STEP Post-Project Reflection

 

In my signature project I took an internship at Tesla in Fremont California. I was hired to support production handling, helping to build some of the most S/3/X/Y cars in the world!

I really developed myself as an engineer; I took tools I learned in the classroom and applied it to real-world applications. Technical skills were not the focus, however. Learning how to work with people from different education levels, backgrounds, and experiences made the whole experience worthwhile. My job wasn’t the most compelling, but I learned that what is most rewarding is the process, not the outcomes of a project. Additionally, it was super exciting getting to explore new industries. I now am putting what I learned at Tesla to use in both in and out of the classroom. In interviews for future internships I am using my Tesla experience to give me an upper hand in the applicant pool.

My favorite parts of being in California was all the outdoor activities I was able to do. I picked up surfing, and it turns out I am pretty decent at it! I would go about every other week with a group of other interns. I did a lot of hiking too. At my Air BnB, I was the youngest of all 7 roommates! The ages were 31, 34, 35, 43, 45, and 52. It was pretty crazy being only 20 in a group home situation where you knew no one, but it made me more responsible. As crazy as it sounds, I now do my dishes immediately after I am done using them instead of letting them sit in the sink. This is probably my biggest transformation out there haha. I got to meet a bunch of really cool interns during car deliveries and met some OSU people too (shoutout Alex and Todd!)

I honed my IE skills such that I began learning things in my position that are currently taught in OSU in higher level classes. This is a benefit because when I attend these classes I will have previous experience actively using the tools which are taught. Additionally, my talents have been scoped out by companies like Zoom and SpaceX for internships and full time positions. I am proud to say I will be joining SpaceX next summer and it is all thanks to my experience at Tesla. The SpaceX recruiter knew that a Tesla experience means knowing engineering fundaments and having a fantastic work ethic, and now with Tesla on my resume I am not only able to talk about it, but it shows as a badge of honor.

My project which I worked on gave me hands-on experience working with production associates. It is interesting learning how to work with a group of people from all walks of life, but I was able to present myself well and train people on how to improve standard work, which is a large topic in my ISE 2400 class. Additionally, I am using radiation experience that I gained with my eKanban system to work on my senior capstone project which focuses on piloting a program aimed to help NASA get more electronics into space. These hard and soft skills have been very valuable and I am looking forward to being able to use them in future internships, classes, and full time opportunities.

 

 

The experience opened my eyes to the possibilities of what industrial engineers can do.  My boss was absolutely inspiring and I got to see the processes behind Tesla and what makes it successful. I can use these key traits in the future when I manage teams or my own company. Additionally, I made some great friends and great contacts; I have possible internships lined up at Tesla for next year and keep in touch with people I lived and worked with. Catch me in Tesla-Texas working on bringing the world closer to 100% sustainable energy!

STEP Internship Reflection

Emma Brunst

STEP Co-Operative Education Reflection

 

Over the past 6 months, I have been able to advance my academic and professional career drastically with the help of STEP. In March 2020, I was accepted for a Co-Op opportunity with Novelis, a leading producer and recycler of aluminum sheet metal. I was fortunate to work under Patrick Lester, a fellow Ohio State graduate and welding engineer, as the Application Technology Co-Op for 6 months. In addition to various smaller projects, my main goal was to research and optimize differing weld schedules to be used in development of resistance spot welding. 

 

Any type of transformation may differ from person to person depending on their personal experience, upbringing, goals, etc. After completing my signature project, I was fully convinced that I chose the correct major for myself. I wholeheartedly enjoyed the work that I was doing and genuinely felt I was making an impact on my team and the company. This was my first internship, first time living on my own, first time living out of Ohio; I was able to mature while also advancing my academic and professional career. I also become much more confident in my own skills and abilities throughout this time period. 

 

The main goal of my project was intended to research and optimize the pre-pulse of the weld schedule using resistance spot welding of aluminum sheet metal. The three phases of my project were simulation, welding campaign, and an electrode life study. During to COVID, I was unable to go to the facility or meet my team for about 3 months after the start of my Co-Op. However, we frequently met online to discuss the project and any results that were gathered. Although a majority of the discussion was online, I was able to form a bond with my two bosses, Pat and Julio. Throughout the duration of my project, they constantly assured me that I was doing meaningful and diligent work which contributed to my transformation. In addition to their support, I also received compliments and assurance from others within the company. All the co-ops presented half-way through their projects as well as after it was completed to explain the thought process and results. Following my final presentation, I received emails from others congratulating me on the work and what I was able to accomplish. 

Prior to this experience, I was nervous that a co-op may just be doing small work for my boss or miscellaneous projects. However, my project was very methodical and would actually provide value for the company as well as the welding industry. It took the entire 6 months to complete and mostly was in my control with their guidance of my bosses. The research that I did will be continually considered when making decisions relating to resistance spot welding in the future

In addition to the reassurance and value to the company, I also felt much more confident in my public speaking skills and ability to thoroughly explain my work. However, I think the largest transformation happened within my personal life. Living in Atlanta, Georgia by myself when I was 19 and working full time caused me to develop drastically. I learned an abundance of new information about how to live on my own and be successful in personal life as well. Some examples of this include learning about car maintenance, budgeting, time management, etc. I am now able to carry those new skills and confidence into my remaining years at Ohio State. 

 

After completing the Co-Op, I came back to Ohio State extremely excited and prepared for my future as a welding engineer. I was able to meet many experienced and influential professionals in the field as well as conducting my own research and presenting results. The company I worked for had discussed a possible full-time position in the future after graduation. I am able to hold myself accountable in the classroom, in the professional world, as well as in my personal life in many different ways.

GE Technology Co-op Experience

For my STEP project, I worked in Louisville Kentucky for GE Appliances. During this Co-op, I worked on a new product integration team for their 2021 Monogram and Café series gas ranges and cooktops. While apart of this team, I developed a PID controller for a new precision cooking mode, as well as performed thermal and structure testing to assure products were ready to be launched.

This was my first internship opportunity, and being from Columbus, the first time I had lived in another state. I was excited to get a glimpse at what working as a full-time engineer could look like, as well as experience a different city’s culture. My goal for this semester, was to gain real-world experience as well as teamworking and leadership experience that I can translate to school organizations, and future jobs. My internship at GE Appliances provided me a perfect environment to grow in these ways. I was able to see the management style of a large-scale project and work alongside senior design engineers. I greatly strengthened my time management and communication skills, as I was expected to balance multiple projects and tests, while also presenting and being a part of team meetings.

Being an engineering student can stressful. I believe that what I learned that was most important, was that I am going to engineer. I believe sometimes when school gets stressful, imposer syndrome can make it hard to really imagine your career after graduation. When working at GE, my confidence in career choice greatly increased. All the work I was conducting felt like it was a part of something greater than myself, and something that is going to affect people’s lives. I really enjoyed learning and implementing new concepts onto real products, and learning how to find, discuss and solve design problems. Coming back to Ohio State, I feel my work will be more rewarding knowing how I can translate it to a career to work through problems.

Living in a new state, without any previous relationships was a great experience for to step out of my comfort zone, make new friends, and pick-up responsibilities for taking care of myself. While there, I made a group of other interns that turned into friends. It was difficult with corona to meet interns out of my building, so I had to go out of my comfort zone a bit to make connections though GroupMe that translated to doing things as groups in person. Additionally, I picked up responsibilities such as cooking and taking care of my car. I cooked for myself most days of the week and came to liking it quite a bit. It was fun to find new recipes on the internet and try to make them. I am not a picky eater, so when things went not so great it was not a big deal. Unlike school, my work was over at 5pm, so I had a lot of free time after that I would fill with new hobbies. During this semester, I improved my guitar playing as well as started to skateboard. It was nice to have this time to relax and work on hobbies/get exercise.

The key aspects that greatly aided my growth as an engineer was working in a team of full-time engineers and being a part of extra projects. Working with full-time engineers greatly developed my skills as a team member. Every day, I would work with engineers to root-cause problems, and construct solutions that were viable for the company to include in their products. I learned how to approach individual problems, and how to design a test to prove a problem cause and solution. My ability to participate in problem solving conversations greatly increased, as I was conversing with full-time engineers daily. During my semester, I developed close mentor/mentee bounds with multiple full-time engineers, who were able to work with me to improve my understanding of combustion related issues as well as leadership skills. My team relied on me as if I were a new hire, meaning I would take on projects and explore problems in different areas other than just my assigned intern project. This sharpened my communication and organization skills and pushed me to solve problem both in a team and as an individual. I learned when it is right to ask for help, and when I can help others while also balancing my responsibilities. With these skills, I feel much more adapt to working with many different types of people on a tight schedule to get work done.

An additional project I took on while working at GE, was the Fall Unlocking Innovation drive. This was a two-person team project where members create a prototype for a possible appliance product that GE could pursuit in the future. Of the 25+ teams who joined this project, I was a part of the only team comprised of only Co-ops. My team member also went to Ohio State, and even more interesting, he grew up about 12 minutes away from me. Although I had never met or worked with my partner before, we took on this project together, and received a bronze reward after presenting to 15+ senior leaders at GE. Because I was on a 2021 release team, my required workday was very busy. This made my innovation project a tight balance and pushed me to sharpen my time management skills. Additionally, I gained great exposure to pitches by presenting an original idea to higher ups in the company, something that would have terrified me at the start of my rotation.

Having gained experience as a leader and confidence as an engineer, I am excited to go back to classes and pick-up courses that would have been related to the work I was doing. I have a new sense of curiosity for controllers and thermodynamics, two topics that I dove into while working. I am also very excited to go back to Engineer’s Without Borders (EWB). I hold the position VP of local relations in this organization, and co-lead the local half, which is two weekly meetings. In this organization, we do philanthropic projects with nonprofits around Columbus, last semester taking on three simultaneously. I am very excited to continue leading this section of EWB and trying out some of the leadership styles that I had learned and developed while at my internship. After seeing how projects are approached in a large company such as GE, I feel like I will be able to improve the EWB project efficiency. Finally, I am excited to work at a company such as GE in the future. If I receive a return offer, I would love to work in a different part of the company and increase my understanding of appliances and product design. I have a great sense of hope for becoming an engineer in my future, and very am grateful for opportunity I received and the people I met who pushed and taught me along the way.

 

Delta Air Lines Co-Op

During Fall 2020 I worked as a Co-Op for Delta Air Lines in their Liaison Engineering department. This job involved research into technical data to provide 24/7 support for the airline’s aircraft maintenance operations. I worked closely with engineers to develop paperwork and plans to repair aircraft.

In working this position, I got to have my perspective of the industry change. Before the internship, I had not had an opportunity to look behind the scenes at what the operation of an airline looks like or see an engineering team at work. During my time there I gained great confidence in my ability to succeed in the field of aerospace engineering. I was also struck by the sense of teamwork and the camaraderie that I saw within the department. I didn’t initially expect to find that in an office job environment, but I was pleasantly surprised this Fall. I was also impressed by the various departments as Delta working together to smoothly run the business with a sense of understanding of how important working together is.

Out of the start of my time at Delta there were challenges that I had to overcome. The first of these being the largest, finding out that I had to work from home. I was worried that this arrangement would cause a great disconnect between me and my co-workers during the rotation. Thankfully, many in the team made efforts to include me and get to know me despite not being in the office together. Just little chats about life in our brief video conference meetings were very valuable to me.

Working on engineering tasks and sometimes even taking the lead on them contributed to my greatly increased confidence and experience working as a part of an engineering team. Additionally, getting to communicate and coordinate with other departments allowed me to get a window into various areas of the industry. For example, being in contact with mechanics at the aircraft allowed me to see how the support process work on both sides, where previously I had only been on the mechanic’s side. It definitely was an interesting change in perspective for me.

During the co-op I also realized how much I enjoyed doing valuable work. Being able to get airplanes out of the hangar faster and discovering effective ways of solving a problem was personally very rewarding to me. This also was true when I was working on and presented my end of rotation project. Having others see and appreciate the value of my work is important to me being satisfied in my career.

Overall, my experience with Delta has confirmed for me that I want to work in the engineering field. When searching for opportunities in the future in engineering, I now understand that I want to look for a place where I can do work that I feel is valuable and has a very strong and supportive team dynamic. Additionally, I want to promote that kinda of culture in whatever I do professionally or otherwise. Finally, when I do get that engineering job offer, I can be confident knowing that I’m capable of doing what is required of me in the engineering field.

Root Insurance 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.

 

I worked at Root Insurance as a software engineering intern, which ended up being completely remote due to the global pandemic. During my internship, I worked on a team of full-time engineers and worked alongside members of my team throughout several projects.

 

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.

 

This was an excellent opportunity, not only because it gave me professional experience but also because it helped me discover more about what future career I want to pursue. I learned so much during my time at Root, and I really appreciated all of the help and encouragement I received along the way. From this experience, I discovered that there is so much more I need to learn, and that I can learn more and more every single day as a professional in software. I have been humbled by this experience in the best possible way and now understand that I need to continue asking questions if I want to grow as effectively as possible. I am very thankful for this 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? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences
completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.

 

During internship at Root, I spent a lot of time working with the full-time engineers on my team. Therefore, the most impactful part of my STEP Signature Project was the opportunity to work with my team.

 

One such important aspect was pair programming. Although my internship was remote, I was still able to talk with members of my team and we could share our screens with each other while pairing on a project. This was immensely helpful for me, since I came into the internship without any prior experience in the programming languages used by Root.

 

Another important aspect were the team meetings I would have every week. We would do video stand up meetings several mornings a week, along with meetings to plan each of our work for the week. This helped make the remote work a lot more welcoming, since it provided good opportunities each week to talk with everyone and see them. Additionally, my team played Among Us several times, which was always a blast.

 

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.

 

The growth I have achieved through this internship is priceless to me. I learned so much in such a short time, and I now have experience that will benefit me in my future classes and career. On top of that, I was given a full time offer by Root at the end of my internship and accepted it. So, I have already transitioned to a full-time employee there and am continuing to learn more and more every single day. I am very lucky and thankful for the opportunity to intern at Root Insurance, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.

 

(My internship was completely remote, so I sadly don’t have any pictures to share about my STEP Signature Project.)

Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center

  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.

As the Advocacy Intern Team Lead at the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, my main activities around the office involved assisting advocates with public records requests, court docket searches, and case briefings. I also was in charge of assigning other interns tasks and monitoring the progress of their projects. I also compiled information for multiple research projects regarding victims’ rights, mental health, and Title IX policy changes in Ohio. 

  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.

While working at the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, I worked a lot on projects revolving around the mental health of crime victims. An assumption that I had going into my internship was that mental health resources could be readily available to anyone who may need help. However, that is just not the case. Taking care of your mental health through therapy, psychiatry, or other forms of professional help can be very expensive. Many people believe and push for individuals to go to therapy to help with mental illnesses but do not realize the expenses that may come along with doing so. Individuals with a low/near poverty level income can not afford professional help for their mental illnesses and are forced to try to maneuver the world by themselves. This realization that mental health help is not readily available to anyone who may need it structured a lot of what projects I worked on while at the OCVJC and continues to be a problem I am passionate about finding a solution for. I transformed my passions for mental health towards trying to help individuals find ways to protect and help stabilize their mental health

  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.

I first came to this realization when I was working on a project searching for mental health services in Ohio for crime victims during the pandemic. After doing some deep searches for both organizations, non-profits, and individual practices, the cheapest prices for therapy were over a hundred dollars. There were options all over the state, and some even online, but none of them could be afforded by an individual who worked a minimum wage job. Compiling this list of affordable mental health resources was a difficult task and was the start of my transformation in my view of affordable mental health. 

After this, I talked a lot about mental health with my advocacy advisor, Emma. Emma explained to me that because the OCVJC is a non-profit, there were a lot of services that our clients were looking for but we did not provide, mental health services being one of them. She also explained that mental health assistance is crucial for individuals who are victims of violent crimes such as domestic violence, rape, and/or assault. We also discussed the importance of maintaining mental health during a pandemic. Individuals who have worked hard to stabilize their mental health may have lost resources during the pandemic to help continue their journey on protecting their mental health. This change in perspective led me to work on my next project at the OCVJC. 

The final project I worked on at the OCVJC was developing ways individuals can help stabilize their mental health in their own homes during this crazy pandemic. In addition to the uncertainty and stress of the global outbreak, spending time in quarantine can take a serious mental toll. Individuals may be likely to have feelings of loneliness, sadness, fear, anxiety, and stress, which are normal given the circumstances. Through my research, I found that being active, staying connected through technology, and establishing a routine are ways that an individual can help maintain their mental health. I also found out that practicing mindfulness and appreciation help with this as well. Doing this research and sharing my findings with Emma, along with the other advocates solidified my change of perspective of how important it is that affordable mental health services are necessary for everyone, including victims of violent crimes. 

  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

It has been very important for me to better understand mental health for both personal, academic, and professional reasons. Mental health is always an important topic of conversation in my family life. My brother has been battling with balancing his mental health for over a decade, and understanding the best ways to help him is the most important for me. I also hope that gaining a better understanding of the importance of mental health will help me grow academically. As a double major in psychology and criminology, it is very important for me to best understand mental health as it is a huge component of both of those fields. Finally, I hope to take this shift of perspective and from it professionally. Whatever my career is, I plan to prioritize mental health and help to make it more accessible for everyone who may suffer from a mental illness.

One Research Project I completed on Indirect Trauma

A Research Project I completed on Mental Health

Chemical Engineering Industry Exploration

My project was a co-op with ExxonMobil down in Texas, where I worked as a process engineer in the refinery with the operations support department. As a process engineer co-op, I was assigned tasks and projects from my supervisor that I had to complete. As a co-op these projects ranged widely, but some of the main ones were trending data and increasing clarity of chemical spending. Trending data involved pulling tags and data points to graph over time. One important aspect of being in the operations support department is looking at daily unit and process trends to make adjustments, this is where my trending of the data came in; allowing contact engineers to quickly and easily inspect trends and make needed adjustments. The second main project involved sifting through chemical spend data in order to present it to the Business Team Leads and contact engineers in a clear and concise manner. This was done using Microsoft’s Power BI program. The dashboards I created in Power BI also allowed future and current business plans to be created, updated, and tracked.

I changed personally, along with my view of chemical engineering. My project took place in Texas and that meant I would be living alone for the first time ever. I had to be in charge of rent, all utilities, groceries, cooking, and not to mention all while working at my first co-op. Added to that was the difficulties of navigating the pandemic. All of these items and responsibilities led to me growing a lot as a person.

I had to be much more attentive and aware of my surroundings, how much food I had left, when I can cook, when I can go to the store to minimize the amount of people there, and so on. I think all of this responsibility definitely changed me. I had to become my own advocate and be independent because there was no one for me to rely on but myself. Another example of this was car maintenance. Since I had to commute to work every day, I took a car to this co-op and that meant I had to be in charge of its health and upkeep. This ranged from simple items like getting gas but also more complicated items such as oil changes and making sure all needed fluids where stocked. Before this experience I was relatively independent when it came to keeping track of my finances, but I am now more independent and certainly more competent with regards to personal life, handling my budget, and physically living.

The largest aspect of this project was the actual internship/co-op. This was my first co-op, first job working for a large company, and first job related to my major. Each of those three firsts had an impact on me.

As my first co-op and job for a large company I learned many soft skills. These skills ranged from getting used to scheduling meetings through Outlook, becoming more adept at scheduling and presenting in video calls, and becoming competent with using email as a primary range of communication. The pandemic also exasperated these effects, making in person meetings/communications almost non-existent. Another thing I learned was project management. Very similar to time management, I had to learn how to organize and complete my assigned projects in order to have them finished by the deadline and to the best of my ability. The large company aspect taught me a lot about how companies operate in general, such as monthly company progress updates, employee benefits, employee resources, and how to work with other departments within the company. These learned soft skills and added knowledge definitely changed me into a more confident individual. Before this co-op I wasn’t really sure how companies operated or what a real world job might be like. Now that I have learned valuable soft skills and proved my expertise with them, I now have a clear picture of how a large company operates. I feel more ready for life after college and graduation.

Being my first internship experience during college, this internship was geared towards my major, the department I was in contained primarily chemical engineers (my major). This allowed me to discuss and communicate with a broad range of people with chemical engineering experiences; whether that be their current role they hold within the company or how they found their way to a manufacturing job. Not only was I able to ask others about their chemical engineering experiences, but through my projects and meetings, I was physically able to see myself doing the types of things a manufacturing chemical engineer might do. One of the coolest things I was able to do was actually go out into the refinery (see picture below). Sitting in a classroom or sitting in an office looking at diagrams and flows is a completely different experience than seeing the actual units, pipes, and flow streams. Physically seeing the objects really helped keep me actively engaged in the work I was doing and also helped me see the actual applications and importance of my projects.

Coming from little to no real-world experience of what a chemical engineer can do after college, I found this experience truly transforming. Going into the co-op I just figured I would like a manufacturing job since most of the people I knew went into that field. After talking with numerous other ExxonMobil chemical engineers and doing my projects, I do feel that I might like a more research-oriented job after college. Sophomore year I thought of three or so areas I could go into after college: Industry, Industry research, or academic research. This co-op fit the group of industry and seeing how I might like research better, my new goal for the future is to try out the other two categories through internships, co-ops, or other means. This transformation from “set on manufacturing” to “maybe I like research more” is one of the most valuable things I have gained from this experience. What I want to do in the future beyond college will, quite literally, affect my future. Learning this early that I might want to be more research focused will allow me to pursue opportunities where I get exposure to research and allow me to refine my future goals/plans more precisely.

While this switch in future goals is definitely the most significant change, the overall co-op experience I deem valuable as well. All the soft skills I learned, through participating in the day-to-day workings of a large company, I will use in the future to my advantage. Learning and gaining the experience of living alone and becoming more independent will also serve me in the future. I think there will be a time after college where I do live either alone or with a roommate; either way I will need to rely on myself and learning how to do that now will save me time and effort in the future (when I might have a full time job). Overall, I do not think I would change anything I did, even if I didn’t find myself meshing with the manufacturing experience. The transformations I underwent, the knowledge and skills I learned, and the changes to my future goals were too valuable to miss out on.

Senior Tax Intern at L Brands–Corinne Kampman

For my internship experience, I was a Senior Tax Intern at L Brands in Columbus, OH. I mainly worked in the Corporate Income Tax department where I worked on projects for local, state, federal and international needs. I was able to complete and assist with projects that many entry level tax staff worked on. 

I started out thinking that tax was not going to be that interesting and not that complex. With L Brands having international ties, it definitely added another level of complexity. Additionally, I had no prior tax experience going in, just some basic accounting classes under my belt. In this internship role, I learned that I am a quick learner and that there are many areas and job possibilities in the accounting sector. 

I assumed that acounting was not a difficult or fast paced field. I also assumed that a lot of what I would be doing would be black and white. The reality of many of the projects that I worked on is that a lot is up to the accountant’s discretion. I also learned that accounting, especially tax is very face pasted and deadline driven. A lot of interns experience an internship that they are fulfilling basic needs and busy work–that was my biggest fear going into the internship. I quickly learned that I would learn a lot and be treated like a full-time normal entry level staff within the field. I also did not expect my team to really have that much confidence in me, as I had no experience in tax, but they treated me like an equal for my entire experience even if they had been at the company for 10+ years. The picture I included as of a thank you box that the company sent me for Bath and Body Works’ Anniversary.

Some key aspects that led to this transformation were that I was given leads on a variety of projects and directly reported to top level accounting executives within the company. I completed tax forms solely and was able to have them reviewed and submitted to the IRS. These experiences showed me that I had the ability to do these things later in my professional level and how I can excel outside of a school environment. Additionally, I was allowed to process confidential tax documents and contact the IRS on behalf of L Brands. I also was given the opportunity to be exposed to tax software and learned a couple of programs which has impressed many in interviews. 

It also helped grow my confidence in myself. I had no idea that I could handle pitching ideas to my boss, working within a team with a list of projects to work on, and numerous meetings. It also helped me learn more about other fields in accounting besides tax. 

My largest project that has the most impact on me was completing a 990 form by myself. This form is basically for a nonprofit that you submit to the IRS. The 990 form that I completed was for Easton. It was incredible to learn more about how the company was structured and to complete a project by myself. I did projects throughout my work that had a box at the bottom for your CPA license number (so I would have to get it reviewed and signed off by a team member or boss). Seeing that someone with their CPA is commonly filling these tax forms out reminded me that I am on my path to obtaining my CPA license and that I have the ability to do it. 

Overall, this experience exposed me to a lot within the field. I was able to work on a variety of projects, play a large role within my team, and make connections in the field. Professionally, I gave me a great baseline of knowledge and skill in accounting and has assisted me in obtaining a full-time, post graduation position at Ernst & Young in Philadelphia.

 

Chemical Engineering Co-op at Cooper Tire and Rubber

My STEP project included me completing a semester long co-op/internship at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company in Findlay, Ohio. During my time with Cooper, I completed many projects that helped me grow my skill set as an engineer and future employee. I completed projects that allowed me to use my skill sets I learned in the classroom in the real world including the global standardization of critical indirect materials, curing optimization efforts, and the development of an analytical testing method for thermal conductivity.

During my time with Cooper Tire, I grew in many different ways. The major area I grew in was how I professionally communicated with engineers and vendors/ manufacturers that Cooper bought indirect materials from. My main project was placing SAP controls for all critical indirect materials used in the US plants. From the beginning to the end of my co-op rotation, I could tell it was easier for me to communicate and ask questions to people to gather the information I needed. I also grew my ability to solve problems on my own and be confident in my answers. My mentor even mentioned my growth in these two areas on my end of term review.

Over this 17 week period, I also gained a better understanding on how to be adaptable. During my co-op rotation, I had to learn how to be adaptable on if I was working from home or working in the office. During my rotation, the corona situation constantly changed the workplace dynamic. As the rotation progressed, I learned how to prioritize certain tasks and projects on days when I was working in the office and other task on days when I was working from home.

This internship was my second rotation with Cooper Tire and Rubber Company. My first rotation I was in the lab and stayed to myself. I completed the routine testing and did not have to talk to many people. However, this second rotation that I completed through STEP, involved me talking to vendors, manufacturers, and engineers that I have never worked with. This communication was needed to complete one of my projects. I had to develop professional relationships with vendors and manufactures in order to gather information and data I needed to finish my part of the project. Each time I talked to a different company, I got better at how I asked my questions and how I approached the problem at hand. I also observed how my mentor and manager talked to suppliers to help me become better at this.

As mentioned in question 2, I also grew in my ability to solve problems on my own. My second project I worked on was developing a method to analysis thermal conductivity of bladder compounds for the Clarksdale Mississippi plant. In order to train this plant lab on the method, I had to find creative ways to communicate with them. In order for easier training I ordered the plant lab a video camera and had them download Microsoft teams on to the computer they were running the software on. They also had software issues that I had to solve. I communicated back and forth with the Clarksdale plant lab, engineers at Cooper, and the contact with the software company to solve the issues they were experiencing. I organized teams meetings between these people in order to solve the problems they were experiencing. By the end of the project, I was considered an expert at the method I developed.

Another big thing I learned to do was to ask questions and ask to do things I thought would beneficial to the me as an employee. When I was under assigned work, I reached out to my manager and received some really cool projects to work on. One of my projects even received the annual Extra Mile Award that Cooper Technical gave out every December. I also asked to go out into the plant so I could better understand the manufacturing process. Everyone in my department was very understanding and always answered my questions.

This experience is very significant in my professional career as a chemical engineer. I will be able to talk about this experience in all my full time interviews. The projects I worked on gave me a wide range of experience that hit a different aspect in a career as an engineer. These experiences also grew my character and gave me better communication skills. It is my goal to graduate from OSU with a full time job offer and this experience helped strength my resume for when I apply to full time jobs both at Cooper and outside the company. It also confirmed that this is the right career path for me.

Lauren Ratterman Internship Reflection

My internship took place at the Instructional Kitchen located in The Ohio State Union. I worked along side fellow interns under the head chef. We helped prepare and plan for classes.

Through this internship I saw a transformation in myself. I had to learn how to keep myself accountable. As the semester was already unusual, having to complete 180 hours of an internship made it a little chaotic. I had to learn how to stay organized so I could complete my school work as well as get in enough internship hours. I also saw a change in my confidence. I had to learn how to reach out of my confidence zone when I needed help. Overall, I learned that I am capable of doing anything if I put my mind to it.

Furthermore, the people I worked with led me to my transformations. Having a team of interns to work with helped me gain perspective. As they had their own stuff going on, they still showed up and worked hard. Being able to see others be persistent made me want to work twice as hard.

Not only did the interns impact me, but Chef Wolf, the head chef, taught me more than how to properly cut garlic. Chef Wolf showed us important lessons to carry into our future careers in hospitality. He was able to show us that even that hardest things can be fun. He pushed us to think critically about how we prepare for a class. He also gave us responsibilities that we may have not stepped up to take. He liked to challenge us.

Last but not least, my relationship with myself taught me more than I could have ever thought. It was hard to say no to fun things when I knew I had other important things going on. I had to make hard decisions to be able to grow throughout my internship. I didn’t go through the motions but created the learning experiences for myself. I discovered a new side of me that is confident and knows what I want.

This experience is valuable to my life because I can carry the things I learned to all areas of my life. Knowing that I have the confidence to go out of my comfort zone opens many new doors that I may have never seen without this internship. Also, the relationships I have made are new connections for me to reach out to as I further my education. This internship showed me that I am capable of great things no matter how big or small. I am forever grateful for the time I spend in the instructional Kitchen.