NPS Internship

Over the summer of 2018, I worked as an intern at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. I was an Interpretation Ranger, participating in the education of school groups and visitors while also working with volunteers to make sure everyone who visited had the best experience possible. I created my own programs and presented them to audiences and coworkers alike. I relocated myself to northern Michigan so that I would be able to learn about the history and geology of sand dunes and be able to answer any questions visitors may have.


While working at a national park, I met and interacted with many different types of people. While a vast majority of the individuals I encountered were retired, Caucasian individuals from Michigan or the surrounding states there were also quite a few families that traveled great distances to enjoy the park. I interacted with many individuals and families who had come from Texas, California, Alaska, New Jersey or even a different country all together! It was amazing to learn how to communicate with people who didn’t speak English as their first language or who had different customs then I usually encountered. I learned very quickly to ask for clarification as many times as needed so I didn’t give incorrect information and that maps are the key to understanding. Even though I didn’t go very far from home my knowledge of the world increased and my respect for those who are traveling the world was heightened as well.


I also learned a great deal about myself through the internship. I have always loved nature and had a great understanding of what I could do to help protect and preserve it but after working in the national parks system I realize that I can do so much more. Working with the parks is a noble trade, however I am not sure I am prepared to jump through the political hoops that are required when working for the government. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the time that I spent at Sleeping Bear Dunes and have a more thorough understanding of what I can do to help the environment.


Within the parks system there are many different branches; Natural Resources, Interpretation, Roads and Trails, and Maintenance. I was a member of the Interpretation branch and I became very close to all the individuals who also worked in interpretation. There were many personality traits that all the interpreters shared; for example we were all extroverts, naturally upbeat, comfortable public speakers, quick learners, etc. This was a very friendly environment that helped me grow in each of these areas. I lived with some other women who were also working for the park, though not all of them were in my department. I had a few housemates in Natural resources and others in research. These individuals also helped me grow by showing me that other traits are also important such as originality from the researchers doing their own projects, and fearlessness from the bear technician in natural resources. These relationships helped me grow and understand myself better as well as help point me in the direction of my future career.


One of my favorite events that I ran each week was called our “Evening Programs”, these took place every day in the campgrounds at 8pm. My evening program took place every Wednesday and I did a program called “Animals After Dark” with the focus on nocturnal animals that were present in the park. It was an incredibly interactive program that got both the children and the adults up and interested. Each week I gave the same presentation with minor changes based on the audience. I learned how to think on my feet, project my voice and connect with the audience even when there were over 50 people present. Every time I did a program I began by asking where everyone was from and why they make the trip. I got everything from Travers city (a town about 20 minutes away) to Japan and their reasons for coming could be they just wanted a day trip on the dunes to it was their Honeymoon. Each person had a story that they told about their trip and why they were there, and since I was a complete stranger that they would probably never see again, they were brutally honest and asked for advice. I learned about people in different situations and managed to bring all of that information into the programs to make sure everyone felt included. This program allowed me to learn more about other’s lives and cultures while still helping me grow myself.


Finally there was an activity that rangers were required to do called “roving”. This is where the ranger goes out into the park and hikes different trails, or visits attractions and makes sure that everyone who is at these locations is enjoying themselves and following the rules. This was an amazing activity for me because you never knew what you were going to get. One day I was scheduled to hike a remote trail with three people on it for over two hours and the next day I went to a bustling attraction and talked to 300 people in an hour and a half. I was always in uniform and had maps and Junior Ranger books in my backpack at all times so when visitors asked questions I had the resources to answer them. The ability to switch from hours of alone time in a beautiful place to answer visitor’s questions with no break for many hours can be relatively stressful but also makes time go by really fast. Roving helped me practice patience and respect for all individuals at all times and helped me grow as a person.


This past summer I have undergone many new and exciting experiences. Each of these different things has led to me growing and changing as a person, I have become more mature and open with others and with myself. I spent three months exploring and learning about our national parks system as well as interacting with people from many different nationalities and backgrounds. I have undergone huge personal growth through this internship experience and it has changed how I’m looking at myself and my future.

My major is Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology, withinthis field I have three main fields that I can enter; research, eco-tourism and conservation. This past summer has given me insight as to what would be involved in eco-tourism. This is something that I am really interested in however I believe that I would go into the natural resources field instead of the interpretation field. Upon my competition of my summer internship I was accepted to participate in research through Ohio State, something that will also help me further my career exploration and that I am very excited to participate in. This internship at the National Park this summer has opened up many opportunities for me and I look forward to exploring all of these options.

STEP Transformational Experience – Internship with Columbia Gas

Description of my STEP project

For my STEP Signature Project, I obtained an internship at Columbia Gas of Ohio. Columbia Gas is a local daughter company of NiSource, which is one of the largest regulated natural gas distributors. NiSource has a presence in seven states, and serves millions of customers.

My position in the company was “Field Engineering Intern”. I was stationed in the local office in Springfield, OH. My job was to assist the Field Engineering staff with their projects. The Field Engineering department at Columbia Gas is primarily responsible for tasks related to the design of gas systems. If there was a new development outside of the existing reach of the gas mains, it would be Field Engineering’s job to create the designs for an extension of the existing main. Common aspects that would need to be considered include available pressure, cost, possible installation methods, right of way, and various communications with the city regarding work that needed to take place in the sidewalk or road. Also, among the Field Engineer’s jobs are designing fixes for leaking sections of pipe, and the replacement of old pipeline.

Currently, there is an industry-wide initiative to replace sections of pipe that are nearing the end of their expected life and are therefore prone to leakage. There are government incentives for replacement of this pipe, and thus much of the work we did over the summer was related to replacement of this “Priority Pipe”. These Accelerated Main Replacement Program (AMRP) projects were often very large, replacing thousands of feet of pipe with million-dollar budgets. During my time with Columbia Gas, I assisted with many of these projects, and designed several of my own under the supervision of my mentor.


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

In my search for an internship, I sent out dozens of resumes to every kind of engineering employer. When I received an invitation for an interview with Columbia Gas, I did not know very much about the natural gas industry. While many kinds of engineering jobs have some visibility, such as working for an auto manufacturer, I never even realized that there were opportunities in the natural gas industry for engineers. As the summer progressed, I gained knowledge in many areas of the industry, as well as business, engineering in general, and finance. In all of these areas, I felt that I had a basic understanding, but my STEP signature project helped me realize how much more there was to learn.

By the end of my time with Columbia Gas I was able to complete all of the steps of my projects without assistance. After I completed a project, my mentor would audit it, but I was largely able to complete the projects independently. This surprised me, since I started the position with almost no knowledge of the industry in general, much less the specific projects and processes. I discovered that with proper motivation and instruction, I can learn new concepts and become proficient with new tasks very quickly.

In addition to my work experience, I gained experience in several aspects of life outside of college. One of the main experiences I sought at the beginning of this project was that of living alone. The first and most difficult step in this was to acquire an apartment. At the start of the summer, I began by shopping for apartments to live in that were close to my workplace. Quickly, I ran into several obstacles. First and foremost, I discovered the rarity of apartment owners willing to lease for only three months. The vast majority of landlords I called and researched only offered one-year leases, or longer. Many of the apartments that I found available to rent for the summer were in locations that were unsafe, and the rest were already spoken for by the time I discovered them. With my STEP fellowship, cost was not the barrier that I had expected. The difficulty was in finding a suitable location with a lease that fit my timeframe.

After contacting every possible apartment in Springfield, I expanded my search to Dayton, Urbana, and the surrounding areas. The results were much the same. It was suggested to me that I pursue a sublease at one of the several universities nearby Springfield. I looked into options near University of Dayton, Wright State University, Wittenberg University, and Cedarville University. Through this, I discovered that college students who are on summer vacation are not very diligent about following up with the ads they post regarding their sublets. Eventually, I found a place in Cedarville, roughly half an hour from my office. This cut my daily commute in half and was very reasonably priced.

In concert with my housing experience, I learned about food preparation and shopping. At OSU living in the dorms and being on the meal plan, there is never a time when food is not easily available. Living alone, buying my own groceries, getting food required much more thought. In addition to the meals I ate at home, I soon realized that I would need to pack a lunch to take to work each day, as eating out was becoming too expensive. I learned how to pack foods which were ready to eat, or could easily be assembled at work. After several days of forgetting my lunch at home, I began to keep the supplies for PB&J sandwiches at the office just in case I needed them. These also made for a great snack, if I was ever hungry after I finished what I had packed.


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?

At the beginning of the summer, much of my time was spent as a mentee of the most senior field engineer at the Springfield Office, Ethan Pope. He has worked at Columbia Gas for several years, with a couple more years in the industry outside of Columbia Gas. He was an incredible mentor, with a true passion for teaching and an honest desire to help me improve. When I first started working for the summer, I began by sitting behind him and watching him work, asking questions about the different processes and aspects of the job. Like myself, Ethan is an Eagle Scout, as exemplified by his application of the Boy Scout EDGE method of teaching – Explain, Demonstrate, Guide, Enable. First, he would explain a new process or task to me, and proceed to work through the process before allowing me to take the controls and try for myself under his supervision. After working with his assistance, I would begin to work on my own, returning to him whenever I had questions or concerns. This method of teaching was extremely effective, and much more effective and enjoyable than the new employee instruction I received through the company programs.

In addition to teaching me the necessary skills to be able to competently assist in the engineering department, Ethan and I often talked over lunch about matters related to the gas industry, engineering, finance, business, and other topics that I often glossed over during the extremely focused mindset I have during school semesters. His insights on these topics and his constant encouragement to always be inquisitive helped me realize that the world is much bigger than engineering, and that it should be explored at every opportunity.

As a result of searching for an apartment and living on my own over the summer, I have a new appreciation for the simplicity of dorm life at college. I appreciate the two years I lived on campus, and I am now more prepared to have a successful junior year as I live off-campus for the first time. I am glad I was able to experience juggling the responsibilities of independent living over the summer before doing so this fall while taking a challenging load of engineering classes. I know my success this year will be a direct result of the preparation I gained in my STEP project.


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

Being shown that the world is more than engineering is incredibly valuable to the rest of my life. While I have always been naturally inquisitive about matters relating to engineering, I now realize that it is just as important to be inquisitive about every aspect of life. Whether business, politics, industry, finance, or any of the infinite number of topics that exist, being curious and asking questions about them in a conscious effort to understand them better is an important step in being the best I can be.

The practical aspects of working and living on my own provided the opportunity to learn how to navigate aspects of real life that I had not encountered before, but most certainly will encounter again in the future. I appreciate being able to ‘practice’ those skills at a time when the cost of failure was low, and the opportunity for success was high.

Realizing the extent of what I can learn, as well as how I learn most effectively, is critically important to my continued success in school, and life after school. The reason I have been able to do well in my studies up to this point is through my constant effort and a conscious attempt to discover how I learn most efficiently. The knowledge of how effective one-on-one mentoring and repetition are for me is priceless, and I will undoubtedly be putting it to use this current semester.

I also learned the value of a mentor and will look for opportunities to find a mentor on campus, and to find others who are in need of a mentor. Taking time to invest in other people is one of the important lessons I learned this summer and I look forward to passing that on as I step into mentoring roles myself.


STEP Reflection

Type of Project: Internship

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.

I was a college intern with the Ohio State Departement of Transportation office of Estimating. I primarily conducted data analysis on a variety of transportation-related datasets.

  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.

I came to see myself as a significantly more able programmer than at the beginning of the summer. At the beginning of the summer, I had a lack of confidence and just assumed that people I considered smarter than me would be more successful and be better than me no matter what I did. After all the work I put in this summer I am now confident that I am equally competent as anyone else at Ohio State.

  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 worked on two main projects during the summer. First I was in charge of determining how well the districts (Ohio is divided up into 12 transportation districts) estimated the actual cost of projects. The hardest part of this was gathering data. To gather the data I had to learn a language called SQL. SQL stands for “Structured Query Language” and I had no familiarity with it.At first, it was daunting when my boss asked me to start learning SQL. I started reading a book on it and was initially overwhelmed. But then I asked for some advice, and took a few deep breaths, and it eventually started to click. After a few months with it, I was rolling. Now I can write in SQL almost as easily as I can write English. It’s hard to describe exactly what that meant to me. Learning that I was capable of being good at –much less great at—SQL was one of the biggest confidence boosters of my life and I’ll remember it forever.

I also worked on a hedonic estimation project. Hedonic Estimation is essentially predicting the price of a given item based on the price of its components. For example, If you want to predict the price of a house, you can approximate it if you know its location, cubic footage, number of bathrooms, etc. This was valuable to me because it required me to make interesting visualizations of various data relationships. Moreover, my boss was really relying on me to make accurate conclusions. It was wonderful.

  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.

I’ve always struggled with confidence issues. I’ve always had that little voice in my head telling me that I wasn’t good enough at anything to really make a difference. This summer was a truly wonderful way of stepping out of my shell and learning who I have the potential to be!

For example, when I got my first project, I was really really nervous. I’d never worked on anything quite like it in school, and I didn’t know if I was gonna be up to the task. I spent a lot of time worrying about if my boss disliked me, or if he was going to be mean, or how he would respond if I asked for help. Eventually I hit a wall, and I had no idea how to proceed. I went to him for help and he wasn’t mad, and he wasn’t upset. He was happy to re-explain what he wanted, and told me I never needed to worry about asking for help. That encounter, probably more than anything else this summer, helped me transform as a person. What I really learned was how to take pride in my work. I learned that delivering a quality final product is rewarding in and of itself. During my time, I gained a reputation as a quality intern. I am now trusted to do projects without tons of supervision, and my boss trusts my analyses without too much scrutiny. In a nutshell, this experience helped me learn that when I put my mind to it, this is something I’m good at. Really good at. More importantly, it’s something I love doing. Without STEP, I never would have had this opportunity, and I’ll remember this for the rest of my life.



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STEP Summer Internship at Dress for Success Seattle in Seattle, Washington

Name: Mallory Masarik

Name.#: Masarik.3

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. 

For my STEP project, I completed an internship out-of-state. I interned at Dress for Success Seattle, which is an affiliate of the international Dress for Success organization, a nonprofit with a mission of empowering women to achieve economic independence by providing them with resources to attain and retain employment. Services include providing women with interview and work appropriate attire, mentorship programs, and career services such as assistance building resumes, networking, completing applications, and mock interviews. As an intern, I was a stylist to many new clients, helping them feel confident going into interviews in a professional outfit. I also styled many of our clients in a second fitting once they achieved employment where they were able to return to us for a week’s worth of clothing. Generally, I assisted with day-to-day tasks, including data entry on donors and clients, scheduling clients and volunteers, managing volunteers, greeting clients, and collecting client intake forms. My long-term projects included creating corporate partnerships, assisting the affiliate director with grant applications, and eventually completing a new grant narrative on my own for a $450,000 capital project.

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

Throughout my three-month internship with Dress for Success Seattle, I learned various things about myself and about the world. Since I began at OSU in 2016, I’ve been able to volunteer at a variety of places throughout Columbus. My sophomore year I volunteered weekly at Dress for Success Columbus, which is what inspired me to explore the Seattle affiliate. After experiencing each affiliate, I feel that I am so much more accepting to change. Each branch has a different way of doing things, yet their messages and impacts remain the same- they each provide the same services, but their office processes are all so different. At first, the difference in the Seattle affiliate versus the Columbus affiliate was shocking to me because some things they did were so different from what I had previously known by working with the Columbus affiliate. However, in just a few short days I saw how important these differences were. Each affiliate caters to their own community and to the women they serve and I’ve learned that there are so many different ways to get a message across.

Additionally, I’ve become a much more patient and less anxious person. Prior to my STEP project, small hiccups in the morning may have derailed my entire day. Through a variety of experiences this summer, I’ve seen how the professional world, especially in professions involving client services, require a tremendous amount of patience and an ability to adapt. When clients didn’t show for their appointments or a volunteer didn’t make it in, I learned that the most effective and helpful thing to do is to move on with positivity, and most importantly, with patience. I’m so thankful for this lesson because I know it will help me in my nonprofit future, as well as in my day-today life.

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? As I previously touched on, it was quite rare to have a day in the office where everything went as planned. Many of our clients didn’t have reliable access to transportation and were coming from difficult backgrounds, including single mothers and survivors of domestic violence. With these challenges and circumstances, it was typical for our day to include a few “no show” clients. From my supervisor, I learned how that was nothing to get frustrated by – I learned to have patience and understanding in all situations that occurred.

I interacted with numerous clients throughout my three-month internship with Dress for Success Seattle. I would greet almost every client that came through the entrance doors, and worked with many clients as their stylist. In a styling appointment, I worked with women seeking employment and women who had newly obtained employment, finding them a professional outfit for an interview or a week’s worth of professional clothing appropriate for their new job. Styling appointments were possibly my favorite activity because I had the honor of being a small part of making a woman feel valued and confident. I heard so many stories from each client- it was amazing to see how quickly we became comfortable with each other. I live a life of many privileges as a white person being educated at OSU, and clients were often of very different backgrounds. Sometimes I was met with resistance at the start of appointments, but I was able to adapt myself to fit the needs of each client and was able to make them feel comfortable and unjudged with me. At the end of each appointment, we ask clients to fill out surveys. Reading those surveys and learning about how much the experience met to the client provided me and each volunteer with validity, knowing that the services we provide daily were serving their purpose, and even beyond it.

The final project that I completed as an intern at Dress for Success Seattle was writing a new grant narrative. I was humbled by the freedom I was given to do this on my own. In completing a grant application, I was entrusted to write a new grant narrative for a $450,000 capital project, including a project schedule and budget. The process was extremely difficult and more time consuming than I expected, but throughout the process I learned so much about the affiliate and all the success that they have. This process helped me work on my patience, and my ability to learn on my own. If there was something I didn’t know how to do I learned to find the answer for myself by using a variety of different resources. Finally, I was thankful to have had the opportunity to give back to the organization in a small way and take a task off the director’s list.

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

My supervisor at Dress for Success Seattle gave me a lot of freedom throughout the summer to complete projects and assignments as I saw fit. With that, she also guided me into the right direction and was always available to me when I had questions. In my final meeting with my supervisor, I expressed my gratitude for the experience and all it taught me. From customer relations to professional skills like grant writing, I feel so much more prepared for all the steps I take in the future. I was so surprised by how valuable it is to have confidence talking to clients, donors, and volunteers, and my newfound confidence in this helped me to feel worthy when applying for other internships.

The small size of the staff at the office paired with the large client base made my experience very unique. I felt like a valued asset on our small team of 3, and that I truly made a difference in the lives of each client I had. I had a strong passion for the organizations mission and saw the good that we were doing every single day. This experience solidified my passion for nonprofits and my goal to have my career be in that sector.   


STEP Signature Project-Kaufman Development Intern

My name is Nick Stone and this summer, I had the privilege to intern at a Columbus commercial real estate development firm named Kaufman Development. While there, I learned not only about the commercial development process, but also about how an office environment operates. I also learned about different routes of obtaining financing for commercial projects.

I had different assumptions about commercial real estate development and an office environment going into this internship. I expected a more regimented  procedure and work place but I was gladly surprised that my superiors and fellow employees were extremely relaxed about how they conducted business. I also learned about myself in the whole internship process. This was the first time where I lived by myself without many of my classmates around me. Most of my classmates were not living in Columbus so it was an eye opening experience to have that much time by myself. Kaufman Development for the most part let me pick my own hours, so I really sharpened my time management skills during the internship.

I worked with two other interns pretty closely during my summer. One of my first projects of the summer was doing data collection of different parts of the city that are ripe for development. The internship team I was working with coordinated a game plan for how to obtain the data and the best way to present what we found to our superiors. It was transformative for me because it was my first time working with a team for an employer. I have only worked with a team in sports, clubs, or in school before this, so there was a heightened stress to get the task done right. All in all, everything ended up great and I learned a lot about working in a team.

In addition to team work, I enjoyed my internship with Kaufman Development because for many tasks I was assigned, I was supposed to give my recommendation on the best avenue to take. It was awesome knowing that my employer valued what my view was and it felt like I really contributed to the company. It was transformational because it gave me confidence in myself that I was hired for what I had interests in and for my opinion.

One day during my internship Kaufman Development, management gave me the opportunity to step outside of the development and finance department and go see what property management looked like. I spent the day at one of the properties witnessing the operations and handled issues of a property manager. It showed me how important people skills are in real estate. The property manager I was shadowing really knew how to juggle whatever was thrown at him and it started with how he managed his time.

Through the help of the STEP program, I was able to make this transformative experience possible. It was a valuable experience to my life because it gave me insight into if I should continue this path I chose for myself. I really enjoyed the internship and it solidified my choice to continue pursuing this occupation. I hope to obtain an internship next time a little bit more finance based to really make my skills well rounded coming out of college. I truly had a fantastic summer and STEP definitely helped provide the necessary funds to do so.

Attached is a picture of one of the projects I worked on named Gravity. It is located in Franklinton and the leasing office opened in August.

Internship in DC, WAIP

For my STEP Signature Project, I spent 12 weeks this summer in Washington, D.C. with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP). While in D.C., I earned 6 credit hours working Monday through Thursday interning at USAID’s largest flagship, Maternal and Child Survival Program on their Communications Team. Outside from interning, I took an additional 6 credit hours of class along with attending study tours and policy salons around the city.

My time in Washington, D.C. challenged me and taught me many things about myself and my view of the world. I had to balance 6 credit hours of classes, my internship, WAIP events, and a social life, during the short, 12 week period that I had in the District. A busy schedule such as this improved my time management between work, school, and leisure time. Throughout my time in this program, my confidence in my capabilities grew. I performed rather well with all that was thrown at me this summer and that was shown, not only through my grades and evaluations but also through personal accomplishment. Overall, I feel as though this summer has changed me into a more confident person and improved essential skills for my future endeavors in school and in the professional world.

Washington, D.C. is definitely an interesting place to be right now, and living there taught me a lot about how people function in the professional world. Washington is a fast-paced, elite area to be present in, and being a student provided me with endless resources to expand my network. As a student, people want to help you, and most of the time are more than happy to take some time out of their day to grab coffee with you for an informational interview. This changed how I approach those who I feel could be valuable additions to my network, as well as built confidence in my interpersonal skills. I learned that if you take initiative and gain the knowledge of others, it is not a hard task to expand your network and gather information about numerous occupations and future path options.

I was lucky enough to have worked with amazing people during my internship at the USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP). These were individuals that wanted to see me succeed and help me get there. I worked on the Communications Team which consisted of six women who were extremely intelligent and well regarded in their career. I was new to the communications side of an organization so I had a lot to learn, but they were patient and supportive while they helped me gain valuable skills for my future professional life. Everyone on the team encouraged me to challenge myself to try new things and ask as many questions as possible to ensure I got the most out of all of my experiences and MCSP. This led to me understanding that you must utilize every resource made available to you in order to get the most out of the life experiences you are given. It also showed me that people want to help you get ahead in life, all you have to do is to be willing to reach out for their advice and opinion.

As a John Glenn Fellow in the Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP) we were presented with many opportunities to network and expand our knowledge horizons during our time in Washington, DC. This included various weekly policy salons and study tours. Policy salons were when esteemed OSU Alumni or people that are extremely skilled in their field would come and speak to the WAIP fellows. They would tell their stories and what they did to get to where they are, along with answer questions and provide advice to the WAIP students to help them gain insight of those who are successful in the professional world. Study tours took place every Friday at various locations around D.C., exposing us to new cultures, organizations, and agencies, among others. All of these activities gave us opportunities for professional development along with experience with well-esteemed individuals to build a solid network and give an advantage in the future.

The opportunities my STEP Signature Project gave me are invaluable to both my present and future life endeavors. Without WAIP, I would not have gained the experience of a lifetime of living on Capitol Hill and interning in Washington, DC, opening my mind to many future paths. My time at my internship allowed me to be exposed to the international development field, one that I plan on pursuing a career within in the future. I also had the chance to speak to many people that completed Peace Corps, leading me to decide that I would like to join after graduation from Ohio State. Collectively, my STEP Signature Project made me feel more prepared and excited about the future and what is to come.

I believe that the impact of WAIP is valuable in my life because it increased my confidence in my capabilities. During WAIP, the level of my assurance in my academic, personal, and professional goals grew substantially. I had the opportunity to work in the same environment that I aspire to be present in the future. This reassured me that I am on a good track for my professional plans. In addition to work, I had to balance studying and classes throughout the week to remain on top of my school work and maintain good grades. Aside from work and school, I gained great friends and built my network in Washington, DC. This summer taught me to have good time management, a positive mind, and to believe in yourself in order to get the most out of my experiences and grow as a person in my academics, social, and professional skills.

My SRC, Inc. Internship Reflection

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. 

My STEP Signature Project involved my Internship this past summer at SRC, Inc.  I moved to a new city, Fairborn OH, and worked in a professional engineering environment, researching deep learning and developing software.  I was able to expand my professional network, my engineering skills, and my independence.

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

One major change over the course of my project was a change in my sense of independence.  Before this, I had either lived at home or on campus and I did not have to worry about many aspects of day-to-day life.  This summer, however, I moved to a completely new city and lived on my own for about 3 months, working in a full time position.  During this time, I truly felt independent and did not rely on anyone else for paying bills, buying food, transportation, etc. Now, I have a greater overall sense of independence as I continue my education.

Also, I gained new knowledge and understanding about real-world engineering work environments.  Before, I had worked on-campus jobs and another internship at a smaller company. However, this summer I worked in a much larger company on actual software and research projects for the company.  I gained a much better understanding about what my future holds in the field of Computer Science Engineering.

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?

One main event, as mentioned earlier, was my move to a completely new city.  I moved to Fairborn, OH which is in the Dayton, OH area. I did not know much about the area other than that a few of my friends lived in some of the surrounding cities.  Moving there, I had to adapt to a new environment and learn more about where I was living. I was able to experience many new things and meet many new people. I was also living on my own for pretty much the first time in my life.

This brought about a few new aspects of life.  I had to do pretty much everything on my own without help from anyone.  This included navigating a new city, working a professional full time job, and doing less exciting things like buying groceries and paying bills.  These experiences were not difficult but just new to me, as I had either lived at home or on campus beforehand. I feel like I grew immensely in my independence and self-reliance over the course of my project.

My actual job was also a key event/experience that led to my transformation.  At SRC, I created many new and great professional relationships and friendships.  I was able to work on meaningful projects in a real-life engineering environment. This expanded my understanding of my future profession and gave my great experience to use in future internships and my future career.  I feel like I am now more prepared for further work experience and my future career.

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

This transformation is significant for my life because I am now more prepared for the future when I may be living on my own in a new city. I have a greater understanding of the responsibilities and aspects of life after graduation.  Also, I feel more prepared for my future career and professional work environments through the experiences I had at my internship. Overall, I know I have grown and changed in a positive way over the course of my project and this change will help me to be successful in the future.

Interns at SRC Dayton Branch.

My Internship at the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel

Over the summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel as a Public Affairs Intern. The OCC is a state agency that advocates for consumers by representing their interests in cases involving state and federal regulators. The OCC also works to educate Ohioans on issues related to utilities such as electric , natural gas, telephone and water.  During my time at the OCC some of my key responsibilities when working in the Public Affairs Department were to compile relevant news articles for distribution to our staff, collect consumer research related to utility issues, and help edit and schedule media content such as tweets and radio scripts.

I entered into my internship to discover what it was like to work in the public sector of law. When I took the internship I was very interested in going to law school after graduation. I had always been intrigued by the court  system and during my time at the Ohio Consumers Counsel, I learned a lot about the work that went into legal proceedings. However, while at the OCC I became enthralled by the PR work that I was doing. I began to find a passion in educating the public about our services and helping represent the agencies brand. I found a lot of overlap between Public Affairs and what I was working on in my marketing classes. Thus, I became passionate about my work and eager to learn more.

As the summer went on I was able to learn a lot of valuable skills that help me develop not only as an employee, but as a person. I worked on projects where I would help draft and edit social media postings, construct factsheets to inform consumers, work on radio scripts, and collect research on consumers issues. Being able to help represent the agency lead me to an eye opening discovery about myself. As interested as I was in the legal side of the agency, I found that my true intrigue  lied the Public Affairs side of the agency.

I started working on more projects with my supervisor to refine my communication skills, gain experience in group collaboration, and practice my customer service on a day to day basis.  I even had the opportunity to work the OCC’s informational booth at the Ohio State Fair. As I was refining my skills I began to realize how I could apply the strategies I was learning to different products and services for for-profit industries. As time passed my boss became my mentor, he taught me to shape the different communication strategies I was learning and  how to apply them to other industries. He even connected me with  contacts that advised me on how to apply my skills into the marketing sector.

Overall, being able to work in the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel Public Affairs Department and participating in multiple company projects has completely transformed my idea of what I want to do in my future. Originally, I thought that I would be attending law school after I completed my undergraduate business marketing degree. However, I found that I am more passionate about the marketing industry and  I could use my experience as a Public Affairs Intern to help me as I enter into my career. Although, this is not the path that I thought I would take when I entered into my internship, I am glad it is one that I discovered.

Realizing the different opportunities that my Public Affairs background could help me obtain was eye opening. Now that I  have discovered that my career interests align with my marketing degree, I have decided to hold off on going to law school post graduation. I have been motivated to look into full time jobs where I can use my improved communication skills to repreesent the brand of my future employer.


STEP Project

My STEP signature project entailed interning in the wealth and asset management division of Fifth Third Bank at their headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio. I performed Trust Associate duties while supporting two Senior Trust Officers in administering combined books of business of over $2 billion in market value. I also led and completed an account repapering project by identifying qualifying accounts and preparing over 
750 investment management and custodian agreements to meet compliance standards amongst other tasks.

This past summer due to my STEP project I grew a tremendous amount both personally and professionally. It was the first time I had ever lived by myself with no family or roommates. I also lived in a city where I did not know anyone. Due to this I had a large amount of time to think introspectively about my life. I was able to address where I felt I was successful in my life and areas where I wanted to improve. I focused a large amount of my time on learning for pleasure and finding a hobby I am passionate about. Previously, I had been so busy with schoolwork and maintaining relationships that I never truly focused on bettering myself. I read a lot and watched documentaries on things that really interested me. I also discovered I am passionate about working out and have since been dedicating at least an hour a day to working out in some fashion. I will continue to find time for myself even though I am back at school and surrounded by friends.

This past summer I was able to develop my professional brand. I gathered a large amount of information about the wealth management field as well as the markets. I learned how to use various databases and improved my excel skills. Additionally I worked closely with senior management so I learned how to communicate and present myself in a respectable manner. Networking was really valued and emphasized at Fifth Third so I spent a large amount of my time working on that skill. I was able to build a network of people that I can reach out to for career advice and guidance. I also went into the summer a little introverted and unsure of my abilities but finished the summer confident in my skills and comfortable with talking to professionals.

There were a couple events this past summer that led to my personal and professional transformation. I was transformed personally because I had so much time to myself and was forced to really take a look at my life. Until this previous summer I have either lived with my family or roommates. I had never really experienced being alone. It is easy to avoid problems or being introspective when you are surrounded by others because you can distract yourself. I had no distractions this past summer; my only social interactions were at work. At first I really did not like being alone but eventually I became more accustomed to it and even got to a point where I did look introspectively at my life. If I lived with my family or with roommates I do not believe I would have spent time on learning for pleasure or discovering I have a passion for working out.

When it comes to my professional growth, I was given a project that would last the entirety of my internship. My superiors gave me no guidelines only that they wanted a specific outcome. They left the process of reaching the desired outcome up to me. I went through some trial and error within the first week or so because I had to learn how to use the databases and gain some knowledge on terms I was unfamiliar with. After that short period, I created an efficient method that worked well for me and I eventually surpassed my superiors’ desired outcome. They were very pleased with all my work. This project really helped me be confident in my abilities because the entire success of the project fell on my shoulders. No one was over my shoulder making sure I stayed on track. I had to had to ensure I stayed motivated and completed the project. Thanks to the freedom, I feel confident to tackle future projects in a professional setting.

Another event that shaped me professionally over this past summer was the emphasis Fifth Third placed on networking. I had heard the term networking in school but had never applied it until this summer. I can talk to people my own age fairly easily but I was unsure how to talk to professionals. Throughout the summer I learned how to network and ask applicable questions. I additionally learned how to tailor who I was reaching out to so I could learn more about areas I was interested in. Through meeting with different individuals and learning about their roles, I realized that a role that is analytical than client facing would suit my personality better. Due to all the networking, I now feel comfortable in communicating with any individual regardless if I previously know them or if they are my age.

The personal and profession change I experienced this summer was significant and valuable to my life in a couple ways. I have always been a really work orientated person and have always had a lot on my plate because I can manage my time well. This summer showed me I can be successful in a corporate environment. I want a long and successful career and my internship assured me I am moving in the right direction in terms of a career to pursue. It was also really validating receiving feedback from my job that I provided value to the company. While all this is great, I believe what I learned about myself personally is much more important. I had always gone through life moving from one task or obligation to the next, never really taking time for myself. This summer taught me that it is important to create time for the activities you enjoy. Life is a lot more than a list of things to accomplish, it is about learning to balance the things you have to do and the things you want to do. I allocate much more time now to things I want to do.

Imaginations at Work

STEP Reflection

My STEP Signature Project was to work in a day care facility that provided summer camp for school aged children. I was in a classroom of 40 students and 2 teachers. As one of the teachers, I was responsible for coming up with a daily small group activity, large group activity and summer work to keep up math and reading skills.
One thing that I was truly not expecting was how much these kids and their well-being meant to me. I knew I would enjoy my work and the kids, but I had no idea the emotional impact they would have on me. I found myself not wanting to leave in the afternoons or dreading the weekends because that was 2 days without them. My students taught me so much about learning from younger generations. There were so many new and exciting things that they taught me. This summer I learned how to build a rocket out of Legos and many things like that.
The most important things I learned from my students is that a little bit of love and attention goes a long way. One of the children in my class had Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). This made the child difficult to work with as she often lost her temper, would argue with us, and would purposely make other children in the class upset. I learned so much though from having her in my class. Over the summer I started to notice that if I intentionally asked her how she was doing or showed her that I cared for her throughout the day we would have better days. To see the difference some individualized attention made for her, brought to light how much that could help every other child in my current classroom, and future classroom.
At first it was difficult for me to deal with this student. She would get me so angry and upset in the classroom. I had a talk with one of the other teachers in the classroom and talked about how this child’s behavior was disturbing the whole class. We realized that it no longer could go on. As a solution we reached out to the child’s mom and asked how she suggested we go about helping her daughter. The mom gave us a few suggestions that they use at home.
None of those solutions ended up working and so our supervisor came in one day to observe and sit with the child. After this had occurred, we noticed that as long as the supervisor was sitting with her she didn’t have a meltdown. We talked and had another teacher assigned to the room with us, so that one of us could sit with this child and talk to her throughout the day.
Throughout my relationship with this child and the open relationship I had with the other teachers and the mom of this child we all could work together to figure out a solution for this child. The most meaningful relationship was the one with the child though. We often talked, and I found myself thinking about how much different all the children would be if I got the chance to sit with each of them for a little while each day.
This transformation in my idea of how to approach children and their behavioral issues will be so impactful in me future classroom. As someone who is getting a degree in education I am always thinking about my impact on children and a classroom. Having this child in my class this summer has taught me how to show my students that each of them matter, and that I care about how they are doing in and out of the classroom.