Project Reflection

  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. 

Using my STEP money I completed phlebotomy training and obtained my phlebotomy license. I also went on to get my ECG certification. These two classes helped me get a jump start on my medical career and become more competitive in my major application as well as my career once I graduate college.

  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place. 

Obviously, the goal of these classes was to become competent in blood draws and ECGs. I expected going into the classes to achieve this, what I didn’t anticipate was improving my people skills along the way. Throughout the duration of the class having the chance to interact with my peers and be able to play through patient situations, I became so much more comfortable with my patient and people interactions. Another unexpected benefit of completing these programs is the increase in my professionalism when it comes to interviews and first impressions. I’m more comfortable and confident in what I know and how well I can “sell” myself in different professional settings. For example, I recently started clinicals for my major and I have been extremely confident in talking to other healthcare professionals and asking questions about things I didn’t understand. To clarify, I’m confident in what I know and I’m not afraid to ask questions when I don’t know something.


  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation. 

When it came to my patient interactions, one thing that I think really helped me improve was the relationships I built with my peers. In my phlebotomy class, since we practice drawing blood on each other, we formed really good friendships, where trust was vital. Not only were you being stuck, but you were sticking them as well. That took both trust and confidence, so you truly had to learn and improve to not accidentally hurt your friends. A lot of people in my class were older than I was as well and had prior healthcare field experience, so their experiences and stories were invaluable.

Another important resource that led me to gain confidence and insight into my patient interactions was the interactions I had with my instructors. My instructors for both classes had wonderful, helpful tips and stories to aid in my learning experience. While my Phlebotomy instructor Kari, no longer worked in the medical field did she did for a very long time as a super technician (which is a technician who is trained in multiple specialties). Abbey, who was my instructor for ECG, actually works as a traveling technician still. This means she works at multiple hospitals as they have a need for help. Both of their experiences when explaining the different topics were phenomenal.

Finally, I saw an increase in my professionalism because part of the actual classes was set aside for professional development. We got to go through mock patient scenarios where I got to work the equipment and troubleshoot as I would in real life. Which was helpful, because in most interviews they will ask you questions about the job or actually have you perform a draw on the spot. We also took class time to revamp our resumes and make sure they were well suited for the medical world.


  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans

Taking these classes was only the first step in my professional career. I recently got into my respiratory therapy program and in two short years, I will be a respiratory therapist. Having the experience and skills the ECG and phlebotomy classes offered, has only enhanced my first couple weeks in the program so far. I also believe me having this certification helped me get into this program originally. It was relatively competitive, and I think having this extra skill set, set me apart from the other applicants. Moving forward, when I start clinicals and start having to do ABGs I will feel way more comfortable since I already know how to draw blood. Overall, my experience was fantastic and I wouldn’t do anything differently.

My Internship Experience in Cleveland

A Summer Working for a Digital Marketing Agency


My Project

This summer, My STEP project financed an apartment for me to sublease in the greater Cleveland area for an internship to experience what life could be like working downtown. The other focus was to leverage the benefits of being close to home, while being exposed to a city I’ve lived near, but never taken full advantage of. For me, the theme is discovering the things in life I’ve been ignoring, but could make a substantial change if embraced.

Shifting Assumptions

For my STEP project, I used my money to finance an apartment to stay for the summer in Cleveland. While it may lack some of the flash of a city like Chicago or New York, it was important for me to consider a career that I could remain relatively close to home. I wanted to get a sense of independence living close to home in Akron, yet I know that after college being near my family, and my families business, is important to me. My STEP project was a fantastic opportunity for me to develop a greater understanding of my self, and my self interests. By living in a city as close to home and as small as Cleveland, I realized there would not be as great an opportunity to immerse myself in a world of completely new things. At the end of the day I was still in Northeast Ohio. Rather than chasing external excitement, I wanted the summer to challenge my internal thoughts and cultivate the life that I want to live for decades to come. This means that work life balance and finding passions is important to me, although I’m not 100% clear that I’ve found them yet. Similar to living in a rural area, Cleveland’s simple offerings gave me more time to appreciate the simpler things. I remember fondly concerts in Cleveland this summer with my girlfriend where we could walk from the apartment to the venue, and as the night would end the city would quiet down too. My internship was with a digital marketing agency in downtown Cleveland called the Hileman group. It was a fantastic experience, and I learned a lot about the industry while I was working. Living so close to my job was an enormous benefit, as it gave me time to experience life in the city, and to get involved with coworkers and other friends around Cleveland. I’m enormously grateful not to have had a hour+ commute each way, each day this summer. My assumptions for the summer were largely unknown. I knew that the decision felt a little mundane choosing to go back to my hometown/city that I’ve lived near all of my life, but I didn’t expect some of the benefits I had. Rather than starting from scratch I found that my existing friends and family provided a massive beneficial support network for me throughout the summer. Whether it was working out everyday with a friend who encouraged me to get started, or having my parents occasionally surprise me for dinner, it was very nice being s

o close to home. The STEP grant showed me the true benefits of the familiar, and not to fear that there’s something wrong with diving deeper into the internal mindset for finding happiness.


The Moments and Activities that provided Change

My roommate this summer was one of the people most responsible for helping me make the summer a transformational experience. Ryan is an extremely motivated, hardworking individual who prides himself on both his academic and athletic pursuits. While Ryan’s studying to be a doctor, he too has transformed his body through weight training almost every day. Living with him this summer, he encouraged me to join him, and by the end of the summer I was right there with him at least 3 times a week. It was a fantastic experience for me to establish a weight training routine, and see some actual improvement. While all of my numbers are still certainly beginner’s, I would say I saw both physical and mental benefits come from developing my strength. I was shocked to see the benefits it created for me mentally, and I loved the experience by the end. Knowing that at the end of each work day, a session in the gym awaited me, I was forced to develop a stronger mental attitude to embrace the workouts. While I certainly struggled at first, and did not always want to be there, I could feel myself improving and that was invaluable.

Another such experience that was transformational was getting the experience to work with my manager this summer at my internship. She played a valuable role in supporting me as I learned various new softwares for digital marketing within my role. There was certainly some learning curves, but having her expertise ensured that I was able to grow into being a valuable contributor for the team. She ensured that early in my internship I was sitting in on key client meetings, walking me through different email and nurture builds, and ensuring that I was taking the requisite online courses to ensure I was best prepared for the role. On top of all of this, my internship exposed us to some great professional development material such as books, personality tests, and professional mentoring. One of the pieces I found particularly transformative was the Gallup’s Strength Finders test. Which informed me of my top 5 strengths…

  1. Ideation
  2. Connectedness
  3. Intellection
  4. Learner
  5. Restorative

I could go on, at length, but this test was hugely eye opening and I made several friends and family take it too. My number one strength is all about the fascination with ideas, and how we strive to make the complex simple. My secondary strength is all about the interconnectedness of things. While this is often spiritual, which I would agree that I am, there’s an interesting connection with ideation where I view complex ideas that may seem entirely separate as related at the root level. I had an incredible time exploring the strengths finders test, and I was thrilled to have taken it this summer.

An additional piece of the summer that was transformational came as a result of the books I read this summer. In totality I read 10 different books.

  1. The Yamas and Niyamas
  2. You’re Always Being Interviewed
  3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
  4. The Bhagavad Gita
  5. Good to Great
  6. Can’t Hurt Me
  7. The Art of Learning
  8. Living with a SEAL
  9. The Third Door
  10. Infinite Jest

These books I read were a combination of recommendation of friends and family, as well as requirements for my internship. My summer internship had me read 7 Habits, Good to Great, and You’re Always Being Interviewed. Of the 3, 7 Habits resonated strongly with me. It was a fantastic book for a reader like myself to help return to the foundations of self improvement and professional development. I saw how the book created connective tissue, of sorts, between many of the ideas I have read about in countless other business/self improvement books. I saw it as a foundational text, and the way it explained things from a birds eye level was massively beneficial to gaining clarity over my life, and how I could work to transform myself. I also found the Bhagavad Gita to be hugely beneficial. I consistently found myself reflecting on how I’ve turned away from action, and how the text encourages us to face our difficulties, precisely because they are difficult. We can’t run from our fears, we must become someone who acts, and be someone who the world adjusts to. I would certainly say that the book is a confidence builder and would recommend it to anyone who is currently dealing with uncertainty in their lives.


The Why: Should we Transform?

Life is constant transformation. This is a reality that is an absolute fact and is not something that can be escaped.

“You cannot step into the same river twice.” -Heraclitus.

While I did live in Cleveland instead of Akron this summer was spent, technically, “at home.” Growing up in Northeastern Ohio, I’ve always considered myself as someone who is from Cleveland, even though that’s not entirely true. I could have chosen to go anywhere in the world for this summer, and experience any city for my STEP project and my internship. The decision to choose Cleveland wasn’t entirely easy, but the decision goes much deeper than the external fact of where you live. Ultimately, I wanted my STEP project to challenge me to overcome this stigma of home and find transformation from within. Rather than needing to rely on what city you are in, I wanted to make the most of my summer while I was there. While it can be uncomfortable to fear that you are standing still by heading home to work, you must acknowledge your personal growth and the changes you’ve had as you’ve lived your life. Change is phenomenally important and that’s why I spent so much of the summer in the gym. I knew that this would be something I could do to cultivate better health, emotional strength, motivation and so much more. This summer I read like crazy and tried to expose myself to new, exciting ideas. This summer I saw the opportunity to understand what change means even if you decide to come home. You still have plenty of areas to grow, and it runs much deeper than just the place where you decide to live.

Shadowing Professionals in Veterinary Medicine: Reflection

Dr. Byers has scrubbed in and prepped for surgery

Veterinary Technicians are preparing to take an X-Ray of a cat’s injured leg.

1.) This summer, I spent six weeks shadowing professionals in veterinary medicine at Grady Veterinary Hospital for about 20 hours each week. I primarily shadowed two veterinarians, Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens, who taught me about proper bedside manner, reading x-rays, surgery, and so much more. Grady Vet is an emergency clinic, so every day was unique and fast-paced, which made my experience this summer that much more valuable.

2.) Prior to my shadowing experience at Grady Veterinary Hospital, I was very nervous to work in small animal emergency medicine because my friends and family told me how difficult it would be, and how I may not be cut out for facing so much trauma on a daily basis. However, my summer shadowing taught me the exact opposite. Even on days when Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens would seem to face setback after setback, there was always a silver lining. I learned to soak in the successes and distance myself slightly from the failures. I also saw on a daily basis how much families love their pets, which further proved to me that I want to do this important job in the future.

3.) At the beginning of my six weeks shadowing, I knew I was passionate about pursuing a career in veterinary medicine, however I had not ever experienced the trials and tribulations that the job brings first hand. I was initially skeptical about whether or not small animal emergency medicine would be a field I would enjoy because of the constant high stakes and problems with cost of treatment when interacting with clients. However, during my six weeks I was shocked to find how much I absolutely loved emergency medicine, because it constantly presented new challenges, was fast paced, and never stagnant. At times, witnessing the delivery of bad news, or having a patient take a turn for the worse was incredibly heartbreaking, but I found that successes balance out the low points.

I often inquired Dr. Byers and Dr. Jurgens about what made them choose to work in emergency medicine, and how they prevent the hard times from outweighing the good times. They both told me that although every life that is lost still takes a toll, they have to absorb the good that they do for animals and their families more than the times they’re unable to succeed. Dr. Byers even teared up after several euthanasias she had to do this summer, so it was clear that she was always attached to all of her patients. Despite these moments, it was also evident that she was still eager and excited to come to work every day and truly loves her job because she was always so excited to meet patients and work to treat any problems they were facing.

I was also very concerned that working in this field of veterinary medicine would be difficult because animals are often abused, however my outlook completely changed this summer because working with companion animals showed me how much people love their pets and treat them as family. In fact, one of my saddest moments this summer was also one of the happiest. Dr. Jurgens had to euthanize a dog named Penny who had a splenic mass, and while I observed the euthanasia, the entire family was petting her the whole time and telling Penny how much they would always love her and that she had lived a great life. Although my heart was broken for that family, it showed me how valuable the work I may do someday as a veterinarian is. Moments like these completely transformed how I viewed the hardships that emergency medicine presents, and instilled a deep love and respect for the field and people who work in it.

4.) In all aspects of my life, I tend to struggle with focusing on the positives rather than the negatives. My six weeks at Grady Vet provided me with invaluable experience I hope to use in my future career as a veterinarian, and showed me that I love emergency medicine more than I could have imagined. However, even more than that, my shadowing experience showed me how to cherish every victory and soak them in, and then let those dampen the effects of failures or setbacks. I plan to use this to my advantage for the rest of my life, and look at the world with a new positive lens.

Interning at VS PINK SU19

  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.

My Step Signature project was an internship on the Digital Marketing Team at Victoria’s Secret. Through this internship, I have been able to understand the many vehicles of advertising any learn about analyzing the success of various tactics.


  1. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.


Throughout the duration of this project, my understanding of the business world and corporations has changed drastically. Prior to my experience at Victoria’s Secret, I had some preconceived notions about the business world, some of which were accurate many of which were not. I believed that departments had their very specific and secularized functions. However, I have learned a great deal about how teams within organizations work together to accomplish greater tasks. I have seen how roles and responsibilities also overlap quite often. This can promote collaboration and teamwork. However, I have also seen how job overlap can make certain processes ineffective at times. Because materials need to be passed through many hands and seen by many people, rates of change can be slow. I believed that the business world was always fast paced.  I have learned that the business world can be a great deal of stop and go, especially in consumer retail corporations.

Another thing I learned a great deal about was how much customers and individuals shape business. Through understanding the way businesses function, I have been able to better understand why society functions the way it does. I have learned the ways in which businesses are structured around people, even when it may not seem like it. As a for profit company, L Brands strives to make transactions and interactions as positive as possible to generate revenue and ensure customer retention.


  1. What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

One event that greatly contributed to my enhanced understanding of the business world was my end of the summer internship project. All L Brands interns are required to complete a project that has a real impact on the business. It could be solving a real problem, creating a new system or proposing a new idea. I was lucky to work with the other intern on my team to create a digital marketing proposal where we researched new marketing vehicles and potential advertising partners that could benefit Victoria’s Secret and PINK. I learned about the challenges of researching partners and proposing new ideas. One roadblock we encountered in our presentation was that when we came up with a new idea, there wasn’t any research and there was very little comprehensive data to support our ideas because our ideas were new. I was challenged to think more deeply about why I thought certain ideas would work and research the true root cause for our proposal.

Another key part of internship was the weekly cascade meetings I attended. These were meetings among the entire digital marketing team lead by our team leader, Nicole Fraley that didn’t necessarily have a specific purpose or specific goal. These were team meetings in which the different branches of the team, direct mail, email marketing, and digital media, all came together to stay updated and informed about what was going on in the other cross functional teams. This enabled growth and understanding among all parts of the digital marketing team. Through the way in which Nicole Fraley conducts these meetings, I feel like I have learned what it means to be a leader and not just a boss. She is genuinely curious about all parts of the business and wants each individual on her team to be equipped with whatever they may need to be successful.

One unique part of interning at L Brands that I have found to help me be successful has been the emphasis on informal one on one chats called touchbases internally. On my first day at Victoria’s Secret, my boss not only encouraged me to reach out to individuals, but gave me a list of people that would be beneficial to talk to. Initially, I was nervous and I felt uncomfortable emailing individuals and asking them to take time out of their day to talk to me about their job. Eventually, I became more comfortable with scheduling these touchbases as it was part of company culture and it was directly benefitting me for both my internship and future career. Through talking to these individuals, I was able to gain more insight and perspective to how systems operate at other companies and how things can play out down the road in my career.

  1. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.

This change has been very significant in my professional life because I feel that this experience has given me a figurative launch pad for my career upon graduation. While having an internship with a Fortune 500 company as well-known as L Brands looks good on a resume, I feel like the skills and relationships I have gained during my time here has been significantly more valuable than the lines on my resume. For starters, the soft skills and technical skills I have gained thus far have been impactful enough for Victoria’s Secret to extend my internship into the fall. Additionally, I have been able to make connections, not only with the people I have worked with on a daily basis, but with the L Brands University relations team. Currently I am actively searching for a role within the organization and the experience in which I have had this summer has given me the confidence and technical skills to be a qualified candidate in many departments within the organization, not just the department in which I have worked in. Additionally,  I feel like I have gained a great deal of skills that have set me up to be a great candidate wherever I may apply. Furthermore, I have gained great insight to the type of company culture I desire and how to look for it. Beyond just being a good candidate myself, I know how to search for jobs and potential employers that will lead me to the most happy and successful life possible



Albright and Schnulo Internship

For my STEP Signature Project, I chose to accept a student internship position at Albright and Schnulo Family Eye Care. There, I worked as a student technician over this past summer. The main responsibilities my Project entailed was completing preliminary testing for patients. This included pre-tests such as autorefraction, Amsler grid, blood pressure, iOP eye pressure, visual fields, Optomap retinal imaging, and much more. I worked one-on-one with patients in also recording their medical history and pathology symptoms during visits.

My STEP Signature Project definitely changed my viewpoints, or assumptions, of the optometry career-field and patient care. During my time at Albright and Schnulo, I learned just how essential it is for doctors to be communicative and clear with their patients. I didn’t realize how important it was for doctors to communicate with each other, too. For example, many patients under our care had pre-existing health conditions, such as hypertension, hypercholesteremia, and diabetes. Prior to the patients’ visit to our clinic, their PCP (primary care physician) would fax reports regarding the patients’ health to our optometrists. During the patients’ appointment, the optometrists would determine the need for dilation or retinal pictures, and if they’re blood pressure was under control. Afterwards, our optometrist would compile a report regarding the patients eye-health, and fax it back over to the PCP. All of these connections—between optometrist and PCP—are essential to ensuring that the patient is getting the best health care possible. Without this communication between offices, doctors can’t individualize visits and determine what’s best for that patient specifically. Seeing this first-hand, it really highlighted how comprehensive health care is, with all its different specializations.

One specific interaction with a patient always comes to mind when considering my changing my initial assumption about health care. For HIPAA regulations, I will refrain from using any names or identifying aspects towards the patient’s identity to keep full confidentiality. This patient had not visited an eye doctor in many years—something that I observed a lot in my time there. It was the patient’s first time at our clinic. Looking at the patient’s medical history, she appeared to be in perfect health. There were no complications in regards to blood pressure, family history, cholesterol, or medications. The patient hadn’t been dilated in 10 or more years, so it’s been quite some time since her retinal health had been assessed. Without dilating a patient’s eyes, optometrists cannot assess the health of the retina. The pupil needs to be enlarged enough to view the back of the eye through the optometrist’s optical lenses. When it was time for the patient to see Dr. Jay Lytle, I informed them of their over-due dilation, and what to expect in the doctor’s examination room. Afterwards, when the patient had finished their appointment and left our clinic, Dr. Jay called me into his examination room. In there, he showed me the patient’s fundus—the pictures of the retina (the back of their eye). He pointed to a very small occlusion in the patient’s right fundus. There, Dr. Jay had pictured the very beginnings of a horseshoe retinal tear. Horseshoe retinal tears are dangerous, as it can lead to the patient being completely blind in the affected eye. Had this patient not seen an eye doctor, and had Dr. Jay not dilated, this patient would have been at high-risk for losing complete vision in their right eye.

Horseshoe retinal tears are a specific type of tear that can occur in the retina. These tears can lead to a number of complications, such as retinal detachments and severe vision loss. In most cases, leaving tears unattended results in total vision loss of either central or peripheral quadrants of the affected eye. What makes these tears so dangerous, however, is the little to no symptoms that they display. One common symptom is patients experiencing “floaters,” or black spots obscuring one’s vision. Other than that, there are virtually no symptoms.

In this patient’s case, diagnosing was not the only important step in getting their treatment. The next move was to refer the patient to an ophthalmologist for treatment. The patient would need emergency surgery to mend this retinal tear—usually via lasers. Dr. Jay new just the right specialist to refer her to, as he had referred many patients to this same ophthalmologist. Dr. Jay suggested the patient visit this specialist’s office as soon as possible, and that he would schedule a follow-up appointment. Dr. Jay actually was able to show me the papers he faxed over to the ophthalmologist’s office, and how it specifically documented the retinal tear OD and other health assessments. Just a couple days later, the ophthalmologist faxed paperwork of the results of the patient’s surgery. Dr. Jay was able to compile this into his own notes, and was able to determine the best after-care solutions for the patient to ensure a swift healing process. It was through this patient’s case that I was able to see first-hand the communication between different medical professions’ offices. Because of this comprehensive out-patient care, I was able to understand the importance of communication and interconnections within the health field.

This change of how I regarded the medical field relates specifically to my academic and professional goals. One way it relates is that many of my classes overlap with many pre-med, pre-PT, and other health majors—so many of my classmates have professional school in mind in becoming a specialized doctor. Even though many of us will take different routes to get our medical degrees within our respected professions, I foresee myself having multiple interactions with these different doctors within my own career. My professional goal is to become an optometrist, and as my internship showed me, I will be in communication with my patient’s primary care physicians, ophthalmologists, cardiologists, immunologists, and much more. These interconnections between doctors are crucial in providing the best, individualized care for a patient.

Wacker Chemical Corporation: Summer Internship 2019

For my STEP Project, I completed a lab technician internship at Wacker Chemical Corporation, located in Adrian, MI, in the summer of 2019. My main project was to process nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectra of important molecules and organize them into a library with ACD/Spectrus, a powerful software package designed by Advanced Chemistry Development (ACD) for analyzing and organizing chemical spectra. Meanwhile, I was also trained in a variety of essential analytical techniques such as 1H and 29Si NMR, ultraviolet-visible and infrared spectroscopies, high-performance liquid chromatography, and rheometry.



I had many first experiences during my internship. It was my first job. It was my first independent living experience. It was even my first time living outside of Ohio. Coming in on my first day, I had no expectations besides being paid for my work. In the end, I would say that, with all points considered, it was a good experience. There were so many great moments, but there were also many unpleasant issues that balanced the experience as a whole. What makes this good overall was that it has transformed me for the better. Over the summer, I gradually realized that I feel less insecure about several things compared to how I felt in the past. I now feel more confident in my talents, more open to my peers, and more relaxed when talking to those older than me. I doubt that these insecurities will completely disappear, but now, I can look past them to gain the confidence I need to accomplish more.


The first insecurity was with myself. In recent years, I realized that I had become a “perfectionist”. “Perfect” and excellent results became my standard, and anything less than that deserved reprehension. Even when I was being recognized for my achievements, I rarely thought about them, and it takes only one significant mistake for me to completely dismiss them. My perfect GPA was something I achieved under this mentality, so I had little motivation to change it. I first began to recognize my achievements when I created my resume. Taking the time to consider all that I had done was the first time I saw myself as a unique individual with achievements and privileges that not many others have. I realized this better during my internship. ACD/Spectrus is a software that has never been used at Wacker before, so I was taking the first steps to this project. I was teaching myself how to create libraries and process NMR spectra, and my best aid was a cumbersome electronic reference manual. I did not think very much about this, but I was creating a foundation for a global library that will be available in all sites of WACKER around the world. Upon reflection, I had accomplished many different things in the past, including more than a decade studying music and academic excellence, several scholarships, and now a successful and foundational internship project. I will always strive for excellence, maybe even perfection, but reflecting on all my experiences, I can be proud of myself for the achievements I have earned.


The second insecurity was with my friends. I had generally been quiet when in a group, sometimes quiet enough so that nobody heard me when I tried to comment. As a result, I felt it was always easier to stay in my room, and staying in a group without much involvement would only be awkward. Many of my extracurricular involvements do not last longer than a year, and most friends I had in the past are no longer associated with me. However, the other interns at this program were unexpectedly open and inviting. After a few missed opportunities (some involving making my own excuses, like not wanting to pay for ice cream), I joined them. I began participating in movie nights and card games with the other interns. These were some of the most fun moments of my stay. It was also reassuring that in such a group, we all casually swore and made provocative jokes at some point. This indicated that I did not have to be so polite and careful about what I say, which had become instinctive for me. In all my time with the other interns, despite still being generally quiet, not once did I feel awkward being there. I felt like I belonged in a group for once, even though it was only for a short time. What I did realize is that I can be brave in joining a group of friends and being with them can give me much better experiences.


The third insecurity was with people for whom I work. This included my teachers, advisors, and this summer specifically, my boss and mentor. Initially, I had expected that I would only be doing what my boss assigns me. I would seek as little help as possible, for my boss would be busy and I would not want to be seen as dependent. This mentality came as a student, where I would only be recognized by my teachers for my grade and class participation. I was perfectly satisfied with this, however, as my professors would usually reward me with an “A” on my transcript. What I never expected was to develop a professional, yet friendly relationship with my mentor. He is kind, funny, insightful, caring, and he worked hard for me to learn as much as possible from my time with him. While he taught me different techniques working in the lab, I found that simply talking to him in his office was much more satisfying and insightful. We conversed often, sometimes for more than an hour, about a large variety of topics. I learned about how businesses typically function, different ways to pursue my career, and sometimes morbidly humorous things about the world. Amongst all these discussions, I remember one idea. “Your time has value”, he told me without any hesitation. Over several years, I had unconsciously learned to dismiss compliments, perhaps due to my perfectionist nature or otherwise. However, this time with my mentor, I genuinely felt happy and respected. I still respect him as a boss, but I feel confident that I can call him a friend despite that. As the internship continued and I worked with different people, I realized that they were also friendly and empathetic like my mentor. Meanwhile, I dealt with waiting for upper management to purchase a ACD/Spectrus license for me to use, having major intern activities cancelled every few weeks, and paying twice as much in living expenses on my last week to stay in a hotel. My ultimate takeaway from both the highest and lowest points of this internship is that my bosses and the people in the organization I work for are human. They can care for me, and they are sometimes fallible. I should neither be afraid to converse with others or ask for help, nor should I thoughtlessly do what I am told.


On my first day, I had been tasked to pick a picture and explain why it was significant to me. I picked a crystalline snowflake, saying that if we look closely at something, we would see a beautiful structure that we could have easily dismissed as just a speck of dust. Surprisingly, I had closely observed several different things that I initially thought were once “snowflakes”. I critiqued my experience, gaining expectations the next time I find a job. I opened myself to my mentors and coworkers, finding myself in the care and respect of others that I never faced before. Lastly, I faced my insecurities directly, and despite every reason to give up, I became more confident in myself than ever before. By the end of my internship, I had a closer view of many different beautiful things, and I strongly intend to pursue more of them in the future.


Shop Supply Service Internship

For my STEP signature project, I interned at Shop Supply Service in Findlay, Ohio. My main responsibilities were lead generation, inside sales, and outside sales. I was also responsible for inventory and clerical work inside the office as well.

During the duration of my time at, Shop Supply Service, I observed many changes of myself that also transformed the way that I think about the world. Before my experiences at my internship took place, I was unaware how much I care about the mission and vision of a company. I was inspired by the companies work ethic and how they truly care about supporting the community that they are in. The small business takes pride in supporting other small businesses and creating a work environment that upholds those standards. I will take that lesson with me as a dive into my own career.

Shop Supply Service was started out of the owner’s bed of his truck. He had a few buckets full of nuts and bolts and traveled around the town in attempt to sell to local farmers. After his first day of defeat he went to a local produce stand to buy himself something for lunch. All that was in his pocket was 27 cents. Owner, Merle Hohman, told himself that day that he would never have so little to his name again. The drive and determination led him to soon own a large operation that is selling to hundreds of factories across Ohio. This story is what the company is reminded of daily.

As each employee goes out to make a sales pitch, they have the understanding that you have to work hard for what you want. They have great client relationships and have been serving the area proudly for many years. With the understanding of this vision, I was eager to work. I enjoyed the excitement that each employee had each day and how they encouraged one another and helped where they were needed. Whether it was making deliveries, meeting with clients, or completing paper work I was amazed by how much time they take to do things with excellence.

The relationship between all of the workers transformed my idea of a structured working environment. They were on a mission and were running a mile a minute, but they maintained such a great and professional attitude with one another. I was really inspired to work in a place where people were so kind each and every day. My perspective changed and I noticed myself being just as positive to be at the internship. The high expectations are something that I believe greatly impacted my experience.

I feel that the change in my perspective is so valuable to my professional goals because it is something that I hope to always keep in mind. I am so thankful that I was able to have the experiences that I did while working alongside some of the most knowledgeable professionals. Learning from others who have been in the work force for so many years was truly encouraging. All of the owners being Ohio State University graduates was also a factor that reminded me of what a great networking opportunity I have coming from such a highly regarded university. I feel as though I have been very fortunate to have learned so much in such a short amount of time. This experience shaped me personally, academically, and molded the expectations I have of myself in my professional life.

Sunrise at Shop Supply Service.

Incompatible Internship

My step project was to intern with The Switch to gain experience working
with marketing and in the housing field of city planning. However, did not get much experience
in the housing field, but I did help them with marketing their merchandise and I assisted with
organizing and shipping subscription boxes with the merchandise as well.

If I am honest, nothing really transformed in me during or after this internship, only
thing is that I have come to realize how non-profits operate. In this case, I was given a grand
opportunity that was not all it was cracked up to be. I have learned my lesson of job hunting
and one thing that I value most is stability, order, communication, and pay. I have learned to
value myself and to not settle for where I want to work, because if I do settle, I will be highly
disappointed. I will say I transformed in a way where I know my worth and I will in the future
choose a different arena for where I devote my time and energy.

Honestly this internship was a little disappointing. I was hired and told I would receive
great experience doing grand projects with human trafficking, housing, and traveling to D.C.,
but it turned out to be quite unorganized and more work at home than anything. They rarely
met up to meet during the month and everyone was always confused or uncertain about who
to contact or what to do. I understand this is acceptable sometimes, but every time we met
there was something major, we did not know that hindered us from moving forward in a
Furthermore, the CEO that hired me was always busy and never around. She traveled so
much that it was difficult to even be her intern. Being that I was also unpaid during this
internship my few hours working at Panera Bread would clash with times to meet with them
and kept me from traveling and being more hands on.
In addition, there was a subscription box that we were supposed to put together and
that alone took forever to kickstart, and when I would try to help out the communication was
so terrible, I was left for days not knowing what I should do. Overall, I do not want to come
down on the organization itself or the people there. These are amazing people, but I just
believe that their roles for interns are still in the works. It is not much for their interns to do
because they do everything themselves and there is an extreme me lack of communication and
meeting with one another for follow up. I personally did not favor this work style and I wish I
had learned more.
For this reason, I now know what type of work environment I prefer. I recognize that I
do not do well with spontaneous work settings and that I need a structured workplace. Also,
not being paid was not the best because many experience opportunities would clash with my
work schedule at Panera Bread. In addition, I learned how difficult it is to run anon-profit.
Though they impact so many lives and bring awareness to many, at this stage in The Switch’s
non-profit life they are in a phase where a few people are doing literally everything, and they
are too busy for interns.

This change relates to my professional goals because though it was an incompatible
internship, I had inside view on how hard it was to run a business. It honestly had me rethinking
if I truly wanted to take on pursuing social entrepreneurship. Lastly, it relates to future plans
because as I stated before I will know what type of career I can be functional in or be more at
peace with, such as working in an office setting and not from home, or not working for nonprofit companies, but only searching for public or more established firms. I will never regret the
experience I had here or the people I got to know, but I believe that it was just a lesson learned.

Implementation Intern

  1. I was an implementation intern at Strategic Insurance Software in Columbus, Ohio. I developed an application that scraped data from one database and then populated another one.
  2. The largest transformation that took place in the completion of my STEP project was my understanding of what it means to be a professional leader. I have always pursued  leadership in my involvements, formal or otherwise, finding roles in which I better the team I’m a part of. However, I have never found myself as a part of a team dedicated to software development, the field I intend to pursue. It is there that I found the different components of leadership, from hard skills to soft skills, and the various styles of leadership come into play. Because of my STEP Signature Project, I have a more detailed and complex understanding of what it means to lead in a professional environment which I will carry for the rest of my life.
  3. Through relationships with my three supervisors, Luke, Adam, and Richard, I was mentored on what it means to be a leader in software development, something I truly hope to become.

Luke was my department supervisor. Our relationship led to my current understanding of what professional leaders look like. The first time I met him, he told me that he only has two priorities: get employees paid and get them promoted. That was quite jarring. Up until that point, I had understood organizations from a goal-oriented structure. In that view, one’s priority should ensure that employees “deliver the best product/service.” Luke, however, delegates those tasks to those below him. From his perspective, near the top of the organization, his priority is those he leads. It is under this philosophy that he believes team members will aspire to be paid and promoted under his leadership, with the most expedient path being “delivering the best product/service.”

Adam was my area supervisor. His leadership taught me the importance of relationships in the workplace. Despite our age and experience difference, he always valued what I had to say. Much of my technical conversations were with Richard. With Adam, our discussions covered broader ground, from the personal to the professional and everything in between. By having a personal relationship with senior developers, I felt more integrated within the professional environment than I ever imagined. By promoting conversation and kindness, Adam enabled the area to become a community, not just a workplace.

Richard was my project supervisor. With him, I learned the most “hard” skills. The nitty-gritty technical know how that is necessary to be useful in the tech field. Although his knowledge base was as deep as it was wide, it was not that which stuck out to me. The most valuable component of Richard’s mentorship was his patience. He knew that he came into each of our conversations with the burdens of knowledge and experience. Although I work hard to learn as much as I can, it does not always immediately “click.” This is something he knew and expected. As such, he never hesitated to work with me through the problems I faced, despite the fact that to him, solutions were often quite apparent. His calm demeanor enabled me to learn in a relaxed environment that was likely most conducive for educational success.

  1. I have the full intention to pursue software development as my field of study upon graduating from OSU. I also have the full intention to lead in software development. Whether that is industry wide or closely among peers, I wish to do so successfully. By working under exceptional supervisors, I have been given both new tools and a road map to find success as a leader in software. Although my employment does not command my whole focus in my life beyond Ohio State, it certainly will take up much of it. I am tremendously grateful that my STEP Signature Project enabled me with the opportunity to enhance my professional prospects as a leader.

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Summer with Assisting Hands

This summer I worked for Assisting Hands Home Care in Columbus. My primary activities included working with their sales team to update their CRM system, craft social media posts, create regular newsletters, and work with clients to ensure their care needs were being met. I also spent much time working with employees to make sure their HR paperwork was properly completed.

The biggest change that took place in my point of view of the world while working for Assisting Hands was with the people I interacted with. There is an interesting dynamic in the Home Care industry where most workers are African American women and most clients are wealthy white people. It’s interesting to see the dynamics between the two groups and to see the differences in culture. Coming from a middle-class white family, I had never interacted really interacted with many African Americans. I saw the issues that members of this group face daily.

Many of the women working for Assisting Hands were single mothers. This combined with their lack of financial resources meant they had trouble getting to work. Firstly, they often had car troubles. Their cars were often not very quality, so they would break down occasionally. When their car broke down they couldn’t go to work which meant they couldn’t pay to get their car fixed since they often didn’t have any savings. Some workers didn’t even have cars, so they had to rely on friends to drive them to work every day. There was also the issue that they couldn’t pay for childcare.

For a specific example, my co-worker’s (who worked in the office but was still an underpaid single mom) car broke down halfway through the summer. She was unable to afford to get it repaired, but fortunately she had a neighbor who was a mechanic that fixed it for free. She was later able to get connected to a service that lends cars to single moms who need transportation for work while their car is getting repaired. My other co worker whose husband is a car salesman was eventually able to get her a good deal on a reliable car. For anyone in my family a car breaking down is an annoyance, but this showed me how there are many things that are annoyances for me that can seriously disrupt other peoples lives.

These issues related more directly to my job because I oversaw making sure the employees got a TB test. If you don’t already know, you need to get a TB test done one day and have it read within two to three days. This is required by the state for all home care workers, but is a burdensome regulation to many. Since few places offer this test out of regular business hours many must take off work to get it. It’s also difficult because the cost of the test is also burdensome since many of these women make not much above minimum wage.

While I received some professional development in my internship, I was surprised to realize that my biggest takeaway from the role was the social issues I learned about. After graduation I’ll be going into the peace corps helping women and minorities start small businesses, and hopefully working in government or politics after that. The lesson that there are many people I not only don’t understand but don’t know I don’t understand is one that I will be able to take with me in my future career. I now know I need to work harder to understand the struggle of those around me. This is something I got a taste of at Assisting Hands, and will have many more opportunities to develop in future.