STEP Reflection-Cody Klinker

Name: Cody Klinker

Type of project: undergraduate research


  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 STEP project fell under the heading of undergraduate research. My research was in the area of radiation oncology through the James Cancer Hospital at The Ohio State University. The project is titled “Optimum Selection Radiation Therapy Modality for Brain Tumors/Functional Diseases: Gamma Knife or External Beam Radiation Therapy?” and my responsibilities included taking MRIs, CTs, and other imaging and simulating gamma knife radiation via a computer program. I am still working on the project and my principle investigator and I have plans for publishing.


  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.

Through this experience, I has discovered that I am capable of more than I previously thought. By participating in this research, there was a lot of responsibility put on me as this project has been solely my project with just sporadic meetings with my principle investigator. This meant that I am responsible for the success or failure of this project. I put several hours of work into the project every week, along with the classes I was taking during the May and summer terms. This also allowed me to work on my time management skills as yet another element was added to my daily schedule. Overall, my self-discipline was bettered and I became a well-rounded individual by participating in the STEP program.


  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.

There were certain elements of my research experience that led to the transformation discussed in the second response. One of these elements was the accuracy required by the job itself. For each case, I had to manually contour a closed body set so the radiation plan can be simulated. This contour had to very closely match the skull contour lines for a more accurate result. The plan for radiation must also be covering almost all of the tumor and very little of the healthy tissue surrounding it. This attention to detail is required for all parts of my research. It also translates well into life as attention to detail can be very beneficial for many aspects of life.

Another element of the project that enabled a transformation within me was the prospect of publishing a research paper. This goal was given to me when I agreed to work my with principle investigator on this project. The timeline given to me was to be published by the time that I graduate from Ohio State in the spring of 2017. This aspiration to have a published paper has made me a more driven person with direction and determination to reach my goal, good attributes to carry with you in life.

One last element of the project that enabled a transformation within me was the exposure to a medical setting. As a pre-med student, I am very interested in the field of medicine. Being able to go into the radiation oncology department in the James Cancer Hospital, one of the leading cancer hospitals in the world, is a great honor. I get accustomed with the layout of the hospital. I get to interact with medical personnel at certain points and I get to deal with real patients and their imaging. This not only looks good on resumes and applications, but it is changing my perspective on the world of medicine and I am looking forward to the future. This further gives me the determination to work harder to reach a goal I have been trying to reach for a long time.

  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.

This change is valuable for my life because as life progresses more duties and responsibilities will be presented, which I will have to respond to. For example, having a full-time job, having a family, and other elements of life keep people busy. By learning to manage time, I will be able to be successful in many elements of my life. Also, persistence and drive were learned during my time in the STEP program. I made conscious decisions to go and work on my research, and that time I put in will pay off in the end. As in life, you get out what you put in. Finally, the act of doing research got me in a spirit of inquiry and discovery. This spirit is very positive for the rest of my life. If I question things and explore as I go through life, I will pick up more skills and knowledge that will be further better me as a person. I am very fortunate and grateful to have gone through the STEP program at The Ohio State University.

gamma knife James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

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