For my STEP Signature Project, I spent 12 weeks this summer in Washington, D.C. with the John Glenn College of Public Affairs’ Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP). While in D.C., I earned 6 credit hours working Monday through Thursday interning at USAID’s largest flagship, Maternal and Child Survival Program on their Communications Team. Outside from interning, I took an additional 6 credit hours of class along with attending study tours and policy salons around the city.
My time in Washington, D.C. challenged me and taught me many things about myself and my view of the world. I had to balance 6 credit hours of classes, my internship, WAIP events, and a social life, during the short, 12 week period that I had in the District. A busy schedule such as this improved my time management between work, school, and leisure time. Throughout my time in this program, my confidence in my capabilities grew. I performed rather well with all that was thrown at me this summer and that was shown, not only through my grades and evaluations but also through personal accomplishment. Overall, I feel as though this summer has changed me into a more confident person and improved essential skills for my future endeavors in school and in the professional world.
Washington, D.C. is definitely an interesting place to be right now, and living there taught me a lot about how people function in the professional world. Washington is a fast-paced, elite area to be present in, and being a student provided me with endless resources to expand my network. As a student, people want to help you, and most of the time are more than happy to take some time out of their day to grab coffee with you for an informational interview. This changed how I approach those who I feel could be valuable additions to my network, as well as built confidence in my interpersonal skills. I learned that if you take initiative and gain the knowledge of others, it is not a hard task to expand your network and gather information about numerous occupations and future path options.
I was lucky enough to have worked with amazing people during my internship at the USAID’s Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP). These were individuals that wanted to see me succeed and help me get there. I worked on the Communications Team which consisted of six women who were extremely intelligent and well regarded in their career. I was new to the communications side of an organization so I had a lot to learn, but they were patient and supportive while they helped me gain valuable skills for my future professional life. Everyone on the team encouraged me to challenge myself to try new things and ask as many questions as possible to ensure I got the most out of all of my experiences and MCSP. This led to me understanding that you must utilize every resource made available to you in order to get the most out of the life experiences you are given. It also showed me that people want to help you get ahead in life, all you have to do is to be willing to reach out for their advice and opinion.
As a John Glenn Fellow in the Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP) we were presented with many opportunities to network and expand our knowledge horizons during our time in Washington, DC. This included various weekly policy salons and study tours. Policy salons were when esteemed OSU Alumni or people that are extremely skilled in their field would come and speak to the WAIP fellows. They would tell their stories and what they did to get to where they are, along with answer questions and provide advice to the WAIP students to help them gain insight of those who are successful in the professional world. Study tours took place every Friday at various locations around D.C., exposing us to new cultures, organizations, and agencies, among others. All of these activities gave us opportunities for professional development along with experience with well-esteemed individuals to build a solid network and give an advantage in the future.
The opportunities my STEP Signature Project gave me are invaluable to both my present and future life endeavors. Without WAIP, I would not have gained the experience of a lifetime of living on Capitol Hill and interning in Washington, DC, opening my mind to many future paths. My time at my internship allowed me to be exposed to the international development field, one that I plan on pursuing a career within in the future. I also had the chance to speak to many people that completed Peace Corps, leading me to decide that I would like to join after graduation from Ohio State. Collectively, my STEP Signature Project made me feel more prepared and excited about the future and what is to come.
I believe that the impact of WAIP is valuable in my life because it increased my confidence in my capabilities. During WAIP, the level of my assurance in my academic, personal, and professional goals grew substantially. I had the opportunity to work in the same environment that I aspire to be present in the future. This reassured me that I am on a good track for my professional plans. In addition to work, I had to balance studying and classes throughout the week to remain on top of my school work and maintain good grades. Aside from work and school, I gained great friends and built my network in Washington, DC. This summer taught me to have good time management, a positive mind, and to believe in yourself in order to get the most out of my experiences and grow as a person in my academics, social, and professional skills.