This summer, I’m interning with a group called the STEAM Factory, a grassroots faculty initiative on campus that aims to facilitate collaborative interdisciplinary research between faculty members and community engagement in Columbus through the dissemination of research. As their intern, I’ve been working in a lot of different capacities: as a student manager (there are 4 other interns I help project manage), preparing membership and communications documents, editing the website (still a work in progress), and graphic design documents such as fliers and brochures. Of course, as with most internships, it’s also “duties as assigned,” which currently is helping to film an “About Us” video and visualizing our new creative space.This space about which I’m discussing is on the second floor of 400 W. Rich. For those of you who don’t know (and I didn’t until about 8 months ago), 400 W. Rich is an artists’ space in East Franklinton and basically the coolest place I’ve been in Columbus. It’s industrial and historical, but innovative and modern. The building is surrounded by collaborative neighbors such as Land Grant Brewing Company and the Columbus Idea Foundry. The STEAM Factory has recently opened a space in the larger building, and it will serve as the home base of the organization once it has been furnished and outfitted. I’ve been spending some time in it before it’s finished, working and touring, and it makes me excited to see where the STEAM Factory will go in the next few years. 400 W. Rich just feels inspired, and it will be great for the collaborative work our organization is doing.
So far, I’ve learned a lot about working with faculty, working with multiple entities with different goals and needs (over 50 disciplines represented, community partners, and OSU administration), strategic planning, and results-oriented work. It’s also been wonderful to meet and interact with faculty from disciplines different from my own in a new way, as well as build connections in the City and Regional Planning field. I’m sure there will be even more to learn throughout the rest of the summer, both in working in the community and internally in the university!