Name: Olivia Britt
Type of Project: Internship
This internship experience was a multi-faceted one. Not only was I able to assist with the strategic development and execution of marketing for the OSU Department of Social Change, but I was also able to use the photographs and video footage I collected to further the development of my own photography business. At the same time, I was given the opportunity to make a difference in the Columbus community by promoting the programs and events of this Student Life Department.
The transformation that came about as a result of my STEP Signature Project was not what I initially expected. Since my internship was a new one within the department, I was essentially given the opportunity to define my own role. This took a great deal of communication, planning, and critical thinking on my part, and it led me to realize my own need for structure and clear communication in the workplace. I also realized how much I appreciate having control in my work, and I was able to see the importance of delegating tasks to others in a team rather than taking all of the work on myself.
As part of defining my own role, I was able to visit a number of Social Change sites throughout the year, and these visits exposed me to the vulnerable populations in my own city. I realized that I had been holding a view of these individuals that was not grounded on solid personal experiences with them. Working with and photographing people of all ages in these low-income settings opened my eyes and taught me a fundamental truth about the world—we as humans have more similarities than differences, and oftentimes we are just in need of different resources. I will treasure the interactions I had throughout the year and bring what I now understand about these populations into my work as an educator, as well.
As part of my internship, I was able to work with an entire staff of inspiring individuals with the same goal in mind—to make a difference the Columbus community. It was amazing to work with them, but it also required a lot of communication through a variety of means in order to get my work accomplished. Since I was not a traditional “site leader,” I had to request access from many of the other Ambassadors when I needed to visit their sites, gather time and date information, and make sure the information I obtained was accurate. There were a lot of moving parts, so I appreciated having a partner to help me balance everything. My co-intern, Kylie, and I divided up the work evenly—social media became her domain, while photography and videography was mine. Keeping in communication with her as well as my supervisor allowed both of us the chance to be successful in our positions.
I learned a great deal about leadership, especially my own leadership style, from the professional development workshops I attended through Student Life, as well. I attended workshops on networking and leadership skills, which allowed me to connect with other young professionals in the department and helped me learn more about myself as an emerging leader. These workshops impacted me greatly and not only provided me with skills to bring into my work as an Ambassador but also set me on the course for success in my future workplaces.
My interactions with marketing and photography professionals throughout this year have proven beneficial to my learning in these areas, as well. For instance, as a result of my collaborations with University administrators, I am better able to grasp more advanced marketing and photographic procedures and styles that I can now take into my work with my own business. In addition, I was able to learn a great deal from the staff members at Midwest Photo Exchange, where I rented and purchased my photography equipment. These interactions not only made me excited for my potential career in photography but also provided me with essential skills that will aid me in making my dream a reality.
Finally, this project changed my view on the world, especially low-income populations, through a number of my interactions. From dancing with preschoolers and decorating shirts with younger students to interviewing middle school children and college volunteers alike, I was able to interact with a wide variety of people from different situations and stages of life. These experiences will prove valuable to me as I begin teaching in low-income areas, as they have allowed me to look past any previous biases I may have held and see these students for who they are so I can better educate, support, and advocate for them in the future.
These transformations that took place as a result of my STEP Signature Project will prove valuable to my future as a professional in a number of ways. First, the experiences I have had as a Social Change Ambassador will influence how I approach my teaching when I become a high school math teacher in a low-income area after graduation. I now have a more holistic view of individuals from these areas and the potential of these students, and this will only help me more as I begin my time as a teacher. Second, these transformations will impact my other professional pursuit as a photographer by providing me with valuable artistic and marketing knowledge as well as business and leadership skills that I can take with me into the workplace. By creating my portfolio and business cards as well as purchasing business attire and photography equipment, I will now be able to take a solid step into the professional world, and that is a transformation all its own.
Below are two links, one of which is the video I created for the Day of Giving marketing project with Student Life and the other is a photograph of my Social Change staff, one of the first photos I took as an intern.