STEP Reflection – Internship at OARDC

Prompt 1: I was a research assistant intern so I was in charge of an animal behavior project. I analyzed videos to determine if a feed additive was affecting feeding behaviors. I also assisted with the other projects through sampling and analysis of samples.

Prompt 2: My view on how we figure out and then explain new information changed. I grew up assuming research was only done by geniuses that understood everything about their field. I never realized that everything we know comes with a question mark. We aren’t allowed to call anything a fact because new research could disprove what we just discovered. It makes you question what, if anything, is true. We’re discovering new things every day, but along with that we’re disproving ourselves constantly. I like the pursuit of knowledge, but I guess I find it a bit disheartening because the most amazing discovery could mean nothing in a few hundred years when we have new tools and new information. That being said, I still think the constant evolution of our knowledge is one of the great hallmarks of our species, and something I still have every intention of being involved in.

Prompt 3: One of my responsibilities as an intern was to read up on previous literature. While I was doing that, I ran across a lot of differing methods that were supposed to determine the same thing. Sometimes these differing methods caused differing conclusions that should’ve been the same. Research seems to be very organized, but there’s always room for argument in methodology or even conclusions that were drawn. For example, two different softwares could be used to determine what affects 3NOP has on eating behaviors in dairy cattle, but if they’re analyzing for different things, or even analyzing at different times in different areas of the world, the conclusions could be extremely different.

During the summer I also had the opportunity to present at the ADSA National Research Conference in Knoxville, Tennessee. I was presenting a poster that had a sister poster about lysophospholipid’s affect on milk production in dairy cattle. The presenter of the sister poster, a graduate student I’ve worked with for the last year, told me someone else at the conference was doing research on lysophospholipid’s affect on milk production. We had discovered that it increased milk production, while they had determined that it had no affect. We had done the research in similar areas of the US, so it was kind of strange to have someone say that they’d disproved our conclusion, and that we’d disproved theirs. This ended up strengthening my view that research conclusions have a large question mark at the end of them.

Over the summer I had a very interesting and somewhat mind boggling conversation with a graduate student I worked with. He had worked in human research before changing to animal research and he told me a story about human nutrition research that changed my perspective on it completely. He essentially implied that all human nutrition research is a shot in the dark and none of it really means anything. He explained that you could tell people to eat a specific diet, but they never really listened and therefore the conclusions were not to really be trusted. This might explain why every ten years or so we decide to either hate or love butter.

Prompt 4: This conversation essentially made me doubt a lot of what I see on human nutrition research, and to trust my own experiences to determine what works for me. All these experiences made me realize why and how scientific conclusions can be argued. I always took research conclusions for 100% fact, but I realize now that they’re really not. They’re more of what we think is the best possible explanation of the results we’ve found. This is important for my professional life, as I can now look at previous methods that have been used and think how I can make them more accurate, instead of thinking they’re the only way to do things. I will also use what I learned in my personal life to not believe everything I read, and to actually look at the materials and methods behind a study to determine if it should be taken as fact.

STEP Signature Project – Internship at Big Lots

1. For my STEP Signature Project, I interned with Big Lots Corporate Headquarters in Columbus over the summer. My role was in eCommerce Merchandising, where I participated in various projects to help enhance and create a better customer experiences for the website in three specific categories: furniture, food/grocery, and household essentials. My biggest project of the summer was to create an entire new experience for the grocery and household essentials page.

2. This internship helped me in so many different ways. I grew professionally in the work place, now have a better understanding of what I want to do with my future, and I gained relationships with both co-workers and co-interns from many different areas of the business that I will continue to stay connected with throughout my career. With this experience, I feel much more prepared for my internship next summer, which I have already locked down. This coming summer will hopefully lead to full-time after college.

3. Many different events and interactions occurred during the span of my 12-week internship program that contributed to my growth/transformation. I would say the three biggest contributors were my manager who also acted as my mentor and my team, the friendships I made with co-interns, and activities we did outside of our roles such as volunteering, intern cohort meetings, and experiencing the great company culture and sense of community at Big Lots.

To start, I would say that I learned the most from my manager. She started at Big Lots as an intern so she was really easy to relate to. She has been working there for 2.5 years and has already been promoted once. Through Ali’s direction, I learned how to use multiple different computer software systems for merchandising the eCommerce site and analyzing data. She trusted me with many different projects that impacted thousands of dollars’ worth of sales each week, which made me feel that my work was actually valued. In addition to working side by side with Ali, I learned a lot from working with cross-functional partners on the eCommerce team. From them, I learned how merchants act as a middle man between many different roles that support each other for final results.

In addition to working with my manager and cross-functional partners, both building friendships with my co-interns and attending events outside of work contributed to my growth and learning. Every few weeks, all the interns participated in intern cohort meetings where we discussed and learned about topics like “millennials in the workplace,” leadership, and company values. As interns, we also took part in volunteering at the local furniture bank. It was a great opportunity to take part in the company’s philanthropy. Because I enjoyed this event so much, I ended up participating in additional philanthropy outside of what the interns were expected to partake in. I made cookies at the Ronald McDonald House, which was very impactful because I was able to also get a tour and learn more about what the foundation does. Another big part of Big Lots philanthropy is Pelotonia, which I was able to attend the cheering section for. It was really inspiring to see how many associates took part in riding for such an important cause. I think that through all of this, I was really able to take part in the company’s culture and learn that there are many ways to give back to the community through work.

4. My experience through Big Lots this summer truly contributed to my growth and development towards my future career goals. I always knew I wanted to go into retail, and hoped that merchandising was the right career path for me, but never really knew for sure until I had this internship. Ultimately, I want to work in the fashion industry, but any experience in retail is extremely helpful for this industry. Because of the everything I learned at Big Lots, I was able to get a part time merchandising internship with Victoria’s Secret during this school year and I have another merchandising internship with Abercrombie and Fitch for next summer. I really do not think I would have had the confidence going into these interviews without the knowledge and experiences I gained at Big Lots. I thank Big Lots for giving me the push and head-start to what I am doing now, pursuing my dreams of obtaining a career in fashion.

My Internship at Huntington National Bank

 

This summer I worked as data analytics intern on the marketing team at Huntington Bank this summer in Columbus, Ohio.  During this internship, I created charts, models, and dashboards using computer programs like R to help the business’s marketing efforts to be more successful.

Interning at Huntington allowed me the opportunity to experience working at a large company and in an industry that is different from insurance.  I really enjoyed working at Westfield, which was a medium size company, last year; however, I wanted to experience what it’s like working at a large company like Huntington.  Working at a large company transformed me.  I could easily fly under the radar at a large company like Huntington.  However, this is not what I want to do.  I had to learn to speak up, say my ideas, and grow my confidence in order to be able to stand out at Huntington.  This also ultimately helped me to decide where and what kind of company I like better and would like to try to work at when I graduate.

Huntington has over 16,000 employees and over 100 interns. In my specific department alone, there were 8 other interns. This means that I had to work very hard to make myself noticed. I did this by forcing myself out of my comfort zone. I went to several networking events where I was able to network with other interns, other colleagues in my department, and even members of the executive leadership team at Huntington.

After this summer, I am significantly more comfortable networking and talking with people who I don’t know. I also gave many presentations throughout the summer which also helped me to develop me my public speaking skills. This is a very important skill for data analysts because although most are able to create very cool and very insightful models and visualizations, they mean nothing if they aren’t able to be explained. A visual without an explanation can lead to misunderstandings and bad decisions within a business, so I am grateful for the opportunity to have been able to develop this very important skill.

Prior to this summer, when I attended meetings I tended to not speak up and just take it all in. I felt that as an intern I should not be speaking up because it will only distract from the discussion of the meeting. I was afraid to speak up and ask questions at risk of making myself look dumb and underqualified for my position. However, throughout this internship I was challenged and asked questions and taught by so many people in my department that I gained the confidence to speak up if I wanted to add something or ask a question. This is a very important skill to gain, especially at a large company, because it helps be to stand out and not be lost in the sea of all of the other employees.

After this internship I will be able to take all of the skills I’ve gained and leverage all of the different ways that I have developed professionally and personally into my future school and work career. I hope to be able to continue speaking up and stating my opinions whether that be in a work meeting, or even just a group project at school. I believe that the confidence that Huntington has helped me to gain will help me in so many aspects of my life as well. I will feel confident talking to recruiters about all of my skills and experiences at a diverse set of companies. I will also have much more relevant work experience to touch on in my interviews. All in all, I believe that all of the growth and experiences that I had this summer will help me to get the dream job I have always wanted when I graduate.

STEP Reflection – Camp Recky

For my STEP Signature Project I worked as an Inclusion Specialist for Camp Recky. Camp Recky is a summer camp for children ages 5-14 and is held right here on Ohio States campus. My Inclusion specialist role included working with children at camp that have special needs or developmental disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. I worked with these children everyday to accommodate them at camp and make their camp experience as comfortable as possible.

Working with children, especially in the inclusion specialist role, was far more transformative and eye opening than I would have ever imagined. Although it doesn’t feel like that long ago that I was just a kid playing outside with my friends in the summer, seeing how the times have changed from when I was growing up makes it feel like centuries ago. In a world where bullying is far too prevalent, “growing up” is only getting tougher. Working with mostly 5-7 year olds, bullying wasn’t nearly as prevalent as with the older campers, but it definitely still existed. I often look at children now and think to myself that they have no idea how easy they have it. However, my experience this summer made me throw this idea out the window. Everything is relative and what may seem trivial to me, like being told your drawing is bad, is the end of the world to them. While I have done a great deal of babysitting in the past, I have never spent as much time with the same group of kids for as long as I did this summer. This was eye opening in the sense that I could truly see the innocence and curiosity that drives young children. I realized the importance of setting a good example and surrounding and nurturing kids during their transformative years.  My Camp Recky experience shattered all my previous ideas and beliefs about the nature vs. nurture debate for behavior. Children do what they observe others do, and a lot of times without even thinking twice.

Working as an Inclusion specialist during my STEP project was a more eye-opening experience than I could have ever imagined. As an inclusion specialist, I worked closely with children at Camp Recky that had Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), anxiety disorders, ADHD, and down syndrome. This experience showed me the challenges these kids face in their daily lives, such as social interactions, and just how inept the general public is at dealing with people with these disorders. Although it would be unfair to expect everyone to have training on how to help these individuals, very many people have little to no knowledge about these disorders at all. I realized that since these disorders are so prevalent today, everyone should be informed on how people with these conditions view the outside world.

Camp also showed me just how much kids are observing the people around them. During camp, the days were long and extremely hot. Often times we spent the whole day outside doing crafts or activities. It was hard to maintain a good attitude while trying to chase around 15 2nd graders in 90 degree heat for 7 hours every day. But I noticed that the more us counselors complained or sat out of activities, the more the campers wanted to do so too. This showed me that setting a good example for our youth is very important.

With Ohio State being one of the largest schools in the country, it can be difficult to find your people and make it feel a little smaller. But once I was lucky enough to find my people, it can also be difficult to break out of that bubble and be open to meeting new people. One of my favorite parts about camp was my coworkers. Most of the other counselors were OSU students too. Upon talking to them about their hobbies, interests and involvement around campus in different organizations, I began to realize again just how big and diverse OSU truly is.

My STEP signature project lines up perfectly with my future career plans. I am planning on attending graduate school to become a school psychologist. As a school psychologist I will be working with children with ADS, anxiety disorder, ADHD, and any other developmental or learning disabilities a child may have while going through school. As an inclusion specialist i worked with these children everyday to modify the camp experience to make it as comfortable for them as possible. While no two children are the same, I became very familiar with how these children operate in comparison to a typically developing child. I believe I will be recalling my interactions with my campers to help guide and inform decisions I will make in my career with students.

My Internship With Humana

Throughout the summer I participated in an actuarial internship with the health insurance company, Humana. I lived in Louisville, Kentucky for 12 weeks with 23 other interns while we learned about the actuarial community and advance our skills. Within Humana I worked on the Risk Management Team (ARM Team) to complete initiatives from the Chief Actuary and help provide oversight to the actuarial departments.

 

Although I’ve always enjoyed my actuarial classes here at Ohio State, in the past I have questioned whether or not my work as an actuary would have a meaningful impact on the lives of others. Before I worked an internship, it would hard to see how my work doing pricing, data analytics or risk management for a company would impact the customers an insurance company serves. However, over the course of my twelve week internship many of those misconceptions were broken down.

 

Humana, being one of the largest Medicare Advantage providers in the United States, has a large impact on each of our policyholder’s lives with each decision it makes. The way an insurance company pays out claims, prices their products and manages their risk has a direct effect on the policyholders, many of which are retired. In insurance companies, many of the major decisions regarding pricing, risk and financial security are made by actuaries. At the end of the day, sometimes it may seem like my job doesn’t affect the lives of others, but even though I’m not directly working with the customers, the projects I worked on affect their lives.

 

As a part of the Actuarial Risk Management Team, I helped my team to do reviews of work in the actuarial community and sit in on significant cross-departmental meetings. A major subset of my team’s time was spent doing reviews of pricing models used in actuarial departments, which provide important analysis when pricing insurance products. I helped my team on a number of pricing reviews, which are important to make sure our models are calculating prices that are not only profitable for Humana, but also reasonable for our customers.

 

I also worked all summer on a dashboard containing key performance indicator metrics for the actuarial community. This initiative was proposed by the Chief Actuary of Humana in order to track whether or not the actuarial departments were performing successfully in their work. By tracking key performance indicators, it would allow the Chief Actuary to better manage the risk associated with actuarial work. Along with my team, I brainstormed KPIs and created the format for the future dashboard.

 

Besides the projects and meetings I contributed to this summer, I also had the opportunity to meet with two full-time Humana employees each week, who acted as mentors throughout my internship. Each week we talked about my my experience with Humana, topics related to my career and future goals that I had. My meetings with them each week helped me to reflect weekly on the work I was doing and how I wanted to improve as an actuary. They were able to give me advice on action steps I could take to advance my career.

 

Overall my experience with Humana set the stage for career path I want to have in the future. Not only was I able to reflect on the skills I was learning and the work I was doing, but I was able to see how my work as an actuary would impact the policyholders of Humana. With health insurance being so pivotal to the quality of life of our policyholders, I felt like I was doing meaningful work with each meeting or project I contributed to.

Summer Internship

I did an Asset-Backed Securities (ABC) analyst internship in Credit Spectrum Crop which is a financial engineering firm whose flag product is dynamic credit ratings in New York. It is a one-month practicum in all aspects of credit structuring, enabling me to develop hands-on skills and gain insights into my classroom knowledge.

Asset-backed securities, called ABS, are bonds or notes backed by financial assets. Typically, these assets consist of receivables other than mortgage loans, such as credit card receivables, auto loans, manufactured-housing contracts, and home-equity loans. (Investing in bonds) By doing such securitization, the originator can reduce their risk and the investors can own future cash flows and earn interest profits for a comparatively lower price.

As an ABS analyst, I handled a lot of data from customers and do research on those numbers. I established a model to help costumers on their financial decisions. I built cash flow models in Excel and calculated yields based on different payment types under various default rates; analyzed the impact of default rates on yields to evaluate risk; researched the credit ratings of ABS bonds and developed an evaluation template to streamline the ratings process under a variety of scenarios to project ABS bonds’ performance. I generated the expected loss and the credit enhancement of each tranche of ABS by using Back of the Envelop methodology and Monte Carlo simulation in VBA. I performed research on the rental lease securitization market in China including its current market size, growth outlook, the relevant legislation for such products, comparison with traditional loan securitization products, and the challenges the market faces; produced an in-depth market research report and presented the findings to senior management.

I find that doing data science is not only required the technical knowledge, but also many other skills. I need to do group work with coworkers. So I practiced my ability to group work. There was another thing I learned from my co-workers that the networking is one of the most important things for the job seeking. Therefore, I realized that I need to expand my social network, especially in the financial field. Due to the frequent group meeting, I also practiced my leadership. The leadership is not my strength, but it is necessary for every college student because it is a key element in the future career development. Therefore, I will make every effort to grab every chance to build my leadership.

After the internship, I found that I changed a lot. I know more interesting guys who have great education back grand and are passionate about what they are doing. Doing work with them, I feel that it is easier for me to concentrate on the important things. I also learned the method to establish an efficient time schedule and how to follow it effectively.

My co-working is really serious about what they are doing. Every day, they make every effort to solve the problems and finish their plan. However, they are not boring people. They have many incredible ideas when doing work or having fun. I think that is what a well-educated person should be. Do things efficiently and being interesting.

Growing in the Anthropocene

one.  

As the OSU Student Farm’s Marketing outreach & communications coordinator, I worked directly on the farm and as the implementer of community-wide communications and activism. I formed valuable relationships with Columbus Community Gardens, most prominently the CMN Memorial Garden and learned about the social impacts of the Anthropocene and more.

two.

Working on the Student Farm allowed me to more deeply understand the processes of growing and experience the connectedness of the earth first hand. By learning about growing in accordance with nature as opposed to against it (i.e. monocultures, big ag, etc.), I was able to learn about both the small-scale processes of growing and apply those concepts to larger, more theoretical concepts. For instance, I was able to come up with more complete understandings of what it means to exist in the Anthropocene, and how to try to undo anthropogenic affects on the earth. Likewise, my work with communications (creating newsletters, etc.) and outreach (connecting with other Columbus growers, communities, etc.), I was able to apply may new found agricultural knowledge in many different contexts, and help others to also become more aware of their place in this tangled web of Being.

Check out this newsletter I made!

three.

My project was essentially interdisciplinary in nature (so as to parallel my academic interests). Most of my project was centered around my internship with the Ohio State Student Farm. After an application and interview process, I was given the opportunity to be the Marketing outreach & communications coordinator for the student farm. My position was for 15 hours each week and — alongside hours spent on-farm— consisted of marketing to and communications with CSA (community supported agriculture) members and the broader campus and Columbus community.

Interacting with Ohio State faculty, students, etc. who were CSA members allowed Mme to first hand see the fruits (or, more aptly, vegetables) of my labor make an impact on others. Showing CSA members their bags of produce each week was a truly impactful experience, as it was a labor of love. The process of planting, tending to and harvesting vegetables forms a powerful experience and personal bond with the earth that you worked alongside, and sharing that production with others made it all the more powerful. Each week, I got to hear stories of faculty members discovering new ways to cook delicious, healthy and organic food from the produce we provided. This really helped instill the importance of growing and eating healthy foods in me.

I also made a deep connection with the Charles Madison Nabrit Memorial Garden and its organizer, Paula Penn Nabrit. It was here that I became more familiar with the ways in which lack of access to healthy foods permeates our country. The CMN Memorial Garden grows fresh produce, brings members of the community in to grow and get produce for affordable prices (always 1 dollar a pound, no matter the product), and helps to instill the values that come with growing. Getting your hands dirty, growing your own food, growing things for aesthetic appeal, etc. are all crucial to creating a better space for yourself and helping to better the mental health of yourself and the community. Likewise, Paula allowed me to help bring in creativity and art into the space. I helped teach children in the area how to grow their own bean plants, helped them make art, and discover new ways to healthily express themselves.

four.

As someone who is passionate about critical theory as well as art and creativity as forms of productive resistance and activism, this project has allowed me to do something critical theory is known for: diffuse boundaries and boxes in favor of interdisciplinary, multi-scalar thinking about things. The experiences I have had during this project are helping to shape my academic interests, and have helped point me in the right direction as far as how I want to spend my life, both as an academic and just as a person.

Internship with GE Digital in Cincinnati

Name: Bobby Yost

Type of Project: Internship

1.

My STEP Signature Project was a software engineering internship with GE Digital in Cincinnati, Ohio. GE Digital is the software-focused arm of the multi-national conglomerate General Electric. From May 21st to August 17th I was a part of the SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) and Analytics division of the CoreTech division of GE Digital. I helped develop software that performed data gathering and analysis on GE’s computational infrastructure and developed some internal facing websites to help visualize some of this data.

Not much changed about my view about the world, but I did get a better feeling for my goals post-graduation and got a better idea of what’s important to me – what my values are. For most of my life I’ve been an extremely driven individual and was willing to sacrifice anything to get ahead/succeed. I grew up in a divorced family where both parents financially struggled, which caused me stress that some of my more financially well-off peers may not have had to deal with. Eventually I learned to use this stress as a motivating force to succeed and not be in the situation that my parents have both been in most of their lives. This has worked fairly well until somewhat recently.

2.

Over this summer I learned the importance of relationships – in all aspects, and the importance of balance. I still am driven, but I’m not so willing to sacrifice everything to get where I want to be. I don’t have to rush to succeed – I have a full life ahead of me to get to where I want, but there are relationships I could miss out with those around me that could be far more impactful than getting to any job position. Ultimately, I learned that I need to establish a better work-life balance moving forward if I want to be happy. In addition, I learned that I should also attempt to go down other avenues for fulfillment, such as volunteering (through suggestions from coworkers).

3.

There aren’t any specific events I had over the span of my internship that were very impactful, rather a thread of small things that transformed me piece by piece. The outside-of-work events that I went to with all of my co-workers were what really solidified the feelings I had forming throughout the internship (about the changing of my values). Being able to spend time casually with those I worked with without it being weird is not something I thought possible but I was pleasantly surprised.

 

There were a few group outings/activities I can remember that stood out in affecting me. The first of which was an outing at Top Golf, which is essentially a golf range combined with a sports bar. I’m not really a huge fan of golfing, so I was surprised that I still managed to have a great time. The golfing was alright, but the part that I remember most fondly is the conversations I had with my co-worker about more casual topics, learning more about them and their interests. Other activities that had a similar effect were a Reds game and hanging out at a coworkers townhouse on their roof.

 

The relationships and interactions I had with my co-workers are what most directly caused a change in my values. I still don’t quite understand why it lead to a change in heart, but I think it has to do with the fact that working everyday with them made work not feel like work. I was able to be friends with everyone on the team, and for the most part everyone else felt the same way. Being able to talk collaboratively rather than argumentatively when conflicting ideas came up was extremely helpful in helping us deliver the products we were working on with a high velocity – the only blockers we really faced were external, meaning with other teams.

 

4.

Ultimately, I think being able to form healthy relationships with the people I work with and having that vastly improve my experience at work helped me realize that I may have been missing out these past few years where I’ve been solely focused on success career-wise. While the largest change has been with the way I view the relationships in my life, I’ve come out of this internship appreciating balance for all aspects of my life. For most of my life I’ve identified as career-focused but with this Summer ironically this specific step in my career has convinced me that there’s more to living a good life than just financial success.

 

I’d say this change has affected me in a fairly fundamental way. Rather than striving solely for success, from now on I plan to strive for fulfillment. With this change in my values I’ve got a lot more to consider now when making any large and important choices. I believe that having this better understanding of my values will lead me down that path to fulfillment.

 

 

Internship With IBI Group in Cincinnati

I spend this past summer working with a Civil Engineering firm in Cincinnati called IBI Group. Our engineering team consulted for Speedway on several new locations for their gas stations and we provided site engineering plans. I was also able to gain some experience in surveying, bridge inspection and design, and stormwater management structures.

This past summer felt like a transition from a just a college student to a member of the workforce. I love studying Civil Engineering at Ohio State, but I felt like I had always been missing the real-world experience that would confirm that my interest in Civil Engineering is something that I can base a career around. My experience over the summer has shown me that my passion for engineering does apply in the real world and I am excited to start a career in this field.

I learned more over my work experience in the summer than in any class that I have ever been in. The employees at IBI Group did a wonderful job of incorporating me into their community and helping me grow and gain some of the knowledge and experience that they have. I have a much greater respect for the amount of work that goes into the infrastructure that is all around us.

One of the key parts of this summer is that I was specifically paired with an employee who I could always rely on if I had any questions. John and I built an excellent relationship and he gave me advice on the projects we were working on as well as my career path and major decisions that I will need to make in the near future. The work environment at IBI Group is exciting and I loved that my co-workers made an effort to hang out with each other outside of work and really enjoy each others presence. We went to a frisbee golf course weekly and had a number of company lunch outings to local restaurants.

I also appreciated the range of work that IBI allowed me access to. I was able to learn and master AutoCad Civil 3D, which is the major software used in Civil Engineering. They allowed me to apply this software in many ways; from editing plans, to calculating rainwater levels, to material quantities on a site. One of my goals for the summer was to learn about as many different aspects of Civil Engineering that I could so I can continue to develop a good idea on what I am passionate about and what does not interest me as much.

This internship was extremely valuable because it provided me with the real-world experience of working in an office and with an engineering team while applying the skills and knowledge that I have obtained so far in the classroom. This experience has helped to shape my plans for my career and has also helped me to plan out the classes I want to take to finish out my degree.

The following picture is of a bridge that I photographed and studied over the summer. I assisted a Structural Engineer in a bridge inspection to determine if any safety hazards existed.