My STEP Co-op

For my STEP Signature Project, I did a three work-term co-op with Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS), for a total of ten months, contributing to both their Submarine and Aircraft Carrier product lines. I worked in the Welding Engineering department in the Field Group and Lab Group, and for the last couple months I worked in the Hull Structure department.

Throughout this project, I definitely learned a lot about what I want my life to look like after graduation. The biggest realization, I think, was that I am more suited for a small company rather than a large one. NNS is a massive company, with nearly 30,000 employees onsite. Because of their size, every engineer owns only a small part of any project. In small company, on the other hand, any one engineer might have total ownership of their current project, and thus are allowed greater creative freedom.

The moment that I realized that NNS wasn’t going to allow me enough creative freedom was while I was working in the Welding Engineering Field Group, investigating a procedure violation. The job was skip welding a coaming onto a hatch and the welder had forgotten to clean off some chalk markings in the joint before welding it up. Technically, it was define as a contaminated joint, but in reality there was nothing wrong with the weld. I suggested that instead of just cutting out the weld like we always do, maybe we could do a structural analysis of the hatch assuming the weld would fail and see if it would still hold together. I reached out to the design engineer that owned the drawing for the hatch and he was ok with it, but once it got to my supervisor, he shot it down. His only reason was that it’s not the way we do it.

Working in the Welding Engineering Lab Group was also very helpful for me in figuring out what I want my careering to look like. It first of all affirmed my decision to study welding engineering by giving my plenty of hands-on experience working welding projects. But again, I saw the disadvantage of working at a large company. The engineers who were close enough to the project to be actually overseeing welding weren’t making decisions about the general direction of the project.

The other big realization I had was about the kind of area in which I would like to live. I absolutely loved being so close to the water, which is something I don’t get so much living in Ohio. The negative side of living in Newport News was that it is somewhat lacking in terms of a strong youth culture. For example, I would’ve loved to go to a place to swing dance but couldn’t find one. I am looking into doing my next internship at a larger city to solve this issue.

Overall, this experience was extremely valuable. These questions about where I want to live and what I want my career path to look like will greatly affect my happiness when I’m older, so wrestling with them now is very important.

STEP Reflection: Washington Academinc Internship Program

I was chosen to be a John Glenn Fellow through the Washington Academic Internship Program. This gave me the opportunity to intern at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: Public Policy Office. I was only in Washington D.C. for 3 months, yet I have matured so much. My view of the world grew substantially while I interned at the AFSP: Public Policy Office. My boss John Madigan made it a point that I read multiple sources of news every day. I would come into work and then read 4-5 newspapers since they were readily available. I was even allotted time to attend congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. This exposure and awareness made me more cognitive to the effects of policy on the world.

Additionally, I have made leaps and bounds of progress in terms of professionalism. I already had good insight on what to wear to business/work related events. Yet my style took a positive turn. I gained insight working my humorous personality into a work environment. I have seen a huge increase in my networking skills as well. Lastly, I learned how to ask for help when given a rigorous task. Consistent and effective communication is very important in the workplace.

During my time in D.C., I developed a few meaningful relationships. I had the pleasure of meeting Kenneth Blacks. Kenneth became my mentor through the Washington Academic Internship Program. Kenneth provided me support academically, professionally, and socially. My favorite conversations were Kenneth’s advice for networking and worth place etiquette. Kenneth took me to networking events in his free time and I was able to practice these skills.

The Washington Academic Internship Program has events called policy salons. One of my favorites was a professional presentation and public speaking. A WAIP alumnus named Parker Schaffel gave us tips and tricks to present our best selves in professional situations. The event gave me life skills and a boost to my confidence. Another great event was called professional etiquette and social media 101. This event provided us with skills and the insight to thrive in D.C.

The Washington Academic Internship Program has events called study tours. We are given exclusive opportunities to meet exceptional individuals and visit extraordinary places. I was able to get resume advice from OSU alumnus David Warner at the National War College. We got free tickets to hard to get the African American Museum. My favorite section was Blacks in Politics. It was substantive and symbolic for me to see Blacks in a position of power. Someone who looks like me can make a big difference in their communities and worlds at large. These feelings relate to my future ambition to be Mayor of Columbus.

The growth that I experienced in the Washington Academic Internship Program will benefit me for the rest of my life. In terms of professionalism, I was given practical and relevant skills to succeed in a work environment. In terms of academics, I received the opportunity to complete my capstone paper with an addition of 12 credits hours towards graduation. Personally, I was given mentorship and the opportunity to explore the nation’s capital. Lastly, all these things combined gives me confidence and hope in my future goal of being Mayor of Columbus.

Picture 1: Me on Capitol Hill with AFSP

Picture 2: Me with the former mayor of Columbus, Michael Coleman

My STEP Transformation – Internship

Mackenzie Gignac





Over this past summer I worked as a Business Operations Intern for AT&T. Over the summer I expanded my knowledge on service-oriented operations and market solutions within my team at AT&T. Additionally, I led a culture transformation that was adopted by the entire AT&T Business organization.



This internship allowed me to transform professionally and psychologically. I was placed in the Business Operations under AT&T Business. Prior to this summer, most of my experience derived from content marketing, SEO, digital marketing, and journalism. I grew to learn many different facets of business including skills related to change enablement, market solutions, journey mapping, and working collaboratively across a large international corporation.


Additionally, I was forced to learn how to live by myself in a completely new location with no prior friends or family in the Dallas area. I believe being forced to find my own housing, roommates, and friends outside of work will help me upon graduation when I enter the workforce.



This transformation was largely shaped by my mentors at AT&T. I had a great relationship with all of my directors above me in my organization. Immediately, they had confidence in me and allowed me to work on the projects that were getting started within AT&T Business. They encouraged me to explore the other departments within the company to see if others would be a better fit if I wanted to come back and work for the company. Ultimately, I was trusted to lead a culture transformation for the Business Operations department, which increased my confidence in my professional ability as I approach my graduation date.


Additionally, the process of moving to another state that I was completely unfamiliar with enabled me to change psychologically. Throughout this process I was forced to find my own roommates and temporary housing for the summer in a city which I had never visited or had any relatives in the area. In college you have help finding housing and roommates that are in your situation, but this was not the case for my internship. Being forced to find roommates that were in the same situation as I was and a temporary housing place helped me to understand what life will be like after graduation.


Moving to Dallas also gave me a newfound appreciation for my undergraduate career at Ohio State. The opportunities and friendships I have made are truly unique when compared to other student experiences across the United States. Since coming back for my final semester at Ohio State I have been more grateful for my college choice. I can undeniably say Ohio State provides the best college experience.


This internship has provided me a career upon graduation. At the end of my internship I was given the opportunity to come back to AT&T and work for any of their United States offices. I now have the ability to work in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, or Dallas. I now have a career lined up which is the ultimate development goal of secondary education.

Maureen Hirzel – Internship


My STEP project was interning at a goat dairy in Eatonville, Washington for the summer. My daily tasks were basic animal husbandry on the farm, and also producing products from the milk. With the funds from STEP, I was also able to explore various areas in the states of Washington and Oregon.

When I came out to Washington, I was anxious that I would be lonely and bored living by myself. For my entire life I’ve lived in Ohio, and have always had friends and family nearby. Now, for the first time in my life, I was more away from all my familiarity and going out on my own. This was absolutely terrifying. I had no idea what I would do in my spare time. The owner of the farm mentioned that there would be very limited internet and phone service, and that put me over the edge. At the very least, I wanted to be able to call friends and family if I was feeling homesick, and that wasn’t even an option. My head was reeling. What if I had made a huge mistake, and would be stuck for 12 weeks? What if I hated the work? These were just some of the questions I asked myself as I drove out there.

It turns out, that being alone in a new place was the exact thing I needed. I was excited to move out to the Pacific Northwest, and it did not disappoint! Being surrounded by mountains, ferns, mosses, and huge trees was the best distraction from my initial loneliness. Since I was completely independent, I started becoming more proactive in taking care of myself, mentally and physically. I started running, I painted, I travelled, all to keep myself busy. And in doing so, my self-reliance was strengthened.

Although I grew up in a rural area, I had never lived nor worked on a farm. Truth be told, I was a little nervous on my first day. I had always heard horror stories from my farm friends about baling hay, getting kicked by animals, etc. I knew it would be physically challenging, and I was a little nervous to get started. On my first day, my nightmare came true. One other farmhand and I moved 70 bales of hay and alfalfa. It was exhausting! Instead of feeling defeated, though, it did the exact opposite. I had survived, and it was actually was not that bad. Over the next few months, I sheered 80 sheep, clipped 480 goat hooves, moved hundreds of tons of manure, and much more. Every night I went to bed and fell right to sleep. I took a lot of pride in the work I was doing, and the work ethic I began to develop. I got right along with my coworkers, and after the first week, I loved going into the barn every morning for work. We all joked around and got to know the animals very well. I realized that my past fears and anxieties about the work were all in my head, and they had no basis in reality. If you have the right attitude about the work you do, then you can complete any task.

I’ve prided myself on being able to stay busy, and this trait grew as I lived on my own. Without Wifi or internet at the farmhouse, I really had to rely on being okay with myself in order to not go completely insane. I travelled every weekend to different parts of Washington, from my neighbor, Mount Rainier, to Olympic National Park, to Portland, to the Pacific Coast. I am a homebody for the most part, but forcing myself to make weekly plans to get out of the house did wonders for me. I learned to enjoy driving several hours by myself, by making amazing playlists and taking in all the gorgeous scenery around me. This strengthened my independence, as I was free to do whatever I wanted, and I was also solely responsible for myself. In order to make the most of my limited time out there, I made a “Must See” list of all the local and state attractions. Although I was only out in Washington for 12 weeks, I am confident that I’ve seen more of the state than the majority of the locals. When I came back to Ohio and looked through all the photos I had taken on my trips, I felt a sense of pride that I made it all happen on my own.

I drove back from Washington to Ohio in mid-August, and that was a great exercise in self-reliance. I was with my brother and best friend, and we had to navigate through forest fire season out in Montana and Idaho. It was a little stressful at times, like when my Jeep stalled in the middle of nowhere, or when my AC broke when it was 101 degrees outside. It was also stressful to have my car floor flood with an inch of water! But we made the trip the best we could, despite these hiccups. It still turned out to be a lot of fun, even if we did spend quite a bit of time in car repair shops. A year ago, that trip would have sent me into a panic. But after this summer, I’ve developed a more easy-going approach to life. Most things aren’t worth worrying about.

This summer was beneficial to myself in several aspects. The most obvious one would be my professional development. I am an Animal Science major, so working with goats, pigs, sheep, llamas, and dogs all summer really strengthened my knowledge on the subject and gave me a fantastic hands-on approach. Although I would not be able to do farm work the rest of my life, I wouldn’t mind doing it for a few years after college. It is incredibly satisfying work. The other benefit was my own personal transformation. After being in Washington, I feel much more confident in myself and what I am capable of. I travelled out to an unfamiliar place and lived on my own for 3 months, and I had the best time! I now know that I can keep myself busy, and that I actually enjoy being alone. I also strengthened my independence by two-fold. I feel like I can now go anywhere with myself.

I think these transformations will greatly benefit me after college. Being dropped off into the real world with no solid plan is really scary, but if I have learned anything, it is to let go of your anxieties and embrace the change. It seems scary at first, but if you keep the right attitude, you can find space to grow as a person. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, and I have STEP to thank for allowing me this opportunity.


Bricker & Eckler Practice Development Internship

My STEP Signature Project was a sixteen week internship with Bricker & Eckler, LLP. My placement within the firm was with the Practice Development Department where I assisted in a variety of assignments for the business development and public relations of the firm. I conducted attorney practice development initiatives, market and client research, editing and writing assignment, and overall, as support to the Practice Development team.

Through my internship, I developed a greater sense of the legal world and the backing necessary to adequately market a firm and it’s attorneys. I learned how much work it is to organize the clientele information a firm their size has and how meticulous you must be when communicating with large audiences. The main transformation that happened this summer, through my internship, was the personal growth I obtained. Before this summer, I had small internships with a low hour requirements. All of my previous experience was rather casual.

My time with Bricker was exceptionally different. The eight to five days were long but packed with tasks and projects. I quickly learned the environment required me to make professional relationships with people I would have once been intimidated by. By the end of my internship, I developed strong relationships with remarkable professionals. From Jill Clark, a marketing wonder, to Bobbie Spradel, a previous federal prosecutor, I am confident I have built relationships I can call on in the future.

Few legal firms have a Practice Development (PD) department the size of Brickers’; however, I now understand why Bricker has the success it does. The PD department analyses and assists the attorneys in direct client retention. In order to complete this large task, the PD department consists of eight marketing and communication specialists. They also divide the attorneys by sectors and assign the sectors to different team members.
I had the privilege to work with all aspects of the department. Areas that I particularly enjoyed were event planning, client list making and announcement writing. These key aspects of the firm are the reason my time with Bricker was so valuable. I will be able to apply these skills obtained at Bricker to future endeavors, as they were ground skills for any person going into the legal or public sector.

There were two people within the Practice Development team that I quickly became close to and worked with throughout my summer. I can attribute most of my success to my boss, Jill Clark, the Director of Marketing and Communications. Jill has worked in legal marketing, communications and client development for over ten years. She had a different way of going about things with me, advocating for my self-thinking and growth. At the beginning of the week, Jill would set our her expectations of what I would need to get done. If I had any questions throughout the week, I was welcome to ask her. However, she promoted my learning by allowing me to work through projects and problems on my own.

The second person I worked closely with this summer was Julie George. Julie is the head Communications Specialist at Bricker and was my day-to-day supervisor. Through the projects I was given by Jill, Julie would teach me the skills needed to complete them. This often included learning the back page of the website, coding, organizing digital information and much more.

The transformation I endured while working at Bricker is significant in that I now have the confidence to work in a professional atmosphere. I know now I have the abilities to do the work and the knowledge to ask when I don’t have answers or problem solve when necessary. At the end of my STEP signature project, I was asked to stay with the firm as an intern for this current semester. I am continuing to learn about corporate communications and build my resume for future opportunities.


An Internship in Ireland

This past summer, I had the opportunity to participate in the Fisher Global Internship program. I spent eight weeks in Dublin, Ireland working as a Marketing and Communications intern for the company Naturgy- one of Ireland’s largest energy providers.

During the course of my internship experience, I grew a lot personally and professionally. In eight short weeks, I felt that I learned more about Marketing than I have in my three years of college. Being able to experience the field firsthand helped me to decide what I’d like my future career to be. The internship taught me what I like and what I dislike within Marketing and that has determined what I am looking for during my current job search. I became much more self-driven and independent through this experience which are both qualities that I believe will help me in my future career.

When I started working for Naturgy, they were still known by the name of Vayu Energy. During my time with them, the company went through a whole global rebrand under the instruction of their parent company in Spain. As you could imagine, working with people from two cultures that were foreign to me caused challenges. This strengthened my communication skills and also gave me a better understanding of both cultures. Although it was hard work, I gained so much experience from helping with the rebrand and the result was incredibly rewarding. I look forward to being able to apply what I learned from the rebrand in the future.

As I said before, I also felt myself grow immensely as an individual. The other students I met through the Global Internship program are the ones to thank for this. The ten other students became some of my closest friends. When you are living within 5 feet of each other and don’t know anyone else in the country, it’s amazing how quickly you get to know each other. By the end of the trip, these people felt like my family. We helped each other through the emotional ups and downs we experienced during the trip, learned the transportation systems on our own, helped each other learn how to cook for ourselves, and so much more. Although these seem like little things, I couldn’t have done it without them. By the end of the trip, I felt much more independent and that is something that I have continued to see in myself even after my travels ended.

During my time abroad, I also had the opportunity to travel around Europe. I visited Edinburgh, London, Budapest, Interlaken, Zurich, Venice, Florence, and Rome. Seeing all these different cultures was very enlightening. Before my trip, I had never left the United States. I hadn’t even been to our neighboring countries of Mexico or Canada. At the beginning of my adventure when I was traveling to Dublin, I was absolutely terrified. I had a lot of troubles during my journey which led to a lot of panic and frustration. After traveling to six different countries in eight weeks, I now see myself as somewhat of a travel expert. I had to push myself out of my comfort zone in many different ways to get the most out of my trip, and as a result I was able to learn more than I could have ever imagined.

My time abroad taught me important professional skills, taught me to be independent, and gave me some of the best friends who I made unforgettable memories with. I am currently going through the job search process and I have talked about my international internship in every single interview I have had. My internship made it clear to me what I want to do and taught me the necessary skills to get there. I am so grateful for the experience of working in Ireland this past summer and wouldn’t have wanted to spend it any other way.


STEP Reflection

For my STEP Signature Project, I chose to participate in an internship. The student position I have accepted was in Columbus, Ohio at the Assistive Technology (AT) Center. This opportunity provided me with the chance to work with persons with developmental disabilities in transforming their lives by providing assistive technology that will allow them to learn skills, strategies, and practices necessary for daily performance. Some of the main activities my project entailed were traveling to patients’ homes to assist them during their appointments. Along with this, I was responsible for presenting to the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities, recording data on patient satisfaction, and assuring the project was continuing as planned.

A lot of my experiences at the AT Center transformed the way I view myself and the world. Personally, it taught me what my true strengths are. This experience showed me that I can be a leader even in a position where I am the least experienced and the youngest. Most importantly, I learned that a leader isn’t always the person who is best at things, but rather a leader is the person who can help others and the group be successful regardless of the circumstances. I learned that I am this leader. I learned to believe in myself and to take initiative even when it feels uncomfortable.

This experience also changed the way I see the world. It allowed me to understand and respect those who are different from me. It showed me the importance of patience and the positive impact those around you can make on your life if you allow them to. Working with the developmentally disabled population opened my eyes to how lucky I am to be able to use my hands, my arms, me feet, my legs, and even my mouth. I learned to be grateful for the little things because some people are not as lucky.

There were various experiences that lead to these transformational changes in my life. The interaction and relationships I formed with the people I worked with helped me learn and appreciate my own strengths and the strengths of others. My boss gave me the opportunity to act as a leader and to use my strengths to lead those around me. By assigning me various tasks that forced me to take initiative and go outside of my comfort zone, I was required to lead my team and assign them each jobs and tasks for each day and appointment.

The events that transformed me were my interactions with those with developmental disabilities. By working side by side and truly getting to know these individuals, I was able to better understand what it is like to go day by day without the ability to walk or talk. I was able to see that regardless of their disabilities, these people were exactly like me. I was inspired to continue to help those who cannot act for themselves because of disability. Along with this, I was able to be grateful for the small victories, like learning to use a new communication device and being able to get a job that fits their skill sets.

These experiences changed my life and allowed me to see what my future career could look like. My eyes were opened to the countless possibilities that technology has to offer. Along with this, each of these key aspects of my internship taught me how to be patient, to act with kindness, to never assume, and to go into every situation with an open mind and heart. With this, I also learned many important lessons that have transformed the way I will go about my life. Not only did it make me aware of some of my most important strengths, but it allows me to see that one experience can change the way you see yourself and the world around you.

This transformation was significant to my life because it will help me determine and narrow down my career path. I spent the entire summer working at the AT Center as well as submitting applications to Physical Therapy school. This opportunity will give me endless experiences opening my eyes to what it would be like to work as a physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech and language pathologist. These categories are all similar in practice, and work together frequently, but this opportunity will allow me to see exactly what each position does day to day, and maybe open my eyes to more potential options in a similar area of practice. Overall, this internship has solidified my desire and passion for Physical Therapy school and to continue my education after college.


BalletMet Columbus STEP Experience

Throughout my college career, I discovered I am passionate about promoting dance education to inner city communities. I am interested in pursuing a career in Dance Administration with in the dance industry. By combining my interests, I applied for an internship with BalletMet Columbus’s Education and Community Development Department. During my internship, I developed dance education curriculum, observed BalletMet’s community outreach programs, and assisted with creating community outreach dance guides.

Reflecting on my internship with BalletMet Columbus’ Education and Community Development Department, I recognized growth in my work ethic while working in this professional atmosphere. Throughout my internship, I developed the following skills: 

  • Leadership
  • Time Management
  • Verbal & Written Communication

Considering the opportunity to experience one of my professional career interests, leadership, time management, and communication skills transformed my perspective as professional in the Dance Administration field.

As the sole intern during the summer term, I took initiative in the process of completing my assigned projects. I was in charge of completing and editing BalletMet’s general, seasonal, and community outreach program dance guides. While working with the Education and Community Development Department’s Assistant, Leigh Lijoi, we developed a teamwork ethic in order to keep each accountable for finishing a project, or s

haring an “extra set of eyes” on each others progress.

While editing, revising, and developing multiple dance guides for BalletMet’s upcoming outreach programs and performances, I was often interrupted by my supervisors with  additional projects. By adjusting my “to do” list each day, I was able to prioritize the new, the old, and the already started projects I had on my plate.

Unsure of the office technology, BalletMet’s Outreach drive, or  my supervisor’s hand writing, I did not hesitate to ask questions about my uncertainties. With this amazing opportunity to intern with a professional dance company, I was 

determined to complete my assigned projects that best represents the professionalism of the organization.

During my internship, I had the opportunity to observe BalletMet’s Community Field Trip Tours. During these tours, guests visited BalletMet’s studios, costume shop, and participated in a creative dance lesson with one of BalletMet’s trained instructors. While observing these tours, I admired the structure and flow of the class lesson plans. Impressed with the instructors ability to keep the guest students concentrated during the entire duration of class, I observed the following:

  • Class lesson plans were similar to the development of a story plot. The beginning of class invited the guest students to introduce themselves, their interests, and opened the class with a creative movement warm-up. During the middle section of class, students participated in locomotor movement exercises, evaluating their cognitive motor skills as well as the student’s movement personality. Evidence of the Brain Dance creative dance exercise allowed students to awaken their motor skills to demonstrate opposition, contralateral, and upper/lower body movements. At the end of class, the cumulative activity connected all elements of the lesson plan. In this section, students were able to share their experience through non-verbal movement.
  • Imagery played a key role while encouraging students to connect familiar everyday activities to dance movement. The student’s imagination allowed them to visualize their movement telling the story of a given scenario. In addition, the creative dance instructor invited the students to utilize their senses during class. Encouraging a dimensional movement experience, students were introduced to body awareness, body association, and music dynamics.

Observing these tours introduced a new form of organizing a creative dance lesson. The BalletMet creative dance instructor’s organic and clear instruction was inspiring to watch.

Reflecting on my internship with BalletMet Columbus’ Education and Community Development Department, I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work in my desired career field. Having the opportunity to connect with dance administration professionals, and witness the management of a dance nonprofit supports my professional and academic goals. Overall, my Second Year Transformational Experience Program justified my aspirations of pursing a career in the Dance Administration field.


Interested in learning more about my STEP experience, check out my E-Portfolio below:


Internship with Nestle


This summer, I used my STEP Grant to help pay for living expenses during my time as a Finance Intern with Nestle. I spent my time working with the payroll team to ensure compliance on a variety of confidential projects.

Over the course of my project, I was able to develop a real-life idea of what working in an office environment would be like. Coming into the summer, I had no experience working in a professional environment. I was given the freedom to accomplish tasks as I wished and subsequently learned what work styles I utilize and levels of organization that I keep. I also developed a much better understanding that other people have varying styles of work and organization. I was collaborating with a wide array of roles and levels of the organization; these ranged from factory HR representatives to managers of the legal team. As a result, I have a better understanding of how to effectively communicate and get information from people who may not have helping me as their priority.

I also was able to decide on what career path I wanted to take when I graduate. Going into my internship, I was questioning whether accounting was the correct career path for me. That’s why I sought out an internship in something a little different, like finance. The time I spent working in finance this summer only confirmed for me that accounting was not the specific path for me. I ended up accepting a job full-time with Nestle that I will begin when I graduate in 2019.

The greatest surprise I noticed during my internship was how different of an environment the office I worked in was compared to what I expected it to be. Coming in, I expected to have a very poor work-life balance and to work long hours, like it is expected in public accounting. What I was greeted with was a lovely contrast to my fears: there were key hours from 9am-3pm, and any other time I was free to set my hours as I wished as long as all of my work was done. This was true for more than just myself, as an intern. The same hours requirement was there for every employee in my department. These hours allowed me to have a very enjoyable summer and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

In addition to the work-life balance, the culture that I was able to be a part of was much more relaxed and accommodating than my expectations were for being in the professional world. I expected a very restricted and formal environment, with a suit every day and strict rules regarding how my time would be used. Instead, a casual dress environment allowed me to be comfortable and informal while at work and I was able to schedule meetings and go about the completion of my project at my own pace.

I was also able to develop a friendship with my manager and mentor, Beth. She would meet with my weekly to discuss how I was progressing towards meeting my professional goals. We would discuss my career aspirations and how the work I was doing during my internship tied to both my future and potential roles within the company. With her help, I was able to complete my project a month ahead of schedule. She also introduced me to a wide arrange of fellow Nestle employees who I would practice my final presentation with. As a result, I was very confident when I made my final presentation to the finance executives at the conclusion of my internship.

This internship was integral for furthering my career development. As a result of my work this summer, my manager recommended me to be hired on full time as part of the Financial Management Trainee Program. I will begin, upon my graduation, working at a factory somewhere in the US (location has yet to be determined). I was able to connect with many of the other interns, all of whom I plan to stay in contact with as I begin my career. As a result of this networking, I have a variety of connections who will be entering the workforce across the US at the same time as I am, allowing me to expand my professional network and maintain mobility as I develop in my career. This was all made possible due to the grant I received through my participation in STEP.

Internship: GE Appliances


This past Summer, I was fortunate enough to work as a supply chain engineering intern at GE Appliances, centered in Louisville, Kentucky. My specific role involved working as part of the materials team in the refrigeration factory, but my actual role was much more diverse. I was in charge of shipping out product service parts to consumers and other factories, to do this I managed a small team of workers who boxed these parts while dealing with the logistic aspect of shipping goods.

My Transformation:

I learned a great deal from this position. This was my first engineering role that did not involve research and development in some way. This was my opportunity to discover what I liked and disliked about the research and development and production roles of engineering. I at first believed that my new role would be entertaining, because there were so many responsibilities that I wouldn’t have any free time. After doing this tasks for several weeks, I found that I while I was busy every day, and the time flew by, many of the tasks felt thoughtless and this was the norm for a while. Every now and then, the factory would be dedicated to product service orders because we were running behind on parts. During these times I was given complete authority on where to place workers, what jobs they would be doing, and the logistics behind shipping goods and where to send them. I found that I wasn’t looking for constant work, but I was searching for independence in work. I discovered that I enjoyed research and development more than production, but I would like independence in how I conduct research, and to do that I need additional coursework so I have the prior knowledge to do this research.

I believe that I grew as a person and a leader as part of this position. My leadership position in the factory gave me a manager position over my workers. I learned how to lead groups of people with confidence as well as how to make competent, impartial decisions given the information that I had in front of me. I believe that one of the most important thing that I learned from this position was how to take no for an answer. While the product service parts were important to the factory, the most important thing was to keep up with production. I had to learn to accept when the factory could not spare product service parts. I had to work around this needs and find a time when the parts I needed were in ready supply.

Interactions and Responsibilities:

During this rotation at GE Appliances, I was lucky enough to work closely with every branch of engineering at the company. I worked with the technology group quite often to help them find parts from the factory. I also worked with the quality engineering at the factory to help me acquire parts worth sending out for product service orders. I also worked with senior design engineers to help them ship fixtures and other products to other factories around the country for testing. This position did a great job introducing me to most of the other possible engineering disciplines that I could go into.

Throughout my time working this summer, I can’t think of a period where I was not treated as an equal to my supervisors and managers. My input was always listened to and valued, and typically when I proposed a change, they were followed through with. Being treated as a reliable member of the team really made me feel more confident in myself and my abilities, and allowed me to lead my own team more capably. It was easier to make decisions knowing that my decisions would be backed up by my managers. Eventually they began to tell me that I knew more about current situations than they did, since I worked in my area everyday. It was reaffirming that they would trust me so implicitly. This experience with the materials team at GE Appliances significantly helped my confidence and leadership skills.

Being on the materials team, I worked closely with suppliers to acquire parts needed to keep the factory running. There were several events, but on day at work we began to run out of a valve that was needed to built refrigerator doors. I was asked to work overtime that day so that I could help the materials team either find more of the valves or work with suppliers to have more sent to the factory. Events like these helped me to gain a better idea of how production is ran and the roles of every individual person on the materials team. I also began to understand the hardships involved with ordering custom made, large production parts from third party companies. I gained an admiration for the people who maintain day to day work like this and how they are able to shed off blame when things go wrong and start working on a solution right away.

Future Impacts

These changes helped me to grow as a person and as a professional. As a result of this, I have became much more open to accepting criticism and opposing ideas. I am also more able to evaluate situations from an objective stance and begin working on a solution immediately. The leadership experience that I have gained has helped me to be more active and social situations and I am no longer afraid to take charge in a group activity or event. I believe that the experience that I have gained working with all disciplines of engineering will be vital for whenever I begin looking for a full time job. I believe that working with the materials team has also helped me to become more trusting of others, after seeing the amount of trust that they placed in me. I believe that working in the real world has also helped me gain more of an appreciation for engineering coursework and how the situations that we cover in class can apply to everyday engineering design.