Internship at The Dannon Company

Name: Jacob Pleiman

Type of Project: Internship


1)    My STEP Signature project was a project engineering internship working on mechanical and fluid dynamics for The Dannon Company which is a food process manufacturing company.  My main responsibility was to oversee the implementation of waste reduction systems where the waste water could be safely reused in other manufacturing steps.  My responsibilities also included collecting water usage data and analytics of the data, turning the information into useful metrics.

2)     This STEP experience allowed me to learn a lot about the world, my approach to work activities, and more importantly how to interact with the people around me in the work place.   Dannon has a great program because they bring all of the interns from across the country to their corporate office in New York at the start of the program.  They introduce the interns to the history of the company and its objectives which revolve around alimentation or bringing healthy food to all people while doing this in a very environmentally friendly way.  The waste reduction and water usage project that I was assigned to was validation of that objective.  In addition, all of the interns worked together on a community service project during this event.

My internship allowed me to learn how to manage others, specifically vendors with whom I coordinated work objectives.  I was assigned several tasks and given some basic guidance around what they involved.  It was my responsibility to go out and make it happen in a real world setting with people of different ages, background, experience levels, and skills.  My approach could not always be the same and I found myself adapting to each situation differently to accomplish a task.  Some could provide specific details and others may have significant experience and expertise.  Some were willing to work with me from the beginning and others required me to build trust with them.  I learned a lot about human nature and how almost everyone cared about their work and valued accomplishing their daily activities.  A big thing is that I learned how to be adaptable and flexible in my approach.  All of these factors also taught me the importance of planning and staying on top of the next steps needed to complete a project.

3)      My project with water reuse and waste reduction was a great experience because I learned about fluid dynamics and how to resolve the challenges we faced as a team.   As is mentioned in number two, there were so many different personalities and skill levels I interacted with to accomplish the project task.  I remember calling into on a weekend to check on some testing that was being done and the hourly team member responsible for this testing was very knowledgeable and not only provided the information I needed but also shared the activities of his entire day.  I could tell work was very important to him and he wanted to ensure I got what I needed.  I was asked to monitor many of the activities associated with this project and soon I found myself leading many activities when the internal project leader was on vacation for two weeks.  By the end even the leading contractors turned to me for decisions on the project.

My responsibilities also included water usage analysis.  I was expected to update all of the drawings called PNID’s for anywhere water was used, even the bathrooms.  Analyzing and updating drawings can be very tedious.  I used the technology in the plant to monitor and analyze flows and check on volume usage in various areas.  From this I made recommendations around where the plant could save water.  The information I collected was going to be used moving forward to justify future projects and the updated drawings stored for future reference.

Working in a food manufacturing plant gave me great exposure to process manufacturing and to all of requirements of producing a consumable product safely.  One of the steps for a new intern is to be indoctrinated into the yogurt making process.  I was afforded the time to spend time in every department in the plant to see and learn what they do.  Some of the critical learnings were around the quality tests to ensure the product will be safe to consume at its expiration date.  The challenge to plan production and transportation of the product to ensure there isn’t too much that cannot be sold and/or too little to meet customer demand.  Unlike a make to order process, it is very different.  Each area of the plant was a great opportunity to learn and seeing how they all interact to deliver a quality product was very interesting.  I will be able to draw upon this experience my entire career.


4)    Working and collaborating with others is critical to accomplish the goals of a project.  I realized that there are not many who like the role of project engineering and leading the tasks of a project.  Once they realized I was willing and capable, I found myself in the middle of a very challenging project.  I was following up with vendors, coordinating schedules, and making sure the task to ensure the successful startup of this systems were secured.  I even called in while on vacation to make sure things were still moving in a positive direction.  I really enjoyed it and believe this leadership experience will be extremely valuable in the future for my academic and future goals.  As I enter into the workplace, I will know what to expect in these situations and how to interact with the people around me.

STEP Reflection – Lacrosse Internship

STEP Reflection

Tony Kim.6058

1. I spent the summer of 2017 working with various lacrosse industries; the Ohio State Men’s Lacrosse team and the Millon Lacrosse Camp. As a student manager of the Buckeye Men’s Lacrosse team, I worked with the team personnel during the practices setting up and tearing down and during the games working on films and other necessary tasks. As a social media director of Millon Lacrosse Camp Ohio, I took professional photos during the camp and made a short promotional video for the camp.

2. Prior to working with such a professional-leveled lacrosse team, I was unsure of what I really wanted in the lacrosse field. I just had a vague passion about lacrosse, wanting to work in lacrosse field without any specific plans or knowledge about the industry. Working with the team as a student manager and working with other lacrosse industry as a social media director, I was able to broaden my knowledge and deepen my understanding about how various lacrosse industries work.

3. All the events with the lacrosse team, practices, home games, away games, and camps also, and all the interactions with the squad and the coaching staffs and other personnel in this industry helped me a lot to discover what I truly want to become in this lacrosse field. The summer with the lacrosse team allowed me to narrow down the options I could focus on in this broad industry.
Working as a student manager of a college lacrosse team, I was able to learn about how the program runs, what responsibilities each role in the team has, what abilities are required in order to be a successful team, and what it is like to work with a college athletic team. The men’s lacrosse team had 16 wins total in the 2017 season, reaching the Final Four for the first time in the program’s history and competing in the National Championship game at the Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Closely experiencing college lacrosse by the side, I eliminated all the other options and decided to work in college lacrosse industry in the days to come. Filming the practices, filming the games, working with technology during games, studying lacrosse during team film sessions, working on the sideline during the games and all the moments with the team are so irreplaceable which is why I want to work with college lacrosse teams afterwards.
After the seasons over, the lacrosse team hosted various camps for the youngsters to learn and to enjoy the sport of lacrosse. As a student manager, I also participated as a staff for all the camps, working closely with the staffs and the players of the team. Working closely with youth lacrosse players, teaching them how to throw properly, how to catch properly, how to defense properly, and how to play lacrosse well, I found out the passion of coaching lacrosse in myself. At a Buckeye Top 200 camp, I coached the white team for the All-Star game and won a first W as a coach at the Shoe. Even though it was just a game at a camp, it was my first experience coaching a team and leading them to win. Interacting with the coaches and young players, I felt the fierce passion of coaching in myself.

4. All the experiences and the transitions throughout the STEP project are really valuable for my life since I was able to eliminate some options and find what I really want and should be focusing on. These changes will affect on how I choose what classes to take since I am majoring in Sport Industry and I can create my own minor. Moreover, the changes will affect on how much time I spend on lacrosse, whether it is studying the sports of lacrosse or actually playing lacrosse or studying coaching.

STEP Reflection

  1. I learned about novel TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) signaling in fibrosis diseases and cancer for the development of novel TRAIL-based therapies and imaging under Dr. Seulki Lee, my mentor. He is an expert in drug and protein drug delivery, nanotechnology and molecular imaging leading to more than 120 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 20 patents for drug/protein deliver and diagnostic imaging methods.
  2. Before I went to Baltimore for my internship, it was always my thought that since we are so technically advanced, every disease/health related problems were curable. I was wrong. My internship at Johns Hopkins University medical center was about liver fibrosis, a liver disease without definite cure. This motivated me to push further to become a doctor or a researcher in order to treat patients since my goal is make every disease curable so everyone can be saved regardless of their condition.
  3. While in Baltimore, I participated in one of their exciting translational research projects, the development of bioengineered recombinant human TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) proteins for fibrosis and cancer therapy. Through this project, I gained deeper knowledge about liver fibrosis, such as the cause of the disease, effect of the disease, chemicals that act activated once liver fibrosis is in process and many more. Drinking too much alcohol is one of the main cause!

On top of learning about liver fibrosis, I got an opportunity to acquire hands on skills regarding administration of drugs and experimental compounds in mice and rats (Intraperitoneal Injections). I injected 50 mouse everyday with olive oil, a placebo, and CCl4, a chemical used to trigger liver fibrosis in mouse.  It was great to actually participate in one of the research that was ongoing and be a part of something that could potentially become an actually medicine in the future.

With the support of STEP fund, I learned how to strategize a research direction towards a successful translation of newly developed bioengineered protein drugs and drug delivery systems. I also interacted with both clinicians and research scientists throughout the Johns Hopkins Medical Institute with expertise in their own field that I never would imagined of working with.

  1. As I stated from question 2, this projected confirmed what I wanted to do in the future is indeed what I want to become, a doctor or a researcher. I love helping people in general since I grew up my parents who are both doctor go to several mission trips to Philippines and other countries. I want to do what my mom and dad is doing and I truly believe I can become like them!