Internship with Department of Athletics at Ohio State

Starting last fall to this May, for a whole academic year, I interned for Ohio State Department of Athletics as an event management intern. I served as a secondary event manager at 25 different athletic games including football, hockey, and women’s volleyball. I worked as liaison role to redcoats and ushers on game day and deliver professional customer services to over 1200 audience.

(This is the picture that I was working for Taylor Swift’s concert)

I have enjoyed my time at the event management in Department of Athletic. One cool thing about the internship is we have monthly meeting which would host former interns/ guest speakers to talk to us about their experience in the sports industry. The former interns talked about their transition from student interns to full time working professionals. They shared their advice of finding a job, doing interviews and what this internship with event management has brought them. Guest speakers are business partners who have worked with Ohio State before. They have all had 5 to 10 years’ experience in the industry and they generously shared their background with us. It is wonderful to have some professional development opportunities during the internship.

Entering my junior and senior year, the stress of finding a full-time job is in the air. Given the opportunity to connect some former interns and industry professionals through the meetings enables me to broaden my network and hear their insights about an industry. Having a series professional development session really helped me to think about my career goal and prepare for that.

One of the biggest changes I have seen in myself is I came from someone who’s nervous about interviews and had no good story to tell to a confident Sarah who can tell her story vividly and show her strength to the interviewers. I really appreciate the event management team which has given me countless chances to fully participated in all kinds of athletic games, volunteer opportunities and concert operations. Those experiences are unforgettable to me and they enabled to get my foot in the door.

I can’t get where I am at without STEP’s support. The STEP expo I went to made me be aware of all kinds of activities that STEP support other than study abroad. The internship with Department of Athletics is my first internship and it has definitely led me to bigger places. I have gone through many interviews at the end of my junior year looking for internships. As I was doing the interviews, interviewers were interested in what I did at Department of Athletics as sports is a big thing at Ohio State. I ended up getting an internship in the summer because I have had previous internship experiences in such a well known department!

STEP Spring Co-Op Reflection

My STEP Signature Project was a 4-month long Co-Op with BMW Manufacturing in Greenville, South Carolina. My Co-Op featured an extensive look into activities and culture of a large corporation.

My time at BMW has changed the way I look at a lot of things in my life. I’ve learned valuable information about living alone. While at college I was close enough to home that I could come home for a weekend if I was feeling homesick. Living in South Carolina, approximately 10 hours from home, I can’t just come home on a whim. I’ve learned to be okay with being so far from home. I learned about dealing with people in the workplace that don’t get along with me. I’ve learned a lot about how I deal with social situations when I don’t know anyone. I grew professionally as well; I was able to network with a lot of different people across the globe and learn many different aspects of professional protocol.

So, packing up most of my possessions and driving 10 hours down to South Carolina alone was a very surreal experience for me. I didn’t have any friends in South Carolina before I moved so I was quite literally driving into the unknown. An experience like this can really tell you more about who you are as a person and I was able to learn a lot about myself because of this. I learned that I don’t mind being alone if I have something to do. I learned I was okay with going to the movies or concerts even if I had to go by myself because I was able to make friends there. I found that I can succeed in many various social situations as long as I trust in my instincts.

At work I was surrounded by many different types of people and as I mentioned above, they came from various places around the globe. I was able to learn a lot about different cultures and ask questions about how people grew up. I compared their experiences to mine and became more apprehensive of the lifestyles we live as Americans. The work itself was very educational and worthwhile as I learned skills that I’ll need for upcoming classes. The work was very interesting as well, I had a great time learning about the practices of BMW.

Lastly, I was able to gain many different friendships with other interns that I wouldn’t have been able to make otherwise. I went into the experience expecting to learn more professionally but left having become more emotionally, socially, and professionally sound. The friendships I made with several other interns in departments that worked with mine became stronger both in the workplace and out. We worked as a team at work, successfully completing different projects for the company and we celebrated our hard work after hours. We took trips to the beach, went go-carting, did escape rooms and hung out by the pool. These people helped teach me more about becoming the friend someone would like to have. I say this because its so much different becoming friends with someone when you know you only have a couple months together. Life moves fast and friends move away but the friendships last lifetimes.

This change has been extremely vital in my professional, personal, and academic lives. I have learned much more about myself than I thought I would, as I have never truly been alone until now. I expanded the network of people that I’ve worked with which gives me greater chance of success in the future. I learned a lot of practical skills that I’ll need for my classes in school as well. Overall this experience has been fantastic and a pivotal kick start to my career.

STEP Spring 2019 Co-op Reflection

My step signature project entailed working at the company LyondellBasell for 5 months. I was a process engineer that aided in maintaining the process of producing alcohol and microthene and upkeeping the safety of the site.
My understanding of the career field and ways to work together with people changed. I had not done an internship/ co-op prior to this one, so I was very confused and nervous about what I would be doing. LyondellBasell gave me projects to work on that were not just busy work. It gave me an idea of what I would actually be doing in the field. This also helped in highlighting how to apply the knowledge I learn in class to the real world and helps guide my class choices in the future to gain a specialty. I learned how to better work with and interact with people of different backgrounds and different specialties. This helps especially since we are only exposed to people in our major at school, but at a real job there are people with multiple different disciplines.
The projects I worked on really contributed to my understanding of the career field. I was given multiple projects and had the independence to figure them out on my own while getting help when I needed it. These projects included implementing flow meters, removing piping, and changing settings on specific equipment. I thought this was a simple process, but upon designing the details of the project, I realized that a lot more considerations and detail had to go into the project so as to not put anyone in danger or disrupt the process. This also contributed to my realization in how to apply chemical engineering to process engineer role.
I also learned the importance of safety in the career field, specifically at chemical plants. We were required to wear PPE whenever out in the plant. I had thought it was just a precaution, but big accidents where we would need them rarely occurred. I was mistaken. Nothing happened at our plant, but we discussed incidents that have happened or were currently happening across the world. It made me realize the importance of the PPE and all the precautions we take to ensure that no one gets injured. It made me appreciate my projects that were centered around safety aspects more because I realized it did matter that I completed them.
All of the projects that I worked on at the plant required someone else’s input. The someone or some people could be another engineering discipline, a finance advisor, lab tech, operator, or mechanic. I was able to interact with all of these people and be able to accomplish my projects successfully. They all had more experience than I did and focused on aspects that I did not, so I learned a lot about how the process at the plant worked and what they normally have to be concerned with when a project occurs. In addition, many of the people grew up in a small town in very rural parts. I was raised in an urban/suburban area. It was good experience to learn how to get along with people of a different backgrounds and ideations.
This transformation is valuable for my future career. Being able to do this internship allowed me to learn how to apply my knowledge in an actual job and gave me an idea of the specific area I would want to work in in the future. I was able to learn from experienced coworkers that taught me how to best conduct myself in the company and teaching me how to be successful in this role really helped prepare me for my future in any job that I choose.

My Time In DC and WAIP

For my STEP Signature Project, I spent the SP19 semester in the Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP).This involved me working full-time in an internship of my choosing, specifically the Department of Transportation while taking a classes. During this time I also lived and attended a wide variety of events, tours, and panels with classmates throughout my time there.

I grew a lot during my time in D.C. It was my first foray into the “real” world, meaning that my normal support network was practically nonexistent, and I had a decent amount of commitments there, working a 32-hour work week, having class, and then also having a variety of study tours, policy salons, and panels to attend as well. It really helped my confidence as I met the demands of my program, realizing I was able to do everything I did.

I also learned a lot about what I actually want to do going forward in my life. Before going to D.C. I was dead set on grad school, but seeing the opportunities I have got me to reevaluate. Although I still want to go in the future, I no longer see it as a prerequisite to getting jobs in the government or politics. This has changed my academic and professional plans pretty significantly, as I continue finding more things I can do right off the bat.

The work I did at my position in the DOT kept me on my toes as I was always working on different projects, or helping respond to events in real time. This all helped me become more confident in my skills as we tackled and solved new problems. At the same time, the work I put into the class I took, which ended with my capstone project, really summed up the work I have done throughout my entire undergraduate career. The opportunites for leadership presented as well helped me reinforce my strengths, while also improving upon my weaknesses, which wrapped up my self-improvement over the semester.

My interactions with the fellows who worked on the Hill, and talking to my mentor specifically gave me a lot of knowledge about the other opportunities that I can pursue outside of going to grad school and seeking a graduate fellowship. This also strengthened my network going forward as I look to dive into some fields different than what I currently have experience in, or possibly return to campaign work. Especially with the 2020 election spinning up, it was a great time for me to have this revelation.

Getting to explore D.C. further and actually living there really helped settle me on moving there some day, which was a pretty big change from what I had previously wanted to do. It took a lot to realize that I could uproot from Ohio (where I have always lived) and move somewhere in pursuit of a more fulfilling life and career.

The combination of improving myself, becoming more confident, and finding many new opportunities that I can pursue really compounded, creating the changes I’ve talked about. Having this kind of direction change has really helped me grow, and opened up a wide array of new opportunities for myself. Since I know I want to eventually move there, I can begin making decisions and altering my life plan to focus on getting to D.C. and into the kind of career I want some day. My STEP Project was a truly transformational experience, and I would be nowhere near where I am academically and professionally now without it.

Getting to meet one of my senators, Sherrod Brown, was an amazing opportunity, especially after having worked on his campaign last fall!

Great View from the Capitol Building!

STEP Internship WAIP SP2019

For my STEP project I participated in the Washington Academic Internship Program sponsored by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Through this program I completed a 32 hour per week internship, gained class-credit toward a minor in public policy and many networking and professional development opportunities; all while living in Washington, D.C.

During my time in Washington, I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I learned about many different career paths that I could pursue in the future and tips for interviews, networking and perfecting my resume. I grew more confident in myself and my abilities. I also was able to be more politically active and was able to learn more about and advocate for issues such as higher education affordability and accessibility, rural broadband access and reproductive rights. I was able to volunteer and interact to serve different communities than my own; broadening my horizons and knowledge of these groups.

I am not exaggerating when I say that participating in WAIP was one of the best decisions I have made during my college career. Moving to D.C. was tough as it was 9 hours from home instead of 3, but it challenged me to be more independent and self-sufficient. I will be graduating in May 2020 so this real-world experience was extremely beneficial as it gave me a taste of life post-graduation. Through our networking events with alumni in D.C. and our study tours I was able to make important networking connections that will last for years to come, and that were able to offer advice for my future career search. In balancing a nearly full-time internship and class in the evening I was able to work on my time management skills.

Also, one of the key takeaways from WAIP for me was that I am not looking to go to graduate school directly out of college. I was debating this decision before participating in WAIP and was even planning on taking the GMAT this summer. After talking with hiring managers and other professionals I decided to wait of grad school. I know that everyone is different, but I feel as though this is the best decision for me.

Probably my favorite thing that I gained from WAIP was the overall confidence I gained in myself and my abilities. Since I was young, I have always wanted to be a sports analyst and work in sports marketing. I had moved away from this dream as I have gotten older because I was not confident that I would be competitive with other applicants for this career field. I thought that entering a predominantly male dominated field and receiving my degree from a public University would automatically disqualify me. Through talking with OSU alumni and other women with experience in sports marketing who I met in D.C. through WAIP, I am very confident in my ability to work hard in pursuing the career path in sports marketing and if it doesn’t happen for me then I will move to something else, but I at least want to try it. I am less afraid of failure and feel confident in the education I am receiving from Ohio State and know that the professional development WAIP has given me through our various policy salons and study tours has prepared me to enter the workforce as a competitive candidate, even against those with ivy league degrees.

The internship portion of WAIP also allowed for major personal and professional development. The internship experience WAIP helped me receive taught me the type of company culture with strong values I am looking for. This additional work experience during my undergraduate career gave me to opportunity to work in my internship this summer and made me a more competitive candidate for the job.

WAIP has also empowered me as a woman. I touched on this earlier, but being in such a politically-charged city has allowed me to understand first-hand the magnitude of some of the issues woman and minorities face today. I really was in the center of it all. Through talking with other woman and minorities I learned how to establish myself as a woman in the office and in society, and to advocate for myself and for what I believe in.

I was able to meet so many important people such as the Ohio delegation and even the Surgeon General and White House Liason from the Department of Health and Human Services. This experience matured me professionally and personally more than anything I have ever done. I was representing The Ohio State University and knew I had to do it with respect and pride.

WAIP was difficult and very trying sometimes. Half-way through I thought that I wasn’t cut out for an experience like this, but after getting through it I now know that I was meant to do this program. I am now more empowered than ever as a woman and as a student soon entering the workforce. I am reenergized to return to Columbus for my final year and excited for the future to come.

My Spring Internship at NASA

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. 

During Spring Semester 2019, I worked as an intern for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I worked on safety critical software that will directly support the launch of the SLS rocket. The project that I developed provides a new way to test the displays that engineers in the Launch Control Center will use.

What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? 

I understand NASA’s overall mission better, and have a better view of what is happening at various parts of NASA, as well as where the rest of the Space industry is moving towards. I saw some of the different types of tradeoffs people and managers had to do to get things done. While there are some extraordinary geniuses at NASA, I realized most of the employees are just regular people who like space. I also realized that most people’s paths to get to NASA were not straightforward. They didn’t go through the traditional process of a single undergrad engineering degree to be there. Many people I met there came from Community College, or the Military, or even did an a bachelors in something not STEM related.

I also had to adapt to a different culture at NASA and in Florida. Work generally moved slowly for us there for various reasons. There was still a lot of work to do, but setting up took a while, and a lot of the work was fixing difficult and non-intuitive problems. While I was in Florida I also had to learn how to live with a lot of animals and a difficult roommate that I was responsible for driving. Living in this unfamiliar situation caused me to rely on the friends I made there a lot more than I would have otherwise, and I consequently made some lifelong friends.

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?

There is a definite tradeoff between quality and maintainability of software, and getting a product out. One of the new full time software engineers there saw a lack of quality in the structure of my code due to an existing structure. While some of the other engineers thought it would be a waste of time (“painting the bikeshed”) to fix the structure of the code to make it faster and more useable in the future, the new full timer made a case that he could refactor it efficiently, and succeeded. I saw variations of these types of discussions play out in various projects within the office. There were some people, like the software architect that would consistantly push for good practices over speed, while others would push back for various reasons.

NASA is an organization that operates on a long timeline, and there were a lot of older technologies and paradigms in use there. Many of the designs for buildings, rockets, other machines, and software was repurposed from past missions in past eras with specifications that conflicted with future requirements. The technology I worked with was generally pretty old for software and the question ‘Why do we use X?’ sometimes gave confusing answers rooted in multiple changes in administrative priority and bureaucracy. There was a stated business casual dress code (which in tech is outdated) with collared shirts and long pants, but nobody seemed to care if you followed it or not. Because such a high priority was put on safety, nearly everything was tested, and it seemed like more priority was placed on testing than on features at many times. Much of the work we had to do was aimed at making the jobs of the people doing the testing easier.

Although this work was important, due to the massive scope and timeframe of the entire SLS (Space Launch System) program it sometimes felt as if the work I was doing had little impact. However, when the farther along my project got, the more people asked about it, and would come to rely on it. Although my project had importance to the organization, I felt that I was not learning as much as I wanted to technically working on it. I learned a lot when I was working alongside an engineer during projects, or speaking to my mentor about the history of NASA, but when it came time to sit alone and develop software, I felt kind of stagnant. Reading through documentation and trying random things until they work can be frustrating.

There is definitely something special about NASA that you wouldn’t get at most workplaces. When you go into work through the gate, you’re greeted by space shuttle booster engines. Out of the corner of your eye, you can spot the vehicle assembly building. As you drive in further, the scale of the building is finally clear. It is one of the largest buildings in the world by volume, and where NASA has constructed their rockets for the past 50 years. Getting a close up view of that building every day made me proud to work at NASA, and gave me a sense of how big, difficult, unique and amazing the things going on at NASA were. Regardless of what I had to work on, NASA’s overall mission, the collective goal to expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity, is incredible.

To accomplish incredible goals you need incredible people, and the some of the people who worked at NASA were a big part of what made it special. My mentors were great, interesting, and motivated people, and although they didn’t take a deep dive into my project technically, they were really welcoming. They organized lunches and a tour to see the the crawler, and came into our room periodically to talk rockets and careers with us. One of my mentors went out of her way to take us to her makerspace, where we got to meet interesting Orlando makers and make out own laser cut drinking glasses. Some of the other engineers had the ability to make even mundane things exciting. The engineers who specifically took an interest in helping me made a big difference by giving my work purpose.

During my internship I made friends with people from across the country and around the world, from all kinds of different backgrounds. I went fishing, went climbing, played basketball, watched movies, and went on a road trip to Key West with them. I learned a lot of things I would otherwise not have known from them because everyone had different interests and was from different places. We grew very close, and I ended up meeting people I will probably be lifelong friends with. Being out of the house and constantly coordinating the next adventure with them exposed me to many different perspectives and made me a happier, more extroverted person.

Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

My NASA internship helped build valuable software engineering and testing skills by having me complete an independent project from start to finish. I built skills using different tools, testing software, and communicating problems to a large team that will help me in future software engineering positions. I also learned about the space program, its history, and about the various spacecraft and people who made it work.

Working at NASA also made me reconsider what I value long term. The people who I looked up to the most at NASA were always learning new things and finding ways to apply new ideas in and out of work. They reaffirmed that I should constantly be learning and trying new things, as well as teaching others. On a related note, most of the people I talked to advised me to go onto grad school straight out of undergrad, which makes me more sure in my plan to do so.

 

Me in front of the Vehicle Assembly Building night/day.

Me, Nashir, and Joseph (left to right) in front of the Lego Loch Ness Monster at Disney Springs.

Key West road trip.

The whole crew on picture day.

Me and co-intern Nashir during the last week.

Aatmiya – Nepal: Fisher Non Profit Global Project (STEP)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The main activities that my STEP Signature Project entailed were research,marketing, and client relation. Our project began during the Spring 2019 semester, where we connected with the in country project manager to see what her goals for us were. Once in country, my team and I assisted with writing, branding and visibility, and building business connections.

My understanding of myself, assumptions, and my view of the world transformed while completing my STEP Signature Project in Nepal. Initially, I was nervous to be not only learning while abroad, but making an impact. It was important for me to realize that although the two weeks went by fast, we were still able to have a vast experience while developing cultural skills and sharpening business skills. My STEP Signature Project presented me with cultural learning experiences in country, expanding upon my understanding that across the globe we have similar human characteristics, although we might have different life experiences and may speak different languages.

My view of the world transformed, because when one thinks of a developing country, they tend to think that it is not as great as America or a country in Europe. That belief was challenged, as in Nepal their sense of community and hospitality is strong. Even the care of dogs and monkeys roaming the street shows that Nepali individuals cherish the lives of one another and their animals. I can also say that being in a country where Nepali people (on the continent of Asia) were the majority, I experienced a new sense of being a Black American. Being asked questions about my heritage and hair were positive experiences, allowing me to be both self reflective and culturally aware of the way in which I was perceived.

There were many aspects that contributed to my change experiences during my STEP Signature Project in Kathmandu, Nepal. One event involved a hike, crocheting with Didis at Aatmiya, and working on the business focus of the project at Aatmiya. These key experiences affected me in a positive manner and lead to a greater self and cultural awareness.

While on the exposition on many occasions my group and I were asked where we were from. Individuals were amazed to learn that we were all from America, as we have different appearances due to our ancestry. I was personally asked to get really specific about my ancestry, because in country most assumed that I were African. I was asked about my hair, and on multiple occasions I was told in both English and Nepali by people that they loved my hair, which was extremely affirming. This occurred a lot during the hike, where my character was strengthened as not only did I see a different part of life in Nepal, but I built strength and endurance with the help our our guide and my peers.

Crocheting with Didis was an amazing experience, as it occurred near the end of our project at Aatmiya, a NPO in Nepal. For the majority of our time there, we assisted with marketing and research, leaving time for smaller interactions with Didis, Nepali Women workers. Sitting and crocheting with Didis, sharing laughs and smiles, was a transformative space to be in. I know simple phrases in Nepali, and only one Didi knew English very well. Thus, one Didi and I joked together about the fact that we couldn’t quite communicate with spoken language but had a mutual understanding of that and both understood facial expressions and body language. Most of the time I was quiet, taking everything in, and learning how to crochet from the Didi’s while also acquiring a deep appreciation for their community and work ethic. They also treated me to lunch and supported me through my learning curve. The business side of Aatmiya showed me that Americans are more direct while Nepali individuals utilize softer communication skills.

This transformation is extremely valuable to my life. I was able to experience so much while being in a country over 7,000 miles from home. Relationships helped me to expand upon both my cultural and self awareness. It also made me appreciate my life experiences thus far, being American, being a Black American. As a parallel, I gained a greater appreciation for Nepal, for Nepali individuals, for their culture, shattering the stereotypes of what being a developing country means. My STEP Signature Project in Nepal taught me how to be more patient, more open to new experiences, as you learn whether or not the experience was up your alley or just right for you. I learned to continue to experience new things, challenge my assumptions and beliefs, and to enjoy people and life. My experiences relate to my academic, personal, and professional goals and my future plans. I truly enjoy being immersed in other cultures, having memorable interactions, and building relationships. The project connected perfectly to my academic and professional goals as it related to business and women. I am truly grateful for much support, and for the Fisher College of Business’ Global Office, STEP, and Aatmiya.

STEP Reflection Spring Co-Op 2019

STEP 2019 Co-Op Reflection

 

Outside of the unit that I worked in.

Group of co-ops in Houston area at the co-op exchange.

 

For my STEP project I completed a co-op with LyondellBasell as a Process Engineer Co-Op at their La Porte, TX olefins plant. I worked alongside my mentor to complete a variety of projects in different areas of the plant from the furnaces to the distillation areas and gave a final presentation on what I had completed during my term to the leadership team. There were many days of training and extra learning seminars to gain the most knowledge and experience about all aspects of engineering in the plant.

 

During my co-op experience, there were many transformations that occurred for myself and the view of the world. The first transformation that I saw for myself was growing in confidence as an engineer. The knowledge that is gained in school is important for understanding, but it not directly what will be used in the field. This makes it hard to really visualize what an actual job of an engineer is and be able to determine if I would like it or be able to complete it. This experience gave me the opportunity to explore a potential career options and see how to apply what I have learned in the classroom to a job. I transformed from just an engineering student, but a future engineering professional.  I also moved across the country by myself and not knowing anyone beforehand. I had to mature and figure out everything while I was there. This allowed me to grow as a person as well and learn how to live in a new place and start new. This transformation of gaining confidence was a product of being able to take this co-op experience, which was made possible by my STEP program funds.

 

A transformation of my view the country also changed during my co-op. I grew up in Illinois and go to school in Ohio, so I stay pretty centrally located in the Midwest. I had never been to Texas before, and really had no expectations going into this new part of the country. I did not know if I would live living in this part of the country and was nervous to go there alone. After time, and becoming acquainted with the area, I grew to love this new area. I had a transformation in being able to go outside my comfort zone, explore new places, and appreciate a different part of the country. This co-op allowed me to see so many cities and experience different foods which I would not have had without this experience.

 

There are many people, interactions, and events that allowed me to grow during my project. For my first transformation in growing as an engineer, many opportunities allowed me to grow in the short period I did. First, my mentor is one person that really helped grow in my transformation. He was a consultant and worked in the plant for a long time and knows the ins and outs of each of the units. He was able to teach me the material I still haven’t learned in school and apply that and the things I already knew. I have not had that good of a teacher in such a long time, and he truly allowed me to transform into the engineer I am now. He challenged me to take on difficult projects and go outside of my academic comfort zone. This person truly allowed me to transform into a better learner and student, and I have him to thank for a successful co-op.

 

There are other events that allowed me to transform in my knowledge. There were many training sessions held by LyondellBasell and other contractors that allowed me to learn about different disciplines and acquire knowledge I needed to be successful for this term. These trainings introduced me to valves, pumps, seals, piping, and other mechanical items. These are all things I would not learn in school, but things I would need in a future career. These technical trainings were transformative as they are stuff I will never learn in a sitting classroom, so going out to vendors and contractors to learn in the information allowed me to get extra knowledge not all my classmates will have. Many of these trainings I had to reach out to attend and get this information for myself. This taught me how to be able to ask for help and assistance, but then use it on my own. These events were also what helped me transform into a confident student and young upcoming engineer.

 

The final interactions that helped me grow in my transformative experience, was meeting and growing in experiences with the other co-ops. As I mentioned part of my transformation was going to a new part of the country on my own and learning how to be mature. This helped transform me into the young adult that I am transitioning towards. Having interactions with other young adults going through the same thing helps learn tricks and grow as well. Having this new experience and exploring other places allowed me to transform and see other places that I would not have seen without this opportunity. As illustrated in these past three paragraphs, the people, events, and interactions detailed really allowed for my transformation during my time on co-op.

 

This change and transformation in my life was in both my personal and professional life. I was in an industrial plant and had important projects to complete to help this unit run. I learned the responsibility of an engineer and how to be independent in my thinking. I also learned how to communicate with other groups in a company, and how to effectively work and share ideas between each other. Not only this, but I was able to learn how to ask for help when I am unsure how to do a problem or needed another opinion on a project. I also learned how to write technically in a report so that other people are able to understand what I am thinking and proposing to change. This was something I had to work hard at, but after time I was able to learn and demonstrate my ability at this skill. Lastly, professionally I grew as a speaker as giving a final presentation in front of a leadership team. All of these skills I learned during this transformative experience will help me in my future professional career. Personally, I was able to grow confidence in my ability and how to be an adult. I was able to grow in new experiences, make new friends, and learn more about the world around me.

SP19 Internship at Columbus Nonprofit

  1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.

For my STEP Signature project, I had the opportunity to work with a local Columbus Nonprofit that focused on getting artists grant money. I was the social media intern that was responsible for pasting about events on Facebook and Instagram.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.

            By the end of my STEP project, I had gone through a sort of personal transformation. I realized that, even as an intern, I deserved to be treated in a better way than I had. That is not something that is often touched on by professors or mentors, so it was a difficult situation to resolve and to overcome. People often say that you will have to work with “difficult” people, but they don’t really say much else. However, by the end, I had come out of my internship with a more solid idea of who I was and what I wanted to do because of it.

  1. 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? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

I want to start by saying that I did enjoy my internship in its entirety. I got the chance to make some lifelong friends and to meet so many great artists and help them through their grant writing process. It was a very rewarding experience that made me feel like I was doing something positive in and for the community. The friends that I made are ones that I will continue to stay in touch with wherever I go next and they helped me through my transformation by being a confidant.

My main job description at my internship was to run the social media pages for the company. I brought in a lot of previous experience from other nonprofits and internships. However, there were instances and interactions where my experiences that I was hired because of, weren’t being valued in the way that they should have. For example, I was asked to write multiple, in-depth, social media plans. I did, but they were criticized without much explanation and weren’t even read in their entirety.

The biggest interactions that lead to my transformation as discussed in section two were interactions that I had with my superior. They had the idea to start this nonprofit to cater to a niche in Columbus that was not being reached and they did it very well. However, there were interactions with them that I had that were very negative and where I was called certain names, out down, or blatantly ignored. It really made me take a step back and evaluate where I was, what I was doing, and why I was doing it.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

Dealing with difficult or disrespectful people is talked about by professors and parents but, for me, it has always been said in passing and described as something that “is just going to happen and you’re going to have to deal with it.” It is never addressed how you should deal with it and how stressful it can be. As negative as my interactions were with this particular individual, I am actually grateful for it. I am glad that I had this experience as a college student with the support system of school and my fellow peers in my major. Because I would not have wanted to deal with this in my future in the workplace when I could have felt very alone in it all.

Something that I am taking away that is very valuable for my future is now I have the skill to stand up for myself against someone in a position of power who seemingly “holds my future” in their hands. They don’t. And that is not something that I would have realized without this internship. I am taking this experience with me to all of my future jobs knowing that I can and will be able to handle those types of interactions with continued respect for the individual and myself.

 

A few of my fellow interns and I attended the National Arts Action Summit in D.C. to advocate for more arts funding (not a requirement or a part of the internship).

A fellow intern and I working the rained out 934 fest.

 

STEP Internship With pH Matter- Reflection

My STEP Signature Project was an internship with pH Matter LLC. While interning I was responsible with fuel cell assembly and testing.  I also helped with catalyst synthesis and data analysis.

I have learned that I would like to follow the environmental focus within Chemical Engineering. I have always seen it important to push towards sustainability and a healthier planet, but felt it was impossible for one person to make a big difference.  This job showed me how much opportunity there is in this market. I am fascinated by the scientific breakthroughs that will help society become more eco-friendly.

I have learned a lot about the day to day work of an engineer from this experience. The biggest being the importance of recording and analyzing data. I had never realized how much time and effort this takes. I also really didn’t have any idea how to look at data before this experience. In class when looking at data you already know what relationships exist and how they should be used, but this is not the case in the real world. Discovering relationships and trends in the data is what leads to improvements down the road.             My boss Paul has also given me a lot of confidence as I move forward into the field of engineering.  He started the company, and has a vision for it.  This has shown me the importance of ideas, and sharing those ideas.  Because of this I feel comfortable offering up all my ideas during weekly meetings.

Working at a small company has also allowed me to form close connections with all my co-workers.  It was very clear to me that everyone was there for a reason.  Everyone works hard with needing to be told to do so.  We all share the same passion to improve the world through sustainability, and we all enjoyed coming to work.

After my internship I feel so much more confident that I will be able to succeed after graduation.  Before this experience I was very anxious about life after graduation.  After being in school for so long I had no idea what it was like to have a career, especially one you can enjoy.  However, my signature project proved to me I can be successful in this field, and that I can enjoy life in and outside of work.