STEP Internship Reflection Post

  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 was an internship during the academic year, starting August 8th and wrapping up the first of May. I interned with Ohio Corn & Wheat and was responsible for leading the Collegiate Policy Academy, as well as assisting the communications department with a variety of projects.

  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.

When I applied for this internship, it was in the thick of “2 weeks to flatten the curve.” I was hopeful that I would be able to participate in all the regular activities listed on the job objectives and have an internship experience COVID-free, but, that was not the case. All the projects I worked on were canceled, turned virtual, or in a hybrid model, nothing like I had anticipated. I went from anticipating to dreading, my work. But I realized that this time, although uncertain, came with an opportunity to grow, even if they were not in the ways I expected. 

Although I didn’t get to plan and book in-person logistics for a DC fly-in, I was able to pilot a virtual Fly-In with legislators instead. Although I never left the state to travel to different conventions, I realized how great some of our in-state organizations and communities are. I also realized, that as the Gen-Zer in the office, I now hold valuable skills when it comes to technology and its blunders in the COVID/virtual era. 

  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 was able to have a very valuable mentorship with one of the staff at my internship. He not only cared about me and how I was doing my job, but my academics and wellbeing outside of that. He challenged me to think for myself and in ways, I didn’t expect. 

I was also able to connect with our board members on many more occasions than the typical intern in years past would have. Although most were over zoom, I was able to hold one-on-one interactions and conversations with individuals and small groups outside of formal meetings. 

Lastly, I was able to list things on my resume that I wouldn’t have been able to if not for COVID, like my adaptability on a variety of projects, as well as getting to lead projects I wouldn’t have originally gotten to. 

  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.

Walking into this internship, I was very confident in myself and want I wanted to do in life. And while this experience was valuable and enjoyable, I learned a lot about what I don’t want to do in my future career as well. Prior to this experience, I was excited and motivated to climb a corporate ladder, network, and succeed within my profession. But what I learned was, with that, comes making your career more than just the 9-5 hours Monday through Friday. I learned the value of work-life balance, although it is not popular or common in today’s work world, how essential it was to my mental health. 


I also learned that situations are what you make of them, and although I could be frustrated with the circumstances, I could choose optimism and in turn make the most of my internship. Having an internship during COVID isn’t ideal, but it did give me valuable learning opportunities. 

Video I developed as one of my projects:


Internship Award Post & Photo:


Statehouse visit Post & Photo:

OSU Aphasia Initiative

This past summer, I served my internship as an undergraduate assistant for the OSU Aphasia Initiative, a group therapy program for persons living with a neurogenic communication disorder as a result of a stroke or brain injury. In addition to handling administrative duties, as well as assisting with supportive communication strategies during sessions, I partnered with one of our members to help bring his vision of a self-defense class for the group to life. We worked with the Columbus State Police Department to create an adaptable class for people of all ability types. 

I was exposed to the importance of interdisciplinary team care for speech therapy as I watched this project grow from the early idea stages through the final product. David and I collaborated with professionals from diverse fields, including speech pathologists, occupational therapists, police officers, jiujitsu world champions, caretakers, and members of the community. Not only did this project help demonstrate the benefits of physical awareness and engagement for members, it showed me the positive impact that community access and involvement can provide as well. 

This has been transformational to me as I begin to form my professional identity, as I now view recovery from a more holistic lens. It has transformed me into a future clinician with interprofessional values, which will assist in giving clients the best quality of life possible. My hands on experiences will translate into the classroom and beyond, and I will carry these perspectives with me as I move into higher education, and an eventual career.

My partnership with David helped our relationship grow immensely, and led to the aforementioned transformation. He helped my view of the world transform as I learned to focus on the “abilities” portion of disabilities. Planning and organizing this project with David taught me the importance of the life participation approach to aphasia, in which intervention is aimed towards a more rapid return to active life.

 For David, this meant continuing his passion for physical fitness and jiujitsu, and manifesting that interest in a way that allowed him to teach his peers. Furthermore, I was an active participant in the sessions with the members. We learned fundamental body movements that carried over into self-defense techniques. The agenda included how to fall safely, how to get back up, how to protect our heads and necks, and how to adapt to the vulnerable parts of our bodies to defend ourselves. 

Furthermore, the self-defense event itself was incredibly eye opening to me. In our program, we are constantly advocating that having aphasia indicates a loss of language, not a loss of intelligence. Therefore, seeing members use their voices to speak up as confident individuals who are capable of defending themselves was inspiring. The active participation from the entire group reminded me of the tenacity and willingness to improve that each individual possesses, and that was incredibly empowering to witness. 

The change that has come about within me will be vital to my future. I am an aspiring speech-language pathologist, and after volunteering at the Initiative for two years, I have formed a deep interest in working work with and furthering research on adults with neurogenic communication disorders. I was honored to have the opportunity to serve this incredible organization as an intern, and was even more thrilled to be included in the implementation of this specific self-defense project. David’s drive to execute the class in a way that was beneficial to the entire group has motivated me to be self-determined in my own goals, learning that the path to achieving them can always be adjusted.

Summer Internship at Equity Resources

This summer I had the opportunity to intern at Equity Resources, Inc., an esteemed Ohio mortgage firm. I worked in the Closing Department on a variety of tasks with my main responsibility completing Verbal Verifications of Employment. I also had the opportunity to manage my own pipeline of work in which I updated and validated important realtor information to ensure future business for the company. Each week I participated in a professional development seminar given by a leading executive in the company on topics to improve professionally, personally, and prepare for future career endeavors. 

My STEP project was transformational in terms of my understanding of myself and my assumptions of work in the business sector. As an International Studies major I held concerns with whether my major would prove to be applicable to organizations not directly related to international affairs. I was interested in pursuing this opportunity with Equity for a variety of reasons, but especially curious to see how my educational experiences in International Studies would correlate in a corporate realm with domestic interests. My assumption, or fear, was that my education would be difficult to transfer to a corporate workplace. I was very excited to see how well my natural skills and those refined through my time at Ohio State prepared me well to be an active participate in the mortgage sector. Through helpful and patience leadership I was able to learn how to succeed in this environment and complete my tasks in an effective and efficient manner. Through my time at Equity I was grateful to learn how I could be a contributing and valuable member on the Closing Team. 

During my time at Equity Resources, Inc. I experienced a variety of events and interactions that I believe will prepare me well for future endeavors. In particular, the work and tasks I completed helped me to refine skills of timeliness, prioritization, and attention to detail. My main role of completing Verbal Verifications of Employment involved a timely balance of meeting deadlines and protecting highly confidential information. In order for a loan to close I was apart of the last steps before a customer signed. My job was completing the process that assured the borrower still maintained a job in order to ensure their credit would continue and they would be able to repay their loan. These calls involved me having to quickly establish a professional repertoire with outside organizations and utilize problem solving skills. I needed to be persistent in obtaining the information through calling back and reaching the qualified individual to verify the information all within the timeline that matched the closing date dictated by the rest of the company. I had to manage conducting over a hundred calls a day while also being able to instantly switch into a different task and retrieve information on a moment’s notice when a returned call came in. This required me to be incredibly organized, think quickly on my feet, and be able to come back to the task I was doing before being interrupted by another call. These skills of being able to establish rapport with other organizations, manage multiple tasks at once, and maintaining quality customer service as all skills I will take with me in my future career. 

In addition to learning skills to complete my assigned role, I also learned how to work on  a team in a corporate environment and interact with managers. My role of Verbal Verifications of Employment needed to occur within a certain timeline of the closing date of the loan. Each loan was different in the number of days I had before the loan closed to call, the number of companies I needed to call to verify employment, and who I needed to speak to verify. The varying nature of loans meant that sometimes all the information was readily available to complete the verification, but there were other times when I needed to reach out to other members of the Equity team in order to have all the information I needed to complete the calls. Since each loan was so different through this process I learned how to balance researching information on my own and at what point it was appropriate to ask a fellow employee to stop their work in order to help me with my own. This taught me the importance of asking questions. But also ensuring my questions were thoughtful and well researched as to ensure that each member of my team had the time they needed to complete their own tasks. Not only did I discover how to be creative in my research, but I also learned how to distinguish patterns and be creative in problem solving. 

Creative thinking and problem solving were important skills I refined during my internship. These skills will prepare me to be a contributing and thoughtful member in my next job. Typically, loan files follow a certain protocol according to each state the loan is being processed in. Since I was working in the main office I was completing verification for loans across the country, which accounted for 16 different state procedures, that were funneled through the main office. Differences in state procedures lead to some verifications being more straightforward to complete than others. There were times I was not clearly provided all the information I needed to complete a verification, but I learned where else I could look within the loan file to obtain the information. In this creative problem solving endeavors I learned how to read tax forms, self-employment licenses, and a variety of other government forms in order to find leads for verifying employment. Although I had never personally filed the majority of these forms for myself, I learned how to decipher their complexity. This taught me how to be courageous in learning new things and to be creative in finding solutions. 

Another set of events that helped to open my worldview were the ‘Lunch and Learns’ that took place during my internship. Each week all the interns at Equity would come together to eat lunch and hear a presentation by an executive leader of the organization. The topics were all professional development related and varied from learning more about the mortgage industry, personal finance, establishing credit, interviewing practices, and much more. Each presenter shared their information and then allow time for the interns to dialogue and ask questions about the presentation. It was wonderful to hear insight from top level management on how they were able to improve the lives of families while finding personal, professional success. As an intern, it can be very intimidating to reach out to upper level management, but having these intentional times to network helped to break these barriers. The presenters were also able to give us insight on how each of our roles as an intern fit into the goals of the company and were helping other employees. I also found these presentations incredibly helpful in terms of learning best practices to prepare myself professionally and financially for life after graduation. Overall, the ‘Lunch and Learn’ program was an excellent way to grow professionally and learn good practices for future financial endeavors. 

My internship at Equity Resources, Inc. was instrumental in preparing me for my future career. This transformational experience taught me skills of professionalism, managing and completing multiple tasks, creative thinking, and gave me hands-on corporate experience. I am very grateful to have been a member of a company that strives to improve the lives of families in the community and across the United States. In terms of professional goals, this internship helped me to see that my degree is applicable and valued in a corporate and domestic setting. At the end of the internship I received feedback of things I did well at Equity and was awarded the title “Outstanding Intern”. According to my manager my strengths included my eagerness to learn new things with a special attentiveness and taking notes during trainings. In addition, my manager included I was valued as a hard worker, a driven and goal oriented individual, having high attention to details, and successful at multitasking and prioritizing with a sense of urgency. In fact, as senior interviewing for future jobs, I have been able to draw on my lessons from Equity as valuable experiences that have prepared me for my career. The STEP Transformational Experience gave me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally as a contributing individual to the workforce. I now have the skills and the confidence that my experience interning has well prepared me for future professional endeavors and personal success. 

STEP Reflection Post of Summer 2019

My STEP Signature Project was an internship with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company world headquarters in Akron, Ohio. I worked in the Global Procurement department and had the opportunity to experience a summer of what it would be like to work and live “in the real world” where I rented an apartment by myself and went to my job 7:30AM – 4:30PM every day.

My view of myself transformed through two main aspects over the summer. One through my personal habits and another through my professional development. Having no official obligations every Saturday and Sunday, and no homework or assignments to complete when I got home from work every night, I quickly realized that I had plenty of time for exercise and home cooking. This led me to undergo my first change in healthy habit development. Every Sunday I would go to the grocery store and come home with food for the week and I began to meal prep my lunches every week. My lunches always consisted of some kind of protein, a serving of white rice, and some kind of vegetable. Eating consistently balanced lunches and dinners along with exercising three times per week really boosted my energy throughout the day, and I saw improvements in my stature as well.

As for my professional transformation, being free of the stressors of school related tasks allowed me to really focus on work when I went to work, and truly relax when I was not at work. During the internship, I had a mid-performance review, and a final performance review. In my mid-performance review, my supervisor gave me feedback about how I could be more confident in the things I am doing and how I shouldn’t be afraid to lead the room if the room is lacking a leader. I was grateful for the feedback because it gave me the last half of the internship to adjust my habits and start actively thinking about how and when to be more confident. Another area where I grew was in my professional communication. Every day I had new emails and phone calls to return to people inside and outside of the company. After the first few attempts and with some tips from my co-workers, I quickly fell into a rhythm of how to talk the talk as if I were someone who had been with the company for years. I even had one supplier that admitted over the phone that they did not realize I was an intern until they saw my signature in an email.


In relation to my health and well-being, I attribute my transformation to my absence of homework assignments and weekend obligations. During the fall, the marching band has a vigorous schedule that usually results in members really only having two completely free weekends during the whole semester. Between marching band and classes, or just classes in the spring, I seem to never have just quite enough time to do all the things I want to do (like cook my food at home and exercise regularly). Because a lack of these obligations, and my only focus really being my job, I had lots of time to contribute to things I wanted to do for me.

As for my professional development, I think working in such a collaborative environment the entire summer really helped me to extinguish any stereotypes about working at a large company. Whether it was talking with Goodyear associates or with suppliers that have had a long relationship with the company, I felt right at home after the first week of experience began to fuel my development. My team held weekly meetings that brought everyone up to speed from the previous week and gave everyone a gauge of where we wanted to be by the end of the week.


Both changes are significant and valuable to my life because it really showed me that a healthy lifestyle is not that hard at all to maintain like many people would argue it is. With that, I think the positive effects of a healthy lifestyle led me to success at work and on the job. With the right schedule and prioritization of commitments, I can easily transfer this lifestyle change into my life during the fall when I have marching band or over the spring when my class load tends to be heavier. The growth I have experienced in professional communication also has made me a fierce contender for the work force upon graduation because I now know how to present myself the best way possible in a professional setting. My signature project has honestly gotten me even more excited for graduation because I know that the lifestyle I lived and the success I saw over the summer is something totally achievable and would be a great start to my post-college years. I know no matter where I go and who I go with, I can carry the healthy lifestyle choices and professional development I experienced over the summer to my life as a graduate and reap the benefits of living a balanced life.

Interns had the chance to visit the Goodyear Blimp Hangar

Fellow interns and myself with CEO Rich Kramer.

Dhruv Taneja Amazon Internship

This summer I interned with Amazon Web Services as Project Manager Intern. This was in New York City and I developed strategic initiatives to further cloud development in the financial services sector. My STEP funds were used to pay my rent during this summer.


There are many transformations that took place throughout my project.  Working at a company like Amazon I gained the ability to thrive and be adaptable in a fast paced environment. By being immersed in the Amazonian culture I was surrounded by some of the brightest minds in the nation and picked up on so many different methodologies in tech. The way I interact with people in a professional setting transformed as well. This is an essential skill for me to possess in the future with my ambition of making a big splash in the tech realm. 


Another transformation I gained is an increase in my technical skills. Working with AWS gave me access to knowledge of future technologies that the world is very much going to be dependent on. These technologies include cloud computing, AI, machine learning, deep learning, and data science. I gained exposure to all these technologies as a young person because in the next few years I will be able to leverage these fresh skill sets and add extreme value to society in the future. This internship with Amazon Web Services pointed me in the right description.


This internship gave me amazing scope of professional life outside of Columbus Ohio. I am very sure that I want to work in either New York City or the West coast after graduation. This internship gave me a taste of what it’s like to be in fast paced city and working for a fast paced company. The opportunities I had this summer opened new doors post-graduation and this truly excites me. 


I’ve never worked outside of the Midwest and inserting myself in the big city on the east coast was the perfect trial period to learn and digest this completely new world. My STEP funds eased the cost of living in New York City allowing me to use my money elsewhere and discover new passions and invest it in avenues for more personal growth that will last a lifetime. I developed as a leader, sealing the deal with this internship bolstered my confidence in myself and my abilities which will definitely become a part of me in the future.  


This internship provided me with new mentors who were able to serve as guiding figures in my professional journey. They became people whom I could confidently rely on and leverage their wisdom to make sure I was on the right track in all my future endeavors. In conclusion this internship experience transformed my  future pathways for the absolute best. 


Project Reflection

  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. 

Using my STEP money I completed phlebotomy training and obtained my phlebotomy license. I also went on to get my ECG certification. These two classes helped me get a jump start on my medical career and become more competitive in my major application as well as my career once I graduate college.

  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. 

Obviously, the goal of these classes was to become competent in blood draws and ECGs. I expected going into the classes to achieve this, what I didn’t anticipate was improving my people skills along the way. Throughout the duration of the class having the chance to interact with my peers and be able to play through patient situations, I became so much more comfortable with my patient and people interactions. Another unexpected benefit of completing these programs is the increase in my professionalism when it comes to interviews and first impressions. I’m more comfortable and confident in what I know and how well I can “sell” myself in different professional settings. For example, I recently started clinicals for my major and I have been extremely confident in talking to other healthcare professionals and asking questions about things I didn’t understand. To clarify, I’m confident in what I know and I’m not afraid to ask questions when I don’t know something.


  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. 

When it came to my patient interactions, one thing that I think really helped me improve was the relationships I built with my peers. In my phlebotomy class, since we practice drawing blood on each other, we formed really good friendships, where trust was vital. Not only were you being stuck, but you were sticking them as well. That took both trust and confidence, so you truly had to learn and improve to not accidentally hurt your friends. A lot of people in my class were older than I was as well and had prior healthcare field experience, so their experiences and stories were invaluable.

Another important resource that led me to gain confidence and insight into my patient interactions was the interactions I had with my instructors. My instructors for both classes had wonderful, helpful tips and stories to aid in my learning experience. While my Phlebotomy instructor Kari, no longer worked in the medical field did she did for a very long time as a super technician (which is a technician who is trained in multiple specialties). Abbey, who was my instructor for ECG, actually works as a traveling technician still. This means she works at multiple hospitals as they have a need for help. Both of their experiences when explaining the different topics were phenomenal.

Finally, I saw an increase in my professionalism because part of the actual classes was set aside for professional development. We got to go through mock patient scenarios where I got to work the equipment and troubleshoot as I would in real life. Which was helpful, because in most interviews they will ask you questions about the job or actually have you perform a draw on the spot. We also took class time to revamp our resumes and make sure they were well suited for the medical world.


  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

Taking these classes was only the first step in my professional career. I recently got into my respiratory therapy program and in two short years, I will be a respiratory therapist. Having the experience and skills the ECG and phlebotomy classes offered, has only enhanced my first couple weeks in the program so far. I also believe me having this certification helped me get into this program originally. It was relatively competitive, and I think having this extra skill set, set me apart from the other applicants. Moving forward, when I start clinicals and start having to do ABGs I will feel way more comfortable since I already know how to draw blood. Overall, my experience was fantastic and I wouldn’t do anything differently.

My Internship Experience in Cleveland

A Summer Working for a Digital Marketing Agency


My Project

This summer, My STEP project financed an apartment for me to sublease in the greater Cleveland area for an internship to experience what life could be like working downtown. The other focus was to leverage the benefits of being close to home, while being exposed to a city I’ve lived near, but never taken full advantage of. For me, the theme is discovering the things in life I’ve been ignoring, but could make a substantial change if embraced.

Shifting Assumptions

For my STEP project, I used my money to finance an apartment to stay for the summer in Cleveland. While it may lack some of the flash of a city like Chicago or New York, it was important for me to consider a career that I could remain relatively close to home. I wanted to get a sense of independence living close to home in Akron, yet I know that after college being near my family, and my families business, is important to me. My STEP project was a fantastic opportunity for me to develop a greater understanding of my self, and my self interests. By living in a city as close to home and as small as Cleveland, I realized there would not be as great an opportunity to immerse myself in a world of completely new things. At the end of the day I was still in Northeast Ohio. Rather than chasing external excitement, I wanted the summer to challenge my internal thoughts and cultivate the life that I want to live for decades to come. This means that work life balance and finding passions is important to me, although I’m not 100% clear that I’ve found them yet. Similar to living in a rural area, Cleveland’s simple offerings gave me more time to appreciate the simpler things. I remember fondly concerts in Cleveland this summer with my girlfriend where we could walk from the apartment to the venue, and as the night would end the city would quiet down too. My internship was with a digital marketing agency in downtown Cleveland called the Hileman group. It was a fantastic experience, and I learned a lot about the industry while I was working. Living so close to my job was an enormous benefit, as it gave me time to experience life in the city, and to get involved with coworkers and other friends around Cleveland. I’m enormously grateful not to have had a hour+ commute each way, each day this summer. My assumptions for the summer were largely unknown. I knew that the decision felt a little mundane choosing to go back to my hometown/city that I’ve lived near all of my life, but I didn’t expect some of the benefits I had. Rather than starting from scratch I found that my existing friends and family provided a massive beneficial support network for me throughout the summer. Whether it was working out everyday with a friend who encouraged me to get started, or having my parents occasionally surprise me for dinner, it was very nice being s

o close to home. The STEP grant showed me the true benefits of the familiar, and not to fear that there’s something wrong with diving deeper into the internal mindset for finding happiness.


The Moments and Activities that provided Change

My roommate this summer was one of the people most responsible for helping me make the summer a transformational experience. Ryan is an extremely motivated, hardworking individual who prides himself on both his academic and athletic pursuits. While Ryan’s studying to be a doctor, he too has transformed his body through weight training almost every day. Living with him this summer, he encouraged me to join him, and by the end of the summer I was right there with him at least 3 times a week. It was a fantastic experience for me to establish a weight training routine, and see some actual improvement. While all of my numbers are still certainly beginner’s, I would say I saw both physical and mental benefits come from developing my strength. I was shocked to see the benefits it created for me mentally, and I loved the experience by the end. Knowing that at the end of each work day, a session in the gym awaited me, I was forced to develop a stronger mental attitude to embrace the workouts. While I certainly struggled at first, and did not always want to be there, I could feel myself improving and that was invaluable.

Another such experience that was transformational was getting the experience to work with my manager this summer at my internship. She played a valuable role in supporting me as I learned various new softwares for digital marketing within my role. There was certainly some learning curves, but having her expertise ensured that I was able to grow into being a valuable contributor for the team. She ensured that early in my internship I was sitting in on key client meetings, walking me through different email and nurture builds, and ensuring that I was taking the requisite online courses to ensure I was best prepared for the role. On top of all of this, my internship exposed us to some great professional development material such as books, personality tests, and professional mentoring. One of the pieces I found particularly transformative was the Gallup’s Strength Finders test. Which informed me of my top 5 strengths…

  1. Ideation
  2. Connectedness
  3. Intellection
  4. Learner
  5. Restorative

I could go on, at length, but this test was hugely eye opening and I made several friends and family take it too. My number one strength is all about the fascination with ideas, and how we strive to make the complex simple. My secondary strength is all about the interconnectedness of things. While this is often spiritual, which I would agree that I am, there’s an interesting connection with ideation where I view complex ideas that may seem entirely separate as related at the root level. I had an incredible time exploring the strengths finders test, and I was thrilled to have taken it this summer.

An additional piece of the summer that was transformational came as a result of the books I read this summer. In totality I read 10 different books.

  1. The Yamas and Niyamas
  2. You’re Always Being Interviewed
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  4. The Bhagavad Gita
  5. Good to Great
  6. Can’t Hurt Me
  7. The Art of Learning
  8. Living with a SEAL
  9. The Third Door
  10. Infinite Jest

These books I read were a combination of recommendation of friends and family, as well as requirements for my internship. My summer internship had me read 7 Habits, Good to Great, and You’re Always Being Interviewed. Of the 3, 7 Habits resonated strongly with me. It was a fantastic book for a reader like myself to help return to the foundations of self improvement and professional development. I saw how the book created connective tissue, of sorts, between many of the ideas I have read about in countless other business/self improvement books. I saw it as a foundational text, and the way it explained things from a birds eye level was massively beneficial to gaining clarity over my life, and how I could work to transform myself. I also found the Bhagavad Gita to be hugely beneficial. I consistently found myself reflecting on how I’ve turned away from action, and how the text encourages us to face our difficulties, precisely because they are difficult. We can’t run from our fears, we must become someone who acts, and be someone who the world adjusts to. I would certainly say that the book is a confidence builder and would recommend it to anyone who is currently dealing with uncertainty in their lives.


The Why: Should we Transform?

Life is constant transformation. This is a reality that is an absolute fact and is not something that can be escaped.

“You cannot step into the same river twice.” -Heraclitus.

While I did live in Cleveland instead of Akron this summer was spent, technically, “at home.” Growing up in Northeastern Ohio, I’ve always considered myself as someone who is from Cleveland, even though that’s not entirely true. I could have chosen to go anywhere in the world for this summer, and experience any city for my STEP project and my internship. The decision to choose Cleveland wasn’t entirely easy, but the decision goes much deeper than the external fact of where you live. Ultimately, I wanted my STEP project to challenge me to overcome this stigma of home and find transformation from within. Rather than needing to rely on what city you are in, I wanted to make the most of my summer while I was there. While it can be uncomfortable to fear that you are standing still by heading home to work, you must acknowledge your personal growth and the changes you’ve had as you’ve lived your life. Change is phenomenally important and that’s why I spent so much of the summer in the gym. I knew that this would be something I could do to cultivate better health, emotional strength, motivation and so much more. This summer I read like crazy and tried to expose myself to new, exciting ideas. This summer I saw the opportunity to understand what change means even if you decide to come home. You still have plenty of areas to grow, and it runs much deeper than just the place where you decide to live.

Shadowing Professionals in Veterinary Medicine: Reflection

Dr. Byers has scrubbed in and prepped for surgery

Veterinary Technicians are preparing to take an X-Ray of a cat’s injured leg.

1.) This summer, I spent six weeks shadowing professionals in veterinary medicine at Grady Veterinary Hospital for about 20 hours each week. I primarily shadowed two veterinarians, Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens, who taught me about proper bedside manner, reading x-rays, surgery, and so much more. Grady Vet is an emergency clinic, so every day was unique and fast-paced, which made my experience this summer that much more valuable.

2.) Prior to my shadowing experience at Grady Veterinary Hospital, I was very nervous to work in small animal emergency medicine because my friends and family told me how difficult it would be, and how I may not be cut out for facing so much trauma on a daily basis. However, my summer shadowing taught me the exact opposite. Even on days when Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens would seem to face setback after setback, there was always a silver lining. I learned to soak in the successes and distance myself slightly from the failures. I also saw on a daily basis how much families love their pets, which further proved to me that I want to do this important job in the future.

3.) At the beginning of my six weeks shadowing, I knew I was passionate about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, however I had not ever experienced the trials and tribulations that the job brings first hand. I was initially skeptical about whether or not small animal emergency medicine would be a field I would enjoy because of the constant high stakes and problems with cost of treatment when interacting with clients. However, during my six weeks I was shocked to find how much I absolutely loved emergency medicine, because it constantly presented new challenges, was fast paced, and never stagnant. At times, witnessing the delivery of bad news, or having a patient take a turn for the worse was incredibly heartbreaking, but I found that successes balance out the low points.

I often inquired Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens about what made them choose to work in emergency medicine, and how they prevent the hard times from outweighing the good times. They both told me that although every life that is lost still takes a toll, they have to absorb the good that they do for animals and their families more than the times they’re unable to succeed. Dr. Byers even teared up after several euthanasias she had to do this summer, so it was clear that she was always attached to all of her patients. Despite these moments, it was also evident that she was still eager and excited to come to work every day and truly loves her job because she was always so excited to meet patients and work to treat any problems they were facing.

I was also very concerned that working in this field of veterinary medicine would be difficult because animals are often abused, however my outlook completely changed this summer because working with companion animals showed me how much people love their pets and treat them as family. In fact, one of my saddest moments this summer was also one of the happiest. Dr. Jurgens had to euthanize a dog named Penny who had a splenic mass, and while I observed the euthanasia, the entire family was petting her the whole time and telling Penny how much they would always love her and that she had lived a great life. Although my heart was broken for that family, it showed me how valuable the work I may do someday as a veterinarian is. Moments like these completely transformed how I viewed the hardships that emergency medicine presents, and instilled a deep love and respect for the field and people who work in it.

4.) In all aspects of my life, I tend to struggle with focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. My six weeks at Grady Vet provided me with invaluable experience I hope to use in my future career as a veterinarian, and showed me that I love emergency medicine more than I could have imagined. However, even more than that, my shadowing experience showed me how to cherish every victory and soak them in, and then let those dampen the effects of failures or setbacks. I plan to use this to my advantage for the rest of my life, and look at the world with a new positive lens.

Interning at VS PINK SU19

  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 Signature project was an internship on the Digital Marketing Team at Victoria’s Secret. Through this internship, I have been able to understand the many vehicles of advertising any learn about analyzing the success of various tactics.


  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.


Throughout the duration of this project, my understanding of the business world and corporations has changed drastically. Prior to my experience at Victoria’s Secret, I had some preconceived notions about the business world, some of which were accurate many of which were not. I believed that departments had their very specific and secularized functions. However, I have learned a great deal about how teams within organizations work together to accomplish greater tasks. I have seen how roles and responsibilities also overlap quite often. This can promote collaboration and teamwork. However, I have also seen how job overlap can make certain processes ineffective at times. Because materials need to be passed through many hands and seen by many people, rates of change can be slow. I believed that the business world was always fast paced.  I have learned that the business world can be a great deal of stop and go, especially in consumer retail corporations.

Another thing I learned a great deal about was how much customers and individuals shape business. Through understanding the way businesses function, I have been able to better understand why society functions the way it does. I have learned the ways in which businesses are structured around people, even when it may not seem like it. As a for profit company, L Brands strives to make transactions and interactions as positive as possible to generate revenue and ensure customer retention.


  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.

One event that greatly contributed to my enhanced understanding of the business world was my end of the summer internship project. All L Brands interns are required to complete a project that has a real impact on the business. It could be solving a real problem, creating a new system or proposing a new idea. I was lucky to work with the other intern on my team to create a digital marketing proposal where we researched new marketing vehicles and potential advertising partners that could benefit Victoria’s Secret and PINK. I learned about the challenges of researching partners and proposing new ideas. One roadblock we encountered in our presentation was that when we came up with a new idea, there wasn’t any research and there was very little comprehensive data to support our ideas because our ideas were new. I was challenged to think more deeply about why I thought certain ideas would work and research the true root cause for our proposal.

Another key part of internship was the weekly cascade meetings I attended. These were meetings among the entire digital marketing team lead by our team leader, Nicole Fraley that didn’t necessarily have a specific purpose or specific goal. These were team meetings in which the different branches of the team, direct mail, email marketing, and digital media, all came together to stay updated and informed about what was going on in the other cross functional teams. This enabled growth and understanding among all parts of the digital marketing team. Through the way in which Nicole Fraley conducts these meetings, I feel like I have learned what it means to be a leader and not just a boss. She is genuinely curious about all parts of the business and wants each individual on her team to be equipped with whatever they may need to be successful.

One unique part of interning at L Brands that I have found to help me be successful has been the emphasis on informal one on one chats called touchbases internally. On my first day at Victoria’s Secret, my boss not only encouraged me to reach out to individuals, but gave me a list of people that would be beneficial to talk to. Initially, I was nervous and I felt uncomfortable emailing individuals and asking them to take time out of their day to talk to me about their job. Eventually, I became more comfortable with scheduling these touchbases as it was part of company culture and it was directly benefitting me for both my internship and future career. Through talking to these individuals, I was able to gain more insight and perspective to how systems operate at other companies and how things can play out down the road in my career.

  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.

This change has been very significant in my professional life because I feel that this experience has given me a figurative launch pad for my career upon graduation. While having an internship with a Fortune 500 company as well-known as L Brands looks good on a resume, I feel like the skills and relationships I have gained during my time here has been significantly more valuable than the lines on my resume. For starters, the soft skills and technical skills I have gained thus far have been impactful enough for Victoria’s Secret to extend my internship into the fall. Additionally, I have been able to make connections, not only with the people I have worked with on a daily basis, but with the L Brands University relations team. Currently I am actively searching for a role within the organization and the experience in which I have had this summer has given me the confidence and technical skills to be a qualified candidate in many departments within the organization, not just the department in which I have worked in. Additionally,  I feel like I have gained a great deal of skills that have set me up to be a great candidate wherever I may apply. Furthermore, I have gained great insight to the type of company culture I desire and how to look for it. Beyond just being a good candidate myself, I know how to search for jobs and potential employers that will lead me to the most happy and successful life possible



Albright and Schnulo Internship

For my STEP Signature Project, I chose to accept a student internship position at Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care. There, I worked as a student technician over this past summer. The main responsibilities my Project entailed was completing preliminary testing for patients. This included pre-tests such as autorefraction, Amsler grid, blood pressure, iOP eye pressure, visual fields, Optomap retinal imaging, and much more. I worked one-on-one with patients in also recording their medical history and pathology symptoms during visits.

My STEP Signature Project definitely changed my viewpoints, or assumptions, of the optometry career-field and patient care. During my time at Albright and Schnulo, I learned just how essential it is for doctors to be communicative and clear with their patients. I didn’t realize how important it was for doctors to communicate with each other, too. For example, many patients under our care had pre-existing health conditions, such as hypertension, hypercholesteremia, and diabetes. Prior to the patients’ visit to our clinic, their PCP (primary care physician) would fax reports regarding the patients’ health to our optometrists. During the patients’ appointment, the optometrists would determine the need for dilation or retinal pictures, and if they’re blood pressure was under control. Afterwards, our optometrist would compile a report regarding the patients eye-health, and fax it back over to the PCP. All of these connections—between optometrist and PCP—are essential to ensuring that the patient is getting the best health care possible. Without this communication between offices, doctors can’t individualize visits and determine what’s best for that patient specifically. Seeing this first-hand, it really highlighted how comprehensive health care is, with all its different specializations.

One specific interaction with a patient always comes to mind when considering my changing my initial assumption about health care. For HIPAA regulations, I will refrain from using any names or identifying aspects towards the patient’s identity to keep full confidentiality. This patient had not visited an eye doctor in many years—something that I observed a lot in my time there. It was the patient’s first time at our clinic. Looking at the patient’s medical history, she appeared to be in perfect health. There were no complications in regards to blood pressure, family history, cholesterol, or medications. The patient hadn’t been dilated in 10 or more years, so it’s been quite some time since her retinal health had been assessed. Without dilating a patient’s eyes, optometrists cannot assess the health of the retina. The pupil needs to be enlarged enough to view the back of the eye through the optometrist’s optical lenses. When it was time for the patient to see Dr. Jay Lytle, I informed them of their over-due dilation, and what to expect in the doctor’s examination room. Afterwards, when the patient had finished their appointment and left our clinic, Dr. Jay called me into his examination room. In there, he showed me the patient’s fundus—the pictures of the retina (the back of their eye). He pointed to a very small occlusion in the patient’s right fundus. There, Dr. Jay had pictured the very beginnings of a horseshoe retinal tear. Horseshoe retinal tears are dangerous, as it can lead to the patient being completely blind in the affected eye. Had this patient not seen an eye doctor, and had Dr. Jay not dilated, this patient would have been at high-risk for losing complete vision in their right eye.

Horseshoe retinal tears are a specific type of tear that can occur in the retina. These tears can lead to a number of complications, such as retinal detachments and severe vision loss. In most cases, leaving tears unattended results in total vision loss of either central or peripheral quadrants of the affected eye. What makes these tears so dangerous, however, is the little to no symptoms that they display. One common symptom is patients experiencing “floaters,” or black spots obscuring one’s vision. Other than that, there are virtually no symptoms.

In this patient’s case, diagnosing was not the only important step in getting their treatment. The next move was to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for treatment. The patient would need emergency surgery to mend this retinal tear—usually via lasers. Dr. Jay new just the right specialist to refer her to, as he had referred many patients to this same ophthalmologist. Dr. Jay suggested the patient visit this specialist’s office as soon as possible, and that he would schedule a follow-up appointment. Dr. Jay actually was able to show me the papers he faxed over to the ophthalmologist’s office, and how it specifically documented the retinal tear OD and other health assessments. Just a couple days later, the ophthalmologist faxed paperwork of the results of the patient’s surgery. Dr. Jay was able to compile this into his own notes, and was able to determine the best after-care solutions for the patient to ensure a swift healing process. It was through this patient’s case that I was able to see first-hand the communication between different medical professions’ offices. Because of this comprehensive out-patient care, I was able to understand the importance of communication and interconnections within the health field.

This change of how I regarded the medical field relates specifically to my academic and professional goals. One way it relates is that many of my classes overlap with many pre-med, pre-PT, and other health majors—so many of my classmates have professional school in mind in becoming a specialized doctor. Even though many of us will take different routes to get our medical degrees within our respected professions, I foresee myself having multiple interactions with these different doctors within my own career. My professional goal is to become an optometrist, and as my internship showed me, I will be in communication with my patient’s primary care physicians, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, immunologists, and much more. These interconnections between doctors are crucial in providing the best, individualized care for a patient.