- My STEP Signature Project was an internship for a small healthcare consulting firm based in Powell, OH. The firm specialized in providing fundraising solutions and coaching for healthcare based non-profits. My specific role as an intern was to assist the senior consultants with their projects; this means anything from conducting research or surveys to drafting proposals and coaching materials.
- While completing my STEP Signature Project, there were subtle things I noticed about the specific industry I was working in that I had not previously thought of. The company I interned for worked in a very niche industry, our clients were foundations and fundraising teams for non-profit healthcare organizations. One of my original world views was that there are a lot of individuals in society whose first priority is themselves and second is others. Through this internship I learned that there are people who dedicate their lives to the betterment of others. For example, I met the foundation president at Dayton Children’s Hospital and through our conversations, her only agenda was to find ways to raise money that goes towards the treatment of children in that hospital.
- The transformation that I went through during my STEP Signature Project was that I was able to see a line of work that I previously had not known existed and seen the characteristics of the people who work in that sector. The fundraisers and leaders of hospital foundations are responsible for raising money to pay for the initiatives of the hospital.The specific moment when this change took place for me was when I went on a trip with the Principle Consultant of Health Giving to Dayton Children’s Hospital to have a wrap-up meeting for their recently finished capital campaign as well as look to the future of the hospital. Our firm assisted the hospital’s foundation through coaching and management for their Reaching New Heights campaign that raised $27 million for a new patient tower. We had a meeting with all the fundraiser on the foundation’s team and debriefed the whole campaign process. Each fundraiser was so passionate about representing the hospital in the community. Every ask they made was for no other reason than to raise money for the children in need of the hospital’s services.
The end of the meeting was dedicated to looking to the future of the hospital and on ways to make the hospital better. The team did not sit back and celebrate their successful campaign for long, they had already gone into planning mode for their next campaign. This showed me that there are people in their careers who are in that job because they care about the work they are doing. There is no prestige or status that comes with that job, their sole rationale is to raise money for the kids.
- Seeing this in the real world was very significant for me. I saw that there is a lot more that goes into choosing a career than just the name of the company or how much you get paid. Because of my experiences during this internship, I realized that when it comes to choosing my job, I want to pick a job that really aligns with my values. Moving forward I have turned away from searching for internships with large corporate companies that I feel don’t necessarily align with my values. Instead I have started looking at smaller companies that have a company culture and set of values that are in line with where I want to grow my career.
Prompt #1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP signature project.
My STEP project took place at Retire-IT, an IT management firm dealing in IT asset disposition. I worked within the small company handling lead generation, market research, client health and analysis, and also software demonstration. I learned so much during my time at Retire-IT and know that my gained experience will pay off in the future.
Prompt #2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
My experience at Retire-IT changed me in a few ways. For starters, it changed the way I viewed the day-to-day operations within a business. All of the things that go on behind the scenes simply get taken for granted as a customer. It was valuable and informative to be on the inside and broaden my perspective. My experience also helped me learn about myself and what my strengths and weaknesses are. For example, right away I excelled in talking to clients on the phone, a task that I thought would be nerve-racking. Overall, I learned a lot about myself and business in general.
Prompt #3. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
Retire-IT greatly changed my view on what goes on in a business. Going in to my internship, my only reference point of business was from the movies and TV shows like “The Office.” I was excited and nervous to become a part of the business world, and to my surprise, I learned quickly. The first couple weeks I was trained on the software and operations of the business, then we hit the ground running. The summer was a busy time for Retire-IT and I loved handling all the tasks thrown my direction. The internship flew by, but I can say in confidence that I have valuable work experience that will help me in my future endeavors.
Retire-IT definitely changed my knowledge of my strengths and weaknesses. This knowledge is significant because before my internship, I was unsure how my abilities would play out in the business setting. After my STEP internship, I am confident in many abilities including talking with clients, making sales, implementing operations, and much more. Just as importantly, my STEP internship helped me recognize some weaknesses or areas of improvement. I realized that I need to work on completing tasks at hand before I move on to the next one, which is key when handling client support and scheduling. I also learned that I need to improve on my patience when talking to disgruntled clients about things that were out of my control. All of these things have transformed me by breaking my comfort zone to find what I am capable of.
Overall, my experience interning with Retire-IT for my STEP project was a success. Whether it was going on sales calls with my colleagues or talking with the CEO about better ways to increase lead generation, I could not have asked for a better experience. It was a compilation of all my experiences that gradually led to the changed person I am now. Each week had a different challenge to tackle and another obstacle to overcome. The general uncertainty of working inside logistical operations kept me on my toes and forced me to learn quickly on the job. My internship as a whole affected me more than I could have imagined, and I left Retie-IT with a greater sense of myself and the business world.
Prompt #4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
My STEP internship has helped transform myself, and also my future career. Going forward, I can talk to other interviewers about my experiences and challenges at Retire-IT and how it changed me. Most sophomore year interns are making coffee or doing grunt work. My STEP internship experience gives me the opportunity to give accounts of leadership, teamwork, and overcoming obstacles. Thanks to this internship, I have valuable experience that will set me apart from my peers and will allow me to move on to bigger and better things during my junior year. In the classroom, my knowledge gained at Retire-IT will help me in class relate topics to the real world and fully understand their importance. Knowing the practical relevance of my studies will allow me to ask better questions and engage with course material. In the end, my STEP internship at Retire-IT will be a vital building block for my academic and professional career.
My STEP Signature Project was a summer internship with Witten Farm in Columbus, Ohio. This project expanded upon my Community Leadership degree I am working towards at Ohio State, and taught me real world applications while aiding my professional development. On the day-to-day basis, I worked at Smith Farm Market performing daily market duties and focusing on outstanding customer service while overseeing employees. I also shadowed almost every position of the business, created projects, and learned about small business.
Through my STEP Signature Project, I gained a better understanding of myself. This understanding did not come easily, but through rough situations and quiet self-reflection. Before this summer, I had no idea what I wanted my career to be and I had never lived independently. Through my internship, I have been able to narrow my career focus as well as discover what work environment I do best in. Living independently taught me many lessons of self-care and interpersonal relationships.
My personal transformation came mainly through self-care and interpersonal relationships. This internship was a lot more work that I expected. There were many days that I was too physically and mentally exhausted and thought that I would quit. But, I learned how to push through, pace myself, and get help from friends and family. I had a great opportunity to meet new people in Columbus that I wouldn’t have without this STEP experience. Through these new relationships, I have been able to build friendships and network.
My career-related transformation came from discovering a passion for customer service and through work place challenges. Through this internship, I discovered my passion for customer service. Since a large portion of the job is working at a market, I have gained many work experiences that will carry over into my professional career. As I mentioned before, this internship was required much more physical labor than I had expected. This was a challenge, but improved my work ethic in the long run.
Shadowing the many positions of the small business was the most impactful part of this internship. They were very transparent about how the small business was run, and that helped me gain a deep appreciation for small family-owned businesses. Before this summer, I considered working in agriculture, but after learning about the day-to-to duties, I realized I would be better suited in a different career. Even though this area of business is not for me, I drew valuable lessons on leadership, professionalism, and personal development through this experience.
This transformation has helped me grow as a person. I am now more equip emotionally, physically, and mentally for challenges that may face me after graduation. Academically, I have real life examples to apply to my Community Leadership classes. STEP also allowed me to live in Columbus to complete my internship credit over the summer, which will help me focus on classes during school. Personally, I now understand my limits and how to care for myself during difficult times. Professionally, I’ve learned what to avoid in choosing future jobs and gained a better understanding of my strengths.
This summer, I stepped into a role that I thought might constitute most of my waking life in the future – a pastoral internship. I worked in a Protestant church aiding the lead pastor in sermon preparation, planning and church education. This entailed a lot of reading, writing, meetings and prayer as I tried to be faithful to my duties and my church family.
I learned a lot about myself this summer. It beat me down a little bit. Though I worked a full-time job the year before, this was different. I actually had important things to do this summer, unlike my past work. A few things about me stand out: 1. I’m easily distracted and lack a strong work ethic 2. I have the skills needed to prepare a sermon, and 3. I don’t think I’m cut out to be a lead pastor. As for the first of these, I really struggled to fill my time at work with actual work. I read a lot of unrelated articles and spent a lot of time thinking, but not a lot of time actually doing my job. In part, this happened because I didn’t have a lot to do. I finished my work pretty quickly every day. But there certainly was always more I could help out with or more I could take on. The failure to do this loomed large over me for awhile, and it’s still not gone (I have experienced the same thing this school year), but I was able to take some steps forward through intentionality, accountability and prayer.
As to the second of the points above, I enjoyed sermon preparation. Reading commentaries and listening to multitudes of sermons is fun for me. And I know that is not the case for many people. It is easy to be led astray by the variety of different opinions on any number of biblical topics from any number of authors. And not only do these authors disagree with each other, they sometimes disagree in boring ways (or are entirely boring in general). What I found out about myself is that I have a strong basis from which I interpret all the media I take in and I have a high tolerance for what others would call “boring”. I did not wrestle with the conflicting attitudes of authors because I already knew where I stood when I came in. I recognize that there is a place for exploring new ideas, but I did this in my free time rather than when I was trying to pick out what sentences of a 50-page chapter might be most useful for the formation of that week’s sermon. And I didn’t mind reading those 50 pages, even if the author was no literary master (few were). Understanding this seriously helped me to understand myself in relation to others in pastoral ministry (or other related careers).
Finally, to address the third and most significant point above, I do not consider myself to be qualified as a lead pastor. First, as to what qualifies someone, the books of 1 Timothy and Titus have some things to say about that. They are important, but not what I am primarily concerned with here. I do not think I am qualified because I lack the skill, the desire and the concentration needed to be a lead pastor. I am not easily able to connect with many people, especially challenging people. Surely, no one is perfectly able to do this, but I feel I am actually quite bad at it. I also came to the conclusion this summer that I don’t want to be a lead pastor. I would rather teach in a college or seminary and help out as an associate pastor/elder or worship director than be in charge. And that is partially because I currently cannot imagine myself dedicating all my time to one job in the future, even if it is one with varied responsibilities and activities.
As to the events, interactions, relationships and activities that led me to the three realizations I posited above, I think I have already tackled some of them. I mentioned reading commentaries and listening to sermons. These were important, but not nearly as important as the people I worked with. I joined in for staff meetings and sermon planning meetings as well as weekly meetings with the lead pastor and bi-weekly meetings with other interns. All of these were extremely important to me. I saw how other people acted in the workplace and talked with them about their desires, strengths, circumstances in life and struggles. More than anything else, these conversations helped me to realize that while I can plan sermons, I do not think I am cut out to be a lead pastor. The people around me were all different, but also all seemed to have things that I did not have. They all loved being around people and were excellent at approaching people and talking with them, whereas I am not. They also were all more caring than I am, less quick to judge. And surely, they assured me, these are things that I could grow into. I do not dispute this, but I also realize that I think I can put the energy needed to do that into other areas that will allow me to live my life in a more valuable way.
And that is why this transformation is so significant for my life. I have made huge strides this summer in imagining my future and what my life and work might look like. I decided to graduate a year early from college because I am now sure I want to pursue a graduate degree from a seminary, and I wanted to save the money and time. I have also begun to look into what it might look like to teach in the future and how I can mix that in with other things I would like to do. This summer also showed me that I am not needed at the lead pastor position and that there are plenty of other places I can serve. With this realization, a huge burden was lifted (granted, I had placed it on my own shoulders). I am free to do what I feel I will be best at and what will be best for me. I am free to pursue a future that is most glorifying to God. I am so much more comfortable now in going forward than I was before. This is how my STEP experience was transformational. I am thankful for it.
For my STEP project, I, Brianna Fries, completed an internship in the field of occupational therapy spanning about two and a half months from June 5th, 2017 to August 19th, 2017. This internship was with occupational therapists who work for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh North in Wexford (Pine Center). I worked 4 days a week, and the time of day varied. This entailed cleaning equipment, assisting occupational therapists, interacting with patients, etc.
My STEP signature project has affected my life in many different ways. I expected to show up to my internship on the first day and see lots of different occupational therapy techniques. However, things went slightly different than I imagined. I assumed that the most important part of occupational therapy was the patient contact, but this is not the only important part. It is important that we keep our patients safe by cleaning everything thoroughly in between each patient and daily. These tasks, although they seem meaningless, they are quite important. Many patients who need occupational therapy are fragile or ill patients. Cleaning is extremely important in keeping the patients healthy and happy. I learned that I am extremely interested in different aspects of occupational therapy than I originally thought. I learned that occupational therapists deal with many different types of people. Occupational therapists have to be patient. They have to get down on that child’s level and meet them where they are. They also have to understand that, children especially, do not always understand why occupational therapy is important to them. Therefore, it is our job to explain it to them in a way in which they understand and want to complete their therapy successfully. Now when I look at people in my life, I realize how stressful having sick children or family members is. I saw it from a different point of view: the appointments and effort everyone must put in as a whole for this person’s success. I now appreciate every single person that I encounter. No one ever knows everyone’s life story, so treat everyone as if they been through something hard and stressful and appreciate them. This internship was extremely eye-opening to not only what occupational therapy has to offer, but also to how people with disabilities, acute or chronic, have many hurdles to jump. That, however, is what makes them special and even more amazing than normal humans.
One of the first interactions I had during my internship was with a patient on the autism spectrum. I never understood the extent of their education and limitations. The therapy session covered many different therapies in a short period of time. He had started out in the kitchen with eating and feeding therapy. The next thing they worked on was communication. The occupational therapist used an IPad type device to allow him to communicate. She taught him different words by hitting the buttons and showing the objects. There were many other types of therapy, but my favorite part was the end. Sometimes through all this therapy we forget that they are children too. The occupational therapist always lets him choose a fun activity to complete at the end to reward him for participating in therapy. This therapy session was very tear-jerking for me. It was amazing to see him return week by week and improve his skills. This also means I saw the good and the bad. I realized that sometimes it is difficult for kids with autism to understand our communication method. They have their own way, and when they get frustrated they do not know how to explain their feelings. So we as occupational therapists have to learn the signs and try to understand their system of communication.
Another interaction I had at my internship was observing how the staff interacts. Everyone is so happy and joyful, no matter what type of day they are having. It’s important that the children see your enthusiasm and mimic it. They also worked as a team through everything. When someone needed materials or a hand setting things up, everyone was quick to stop what they were doing and assist their coworkers. As an intern, I kept my eye open to what was going on around me and made sure that if a therapist needed someone I was available to assist. This allowed me to get more experience than some of the other interns who were more focused on their specific task than the general task at hand. These interactions taught me how important it is to work as a team and be observant.
I also gained a lot of respect for the process and thorough protection of patients and employees. The application and acceptance process was long. There were many steps which included background checks, immunizations, interviews, and more. Some of these had time limits and multiple doctor appointments. At first, I was frustrated because I wanted to start the program, but I realize now how important this long process is. These are all requirements to ensure that the patient is protected and feels safe. However, it also protects the employees from the hazards involved in working in a hospital environment. This allowed me to respect the process and not try to push it along. Patience is important and this will most definitely help my future job searching progress. I will be prepared and allow flexibility and time to get these steps done in a timely manner.
This internship taught me more than I would have ever thought possible. These changes were all directly related to my future career in medical care. I learned to respect the process from start to finish. There is a reason for every single step. Aside from the internship and paper work steps, I learned the extent of patient care. Patient care is not just about the direct care to the patient, but also all the work that goes into it before the patient even arrives. The multitude of different reasons people need occupational therapists is never ending. We use many everyday objects like puzzles, worksheets, sand, playground equipment, etc., that I would never have thought were related to occupational therapy. The list of things I learned is never ending, and some of them cannot exactly be placed in words. However, these findings and learning opportunities allowed me to become a couple steps closer to my dream of becoming an occupational therapist. Getting exposure to the field early on gives me a better understanding and puts me in a better place to succeed in my future career. My career will allow me to help as many people as I possibly can. I am so very thankful for this opportunity and I thank the STEP program specifically for allowing this to happen.
Nicholas Payiatis (Internship)
1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
Over the summer, I was a marketing intern for Beyond Broth. During this time, I delved into market research, managed social media, worked with a local news source to develop PR, and created evergreen content for marketing. These tasks allowed me to acquire necessary knowledge and skills to better prepare me for a career in marketing.
2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
Entering the summer, I held many beliefs about the job of a marketer. Just like most people, I thought a marketer’s job would be implementing witty slogans and images in order to support the brand. However, I learned this was a common misconception and only a small portion of a job as a marketer revolves around advertisement. At its core, marketing focuses on understanding the behavior of the company’s customer segments. So I spent much of my time at Beyond Broth researching previously generated marketing content so I could create content that aligned with the brand image to reach the target market.
3. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you?
Two major activities transpired during my time at Beyond Broth led me to the revelations of the operations of a marketer. The first task was working on a press release in order to increase local exposure. The second task was compiling recipes for a cookbook I designed. Both of these tasks gave me a better understanding of how the responsibilities of a marketer was more than just creating advertisements.
For the press release, I first had to contact local news sources and pitch to them why the public would benefit from learning about Beyond Broth’s in-store expansions. After I secured at news outlet, I wrote preliminary release which was then critiqued by my boss. From the critique, I learned it’s important that an organizations message is consistent not only to the public but also internally. In a marketer’s terms, internal marketing to the employees is just as important as external market. From that point, we delivered to the press release to the news source which drove more local sales.
The second major task was gathering recipes for our product and creating a cookbook with those recipes. My boss had previously written recipes and had dispersed them through various forms of social media. Though it was a painstaking task to collect all the recipes, I learned the value and efficiency of communication structure. After finding the recipes, I worked with in InDesign to structure a cookbook. This cookbook was used as a marketing tool to give to loyal customers who bought large amounts of product. This marketing strategy taught me that it is important to care for your loyal customers because that is one of the greatest assets for a company. Overall, the creating the cookbook and press release taught me a lot about the functions of marketing within a company.
4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
In summary, the marketing internship has given me a greater holistic understanding of how a marketer works within a company. Additionally, the real world experience allows me to further excel within the classroom. The practical knowledge I gained gives further context to the in-class readings. Finally, I gained professional experience that will help me acquire future employment within the marketing field.
- For my STEP project, I was able to intern this past summer at Fidelity in Boston. My role was a summer research analyst in their Real Estate Team.
- I think the most important thing I learn from my internship was how to embrace change. In the first couple of weeks, there were many organizational shifts in both my department as well as in the entire company. These company changes really transformed my internship and showed me what a company in the financial services industry will do to try and get young talent in and the impact the CEO has.
- I think the events in my internship that changed me the most were the organizational changes. Never would I have expected to lose three managers and my office space for a great deal of my internship. One of my managers retired, one of my managers left the company, and one of my managers was in an accident. Within three weeks my entire internship changed, which put me into a position where I could either slack off or find work. I decided to find work because 8-5 work days can get really slow and I wanted to learn. However, now I was learning without much of a mentor or any mentor at all. I had to find mentors. I ended up connecting with some Ohio State alumni who taught me a great deal about the financial services industry. They helped me develop the soft skills needed in an office. Soft skills I had never used before as this was my first office job. The internship became more than just a work experience. It became a life learning experience and an extremely relevant work experience that taught me how quickly job expectations can change.
- This internship really taught me to embrace change. If you try to fight change you won’t be successful by any means. I found by embracing the changes and making the most of them, I was able to grow both as an intern and as an adult, making my STEP project a very successful one.
My Second-Year Transformational Experience Program Project allowed me to freely pursue an internship this past summer at The Ultra-met Manufacturing Company. During my time there I worked as an engineering intern. My weekly responsibilities included running experiments, writing work instructions for the lab technicians, and creating my own project proposal for the company.
My first experience working outside of the fast-food, ice cream-serving business realm was an eye opener. My whole perspective on belonging in the american workforce was transformed as I truly tried to dedicated my summer-life to this short-term career. Originally, in my first two years at OSU when I had begun to mold into what, I thought, I needed to be as a future engineer; I was primarily focused on being the “busiest bee”. Being the best rule follower, instruction receiver, and desk junkie I could. I believe colleges see that in a majority of their students. And it’s for a reason. Robert Bly observes in his work Iron John, “…the corporation wants a … sanitized, hairless, and shallow man.” In many ways I saw that truth this summer. And in every way I could, I tried to deny said truth and gain a new understanding of how to work.
I learned a great deal this summer. In aspects of discipline, work ethic, efficiency, work knowledge, time management, office relations, etc., etc. No doubt I gained my share of experiences that future employers will be expecting, but what I found must noteworthy was to find joy in what I was doing that day. Doing so gave me a purpose in what I was tasked to do, even if the task was mundane. Searching for joy pushed me to learn something different each day. Acquaint myself with someone new each day. And also consciously neglect to fall into the tendencies of many around me that constantly complained and disrespected authority because they didn;t like what they were doing.
This job alone did not challenge me much. What provided the challenges, learning experiences, and growth were the people around me. The most influential and enjoyable relationship I developed was with a lab technician named Chad. As we both spent our days in the lab together I saw how he approached and appreciated what he had. He had worked there for the past 13 years. He was probably going to work there for another 15 to 20 years, yet every day he came in happy to be there and ready to work. He didn’t have many ambitions for his life. What he treasured was his family and the fact he had people to spend the day with. Chad did the same thing every single day, and even though I want my future career to be nothing like that, I hope I can emulate his attitude and perspective he brought that made my day a whole shade easier.
My second relationship experience was with the metallurgical engineer. He, myself, and my boss were the only experimental engineers at the company, which forced me to learn my actual “trade”, if you will, from him while my boss was busy with the administrative worries. Inasmuch as Robert Bly described a corporate man, Greg was one. He had been in the same field of tungsten carbide manufacturing ever since he left college. Never pursuing anything more even when he had the means to. Day after day he went to meeting after meeting, supplying useful knowledge he had acquired, but not really utilizing it. I understand it’s easy to become complacent and comfortable when a career can last between 30 and 40 years, but thanks to Greg I know I never want to cross into that territory.
My third type of relationship I encountered were with my superiors. My immediate boss and head of engineering John, and the president/former engineer/family-friend Neil. I am very grateful in how they wanted the best for me, pushing me throughout the summer and supplying me with hints for my future. In both men I saw how they pursued the corporate track, but both took it for what it was and made it something more. John came in each day with a new list of fifty things he wanted to accomplish that day. Setting a goal and expecting the best from everyone. Neil kept the grand vision aligned. Having successfully improved two companies prior, this company was a recently new foe he wanted to master. Both gave me examples of leadership to learn from. Some aspects I will use in my future. Others I will be sure to avoid as I saw the impact it made on their employees I worked besides.
Essentially this summer renewed my outlook. Not simple concerning my career, but what I was meant to do with my life. In every way my summer is the catalyst to this new semester that signals the start of the second half of my undergraduate college experience, two years short of entering the work force that I may or may not stay in for the next 4o years of my life. Instead of stressing and putting my worth in the success of my career, as many often do, I plan on upholding the quality of my life and those around me. Those that may end up working under me, and those that may depend on me for a way of life. I hope to always be the type that exudes a deeper meaning to life than working by corporate standards. And maybe someday be that positive leader a college intern speaks of with high regard.
My STEP Signature Project took place over the second half of this summer at the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center on the campus of the Ohio State University. I worked as a student intern and assisted in the daily functioning of the Ohio 4-H program and directed time and energy toward the functioning of the non-livestock portion of the Ohio State Fair for Ohio 4-H. I was able to work directly with state leaders and state staff to best conduct the state fair and office functioning.
This summer I grew personally and professionally. Every day brought something a new project or exciting ideas. As the summer progressed, I saw myself walk with more confidence in my skills, ideas, and decisions. Much of this is due to the influence, guidance, and direction of the Ohio 4-H state staff. They were quick to express appreciate gratitude and encouragement, and were willing to give constructive criticism and help set goals for my future as an extension professional. I had the joy of working directly with 4-H members during the state fair events, and I found myself genuinely interested in their success and accomplishments as a member and person.
The influence of mentors and extension professionals was one of the most influential and transformational pieces of my summer. From the minute I arrived in the office on my first day, they were interested in hearing about the first half of my summer (that I spent on a mission trip in Slovenia). They were eager to listen to my experiences and stories from abroad and were quick to ask about my goals for the rest of the summer. They desired to help me grow personally and professionally and wanted this summer to be one of significant growth and influence.
Working directly with youth, parents, and volunteers from across the state gave me a greater perspective and appreciation for the agriculture industry. I am from a small town, so my general perception of people involved in 4-H are solely those from small towns. In preparation and at the Ohio State Fair, I was able to hear about and see firsthand the work of members from every walk of life, every race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and so on. I was able to see the way the agriculture industry and its people poured into these young lives for who they are now and who they hope to become. It was an honor to be able to work with so many people who will go on to influence their communities, countries, and world because of the start and growth that received from the 4-H program.
This summer I was also given a large set of responsibilities for the successful functioning and completion of activities. I was tasked with creating databases from nothing and ensuring that they worked efficiently when needed. I became a main point of contact in the office and was charged with effectively and correctly distributing questions and concerns to state staff and extension specialists. I gained a greater sense of appreciation and understanding of the work and people it takes to run a program as successful and influential as Ohio 4-H. The projects I worked on were just a small piece of what extension professionals juggle on a daily basis, and it is exciting to think about using these skills gained this summer throughout my career.
This change was significant and valuable because it influenced my expectations and vision for the future. I learned how to be honest with my coworkers and take criticism with grace. I learned what it looks like to invest in the lives of those around you, not just in who they are from nine to five. I have a greater vision for the goals of my career and the specific areas in which I want to influence youth and their communities. This summer has left me excited and hopeful for what lies ahead as an extension professional in the Ohio 4-H program.
1. This past summer I did an internship with a small startup business called AAA Strategic Growth Advisors/ CMO-on-Loan. As an intern, I had an incredibly hands on, all in experience. I worked directly with the CEO and owner of the company and was challenged to think in ways I never had before. I was involved in the day to day aspects of the company such as keeping the social media updated to developing creative assets. On top of my daily work to help build the brand I also had my own client, A Kid Again. I helped to build their marketing strategy and give them a plan to help find and keep more donors.
2. I really had no experience in either the business world nor in the marketing field. I was able to learn not only what a job in the field of marketing would consist of but also about the amount of effort it takes to run your own business. There were so many odds and ends that needed done that would never have been delegated to me in a larger company. It was such a fun and eye-opening experience. Internships are there to help you become equated with the business world and what it is like to have a real job. They help you learn how to do your future job and decide if it is something you truly want to pursue. That is exactly what my summer at CMO-on-Loan did for me.
The main things I learned from this internship involved me as a person, for example my strengths and weaknesses as well as where my passions lie. I learned that whatever I end up doing, it will have to be something that makes me feel like I am not actually doing work. I think this was a transformational experience because it allowed so much introspection and tested me in ways I did not expect nor was I ready for.
3. The fact that this internship was a small start-up allowed me to learn so much this summer. My boss Amy Connor was one of the biggest factors on my learning this summer. Amy had been in the corporate world for over 20 years and had worked in large corporate offices for companies such as Iams and Luxottica Retail. She decided to leave corporate America and follow her passion of owning her own business as a CMO-on-Loan to midsized companies in need of help or who had overlooked the importance of marketing as a part of their business. One of the most important things that I learned was how important networking really is. You always hear in the business school, it is not what you know but who you know. Amy showed me the reality of this as I watched her find clients from people she met at networking events, to people at her children’s school.
I also learned a lot about myself this summer. I found out that the things that I am passionate about are the things that I am best at. My passions allow me to dive right in with no restrictions and no hesitations. My work that I did with A Kid Again was easy for me to dive right in to because A Kid Again’s cause is so worthy and something that I think is important and that makes the world a better place. Even though I was not getting paid, I was able to help this non-profit with a marketing plan and a way to grow their donations. It was hard and a lot of work but something that I really found to be easy for me to take time out of my day to do. The things that revolved more around numbers and data was harder for me to get into because it was something I cared less about. I still got my work done, but it actually felt like work to me. This was a very important realization for me because I am very unsure about what I want to do after I graduate and now I know that it must be for something that I truly love and care about.
While working so closely with my boss, I was able to receive a lot of direct feedback and honest feedback. Using the feedback I received from Amy as well as a lot of introspection I was able to realize many of my strengths as well as many of my weaknesses. One of the biggest things I discovered about myself if how important organization is to me. Naturally I am not one of the most organized people, however through the sending of daily status reports and creating and constantly updating a calendar helped me to figure out how to keep myself organized. This is such an important thing in any job so being able to see myself keep up with my organization and constantly be on top of things was a nice change of pace that allowed me to see if I have a plan set up I can do anything.
4. With the STEP program, I was able to justify working an unpaid internship this past summer. This allowed me to discover what I want in a job as well as what I will be doing in my future job. It helped me develop as a business professional and learn several hard lessons. Everything I have learned this summer from the in’s and out’s of the business world to how to keep myself organized, I grew so much as a person. This was such valuable development for both my personal and professional life. I am so happy that I was able to have this opportunity.