Aerospace Engineering Internship – Warsaw, Poland

For my STEP project, I completed a 12-week aerospace engineering internship in Warsaw, Poland. I worked at the Instytut Lotnictwa where I researched Particle Image Velocimetry, assisted with wind tunnel testing, analyzed data, and helped publish a research paper. Living abroad for 12 weeks not only allowed me to learn a vast knowledge of the aerospace field, but it also allowed me to explore many different European cultures. The knowledge, friendships, and global perspective I gained was life-changing.

This STEP project affected me both academically and socially. During my internship, I gained critical hands-on experience and conceptual knowledge by assisting with different wind-tunnel tests, which will ultimately help me perform better in the classroom. It was incredible to see concepts I learned at Ohio State get translated into real-life scenarios and testing. After completing and analyzing many different tests, I helped write and publish a research paper. This experience will be vital to my future and has already opened doors for me academically. After returning to OSU, I got hired at the Aerospace Research Center to help conduct research here. This STEP project has proven to be life-changing and I’m excited to see how it impacts my future.

Living abroad for 12 weeks proved to be an absolutely incredible experience. While in Poland, I had the opportunity to completely indulge in their culture: meeting new people, trying new food, and learning their language. I also traveled to 13 other countries during my free time. Traveling to so many places has truly given me a global perspective and has shown me how cultures can be different, yet still work and live cohesively. Traveling has also taught me how to be more independent. I went to many different countries by myself and learned to adapt despite not knowing their language or having anyone to help me. The skills I learned during my STEP experience will be vital for future as an engineer, especially in a worldwide industry where a global perspective and independence are a necessity.

Working and researching at the Institute every day gave me the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to transform my life academically. I applied many concepts I learned at OSU to real life scenarios. For example I used MATLAB nearly every day to analyze data, which is a program I learned here at OSU. I also applied many of the concepts I learned in aerospace engineering classes to analyze and validate data the results I obtained. The knowledge gained in the classroom helped me tremendously, but I also learned a lot at the internship which will help me in the classroom in the future. For example, I learned how to use Particle Image Velocimetry which is a new way to visually analyze airflow without having any physical sensors in the flow. I also had the chance to work with Polish people every day which helped me understand their culture and learn Polish.

I enjoyed every second of living in Poland. It was incredible to meet new people and see the differences between our cultures. Before I arrived, I didn’t know any Polish and didn’t know what to expect. When I arrived, I was surprised by how nice and respectful the people were; almost everyone was willing to help me if they spoke English. By the end of summer, I was able to speak basic polish, shop, use public transportation, and comfortably travel anywhere in Europe by myself. I slowly learned how to do everything by experiencing it firsthand or talking to other people who could help. This STEP experience has taught me to be more independent and how to adapt in many different diverse situations.

During my free time I traveled to 13 other countries: Ireland, England, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Israel, Greece, Hungary, and Finland. I feel it’s important as a person, and as a professional, to have a global perspective. Engineering is a global industry and I know I will work with people from all over the world. It’s important to understand cultural differences and how to overcome a language barrier to achieve a common goal. Not only has STEP transformed my life academically, but it has also given me a better understanding of other cultures and the skills necessary to be a well-rounded engineer and professional.

This STEP experience has definitely changed my life and was by far the best 12 weeks of my life. I gained knowledge and hands-on experience that most undergraduates never get the opportunity to do. I met many new people and learned a tremendous amount about the Polish culture. This experience also gave me the opportunity to travel, which taught me to be more independent and gave me a global perspective. All of these experiences and skills gained have already transformed my life and I’m excited to see how it impacts my future. I plan on working internationally as an engineer and this STEP experience gave me the academic and social skills necessary to do that. I can’t thank STEP and The Ohio State University enough for providing this experience; it was absolutely life-changing.


Internship at Stuart Weitzman

Montana Wilkie


Type of Project: Internship

  1. During my internship at Stuart Weitzman I was responsible for many different tasks. I supported the VIP Celebrity Relations and Events team in daily tasks and special projects such as organizing the VIP and PR closet and tracking new sample inventory and gifting initiatives through Fashion GPS. I also assisted with seasonal press presentations and US based events.
  2. During my internship I learned a lot about myself. I’ve always been a very independent person, but I tend to question myself and my abilities often. This is something that has been a struggle of mine since elementary school. While my mentor and bosses gave me great reviews, they noticed that I lack confidence in my decisions. This input reaffirmed that I need to continue working on this.

            On a different note, this internship confirmed that I want to work in the fashion industry after graduation. I have always had a love and interest in fashion, but I never got to experience working in the business end of the industry. Every day I would look forward to going to work and being with the other interns and employees. I loved learning about new programs, getting to see the new product, and meeting new people. This internship also made me realize how competitive the world is. I always felt uncomfortable using my connections and asking for favors, but this internship transformed the way I view this now. In order to become successful, you have to maintain good relationships and network because it truly is a dog-eat-dog world.

  1. There are numerous events, interactions and relationships that led me to these realizations and transformations. The relationships that I created with my mentor and bosses made me realize that I need to work on my confidence level in the decisions I make. I created such amazing relationships with these people, ones that I do believe will be lasting. I felt comfortable in confiding in them and asking for help. They made me realize that I am capable of making decisions on my own. Rather than second guessing myself, I must be confident with my choices. They taught me that educated questions are great and pointed out that I have gotten to where I am because I am capable of doing the work on my own. This is something I need to continuously remind myself of every day.

My love for the fashion industry continued to grow through various events, the first being the multiple Market Weeks I had the opportunity of attending. A Market Week event is where buyers from different stores come in and look at new products. The VIP team also gets the opportunity to go into the showroom and pick styles they believe best fit the red carpet and celebrity’s needs. My mentor always asked for my input and listened to what I thought would or wouldn’t work.

I loved getting to work the Retail Summit, where the store managers of every Stuart Weitzman store spend a week at the headquarters learning about current events. The CEO said something that left an indelible impression on me, “good luck is where hard work and opportunity meet.” I have been told multiple times that I have good luck, but that statement made me pause and think that it isn’t that I am “lucky” it is that I have put in the work to get where I am. This goes back to networking. Thankfully I had a connection to interview for the internship and I took advantage of it. It got my “foot in the door”. But I knew it was all on me to get the job. I was fortunate that the interview went well and the feedback I got was positive. Because of this experience, I believe that my future has been transformed.  My passion for the industry has only grown stronger and I am so excited to see what is in store for the future.


  1. This transformation has undoubtedly changed my career path and I foresee a bright future. As I previously stated, I believe this will open so many doors, hopefully leading me to my dream job someday. This internship has taught me that there are so many options in the fashion industry, and while I loved doing PR and Celebrity, I look forward to getting to know the marketing side or maybe another position next summer. I did not realize all of the career paths in the fashion industry. Because of this new knowledge, I will take advantage of different class opportunities and try to learn more and become more well-rounded.

This was one of our internship events where we got to learn more about different positions.

This was at a trip we took to see the Heavenly Bodies Exhibit at the MET

My Summer Becoming an Emergency Medical Technician-Basic

During class we practiced the skills we learned on other students including when we were learning how to properly transport patients

My official certificate and patch I received after completing the course and National Registry test

For my STEP signature project I took an Emergency Medical Technician preparation course at Cuyahoga Community College. This 10-week course completed the state and national requirements for allowing me to become a certified EMT-B.


Prior to this transformative event, I followed a very traditional undergraduate pathway. I have always been interested in emergency medicine as a career and wanted to gain experience to know that this is the correct choice for me. The course reminded me that I am not just another pre-medical student, I have my own thoughts and life experiences that differentiate me from others.Throughout the Emergency Medical Technician course I was able to meet other students and people I normally would not have the opportunity to. I gained confidence, knowledge, and practice as well as a new understanding of my interests and abilities. My insecurities about taking on the responsibility of patient care have lessened, and my assumptions about prehospital care were corrected and I gained further understanding of the medical field.

One of the major agents of change was the ambulance ride time built into the class. I completed two 12 hour shifts riding with paramedics from Cleveland Emergency Medical Services. During this time I completed more than a dozen patient evaluations. As excited as I was when the station phone first rang calling us to see a patient I was also nervous. I had no idea what I was walking into and no similar previous experience. Despite taking other students vitals many times during class it was completely different in the ambulance. There was distracting noise, new people, and pressure to get the correct vitals because a person’s health was at stake. As we went on more calls, this pressure lessened as I learned that patients and paramedics were both understanding of the situation and this allowed me to get more confident and more adept. By the end of my second shift I felt capable of doing what was asked of me in many circumstances, a dramatic transformation.


My relationship with other students and the EMS instructors also facilitated change. It was a small class of about 12 students, all coming from different backgrounds. There were pre-medical students like me looking for opportunities, military veterans looking for a new job after serving, and moms working towards a new career. Being with this group of people for 16 hours a week, practicing new skills on each other we became a very close class. I studied with other students outside of class, and we all talked about our ride along times and the disturbing things we saw. We all helped each other understand the content being taught and the realities of the field we all had chosen to enter into. These new relationships helped me get through the difficult class, and opened me up to the possibility of different relationships in the future.


The rigor and setup of the EMT course has helped me prepare for classes I will take in the future. As a pre-medical student I have to take many courses covering various sciences, including chemistry, biology, physics, and anatomy. This pre-hospital care course served as an introduction to many of these subjects. Learning about different injuries and symptoms that could present from illnesses gave me a foundation to build on in my anatomy course that I am taking this semester. We also discussed the mechanism of injury that can cause injuries and how they depend on the forces acting upon the person, using physics to estimate the extent of injury. This preparation will continue to benefit me throughout my remaining time at Ohio State in a way that no other class has so far.


This change in myself, my confidence, and my knowledge will continue to affect me for the rest of my life. This transformative experience has helped me improve on basic life skills that can help me in every aspect of my career, schooling, and social life. With newfound confidence I will be better prepared for every new obstacle I face no matter the area. The tangible skills I learned and practiced will directly benefit me in my future career. These changes came at a perfect time for my motivation to continue on the path that I am on to be renewed. It was an invaluable experience that I would not have been able to complete without the financial support I received.


Interning on the OSU Student Farm

Stream on the OSU Waterman Student Farm

For two months this past summer, I worked as a research intern on the Ohio State Waterman Student Farm. In addition to my contribution of 200 hours to farm related tasks, I spent an additional 100 hours researching, compiling and developing plans to improve the ecological health of the Student Farm. My project mentor, EEOB graduate student Ryan McCarthy, helped me immensely by identifying plants in the habitat and providing excellent advice and encouragement.

During the internship, I went through many personal changes and struggles, and even though they were very difficult at the time, I believe that I better understand my value as skilled labor in the field of agriculture (now with 7 years of experience) and as a curious, capable student. I pushed myself physically and mentally in those two months and though my body did not react well to the intense hours in the sun, I taught myself an incredible amount about my home environment and developed plans and drawings that future professional me will still be proud of.

Perhaps the most important moment for me during this experience came right at the end, right when I was worn out and sick with heat exhaustion, ready to go home to recharge with my family and put the stress out of my mind. After reviewing my notebook full of research, drawings and ideas with Ryan, he took a moment to really emphasize the quality of my work and the way I approached my project. He, and later Dr. Kristin Mercer, told me that my notebook shows graduate-level work and thinking. It was recommended to me that I consider a research distinction for my degree once I return from Germany. Even months later I can hardly believe that. The stress and

Honeybees on milkweed plant

exhaustion melted away for a moment. I brought that journal with me to Germany both as a physical example of my dedication to my work, but also as a reminder of what sophomore Emily could accomplish.

I had the honor of working with a team of wonderful, passionate young women and femmes while on the farm, some of which will be friends for life. They were all such brilliant lights when my time in Columbus became stressful, and I found warmth and firm support in their friendship. It was honestly life-changing to work in a team with so much feminine creative energy – as an engineering student, I don’t often find this in my classes. We shared with each other freely and deeply, connecting with each other and with our work. They also understood that to work with the land is a personal and intimate experience, and I am honored to have shared in that with my colleagues.

As the only student worker on the farm with previous experience on a farm, specifically on a CSA farm, I was excited to share with others what I knew and learn along the way. Coming into the internship, I was so elated to be back working in the sunlight and soil that I gave a little too much of myself at the beginning and allowed my body to burn itself out rather quickly. I respect farmers and food industry workers even more now, something that will help me better serve and work with them when I am volunteering and/or working professionally in agroecology.

My STEP Experience both offered me the opportunity to verify that this intersection of my interests accurately exemplifies the path I wish to follow throughout the rest of my undergraduate career, and additionally provided me with vital tools for success in my fellowship year abroad. I can now confidently say that I am capable of completing a valuable and independently led research-based internship, and for a young, female STEM student living in a foreign country, that gives me great confidence. I can also feel more confident in my ability to relate to others and work with them toward a common goal.

For these reasons and more, I am immensely grateful for the STEP program and Ohio State’s trust that I could develop and follow through with a project such as my research internship on the OSU Student Farm.


Emily Wilson

Ecological Engineering & German major

Summer Internship at The Recovery Council

Chenoa Palmer


For my STEP project  I chose to do an internship. I completed my internship in Waverly, Ohio at  The Pike County Recovery Council. The Recovery Council is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center compromised of outpatient and inpatient facilities.

This internship had its ups and downs, but overall was a positive and eye opening experience. Throughout this experience I grew not only as a student, but also as a person. Growing up in a town that is central to the opioid crisis, it is not uncommon to have strong opinions about illegal substances and the people who use them. Completing this internship challenged and eventually changed the opinions I grew up having. I began to see our clients as individuals with a story rather than another statistic or mugshot on the news station. While completing this internship, just like the grinch, my heart grew a few sizes.

However, this change was not sudden and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t try to resist the transformation at first. My transformation of how I view addiction was subtle and crept up on me throughout the 13 weeks I spent at The Recovery Council. I can attribute this transformation to my unique summer experience. I was able to work at almost all of our locations, shadowing many different positions. This gave me insight to every step of the process for not only the employees, but also the clients.

At first, the idea of traveling to the different locations intimidated me. This was because I wasn’t sure what to expect from the clients. After traveling to my first location, my fears were confirmed. I started my first day at a Men’s transitional center. The clients were not welcoming to me and at some times were crossing the line to harassment. My confidence was shaken and I couldn’t wait to get home. The experience had reinforced all of my opinions on drug addicts. After that, I didn’t travel for several weeks. Instead, I spent time at what could be called my “home base”, a women’s transitional center.

This is where the real transformation started. I had the opportunity to sit in on various sessions my favorite and simultaneously least favorite were called timelines. Each week a different client presents their timelines to the staff and other clients. This includes a detailed story about their life starting at birth. They typically include drug use and any other traumatic events. They were my favorite because it really allowed me to understand them on a deeper level. They gave me answers to all my unspoken questions like, “Why is she so closed off?”or ” Why is she so aggressive?”. They were my least favorite because it was very difficult to listen to some of the traumatic events these woman had gone through. It was even more difficult when I realized some of them were my age.

I began to see my perspective on addiction change. The black and white strategy that I had once used had opened up to many shades of grey and I found myself sympathizing for many of the clients. I began to wonder how different their lives could be if they had been born into different circumstances and not been subjected to the experiences they had. I got to know them on a personal level, they shared their hopes and dreams with me and I watched them fight everyday to try to make it a reality. I think transformation made me much more open minded and a much more caring person.

This transformation matters to me for a number of reasons, but I am going to focus on two. The first reason, is that I had always prided myself on being objective in any situation that came my way. It was a trait that I thought was very important. While I still possess this trait, it is not as overbearing as it once was. I am now able to see the advantages of letting feelings influence you because feelings are very important. Before the transformation, I viewed these clients like the statistics they were. The statistics that had the deck stacked against their recovery. Now I see them, how far they’ve come and how far they want to go. I see hope for them and they notice the difference.

The second reason the transformation matters to me is because it will help me in my future career. I plan to pursue graduate school for clinical psychology and work a job where I will be helping clients. Some, like the ones I worked with over the summer and some not. All however, deserve the benefit of the doubt. All deserve to have someone take the time to get to know their unique situation. I think this transformation will make me better equipped to be the best psychologist I can be.

Interning with the Department of Defense

Cheyenne Hall
Internship Signature Project

1. This summer, I completed my Internship Signature Project by interning with the U.S. Department of Defense in Missouri. I worked as an analysis intern, placed in an office amongst experienced professionals in the field to help me learn the analytic tradecraft and ultimately produce my own finalized analyses on matters of national security.

2. This internship was my first experience living far from home, and relocating to a new state. Not knowing anyone in the area, it was a little intimidating to make a big move by myself. However, this experience ultimately helped me to gain more confidence and personal independence. This summer being my first time ever in Missouri, I was able to experience a new state and gain a more cohesive view of the different parts and history of the U.S.

Another transformation I experienced during the summer was gaining new perspectives on the world and international affairs, as I learned how to approach issues from a Defense point of view. I was also able to gain a better understanding how the United States operates both at home and abroad. Prior to this internship, I didn’t have any experience with the Department of Defense or any other government agency’s operations, so it was an important learning experience for me to see this firsthand.

3. My interactions and friendships formed with fellow interns were a great help in acclimating to living somewhere new. The interns from the area were able to suggest places to go visit and figure out practical things like the best place to go shopping for groceries or clothes. There were also interns from out of town like me, and social events organized by our employer helped us to get to know one another. My friendships helped me to have a great experience this summer. My coworkers in the office were also a great resource for recommending activities, sightseeing opportunities, and the best restaurants.


Watching the Cleveland Indians play the Saint Louis Cardinals.

The multinational focus of Defense operations allowed me to broaden my worldview significantly, through learning how to apply a Defense perspective in my analysis as well learning new things about international affairs. Throughout my coursework in International Studies and Arabic, much of my focus has been in the humanities and social sciences, with a particular focus on the Middle East. Through visits, shadowings, and working collaboration during my internship this summer, I was able to broaden my regional and functional knowledge thanks to the many different focuses of the Defense Department. This includes regions such as Asia and Africa, as well as learning more about technology and business operations. I feel this experience has made me more knowledgeable in my field of study, and helped me find additional areas of interest.

I also had the opportunity to make work trips to the Washington, D.C. area throughout the course of my internship. Here I was able to visit additional offices I was interested in that weren’t based in Missouri, as well as go on a trip to the Pentagon. These visits and meetings allowed me to see firsthand how the different aspects of the U.S. government work together to accomplish their goals in support of U.S. interests.

4. The changes and transformations I experienced as a result of this experience will be instrumental for me following graduation. The confidence and increased independence I found by moving to a new place on my own will be very helpful after graduation in May, when I’ll likely need to make a big move again. Additionally, my widened worldview and understanding of the professional workplace will allow me to have an easier transition and increased confidence in pursuing full-time employment. The connections I made and experience gained through this internship experience will surely benefit me in my professional career path in International Affairs.

Brianna Rost – Internship

Name:   Brianna Rost

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.

For my STEP Signature Project, I chose to work as a Marketing/Communications Intern for the Ohio Machine, a Major League Lacrosse Team in Columbus, Ohio. I worked on press releases, sent newsletters, made graphics, and worked on our social media platforms. On game days, I worked on the sidelines where I assisted partners, posted on social media, and helped with the daily operations of making a game run smoothly.


2. 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 believe that having the opportunity to work for a major league team has provided me with an insight into what I want to do after I graduate. Going into the summer, I was extremely set on working in athletics in the future. After this summer, I am starting to think that athletics is not the path for me. I still have a passion for professional teams, but I think I would be better off in the stands than on the sidelines. I realized that I would be working every single home game. For some sports, that could mean up to three games a week. Down the road, in a couple of years I hope to have a family. Working several nights in a week would not be ideal. Another aspect of athletics that I am not set on is the pay. Obviously, money isn’t everything in the end, but I need to be making a stable salary that I can use to pay off my student loans. After I talked to some of the full-time staff at the Machine, I have determined that their salaries are not livable for me.

I have also determined that I do not want to work for a small team/company. I know that I like to have a lot of people to bounce ideas off and work with. Working in a small atmosphere gives every employee a lot to do in a short amount of time. There isn’t as much time to try new things and branch out. I am hoping that by working for a larger corporation there will be more of a safety net to fall back on when I need help.


3. 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 think that there were several events that led me have a transformational experience. I think that one of the biggest experiences in my project was being able to sit down and meet with some of the full-time employees. I had the chance to talk with our team president, vice president, business development managers, ticketing director, marketing manager, operations coordinator, and the corporate partnership coordinator. They all gave me great advice, that seemed to overlap and was very similar. It requires a certain type of dedication to persevere in the athletics field. It takes a long time to work your way up the pyramid

Another aspect of my internship that helped transform me was working on game days. Before working for the Ohio Machine, I was pretty convinced that I would be okay with working regular business hours plus game days outside of the office. I thought I would be content with this, but I didn’t realize what that actually meant. After putting in 50-60-hour work weeks, I’m starting to rethink my decision. At my age I think that I wouldn’t be upset working overtime, but I plan on having a family and children someday. This wouldn’t be so convenient when my children have conflicts and I would be forced to miss their activities. This is definitely something that I am going to have to think more about in my future.

As I mentioned before, I thought that I was fully prepared and understood everything that was going to happen while working for a professional team. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to actually be getting my hands dirty before graduation. Now I get to rethink what I want to do before graduation. Do I want to work weekends? Do I want to deal with overly excited fans? Do I like working with the athletes? Now I have a better idea that working in athletics truly is challenging, but it can be all worth it because it keeps me entertained and on my toes daily. The only real problem that I have come across is game days, but I understand that every company/organization has out of the office activities that I would be required to attend. Maybe there would be less, but I have no way of guaranteeing this.


4. 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 transformation was extremely importable for my life. Without receiving the STEP funding, I would not have been able to afford to work this internship. It was unpaid, as most athletic internships are, but it was crucial for me to determine how I want to proceed with my future. I have now realized that I want to pursue internships that are outside of the athletic field. I have only worked internships in the athletic field, and I now think that it is time to work outside of one field and explore my options. This internship has reaffirmed that I want to be working in the marketing field, but it really clarified to me that I need to explore all sorts of companies before settling in with one.

Learning to STEP over (around, under, etc.) – Internship at Parkour Horizons

My Boss was ridiculously good at dealing with the children at the camps and in the classes

I got to lead warm-ups and some drills in most classes



This summer, I was a coaching intern at a local Columbus Parkour gym (Parkour Horizons). Every day I would go into the gym at 9:00 a.m. to help run the day camps for children ranging in age from 6-14 years. We taught  them parkour movements and we also held classroom sessions on topics such as the history of parkour and proper nutrition habits. In the evenings I helped to teach children and adult classes about parkour moves; these classes were based on a different theme each week (e.g. jumping. swinging, etc.).



In spite of being the least senior and the least knowledgeable coach at the gym (I first had to learn some skills this summer before teaching them), I was able to make an impact. I understand better how and why it is possible to learn from anyone, because even though I was not very experienced in parkour, my people and leadership skills helped me to be an effective teacher. As a result, I am more confident, self-aware, and mindful.



Parkour, which is basically finding the most efficient path to get from point A to point B, is tailored to the individual participant. As a coach I may teach an individual to safely execute a number of movements, but ultimately, that individual must decide how to use these “tools” to navigate the obstacles in his/her path. As a result, each participant ends up reaching the goal in a unique way.

Observing this in the practice of parkour helped me to see more possibilities when it came to maneuvering challenges in general. I could see that by breaking up a challenge into progressions made it easier to master. My enthusiasm to find ways to help my students succeed became apparent to my boss; he told me that he really admired and appreciated my work ethic and that he hoped that I would continue at the gym after my project ended because he wanted staff with my attitude. His statement made me realize that I made a strong impression on another person, without trying, just by whole-heartedly doing my job.

Over the course of this project, I was faced with several challenging circumstances – I do not have a car and had to depend on a ride to get everywhere due to a very inconvenient public transportation situation; there was one hour to get from my internship to my job but they were 15 miles apart; my days were very long (9 a.m.-8 p.m.) and physically taxing (parkour and lifeguarding) 5 days a week. This whole process was exhausting, but I never once considered changing anything because I really wanted to get my coaching certification. In short, my STEP experience has given me a glimpse of my resilience in addition to broadening my perspective on things.


When I first started training in parkour I did it because I wanted to do cool tricks and have fun. However, being around the more experienced practitioners  and having them mentor me while I coached forced me to have a different perspective. I had to teach others how to successfully master challenging skills. I had to repeatedly encourage the students to be confident and to pay attention to their bodies; eventually, I too got the message. This whole experience has taught me the value of purposeful actions.



Here’s a video of me interviewing one of the other coaches! More to come about my experience!

A Summer Submersed in the Diverse Columbus Community

This summer, I was given the opportunity to be a Summer Fellow for the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus, as well as an intern for the Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS) Community Connectors mentoring program. For the Boys and Girls Club, I was able to lead a classroom of third grade students through activities that revolved around math, science, and healthy lifestyle skills. In relation to my internship with CRIS, I was given the opportunity to focus on social media outreach and fundraising, in order to promote an event that worked to unite a variety of diverse individuals in Columbus through soccer.

Throughout the summer, my involvement with two major organizations in the Columbus area has helped me learn more about my present self, as well as my career aspirations for the future. First, my Summer Fellowship with the Boys and Girls Club allowed me to obtain a leadership position that focused on youth that came primarily from underprivileged communities in Columbus. As Columbus is not my original hometown, I found this experience to be very impactful because I was able to learn about identities that are different than my own. Being a social work major, my primary focus is to help and assist clients through their unique obstacles in life. A major key that my experience with the Boys and Girls Club has helped me realize is that I must be open and receptive to those that come from different backgrounds in order for a connection to occur. Although I worked with mainly third grade students, I quickly learned that connections early on in life are very meaningful. Many of my students were clearly lacking a mentor in life and were seeking even a good friend. Although my patience was tested at times, I feel that I truly put myself into a new experience that helped me learn to interact and work with youth in a way that I never have before.

Through my internship with the CRIS Community Connectors mentoring program, I was able to gain a new perspective on the diversity within the Columbus area. Although my intern role slightly shifted, my job was to primarily focus on promoting the Columbus Nations Cup. This was a soccer tournament that focused on uniting refugee youth within our program and a variety of other communities within this area. This experience not only allowed me to further develop my social media outreach and fundraising skills, but it also provided an opportunity to learn more about populations that I seek to assist in the future. As my father immigrated from South Korea at an early stage in life, I have been able to learn more about the various obstacles that have made success much harder to obtain for him. With my own racial identity, along with this experience that focused on local refugee populations, I feel that I have been able to put my passion for social justice into action. I have been able to ignite my passion for change in a way that focused on populations that are important to me.

Not only did my experience this summer with the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus further my development in working with youth, but I also was able to interact with various staff members in a more professional manner. I quickly learned that the staff are unique in that they work towards the constant improvement for the youth in the program. My program coordinator, Lacey Salas, was a particular leadership figure that served as a major role model during my experience. Through observation, I was able to learn that the key to working with youth is to be approachable. One major piece of advice that I received from Lacey was that it is important to focus on the opportunity at hand and keep your own personal difficulties outside of the room when working. This further helped me focus on my students and create an environment where I was able to be welcoming and create a beneficial experience.
Before the Summer Fellowship, I had always felt a sense of nervousness or anxiety before speaking in front of a crowd. As I am more introverted by nature, this experience was worrisome to me because I would be expected to lead a full classroom of students. But, as I became acclimated to the program and staff members, I truly began to feel the support and assistance. Although there was much freedom when planning activities for your specific classroom, I felt that I was able to learn how to be a better public speaker and leadership figure with the guidance of many of the staff members.
In relation to my experience this summer as an intern for CRIS Community Connectors mentoring program, I was able to form deeper connections with individuals within the organization that I never had before. As I was previously only a mentor within this program, I was able to learn more about the head coordinator of the program, Jeremy Hollon. As he also studied social work, I was able to learn more about his journey throughout his career path. I was also able to expose myself more to the refugee community through my work. As my primary focus was social media outreach in order to promote the Columbus Nations Cup soccer game, I was able to converse with many of the refugee youth in the area. These connections were very meaningful as I hope to work with the refugee or immigrant population through my career. Overall, I was able to learn more from individuals that are not from this country, as well as connect with staff members who share the same passions as me.

After reflecting on my experiences this summer, I feel that I have been able to learn more about my future career path interests and personally develop in a more mature manner. As I have mentioned before, I was never the type to want to speak in front of a crowd or naturally lead. But, this experience has allowed me to be comfortable in my voice and share my opinions. I believe that these personal changes are extremely vital as I am beginning my junior year of college. This summer I have been able to learn more about myself, as I completely submersed myself into two organizations that required much human interaction. By trusting my decisions and logic, I found that I am able to better lead my own path in life. Although I still believe that listening is extremely important when seeking to learn, I have learned that confidence and trust in oneself is equally significant.
In relation to my career aspirations, I have been able to further narrow down my interests in the social work field. Initially, I was extremely interested in working with either underprivileged youth or the refugee and immigrant community. After my experience this summer, I have concluded that I would like to work on a more macro level of social work in order to assist the immigrant community. Although I did enjoy my time leading a classroom full of many diverse youth, I believe that my true passions lie in diversity and social justice. These two passions have helped push me into the direction of pursuing a law degree, and potentially becoming an immigration lawyer. If it were not for my experience this summer, I would not have been able to gain the knowledge that I did. Fully committing to a new experience this summer has really helped motivate me to pursue a higher level degree after graduation, and make greater changes in the world that focus on the immigrant and refugee communities in the United States.

Fisher Global Internship – London!

Having a blast in London!

A picture I took at a work event for my internship!

Name: John Joyce

Type of Project: Internship/Study Abroad, Fisher Global Internship Program

For my STEP project, I decided to use my funds to participate in the Fisher Global Internship Program in London, England for 8 weeks. During this period, I worked full-time for The Featured Artists Coalition, a non-profit trade body that provides support services and education to unsigned and rising musical artists. Additionally, I worked with their sister company that provides similar resources and services to artist managers. In the office, I was responsible for event marketing, social media posts and analysis, partner research, and other typical intern responsibilities.

Going into the program, I was fairly confident in my abilities to adapt to new and foreign atmospheres both socially and professionally, but I seriously underestimated just how different the work environment would be. The entire first week of work I spent trying my best to decipher what exactly my coworkers were asking me to do, as they had very different definitions for certain words, or used slang I didn’t understand.  Throughout my time in London, I found myself becoming a more intent listener as a result of my trying my best to decipher accents and slang the entire time. This resulted in me coming back to the United States with greater listening abilities, allowing me to gain more out of conversations with others and retain more information that I heard.

Throughout my time in London, I regularly had conversations with new people, each from different parts of both the UK and possibly from different parts of Europe, meaning I was exposed to a multitude of different accents and social norms than I could ever expect to experience in my home state. Interactions like this took place in the office, in meeting rooms, over the phone, over email, at large general meetings, in concert halls, rooftop terraces, pubs, you name it. I was having relevant, industry related conversations at all times of the day.

Having these conversations and speaking to people of completely different global backgrounds allowed me to improve my listening skills as well as my verbal skills. During each of these conversations, I was hyper aware of whether I was using American slang or not (which they might not understand) and my pronunciations of certain words that may be different than theirs. The very first memorable occurrence of this was at an event after-party/social event for my company, where a coworker asked “you alright?” I understood this as her asking if I was doing okay because something about me was communicating to her that I was not, in fact, okay. As a result, I answered skeptically, saying “Yeah, I’m fine, is something wrong?” This led to an extremely awkward back-and-forth for the next minute or so. Another instance of this was that I had coworker named Jordan as well as one named Joe, which when spoken with a British or Scottish accent, all start to sound like “John,” so there was always an awkward few seconds on a daily basis where I would turn around to answer a question for somebody when, in fact, they had been talking to Jordan or Joe instead.

As a result of the instances above, and many other similar instances with coworkers, locals, or anybody I interacted with throughout the day, I became a better listener and communicator. I was more attentive towards British lingo, and began to understand what people were saying the first time around, even if they had a thicker Northern accent. I began speaking in British lingo in order to cut down on confusion when speaking to others, allowing them to understand me better as both an intern and a London inhabitant.

As a business student, communication is incredibly valuable, and a skill I will use and develop for the rest of my life. It is important to me that I actively pursue opportunities that challenge me and help me grow in my abilities, such as strategic and efficient communication in both professional and social situations. This internship in London was a PERFECT way to spend my time off of school focusing on personal development in an industry I hope to one day work. I was able to constantly develop new skills as well as a wholly new and foreign network that I hope to utilize (and build on) for the rest of my life. This was no easy feat, though. As an intern, it was important to me to make only good, lasting impressions so that I can officially begin making a name for myself in the industry. Through conversations with my CEO, manager, and our clients, I was able to accomplish this, establishing a personal brand for myself in the world of music business. Thanks to the STEP funding, I was able to pursue a lifelong dream of working abroad, and did so while in an industry that I feel my skills are perfectly suited for.