Internship with Indians Baseball Insider, Scout.com

Name: Jacob Myers

Type of Project: Internship

 

For my STEP Signature Project, I served as an intern with the Cleveland Indians Scout.com affiliate, Indians Baseball Insider, covering the Triple-A minor-league baseball team Columbus Clippers. This was my first professional experience as a student journalist covering an amateur-professional sports team. My responsibilities included 3-5 articles per week that ranged from game reports, features and weekly notebook.

I began the position when the season started in April and finished in September when the Clippers lost in the first round of the International League playoffs. Minor-league team schedules operate in a way that the team spends a full week at home followed by a full week on the road. That trend repeats through July and then varies in August when the season begins to wind down. With that schedule, I had to plan my quotes accordingly, making sure that when the Clippers were on the road, I had quotes that could help me complete features and add quotes to supplement by weekly notebook on Mondays. During homestands, I wasn’t required to be at every game, only required to have 2-3 game reports per homestand. However, in order to have the appropriate amount of quotes for the week when the team is away from Columbus, most weeks I would attend more games than required.

At first, I didn’t believe that the job would be too strenuous. Having watched and played baseball my entire life, I thought the job would come naturally to me. I expected there to be a learning curve having had limited experience in writing, but I quickly learned the job was much more demanding than initial expectations. Arriving at the ballpark around 5:45 p.m. for 6:35 p.m. games, and staying there until around 10:30 p.m. was a schedule I wasn’t necessarily used to. However, as the season went on and I became akin to the schedule and my ability to capture insightful quotes in interviews developed, which then enhanced my writing in all of my content. There were times in the season where I had difficulty in getting the quotes or information I needed, which was burdensome and tough to get over. But I came to learn that trails and difficulties is just a part of the job, which was one of the most beneficial real-world experiences I learned. With the help of my STEP internship project, I was able to have the proper experience necessary to assume the role of the Assistant Sports Editor at The Lantern and cover the competitive Ohio State football beat this past season.

For reporters, relationships are everything. Relationships with your sources, people who also work on the same beat as you and the communications director for the team. In my STEP Signature  Project, I worked closely with two writers at the Columbus Dispatch who have become professional contacts for me. Mark Znidar was the primary Dispatch writer who covered the Columbus Clippers during the 2016 season. Mark also covered local high school sports and was the Clippers beat writer for the Dispatch for other 20 years. He has experience covering Ohio State football as well, which boded well for me because he explained to me some difficulties I will encounter during the season and how best to report amid those difficulties.

Another Dispatch writer who was occasionally at games over the summer was Adam Jardy who covers the Ohio State men’s basketball team. In my role at The Lantern, I am also responsible for covering the men’s basketball team, so it was nice to have made that contact before the season began. With the access I had with the Columbus Clippers due to my STEP Signature Project, I was able to ask Adam about some of the experiences he has had on the men’s basketball beat in his first year covering the team for the Dispatch and several years before that with Buckeye Sports Bulletin. I worked two years with the men’s basketball team as a manager, so I had known the program from the closest perspective possibly. But through talking with Adam, it helped my reporting skills understanding how he reported on the team because he had a totally different perspective than I had. Understanding that perspective, in turn, bolstered my ability to ask comprehensive questions in interviews.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Joe Santry, the communications director for the Columbus Clippers. What’s unique about Joe is that he is a national baseball historian. For someone like myself who has loved baseball since his youth, it was a pleasure talking to Joe about the history of the sport, which Mark was very knowledgeable about as well. As a journalist covering the team, I had to have a cooperative and respectful relationship with Joe which would help my likability in the clubhouse with the manager and players. Through lessons learned in professional development courses and seminars I attended while in STEP, I knew how to act professional but not be over the top, given a baseball park is a more casual setting than a corporate office.

Now for my journalist-to-player relationship with the team and its manager, it was a bit nerve-racking at first because it was an open locker room so I could ask questions to whomever I wished. Going back, I would certainly work the room a little more and ask more questions to other players, but as the season went on, I became more efficient at it. My toughest interviews were always with the Clippers’ manager Chris Tremie. He was not a big talker to the media and had his own rules that we had to abide by, or he would refuse to talk to us even more. So, I simply followed his rules and we got along just fine. It was never a friendship type of relationship, but I respected his job and he respected mine. With the professional development seminars I attended through STEP and having the opportunity to work next to professionals in the field who had covered several players and coaches who didn’t like to talk to the media, those anecdotes I heard eased my nerves more because I learned that there are people like Chris Tremie on any team. That’s not to say he’s not a nice man, which he is. He just is someone who isn’t as cooperative in interviews as other professional athletes or managers.

To wrap it up, my STEP Signature Project experience was significant in my career development because it was my first professional journalism experience — and it was certainly an experience that doesn’t come around too often. I wrote a feature on Erik Gonzalez, Michael Martinez and Mike Clevinger, who ended up playing a significant role in the Cleveland Indians run to the World Series. In total, I interviewed almost a dozen players who were in the Indians clubhouse in the 2016 World Series. The Clippers won their division as well, which made the team more enjoyable to write about. I also interviewed All-Star outfielder Michael Brantley who came down to Columbus on a rehab start a couple times.

Interviewing a team like the Clippers and players who eventually had a role on the biggest stage in the sport greatly prepared me for my coverage of the Ohio State football team. Without experiencing deadline writing and polishing interviewing skills while covering the Clippers for my STEP Signature Project, I could not have been as successful as I was as a writer through the football season and so far this basketball season. Because of my STEP project, I became Assistant Sports Editor and covered all Ohio State football games on site, including the College Football Playoff semifinal at the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. On that beat, I have made professional connections as well, all which can be contributed to my comfort level in a high-stress setting that is filled with tenured writers who have been doing the job much longer than I have. STEP gave me my first step into the sports journalism field and I developed a passion for writing about sports. Now, as I look forward, I will be applying to be Editor-in-Chief at The Lantern for the 2017-2018 school year after my 2017 summer internship with the Columbus Blue Jackets or nationally recognized media organizations such as the Associated Press or CBS Sports.

Woods at Parkside Internship

During the Summer and Fall of 2016, I was fortunate enough to be an intern at The Woods at Parkside, a chemical dependency hospital in Gahanna. Clients come voluntarily to this adult treatment center to work toward sobriety from a variety of addictive substances. This hospital takes an eclectic approach to treatment and offers individual therapy, group treatment sessions, classes, social activities, and recreational times. It is a 50 bed facility with inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and continuing treatment, as well as a special program for area professionals to regain sobriety while remaining anonymous.

At The Woods at Parkside, I was offered a unique opportunity to experience much of the behind-the-scenes work that is done at a mental health treatment facility. Because of this, I had to become a certified Chemical Dependency Counselor’s Assistant by taking some online classes. I spent the majority of my time there working in the admissions department, where I helped conduct phone intake interviews with potential clients, assembled insurance packets, and contacted area hospitals to find clients to come to our facility. I was also afforded the opportunity to work in the department that works with insurance companies to help clients continue to have their treatment funded. I was also able to sit in on some group sessions and classes and experience how those are conducted.

Before completing my STEP project, I had a very incomplete understanding of addiction and what causes it.  I maintained held the incorrect assumption that people who are addicted to substances are a particular type of person: dirty, no self-control, no morals, jobless, and possibly homeless.  My internship taught me that anyone can become addicted to a substance, and many people become addicted without realizing it.  Not only did I see a clients with many different backgrounds, jobs, and severities of addiction, I also learned that many of the staff at The Woods at Parkside are also recovering addicts. This has completely reshaped how I view addiction, and it has also helped me become more passionate towards people who struggle with addiction.  I’ve learned that it is important to find out things about the individual from the bottom up by learning details about each person before making a judgement or assumption instead of assuming I know everything about the person based on one or two details.

One of the most meaningful experiences I had during my internship was conducting phone intake interviews with potential clients.  Typically, clients are referred to The Woods at Parkside or find information about us online, and they call us seeking treatment.  The intake interview can be difficult for many people because we ask questions about substance use over the client’s lifetime as well as significant traumas they may have experienced and family history of mental illness or substance dependence.  In essence, potential clients are asked to tell complete strangers they have never even seen very personal details that they may never have told anyone before.  Once I realized how significant this interview process can be for clients, I made an effort to really listen to each person and treat them like a human being and let them know they are being heard, which is something that many clients only experience rarely.  I tried to create a judgement free space and help them feel comfortable telling me very personal things, because I believe it’s important not only for our ability to help clients, but also for clients to know that treatment is something they should seek out.  Many are hesitant about seeking treatment because they are ashamed of their addiction and accompanying mental illnesses, and if they feel comfortable, they are more likely to follow through with treatment.

Another meaningful experience I had during my internship was one of the group therapy sessions I observed.  The group leader is a recovering alcoholic and could speak to the clients as an equal instead of treating them as lesser than him, as much of society does.  These clients could open up to the group leader because they didn’t feel judged or like an outcast, which eventually helped them move faster toward recovery.  It was amazing to see what these people had been through and how their shame affected their view of themselves and then how things changed as they were able to let go of that.

A class I attended at The Woods at Parkside taught me more of how not to behave in any sort of therapy environment than how to behave.  The leader of the class was a recovering alcoholic, and talked about her many relapses.  The class started out fine, and the lesson was on how to replace the addictive substance with less harmful things (food, music, socializing).  Somehow, the lesson veered off topic, and a large portion of the class ended up being devoted to talking about the leader’s problems and frustrations with recovery, and was not at all helpful to a majority of the clients.  This taught me to remember that as a mental health professional in any role, it is important to keep big picture goals in mind and never make someone else’s therapy about myself.

After interning at The Woods at Parkside, I have a much better knowledge of how mental health facilities and the professionals within them operate.  Most importantly, I learned to remember to be a human and treat clients like humans as well, because they’re so much more than a case number or a disorder.  Society and their own minds often make them feel a bit inhuman, and being treated with respect and acceptance can help them to use their most basic human qualities to recover.  Furthermore, treating people with respect, trust, and dignity can help them learn to trust and respect themselves again and feel capable of their recovery.  These most fundamental lessons will help me to be a high quality clinical psychologist in the future.  Despite all I might learn in graduate school about individual disorders and treatment styles, these lessons should remain at the core of any therapy work I do, and I can build onto them.

My Summer with Dublin Coffman Football

 

Name: William Dalton Maynard  

Type of Project: Internship

This past summer into the Autumn Semester I was able to intern with Dublin Coffman High School’s Football program as an assistant freshman football coach.  Through the summer I attended coaching meetings as we designed our overall offensive and defensive schemes for the coming year.  Also, in the summer I helped run the weightlifting and conditioning programs of the incoming freshman players—to get them in shape before practices and two-a-days began.  Finally, when August hit, two-a-days and practices began and during these practices I worked with wide receivers on offensive days and safeties on defensive days as we developed the players to get ready for the season.  Finally, during the regular season, I continued to coach receivers and safeties and on game days (Saturday mornings) I signaled plays for our offense, made sure the special teams groups were in order and knew their assignments, and rotated the wide receivers and safeties based on who was playing both ways and needed to take breaks.

               

This was actually my third year working as a coach with the program, but this year, I actually grew the most—as a coach, as a person, as a role model, as a friend, and as a teacher.  I more deeply value the relationships I made with the people that I coached with, trained, taught, learned from, grew because of, developed, and shared common goals, experiences and joys and defeats. Sports gives the opportunity to experience all facets of life. The development of person’s confidence, competitiveness, commitment, and co-dependence all occurs in sports. Participation in sports gives players, coaches and fans life lessons to grow from: the ecstasy of winning, the thrill of excitement, the agony of defeat.  

The first two events that really started me on my transformation actually started a little before my internship.  In April, one of my friends growing up, and the brother of someone on the coaching staff, passed away.  Two months later that coach got married.  I was at both events—I was there with him at the viewing for his brother and the funeral—letting him know all the way that there were people with him and his family and keeping them in our prayers; and I was there on the happiest day of his life—when he married the girl he had been dating for nine years.  I was humbled to have experienced both events with him and to see him grow as a person and as a coach.  He made it a point to try and keep our players on the right path—give them goals to strive for and to aim to, letting them know that there is nothing outside their grasp and that there are people around them that care and love them.  He did this because of how his brother died—of an overdose—and he didn’t want these kids to potentially make some of the mistakes his brother did.  Being a part of this touched me, and moved me, and transformed how I looked at my role as a both a colleague/co-worker and as a coach and role model to the players—it is more than just modeling the right behavior and saying things, but you have to be active in molding their lives if you want to truly make a difference.

As I said earlier, this was my third year coaching, but this group was by far the most…interesting. Honestly, I’d rather use “difficult” here, but that is just how it seemed at the time.  In retrospect, these players just forced us to be more patient and be more adaptable to get the most out of them. These kids knew how to have fun, and they preferred to have fun. Which at times was great that they would never get too down on themselves, but often times was disconcerting because we as coaches never knew when they would start getting serious. For the first two years of my coaching, we had been undefeated for the first 9 weeks of both seasons (my first year we lost the last game and the second year we went undefeated), so I had not really experienced many difficult trials as a coach working with these high school aged kids. However, this season we started off losing two out of our first three games.  We as coaches were able to reflect on what was going on and think critically about how we had to change. This self-reflection led to practices that were more player focused and driven, as opposed to scheme focused and driven. We made it a point to always have a surplus of energy when we were taking the field, and our players soon recognized that and started adding their own positive energies to practices. We also made it a point to not give the kids an inch, demand near perfection from them during the week at practice so that they were less likely to make a mistake in games–things that we would let go by in years past (like toes being on the line instead of behind the line when stretching) were now resulting in the whole team having to start the drill over. The players responded well to the new demands we had put on them, and we ended up winning the rest of our games and becoming Conference Champions (for the third year in a row).

Finally, there were a pair of players that really stick out in my coaching, that had an impact in my transformation. Now, every single player taught me something about myself and every player is unique, but these two players significantly changed how I look at my players and how I look at my role in their lives.  The first story is of a player who I have known for most of his life, lets call him J. Growing up I played sports with his older brother, who is a year older than I am, and J was always on our sidelines as either a waterboy or a ball boy, or just someone that wanted to hang around with us.  When I was a junior in high school on the football team was the last time J was my waterboy.  I remember after one of our games I was just talking to his parents and his mom let it slip  that I was his favorite player–barely beating out his older brother–and I remember how intimidated I felt.  To realize that a young person looked to me for inspiration or guidance actually made me more fearful than grateful. What an awesome burden. Fast forward 4 years later, when J is no longer my water boy, but my player. His father came up to me early on and told me that J still really looked up to me, and that they hoped I could help out and make sure he stayed on the straight and narrow.  It’s is not like I didn’t know I was a role model to my players, but this moment felt different for me.  I could truly have an impact on the life of a kid who had been emulating me for years–now I am more than just his favorite player, I am his coach, and I will be a mentor for him for years to come.  And that, I think, is pretty cool–and terrifying.  But, mainly cool.  The other player with a large impact, we’ll call R.  R was different.  He was the first player that I coached that had an obvious exceptionality–he’s on the autism spectrum. Day in, day out–no matter if it was a lift, a two-a-day, a practice, or a game–he gave his all.  He always told me he didn’t want to quit or give up because the little kids playing youth football were looking up to him now since he’s a high school player.  Now, this kid was definitely not one of our best football players on the team,, but his work ethic even made me tired and pushed me.  On top of that, this Autumn semester I was taking a teaching course about working with students with exceptionalities, and my interactions with R even improved as the season progressed because of this.   From these two scenarios, I learned that relationships make good teachers — once a young person has a good relationship with you, you can teach them anything.

When it comes to my professional goals, this transformation was monumental.  I hope to one day be a high school math teacher and a football coach, so working with this group of students was a professional growth experience. Furthermore, this summer internship helped me narrow what type of coach and teacher I want to be when I finish my certification program, and how I can strive for that. I can be a truly positive role model in the lives of my students and players; I can be more than just a coach who to artificially care for his players. I will t ruly invest in what I want them to be, coming out of my program. After having me as a coach, I hope to develop better people, not just better players.

Overall,  this experience showed me the true value of my relationships with others, and valuing these relationships can make me a truly great and impactful teacher and coach.  When the players trusted us, and knew we were not going to give up on them, they really rallied behind us.  As for the coach on the staff who had such a roller coaster year (he lost his brother just before the season started), our trust in each other grew because we were able to talk more openly and freely about how to best help the team and our players succeed.

 

Fall Internship with GE Aviation

Name: Caroline Amling

Type of Project: Internship

This past fall I spent the semester in Cincinnati, OH with GE Aviation. I worked in quality for the Rotating Parts and Compression Airfoils department. I communicated with our plants, preformed statistical analysis, and created several systems for tracking quality issues. My main objective during my internship was to simplify, automate, and standardize the tracking of escapes (parts that leave a plant without clearing inspection).

As a student in Mechanical Engineering there are numerous opportunities. Sometimes these opportunities can be overwhelming, not knowing what industry or specialization I want to be in after graduation. Working at GE started to help narrow this down. Specifically I have learned that quality is probably not where I would like to end up career wise, but Aviation is really interesting to me. I got to know how it works in corporate office vs on a plant floor and that also indicated to me that I am a much more hands on person.

I also enjoyed using what I have learned in class, in the real world. I have always dislike statistics and taking it at Ohio State did not encourage me to like it any more. However being able to actually work with it and apply it made it more valuable to me. I have also learned quite a bit about aviation regulation. In class there is much discussion about what can happen if you make mistakes. In aviation this is incredibly important and it was interesting to be able to see how important.

I had the opportunity to interact with the other interns in Cincinnati at the time. GE hired about 150 interns for the fall in Cincinnati from all over the country. It was really great to meet people from other parts of the country and discover the differences and similarities between us. For example we were able to volunteer with GE at the Cincinnati zoo. While there we saw some Mennonites. A few interns from Georgia had never seen Mennonites and were surprised. It opened my eyes to things I find normal in Ohio are very different for other parts of the country.

This experience has heavily impacted my career as a future engineer. I will be returning to GE Aviation summer 2017 for my second rotation. The great part about GE Aviation is they want you to have numerous experiences. Since I was in quality in the fall, I will not be placed there again. Most likely I will be in a manufacturing role. As I continue with rotations, I will have the opportunity to apply to a leadership program after graduation or interview for a direct hire. GE Aviation is a global company that will give me numerous opportunities around the world. This summer I am hoping to be placed in Greenville, South Carolina or Boston, Massachusetts. Following graduation I hope to be admitted to the Edison program, a design rotational and master’s program.

*GE does not allow photos taken on campus so I don’t have any that are representative of my time there*

Summer Internship: Cuyahoga County Prosecutor

My STEP Project was an internship with the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office in Cleveland. At this internship, I built discovery packages on a gang case in the City of Cleveland. The internship consisted of sorting, analyzing and recording search warrant data for evidence in Court. These job responsibilities developed out of need for assistance with gang casework. This internship impacted me through exposure to the systems involved—criminal, judicial and community—in the endless dance between the creation and deterrence of crime.

My passion for criminal law was ignited near the end of the internship. I was in court watching an arson trial. Aside from the antics associated with jury selection, I was attuned to the defense attorney’s briefing of the jury. The attorney explained core tenants of our legal system—trial by a jury of peers, innocent until proven guilty, evidence must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and the power prescribed to our government. This briefing not only resonated with me but also reflected the foundation on which my work was centered. This internship cracked my shell in two places: igniting a passion for law while exposure to the cold reality of violent crimes.

Before interning, I shadowed lawyers around Cleveland—law was on my mind as a potential career. This internship helped provide clarity and certainty about pursuing a career in law. As an undergraduate student, I lack profession legal skills such as legal writing, evidence rules and procedures of courts. Despite my lack of legal experience, my duties involved assisting prosecuting attorneys on a gang case. I collated evidence seized in search warrants. While doing this work, not only did I feel valued, but that I was making a difference. This moralistic view into the job gave me satisfaction while propelling me forward to keep sifting through files. I didn’t expect that prosecutors work to have the impact of shaping communities, developing policy and helping individuals return back into society. This evolution in perception was coupled with a transformation in mindset.

Cops is my all time favorite show. When I go home, I grab a big bowl of ice cream and watch Cops for hours. Even with live footage of arrests and chases, the narrative of the show is that the criminals are bad people. This mindset that criminals are bad people doesn’t necessarily hold true once immersed in the judicial system. As part of this internship, I had the privilege of reading inmate jail mail.  Reading someone’s mail is a very intimate act; it’s a private conversation between two people. In these jail letters, the inmates—convicted felons—would receive mail from their significant others. It was absolutely heartbreaking but also humanizing. Many of these letters had significant others pining, “Baby, please come home, your daughter misses you. She keeps asking where Daddy is.” These letters put a face to the convicted, their humans too. When reflecting on all my years watching Cops, the narrative of the criminal being far removed from us melts away. Convicts committed heinous crimes, but reading their letters put a human face to their bodies. These individuals are still threats to society but are humans, people of value. They also have families and responsibilities despite being convicted. My mindset changed to be more open-minded; balancing judiciary while respecting and valuing even convicts.

Cuyahoga County processes the most cases in the State of Ohio. Due to the frequency of cases, Cleveland has diversity in caseload from gang and violent crime to “while collar crime.”  The cities’ polarization from de facto segregation mixed with a distrust of CPD (Cleveland Police Department), Cuyahoga County is a recipe for crime of all types. Some background information is necessary to understand the significance of this work. I am a native Clevelander; born in suburbia and in a predominately white community. Geographically my house is on the South Side of Cleveland, but for all intensive purposes, I am from the West Side. I grew up in white suburbia and attended private Catholic schools for grades K-12. Living in an insulated bubble, shielded by social structures and socioeconomic status, there were places that “you just don’t go to.” These forbidden places, pockets and neighborhoods where crime is frequent on the East side, was where my work emanated. I am not from these neighborhoods yet have the responsibility to a force fight crime in these areas is confounding. This internship allowed me to experience the role and the force of policing. The impact of community engagement and the people that were responsible for keeping the streets safe.

One of my coworkers brought me along to a hearing regarding three gang members early in the summer. I sat in the back, alone, as the attorneys argued about proceedings on taking the case to trial. Sitting in the back of the court room, all spiffed up in my tailored suit., looked and felt like a budding law student. Then the defendants on the case looked back at me, and I at them—they were my age. These men were being tried for serious felonies and they were my age. It was rather eye opening, seeing people that graduated the same year as me from high school possibly going to jail. This situation was the beginning of a long series of events where I realize the effects of violent crime, but also the civil liberties that we all possess.

My daily work involved compiling evidence obtained through a search warrant. I poured over data for hours to craft evidence documents that prosecutors could use to help craft their case. A hallmark of gang cases is the sheer amount of data. Prosecutors do not have enough time to sift through all the data on a case. The volume of data is over powering and another human is needed to go in and extrapolate the data; computer programs aren’t specific enough to identify what they’re looking for. Therefore, most of my day consisted of data analysis. While sitting and looking at the seized data, I began to reflect. The data was obtained from cell phones, and I began to see the importance of privacy and the importance in protecting of our civil liberties. When exposed to people deprived of civil liberties, there is a value that is placed on yours. A sense of respect develops about the ability to speak, act and behave freely. The hallmarks of everyday American life are exacerbated in the court. People are stripped of their rights; people like me get to sift through their phone in the name of justice. This example highlights the immense power that we vest in our government and the necessity of defense from it. The justice system’s underpinnings became evident as I saw them in action. The value of our justice system is essential in ensuring safety and perpetuating trust among citizens.

After this internship, I scheduled in the LSAT and began looking at law schools. Although my job as an intern is not necessarily the tasks performed by lawyers, I felt that the profession challenged and intrigued me. Aside from these components, it’s a field of service to fellow Americans. The internship clarified my notions about law school. I met wonderful prosecutors who shaped my perception of law and became good friends. I am thankful to have this opportunity to not only help keep Cleveland safe, but to understand myself and career plans with a clearer picture.

On lunch break in downtown Cleveland taking in the sun.

My Internship in Spain

This past summer, I traveled abroad for the first time for an incredible internship in Spain!  I worked for Ferrovial, a Madrid-based company which handles construction projects and offers public services all across Spain (and is currently expanding into other countries as well).  At Ferrovial, I created files to summarize several of Ferrovial’s most important projects and analyzed the various aspects of many projects Ferrovial had undertaken in recent years.  In addition, I also traveled to several other cities in Spain on the weekends, and all this exploring was one of my favorite parts of being abroad!

While in Spain, I noticed a dramatic change in my Spanish language abilities, my understanding of work culture in different countries, and my independence.  Being so far away from my family and friends for such a long time definitely made me more capable of relying on myself, and forced me to branch out and make new friends.  By the end of my experience, I had made several local friends, which I never would have thought would happen at the beginning of the trip!  I also noticed that as I communicated with my friends and work colleagues, I was able to express myself much more easily in Spanish, which was one of my main reasons for wanting to go to Spain.  As someone who hopes to work in global business in the future, perhaps the most enlightening thing I learned  is that among different countries, work culture varies dramatically (at least between Spain and the USA!).

As I mentioned, one of the ways in which this experience changed my worldview was by making me live much more independently than I ever have.  When I first got to Spain, I was honestly a bit afraid to do anything– I didn’t know how to take the train on my own, I was nervous to travel outside of Madrid without a companion, and I was hesitant to even talk to locals, for fear of making an error in Spainsh and sounding unintelligent.  However, after a few days, I realized that I would have to do all these things if I wanted to get by in Spain for the next two months.  And finally, after a month in Spain, I decided to travel alone to Seville, a city over 2 hours away from Madrid.  I was proud that I was able to do it, and it was incredible to spend an entire weekend by myself exploring the museums, cathedrals, parks, and restaurants of Seville.

A view of Seville from the top of the Seville Cathedral

In addition to gaining more independence, I also made friends with several of my coworkers and met many new people in Spain.  One such friend was Andres, a fellow intern who sat beside me at work.  He was an engineering student in Madrid, and when he first told me his full name, I didn’t believe him, because his last name was “Hermoso,” which is the Spanish word for “handsome.”  We met several times outside of work, and he showed me the best bars, stores, and entertainment in Madrid.  One night, we went to a rooftop bar and we sat, talked, and drank wine for hours, which is one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.  Another friend I made in Madrid was Claudia, who had been my sister’s foreign exchange student a few years ago, although I had never personally met her.  She invited me to stay with her family in Segoiva, and I gladly accepted.  She showed me her hometown’s historic Roman aqueducts, we watched a play together, and her family and I had a wonderful lunch in a small vegetarian restaurant.  I am still in contact with both of these people, and meeting them definitely made Spain feel more like home to me.

Andres and I at a rooftop bar in Madrid

Claudia and I at the Roman Aqueducts in Segovia

Although befriending others and becoming a more independent person were great personal experiences, interning in Spain also helped me develop several practical skills, especially when it comes to the Spanish language.  Because I was constantly immersed in a Spanish-speaking environment, I learned so much more than I ever have in a classroom.  I learned which figures of speech were common, which sounded strange, and which ones didn’t even exist in the Spanish language as they do in English.  Most importantly, I learned how to communicate my way around the words I didn’t know (mostly through excessive hand motions and description).  Fortunately, most Spaniards were very tolerant of my slow speech and excessive hand motions as I tried to convey my thoughts, and by the end of the trip I had mostly gotten over my fear of sounding silly when I spoke.  In addition, I learned about Spain’s work culture and how much it differs from what I’m used to in America (the Spanish are much more calm and patient at work, although they work longer hours.)  I think that because I learned so much about another culture and language, this internship definitely prepared me to work in global business in the future, which is something I’ve always wanted to do.

Overall, the experiences I had in Spain have helped me grow in so many ways.  Because I’ve always wanted to work for a global company, learning Spanish and understanding what it’s like to work in another country will almost certainly be helpful in my future career, and the social skills I developed (both through making friends and through learning how to communicate in another language) should prove useful as I network and  make friends after college.  Meeting the incredible people I got to know in Spain was another one of my favorite parts of being abroad, and I feel that because I made friends in another country, I am more of a global citizen now; I’ve gotten to know people on the other side of the globe with completely different life experiences from my own, and this has helped me realize that no matter where someone is from or what their life entails, it is possible to form a connection, and even a friendship, with them.

Internship, Reed

Robert Reed

End of Summer Summary

This summer as a College Intern with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources division of forestry, I have gained valuable experience working in a professional setting. I have learned a lot about the Department of Natural Resources and how the division of forestry operates as a whole. I was assigned to work at the Pike State forest conducting forest maintenance. Many tasks required long hours in the summer heat normally with just one other person. However, these fun demanding tasks are crucial for making sure state forests look presentable for public use.

The division of forestry takes on a lot of roles in education and land management.  These roles include managing state forest land for harvestable lumber, helping private land owners manage their property for timber and wildlife habitat, educating the public on fire safety, and teaching young people about trees in Ohio. Though this internship I have gotten to help with a lot of these tasks.

I completed all five of my goals this summer for this internship. Most of these skilled I used at least once a week, gaining a lot of experience in the field. I Obtained experience operating a chainsaw and conducted routine maintenance. Several times I needed to operate the chainsaw due to fallen trees, dead trees that were hazardous to safety, and releasing crop trees. I feel comfortable using a chainsaw, changing the bar, chain and mixing gas.

I gained experience using a tractor with both bucket operation and single spindle series rotary cutters. Tractor use was required when large tree removal at the headquarters. I gained experience using the bucket for this application. Other times I operated the tractor included mowing large fields. For this task the single spindle series rotary cutter, or better known for the brand name bush hog, was required. I learned about tractor gears, operating a manual transmission and techniques to operation both the bucket and bush hog.

I visited 2 harvest sites and learned about logging road placement in harvesting, felling trees, dozer operation, marking timber, and cursing timber. I also helped in a salvage harvest at the Brush creek state forest, a near-by state forest about 30 minutes away. During a large wind storm, several large trees were blown down on one of the state forest roads, making it impossible to get through. Ben Kelley, my supervisor, and a large crew of employees from nearby state forests and I met at the location to harvest the fallen trees. A systematic approach to harvesting took place where the chain saw operators cut trees, I attached the cable to the cut logs and the bulldozer/skidder operator would pull out the fallen trees. After the cut logs were on the road, the saw operator would cut them into 16 foot lengths to take to the mill. Ben and I talked about board lengths and what market value is for different trees, how to operate equipment, and why a salvage harvest operation was a good plan for this site. I learned about different tree harvesting methods, and why tree harvesting is important to the state of Ohio.

Another timber harvest site I visited was called turner ridge, where about 400 acres was harvested. Ben’s job is to set up the contractor’s logistics, mark where the dozer’s path will be, mark unwanted timber, and ensure the contractor is using Best management practices. This is an important job of the forest manager because timber harvesting is a large source of income for the division of forestry. I also visited another previously harvested site where I helped cover the logging road with straw and grass seed. This is important to help prevent water erosion, to help new growth of trees in the area. This site was harvested by division of forestry employees, last winter.

I gained experience using Polaris ranger and ATVs on the ATV trail this summer. One of my tasks included clearing the ATV trails by cutting back brush to make sure riders were not caught in thick brush. The ATV trails spans about 14 miles long with many steep hills and rough terrain. Other tasked at the ATV area included marking new trails, checking publications and patron use cards, as well as picking up trash and mowing the front area.

Other tasks included operating zero turn Dixie chopper and lazar mowers, including john Deere riding mower and stihl weed eaters. Areas we mowed included the headquarters, Anderson Lake, the front yard of the Intern house, and forest service road gates. Cutting the grass once per week shows the public that we care how the state forest looks.

One special project I worked on this summer was building picnic tables for both the pike state forest and the Perry state forest ATV areas. We finished 10 tables and transported 5 to each  area.

The other special project that the other Intern and I worked on was the manager’s house, remodeling the bathroom. This project was completed by the end of the summer and was worked on by one of the carpenters with the division of forestry.

I have also participated in fire prevention as Smokey Bear at two different events during my Internship. Smokey Bear was started in 1944 in conjunction with the United State forest service and Ad council. The US forest service lets state forestry divisions use the logo and name of Smokey Bear to help prevent wild fires across the United States. The Ohio division of forestry has a Smokey bear costume they use at special events including school functions, and promotional events. During the month of June, Cabela’s location in Centerville, Ohio, was hosting a kid’s day with discounts and many community organizations represented. I was to report to the Columbus office, drive to the store location, and rotate with the service forester and Columbus office Intern taking turns being Smokey Bear.

At the Ohio State fair, the Department of Natural Resources is represented at the ODNR Park where each division has their own display. The division of forestry has a Smokey Bear statue that stands 15 feet tall. With special permission from the US forest service, Smokey will talk to visitors that walk by and teach young kids to never ever play with fire. The division of forestry reaches out to much of the public thought the state fair with help from interns and other division employees. Many people who visit the state fair help support the department in many ways by purchasing hunting license and visiting state parks.

Toward the end of the summer my supervisor was called out on the Ohio Interagency fire crew in Wyoming and Colorado fighting wild fires. During this time I was sent to the Hocking state forest to assist with forest operations. At the hocking state forest there is a horse camp that I helped mowed, including the state forest headquarters and service road gates. On Friday August 12, the division hosted all of the summer interns for an end of the summer staff party. The chief, both deputy chiefs, forest managers, and other officers in the Columbus and Chillicothe office came to the hocking cabin, located across from the headquarters. Exit interviews were conducted as well as lunch was provided. We briefly walked around the forest, looking at soil types and tree identification as well as forest health.

Overall this internship was exciting, educational and fun. I worked hard, long hot hours but I enjoyed the work I did and valued the experience.

STEP Signature Project

For my STEP Signature Project, I accepted an internship position with the Walt Disney Company in Orlando, Florida. I specialized in Hospitality Management while actively working in the Magic Kingdom, helping to facilitate quality guest experience and satisfaction. My day-to-day involved spending a large amount of time working at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and assisting in hospitable relations at this site.

Prior to my STEP Signature Project, I often struggled with patience when working with people I didn’t know well. During my Project, I spent every single day interacting with and working for guest whom I had never before met, and who often tried my patience in more ways than one. Whether the request be reasonable, like needing assistance on and off the roller coaster, or wildly unreasonable, like asking to cut in front of the three-hour wait line of people because “it’s my birthday”, I learned how to interact with people in a new way. Never before had I been exposed to so many people who were looking to me to solve their problems. Never before had I been asked for directions or instructions for how something in the park operated—in both English and Spanish (thank you OSU Spanish Minor!). In this internship capacity, I was the one being looked to for advice, guidance, a listening ear for a complaint, and so much more in the ways of hospitality management.

If not for this Project, I would likely be just as impatient and quick to annoyance and anger with strangers as I have always been. It is thanks to this transformational experience, however, that I have gained a new outlook on helping others—a much more patient outlook. Since returning to Ohio State, I find that I am less irritated when walking to class by the sheer number of people surrounding me. I am less likely to get frustrated when waiting in long line for my coffee before class. I am more inclined to lend a helping-hand to someone who seems lost on their way around campus, when previously I would have just continued on my way without stopping to ask if they need any assistance. It is thanks to my STEP Signature Project that I am a more patient person, willing to stop and help any stranger I encounter, and much more likely to have a smile on my face at all times (because as I learned at Disney, I am a performer in this world and putting on a Good Show is the most important!).

First and foremost, I can thank my transformational experience, in no small part, to my fellow “Cast Members” in the Magic Kingdom. No matter the length of the shift, or how much sleep we were able to sneak in before closing the park and opening the next morning, the men and women with whom I worked were some of the kindest, most servant-hearted people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. At times, particularly on long days with little sleep, I found it difficult to stay positive and to be kind and welcoming to all the guests. If not for the encouragement and support of my fellow Cast Members, I am certain my experience would’ve been significantly more challenging. I am beyond grateful for the friendships I made and the outpouring of kindness I received on this internship.

In addition to my fellow interns and employees, I have to look to the guests who came to visit the Magic Kingdom as my inspiration for transformation on this Project. They came to the park with everything from smiles and kindness, to vulgar language and downright rude behavior. If not for the guests, my experience in being hospitable no matter the situation would have been nonexistent. These families, couples, and friends came into Walt Disney World with a level of expectation for everything they encountered. Whether they expected something from the Cast Members, the park itself, or their fellow guests, they had expectations they desperately wanted to have met. Rather unfortunately so, the requests (demands) of the guest simply could not be met, and that is often where my internship department came in. An unsatisfied guest is the worst thing in the mind of a Disney Cast Member and it is of upmost importance that they leave feeling happy. By working side-by-side Disney employees and my fellow interns, I was able to help resolve conflicts and create a peaceful, happy experience for the guests. My patience was tested on multiple occasions, and it is because of this that I have been transformed into the person I am today.

Finally, it is the program as a whole that I have to thank for my transformation. From pairing me with supportive, caring, and kind roommates who gave to love and encouragement throughout my program, to the placement at the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, I am blessed to have been a part of this internship. The classes that accompanied my program provided me with the tools for success that I used every single day. The facility I worked in gave me encouragement to be kind and to have patience with each and every guest. And lastly, it is the STEP program that gave me the means to embark on this adventure that I am beyond grateful to have experienced, as well as to have been wholly transformed by.

As previously mentioned, I was not a particularly patient person before embarking on my eight month long Signature Project. I was quickly annoyed by crowds and lines and often felt angered by being asked questions by strangers. This Project was significant because it truly transformed one of my least favorite aspects of myself. I have gained patience as a result of my internship, a personality feature I have been working on for nearly my entire twenty-one years of life. I gained friendships and skills I will carry with me throughout my life, and it is all thanks to the Second-Year Transformational Experience Project. I am grateful for the opportunity to take this internship and for all of the wonderful benefits my Signature Project provided.

STEP Reflection

STEP Reflection

 

  • My step project was helping me fund my summer internship at Applied Manufacturing Technologies.  At my internship, I essentially wrote programs in the programming language C which allowed me to access data from different databases.  I used the funding to help subsidize my housing, food, travel and other expenses I incurred along the way.

 

  • This internship marked many firsts.  This was my first time ever living on my own, first time being in such a professional setting every day, and the first time I had a chance to develop many skills that one simply cannot do in a classroom setting. At my internship, I was immersed in an environment where I was surrounded by people that are revered in the chemical engineering world.  With their expertise, knowledge and guidance I quickly learnt what it takes to be more professional.  Aside from just the superficial things such as how to dress, how to behave and etiquette I also learnt how to develop a strong relationship with clients, how to properly convey a thought or message in a professional manner, and how to professionally give constructive criticism.  These are all traits that can only be learnt through practice in the real world.  The actual task really grounded my understanding of programming and internal network database structures and my internship was no means one where I just got my boss coffee.  I worked close to fifty hour weeks where I had something to do at all points in time.  At first the idea of working forty let alone fifty hour weeks seemed daunting, exhausting, and overwhelming.  But I definitely learnt that if I were able to find a job that I enjoyed doing those hours would fly by.

At home I had to cook for myself, clean, do laundry, and make sure to pay my rent, stay organized and take care of all the other duties associated with living on your own.  Being in college helps you learn some of these skills but I had lived in dorms or at home till this point so I hadn’t had all the responsibilities all at once before.  In the professional world image and presentation is everything so I had to make sure that I had clean, ironed dress clothes, and that I had a lunch prepared for the next day and that I shaved and made myself presentable.  I was also taking three summer classes so it was imperative that I was very organized to ensure that I spent enough time for those classes.  I also worked out every day so I needed to allot time for that as well.  Thus my time management skills greatly improved.

  • I would break my experience into three main parts, the work experience, life outside of work, and overall takeaways.

My work experience can be broken down into two parts, the intangibles that I learnt and what I learnt through my project.  The workplace environment itself was a lot more relaxed than I thought it would be.  My boss and other employees there stressed the importance of interaction between each other to foster a setting that promoted efficiency, proficiency and one where I wasn’t afraid to ask questions.  I learnt how this not only applies in the office but is also the same mentality that is used when approaching clients.  When interacting with clients it isn’t always business because that isn’t how we operate as human beings.  If you have a personal connection with your client then now you’ve developed a stronger relationship and can thus implement the characteristics that are there in the office.  I also learnt the importance of communication.  The first couple weeks I was there I was a bit scared of approaching certain people and asking questions.  Thus, the work I did didn’t match the expectations of my boss.  Once I settled in and became a bit more comfortable I started communicating with others, asking more questions and suddenly the quality of my work and my efficiency improved immensely.  I was tasked with developing C based API routines designed to interrogate and retrieve process data from IP21, a real-time data historian that is commonly used by the refining and petro-chemical industry.   I set up a VM on a Windows 2003 server platform to test the proper functioning of these API calls.  Furthermore, I bundled these API routines into a DLL so as that process data is available seamlessly to an Excel VB based data analytics and visualization application.  This project really grounded my programming knowledge and furthered my knowledge of network databases as well.  As an electrical engineer I was very fortunate to be able to take on such a fruitful project.

This experience also taught me that as much as the internship was the pinnacle of my summer, everyone has a life outside of the workplace, which is just as important.  Every day I returned home, made dinner, worked out and then did any studying or homework I needed to do for the three summer classes I was taking.  At first, this schedule was very demanding and very overwhelming.  However, over time I developed a rigorous schedule and was able to free up a lot of time to explore Houston and enjoy my time off.  I also needed to stay organized and be diligent to make sure that I had all my laundry done well in advance, shirts and pants ironed, lunch made for the next day and homework and studying done accordingly.  I also am an avid tennis player and a gym enthusiast so I wanted to ensure that I had enough time to do that as well.

The point of an internship is to explore different areas, settings, cities, e.t.c.  By trade, I am an electrical engineer.  However this internship was strictly a programming and software based internship.  Thus I really was exploring the fields of computer science and computer engineering rather than traditional electrical engineering fields.  After this experience I learnt that I would like a mix of both the software component tied in with a hardware component as well.  Thus I knew that I wanted to work for a company such as Boston Dynamics, Google, Tesla, and other such companies.  In terms of the setting I actually enjoyed having my own project with some guidance but having my own cubicle to really be able to focus and be as productive as I could.  That being said I would like a slightly more hands on aspect.  My internship was in Houston Texas which is ironically where I was born and spent my early couple years.  After I moved to Chicago and have lived there ever since.  I could see myself living in Houston however I’d much rather prefer moving back to Chicago and settling there.  Just like this there were countless other small takeaways that have really solidified my idea of what I’d like to be and do after college.

  • This change matters a lot because it helps me get a understanding of the value of money, how to budget, what I like about my major, field and company size, how I can shape myself to be a better business professional and the steps I need to take to achieve these things.  To begin, STEP really makes you sit down and come up with a budget that you think you’ll need and forces you to stick to that budget.  This is really good as one can become really complacent really easily if the only thing in mind is the short term focus.  Thus I learnt how much it costs for rent, food, gas, clothing and it gives me a better sense of how I should budget while living off campus in college and even look to how I’ll be living post-graduation.  I learnt that I actually really like programming and I like learning about the mainframes which is significantly different than my focus as a EE in electrical engineering at Ohio state.  Although what I’m learning is slightly dissimilar to the interests that I develop I learnt that what I will be learning in my major will give me a full encompassed understanding of the tech world that has come to consume our world.  Thus I have a greater appreciation for my classes and for my major which motivates me more in school.  I also learnt that I don’t like working at a small company.  Although interning at a small company means that my responsibilities were higher since a lot of work needed to always be done it also didn’t have the set environment that I usually like.  I like working in teams, having meetings and working collectively to achieve a greater goal.  Now I understand that individual work will always be there but working at a small company means a lot more individual work as more people take on smaller responsibilities.  Thus this upcoming summer I would like to work for a huge conglomerate such as Honeywell or JP Morgan Chase.  As I look into my future and see who I want to be I have come to understand that being a great business professional requires two things, soft skills and hard skills.  The hard skills come from the technical background that I am developing through an engineering degree at Ohio State.  But the soft skills such as communication are only developed through practice and getting to understand what people want.  Thus I want to go to more networking events, and join more clubs and get involved more on campus so that I can constantly practice these things.  Overall STEP allowed me to enjoy an experience in a more structured manner.

 

Abbott Nutrition Co-op

Name: Emma Curtis

Type of Project: Internship

For my STEP experience, I spent 6 months working for Abbott Nutrition here in Columbus, OH for a co-op rotation. The co-op was actually a packaging engineering position even though I am a chemical engineering major. I supported a project installing three new aseptic processing and filling lines at two different Abbott Nutrition manufacturing plants in Altavista, VA and Casa Grande, AZ. The new aseptic processing and filling lines included a new package type to be produced by Abbott Nutrition as part of a large scale margin improvement initiative. This new package type was the largest cost-saving packaging project in the last decade at Abbott Nutrition.

This co op experience was a very transformational experience for me. One of my biggest transformations during these past 6 months was a change in my assumptions about what real world work experience is like. This was my first co-op/internship experience and I was nervous to start this co-op knowing that I was entering a world of packaging with which I was very unfamiliar. The majority of previous interns in my position had been packaging majors or had at least some form of packaging background but packaging was an entirely new realm for me coming from a chemical engineering background. I assumed I would struggle with the learning curve not only as a first time worker but also as a packaging engineer. This assumption was quickly changed when I realized I was surrounded by full time employees who also originally did not come from packaging backgrounds. Many of my co-workers had degrees in mechanical, industrial, or chemical engineering. Some had worked in other industries for years before Abbott. As it turns out, my assumption was wrong and I was able to be successful in my position without prior packaging knowledge. As long as you have the core engineering background of problem solving and critical thinking, you can apply that knowledge to any field and learn whatever industry you choose to pursue. Another big transformation for me was learning how confront my workplace weaknesses head on. I learned about my natural tendencies to be hesitant to ask questions and to be uneasy about the quality of my work. I realized that in the workplace, your performance greatly impacts your team and those around you whereas in school, your performance primarily only affects yourself. All of these transformations were crucial in making this experience a positive one for me.

My change in assumption about needing a packaging engineering background was quite a gradual change that occurred throughout the semester via various interactions and observations. I set up several one on ones during my first month with various engineers and managers in order to learn a little bit more about their experiences at Abbott and beyond. Having these one on one experiences with a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds really opened my eyes to the endless opportunities available to me not only within Abbott but beyond with my chemical engineering degree.

I was forced out of my comfort zone quite a bit during my co-op experience and while I may not have appreciated it at the time, getting out of my comfort zone was an important part of my transformational experience and had a great impact on me professionally and personally. At the beginning of my co op experience, I would get nervous to speak up in meetings. I was afraid of saying something incorrect or of asking questions for clarity because I wanted to look professional and knowledgeable. The more I attended meetings, the more I realized that my experience was part of a learning process and that questions were encouraged in order to help myself gain a better understanding of my tasks and projects. I also struggled with knowing the value of my quality of work. I was the only intern in my office and had never had an internship before. I knew I was getting compared to previous interns and I generally have a tendency to put a lot of pressure on myself . I was always worried that I should be going even more above and beyond in my work and I was concerned the work I was doing was not up to par or as high quality as other interns in the past. After several performance reviews with my boss, she assured me that I was doing a great job and to keep doing what I am doing. I learned the importance of giving your all each and every day which is the best you can do. Having more confidence in my work was a huge transformation for me as a person at the end of this co-op.

Another big transformation for me was adjusting to the pressure of having others depend on your work. On a few occasions, I performed tasks incorrectly due to lack of understanding and others had to assist me and cover for me if needed. Being an intern, making a few mistakes was expected and not frowned upon as I was there to learn. All I knew before this co-op was school. I was used to knowing that if I performed poorly on an exam, that was on me and I would have to study harder next time to improve. Often in the workplace, making mistakes affects others working with you. Adjusting to this concept after a few failed attempts at tasks was difficult for me to overcome, but affected me greatly.

This experience and the transformations that followed were very valuable to me. All the transformations in my beliefs and behaviors that occurred during my semester on the job will greatly help me in my next internship with Abbott, any internships to follow, and in my future professional career. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work full time at Abbott, the experiences I had and the lessons I learned were invaluable. After completing this internship and after seeing all my transformations take place, I am even more motivated to perform well academically. I will continue to develop my workplace knowledge and continue to hone in the behaviors I learned and see how they changed me during this past semester. I am very excited to complete another internship with Abbott and to see how the transformations from this experience will continue to positively affect me in the future!

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