Internship With The Ohio Latino Affairs Commission

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

For my STEP Signature Project, I interned at the Ohio Commission on Hispanic and Latino Affairs (OCHLA) in the community outreach office—and earned academic credit for the Spanish in Ohio seminar course. I spent the majority of my time editing a large Excel spreadsheet of Hispanic-serving organizations in Ohio called the OLAnet Directory, which required a significant amount of communication between myself and the organizations in the list. I also had the opportunity to attend the virtual 2020 Latino Affairs Summit, where I learned about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ohio’s Latino community.


What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

The most transformative aspect of my internship was realizing that I don’t need to travel to connect with Spanish-speaking communities—and that I could pursue a career in which I can apply both of my fields of study. I originally planned to use my STEP fellowship to study abroad in Peru to fulfill my immersion requirement for my Spanish major, but, like many other college students, the pandemic disrupted my plans. As a result, I had to take Spanish 5689S, a service-learning course designed for students who were unable or chose not to study abroad. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to truly immerse myself in Hispanic and Latino culture from Columbus, and frankly was not looking forward to starting the class in the fall. On the first day of class, however, I learned that I could fulfill my service-learning requirement for the course through an internship with OCHLA, and I saw it as a great opportunity to apply my knowledge from both of my majors: public affairs and Spanish. Before I started my internship at OCHLA, I didn’t know what to expect—I had never completed an internship completely online before, and I was unsure if I would enjoy working from home. As the semester passed, I grew to enjoy the work I was doing—even if it meant sitting in front of my computer for multiple hours every week. I learned so much more about Ohio’s Latino community and the organizations that interact with them than I ever expected at the beginning of the semester. While it wasn’t what I expected for my Spanish immersion requirement fulfillment, interning at OCHLA taught me lessons that I never would have learned in Peru.


What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you described in #2, and how did those affect you?

Although my internship was completed entirely from home, it had a significant impact on my past assumption that I needed to go to a foreign country to immerse myself in Spanish-speaking environments. Since my main project was updating the OLAnet directory, I had to look into hundreds of businesses, non-profits, government agencies, educational institutions, religious communities, and other organizations that serve Ohio’s Spanish-speaking community. As went through each organization listed on my Excel chart, I found myself crossing out or deleting rows almost as often as I was verifying the information in other rows. It was discouraging to see how many organizations or programs for Latinos had shut down since the OLAnet was last updated five years ago. In today’s political climate, Hispanic and Latino people need more access than ever to resources pertaining to immigration, housing assistance, education, workforce development, and other programs designed to improve their lives in the U.S.—these resources are most important for recent immigrants, yet at least a hundred of them no longer exist.

Since my internship also counted for class credit, I had to compile a “final portfolio” website in which I reflected on my experiences from my internship and other Spanish immersion activities. Part of this project involved developing a “product” designed to solve an issue in Ohio’s Latino community—and I chose to focus on improved accessibility of resources for Hispanic Ohioans. I developed a more streamlined version of the OLAnet directory divided into different categories such as legal aid, healthcare, social services, and interpretation services  with information in both English and Spanish to make it more accessible for those who do not understand English. Both my internship and the course content taught me so much about issues facing Hispanic populations in the U.S. today, which is information that will ultimately be more beneficial in my day-to-day life than studying in Peru for a month.

One event that was particularly transformative for me was the 2020 Latino Affairs Summit that I had the opportunity to attend and provide technical support to other attendees. I attended sessions specifically related to healthcare, though there were also breakout sessions related to business and education. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic was the main topic of discussion as it has disproportionately impacted people of color. Latino Ohioans, particularly those who don’t speak English, have had limited access to resources and information related to the pandemic, and a lot of misinformation has spread within the community. Two of the presentations that stood out to me were “Mental Health and COVID-19” and “Racism as a Public Health Crisis.” The social determinants of health—quality of education, employment, access to healthy food, adequate income, neighborhood safety, and quality of housing, among others—are often absent in majority-Latino communities, which creates a disconnect between these communities and the rest of society. As a result, Latinos are one of the most negatively impacted demographics in the context of the pandemic. Most of my interests before attending these sessions were related to immigration and foreign policy, but after attending the summit I realized that the best way to build relationships with Spanish-speaking communities was to start small and focus on improving the welfare of the people who live in my own city or state—I didn’t need to visit another country to do that.


Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

While it had a major impact for me both personally and academically, my internship with OCHLA this past semester has also helped me advance towards my professional goals and plans for the future. As a senior, my post-graduation plans have been weighing heavily on my mind the last few months, especially given the limited job opportunities available to me due to the pandemic. My goal has always been to pursue a career in which I can use both my knowledge of Spanish and my passion for public service, but I didn’t know If that would be possible until I began interning with OCHLA. Now that I know there are jobs in the United States that would allow me to interact with Spanish-speaking populations in a public or non-profit sector organization, I no longer feel as though missing out on my study abroad program was detrimental to my studies. My internship at OCHLA has opened new professional doors to me—I have been able to form connections with a wide range of organizations that interact with the Latino community and in December, I was offered a new internship with the Commission in its public policy center. In my new position, I focus more on the “decision-making” side of things and will assist the public policy director in advocating for legislation that will improve the lives of Latino Ohioans. I am optimistic that this new position will provide me with valuable experience that employers will appreciate as I begin to apply for full-time jobs.



Optometry Internship

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 internship experience consisted of shadowing and working alongside professionals in the optometry field. Day-to-day patient interactions and medical situations were observed as well as the use of modern technology for different diagnoses.


2.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.

I was able to learn quite a bit about myself and how others interpret me from my time during this internship. For example, this was one of the first times I was able to consistently see and treat patients in a live healthcare setting. I was directly observed on my ability to interact with patients, address their questions, and assess their needs. I learned how to distribute medical information in a proper discussion as well as make my patients feel comfortable and relaxed. I was also able to assess how I am with different types of individuals. I found that I was especially good at connecting with young kids that came into the office.

Another major realization I took away from this experience was that although I want to participate in healthcare, I most likely do not want to run my own practice. By working in a privately owned office such as this one, I was able to witness the challenges that come along with being the business manager as well. I learned that I would be happier to spend my time in another doctor’s practice rather than running my own. I would much rather give the majority of my time seeing and helping patients rather than dedicating time to running a business and handling all of the financial aspects.


3.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.

Interactions with all kinds of different patients occurred during this experience and I was able to understand different approaches to talking with them and helping them through their visits. I quickly learned some valuable pieces of patient care advice in the early stages of the internship. For instance, within my first few weeks at the office I saw a patient and helped perform her technical workup. We took pictures of the back of her eyes to get a look at the nerves and blood vessels. She asked me how they looked and if everything was healthy. I responded that there was no need to worry and everything looked perfect and as it should. My internship mentor later took me aside and advised me that during the prescreening, we should never relay medical advice or diagnoses because we are not the doctor. It is our responsibility to get the patients through pre-tests and it is the doctor’s responsibility to treat and diagnose. There could be something in the pictures that I am not trained to see so if I falsely assure the patient, there could be misunderstandings and complications later on.

Another situation that arose were monthly meetings where the entire office staff got together to discuss the business side of the practice. We analyzed income, influx of patients, contact and glasses orders, lab shipments, brand representative visits, and whether we were on track of meeting monthly goals. Sitting in on these meetings helped me realize that I don’t want to be individually responsible for running a practice. This completely changed my plans for the future. I was able to come to this conclusion now thanks to this internship rather than waste time in the future.

A final major situation that came up was when I was helping a young boy pick out glasses. He was nine years old and extremely nervous. He had proven pretty shy during his actual exam and was not very happy when it was confirmed that he needed glasses. When we took him into the optical, my internship mentor allowed me to try helping first. I looked up the parents’ insurance and helped direct them toward the frames that were more cost efficient for them however, the patient seemed hesitant to try any. I was able to joke around with him and bring him out of his shell enough for him to relax and choose the glasses that he would be most comfortable in. This made me realize that I especially like working with kids and maybe could have a focus in pediatrics one day.


4.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 is significant for my life because it altered a large part of my ideas for my future and my career aspirations. I originally had planned to eventually go out on my own and create my own practice and run it entirely by myself. This experience helped me realize that that’s not what I want and it’s not what I would be happiest doing. I was able to recognize that I don’t especially want to spend my time on the business side of things but rather just dedicate myself to patient care.

Personally, I was also able to receive feedback from my coworkers and mentors during this project. They helped me understand that I am very good with patients and that I have the qualities to comfort and help people. This was a huge achievement for me as I was concerned if I was capable of adequate patient care. Even though I’ve studied healthcare and always wanted to work in healthcare, it doesn’t necessarily mean that I would be good at it. Hearing that I was a positive influence on our patients outcomes helped me erase any doubts about my future goals in this aspect.


Johnson and Johnson Internship

1. Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project:

The basis of my STEP Signature Project was an internship. I worked in the surgical robotics department at Ethicon (a Johnson & Johnson’s branch) as a Design Engineer. I performed a lot of work with coding in python and with SolidWorks.

2. What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?:

A big part of my project was getting exposed to the working world of engineering. My view on the working world of engineering has changed. Going into the internship, I thought that the problems encountered would be like the problems encountered in classes. However, most of the problems involved a lot of on-the-fly thinking and more than just academic knowledge. A large part of working at Johnson & Johnson involved organizational and planning skills along with knowing what work was the most important.

Another aspect that changed was my confidence in myself. Going into the co-op, I was not too confident in whether I would be able to contribute. This was going to be my first engineering work experience. I had no previous engineering work that I could reference that might help me. However, throughout the internship, the confidence in myself and my work grew.

3. 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?

On of my tasks during the co-op was to set up and plan testing for the device we were creating. Usually with testing, you just go into the testing area, set up your test based off academic knowledge, and then run it. The only problem was that I was not allowed to enter the Johnson & Johnson buildings, which meant I would mean that I would not be able to do that. So instead, I had to set up multiple meeting with different teams to see if they had done similar testing and see if our team’s device could fit into their tester or if an adapter needed to be designed. This was very different than what I learned in classes as I needed to use planning, organizational, and communication skill instead of just physics and calculus.

Programming made up a large part of the co-op. The main language used was python. I had little experience in python, so I had to learn it basically from scratch. Before I learned python, I did not think that I would be able to contribute to the code. However, I was able to increase my coding skill and add a couple functions and data analysis lines to the project. This event increased my confidence in myself and my work.

At the end of the co-op, I had to give a final presentation. During this presentation, I had to show all the work that I had done during the term. Before this, I was nervous. This was going to be the biggest presentation, as it could determine if I am brought back for a second term. I knew that I was not the best at public speaking, so it made me even more nervous. However, I got help from my coworkers with presenting and used the resources at my co-op to grow my confidence in my presenting skills. When I finally did present, I was confident and had few hiccups.

4. Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

This transformation is very valuable for me. I want to go into the engineering industry. I needed this experience to learn skills not taught in the classroom. The changes have turned me into a better worker. It has also shown me more about how businesses work and what engineering work and design entails. I can use this for my job after college to become a better engineer.

Marketing Internship with BrightView Enterprise Solutions

Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

For my STEP project, I was a marketing and growth intern for BrightView Enterprise Solutions. I worked under the national sales representatives and used my time to help them understand their competitors better.


What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

One thing that changed my thought process during this internship, was how many different services there are out there that help make businesses run. Before the internship, I never thought twice about landscaping or how businesses keep their land looking attractive. It seems to be just something that happens, but you never see or hear of how they make it happen. This internship showed me the importance and how large an industry may be that you had never thought about before. It made me interested in small things like where companies hire their service providers for, such as snow plowing parking lots, janitorial staff, HVAC, and of course, landscaping.

Another thing that changed my perspective, is how important your relationship is with your coworkers and communication between you. I had a boss I got along with very well, and I felt comfortable asking any questions necessary. However, there were situations where his superior and himself would miscommunicate, and information was miscommunicated back to me. Seeing this happen firsthand made me realize that relationships need to be strong throughout an entire organization to make things work.

I also understood myself better and where I want to be in the future. I had worked with social media and advertisement before this internship. I thought I enjoyed it enough for it to be my career, but after having an internship that was research based, I realized it is where my passion lies. The time with the company has shown me where I want to take my career, and how much happier I am doing things I enjoy.


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?

Changing my perspective on the importance of services came about when I would speak to my managers about how large their industry is and the key customers they are looking to get. I hadn’t thought about this before, but when they were naming customers such as Huntington, Walgreens, and Sam’s Club, I realize that all of these major retailers need to have these services, and this is a company that provides these needs.

Realizing the importance of communication occurred when I was working on my project and I received an email that a request my boss had made for his coworkers was denied by his superior. It was odd to see the disagreement, and I realized it was from the lack of communication prior.

Once I realized I was asking opinions of friends, looking up things in my free-time, and going to bed asking myself questions of how to complete this project, I realized it was a passion of mine to complete this research. I did not feel this way about the jobs I previously had, as I would not think twice about them when I was off the clock. This experience made me genuinely curious and that was when I realized it was where I wanted my career to be.


Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

This change in my career path matters, because without it I would have went into a field I was not passionate about. I had more knowledge of the social media marketing world, so I assumed that’s where I should be. Had I not made this realization, I would still be in that world, not loving what I was doing. As my full-time career will begin after graduation in May, I am much more aware of what I am looking for and am continuing to apply to jobs that I have a genuine interest for, which this experience helped me realize.

Account Services Intern with Recovery America

(1) Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project.

For my STEP Project, I interned in Account Services with Recovery America. During my tenure, I learned how to navigate client relationships and how back-offices processes and logistics affect front-end services.

(2) What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

During my STEP Project, I learned that relationships are truly one of the most important things in the business world. Professional relationships, be it with co-workers, superiors, or clients and customers, are some of the most formative and insightful interpersonal connections for professionals of any age, but especially young professionals who are just stepping into any industry. This experience opened my eyes to the daily battle between providing a highly rated service and doing so cost-effectively. I have grown to appreciate my ability and willingness to do more research, ask more questions, and spend more time making an educated decision because I saw how that was able to positively impact business processes, as well as the bottom line, during my experience.

(3) 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?

While at Recovery America, I spent most of my time working independently: analyzing reports, doing research, and proof-reading & annotating client documents sent to the department. I would report at the end of every other week to my supervisor. My supervisor was a true gem and gave me plenty of insight into daily operation, even outside the scope of my internship. This allowed me a more holistic picture of how a business operates and what must be done to maintain consistent performance.

I also was given the ability to sit in on calls with clients where new business opportunities were presented, such as private expansion and government contract work. While I never had much to add to the call as I wasn’t tasked with garnering new business, I was able to catch a glimpse inside the world of contract negotiation and gleam tips on strategically building rapport with potential clients. Client relations can make or break almost any deal and it was eye-opening to watch other individuals, with seemingly little effort, begin to construct a professional relationship with clients. Even during the pandemic, when in-person meetings were replaced with Zoom conferences or phone calls, it was very easy to see how impactful a person’s approach can be to the success of a deal.

Growing up, I was always told that I had a vibrant and outgoing personality. I now see that I can use this to my advantage in the professional world. This will allow me to build strong connections with future co-workers, bosses, and clients and will serve me well in my professional life. Additionally, when I can best understand and communicate with individuals I encounter in my career, I will be poised to quickly and effectively answer their questions they may have or address concerns that may arise. This communicative aspect, combined with the attention to detail I garnered reading and annotating pages of reports further emphasizes skills employers enjoy to see in candidates, which gives me an edge as I prepare to graduate from college and embark on my professional career.

(4) Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

My ultimate goal is to get my Master of Science in Nursing and become a Nurse Practitioner who specializes in women’s health. After gaining experience in a hospital setting, I one day hope to open my own practice that focuses on women’s health. It is for this reason that I believe my internship will be of most value—I will have a better understanding of what it takes on a daily basis to run my own place of business. While I am no expert, my internship experience showed me that working candidly and openly with others creates most pathways to success.

Working in Account Services also showed me how important an eye for detail is. While having a grasp on the big picture is important, I learned that the biggest gains are often made by understanding the smallest details. Being able to adequately gather, decipher, interpret, extrapolate, and communicate complex information to those who might not have the background to understand it in its raw form is a highly valuable and desirable skill. I am not an Information Sciences or Data Analytics major, so I spent a great deal of time making sure that the information I was presenting in my reports was quantitatively sound and that I was able to apply it to the situation as specifically needed by the company. These skills will continue to be invaluable in my professional career, wherever it ultimately leads me.

Washington Academic Internship Program

Please provide a briefly description of your STEP Signature Project.

My STEP signature project was an internship through the John Glenn College’s Washington Academic Internship Program (WAIP). While I was originally supposed to live in DC, due to COVID-19, the internship and class component of the program was entirely virtual. I interned full time at the Partnership for Public Service, which is a nonpartisan nonprofit based out of DC on their Development team. I also was enrolled in two Public Affairs classes, which included writing my capstone paper, and I attended weekly professional development workshops ands study tours with my cohort.


What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project?

My STEP signature project took place during the first semester of my senior year, so preparing to graduate and start my career was at the forefront of my mind during my internship and the WAIP experience. I’m double majoring in Public Affairs and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies with a specialization in the Nonprofit Management, and while my courses have taught me a great deal about my career interests, I wanted to make sure I could apply my academics and understand more about my future before I graduated. Because of this, I pursued internships in the nonprofit sector, particularly in development or fundraising positions as these are of great interest to me.

Throughout my internship, I was able to learn that my skills, passions, and strengths align really well with the nonprofit sector and development positions. I also learned that I’m really motivated by work in the nonprofit sector. The professional development workshops through WAIP also have made me feel much more confident in my professional skills, such as networking and salary negotiation.


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?

Some of the events that affected me the most during the WAIP program was my role on the Development team at my organization, where I had a really good relationship with my supervisor and she gave me a lot of responsibilities. Some of the accomplishments or projects I completed during my internship term were writing a grant report to send to a foundation, writing a blog post that went on the organization’s website, drafting correspondence with stakeholders and donors, and research projects on prospective donors. I was able to strengthen my oral and written communication skills through the different projects while also improving my organizational skills as I often had many different projects on my plate. Additionally, my supervisor taught me a lot about nonprofit operations, nonprofit development, donor relationship management, and donor cultivation. This hands on experience allowed my education to be enriched even further from classroom experiences.

Another aspect of the WAIP program that was really beneficial to my semester was our weekly professional development workshops. Every Wednesday night after my internship, my WAIP cohort would participate in Zoom calls with OSU alum. These zoom calls gave us a great opportunity to practice our networking skills and learn about different career paths, as each week had a specific theme. Some of these included careers on capitol hill, in journalism, the nonprofit sector, the federal government, and in education. The wide array of people I was able to meet and ask questions about their career allowed me to explore so many different career paths. The nonprofit week in particular really solidified my desire to work within the nonprofit sector, as I was able to learn what day to day positions look like for those in the sector and ask advice from them. Additionally, I learned skills that will be especially important when I graduate, such as salary negotiation, job searching, resume tips and interview techniques. We had a mock interview night where OSU alum individually asked us common interview questions and then gave us feedback, which was especially important and helpful to me. There were a few other opportunities for mock interviews and the entire semester has made me feel more prepared than ever before for interviews.

Another part of the program that I enjoyed were the classes that we took through them, PUBAFRS 4020 and PUBAFRS 4021. These classes were also conducted via Zoom with my cohort and they gave me the ability to discuss world events and how they affect our government and citizens in our country. As a part of the class, we wrote 15 page capstone papers on a policy of our choosing, so I wrote mine on abortion and reproductive health policy in Ohio. This is one of my greatest policy interests, and since I wasn’t able to engage with it much in my internship, it was really nice being able to focus and research the topic for the class. My research taught me a lot about the current state of affairs in Ohio for abortion policy, and I also presented the research to my cohort at the end of the semester and took questions. This improved my presentation skills and made me feel more confident to pursue work in the reproductive health field upon graduation as I know a lot about the topic now.


Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life?

            The semester I completed my STEP project with WAIP was by far one of the most valuable experiences of my undergrad and I believe I grew a lot both professionally and personally. I feel more prepared than ever before to graduate and begin to pursue careers in the nonprofit sector, especially since I was able to grow my interview, resume and salary negotiation skills. I also feel confident because of how much experience I now have in the nonprofit sector and with skills such as oral and written communication, time organization, and advocating for myself in the workplace. The projects I completed while at my internship taught me a lot about the sector and I have experience in skills, like prospect research, that will give me an advantage in the job market upon graduation. I also conducted many informational interviews with those in the nonprofit sector, so I have many connections to different organizations and may be able to use the relationships I built when I’m job searching. Overall, I feel more confident in my professional self and am excited to graduate and start my career.

Speech Language Pathology Internship

During my STEP Signature Project, I was able to intern at a Coastal Speech Therapy in Jacksonville, North Carolina. I was able to sit in on patient sessions and interact with them during activities.

Throughout my time participating in my STEP Signature Project I have realized many different things about myself and people around me. For my future, I plan to become a Pediatric Speech Language Pathologist who specializes in areas of Autism and other developmental disorders. Through completing my internship, I was able to really appreciate the work that SLP’s do and really dive into the work that I will one day be doing. Going into this internship I was unsure what area I wanted to specialize in but I was really able to find an area that extremely intrigued me.

IN completing my STEP Signature Project at Coastal Speech Therapy, I was able to see and interact with many different patients. Patients ranged from those who were children with simple linguistic deficiencies to adults who had suffered either a traumatic brain injury or stroke. Throughout my undergraduate career I have learned more about myself and what I want to do when I graduate, but this experience really excelled and cemented my direction.

As an entering freshman in 2017, I struggled with the direction I wanted to go when I was finally post-grad. I knew that I wanted to make a difference in some aspect of the medical field but I never knew exactly where. At OSU, I was able to be apart and sit in on the Aphasia Initiative, which is a program that helps mainly adults who have suffered from a Traumatic Brain Injury or Stroke. While it was an amazing experience, I wanted to see the other end of the SLP field and chose to intern at a clinic that was mainly pediatric patients for my STEP Signature Project.

One of the key things that really transformed me was being able to see the changes that our patients went through in weeks or even days of just working with them. Working with children is such a rewarding experience because they get so excited about the littlest things that it makes you really step back and appreciate life. As adults, we get so caught up in the fast pace that stepping back really is rewarding. With a few patients, we were able to see major progress in patients with some language difficulties.

Like I said in my previous section, this change was so significant because I realized what I actually wanted to do with my future career. It is not only beneficial to me to be able to see progress in the patients we work with but to see the excitement in the patients and their parents when they see the changes in everyday life. This simple aspect is really what brought me to this career, my biggest factor in choosing a career is how I can use my strengths to help those around me.


Dept. of Chemical Engineering Design Internship

My STEP Signature Project was a Design Internship through the Department of Chemical Engineering at Ohio State. I took on the role of being the graphic designer for the Koffolt News and Annual Report released by the Department each year. For both of these publications, I was in charge of creating the spread designs. laying out each story and communicating with my boss throughout the design process.

While completing my STEP Signature Project I started to understand what I liked and didn’t like doing in terms of design projects and the overall design process. I found out that although I like creating layouts for magazines and reports that it is not something that I want to do as a profession. The part that I enjoyed most in creating these works was making sure the story was easy to follow and read as the user. This made me realize that I like creating experiences for users more than just making a spread look nice. With this realization, I started to look into other design professions like user-experience design and fell in love with it.

In addition to creating magazine spreads, I was able to work on actual illustration and graphic creation by using the Adobe Creative Cloud. Throughout my internship duration, I noticed a transformation of my design skills using products such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, and Adobe Photoshop. I now can navigate and use these products much faster than I could previously to this internship.

During my STEP Signature Project, COVID-19 caused my internship to be done completely online and at home. This presented its own challenges such as staying motivated and not being distracted by my surroundings. I was able to get through these challenges by making my desk at home more comfortable, setting task lists each day to complete, and putting my phone somewhere not near me during my shifts. Although having this internship online was difficult it taught me how to work from home and improved my online communication skills.

With this, I realized that I could have a full-time job that was completely virtual and now know what that experience will look like. I will be looking for jobs starting this spring and most of them will be partially remote, especially during this time. After experiencing this internship virtually while completing classes at the same time my time management skills also dramatically improved. I had never really used Google Calendar until this summer/fall, but it helped me manage my time in all aspects of my life including my internship, working out, going to online class, and getting my assignments in on time.

After completing my STEP Signature Project internship, I was able to realize the path that I want to go down after graduation, learned how to work completely online, and improved my overall design and communication skills. This internship experience not only improved and taught skills, but it also taught me how things can change in the blink of an eye, and how to make the most out of every situation.

Spread created on InDesign

At home workspace

Girls on the Run Internship

For my STEP signature project, I completed an internship with the organization Girls on the Run of Central Ohio. Throughout my project I completed a variety of tasks such as creating Canva graphics for emails, packing and distributing necessary materials for coaches, learning about different ways to interact with young children, researching ways to help children with trauma so the coaches can be fully informed on how to help the girls with the COVID situation, as well as many other projects that are needed to make Girls on the Run successful.


Throughout my STEP project something that changed was my view and knowledge of the different demographics of schools throughout Central Ohio. Before this, I knew Columbus and the surroundings area was diverse, but I never knew the extent of it and this internship really opened up my eyes to it. It made me more grateful for the things I am fortunate to have and increased my desire to help those in need. My internship also drew my attention to how COVID impacts people differently and allowed me to help in any way I could with the resources I had.

My internship was with the non-profit organization Girls on the Run of Central Ohio, which is an afterschool program that works with girls in grades 3-5 to teach them how to reach their full protentional and foster personal relationships while staying active. Throughout my internship I have not only completed training on the topic of diversity, equity, and inclusion, but I have been able to transform the training into practice. I worked to help develop programs and at home experiences to help the girls and coaches stay active during COVID-19. This experience helped me see how COVID impacts races differently and that there are less resources for minority people which is something we worked on to change.

I also completed research on diversity in the outdoors and showcased books that highlight diversity for all age groups. In addition to that, I have helped collect and analyze data to compare the racial composition of the schools we served with the demographic characteristics of the teams and coaches. This research allowed me to determine what schools accurately represent the area they are in and how we can increase this representation in not only the participants but also the coaches. This allowed me to see the different demographics around Columbus.

This semester, the Girls on the Run program was all online so throughout my internship I was able to see how all participants responded to this and hear what they thought about it. This experience of being able to see the young girl’s perspective showed me how online classes and COVID really are impacting them and the benefits they got from also participating in Girls on the Run. This opened up to my eyes to how something such as where someone lives and the school district, they reside in can really impact them, especially while going through this pandemic.

This change is valuable for my professional goals because I hope to be a school psychologist one day so I will be working with all of these students I saw throughout my internship. I will be helping them deal with situations such as COVID as well as any other personal situations that may come up and I have to be prepared to help them no matter what. Getting an inside look at the school districts throughout Columbus is going to greatly benefit my future plans.

Workplace Wellness Intern at Buckeye Wellness OSU

For my  STEP signature project, I was a remote workplace wellness intern for Buckeye Wellness OSU. Since most of our events were online due to COVID, interns helped to facilitate emails, ensure that zoom events ran smoothly and monitored the chat and Q/A boxes. Also, I conducted literature reviews, complied social media content and other buckeye wellness documents, worked in Qualtrics, and attended and took notes at various virtual discussions or events for the team.

What changed for me the most during this experience was the confidence I had in being knowledgeable in public health and also my professional confidence. It helped me acknowledged that I was ready and qualified enough to apply to graduate school. Often I think that students who are ready to apply for graduate programs or go into the workforce after graduation can suffer from Imposter Syndrome. However, this experience helped me realize that I have an interest in community health and wellness programming. This was my first internship that was directly related to my major and it allowed me to apply my coursework and gain valuable professional skills that I will need as a future public health professional. Also, I think being a virtual intern and working during a global pandemic with Buckeye Wellness gave me a different perspective especially being a public health student. Overall, this experience helped me grow in so many different ways and helped me clarify what I would like to do with my public health degree. I am also happy to say that I will be continuing my internship in the Spring semester.

A lot of my growth in confidence came from attending different meetings during the week. We had two meetings a week with the whole team. One was a operations and logistics meeting and the other was a strategy meeting. Even though I was just an intern, the team make sure that I knew that my input on projects in these meetings was valued. Over time, I grew in my confidence to speak up during these meetings and let my guard down a bit to get to know my coworkers. It was also interesting to get to see how more professional meetings were run in a professional setting rather than one of a student organization. I definitely feel better about meetings and meeting etiquette when comes to other internships or a post-graduate job. 

In addition, you could feel like the team felt like you had the skill set and competence to get the tasks you were given done. They did so by always allowing you to ask questions after a debrief and giving you a variety of different projects. I worked on everything from survey creation to creating the monthly content of social media posts. You learn that asking questions does not mark you necessarily as incapable but is a display of thoroughness. Interns were also reinforced with positive encouragement after turning in a project. With such a positive work environment and the opportunities I was given, it allowed my professional confidence to flourish. As the internship has gone on I am more confident in reaching out to members of the Buckeye Wellness team and with the quality of work I can produce.

Involvement in virtual summits and webinars with the team allowed my professional confidence to grow the most. The first was the Summit on Promoting Well-Being and Resilience in Healthcare Professionals. I was in charge of making a wellness toolkit for attendees, putting together wellness tips on slides to run during breaks, helping create posts for the 30 day Make it or Break it challenge after the summit, and even recording a stretching video. Also, during the summit itself, I helped to monitor chat and Q/A boxes. Then, I also worked on the Staying Calm and Well pt.3 webinar series. I was in charge of facilitating emails to presenters, creating weekly slide decks, and monitoring the chat and Q/A boxes during the presentation. Being assigned seemingly important tasks like these helped me grow my professional confidence and skill set exponentially.

Like I mentioned in the first paragraph, I have recently applied to graduate schools for a master’s in public health. I had volunteering and leadership experience but was missing a formal internship experience. Before this internship, I was constantly going back and forth if I had enough experience or was qualified enough to take what seems like a huge step. Within the first month of my internship, I knew that I was ready to take this step and even got a letter of recommendation from one of the team members. This opportunity helped me realize that I would like to work in community health and wellness programming on a team like this. I feel confident in the future public health professional I have the potential to be after graduate school.

Below is a screenshot of the summit I worked on!