STEP Reflection

Name: Jordan Whealdon

Type of Project: Internship

My STEP Signature Project was the completion of an internship at the Juvenile Justice Coalition. Working with youth who have become involved with the criminal justice system, as an intern with the JJC my activities included creating curriculum for community outreach programs, working on the organizations case management system, and providing support along the way for public policies such as HB 410 which focused on truancy in schools, and ways to improve institutional responses.

My understanding of myself deepened greatly through the completion of this internship. One discovery and transition I made was that I learned that I have a passion for community organization. For the first time in my college career I was presented with the opportunity to do some of the behind the scenes work that goes into implementing community programs and actions. Being able to break out of my typical role as volunteer, I was able to conduct my own research on what our local communities and schools need, and create curriculum that reflects the long-term goals we are working to achieve. I realized that I want to be an advocate for those whose voices are silenced, and that I am able to do that not only through participation in activities like protests, site-ins and community meetings, but by being the person that compiles the resources that make these events possible.

One of my biggest projects that I completed during my internship was creating curriculum for a weekly program for high school students. Called Voices Of the Unheard (VOU), this program works to create a student-led space that is dedicated to eliciting positive change for youth participants and their surrounding communities. I was given the responsibility of creating a 12-week model that included activities centered around leadership. With a goal to help the youth participants become leaders within their school, my curriculum worked to help the participants learn more about themselves and who they are as a leader. This foundation ultimately led into a semester long project where they would identify a need within their communities and plan an action that impacted that effort. This activity was by far one of the most impactful, as it allowed me to learn more about community organizing while also providing me insight into areas where resources are lacking in the Columbus community.

Another project that allowed me to delve into the realm of professionalism was my work on improving the case management system at the JJC. A three-woman organization, the JJC has 3 full-time employees, two of which also run PJP (Peoples Justice Project) which is a community organization centered around activism and empowering people of color. With no full time social worker, I was asked to use what knowledge I had collected thus far in my studies, and create a document of best practices. This opportunity allowed me to learn more about my major and ways in which social workers go beyond the micro-level of service. I was able to conduct research and compile various documents that would be able to streamline the JJC intake process, while also collected the necessary information to connect the youth to additional resources.

My supervisor, Erin Davies, is a superwoman to say the very least. Her passion and dedication to the work she does is immeasurable, as she not only runs the JJC, but pushes through public policy, while simultaneously partaking in community actions throughout Columbus. Her advocacy inspired me, and showed me that there are no limits on the impact you can have if you truly care. This relationship helped me to set goals for my future, as I strive to dedicate my life to meaningful work where I am able to use the privileges I have been afforded for the betterment of our communities and institutions.

I touched on this before, but my time at the JJC has been valuable to my life as it has allowed me to develop not only as a professional but as an individual. Being an active part of this organization has provided me the opportunity to work with communities I may have never otherwise gotten to interact with. I was able to gain experience as a social worker, as I explored the dual roles of social workers as teachers, advocates, and allies. My STEP experience has solidified my dedication to social justice, and has shown me that community organizing is something I could see myself doing long-term. I am thankful to STEP for allowing me to fully submerge myself at the Juvenile Justice Coalition, and learn more about what it means to be the change.

Investment Banking Networking/Internship Experience

STEP Reflection Post


Andy Burpee.5




My STEP signature project was a pretty unique experience. I went on multiple networking trips around the country in order to prepare for a career in Investment Banking. I met and established connections with alumni, professionals, and banks in New York City, Chicago, and Minneapolis.


I underwent a pretty rapid transformation in my first visit to New York City. Being from the Midwest and specifically Columbus, Ohio, I have been pretty sheltered from big cities. When I first took a step in New York City, I knew this was a city for me. The hustle of the city was radiant. I flew and traveled by myself and this was an eye-opening experience. Although Ohio State is massive, I have never felt smaller than I did in NYC for the first time.

I quickly understood that this was an environment I loved and thrived in. Right after the trip in NYC, I told myself I would work there. Especially being interested in Investment Banking and high finance, there is no better place to start a career and it was apparent to me after this experience that I would settle down in NYC.


The first moment I really knew NYC was the city for me was when I met with a family friend and neighbor who was currently an Investment Banking Associate. His demeanor and attitude was something I felt I embodied and one that I wanted to emulate. We had not met in quite some years and it was an interaction that has meant a lot to me to this day. When he told me of the hours he was working and the work he was doing, I became very excited and did not shy away.

A second encounter that helped bring about my change of heart and love for a big city came in meeting with a former baseball coach of mine. He too is in a career in Investment Banking and I really view myself similar to him just a few years younger. This affected me because here I see someone very like-minded and from a similar background as myself, flourishing in this city and environment. Both bankers and friends I individually met with suggested I was a great fit for investment banking and particularly New York City.


The Fisher Futures program I went on two of these trips with went on multiple bank visits throughout our stay. One particular experience/bank visit stands out most to me and that was with KeyBanc Capital Markets. Our visit to the KeyBanc office was extremely interesting and educational. The bankers there were genuine curious in us and our development as finance students and hopeful investment bankers. The deals and transaction that KeyBanc is involved in are firmly in the middle market. In hearing these experiences with clients and deals, I quickly knew the middle market was what I wanted to target with regards to ideal investment banks.


A final relationship and interactions that transformed me as a person was my meeting of all the other students in Fisher Futures. I would have never guessed these classmates to become some of my good friends, but they truly have. The like-mindedness and similar career goals certainly played a huge factor in the facilitation of our relationships. These classmates and friends pushed me to my full potential and I think the environment Fisher Futures embodies strives everyone in the program to their maximum potential.


This project and transformation was huge for me. I want to preface this paragraph that I have accepted an Investment Banking Summer Analyst position in New York City with Piper Jaffray. I am extremely humbled and excited for the opportunity. Being the first person from Ohio State to work for this firm straight from undergrad means so much to me. The opportunities I was provided through the Fisher Futures program and thus through STEP have led me to this amazing position today.

Because of the project, I have become far more professional and well equipped for the world of business. I hope to work for Piper Jaffray after graduation in NYC and this project has led me to this goal. I grew massively professionally and personally from this project and experience. As a result, I am much more confident and I think that will carry me a long way. Once again, I am very appreciative of the project and experience for helping me reach the position I am in today.