Store Intern @ PPG – Monte Board

My STEP signature project consisted of me interning for 10 weeks for a PPG store on N Hamilton Rd. During my time there, I worked 40 hours a week and was an integral part to the daily operation of the store. I worked with 2 other middle aged men, one of which who had been with the company for over 26 years. I did everything from simple tasks such as ring customers up at the register to more challenging tasks such as giving proper advice on add on products that could help customers. There were also the occasional days where I would go help the delivery driver and ride with him to a drop off zone where we would then carry the paint to it’s designated area.

 

The main thing that I got from this experience was exactly that, experience. I had never before worked a retail job to the extent that I did at PPG. It was definitely a change for me to have a job with a variable work load that was fairly dependent on the customers. I had been used to working warehouse jobs where I had a set amount of work, but never one where the job constituted being able to cater to customer demands. It was definitely an adjustment for me because I didn’t fully understand the open ended type of nature that is a retail job. There were many moments where I had to be on my toes and think on the fly. It was difficult at times not to get overwhelmed, but as the weeks went on I learned how to better manage.

 

A main influence on my during my time at PPG was the worker store manager who was my supervisor, Phil. He’s the employee I mentioned earlier who had been apart of the company for over 26 years. He knew all the ins and outs of the business and definitely was helpful with my transition into the job. During the first few weeks, I wasn’t involved as much at the register because I didn’t fully understand what to do yet. Phil had me basically shadow him during this time and watch what he did as well as just take mental notes on how he dealt with the customers. He was exceptional at understanding the desires of the customer even when the customer didn’t truly understand what they wanted themselves. I was able to apply this myself in the later weeks as I started to work the register more and I used some of his strategies and it made things a lot simpler.

 

Additionally, I made a few significant relationships with a few of the regular customers. Since majority of the customers I helped were contractors who had businesses they ran themselves, I would continuously talk to them about their days as well as how their business would operate on a daily basis. I learned a lot of things from them including how to properly motivate employees of their own, how to deal with customers who have high expectations, and so on. I developed a broader understanding of the types of problems that the average small business owner would run into. For example, multiple customers who were business owners told me how they never expected anything of their employees that they couldn’t hold the employees accountable for. They felt it irresponsible and unnecessary for them to set expectations that they wouldn’t be able to follow up on. Even with all these stories and business strategies they told me about, I also was able to discuss with them their daily lives and families, and those interactions helped me develop a higher sense of empathy. There were often times where it would have been the easy thing to be frustrated when I was dealing with multiple customers at once, but being able to calm down for a second and humanize them helped the day go by better.

Even as much as working retail was a nice experience, the daily remedial work was a necessary experience for me to come to the realization that this wasn’t the type of work I could do day to do. Constantly having to pick up phones, do tedious inventory work, and lift heavy buckets of paint was physically and mentally exhausting. Since I was the inexperienced worker during my time there, I was often tasked with the more tedious work, and this wasn’t always enjoyable. I wasn’t good enough or experienced enough to work on more stimulating things such as ordering inventory or offering input on new marketing strategies. Seeing Phil be able to do less physically taxing work that seemed more enjoyable was a good motivator for me. I understood that I couldn’t just be content with where I was in life and that there was always a better goal to push towards. I wanted a more relaxing job and working at PPG made me realize that it was only myself who stood in the way of that.

 

Overall, it was definitely an experience that was necessary for me to understand more about the real world of day to day business. I’m grateful for the people I worked with as well as the atmosphere I worked in because it definitely changed my outlook on the common day to day world of business and how it’s operated. I’m more aware of my fit in this type of environment and am more aware of how I will go about pursuing that fit. My confidence is higher than it was before I started this project and I feel much more prepared on what to expect once I get a full time job. STEP provided me the financial means to reasonably help me with expenses for this project. Without STEP, I wouldn’t have pursued an opportunity like this. For that, I’m thankful and wish that more students will use STE to take an opportunity to learn more about themselves and/or others.

Image result for ppg store n hamilton road

Rolls Royce Internship

This summer I interned at Rolls Royce in Indianapolis, Indiana. I worked as a Purchasing Manufacturing/Quality Engineer Intern.

Going into the internship, I did not know what it would be like to work in an office for a large company or any company at all. This was my first internship. It was also my first time living in a city where I did not know anyone. I became much better at communicating in a workplace setting and more comfortable with giving presentations. I also became more independent, both at work and home. It is easier now for me to ask questions when I don’t know how to do something. I was also given the opportunity to shadow electronics engineers throughout the summer because my major is electrical engineering. Shadowing allowed me to see what I could possibly be doing on a day to day basis once I graduate. I understand myself much better now and I understand how I can fit into a workplace which I could not easily picture before.

I became more comfortable in the office as the summer went on. The way my projects were set up, I had to lead meetings multiple times a week with full time employees. I was very nervous at first, but I became very comfortable with giving presentations and leading groups. I also had to ask for help daily. I would set up meetings, email, and walk over to people and ask them directly. I did not think I was afraid to ask questions before I started, but I got very used to admitting what I did not know throughout the summer. By the time I gave my exit presentation at the end of my internship, I was completely comfortable with talking in front of people, even large groups.

Away from work, I learned about myself. I had never been in a city where I did not know anyone. Having free time after work, I was left to do anything I wanted. I read more this summer than I have had a chance to in the past few years. I also had time to run and walk around the city since I lived downtown. I really enjoyed being able to cook my own meals. I ended up having car troubles and learned how to deal with that without being at home where my dad fixes our cars. I became more independent because I had to make all my own decisions.

My manager this summer was very understanding that purchasing did not have much to do with my major, electrical engineering, and set me up to shadow electronics engineers throughout the summer. One of those engineers would work with me about once a week to show me what she does day to day. Being able to see what engineers do in a lab and office setting helped me understand what I could be doing in the future. The team of engineers that I shadowed does both design and testing work. Seeing both made me more conscience of what I may like to do after I graduate.

My experiences this summer helped me to know that I’m on the right track in school. Without seeing what people in your field do during their jobs, it is hard to know whether you will like the job you are setting yourself up for or not. I thoroughly enjoyed my internship this summer even though it was not in the scope of my major and that is because I liked the company. I have been given the opportunity to go back next summer on the Electronic Controls team. If I had not been able to take the internship this summer, I may not have been given that chance. I was able to become more confident in the workplace and with living on my own. This summer helped me become much more independent and led me to find a job I could truly enjoy.

Internship

My STEP Signature Project was one of the most insightful experiences I have ever had. My internship allowed me to rotate throughout different departments in the energy industry and have a feel for what it is like to take on multiple projects at once. In my internship, I learned many skills that I will be able to take with me into whatever career I take on in the next chapter of my life.

 

In many situations, I was given the opportunity to have hands-on experience with customers of the company. I was able to thoroughly explain their energy usage and breakdown their utility bill by explaining different charges. I was often put in a situation where I could save the customer money because of mistakes they’ve made in the past with their bills. When this occurred, it was one of the most rewarding feelings ever. I did not imagine myself saving a customer thousands of dollars and helping them understand a concept that I was once unfamiliar with myself. This experience allowed me to become more empathetic and care for the “little things” in life.

 

My team lead, Mitchell Kauffman, had a huge impact on this change I experienced after my internship. He is someone that pays close attention to detail and focuses on every single aspect of his work. This is one thing I struggled with prior to my internship. He taught me how to prioritize the tasks I needed to complete every day while also managing my time designated to larger projects.

 

At first, this was something I struggled with because it was a tremendous change. From prioritizing homework tasks to prioritizing tasks in a large company setting, it was hard to accommodate so quickly. Thankfully, my team was filled with different types of leaders that made it easier each day to adapt to the company’s culture.

 

Towards the end of my internship, one of the managers showed us our progress in our internship and the amount of revenue we have brought the company since the start of our internship. This was very rewarding because it showed me that my internship was an individualized experience and that people cared.

 

This change was something that is valuable for my life because it gave me the chance to learn about time management from a perspective I had yet to see. I learned about time management from a Fortune 500 company and it felt awesome knowing they treated me like a friend and not just a coworker. Paying attention to detail is something that will help me with my future careers and the relationships I will make throughout my entire life.

Gillian Gunawan – Internship with CRIS

My STEP Signature Project was an internship with a Columbus-based non-profit organization, Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS). I was involved, specifically, with the Citizenship department, which entailed tutoring senior age immigrants. I helped out the most by providing individualized attention to the people who needed it.

This internship gave me a deeper look into the process of obtaining citizenship in the US. I knew, already, that it was a difficult process, but to sit there and try to help non-English speaking senior aged people understand what the Constitution is and what their rights are made me very aware of how strenuous and frustrating the process can be. Until this internship, I did not realize the lengths that people had to go to before they could even think about applying for citizenship.

I was also made aware of the reality that not everyone has the resources that CRIS can provide. My supervisor in particular would call utility companies, provide transportation and in general go above-and-beyond in order to make sure people were not being exploited simply because they could not yet speak fluent English and did not know their rights. Watching her and meeting and helping these people was very humbling and profound. The empathy was already there for me, but I understand better now how lucky I am to have been born in the US and how desperately I want to be able to help each individual as best I can.

The most profound interaction I had was with an old Bhutanese woman named Rambawati. Every Thursday morning, my supervisor and I would go to a (different) Bhutanese woman’s apartment, where she and some other adults and senior citizens would gather for a two-hour tutoring session on the USCIS Civics test. Rambawati did not speak a single word of English. Most of the summer was spent helping her learn and comprehend the alphabet, a skill my supervisor stressed: making sure the people we were tutoring actually understood what they were learning and being told, instead of just helping them memorize the questions and answers. This ultimately made these tutoring sessions a combination of civics and ESL.

By the end of the summer, Rambawati was able to name and write all the letters in her name, and could pick out specific letters out of a small set of three of four. She came a long way from the beginning of the summer, when we were using alphabet flashcards with corresponding illustrations to develop a loose understanding of each other. Through that, she taught me some Bhutanese words and was able to connect those familiar concepts with the alphabet and simple English words, resulting in a real—basic, but real—understanding of the English language.

Because of my interactions with Rambawati, I saw for myself how difficult all the steps leading up to beginning the immigration process is, and how tedious and tiring it can be, as well as how important it is for people like Rambawati to have the right resources available to them. The US immigration process is unnecessarily complicated and drawn-out, and it was very frustrating for me to figure that out essentially first hand, knowing that there was nothing I could do about the process itself. Instead, I now know that my previous ambition of becoming an immigration lawyer is not what I want to do—I am far more interested in the non-profit sector, where I can help people on the most personal level possible.

This transformation helped me gain a better understanding of what I want my future to look like. For a while I was convinced that going to law school to study immigration was the right path for me—or, less that I was convinced and more that I was determined to prove a point to myself and to my friends and family. But, I realize now that the high-stress high-cost path to becoming a lawyer is not for me. My experiences at CRIS let me see that I want to be on the ground, helping people in every way I personally can. Obviously that is still something that can be accomplished through becoming a lawyer, but I don’t think the law path is where I will feel the most fulfilled and helpful.

I’m not entirely sure what exactly I want to do now, but I am very grateful for the experiences I had this past summer and how it opened my eyes to how thankless and difficult it is to work in non-profit immigration services; but, helping people overcome language barriers and slowly inch their way to learning and comprehending what USCIS is asking of them was incredibly rewarding to see. Rambawati and the dozen other people I met helped fuel my determination to do everything I can to help the immigrant population in the US—a population that, in today’s specific political climate, is violently hated by what can often seem like the majority of US citizens. But, luckily, organizations like CRIS remain tireless in their work to make the US a better, more welcoming place for people seeking safety and new lives.

Megan’s Internship & EMT Certification

  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.

My STEP project consisted of two parts; an internship at Riverside Methodist Hospital and an EMT certification process. During my time at Riverside, I was able to observe trauma physicians and advanced practice practitioners during surgeries, patient visits, trauma bay calls, and behind-the-scenes rounds and charting. During my EMT Certification through Columbus State Community College, I learned and acquired all of the skills necessary to provide basic life support during an emergency situation.

 

  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.

Before beginning my STEP Project, I had no idea what career path I wanted to end up on, and that sense of not knowing was very scary to me. I’ve spent my life up to this point as a planner, someone who likes to know when and where things are going to happen. After seeing a great deal of what the medical world has to offer, this fear of the unknown has almost completely subsided. While I’m still unsure of what I want to make a career out of, I’m much more comfortable after seeing the wide range of opportunities that I will eventually find myself facing. I was able to see up close what different medical professionals do, and how each of their contributions fit into a wider picture of patient care.

I found myself less uncomfortable with the idea of the unknown, because I knew that someday I would know exactly what type of contribution I’d like to make to the medical community. I have a much better understanding of the different roles and specialties of different medical professionals, several of which sparked an interest as a potential career path choice. Before beginning my STEP Project, a lot of stress surrounded the thought of trying to figure out what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing. But after seeing several different types of medical professionals work, hearing their personal testimonies, and experiencing what it’s like to be an EMT, I’ve found that a large majority of that stress has completely dissipated. Originally, my goal by the end of my STEP Project was to have a better grasp of what I want to spend my life doing. While I didn’t quite reach that goal, I’m confident that I came out of this STEP Project better off than I would have if I had reached that goal. At this point, I’m okay with not knowing and I’m actually excited to face the next chapter in my life with an open mind.

 

  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.

 

The first life-altering event I experienced during my STEP Project was when I was able to stand in on my first surgery during my internship at Riverside. It was a rib-plating surgery for an elderly man who had fallen and fractured several ribs, causing them to gradually shift and make breathing very uncomfortable and dangerous to underlying organs such as the lungs. I was able to watch as the trauma surgeon on the case re-constructed this patient’s ribcage, which would allow him to breathe comfortably and safely. The surgeon was very educational, allowing me to approach the patient and observe the lungs, the movement of the chest wall, and the insertion of a chest tube. Every movement, incision, and correction he made was done so with an amazing balance of delicacy and confidence. After the surgery I was able to tag-along while advanced practice practitioners completed follow-up rounds, and I was able to visit the patient during his recovery. Although he was sore which was as to be expected, he mentioned already noticing a difference in his ability to breathe and in his quality of life overall. At that moment, I knew that the medical field was exactly the place for me; I knew that I wanted to someday use my hands with that same delicacy and confidence to be able to improve someone else’s quality of life.

Another event that really stuck with me during my STEP Project was when I was an EMT student completing a clinical with a private ambulance company. During my clinicals, I was able to perform assessments on patients and assist in their transport and basic life support. There was one run I went on that will undoubtedly stick with me forever. I was on a private ambulance on my way to transport an elderly woman from a nursing home back to her permanent residence. I was already not looking forward to the trip because I thought it was going to be the most boring, mundane hour of my life spent taking a patient from one location to another. However, it turned out to be one of the most humbling experiences of my life. We were called to a nursing home where we found an elderly woman with dementia who wasn’t able to communicate very well or get around on her own. She had been at the nursing home for only three days, which likely meant that her permanent caretaker was taking a break or on vacation. We loaded her into the ambulance and made our way to her permanent address.

When we arrived, we walked into a small home littered with trash, food, and piles on piles of random items and toys. Two women were sitting in the main living room, surrounded with their daily essentials (food, makeup, electronic devices) and watching television. They didn’t say a word to the patient (their mother) as we carried her inside and up two flights of stairs to the furthermost corner of the house, where a dungy hospital bed sat waiting for her to return. The room she was in smelled of urine and was presumably not visited by anyone other than the patient. Positioning and leaving her in this room was quite possible the most painful thing I’ve ever had to willingly do. It was clear to me that she was not going to receive the treatment that she desperately needed. After leaving the home, we discovered that three reports had already been filed on this home through family services. As I struggled to understand how a system could be so broken, the EMT whom I was there to observe and learn from reminded me of something I will never take for granted. She said to me, “as shitty as it is making $11 an hour as an EMT, you quite possibly could have been the only friendly face that patient has seen today, and that could mean the world to her”. This statement was very moving, as it reminded me that the beauty in healthcare is the impact that the little things can have, even if you aren’t performing a major surgery. Sometimes, it’s the things as simple as a smile or showing some compassion that could increase someone’s quality of life way more than a rib-plating could.

Some of the most important information I gained from this experience actually came from a junior resident (medical student) working for trauma services at Riverside. He told me that the worst possible thing I could do for myself would be to go into medical school with my mind set on a single, narrow path. He explained that this narrow mindset, especially in the medical field, would hinder my ability to learn about other aspects of medicine, keeping me from growing into a well-rounded physician with a wide range of knowledge. Because I’ve always been one to plan, it took me a while to agree wholeheartedly with this statement. Up until that moment, I’d thought that it was necessary to go into medical school knowing exactly what I wanted to walk out of medical school with. But, hearing this type of advice from someone who was in my shoes just a few years ago had a significant impact on my mindset. I slowly became okay with not knowing exactly what the next 10 years of my life were going to look like, to the point where I actually started to get excited to see just what medical school has to offer. The stress that surrounded the big question mark of medical school began to subside, and some of it replaced with confidence and acceptance.

 

  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.

 

The transformation I made throughout my STEP Project will be extremely useful as I face the next chapters of my life during undergrad, medical school, and so on. I’ve become less stressed about and more excited for my future, which will help me to be able to focus on things other than planning for it. I’ve also been reminded of the whole reason I became interested in the medical field in the first place; for the patients. This transformation has created a new sense of excitement and confidence within that will surely prove to be helpful now and in the future.

As a future medical professional, I will one day be able to look back on this experience and remember why I started down whatever path I end up on, always staying true to myself and my intentions. As a current undergraduate student, the relieved stress that has been replaced with excitement has made studying for organic chemistry and physics completely worth it. As a person in general, this experience has reminded me of the purity and value of simple human interactions that may turn out to not be so simple after all. I will continue to not take these human interaction experiences for granted, as I am a firm believer that they are the true basis of medicine.

 

Carlisle Brake and Friction Jakob Madgar

This summer I took an engineering internship position at Carlisle Brake and Friction. Carlisle Brake and Friction is an industry leader in the production of friction material and reaction plates for companies like Caterpillar and John Deere. They also own Hawk Performance which makes high-performance brake pads for consumers. My project entailed working with the engineering team at their plant in Medina, Ohio while they doubled their plant size and furthered their journey on the path of lean manufacturing. During a typical work day, I would collaborate with fellow interns and full-time engineers to complete projects with high importance to the expansion of the plant. My projects involved creating fixtures for new machinery, working on ducting solutions to keep the factory clean, and writing manuals for front line team members to follow to operate their machine correctly.

This internship was a very transformative experience in my life so far. The people I worked with and their support for me allowed me to find out what I enjoy about engineering and what I accel in. When coming into this internship I viewed engineers in manufacturing differently than I do now that I have been through it. My initial assumptions revolved around the concept that engineers in a manufacturing plant work on product design, tooling design, machine design, and worked alongside management. I also was not entirely sure what exactly, on a day to day scale an engineer did in this kind of setting. I was unsure of how push/pull manufacturing was directly implemented and how issues arise. I assumed engineers mainly worked on technical issues. Some of my assumptions were confirmed but my knowledge of this area transformed.

I learned engineering in a manufacturing environment, like all engineering, is about problem solving. Engineers are there to solve problems that front-line members and maintenance departments do not have the time or resources to solve. These engineers work on process improvements, plant logistics, machine installation, machine upgrades, and much more. They also filter the noise of the manufacturing floor to plant management. I learned that the problems I like solving center around the design and their implementation. I was able to work on a lot of different projects in the different areas of engineering. I found I liked the design and implementation of solutions much more than the other categories of projects I worked on. This was transformative because I did not know what part of engineering I was truly interested in. This gives me the ability to sell myself better to other companies and convey to them what I am good at in terms they understand. This will affect the rest of my life and I am very thankful I was able to have this experience. I learned a lot about myself and I do not think I would have learned what I did without this internship.

One of my projects I was assigned was to design a fixture system for a series of parts on a brand new machine the company acquired. This problem started with determining what specifications needed to be held while the machine was operating and what would be the quickest system for the operators to use. When I was designing the system around the series of parts I was able to think very clearly about the problem and exactly how the solution was going to work on the floor. When I was working on this project I was able to work non-stop while fully engaged in working around the obstacles I encountered. Time passed very quickly which made it very enjoyable to work on. This was one of the defining projects of my internship and one of the most transformative parts of the project.

Another project I worked on was a measurement device used for detecting the flatness of parts. This project required some basic but not obvious engineering skills involving force balancing and torques. This device required two heavy plates to suspended in the air by a steel frame while being adjustable. The process of designing this device was very enjoyable and something I was able to do in a day’s work. I was able to apply a lot of the things I learned in my classes. I also was able to use some advance software to save weight and money on the manufacturing of the device.

My relationship with the engineering manager was a very good one and allowed me to explore the different areas of engineering while also giving me plenty of important projects. He was also very involved and interested in project management which is something I am finding I have some talent in. He was a good mentor for the summer and was able to guide me towards the conclusions I made about myself and this summer.

This was one of the most valuable experiences I have had so far in my career. It allowed me to more clearly see what areas of engineering I should pursue and also what I enjoy. This has obvious effects on my future plans and where I would like to go in my life. Like I have said, I can now sell myself to future employers with more confidence on where I can help them. I can more clearly define my skill set and also convey that. I have also learned more about engineering as a whole and how it works in the real world. I feel this internship was very useful and transformed my perspective on myself and engineering

Connor McNamara- Export Assistance Intern, ODSA

Name: Connor McNamara

Type of Project: Internship

 

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project:

As a college intern for the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) in the office Export Assistance, I worked to support programs that provide grants and information, as well as promote trade, to small-and-medium-sized companies across Ohio.  More specifically, I played an integral role in supporting the job-creating focused Ohio Export Internship Program as well as processed grants and collected impact for the International Market Access Grant for Exporters and the International Market Support Program.

 

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

Given that my STEP Signature Project was an internationally focused internship, my view of the world was forced to develop and expand. Without even leaving Columbus, Ohio, I was able to connect to the world and be exposed to new perspectives.  I gained a deeper understanding of how trade and economic ties break down barriers– how shared interests can bring people and organizations together in a productive and prosperous manner.  I witnessed, first-hand, the fervor and dedication that so many people around the state of Ohio have to travel and learn and trade.  While I’ve always had an idea that this network was out there, working on the inside made it and its international benefits all that much more real in my mind.

Additionally, I was able to better understand how I work.  That is to say, I practiced and learned more about my work style.  I’ve always been one to put my head down and power through, all while wanting to obtain the best results possible.  My internship, made possible by the STEP Signature Project, allowed me to grow that work style, increase my work ethic, and gain an understanding of what full-time work in the realm of economic development looks and feels like (my full-time employment arrangements in previous years have not been so career or major focused).

 

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?

A few of the key activities and projects encountered during my STEP Signature Project that led to this transformation were my participation in international conference calls, working with the Ohio Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) Export Assistance Network (EAN), communicating with companies and interns, and researching the retaliatory tariffs issue.

First, I had the opportunity to sit in on international conference calls between ODSA, our client companies, and our foreign contractor contacts abroad.  Each call that I participated in, I was not only made more knowledgeable about Ohio small companies and their specific products, but, was able to learn first-hand perspectives of foreign markets.  This includes but is not limited to product interest, competition levels, tariffs and duties, distributor interest and information, and basic market assessments.  As an extension, I was also able to network with the Ohio SBDC EAN members, a dedicated group of trade professionals around the state, as they often participated on the calls as well (not to mention monthly webinars between them and ODSA).  From them I was able to glean important information regarding export preparation and compliance standards for trade.

While working closely with the Ohio Export Internship Program (OEIP), I was connected to companies and interns that were traveling and doing business all over the globe.  Many of the interns working under the OEIP program completed projects in Australia, China, India, Isreal, Latin America, South Africa, Southeast Asia, the United Kingdom, and more.  By extension, I learned of the market needs and interests of each of these countries and regions, as well as learned which Ohio industries were filling those demands.

And, as a special project assigned to me, I researched and closely monitored the events and news surrounding the issue of tariffs and trade.  By writing an extensive report on the retaliatory tariffs I opened a door into a deeper understanding of the current climate of international trade, especially as it relates to international political economy and diplomatic strategies.  I even had the opportunity to sit in on a call in August regarding tariffs and trade situation with Mexico hosted by the of office of the United State Trade Representative.

Every single project throughout my internship and STEP Signature Project, large or small, served to expand my knowledge and make me more versed in economics and international trade.

 

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

Overall, my STEP Signature Project greatly impacted multiple facets of my life.  Due to the nature of the work I was completing, and its international focus, I can more confidently attack my majors at Ohio State.  I was forced to manage my time in new ways, which will directly translate into my finding an even better balance when it comes to academic study.  While interning at ODSA, I connected with staff and coworkers, ranging in age from twenty-three to mid-seventies, all working on an array of projects across the export, finance, legal, research, communications, and technology offices.  This will only serve to increase my confidence and sociability in any workplace I may encounter.  Not to mention, I gained incredible references and friends from the experience.  And finally, through my STEP Signature Project, I was able to gain necessary professional experience in a field of my interest– an opportunity that would not have been available to me without the financial assistance and personal development that allowed my living in Columbus to work in the specific industry and agency.

 

 

 

Nicklaus Fawver

Project Type: Internship

 

For my Signature Project, I had an internship at a civil engineering firm where I worked under their landscape architect. I worked with him on of document setup, landscape planting plans, planting design, new-build concept work, and a few roadway projects with ODOT.

 

Through this project I began to realize what it is really like to do design work in the real world. There’s nobody there looking over your shoulder and checking in every step of the way, nobody there making suggestions for your problems. I can’t show up with a half thought out idea and expect someone to lead me in a direction. I would be given a task and must figure it out as I went sometimes, then I would go to Michael, the LA I was working with, and we would talk through what I came up with. He would point out things that needed to be standardized or corrected and I would go through and fix them and then I would begin asking questions about why things were made the way they are.

I learned that there are a lot of restrictions in design work. There is a standard drawing or detail to nearly everything I will ever design. Designs are unique, but page layouts and the information on them are regulated. These regulations change with every city or county we do work in. All this information then must be approved by that county, so they have a large influence over what can be designed. I learned that design work isn’t about making the most elaborate or breathtaking building or landscape, it’s about working with the land you’re given to maintain the character of a site and solve the challenges of the existing conditions to create desirable spaces. I learned what direction I really want to take in a landscape architecture profession.

 

Throughout my STEP Project I began building relationships with people within my firm as well as through the City of Columbus. At Mannik&Smith, I worked directly under their licensed Landscape Architect, Michael D. Lentz. Michael is an alumnus of OSU and has been working as an LA since 1994. Michael became a senior project manager at Mannik&Smith a year and a half ago and as a result, I worked on most of the projects he managed this past summer. Michael started the summer off by bringing me in to the middle of a few projects he had in the Columbus area. They were all at a stage where most of the design was done and he needed some sheet adjustments done in AutoCAD. This made up my first few weeks of work as Michael judged how much I knew about the programs we were using.

After Michael and the other project managers were able to get a feel for my capabilities, they started giving me more responsibilities and getting me involved in the opening of new projects. At the end of the first month I had my first project kick-off meeting and site visit. The site visit involved me creating a basic design concept for a small commercial development at the last infill site left in Zanesville, Ohio. When we went to the site, we met with the broker who recently purchased the land and hired us. This was my first interaction with a real client. Michael and I had to discuss my concept, walk through the site, discuss the construction process, and receive his feedback on the design along with anything he would like us to create.

At Mannik&Smith, I also had the opportunity to work under Beth Thornton, the roadway team leader at our office, and Randy VanTilburg, the project manager I worked under aside from Michael. Through Beth, I got the opportunity to work with ODOT on the development of a few new roads in Columbus and learn about Microstation, a design software I had never seen before. When working with Randy, I was focused more in the technicalities of site design. Randy taught me how to do cost estimated for development, calculate quantities for materials needed, and create effective graphics for project proposals.

 

My work at the Mannik&Smith Group, Inc. gave me a glimpse of where my college decisions are taking me in the future. I am taking a professional practice class this semester and we recently had a discussion with an LA in California named Mike Todoran. He shared with us a piece of advice that really stuck with me. He told us that when we start in a firm, we must find one or two things to become good at so that we make ourselves into a more asset to the office. My work with Michael and Randy has showed me that I want to focus on becoming an expert at the plants used in planting design and the creation of construction drawings when I begin my work as an LA. This is something I am now considering as I start signing up for Landscape Seminar classes and electives.

In working with Beth and following a few discussions with her about my future, I’ve concluded that I would like to work on roadway projects because I really enjoyed creating drawings for ODOT. I have been considering a minor in City and Regional Planning as well as getting APA (American Planners Association) certified in the future to allow me to work in both city planning a landscape architecture. This is a license I can get with a BSLA (Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture) along with a few years of planning experience.

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

1.)    This transformation is important to my career goals because it made me realize I want to do something with sales in agriculture when I graduate. I also realized that I would be fine with doing another internship out west so I can expand my experiences and knowledge, gain more connections, and realize where I want to be after graduation. Before this internship I was set on never moving away from Ohio. Now, I realize that there are many opportunities out west and that I may be up to doing that now. It also made me realize that I don’t want to do just crop scouting. This internship was such a great experience and I am very thankful for this opportunity.

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?

1.)    The first thing that led to my transformation of me personally was my internship experience and getting to visit with farmers. I was able to learn a lot about myself and the experience visiting with other farmers is what helped me realize I wanted to be in sales. I really enjoyed this experience because I got to learn from farmers about ways I can get better and become more knowledgeable. This is what also led to my views on the world change because I saw and got to experience different ways of thinking about agriculture in another part of the country. This experience was crucial for me.

Another experience that led to this transformation was my connections and relationships I made with other interns and co-workers. I met a lot of great people and interns from all over the country this summer and I really enjoyed this. This also gave me insight into ways people do things in different parts of the country. It opened my eyes and made me think about agriculture more openly. I intend to keep these relationships up throughout my lifetime so I can learn more from these connections. This was a very critical part of my experience.

Lastly, the knowledge I gained about agriculture in general was very important for me. I learned so much from this internship through customers, co-workers, and other connections. I learned how to manage others efficiently, many different agronomic concepts, and more open minded about agriculture now. The relationship I made with customers was awesome and I still keep up with one of them now as well as my co-workers. This internship made me realize the route I want to take in agriculture.