- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.
Throughout the summer, I had an engineering internship at Walsh Construction Group in the Quality Department in Chicago, Illinois. I had the opportunity to work on tasks including creating an educational video library, analyzing and evaluating Quality Incident Report trends, and more. I traveled to a variety of construction sites to lead education video recordings, conduct quality evaluations, and gain industry exposure, learning about the operation of construction equipment and processes.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?
During the internship, I learned a lot about myself and what type of career I want to pursue in the engineering field. Going into the internship, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do in engineering once I graduated, and as a mechanical engineering student, I have the opportunity to explore different careers within engineering, but this summer helped me find a more specific interest. During the 3 months that I was at Walsh, it became clear that construction is full of learning opportunities. The internship was extremely helpful as I’m going into my senior year at Ohio State, so when looking for a full time job I can explain why I’m passionate about the construction industry and what I learned about it. This was not only transformational to my career but also transformational to myself because I have a better understanding of how I see my future playing out in the construction industry.
After working the typical 40 hour a week schedule for the first time, I feel like I became more independent and responsible, especially when dealing with the commute from the suburbs to downtown Chicago. Taking the train and planning around the schedule was a big change from what I’m used to and gave me a great glimpse at the typical engineering job schedule. I was also exposed to long work days on the job sites which I had not previously experienced.
- 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?
The most important thing for me before starting the internship was being able to apply the knowledge I’ve been learning in classes for the past 3 years to what I’d be doing throughout the summer. I knew I had wanted to pursue a career in engineering since I liked problem solving and the information I learn in classes, but I wanted to be able to connect what I learned at Ohio State University to what I would learn at Walsh. I expected and was excited to learn much more by being on construction sites and experiencing real world engineering applications, and being able to see how it compared to my college classes was one of the most transformational parts of my experience.
Working at Walsh, I was given many opportunities to network and be completely involved in the company even though I was only there for 3 months. The first day of the internship, I was given a mentor in my department to help ensure that my internship was a great experience as well as answer any questions I had, making the summer a great experience. Having Arbra as a mentor helped me adjust really well and feel comfortable in the office, which was extremely important for the start of my internship. The internship program as a whole was incredible at helping me become more involved at Walsh and on construction sites with different events for all (almost 100) interns. This included a job site tour of 4 construction sites, an equipment yard tour where we got to try out lots of equipment, and an end of the summer White Sox game for interns and our mentors. These events allowed me to meet many other interns and learn about their interests and experiences in the construction industry as well as meet many of their mentors. I also had the opportunity to complete the OSHA 10-Hour Safety Training, which gave me great insight on construction standards.
A very transformative part of the summer was my overall involvement at Walsh, not just including the internship program. I was able to participate in departmental meetings and national Quality conferences as well as communicate with those working on job sites on how to implement a culture that values quality. One of the main activities I was able to get involved in was the Walsh softball league, which consisted of 15 teams of 12 players all within the company. We had 8 games throughout the summer with different teams, which allowed me to get to know my team really well and meet the players on the other team. Being able to talk to many people with a variety of jobs within the company was really transformational because I learned a lot about what they do and their goals for the future. Lastly, Walsh held an end of the summer picnic for all employees to attend, which was a great way to end my internship and talk to people about my goals for my future within construction or within the company for a possible future position. Overall, I had an excellent experience and learned a great deal about myself and construction with the help of peers and mentors.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?
This change is extremely valuable to my life because it set up a great foundation for my entire future. At Ohio State, students strive to gain experience to boost their professional development skills, and STEP allowed me to do so while making connections that will last throughout my career. This transformation of becoming more accustomed to a professional environment was extremely valuable to boost my career right out of college. Ohio State stresses that students attempt to gain any experience in their field possible before graduation in order to have a successful career, and I was able to do so and learn about my preferences within my field. Without my growth as an engineering student because of Walsh, I wouldn’t be able to graduate with a direct career path in mind.