open for future Ohio State students.

Here is my article: https://cph.osu.edu/news/2018/11/jones

Here is my research abstract: https://apha.confex.com/apha/2018/bc/papers/index.cgi?username=422422&password=485321

 

New York Historical Trip

  1. My project involved traveling to New York City to visit many of its world famous history and art museums. From my experiences I was able to produce a variety of creative writings, pictures and journal entry posts that I plan to put together into a blog that I can share with others online. The blog will also discuss how my experience has influenced my decision to stick with becoming a teacher and how what I have learned can be used in the classroom.
  2. Through my trip I learned a lot of valuable history and how it affects our everyday lives. I was able to learn more about my own interests and why I had decided to pursue a teaching career in the first place. English and history are my two passions that I hope to share with others someday. In order to do this, I have to extend my knowledge to the best of my ability as well of be aware of how others learn and what they view as important. While walking through the museums, I also studied the people that were there and what they found to be most intriguing. Some exhibits were more popular than others and I wanted to find out what made them more interesting to people. New York is a world cultural center and people from many diverse backgrounds come there to see its sights. This reminded me of how my future students will all come from various backgrounds and learn in different ways. As teachers, we must accommodate all of ours students to make them feel valued and part of the classroom community. It is important to show to your students how passionate you are about what you teach so that they know how much you truly care.
  3. During my trip, I was greatly taken aback by how much history lies behind each and every piece of art or historical exhibit in a museum. There was so much more beyond what was written on the little descriptions beneath. They had multiple links and resources for the viewers to find out more information if they so desired. I will greatly keep this in mind when I am a teacher one day to encourage my students not to overlook things and to always look beyond what is given to them. The trip gave me a lot of valuable tips when it came to the resources I could use when teaching my students. Not all students are able to benefit from lecture and worksheets, and instead need a lot of variety in their instruction. Students can also learn a lot from hearing other students talk about their own experiences. They could discuss their own travels and connections they found while they were there, and how this could relate to literature being discussed in class. In the classroom, talking about our own experiences and backgrounds can build a sense of community and bring students together.
  4. The changes brought about by this trip were valuable in my life because it allowed me to explore my passions in a new place. Each place holds its own history and its important to explore it to become a well-educated person, especially if you plan on teaching others one day. My experiences on this trip reminded me of my love for History and English and reminded me of why I had decided to become an educator in the first place. Throughout college, it can be very challenging to doubt your major and start to wonder if you chose the wrong path for yourself, and it is very rewarding to be able to have experiences that reverse the doubts you had. We become so caught up in the original goal we set for ourselves when we entered college that we forget that most goals need to be reworked and rewritten. It is okay to change our minds and change our plans. We have to allow ourselves to experience new things, so that we can truly figure out what we want to do with our lives.

https://newyorkmichelleb.blogspot.com/

 

STEP PC Build

The purpose of my STEP Signature Project was to build a powerful PC capable of 3D-Modeling, Software Development, and game design. The project entailed researching the various components necessary to build a PC, followed by reading and viewing guides on how to properly assemble the components. After researching, I compared and selected the components I wanted based on price, reviews, and benchmark tests, and the next step was to complete the build.

 

Successfully building a computer changed my views of myself and led me to be more confident in a few ways. As someone who is majoring in CSE, and mainly interacts with software rather than hardware, I have never seen myself as very good at a hands-on approach to building things. This project helped me develop a sense of confidence in my ability to work with hardware and brought out a skill I never knew I had. In addition, the process of building the PC itself and researching to understand the purposes and function of each component, and how they interact, was beneficial to my education as a Computer Science major. Working with software can often have some hiccups which are hardware-related, so developing a better understanding of hardware is undoubtedly a good experience for me. Ultimately, I ended up having a lot of fun while completing the build as well as learning a lot, it was a good experience all around.

 

While the nature of my STEP project did not involve much physical social interaction, I interacted with various tech-forums and communities online in search of which components to purchase and in my research. The research for my project led me to discover the true breadth of the online tech community, as well as their willingness to offer insights and opinions to complete strangers. I also learned a great deal about computer components in general, one of the biggest things being that selecting the “best” components is not in any way cut and dry, and that a variety of builds using different components can yield the same performance.

 

Going into sophomore year, I feel that I often “played it safe” in life and didn’t step out of my comfort zone as much as I could. The STEP project, as well as everything surrounding the build itself, led to a profound change of character for me, and I feel I am much more outgoing and willing to put myself out there now. This was provoked by both the meetings with the STEP Cohort and private lunch with my advisor, Tim, which led me to social interaction and a broader world-view, as well as by the need to take initiative during the STEP program. During the process of STEP I was pushed into taking initiative in many ways from the social interactions and planning described above to the need to reach out and interact via email whenever I had questions, I became much less timid about communicating with strangers.

 

Finally, the build itself was a great relationship-building experience for myself and one of my best friends. My friend helped me complete the build- which ended up taking about 8 hours because we spent hours looking for a cable we lost which turned out to be right next to us buried under some papers…- and my friend’s patience and willingness to assist me for such an extended period of time really led to the development of a deeper relationship between us. In addition, I also felt that my communication and teamwork skills were enhanced by the interaction required to successfully build the computer.

 

As mentioned earlier, the entirety of the STEP project I completed, from cohort meetings to development events to the build itself was beneficial to my development as a person as well as my education as a CSE major. Learning how to build a computer and better understand hardware could be very beneficial in the future should I end up in a career in the tech industry. On the other hand, the social interactions and responsibility necessary to complete the project successfully and make it through STEP also contributed to the development of my character in an invaluable way. Overall, I am surprised by the impact STEP had on my professional and social development, and am very satisfied and happy with my decision to participate in the program.