LexisNexis Hong Kong Internship

My STEP signature project was an internship with a company called LexisNexis in Hong Kong, China. LexisNexis is a company that works as a legal research platform and content provider. I worked side by side with the Head of Strategy for the Greater China Region for the summer. Of course, this also gave me the opportunity to explore Hong Kong and meet many incredible people along the way.

Dragon’s Back Trail overlooking Shek O Beach

Before leaving to Hong Kong I had heard over and over from family and friends to be prepared for a difficult adjustment period overseas, especially since this would be my first time ever leaving North America. I had been preparing myself for a great deal of culture shocks in many aspects of life, from food and living style, to simple social interactions with the locals. It was apparent to me that there would be certain difficulties that would come with immersing myself in a foreign culture, but, I was up to the challenge. However, much to my own surprise, the adjustment was virtually painless. I had felt right at home almost from the moment of leaving the airport. Much of this, I am sure, I owe to the wonderful advisors that were our points of contact while in Hong Kong, who did a fantastic job of explaining to us what to expect and how to best mesh with the native population. Part of it is also likely owed to the general ambiance and beauty of Hong Kong, with incredible sights to see everywhere you turn your head, from skyscrapers whose hectic light shows filled the sky every night, to the mysterious fog-laden mountains that overlooked the cities, it was difficult not to be enamored by all aspects of this new setting I had found myself in. Paradoxically enough however, what makes Hong Kong truly special is something that every city in the world has: its people. The Hong Kongers are undoubtedly what made the transition to living in the city so smooth. There is an intense and infectious sense of pride in their city that you get when talking with the people in Hong Kong. I was shocked to find how welcomed I felt in the city, as well as by how many locals were excited to hear about my experiences and share their own. Because of the kindness and generosity I experienced from the people there, the previous worries I had had about being able to fit in with the culture in Hong Kong were wiped away in an instant. This helped me learn a lot about what it is like to have to adjust to a place that is completely foreign to me, and at the same time realize that no matter where I am in the world, the people I meet can make it seem like home.

The very first person I met in Hong Kong was one of our in country contacts Mengxi. As you can probably imagine, after touching down from the 16 hour plane ride I was a little exhausted. Although the fatigue quickly gave way to the excitement of finally arriving in Hong Kong as well as the anticipation of the days and weeks to come, there was still a great deal of nervousness I felt. Thankfully, Mengxi was perfectly prepared to provide all of the relief me and the other OSU students who met with us at the rally location needed. As we traveled in the airport shuttle to the hotel we would be living in for the next two months we got the perfect introduction to the strange new city we found ourselves in. My eyes were glued to the windows taking in all of the incredible sights to see while Mengxi answered many of the pressing questions that were on our minds and gave us a great deal of information that would prove to be very useful to us. But more than anything, what I felt Mengxi was able to provide for us on that inaugural ride into the city was a sense of comfort that had been missing in the prelude to the trip. For many months I had been bombarded with questions, from myself and others, about how I would handle certain a hypothetical, or how various things in the city worked. For so long there were many question marks for me about this trip that created a sort of black cloud of uncertainty that marred much of it for me, and this ride into the city was the first of many beams of sunlight to shine through it.

The most frequent re occurrence for me in my time in Hong Kong was the work that I was doing. Five days a week, 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM I would find myself sitting in the same chair in the same office in a building in Wan Chai. While this may sound bleak to some, for me it represented a soothing consistency in what was otherwise an absolute whirlwind of activity. Certainly it helped that I was able to do important and fulfilling work with wonderful people. Specifically my boss Marina Kwok made me feel extremely comfortable in what was an entirely foreign situation for me (this was my first time working in a large corporate environment). She and all of the other members of the office made me feel at home in their work environment, which I am extremely grateful for. The work I was able to do while working there was not only relevant to my goals for my career, but also was very fulfilling in the sense that I was not just given busy work to keep me occupied, but instead was given important tasks, and could actually see the impact that my work was making in the company.

The work crew

However, the most critical group of people I met while in Hong Kong, and the ones who I spent the most time with, were my fellow Americans from universities all around the USA. They were all fantastic people (even the Michigan kids) and I had an incredible time sharing this great experience with all of them. Their presence there was so helpful, as we were all able to relate own individual experiences with each other and not feel so out of place in this strange new land. They were some great partners to go on adventures with, both in the city and outside of it, and although I was only able to be with them for a short amount of time, I made many great friendships.

Fellow GAV interns

Now that the experience is in the past and I am able to look at it in retrospect, it is awesome to me how much I had learned and how much I have as a result of this experience. I can already tell it will be one of my fondest memories for a long time to come. The biggest takeaway I believe I gained from this trip, especially considering the uncertainty going into that I was feeling, was simply that no matter where you go in the world people really aren’t all that different. There will always be ample opportunity for you to make friends and grow as a person no matter where you find yourself, and with that in mind there is no reason to fear anything that comes ahead. I feel this attitude will help me greatly in the years to come as the onset of career quickly approaches and many unknown challenges and opportunities lie ahead.

JP Morgan Chase Internship

Danielle Chickerella

Internship

I interned at JP Morgan Chase this summer in the audit department. I engaged in client meetings, documented testing, participated in weekly trainings and line of business overviews, and presented a case study to the general auditor as a final project.

Personally, I learned that you can be trained to do anything. You don’t need to be a 4.0 student and be at the top of your class to be good at a real life job. It is all about how you can communicate with others, pay attention to detail, and get your work done efficiently. Classes definitely help you become more prepared, however the real world looks more at your personality and motivation to do work well. Regarding my view of the world, I realized what a normal 40 hour work week is life and how hard people work and care about their jobs. People are way more approachable and personable in the business world than most think in college. Because in fact, we are all humans.

I worked closely with an assigned coach and she became my mentor for the summer. She showed me how to do almost everything and gave me her work as a good example for me to go off of. She showed me what I hope to become after I graduate college. I also became very close to the other interns in my department, which was helpful to talk to people my own age about the job. We traveled to New York City twice together for training and presentations, which brought us closer and allowed us to experience a new, busy culture.

My team welcomed me with open arms and I felt like I had been a part of the team for years. My manager gave me career advice in regard to continuous education and constant learning. Senior management spoke to us on a weekly basis and gave us advice about the business world and how to improve. It was cool to have management take time out of their day to talk to interns. They often said to do the work you are given now well, and you will be trusted, and can move anywhere you want in the future. We also engaged in community service, which was nice to give back to locals.

Presenting at the end of the internship allowed me to have more experience in public speaking and being confident in front of a crowd. It gave us a chance to describe what we had been learning and working on all summer. Going to after work activities allowed me to get to know people on a more personal level. Overall, the people who surrounded me helped me grow professionally.

This change is valuable to my life, because I now know how important it is to get to know the people you are working with. I learned more than just auditing skills, I learned how an office culture functions. I learned how different parts of a bank work together to help customers. I have gained so much business and culture knowledge that will help me in any job in the future, which is what I wanted to get out of this internship. It truly was a great summer!

Manhattan Sports Business Academy Internship

Name: Ryan Hines

Type of Project: Internship

The MSBA 2017 Staff

The Manhattan Sports Business Academy (MSBA) is an 8-week summer immersion program designed to identify, prepare, and connect the next generation of sports business leaders. The curriculum includes internship placement, mentorship collectives, a speaker series, office field trips, and professional development seminars. This summer I served as MSBA’s Digital & Media Intern, where I was primarily responsible for facilitating the technical setup and multimedia content capture at all MSBA events. I also assisted with digital marketing initiatives including graphic design, social media, and website management.

Although I wasn’t one of the official 25 Class of 2017 members, I still received one of the most transformative and life changing experiences I’ve ever had. Prior to this summer, I always felt that the sports industry was very surface level – that it was every man for himself and a dog eat dog world. I was nervous about entering a field where you have to know the right people to get in. I was beginning to question my desire to enter the sports industry. However, this summer changed all of that. I have never felt so comfortable with my decision to pursue a career in sports. MSBA does an incredible job of preparing and connecting you for the next step after college. Through this I have come to realize that, while it is a tough industry to crack into, there are countless people who are willing to help you and have a vested interest in your success. All you have to do is reach out and put in the effort to make connections and build relationships.

Beyond my internship, living in New York City for ten weeks was an invaluable experience. There is something about being a 21-year old kid tackling the largest city in the United States on your own that makes you grow as a person. I truly grew up and blossomed from a young man with a narrow view of the world into a young professional that recognizes and appreciates all the world has to offer.

I was fortunate enough to live with the program participants for the duration of the summer. It sounds overwhelming to live with 25 other students for an entire summer. However, it was exactly the opposite. One of the most valuable aspects of my internship was living with these 25 students from colleges around the country. They quickly became some of my closest friends and now I can honestly say they are my family. A family that understands me because we all have similar goals and passions. A family that pushes me to dream more, do more, and be more every single day. And most importantly, a family that I can lean on as we all venture through this industry together

Outside of my long work days and MSBA events, I also found time to network with people who are in positions that I hope to be in one day. I forged a relationship with Hunter Mandel from Taylor Strategy who I met on an office field trip. Hunter previously worked for Bleacher Report as a Senior Video Producer and created college football recruit commitment videos. I sat down with Rob Schlaepfer, head of Research and Insights for CBS, and learned about a potential career path that I didn’t even know existed before this summer. Lastly, I came across Michael Cappetta, a fellow a Buckeye, on LinkedIn who graduated in 2011 and is currently a producer at NBC. I reached out just praying for a response and it turned into a coffee chat, a tour of 30 Rock, and a relationship that I hope continues well beyond this summer. I can’t thank Hunter, Rob, and Michael enough for their time and the opportunity to sit down with them.

Me at Twitter’s headquarters in NYC.

Interning for MSBA was everything I wanted, but also everything I didn’t know that I needed. I formed life-long friendships with 25 extremely talented future sports business leaders that I know will extend far beyond this summer. I made connections with countless executives and professionals who can provide words of wisdom and guide me on my journey through the sport industry. I had the opportunity to visit the NFL, NBA, NBPA, Bleacher Report, The Players’ Tribune, and so many other amazing sports enterprises – all in one summer. I grew, developed, and learned more about myself this summer than I ever thought possible. I have never been more prepared and confident for a career in the sports industry than I am right now. MSBA has given me all the tools I need to succeed – now it is up to me to make it happen.

Abbott Nutrition Packaging Internship

Name: Ethan Warner

Type of Project: Internship

For my STEP Signature Project, I spent six months interning with Abbott Nutrition within a Packaging Engineering role. As a packaging engineer at Abbott Nutrition, I was primarily responsible for the installation, validation and start-up of a new packaging line across two different manufacturing sites within the United States. I also delivered process capability assessments and recommendations for package commercialization, as well as supported the planning and roll out of change management around new global standard operating procedures.

Coming from a chemical engineering background, I was fairly unfamiliar with the roles and responsibilities of a packaging engineer. For me, value alignment is paramount. I knew that as a company, Abbott Nutrition valued positively impacting people’s lives through improving their health and nutrition above all else – This is something that I aspire to do in my life as well. Although this internship did not relate directly to chemical engineering, I felt that it would challenge me to grow technically and professionally, and also allow me to positively contribute to Abbott’s mission of helping others live life to the fullest life through good health.

Reflecting on my internship experience, my growth and development was really driven by five key takeaways:

  1. Be flexible, take initiative.
  2. Be technical, ask questions.
  3. Find sustainable solutions.
  4. Bring people along with you, Explain “why”.
  5. Take time for yourself.

These key learnings were primarily driven by the work I did on various projects during my time at Abbott Nutrition and my interactions with the people there. By applying these to my life both inside and outside of work, I have noticed a positive change in the way I approach problems, lead, and interact with others. Additionally, my experience in packaging as a whole introduced me to a new field that I am very interested in pursuing in the future.

Be Flexible, Take Initiative

New Abbott Recloseable Container produced in Altavista, VA and Casa Grande, AZ

A few days before my first day of work, my supervisor emailed me and asked if I would be interested/willing to travel to Arizona for a week to help with training for the main project I’d be working on. As it turned out, that week was my very first. On my first day of work I went through HR orientation, met the packaging team, and got on plane to fly to Arizona for the week. This was a nerve wracking experience – I had no background information on the project I was working on, didn’t know anyone I was working with, and was flying by myself for the first time. However, this turned out to be a phenomenal experience – I was able to get hands on with the product, packaging, and processes right away, and I was able to immediately contribute by facilitating training sessions for plant staff and operators by the end of the week.

Throughout the course of my internship, there were many times similar to this where I was asked to travel last minute or take on extra projects. I found that by being flexible and taking initiative to seek out such opportunities, I not only gained greater understanding, but also established rapport with my coworkers and was provided with opportunities I otherwise wouldn’t have had. This set me up for success throughout the course of my experience.

Be Technical, Ask Questions

Abbott aseptic bottle qualified through my project work.

As I mentioned previously, coming from a chemical engineering background I was very unfamiliar with packaging processes and technology, and was initially overwhelmed by the technical depth associated with it. It was critical for me to embrace that I did not have this technical depth, and instead turn to the engineers and operators who did. By building relationships with those around me and not being afraid to ask questions and seek out technical expertise, I was able to better understand the minutia of packaging and identify resources to help me overcome obstacles as I was working on my projects. This helped to reinforce for me the importance of looking into technical details and asking questions, as well as the importance of relationships.

Bring People Along With You, Explain “Why”

 One of the most unique projects I worked on throughout the course of my internship was in the rewriting of Abbott Nutrition’s global package qualification process standard operating procedure. This was a complex document that spanned across multiple functional areas. Upfront, my work consisted of identifying themes from project case study lessons learned to identify gaps within the current procedure. What I enjoyed most, however, was taking part in discussions revolving around the change management of rolling out a procedure of such large magnitude. Specifically, how to ensure that the change we were trying to make was sustainable, and that the change we were leading was in the right amount, and at the right time.

This helped me to realize the importance of creating standardized processes in developing sustainable solutions, and more importantly, explaining the “why” behind what you are doing to ensure people are brought along with you and buy into your vision. Only by doing these things can you ensure that change you are trying to lead is successful, sustainable, and long-term.

Take Time for Yourself

Something I struggled with during my six months at Abbott was setting aside time for myself. For me, this breaks down into three categories – taking time for my relationships and involvements, taking time for my own development, and taking time for my wellness. I am very results oriented, and I greatly value my relationships with those around me. At work, it would be easy for me to put aside my own learning and development to finish a project I was working on, and outside of work, I would often spend all my time connecting with the people important to me, rarely taking time for my own health and wellness. Learning how to balance these three areas was a huge takeaway for me, helping me to realize how much time I have, and how to prioritize and make time for the things most important to me.

Final Thoughts

Abbott Nutrition Packaging Conference

As I move into my final year at Ohio State, the key takeaways I learned from my time at Abbott Nutrition will be conducive to my success both academically and post-graduation. I have found myself applying the lessons I’ve learned not only in work situations, but also in my classes, my student organizations, and in my relationships. Additionally, I have found a field that I am interested in and challenged by, with a company whose values align with my own. As I move into the fall semester, I will be working part time with Abbott Nutrition, and I hope to pursue a full time position there post-graduation.

 

Boeing Internship

Boeing Internship – STEP reflection

By: Danny Chehade

Over the past 3 months, I had an opportunity to move to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to work with Boeing. My work was primarily focused in the supply chain to assist in the sustainment and modification of ASC2 aircrafts.

While living away from my family and friends in OKC, I learned a lot about myself and grew as an individual. Over the course of the summer I lived on my own in an apartment and was responsible for maintain my own personal expenses, buying my own groceries, and the general cleanliness of my living space. Even though I am a social butterfly, I mastered the art of going out to a restaurant and eating alone on Sundays and not feeling awkward! (It’s a slightly rewarding feeling being able to do that!) But more importantly I was able to grow professionally and learn a little bit more about aerospace.

While working at an aerospace giant, I learned the ins and outs of the defense industry. Prior to my experience to Boeing, I was very indifferent towards defense and didn’t believe the need was worth the cost. Over the summer, I gained a better understanding as to why this was the case. I quickly learned that the defense industry is very low margin and highly government regulated which partially explains the very high costs. But while sitting in on the meetings, you learn why there is a need for defense aircrafts, their purpose and impact (and most of Boeing’s defense aircrafts are non-combative). As a result, you start to learn why these aircrafts cost more than your typical airliner for reasons I initially never understood.

Switching directions, going to Oklahoma was initially a slight cultural shock. Being a city boy moving to the “country” caused me mental distress prior to moving. However, I quickly made some friends (other interns and even full-timers) who helped made the transition slightly better. Each weekend we would travel somewhere and do something unique: whether it was going to the river out in the country or traveling 3 hours to pick up a washer and dryer, I was always busy and having fun. At the end of the day, I realized that OKC and Columbus aren’t really that different, with the exception of the 100 degree heat and occasional tornado… haha (ok… they might be different)

During this experience, most importantly I grew as a professional. I was doing real work, interacting with managers and executives, and understanding how to work within a large organization. I was responsible for my own work and running a number of meetings. Boeing really did a fantastic job of allowing me to develop as a professional by offering a number of round-tables to teach us to become better leaders.

I believe that the opportunity provided by Boeing was by far the most valuable work experience I have gained so far. Moving forward, I will take the experiences and relationships I have made to become a better professional. Whether I elect to work at Boeing or somewhere else, this will always be an experience that I will never forget.

Internship with the Ohio Supercomputer Center

Dylan Knaplund

Internship

 

My STEP signature project was an internship with the Ohio Supercomputer Center, located here in Columbus, OH. I served as a research software intern, collaborating with an Earth Sciences research group to develop high resolution terrain mapping software. I profiled and optimized code in a high performance computing environment, and installed and debugged software for different supercomputer clusters hosted by the OSC.

 

I learned so much in this internship. I learned many new skills that will help me as a computer scientist, including familiarity with many tools I am likely to use in my future career. I also learned many transferrable skills, and improved as a worker and as a person, developing independence in the workplace and a work ethic to get the job done.

 

This opportunity considerably benefitted my professional skillset and gave me a deeper understanding of working in a computer science-related field. I learned a lot about working in a UNIX/LINUX environment, maintaining git repositories, and debugging software with applications such as Totalview, all of which will likely be necessary in future positions. Additionally, since I was assigned to a team of developers, it gave me experience with collaboration in the workplace, and with combining a group’s efforts to reach a goal that would be impossible to reach on one’s own. This teamworking skill is very important in the field of computer science, and I am glad to have this experience.

 

I also learned how to work more independently as a result of this position. Many times, when I was assigned a task, I was not given step-by-step instructions to follow to complete it. When trying to solve a problem, I had to investigate it on my own and devise my own solution. If I could not find a solution, there were those I could consult for help (fellow coworkers or my boss), but, increasingly as my internship continued, this was not an issue. Being able to work independently in problem-solving is a crucial skill to have in computer science. Technologies we utilize change so fast that we have to adapt quickly to new situations, and use new tools to solve problems. The skills I learned at this internship will greatly benefit my future ability to do so.

 

Another way in which this internship was transformational for me was the change it made in my work ethic. I have to be honest: sitting at a computer doing desk work for 8 hours a day isn’t always thrilling. There were times when the hours seemed to drag on, the work was unsatisfying and slow. But that is true of any position, no matter how rewarding it may be. Holding this position gave me the responsibility to push through the occasional monotony of the work and still give exemplary performance. This is a skill that will benefit me in the future, not just in my career, but also in life. Being able to work through tough situations will mean I will not hesitate to work for what I know is best for me.

 

My experience with the Ohio Supercomputer Center was a magnificent one. I have learned many things that will benefit my future career, but also many things that have transformed me into a better person. I now know I will be able to succeed as a computer scientist and as a person as I continue to grow and mature, and STEP had a considerable role in helping push me in the right direction.

Summer Internship at Nationwide

Sophie Owens

STEP Experience: Internship

My STEP funds helped me to complete an internship with Nationwide Insurance within their finance department. My internship was located at Nationwide’s headquarters in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

During my internship I was able to learn about my career field, in accounting. As well as other aspects of what it is like to work in a large corporate setting. I was able to see how my education at Ohio State transferred directly and indirectly to the workforce. Having this internship has given me a better perspective on the bigger picture of where I see my career going. I can see how my classes are teaching me a foundational level of knowledge. However, it is impossible to be fully prepared for your first job. This is where the transferable skills I have learned at Ohio State come into play. It is these skills that help set you apart from your peers within the workforce. You have to have initiative and determination to help set you apart.

I think that one of the most important aspects of my internship were the relationships I was able to build with my coworkers. This included both the other interns that worked within my area as well as the team I worked with all summer. Nationwide really promotes networking and it is something that I took advantage of. I was able to hear a lot of stories on how my coworkers got to where they were at within their career. I think that hearing these personal stories has really helped me to have a better perspective on the different career paths that are out there. I was also able to form friendships with the other interns. I am excited to continue to grow these connections and friendships even after my internship.

Another important aspect was being able to do real work outside of the classroom. I was able to work on projects that had a real impact. Doing this work lead to great insight into what the day to day tasks are like in my career field. I was able to work with the most current technology in the industry and get a lot of great practice with it. I was able to see how important computer skills and the ability to work with large amounts of data really is. I have a better view now of the skills I should have as I enter the workforce and how employers expect you to use these skills.

Lastly, just the experience of working at a large corporation provided invaluable experience. I was able to pick up on so many small interactions. Whether it was setting up networking coffees in the local coffee shop or taking initiative to work on more projects. I learned that hard work really does pay off and I was able to see it first hand through the promotions my coworkers received. Just because you are not in school does not mean that you have to stop learning or become content with where you are at. It is so important to continue learning new things not just while in school, but throughout your career.

The experience I had this summer forever changed my future and I know that for a fact. Without this experience I would not have the broadened perspective that I have now. I can see the bigger picture and it makes me so excited for the future. Having this experience has allowed me to see just how right this career path is for me. The skills I have been able to learn this summer will continue to help me with my future career endeavors.

 

Architecture Internship at Shook Kelley

I spent the summer working in Charlotte, NC at an architecture firm called Shook Kelley. As an intern I worked heavily in computer programs, aiding in the design of a multi-use development project located in Mooresville, NC, while also attending meetings with the client to present progress. My duties included precedent research, using computer software to aid in designing the development, creating weekly progress reports to send to the client, field visits, generating parking analyses to save the client money and make sure there is enough parking for the development, presenting findings in meetings, and much more.

Although the internship was extremely valuable in that I learned a great deal about architecture that I cannot learn at school— mainly being that I had to apply my knowledge to a real-world application with real clients, money, and physical results— I also learned a great deal about myself and my views of the world. The main thing that I learned during my internship was how to be alone in a new and unfamiliar city, which led to a great deal of personal growth. Because I was alone in a new city, I spent my free time driving up to seven hours in a single day to make a day trip to the beach or the mountains, exploring different cities every weekend. I realized that I am completely comfortable living alone, ten hours away from home, leading to a newfound sense of confidence in my ability to thrive in new situations, and a comfort with being alone.

Moving to North Carolina for the summer was my first time ever moving outside of Ohio for more than a week or two. I lived alone in a 3-bedroom apartment about 45 minutes north of work, with no other friends in the area and no other interns at my job. Although I got to know various coworkers fairly well, most lived 45 minutes away and were two or three times my age, with the closest being almost ten years older. Therefore, I spent three months of summer essentially alone, in an unfamiliar part of the country, which was a big adjustment from going to school two and a half hours away from home and living in a house of seven people at school.

There were two main trips that I took during my time in North Carolina that strengthened my ability to adapt to new situations and/or learn to be comfortable being alone. The first of these two trips was when I visited Charleston, SC, which was about three and a half hours from where I lived. My plan was to go all day Saturday, following my week of work, driving there early in the morning and arriving back that same night. When I mentioned it to a coworker, who was about two and a half times my age, on the Friday before I was leaving, she mentioned that she loves Charleston and had been wanting to go all summer. I jokingly told her to join me, not thinking she would take me up on that offer; however, at six a.m. the next morning I was driving to her house to pick her up for Charleston. Although I initially wanted to go by myself, thinking that it could be awkward to go with someone so much older than me, her life and her stories were so incredibly interesting that we never stopped talking the entire seven hours we spent in the car together that day. She ended up becoming one of my closest friends at work, teaching me not only that I shouldn’t judge people based on preconceived notions (in this case, based on age) but also that my ability to relate so well to someone almost three times my age exhibits my adaptability in new situations.

The second trip, this time to Raleigh, NC, reinforced my comfort with being alone and relying on myself. Raleigh was slightly closer to Charlotte than Charleston, about two and a half hours away, and was also a day trip. I decided to go to Raleigh on a Friday, and then woke up the following Saturday morning at six a.m. and drove two and a half hours to North Carolina’s capital. I had been to Raleigh only once before, when I was 16 and visiting colleges that I wanted to apply to. When I packed up and drove to Raleigh I had no idea what my plans were for the day, where I would go, what I would eat, etc. When I got there I wandered around the city of Chapel Hill, where the University of North Carolina is located; I had visited this school four years prior with my parents so I was slightly familiar with the area. I ended up spending my day visiting places that I had been with my parents, contrasting what it was like to go as a junior in high school with my parents, to a senior in college by myself. Although I thought the juxtaposition between these two events would only highlight the fact that I was now visiting alone, it actually made me proud of how far I have grown in only four years, as a result of both attending Ohio State and interning in North Carolina.

Although this internship prepared me for work after graduation in the sense that I learned a lot about my field of study, it also prepared me for my future career in that I gained experience dealing with living in a new city by myself. After graduation I hope to move to either Miami, Florida or somewhere in southern California— because both are prime areas for my future career as a real estate developer. I now feel significantly more prepared to make a more permanent move like this because my internship showed me that I can adequately adjust to similar situations. This was perhaps the biggest obstacle in my way of achieving these career goals, as I was previously unsure of my ability to adjust to new places since I have always lived close to home; however, now I am confident that this won’t prevent me from reaching these goals in the near future.

Internship at Rysta in Munich, Germany

I traveled to Munich, Germany to intern at a startup company there. I was a marketing intern and helped to jumpstart their marketing activities, and I bettered my German along the way.

I’d say one way I was transformed was seeing first hand how a startup works, since I’ve never worked or interned at a startup before. It operates slightly differently than a normal business, and I think it was good for me to see the amount of work that goes into a startup and how they try and get themselves on the map. A large majority of the way a startup gets on the map is through marketing, and that is the field I’ll be going into after graduation. My internship also showed me what a real job and work schedule would be like, with working 9-5. So my view of the working world and how intense it is has definitely prepared me for what to expect in the future.

Speaking German and hearing my co-workers speak German with one another and switching to English with ease as a common ground language with other people (businesspeople from Arabic countries, France, Russia, etc) really showed me how important international business has become, and that the intensity of this will continue to grow as I enter the marketing and business field and mature in it. Soon everyone will need to know how to interact correctly with people from other countries, and know how to work together.

This fact that the world is getting smaller showed me that businesses and people are working together across oceans to get things done. I saw my co-workers video chat other co-workers who worked at home or in Berlin, hours away from the city of Munich. Business is also becoming more flexible because of this need for global business, and I know that I will have to adapt to it. Though I prefer to speak with someone face to face and in person, my internship showed me that logistically this is not always possible. Even though it may be difficult, there is a good chance I will be working with people through email, Google docs, and video chats.

I’m glad that my internship gave me a preview of how it is working with many different people from different backgrounds, native languages, and physical locations. My need to be able to be flexible when it comes to work will be paramount to adjusting to working in the business field.

This realization is very important for the future and success of my career because it will determine whether I am able to adjust to working in a flexible environment such as the one at my internship. If I want to be successful at my job and rise in the ranks, which I do, I will need first to know how flexible a global working environment can be, and then apply that knowledge to my actual work. With my experience at Rysta, I got to apply and begin to develop this skill.

STEP Reflection – Suicide Hotline Internship

This past year, I interned with Suicide Prevention Services in Columbus for my STEP project.  My duties took place at North Central Mental Health where I answered phone calls from the Lifeline, Teen Line, Senior Line, and the National Suicide Hotline.  The primary objective of this opportunity was to gain hands-on experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Overall, working at Suicide Prevention Services has transformed my professional and interpersonal skill set, which I hope to use in the future as a psychiatrist.  I have also been able to expand upon my social knowledge by working with people with various ages, upbringings, gender identities, mental illnesses and personal issues.  I have also obtained networking advantages.  For example, my boss has written me a great letter of recommendation for medical school.  Through training and talking with callers, I have further developed my empathy and communication skills.  I have noticed that I even talk to my friends differently, giving them more constructive advice and using an empathetic tone when they are upset.

Most importantly, I have gained first-hand experience relevant to my future career.  By working with people who are suicidal, I have learned how to successfully interact with my future patients.  Some calls can be very difficult and I need to think quickly on my feet without panicking, another skill that I will need to possess as a doctor.  In addition to taking calls, I have been asked to be a group leader, responsible for training new volunteer and giving a lecture on mental illnesses and common medications.  This promotion has allowed me to share my knowledge about suicide prevention with others and expand upon my leadership skills.  Working at Suicide Prevention Services has helped me to develop a myriad of skills that will make me a competitive medical school applicant, and ultimately an excellent doctor.

During my time as a Suicide Hotline volunteer, I have had several difficult calls, but I will remember one call, in particular, for the rest of my life.  I picked up the phone and heard a soft voice on the other end asking me for help.  I learned that the man had taken several Vicodin pills and was ready to end his life.  Very concerned, I started asking the man where he was, how many pills he took, and what symptoms he was experiencing.  After some time, I also found out that the man had been cutting his wrists during the call.  I knew that I needed to find immediate help for this caller, yet he was refusing to give me his location.  As his voice was growing more faint, I was able to find out his first name, his city, and that he worked in landscaping.  I quickly asked my shift partner to call of the landscaping companies in the area and ask if someone by his name worked there.  After no success, we started to gather information about his girlfriend, and found out that she worked at a bank.  Again, we called every bank in the area trying to find his girlfriend.

While my partner was working to find out who this man was, I had to remain calm and let the caller know that his life had value.  I told him how devastated his girlfriend would be if she came home and found out that he had taken his own life.  As frustrating as it was for him to deny every bit of help I tried to offer, I was able to keep him on the phone and convince him to stop taking pills and cutting.  Eventually his girlfriend arrived at home and the phone disconnected.  Later we found out that she took him to the hospital and he was alive.  After nearly two hours of speaking with this man, trying to find his location, and encouraging him to stop hurting himself, he lived.  I had to utilize my creativity, compassion, and perseverance to save this man’s life.  Finding out that the caller was alive after all of this was an indescribable feeling.  I knew from that day forward that I want to save as many lives as I can.

In another call, several months later, the phone rang and I heard a woman on the other end say, “I am ready to end my life, but if you are willing to help me I won’t do it.”  The woman did not have a ride and did not feel safe operating a vehicle so I told her that I could send the police to take her to the hospital.  The hard part was over, or so I thought.  I dialed 911 and explained the situation to the dispatcher.  The dispatcher told me that she could not do anything if the woman had not hurt herself yet and hung up on me.  I could not believe it.  In a panic, I called back and asked to speak with her manager, who then immediately sent the police. Although the police are in a position of authority, I was not going to take no for an answer.  Had I not called 911 again, the caller would have most likely ended her life.  As difficult as this situation was, I was able to persevere and save a life.

My experience at Suicide Prevention Services, without a doubt, has confirmed that I want to be a psychiatrist in the future.  This summer I have been writing essays for medical school applications which has allowed to me to reflect on my time at SPS.  My perception of what it is like to work in the mental health field has been transformed and I have learned so much.  I am so thankful to have had this opportunity and I hope to use these skills with my future patients as a psychiatrist.