For my STEP Signature Project, I completed an internship during the Summer of 2018 with the Ohio EPA. Over the duration of this project, I worked in the Division of Air Pollution Control within the District Office in Columbus, Ohio. I predominately worked with the Right to Know (RTK) Program, working with the hazardous or EHS chemical database.
Honestly, before this project, I knew that I wanted to work for the EPA in my future. I was just uncertain how I felt about working in an office setting. Working in an office for 8 hours a day seemed like an unbearable boredom that I didn’t want to put myself through. After completing this program, my perspective of office life changed, I realized that it’s all about the people you work with, the stuff that you’re doing, and your attitude going in everyday. I was able to decorate my cubicle so I felt at home, and I made some great friends with the people I worked with. Going to work every day wasn’t a drag, it was something to look forward to.
I wasn’t stuck in the office all of the time either, fellow interns and I were allowed to attend numerous inspections being performed by supervisors or other coworkers within the office. I was able to go along to a Pet Crematorium, a Natural Gas Power Plant, a Coal Power Plant, and an E-check station in Cleveland. I was also allowed to attend various meetings with my coworkers, within the division, company wide, and outside of the company. My favorite meetings to go to were the MORPC (Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission) meetings. During these meetings, members from various company’s/cities within central Ohio attended to discuss changes, problems, etc.
I am way more knowledgeable about environmental and energy related topics after my internship. Every couple of weeks we had a powerpoint presentation that was put together by one of the supervisors within the division. I learned how the power grid works and the process within and outside of the plant operates. Then I was able to learn how monitors pick up on the particles within the air to give the estimated air quality readings which are then determined to be in compliance or out of compliance and actions are taken accordingly. I learned about the process companys and individuals have to go through if they need to get permits. I did some work with the asbestos team that recently transitioned to the EPA from the department of health.
This internship allows me to make connections within the agency, I have several supervisors that guaranteed me a letter of recommendation if I ever need it. This summer internship gave me more confidence about going into the workforce after graduation. It also gave me an end goal to envision to help me get through the rest of my college experience. Basically, I spent this summer learning how I want to spend my future, and I wouldn’t trade that for the world. I also made amazing friends along the way that I can see having for the rest of my life. This wasn’t what I expected to come from my summer working at a government agency, but this is what I got and I couldn’t be happier.