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What I Did This Summer

September 07, 2011

How did Ohio State students spend summer break? Read on to find out, in their own words.

Gee on stage


Lauren Altenburger

Major: Human Development and Family Science

L. Altenburger

"This summer I received a Summer Research Scholarship from the University Honors and Scholars Center. This gave me the opportunity to work on the New Parents Project, a study designed to examine maternal influences on the development of father-child relationships for couples making the transition to parenthood. As part of this responsibility, I helped draft a coding manual used to code observations of triadic interactions between mothers, fathers, and children. I enjoyed spending the summer studying the parenting relationship and look forward to using data from the project to develop my senior thesis over the course of this year."

Kelsey Bisson

Major: Geological Sciences

K. Bisson

"I had six weeks of field camp in a small town in central Utah, where I studied the geological history of the area along with other students in my major. It was my first extended visit to the western United States, so I was able to see many incredible features firsthand. Overall, it was an awesome experience. Upon my return to Ohio, I worked in a lab at the Byrd Polar Research Center. I'm looking at stream geochemistry in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica, and things are going great so far! Two weeks of RA training conclude my busy summer before my junior year."

Maggie Bornhorst

Major: Master of Public Health

M. Bornhorst

"This summer I had the opportunity to work with Transportation & Parking Services while I monitored traffic-related air pollution on campus. I measured carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, black carbon and particulate matter--all indicators of car, bus, and truck traffic. The data will be analyzed during autumn quarter and will show the hotspots of pollution on campus as a function of space and time. Working with the T&P team was an extremely valuable experience. The support from the department as well as around the campus community in finding power for each stationary location was amazing and really emphasized the idea of working as one university."

Robert Breetz

Major: Electrical Engineering

R. Breetz

"I studied abroad this summer through the Dresden Language Program in Dresden, Germany. During my time in Germany, I was able to experience the local culture, learn more about the country, see more than I ever expected, enhance my foreign language skills, and make friends with Germans and other Ohio State students. I was able learn German while still being able to focus on my major classes back at school. Being able to visit places with more history than you could imagine and to experience the culture of another country made studying abroad extremely worthwhile."

Colleen Dempsey

Major: Social Work

C. Dempsey

"This summer, I took multiple trips to Washington, D.C., with fellow MSW students Sarah Tarrant and Emily Panzeri, as well as Danielle Smith from the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. We attended meetings and events in the Whitehouse as part of President Obama's 'How to Make Change' series, and made invaluable connections to further our cause. We hope to work with the Obama Administration to form a commission that will focus on professional issues that affect social workers such as loan forgiveness and safety issues. Long term, we also hope to see social workers included in policymaking decisions that will affect their clients."

Tess Eckstein

Major: International Studies: Security and Intelligence

T. Eckstein

"For two months, I took classes at Oceans University in Qingdao, China. I also spent a week traveling to see and experience life in a handful of Chinese cities. I lived in the dorms with Chinese roommates, had four hours of classes each day with tutor time in the afternoons, and spent weekends exploring Qingdao and the surrounding areas. My Chinese roommate and TAs made a lasting impression on me as they helped reinforce what I learned in classes, show me around China, and add to my overall experience. This experience opened my eyes to the stark differences between the U.S. and many other countries."

Drew Enigk

Major: Animal Sciences

D. Enigk

"I spent my summer performing behavioral research on bonobos, one of the four species of great apes. I recorded affiliative behavior and proximity data among the 16 bonobos at the Columbus Zoo for my undergraduate honors thesis titled Cross-sectional investigation of non-kin affiliation in bonobos (Pan paniscus). My objectives included describing the reproductive behavioral strategy of each age-sex class and determining the extent of bonobos’ knowledge of paternity by utilizing the zoo’s record of genetic relatedness. I never cease to be fascinated by the bonobos’ behavior and plan to continue researching this species in graduate school."

Chris Gaw

Major: Biology

C. Gaw

"I worked at Cleveland Clinic under an American Heart Association Fellowship grant. I worked on two projects pertaining to human heart failure. Working at a hospital globally recognized for cardiac research, I learned from amazing scientists and doctors and became good friends with other students. One of my favorite experiences was going into the operating rooms to collect heart samples for the lab, therefore having the opportunity to watch open heart surgeries in the process. I really enjoyed my summer research experience and cherished the opportunity to forward our understanding of one of the most common diseases that afflicts Americans today."

Elizabeth Harter

Majors: Accounting and Marketing

E. Harter

"I traveled to England for the six-week Oxford University Pre-Law program. I attended classes that were engaging and enlightening; had tea time; and went on excursions to palaces, Parliament, and even the Supreme Court. I learned so much about English and American law from professors who were unbelievably talented, and I developed a much deeper understanding of the world. I loved being a part of a legacy of students that reaches back to the 800s. Studying abroad was an incredibly empowering experience. It ended up changing my view of the world and of myself."

Jonte Jones

Majors: Psychology and Neuroscience

J. Jones

"As a recipient of the Undergraduate Research Office Summer Fellowship, I worked full-time in the psychology department with Dr. Derick Lindquist. Our projects concern the effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome on behavior and learning. In addition to this, I have begun my own project in which I am looking to alleviate some of the deficits seen in Fetal Alcohol Syndrome by introducing a cognitive-enhancing chemical. This summer has been an amazing learning experience. I've learned new skills and been involved in great research. Now that I know what it means to be a full-time research scientist, I’m even more excited about the future!"

Mark Mangia

Major: Medical Technology

M. Mangia

"This summer I participated in the second year of the Development Internship for Career Exploration program through Ohio State’s Development Office. As one of eight interns, I learned the ins and outs of University Development and the importance of philanthropy to the continuation of Ohio State's mission. I was able to network with numerous Ohio State staff and donors, as well as development staff from our peer institutions. Throughout the summer, I worked on a project proposal to implement a student giving program at Ohio State which will replace the Class Gift. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity and experience I acquired."

Joe Nurre

Major: Chemical Engineering

J. Nurre

"This summer I participated in Hamilton County's P2 Internship Program. Through the program, I received a week of pollution prevention and process improvement training, and then I spent 11 weeks at Duke Energy's Midwest headquarters in Cincinnati. While at Duke, I had diverse responsibilities including auditing and overhauling Duke's office recycling program in the Cincinnati area, examining the waste streams from various capital improvement projects, and increasing employee awareness and education regarding sustainability. Through my experience, I gained valuable insight into the delicate balance between the myriad factors involved in creating a more environmentally sustainable future for our society."

Stephanie Sobek

Majors: Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies

S. Sobek

"This summer I participated in a five-week Peace and Conflict Resolution in the Middle East study abroad program. In London, we studied the conflict in Northern Ireland. I met Jonathan Powell, Tony Blair's Chief of Staff, and Lord Alderice. In Amman, Jordan, we examined current conflicts in the Middle East with prominent politicians and professors. My most memorable experience in Jordan was our visit with Sheikh Abu Jibraayil of the Al-Amareen tribe. We spent the day in his Bedouin camp and discussed conflict resolution between tribes. It was an amazing experience both academically and culturally. I cannot wait to return."

Matthew Stanko

Major: Construction Systems Management

M. Stanko

"This summer I worked with The Ohio State University's Solar Decathlon team to construct the sustainable home for this year's competition. The contest is held in Washington, D.C., and involves collegiate teams from around the world. The challenge is to design and build a home that is energy efficient and architecturally appealing, as well as affordable. Building a 1,000-square-foot home on three trailers to move 400 miles from campus to the nation's capitol is a challenge within itself. The students and faculty on the team are working hard to represent our university proudly!"

TJ Stewart

Major: Human Resources (graduate student)

TJ Stewart

"Over the summer I had the unique opportunity to intern at DreamWorks Animation studio! They have two campuses and I was placed in the Northern California location. My internship was in the Human Resources office but I completed work tasks and assignments in multiple areas of the company. I was able to get a firsthand look of the film production process! The company encouraged me to not only get involved at work but also in the community, and I did with the San Francisco AIDS walk, volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank, and helping work with an Animal Welfare nonprofit."

Alison Vasquez

Major: Master of Fine Arts in Theatre with an emphasis in Acting and Voice

A. Vasquez

"I had the wonderful opportunity to continue in the Ohio State and Royal Shakespeare Company's partnership, Stand Up For Shakespeare America. This partnership presents Shakespeare in a fun and accessible way for K-12 students. In June, I spent time with the amazing cast of the RSC's Young People's Shakespeare production of Hamlet, here in Columbus. I traveled to NYC to attend the Romeo and Juliet performance and gala in the Park Avenue Armory's Scarlet and Gray stage, were I presented at the Shakespeare symposium the next day."