Cargill Internship

The 10 interns that I got to know real well from my region!

Nick Clymer
Agronomy Sales Intern, Cargill Ag Supply Chain- North America

1. Brief Description:
I was an Agronomy Sales Intern with Cargill based out of Benson, Minnesota, working out of three office locations in the area. I worked hand in hand with a Crop Scout Intern and the three agronomists throughout the summer.Final Presentation-1kywu1w  Clymer Final Report-21seybo

ProShop Variety Trials I spent a lot of time at

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your internship?:
I was born and raised in Northwest Ohio so being 13 hours from home for 12 weeks was definitely a new experience that I had. I was living in a bed and breakfast which was really just living with grandparents since there weren’t many visitors throughout the summer. Luckily I averaged about 46 hours of work per week only working Monday through Friday so I didn’t have much free time during the week. I did have all day Saturday and Sunday to find stuff to do so that let me learn about myself some.  With nothing much to do on the weekends and on weeknights I can now reflect back to that time to realize what makes me happy and interested in my free time.  I spent a lot of the time reading and researching about agriculture and the agronomic aspects in the agricultural industry.  I now know where my heart leans as to what section of agriculture I want to pursue.

Cargill is a global company who strives to feed the world. There was an intern forum in Minneapolis one week and one of the activities that we had to do was a mock simulation of some little village in a third world country and how they best managed their food situation so that go my the opportunity to see the difficulties of living in another country.  That was really eye opening about how third world countries work and how many challenges small villages have regarding how they get their food, how the education system works, and what roles all the villagers have.

3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your internship led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?:
The ways I changed understanding of myself and my assumptions happened with all the interactions I had with other interns, employees of Cargill, and the few interactions I had with farmers. I was able to learn about how I interact with people I have never met before but had the same similarities.

With being in agronomy I can better my abilities by attending different conferences.  During this school year I have been to Grain Elevator and Processing Society expo in Kansas City, Planter University which my department (FABE) has put on at the Beck’s facility in London and the Ohio AgriBusiness Association industry conference in Dublin, OH.  If I wasn’t so busy with school I would have attended the Conservation Tillage Conference in Ada, Ohio that Ohio State Extension is putting on.  I also have decided to take a CCA (Certified Crop Advisor) class at Ohio State during the spring semester to better my abilities in agronomy.

Most of the students I met during my internship were from the schools of Kansas State, Iowa State, South Dakota State, and Minnesota. Even though we were all from different states, it seemed like we had a lot of similarities with one another- especially since we all attend universities with very good agricultural colleges. Most of the farmers were the same as the ones in Ohio.  The way all those things affected me was that I have become a more comfortable person in those conversations and realized I have a lot of similarities with people. If you talk to people, they like to talk about themselves and their background very easily.


On top of the elevator at one of the locations I was at

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
The minor change/transformation was led me to become more relaxed and comfortable in situations that used to be uncomfortable for me before.  During the job searching process I am now specifically looking for jobs that will really interest me and I would be serious on accepting a job offer if I got one.  This change has helped me during the interview process because I am confident in what I want to be doing with my life in the next 2-3 years and employers can tell that I am enthused about the opportunity that I am interviewing for.

Unilever Operational Excellence Co-Op

My Internship STEP Experience


Through the STEP experience, I had the opportunity to work at the North America Headquarters of Unilever in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. I specifically worked in the Operational Excellence team within the Personal Care Goods division of the Supply Chain Department. My group worked on identifying system inefficiencies and devised solutions to better allocate our products to our big customers, such as Walmart and Target, so that they received their products on time and in full. One of the projects I worked on was building a tool that reported bias figures to the Deodorants team that allowed them to gain visibility on how well they were filling orders on a weekly basis. This information was only available on a monthly basis at the time, so greater visibility allowed them to make adjustments within the month to meet their targets more easily.

My specific project dealt with slow-moving inventory, products that have a hard time being sold or moved off the warehouse shelves. This problem was a lot more complex than I had initially imagined because sometimes there were restrictions in the procurement of certain materials or large batch sizes that created large volumes of products. I mapped out a complete process flow of how slow-moving goods appear in the database system and I looked for solutions to prevent these goods from occurring. After speaking with many different entities that worked with slow-moving inventory, I found out that Unilever North America was able to sell their goods to their subsidiaries in other countries. By opening up these channels that were not utilized very often and connecting the right planners together, we were able to drastically reduce our slow-moving inventory by 20% over the course of just 12 weeks. This was a great learning experience about the complexity of the supply chain and how global companies manage and utilize large amounts of data.

So What?

This was my first experience in a real work environment, so I had to adapt and make a lot of adjustments to being a full-time employee. The first 5 weeks of the Co-Op were slow and at times frustrating because there wasn’t much I could do without database access. This, however, was a great excuse to get to know as many people in the Supply Chain department, from Planners to Directors, to understand what exactly a supply chain does at the corporate level. This time was also used to refresh my skills in Microsoft Excel and gain a little bit of knowledge of SQL in Microsoft Access. Once I started to learn how to use these databases and Excel tools, I acquired many small projects from a variety of teams. I learned the importance of creating work that is sustainable and useful for other people to use and having a bias for action to push myself to get things done on a daily basis. This Co-Op was a test of my endurance to persist through a 40-hour workweek and my drive to constantly push for improvements. Unilever was such a great company to work for as everyone treated me as a full-time employee rather than just a Co-Op.

Now What?

After this Co-Op experience, I truly understand the need for work experience. The classroom can prepare students mentally to solve real-life problems, but there is no replacement for actual exposure to a variety of ambiguous situations that may not have a clear answer. I enjoyed working in the Supply Chain department, but I saw a great need to computer science skills and an understanding of finance and accounting to truly understand the business impact of the changes and solutions that the supply chain department proposed. For that reason, I have decided to change industries and switch my major to finance. After working for a couple of years, I hope to also get a master’s degree in computer science and perhaps an MBA to become a well-rounded and technically savvy businessman. I really want to advocate the importance of internships and Co-Ops to students because they are what lead to careers and what link our degrees to real-world problems.

I want to thank STEP for providing me with the financial assistance to pursue this Co-Op and it is wonderful to see so many students take advantage of the opportunities around the world with the support from their school.






Toyota Internship

STEP Experience: Toyota Motor Manufacturing Internship



What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.

During my STEP experience I worked as a purchasing intern with Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Erlanger, Kentucky. During my time, I sourced, purchased, and reviewed all major and minor lighting parts in 3 different Toyota car models. I was able to work with multiple suppliers and learned how to analyze and compare quotes. One of my projects was also to be able to simplify a process in which buyers go through to approve value additive ideas from engineers and suppliers. In order to do so, I learned the Value Additive process myself and processed over 70 of them. The results were the furthering along of paperwork that amounted to over 100,000+ in savings.







So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.


I learned how to live independently during this STEP experience. I was living only about an hour from home, but I still had to manage my finances and go about my daily life by myself. In doing so, I was about to realize what is important to me. I was able to reflect on what I value and find important so that when looking for a full time job, I can identify and know what I want in a job. This includes the fact that I want to live close to a city. I spent a lot of my free time exploring Cincinnati which I grew to know and love. I also know that I would like to be living in a place that doesn’t have a long commute from work. Many of my coworkers wasted a lot of their days just driving to and from work. Lastly, I learned how important it is to be a good team member / how much better a good team can make your work experience. I was extremely blessed to be paired with a great manager and mentor. I became close with both of them and I know that I couldn’t have learned as much as I did without them.











Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.


Moving forward, I will be using my experiences to shape and mold my future. As I discussed, I have figured out what is important to me in a company and I will be making sure that I look for those things in my full time position next year. It’s important to me that I live in a place that is close to a city, a reachable distance or accessibility to home, and high opportunity of moving within my industry.


I’ve been able to use my purchasing experience in my classes and I find it incredibly helpful to have been able to see a manufacturing plant in real life while I’m learning about machining processes in my engineering class. I’ve also decided that I do not want to work in the automotive industry. I believe that my interests lie elsewhere although I’d like to stay in some sort of manufacturing plant.


I will also continue to keep in touch with my fellow coworkers. They are a great resource for advice and I believe that the networking that I gained through my experience has been priceless.


LASTLY, I truly believe that this experience with Toyota has opened many door for career paths. I’m ecstatic to be able to take what I learn and I have accepted an offer to work with General Mills next Summer. I will be working with consumer products, which I believe will be a better fit for me after working with Toyota.


I hope that the incoming year of sophomores take advantage of the STEP program and benefit as much as I did, if not more.

















Local 12 Meteorologist Internship

  • What?

– During the Summer of 2014 I interned for Local 12 News in Cincinnati as a meteorologist intern. I mostly went in the mornings and interned for Scott Dimmich. It was a great experience as I got to see first hand what it is like to be a broadcast meteorologist. I learned that it can be very hectic and entertaining to say the least. I would help Scott with the forecast and the graphics for the weather portion of his shows. I even went on a few trips with Scott and the camera crew to watch how news stories are done and shot. Most of the stories had to do with weather and how it affects things in our everyday lives, but some stories that we worked on had nothing to do with weather.  The best experience was using the green screen which I learned can definitely be a challenge as I found out that everything weatherman say is from the top of their head and not from a scripts. Let’s just say some more work is needed with the green screen but no worries as I am currently doing a second internship with ABC 6 in Columbus.

  • So What?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 –  -I learned  so much  during my internship with Local 12. There were many things that were unexpected. Such as, broadcast meteorology can be a very busy job and I like that. I don’t want to be sitting around all day with nothing to do if you know what I mean. Not only do broadcast meteorologist do the weather for the news station, but many times they have to do reporting. There’s a lot of work to be done and the news station will give you additional duties if needed.  Before I did the internship I was leaning more towards the National Weather Service, but now I feel as if I would enjoy being a broadcast meteorologist. The job is competitive and I like that. You have to put yourself out there and show why you are the best. Who doesn’t like showing why they are the best at what they do? This is the job for me. It may take a lot of work to put myself out there and make a name for myself, but I’m determined to get where I want to be which is at the top.
  • Now What?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               -The internship made me realize that I want to be a broadcast meteorologist. It will take a lot of work and dedication but will be worth it in the end.  One of my goals after the internship is to get better with the green screen and practicing being on air; that’s why I am currently doing a second internship even though it is for free. I plan on graduating next year and finding a job as soon as I can next Summer. I learned that I will may be getting hours that I may not like but I’m not too worried as long as I have a job. The internship will affect my academic career as I am planning on taking a speech/communications class in order to get better at presenting in front of crowds.  I think that would be useful as with being on camera I may be broadcasting to thousands if not millions of people; i’m going to have to be ready for that.  My internship experience couldn’t have been better and I encourage everyone to get out there and do an internship as it will help greatly!

Brazil: The What’s and Why’s


 What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.

During my step experience I traveled to Florianopolis, Brazil for almost 6 weeks with a team of 25 students and staff through an organization that works in the United States and internationally called Cru. At Ohio State, this organization is referred to as RealLife. As a campus with over 700 people involved in Cru, Ohio State forms partnerships with other campuses across the world, specifically in Slovenia and Brazil. The point behind forming these partnerships is to be a spiritual resource for students on these campuses. Stemming from that, the purpose of what Cru called Summer Missions are to travel to these partnership locations and experience the culture and talk to students about what they believe. Cru has developed many tools over the years to help aid these discussions including perspective cards and Solarium, the two tools we used to talk to students on the trip. Through engaging with the culture of each partnership location, we get to invest in these campuses and students. A normal week during this experience would include going to our partnership campus, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, every day for several hours and using the tools we discussed to talk to students on campus about their faith, whatever that was, and to learn more about them. Fridays we hosted an English club which we invited Brazilian students to attend as a way of practicing their language skills as well as to help teach us Portuguese. These activities are all working toward the goal of establishing a branch of Cru at the university campus. This was the service-learning portion of the trip, learning how to launch Cru on an international campus while simultaneously serving the movement to help make that happen. Nights and weekends included times of team bonding, preparation for campus times, and city excursions. One aspect of the trip I helped lead was food team. I was in charge of meal planning, grocery shopping, and food preparation for our team meals at night. Through a rotation of our team, I helped to instruct groups on what to make and how to make it. Through this variety of experiences, students gain an understanding of what it would be like to work internationally with Cru as staff, encompassing the internship style to this experience. Overall, this STEP experience had components of many STEP categories and was a positive educational experience in helping me understand how to launch branches of international organizations by working with college students.


So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.

When I first signed up to go to Florianopolis, Brazil for 6 weeks with Cru, I was really unsure of what I was getting myself into. How would I adjust to Brazilian culture? Was 6 weeks too long to be away from home? What if I don’t like the food? Some of these were more serious, concerning thoughts than others. Regardless, I was very interested to see what it was like living in another country and getting the chance to interact with their culture. I had out of the country before going to Brazil, three times to a rural village in West Africa called Gbentchal. I had a feeling, however, that this would be totally different. I knew we were staying in a Pousada, which is basically the Brazilian version of apartment style hotels leading to a common outdoor area. This, I thought, seemed like an upgrade from the tents and huts I was accustomed to during my international travels. I found that I adjusted pretty quickly to Brazilian culture (because they’re so friendly) and really enjoyed learning how to live in a new place. My wary feelings of uncertainty slowly melted away as the weeks wore on and I became more sure of myself in this new cultural setting. Another hard adjustment I had to make was regarding my cell phone. About a week and a half after arriving to Florianopolis, as we were getting off of the bus, I dropped my phone. As I turned around to pick it up the bus started moving. My split second decision to sacrifice a broken phone instead of a possibly broken hand left me with no easy way to communicate to my family back home. In the United States we are so used to being constantly connected that this seemed, at first, something that would make this trip unnecessarily uncomfortable for me. As I got used to life without my cell phone, the more I found I could experience what was going on around me and focus less on what other people thought of my experience. I didn’t get to take as many pictures as my teammates or post on Instagram as much, but in reflecting on my time in Brazil I think this was for the best. In order to truly experience life, sometimes, you need to forget about remembering it, capturing the moment, or telling other people about it. I believe that my cell phone getting run over by the city bus allowed me to more fully experience Brazil as it was and not necessarily how I would portray it to other people.


Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.

Going to Brazil and working there for 6 weeks with Cru had a big impact on how I look at international ministry. I have been going on mission trips for about 8 years but this was the longest, and in some ways most educational trip I’ve been on so far. I learned a lot about how to work with a large team of people that I don’t know very well toward a common goal. This will serve me well in my future goals of serving in international clinics. As a personal goal, I hope to one-day start and work in international medical clinics around the world. Through this experience in Brazil, I gained some practical knowledge of how to work with an international organization and begin branches of that organization in different areas of the world. Every time I go abroad on a service trip, I am working towards understanding how I can do that in the future through the lens of my academic pursuits of becoming a doctor. A huge part of my experience in Brazil was dedicated to assimilating to a new culture, living there, and investing in the people. This mirrors what will be necessary for me to do working third-world communities as a doctor. By learning how to live in other cultures and adapt to their way of living, I am understanding more and more what it will take to move to these places I aim to serve. These experience are invaluable to me. Moving forward, I know that the team building, practical skills, and cultural assimilations I’ve learned about in Brazil through this STEP experience will help to progress my personal as well as my academic goals.


Aviva Pure Beauty Internship

During my STEP experience I completed a Social Media Marketing Internship with Aviva Pure Beauty. Aviva Pure beauty is a start up organic beauty company located in Columbus, Ohio that had only been in business around three months when I started my internship. The company was ran by my boss alone and I was completely in charge of handling everything social media for the duration of my internship. Being the only other person working for the company, I had total control over the social media sites and was able to create my own content. I utilized Photoshop to make flyers, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest content to promote new products. After I created the content, I decided when I wanted to distribute it and then got to track the content afterwards using social media analytical tools. I got to see what content was popular and what was not so popular and make adjustments accordingly. I also got to work on different strategies to help obtain more followers on all social media sites.

I think that my STEP experience was eye opening in ways that I didn’t expect it to be. My internship showed me how much hard work goes into starting up and running a company all by yourself. I never thought about all of the things that he had to worry about on a daily basis and often wondered how he found the time to do everything himself. Before my internship, I had experience running different social media sites, but running them for a start up company is something totally different. I never realized how much work goes into marketing new products. I also learned a lot about how to make my social media posts more affective, such as the time and content of the post matters a lot more than you would think. Even though I don’t know for sure that I would want to run social media sites for a company as my full time job, I think that I learned some valuable things about marketing and running a business in general.

I think that doing an internship in general gave me experience that I wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. Getting exposure to working in a start up company is something that I couldn’t have gotten other places and I think that it could be beneficial to me when I look for jobs after graduation. I now have experience in marketing new products, which is something that not everyone will have. I also think that it this internship taught me a lot about marketing in general. I had no idea how hard it would be to market a new product. I learned a lot about how to make sure that the content you are putting out there fits your target audience. When working at this internship I had a very unique target market and it took me a lot of research and time to realize what they wanted. Learning how to track my posts and realize what made them successful is also something that I think will come in handy in the future. A lot of companies are looking for people that have experience in data analytics. Over the course of my internship I also picked up Photoshop again, and even in recent job interviews, employers have valued that experience. I think that this internship will be very beneficial to my future marketing career. It has given me a new respect for small business owners and how much work actually goes into starting a new company, especially by yourself.


Internship with OSU’s Department of Student Conduct

My STEP experience has allowed me to pursue an unpaid internship with the Office of Student Conduct at The Ohio State University for the duration of the summer of 2015. Because of my STEP grant, I was able to acquire the basics of a professional wardrobe so that I could comply with the office’s business attired atmosphere. I was able to look professional in whatever setting the internship required, be it going over data in the office or speaking to other department members. Additionally, the STEP grant allowed me to pay for gas and transportation, as I commuted to the campus internship from my home in Hilliard, Ohio. Finally, the remaining funds were used as compensation for the internship being unpaid.

The Department of Student Conduct itself acts as a resource to the community and prides itself on employing an “educational and holistic approach to discipline” when necessary. Throughout my summer working with this particular department, I have been able to expand my knowledge of the conduct process and judicial aspects of university life, which has given me the opportunity to better prepare myself for the content of law school, and in particular, my specific areas of interest within law.

Finally, I was able to cultivate my experience working in a professional setting. As a resident advisor, I do get to experience and partake in the realm of student conduct, but from a much more removed point of view. Because of this internship, I had the ability to see the department function firsthand, and in a much more professional environment.

Throughout the internship itself, I have developed my understanding of the Department of Student Conduct as a whole, in terms of what cases it handles, the process of handling them, and the workings of the Code of Student Conduct.

Learning about the step-by-step breakdown of the student conduct process and how decisions regarding sanctions are made has been incredibly valuable. I have learned about the variety of sanctions and the determining factors in assigning them, from case to case. While each case is different, and they must each be dealt with on a situational basis, there are patterns in the process that have proven to be useful knowledge. Understanding all of this has helped me answer numerous questions as a resident advisor, and has assisted me in helping residents feel more comfortable in the process, knowing what to expect, as well as their rights as students (appeals, advocacy, etc.).

Academically, this internship experience has reassured my goals to further my education in pursuit of a law degree. Beyond this reassurance, however, my internship experience developed my time management skills. Fitting the internship and its daily tasks into my busy summer schedule helped me become a better planner and task-manager, which has already proven relevant and successful this year in my academics.

My personal goals tie into my academic pursuits. I personally want to attend law school and become a criminal prosecution attorney. My experience interning with student conduct has confirmed that this goal is salient in my life and that it is attainable. Furthermore, because of the knowledge this internship has bestowed upon me to implement in my student organization (referenced in other sections), I have set new personal goals to oversee changes in the resources students have when they go through the student conduct system. It is one of the missions of my student organization to make such resources available so that students feel more comfortable and knowledgeable as they go through conduct processes, and this internship has given me the skills I need to oversee the achievement of this goal.

My life goals correlate with my personal and academic goals of furthering my education with a law degree. Additionally, it is now a goal of mine to spend my life in a professional, interconnected environment. Witnessing firsthand how the Department of Student Conduct interacts with other university departments on a professional level has become very appealing to me, seeing how such interconnectedness benefits the department through expanding their network of resources. If I were able to achieve such a goal in my own professional life, I believe it would be immensely beneficial to both my personal life and my career.

IMG_2346 IMG_2997

The Language Development Lab of the OSU Medical Center’s Otolaryngology Department


I am a senior planning to graduate in May with a major in Speech and Hearing Science and two minors in Disability Studies and Inequality and Society (a subdivision of Sociology). For my STEP experience, I acquired an internship opportunity in which I proctored tests for sixth-grade children participating in Dr. Susan Nittrouer’s longitudinal research study, EDCHL (Early Development in Children with Hearing Loss). EDCHL tests the speech, language, social, and academic development of children who have used cochlear implants and hearing aids for the majority of their lives. The children have been tested every two years for the past twelve years. The testing was organized into seven sections, or modules, that tested different aspects of the participant’s abilities and skills. The module that I proctored focused specifically on lexical awareness, print awareness, literacy, and social skills levels. Lexical awareness entails a person’s ability to identify words versus non-words, and the difficulty of the identification slowly increased over the course of the test. Print awareness refers to the ability of the child to recognize common book titles in order to determine an approximate reading level. The literacy survey asked participants questions about their reading habits, such as how often they read, went to the library, or asked for books as gifts. Social skills levels were determined using a standardized test called the Social Skills Rating System (SSRS), which allows a child to rate themselves on how often they do a certain activity or action; for example, a child would reply “Never, sometimes, often, or very often” to the statement “I like to answer questions in class.” I tested every child that came into the lab, totaling about fifty children over the summer. The children were flown in from all across the country to participate. The test proctors also functioned as free time supervisors during the children’s breaks between modules, which allowed me the opportunity to interact with Deaf or hard of hearing children in a more informal setting.


So What?

I learned a lot during my time interning for EDCHL, not just about my field but also about myself and collaborating with other professionals. Working with the children was probably my favorite part of my experience. I enjoyed interacting with them in both the test setting and in the play area. I especially liked proctoring the SSRS because it was based on the participant’s emotions and experiences than in hard skills and abilities. For example, one statement said “I make new friends easily,” and a child hung his head and softly replied “Never.” In those kinds of situations, I was able to gently encourage the children and listen to them speak about being hearing impaired and how that impacted their experiences. Even though I only spent one full testing day with each child, I liked going out of my way to ask them questions and laugh with them and form a relationship with them, however small. It was also interesting to form relationships with the other test proctors and the administrators. I learned a lot about navigating professional relationships and being cognizant of my words and actions at all times. Many of the proctors and administrators gossiped about each other and attempted to draw me into that. The communication between the proctors and administrators was somewhat faulty, and I sometimes had to figure things out on my own because no one would give me a straight answer or let me know what they needed from me. This helped me learn how to be more resourceful, ask direct questions, and advocate for myself when needed.


Now What?

Speech and hearing science is the undergraduate degree that can be translated to both the field of speech pathology and audiology. Students who obtain this degree are expected to go to graduate school for one of these specialties when they graduate. I always thought that I would be more interested in the speech pathology side of the field, but I’ve increasingly become interested in audiology as I’ve taken more advanced courses at Ohio State. I chose this internship because it combines both sides of the field; the participants have hearing impairments, but are tested on their speech and language skills. I hoped to come out of the internship with more clarity about what I wanted to pursue when I graduated. I didn’t really get the clarity I needed in that respect, but I still learned a lot along the way. I learned how to navigate professional relationships in a deliberate manner that would reflect well on me and my performance. I also learned that I am very interested in research and working on test studies. Contributing to a study that is relatively prevalent in my field was both rewarding and enlightening. I plan on remaining in this field when I pursue my graduate degree and look forward to participation in future research studies.

STEP Experience: Policy Matters Ohio


This past summer, I was an Research Intern with Policy Matters Ohio (PMO), a policy research organization located in Cleveland and Columbus that focuses on research, advocacy, and coalition building with regards to state policies and programs. At Policy Matters Ohio, I worked closely on economic development policy, specifically on the Earned Income Tax Credit, and healthy policy, with regards to infant mortality in Ohio.

Each year, the Cuyahoga EITC (Earned Income Tax Coalition) contracts Policy Matters Ohio to handle the data entry, dissemination of data, and creation of a policy report for their use. I was given the opportunity to take on the project with a fellow intern to co-author the report that policymakers, Coalition, community leaders would use as leverage for an increased earned income tax credit. At the beginning, myself and all the interns were charged with entering data from surveys into an online programming and Excel. From there, I collaborate with senior researchers and my fellow co-author to analyze the data and understand what these numbers means in order to collectively write recommendations.

Within health policy, I focused on the infant mortality issue in Ohio with regards to Cuyahoga county which covers the metropolitan Cleveland area. Here, I was tasked with creating a policy memo of the issue of infant mortality in Cuyahoga country and working with the Outreach Coordinator on developing a coalition of community members, medical professionals, policymakers, researchers to come together to find a solution to infant mortality.

A map I created to outlines area codes with residents who used the EITC Coalition Services and benefitted from the EITCH

A map I created to outlines area codes with residents who used the EITC Coalition Services and benefitted from the EITC

So What?

I learned that policy development and change takes a really long time, sometimes meaning years. Instant gratification is certainly something that I learn does not exist in the policy world due to the number of loopholes that exist in American society. It may me really reconsider if what I am doing is beneficial towards society and if I can work in a slowly developing type of field.

Furthermore, I learned more about what it truly means to be 9-5 and desk work. Before I had the assumption of what desk work is and how I would never like to be stuck in a cubicle, being the extrovert that I am. Working the a 9-5 job is not so bad, well at least during my time for the summer, I really did not mind it. However, I think after graduation, switching to the 9-5 lifestyle would not be a difficult transition to make. Furthermore, I learned that I cannot be stuck at a desk all day everyday. For the days that I had to, it was not pleasant and I kept looking at the clock hoping the day was day. I realize I have to be in an environment that allows me to work independently at my desk, but also gives me the opportunity to interact with fellow colleagues and people outside my business or organization to work together.

Now What?

Moving forward, after my internship and STEP Experience, I learned more about myself and my future and how to align myself for success for my last year of undergrad. Academically, the internship has provided me great insight on how to proceed with my final semesters here at The Ohio State University. I have geared my semesters to focus more on data analysis and reporting since I felt I was lacking that during the internship – therefore taking courses like Data Visualization and Policy Analysis and learning statistical programs like R and SPSS. Personally, I learn the value of networking and creating a lasting impression on the individuals I meet. I have become eager to form relationships and build bonds to expand my professional network and make friends with like-minded individuals. Lastly, the internship with Policy Matter Ohio definitely gave me an insight of what I would like to do in the future. I have learned that I am really interested in research and delving deeper into complex problems to figure out possible solutions. Before the internship, I could never picture myself obtaining a doctorate degree as a future goal of mine, but having completed the internship, I feel as if obtaining a doctorate degree is now in my career goals. Short term, looking forward to after graduation, I hope to be working in a think tank or research organization to further my interest in health policy.

I am thankful for the experience that STEP has afforded me. Without the support of STEP, I would have never gain insight into future careers in policy and research or have developed personable skills that I will carry on (or have created last friendships with my fellow interns, to which I still close some of my close friends).

Cleveland Intern'15 of Policy Matters Ohio (Me - far right)

Cleveland Intern’15 of Policy Matters Ohio (Me – far right)

Smile on,

– Lucki Ratsavong

Engineering Internship at The Institute of Aviation in Warsaw, Poland

What? – A detailed description of what you did during your STEP experience.

For my STEP experience I went on an internship at the Institute of Aviation in Warsaw, Poland. During the internship I was a part of a team of Ohio State students that worked on researching and designing a 10 Newton Monopropellant Thruster. The Thruster itself was designed to use High Test Peroxide (HTP) or 98% Hydrogen Peroxide as the propellant. Every single aspect of the thruster was designed by us with the help of several students from the Technical Institute of Warsaw who acted as our supervisors for the duration of the internship. I was in charge of finding a suitable thruster valve for the testing of the thruster. I researched everything from ball and gate valves to high performance solenoid valves. As well I was in charge of the design of the face plate injector in between the catalyst bed and the venturi nozzle. We lived in a building refurbished for us in the middle of the institute so we were able to go into town whenever we needed to get food or just hang out at the malls.

Over the course of the internship we had to research many different subjects. We didn’t have any formal experience with thrusters so we had to research what they were used for and the current market needs for a low powered monopropellant engine. So we learned the differences between monopropellant, and bipropellant engines as well as some simple nuclear and electrical engine designs. I also learned a great deal on the design and use of different types of valves from the use as thruster valves all the way down to simple home use valves on the market today. I also learned the basic design of a monopropellant and bipropellant engine system, from the storage tanks for the propellant all the way down to the combustion chamber out through the nozzle. Thanks to this internship I understand so much more about the different aspects of several kinds of propulsion systems in use today.

Of the entire summer my favorite part was being able to travel around Poland and Europe on the weekends.

Warsaw, Poland:

Living in Warsaw we were able to take the tram into the “Old Town” many different times. We were able to walk through the old palace as well as visit some of the churches hundreds of years old.  We also visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum. It was one of the best museums I have ever been in and really helps capture everything the polish people and the people of Warsaw had to endure. If you ever go to Poland the Uprising Museum must be visited.

This is a photo of the Palace of Culture at the center of Warsaw. It was a “gift” from the Soviet government to the Polish people.

Krakow, Poland:

I will never forget Krakow partially because it was my first experience in a Hostel and secondly because of the visit to Auschwitz. If you have never been there is no easy way to explain just how it feels to walk through the gas chambers and see the claw marks people left on the walls as they tried to get out, or see the famous railway at Birkenau where thousands if not millions of victims were unloaded from the trains to go through processing on to the gas chambers or off to the rest of the camp. Every single moment will stay with me forever.

These are some of the photos from Auschwitz. Both the entrance to Auschwitz 1  and the plaque next to the gas chambers in Birkenau.

Milan, Italy and St.Moritz, Switzerland:

The first day in Italy was sweltering. One of the worst days during the entire summer simply because it was so hot and humid. The only redeeming quality was the train tour through the alps. The mountains were absolutely gorgeous and the fresh mountain air was amazing after the 99 degree humid weather in Milan. Tour guide was also one of the nicest jolliest guys I have ever met so he made the tour very fun and informative.

This is a picture of all of us on the internship above the lake in St. Mortiz.

So beyond just the internship I was able to travel all over Poland and Europe and see a lot of Europe over the course of the summer. The full span of photos that we took over the course of the summer can be viewed on Sam’s Facebook page at this url:

So What? – A personal response to your STEP experience, including feelings, thoughts, judgments, and what you have learned about yourself and your assumptions from what you did and how you reacted.

This experience really helped give me a new perspective on the world. I was exposed to so many new cultures and ideas that I had never know before and it helped me broaden my horizons so to speak. Just being able to speak with people who had lived under soviet control and hear first had what it was like as well as see the influences of the political climates on the landscapes and architecture of the cities was so interesting. Really over the course of the summer I was able to see how connected we are as a civilization and how similar people in completely separate parts of the world are. With this internship I was also able to finally figure who I am and what I want to do with my life which in my opinion is the most important thing someone can discover.

Now What? – Discuss how the things you experienced and learned during your STEP experience will affect your academic, personal, and life goals moving forward.

Over the course of the internship I learned more about rocket systems than my entire time at OSU. That plus the design experience is invaluable to me going forward looking for future internships which should help me in getting a job after I graduate. This internship also is a huge help to my goals for the Rocket Team. I am currently the president of the Rocket Team at OSU. Over the summer I had the idea that if I were able to build the team up, we could build a rocket to reach space and become the first collegiate team to reach space. My experiences over the summer have helped me build up the team and spread our contacts. As for life goals I have been able to travel over Europe much more this summer than I had expected to in my early twenties. I have a better idea of not only where I would like to travel in the future, but how to travel. Not just looking for good prices and such but what modes of travel to use but how to prepare and pack for travel and not look like a tourist. This internship has also shown me the bare minimums of what I need for living on my own. This will be extremely helpful when looking for apartments or houses in the future as well as help me maintain a set budget out of college. Also I have learned how to work in a team in a professional setting. I have seen many examples of adults that cannot act professionally in a work environment. Learning those skills will be invaluable moving on into a professional work setting. As a part of the internship I also learned how to present. Whether presenting my ideas to friends or presenting to management and directing boards. I am much more prepared for life and work life moving forward thanks to this internship.