West Coast, Best Coast: Portland Internship at Moss Adams

My internship this summer at Moss Adams involved tax and assurance/audit accounting work. I prepared entire tax returns for a couple corporations. In addition, there were various supporting tasks that I completed for both the tax and assurance services. During the last week of my internship, I went to a client and had the opportunity of working on the audit report for this company. Unlike many other interns, I always had work that full-time employees were giving me. Another activity I completed involved developing a fun charity event for the entire Portland office to engage in. Once the charity was chosen, I helped organize the event and incentivize people to donate. In addition, I took on the responsibility of coordinating a day for the interns to volunteer at a local non-profit.

The first week involved introductory training and getting acquainted with the firm. All of the interns were still very professional and formal. The following week we had more training, but it was in Disneyland in California. The 30+ interns in the Portland, Oregon office all flew out of PDX together. We made it to the Disneyland hotel and immediately started to bond and get acquainted. There was a social the first night that allowed everyone to hang out in a less formal setting. The next day, we had a presentation involving the topic of becoming “famous” which encouraged all of the interns across all office locations to strive to be that. This resonated with me. Initially I was timid, but after this presentation, I instantly became more comfortable and bold. I found myself in a lot of situations making people laugh and being completely myself. This is a very profound change. I have never felt so comfortable around a group of people so quickly. I let all of my guards down. There were other fun activities in Disneyland that allowed me to foster deep connections with several of the interns. These friendships were maintained even once we left Disneyland.

Returning to the office, I began to understand myself even better. I took a strengths finder test and was presented with some very unexpected strengths. Three of my top five strengths were other-oriented. One of them was titled “includer” and throughout my internship I noticed myself utilizing this strength. I made every effort to ensure that all interns felt included and accepted. Although it is natural for some people to gravitate towards each other, I was worried about cliques forming. Whenever I had free time, I would talk to different interns and try to get to know them on a personal level. If anyone was gone at a client for a while, I would eagerly welcome them when they came back to the office. I assumed that my mindset for this internship would be to focus on myself and develop my skills and do such a great job that the company would have to give me a full time offer. However, that mindset was completely gone for most of the internship. My outlook transformed into focusing on other people. I no longer thought of developing myself, but in developing relationships with others and in making others glad to be at work. In fact, I made a bad mistake one day, and it was initially upsetting, but everyone supported me, and it was no longer a big deal. By shifting my selfish focus to an outlook regarding the wellness of others, I was ultimately able to grow and develop, even though it occurred in an unusual manner.

Although the company is an accounting firm, the structure is much different on the west coast. Co-workers are a lot less formal, and often act more like friends, with occasional seriousness to complete their work. I went to tour a client and ended up getting very carsick. I was emotional and did not look well at all. However, I did not ask anyone to take me back to the site because I did not want to make anyone miss out on the tour. One of the interns saw my misery and decided to be a voice. She asked an employee of the client to take me back to where our cars were parked, and a recruiter willingly came back with me. She let me sleep in her car with the AC on, which helped my sickness go away. Both the recruiter and the intern were so eager to help me. Their kindness showed me the importance of making deep relationships with people, and by being open and honest with other people, they are more willing to assist me and strengthen me.

The changes that occurred in me throughout this internship will have a profound impact on my life. I was always worried about switching my major from healthcare professions to accounting. I had no idea how I could help people, which is an important aspect of a career I pursue. However, the transformation I experienced showed me that I can help others in any career I choose. I believe that utilizing my other-oriented strengths in my personal life has immensely changed as well. A lot of my friendships are superficial, and I often stop investing in them after a while. However, my persistent openness and acceptance during the internship can enable me to develop more meaningful friendships in my personal life. By persistently caring for someone, they will most likely, in return, begin caring for me as well. In addition, I realized how much more fulfilled and energized I felt during the 8 weeks I worked for Moss Adams. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I was so happy throughout the entire 8 weeks, and it was all because I chose to serve others rather than serve myself.

– Amanda Walsh

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.

Genscape Summer Internship

My STEP Signature Project was an internship that I completed in Louisville, KY from May-August 2016. It was at an energy monitoring company called Genscape. I mainly worked with the Finance and Client Services team.

A major transformation that occurred during my STEP Signature Project was about my understanding in regards to my future career. I was able to envision myself working in the energy field, and the internship I completed gave me a solid understanding of what I would have to achieve throughout my time at OSU and beyond to get to where I want to be. I truly got to understand what it would be like to work in a career field that I am passionate about when I graduate from OSU. While completing my coursework, I was not 100% sure if I would find my future career enjoyable. I was really able to get hands on experience and real world perspective as to how my college classes would lead to my future career in the business world. The experience really strengthened my confidence in my major, and the track that I have chosen to pursue. I was really able to understand myself, and create goals for my future.

There were many different events and activities that occurred throughout my internship that led through my summer transformation. However, there were two that really stood out to me the most. One of the main events that occurred were weekly “lunch and learns” that were sponsored by the company. During these sessions, different executives from different departments of the company would come and give presentations that were solely about their department. During the course of the summer, I heard presentations from the R&D team, the CEO, the CFO, and CSO. They would discuss their educational and professional background, and offer suggestions to the interns. We were able to meet with them one-on-one as well. This was extremely helpful for me, because they answered all of my questions regarding my professional development, and offered insight that only a person in the field would have. They even went as far as offering to write me recommendations, and connecting with me on LinkedIn. The lunch and learns were without a doubt, my favorite part about the summer.

Another event that occurred throughout my time at Genscape was a community wide internship session, hosted by the mayor. This was an opportunity for a lot of the interns in the Louisville area to meet one another. This gathering helped me meet other interns in the area, and learn more about what they were doing at different companies in Louisville. This was interesting to learn about. Although I grew up in Louisville, I was able to learn more about what opportunities were there, and how people were bettering the community. I was also able to meet with the mayor briefly and discuss his plans for Louisville, and how he was really pushing to have more college graduates come and live in the area. I was able to experience a professional side of the city that I had never seen before.

Because of these experiences, and the opportunities that STEP and my internship has given me, I can say that I have transformed greatly this summer, and I am well on my way to not only having the career that I have wanted, but also becoming the person that I have wanted to be.

The transformation is very valuable for my life in my different ways. Academically, I have realized that that there are many other courses that I would benefit from taking to make myself more employable. This way, I will have a broader skill set. Many of my managers and coworkers had programming skills. Though they were able to teach me the basics, I realized that it would definitely help if I were to take some CSE classes before graduating. I also feel that my internship helped my professional and future plans because I was able to develop strong networking connections with my managers, and even the company executives. By the end of the summer, I had been offered to come back, and also encouraged to pursue employment at the company upon graduating. Although I am not completely certain about what I want to do when I graduate, I am very happy that I have been able to network and make connections so that I am able to have options for employment upon graduation. The experience I had this summer was incredibly rewarding, and definitely was significant for my life.

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Highlights for Children

For my STEP Signature Project, I worked as an intern at Highlights for Children. I interned with their eCommerce department, where I built web pages and worked on site search engine optimization.

This was my first extended amount of time working in a professional environment. Over my summer at Highlights, I was able to practice living on my own, dressing professionally, and maintaining a work-life balance. This experience helped me to feel more confident in a professional setting, especially when it comes to working on a team with employees of different levels.

So often in classes, students find themselves thinking, “when will I ever use this?” I am happy to report that throughout my internship, I applied several themes and topics from both my Communications and Computer Science Courses. I edited HTML code for new webpages, which is a skill that I learned in one of my first Computer Science classes at Ohio State. I also worked with online advertising, which I learned the various strategies of in Introduction to Communication Technology. I was positively surprised to know that what I am learning in my classes really will help me in my future career.

The biggest transformation, for me, was a change in confidence. Because of my STEP project, I am able to feel confident in my ability to succeed in a professional environment. I was fortunate to work with a team at Highlights of warm and welcoming employees, who never made me feel that it was a hassle to explain their work to me. Particularly, my relationships with my bosses, Kevin and Brendin, helped me; the two of them always kept their door open for me and encouraged me to ask any questions. I also gave a presentation to the CEO of the company, and his praise was a huge boost to my confidence as well.

One of my personal goals for this internship was to better understand what type of career I would like to go into. Working with the eCommerce department, I got to attend meetings and work on projects with other departments including, IT, Web Services, Creative Services, and Product Management. Seeing this wide view of areas that I could potentially have as careers was quite valuable to me. While I do have a technical background in Computer Science, I have decided that I would not like to have an IT job. Also, I now know that I would not like a business position that deals with sales numbers. Rather, I prefer a slightly more creative position; one that is project based and works with the human-interaction side of STEM.

I feel like my STEP project was an opportunity to dip my toes in the water of the adult world. At my internship, I had to be accountable for my work and a dependable employee. With my project funding, I bought groceries, prepared meals, paid rent, and improved my professional wardrobe. These personal adjustments helped to make me feel confident about life after Ohio State as well.

Since completing my internship at Highlights, I have solidified my major and minor. I am now a New Media & Communication Technology major with a minor in Computer Information Science. Deciding on a major (and minor) is something that had been a cause of stress for me for a while. I am so glad that through my internship, I have been able to choose a major and minor that will point me in the direction of my career intentions.

I am pleased to report that I have been invited back for a second internship next summer at Highlights. I was also offered a part-time position for during the school year, which I turned down for the time being to focus on academics. Because I will be returning to Highlights, there is certainly a possibility that I may end up working there after I graduate. This possibility has shaped my future plans because I am beginning to consider building a life in Columbus, working at Highlights, and setting further career goals for myself there.

STEP-Missouri Department of Conservation Internship

I spent my summer working as a botanical research technician for the Missouri Department of Conservation during my STEP Signature Project. As an employee of the Grassland Field Station, I worked to document presence and absence data for 50 prairie flora on six remnant prairies in the western portions of the state. These remnants contain some of the last tract of the original prairie landscape that dominated most of western Missouri, primarily the Osage Plains. As a technician, I assisted my supervisors, Dr. Elizabeth Middleton and Jessie Needham, in their examination of population changes in the plant community, as well as documenting rare species.

Clinton, Missouri made a practical recluse from the modern world; with barely any internet or radio access in town, I made a sojourn from the outside world into a semi-permeable bubble of relaxed town life. In this isolation, fellow technicians and I befriended one another, and when we weren’t working out on the pristine prairie, we would socialize through watching films, going fishing or travelling the state. I enjoyed finally finding a group of people who wanted to spend most of their time outside deliberately. I could plant trips to visit natural wonders with these folks, and better understand the enormous landscape and floral diversity of Missouri.

With my coworkers, I visited prairies and many other habitats of Missouri and the surrounding states; we scaled the Pinnacles of Columbia, we floated the Huzzah River in the eastern Ozarks, and we hiked to the edge of hydration in Drover’s Prairie. I met a sustainable builder on his carbon-neutral homestead, an aspiring entomologist, and an effervescent catfish biologist. Even when travelling outside of work, I met prominent conservation advocates behind much of the scientific management of public prairies; these adventurous scientists, who spoke in science rather than in emotion, imparted the value of prairie that I now see as essential to both sustainable agriculture and to ecological conservation.

I learned more about rural America in Clinton, and more about the region on further sorties. I saw the big cities: Kansas City, Springfield, and Joplin. I visited the Indian tribes who originally hailed from my corner of Ohio in Miami, Oklahoma. In travelling around, I found Missouri as a strong mosaic of peoples associated more strongly with their landscapes than I saw in Ohio. Some drove their boats across the state to the large reservoirs of the Ozarks every weekend. Others hunted the forests of eastern Missouri. A select few went birding in the prairies and agricultural grasslands. Whereas Ohio consists of farms, suburbs, and cities, Missouri’s land use and physical conditions produce a strong mixed use landscapes. This incorporation between man and land seemed a stronger ecological integration than the segregation of man and nature I saw in my classes and in my conversations at Ohio State.

In my field work, I found that many plants that I had seen previously only as weeds—asters, sneezeweeds, and goldenrods namely—actually served to punctuate the prairie as colorful points woven into a tapestry of grasses and forbs. The rolling hills laid out the spontaneous order that prairie communities have established in the last 10,000 years. These plants, which I only viewed as weeds, served roles within the prairie, often more beautiful than the most colorful ornamental any horticulturalist ever bred. In the field, I found myself seeing the beauty of the ruderal.

Practicing field botany, I walked through prairies long ago conquered in the name of Manifest Destiny, and yet in the moment, anyone could find new things lurking in these relatively untouched grasslands. I stumbled upon wild roses yet unknown: one potentially new to the state; the other—to the chagrin of Guns and Roses—lacking thorns. In 200 years of European-American exploration and settlement, I saw plants charismatic, yet unknown to centuries of scientific investigation. As a mere technician, I came across specimens that likely only I and my coworkers will ever specifically document ever. These grains of sand will disappear before the next person stoops down into the brush to feel each tiller or scrutinize each flower. I found conservation so scientific and superior to the environmental movements around my school; I found the facts that underlie the feelings prairies invoke.

Above all, I found education that supported my infatuation with natural science, and teaching that cemented my understanding. Learning my target species across their life history and exploring the 200-300 other species that might occur out in the bush confirmed my academic direction at Ohio State and showed me the way I want to learn about the world when I matriculate. I focused on true conservation, acknowledging that even preserving these natural wonders demands human management. I learned of the diversity of life that inhabits even temperate North America, despite those famed tropical gardens to our south. I found careers that no advisor, professor, or peer ever really discussed as I have begun the arduous task of lining up my first career employ. In essence, I explored a holistic world of grasses and forbs and people that drives me outside of Ohio State to look at the natural world beyond.

Jonathan Kubesch Diamond Grove Prairie

Jonathan Kubesch Diamond Grove Prairie

Jonathan Kubesch Kickapoo Prairie

Jonathan Kubesch
Kickapoo Prairie

Jonathan Kubesch Pinnacles

Jonathan Kubesch
Pinnacles

Jonathan Kubesch Kansas City, Missouri

Jonathan Kubesch
Kansas City, Missouri

Jonathan Kubesch Diamond Grove Prairie

Jonathan Kubesch
Diamond Grove Prairie

STEP Reflection

Big Ben & London Eye

I interned for BritishAmerican Business in London through the Fisher Summer Global Internship program. I was fully integrated into the Policy team and helped with research, communication, and publication design development. My final project was an analysis piece on the American Perception of Brexit, as it occurred during my time there, which was published on their website.

A lot of things, both personal and professional, were affected by this STEP Signature Project. Going into a workplace setting wasn’t the most comfortable, especially into a small team with a lot of hands on work. Immediately, I was involved in projects, I ran the Twitter account, and I took part in meetings with business executives and government officials. I definitely grew more confident in representing myself and the company at events and panels that I attended on their behalf. I participated and contributed during conference calls, and I was more confident when speaking with colleagues and officials over the phone as well. One of the biggest compliments that my supervisor gave me on a feedback form was that I had the ability to command a room, and that I just needed to always have the confidence that I could rightfully do so. Being in such a professional setting for two months helped with my confidence a lot and I was able to be more confident personally and professionally. I wasn’t really treated like an intern during my time with BritishAmerican Business, and because they put so much faith in me to deliver what was asked made a huge difference to my confidence and allowed me to grow so much more.

Similarly, my view of the world has changed drastically. Living in London for two months gave me a lot more of a worldly perspective. I worked for a company that is greatly invested on the UK’s spot in the EU, and being there in a politically revolutionary time made all the difference in the world. I was able to research and see reactions to both sides of the vote and see first-hand the effect on the citizens of the country and the businesses as well. I was also able to travel on the weekends, so I was able to see and experience other countries and other cultures.

There were numerous events, interactions, relationships, and activities that shaped by change/transformation throughout my internship. BritishAmerican Business hosted a lot of networking events with their member companies, and as an intern, I was able to attend all of these events and partake in the events. I met and networked with business executives from UK Trade and Investment, Deloitte, UK Government, EY, and many more companies. I became more confident with my networking abilities over this time.

I was also able to make connections with many of importance within BritishAmerican Business. I worked with the CEO and connected with the newly elected Chairman of their board. I also worked closely with their Director of Policy and Trade as my supervisor, and he has become a reference for me. We have developed a great relationship over the past two months, and look forward to staying in touch in the future. All of these relationships and interactions have affected me greatly because they have made me more confident in my professional aspirations and ability to communicate.

The most important aspect of this experience was the work that I was able to do while in London. BritishAmerican Business made me a full member of their team, giving me ample responsibilities and tasks that really made a difference for them and for me as well. I wrote monthly updates for their member companies, participated in conference calls, attended panels, designed publication materials, drafted a press release, researched, and wrote an analysis piece during my time there. This affected me so much because I have been published internationally, and I have so much more confidence in my writing, research abilities, and knowledge in international relations and topics.

This change/transformation has had a significant impact on my life. My co-workers became good friends that I will continue to be in contact with. Professionally, I have published work that I can refer to on my resume as well as references. I plan on going into a professional field similar to my internship, so the relevant experience is really important to have. Honestly, I can’t be more grateful for this opportunity because I got to go and live in my new favorite city in the world, work with amazing people who gave me so many opportunities, and I got to travel and explore Europe for the summer.