For my STEP project I participated in the Washington Academic Internship Program sponsored by the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Through this program I completed a 32 hour per week internship, gained class-credit toward a minor in public policy and many networking and professional development opportunities; all while living in Washington, D.C.
During my time in Washington, I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally. I learned about many different career paths that I could pursue in the future and tips for interviews, networking and perfecting my resume. I grew more confident in myself and my abilities. I also was able to be more politically active and was able to learn more about and advocate for issues such as higher education affordability and accessibility, rural broadband access and reproductive rights. I was able to volunteer and interact to serve different communities than my own; broadening my horizons and knowledge of these groups.
I am not exaggerating when I say that participating in WAIP was one of the best decisions I have made during my college career. Moving to D.C. was tough as it was 9 hours from home instead of 3, but it challenged me to be more independent and self-sufficient. I will be graduating in May 2020 so this real-world experience was extremely beneficial as it gave me a taste of life post-graduation. Through our networking events with alumni in D.C. and our study tours I was able to make important networking connections that will last for years to come, and that were able to offer advice for my future career search. In balancing a nearly full-time internship and class in the evening I was able to work on my time management skills.
Also, one of the key takeaways from WAIP for me was that I am not looking to go to graduate school directly out of college. I was debating this decision before participating in WAIP and was even planning on taking the GMAT this summer. After talking with hiring managers and other professionals I decided to wait of grad school. I know that everyone is different, but I feel as though this is the best decision for me.
Probably my favorite thing that I gained from WAIP was the overall confidence I gained in myself and my abilities. Since I was young, I have always wanted to be a sports analyst and work in sports marketing. I had moved away from this dream as I have gotten older because I was not confident that I would be competitive with other applicants for this career field. I thought that entering a predominantly male dominated field and receiving my degree from a public University would automatically disqualify me. Through talking with OSU alumni and other women with experience in sports marketing who I met in D.C. through WAIP, I am very confident in my ability to work hard in pursuing the career path in sports marketing and if it doesn’t happen for me then I will move to something else, but I at least want to try it. I am less afraid of failure and feel confident in the education I am receiving from Ohio State and know that the professional development WAIP has given me through our various policy salons and study tours has prepared me to enter the workforce as a competitive candidate, even against those with ivy league degrees.
The internship portion of WAIP also allowed for major personal and professional development. The internship experience WAIP helped me receive taught me the type of company culture with strong values I am looking for. This additional work experience during my undergraduate career gave me to opportunity to work in my internship this summer and made me a more competitive candidate for the job.
WAIP has also empowered me as a woman. I touched on this earlier, but being in such a politically-charged city has allowed me to understand first-hand the magnitude of some of the issues woman and minorities face today. I really was in the center of it all. Through talking with other woman and minorities I learned how to establish myself as a woman in the office and in society, and to advocate for myself and for what I believe in.
I was able to meet so many important people such as the Ohio delegation and even the Surgeon General and White House Liason from the Department of Health and Human Services. This experience matured me professionally and personally more than anything I have ever done. I was representing The Ohio State University and knew I had to do it with respect and pride.
WAIP was difficult and very trying sometimes. Half-way through I thought that I wasn’t cut out for an experience like this, but after getting through it I now know that I was meant to do this program. I am now more empowered than ever as a woman and as a student soon entering the workforce. I am reenergized to return to Columbus for my final year and excited for the future to come.