For my STEP project, I represented OSU as a John Glenn Fellow in DC through the Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP) through the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. I interned at the US Department of Education in the Office of Innovation and Improvement working on the Magnet Schools Assistance Program (MSAP), a grant that works towards the desegregation of schools.
My second day in DC we wrote letters to our future self about what we hoped to get out of the program. I can happily say I gained everything I had in that letter and so much more. To begin, my confidence grew significantly through this program. As a young professional, I did not feel confident in my ability to interact with professionals or my ability to network. This program reinforced that I am capable of this and gave me the skills needed to interact with those who are well into their career.
This program also changed the way I viewed my future career. I thought I had to be on a direct path, but through this program I gained the perspective that this does not have to be the case. I feel confident in my ability to move to DC with or without a job and navigate myself into a successful career. Finally, it made me more passionate about my views and my goals for the future. I have a clear vision of what I want in the future and this program gave me the confidence to go after that with everything I have.
One of the main reasons I grew so much throughout my time in DC was the programming that we had while we were there. Through different sessions on networking, public speaking, and mindfulness, I was able to develop a set of skills that allowed for me to gain the confidence to seek opportunities and better myself. Another impactful experience was meeting people who worked for Senator Glenn. It changed my perspective in a way that I was not expecting. It made me proud to be a John Glenn Fellow and it made me love my university that much more.
My interactions with people in DC through networking is one of the main reasons for my growth. While I was in DC, I would email people who I had no connection to and ask to get coffee with them to get coffee to learn about their career path. I was overwhelmed at how many strangers were willing to meet with me. They helped guide me throughout my time in DC and helped further my network by connecting me with others. This gave me insights into what I kind of career I want in the future and what kind of career I do not want to have.
My supervisor at the Department of Education was the most impactful aspect of my time in DC. She was absolutely incredible and taught me so much about education in general. She gave me the confidence to speak my mind when I met with Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos. She also sought out opportunities that she felt would further my career and my development as a young professional. She went above and beyond what is expected of a supervisor. I am so grateful to have had the privilege to work with her.
This program mattered to me career wise because I now have a strong network of people within the city I want to live in that I did not have before. These are people that I will keep in contact with until I graduate and will hopefully aide me in the future when I am starting my career. This program also gave me the excitement to pay it forward when I am established in my career. I cannot wait to help future students and especially OSU students.
This program also helped me academically because I now have real life experiences that I can apply to the classroom. It has given me a different perspective and allows me to look at my education differently. I find myself often looking at my classes and how I will apply this in the future rather than just looking to learn the information for an exam. I want to absorb as much as this information now, so that I can use what I have learned in the future. It gives me the revitalization of wanting to turn my passion into policy.