My STEP Experience- Reporting Back

This past summer, I was able to focus my time on my role as Chief of Staff for USG. I was able to meet with the President, Deputy Chief of Staff, and other members of USG. We were able to collaborate and work together to prepare for our upcoming school year.
During this summer, I had the opportunity through STEP and my position as Chief of Staff to work on policy points USG wanted to see enacted during our time in office. Serving as the student voice, USG must have a clear idea of the changes necessary. Coming up with a detailed, well thought out plan of how to enact policy and project ideas into the university is essential to be effective during the year I hold office. The STEP Program assisted me in completing this goal last summer and this school year, we have been able to focus on working with administrators at the university on the policy we discussed this past summer. Running Cabinet, which consists of around 200 members, and a portion of that number being new members who are unfamiliar of what policy changes are plausible and needed, I must have a firm idea of what policy should be prioritized to give the members a better understanding of how to make a difference. With the STEP program, I did not worry about the financial burden of paying for housing and was able to focus my attention on gaining a strong sense of the policy that we would be working on this school year and so far, Cabinet has been running very smoothly as a result. My role as Chief of Staff has allowed me to oversee all policy and project ideas. This has allowed me to have a real life experience that I can apply to my future career. Having a clear understanding of how to enact policy changes at the collegiate level will assist me in my dreams of enacting health care policy at a much higher level.
This summer, I also restructured Cabinet, focusing on changing the organization from within, and coming up with the schedule for the year. As mentioned previously, I am responsible for Cabinet, which consists of around 200 members as well as Senior Staff, which consists of 14 members appointed by the executive branch. Having such a large responsibility, any changes or plans for the internal structure of USG must be planned well in advance to the beginning of the school year. Staying on campus this summer allowed me to collaborate with the USG advisor and the USG President to carefully work out the details of the structural change. I also came up with weekly plans to hold Directors of committees within Cabinet and members of Senior Staff accountable to make sure they are fulfilling their roles to the best of their abilities once the school year begins. I communicated with members on Senior Staff and Cabinet directors to come up with a blueprint that catered to the needs of the organization and the leaders of USG. We installed a system that streamlined the communication system of our leadership. Not only was this communication system well thought out and created, but I was able to implement it during the summer. Members of Senior Staff submitted their updates well into the summer and we saw the effectiveness of the system, made minor adjustments to improve the flow of information, and made sure it was efficiently running before the school year began. The strategy and planning needed to accomplish the goals I set for last summer really advanced my leadership qualities that were needed to be a successful Chief of Staff.
The STEP Program truly helped me throughout my sophomore year. Every other week, I met with my Cohort and we would discuss different things pertaining to what we planned to do and make of our STEP Program. I was able to discuss the different options of what we could do with our STEP program with other sophomores in the same program. Our cohort leader allowed us to lead the conversations and cultivated an open atmosphere. I also really enjoyed the other requirements of the program as well. The different co-curricular programs were inspiring and educational. After each co-curricular, I was able to walk away happy and educated. I heard about interesting topics and also learned about the different programs and services available to students at The Ohio State University. One of the programs I enjoyed the most was the financial literacy program. The financial literacy program prepared me for following years as an undergraduate student and also after graduation. They told me about several scholarship websites that I could take advantage of and ways to apply for financial aid for graduate schooling. This semester, my family and I have been using the resources given to me by the financial literacy program to research scholarship opportunities for me and my younger brother who is planning to attend OSU next year.
I have learned several concepts and skills in the academic setting such as organization and self-discipline. These are needed qualities in a leader as well. As I went through the leadership development program, I was able to apply my academically learned skills to my leadership roles. Although I developed these qualities in the academic setting, I knew they could easily be applied and advanced in my leadership role. My role as Chief of Staff will continue to challenge these concepts and skills and improve them as they have this past summer. With my role thus far, I have learned that a leader must holds values of unselfish leadership, the talent to remove personal interests to make clear decisions, and communication skills. In order to be an effective leader, you must be leading for the right reasons. Obtaining leadership roles solely for the purpose of personal gain severely impacts decision-making. Removing personal interests to make clear decisions is also essential to be a successful leader. Although you may not personally agree with decisions being made, you must make the decision that is best for an organization or your constituents. Lastly, communication is key to success. Communicating with all facets of the organization you are leading is necessary. If you are unable to affectively communicate, your role as a leader will greatly suffer. As Chief of Staff, all of these necessary and effective leadership qualities will be tested and further developed through hands on experience.
Not only have I been able to translate the skills I’ve gained in an academic setting to my leadership role, but I plan to do the same with the skills I’ve obtained through my role as Chief of Staff to my future career.
As I am quickly approaching my final year of undergraduate studies, I have heavily considered what I plan to do after graduation. Talking with different Public Health professionals, I decided that I want to go into health administration and work on health policy. My position as Chief of Staff provides me with valuable experience that can be translated to experience for my future career. My position requires strong leadership qualities and has taught me how to lie out an effective plan on how to advocate for policy changes. I look forward to build the strengths and knowledge I obtained from the STEP program and continue to grow as a leader.

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