As I reflect on my experience with this program, it is hard to imagine succeeding my undergraduate education any other way. I feared that entering the workforce would completely strip me of my self-worth. On the contrary, this summer has taught me, if nothing else, the importance of staying true to myself. As an intern, the challenges I faced on the job contributed to my sense of self. As a devout introvert, this internship has catalyzed my confidence.
When I met my fellow interns, I was humbled by our diverse backgrounds. As a result of interacting with them, I now understand the value of cooperative learning. Every person has a special set of experiences that influences their thoughts and actions. The internship program has encouraged us to embrace that we all have talented minds. I am astounded by the validation I have received from peers and colleagues. If exploitation has to take place in the world, let it be of our virtues.
I’m inspired to motivate others to find confidence in themselves, and to understand the benefit of diverse perspectives in problem solving.
I am stationed at Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative for the summer and have encountered plenty of challenges. My main project is the process of creating a book for homeowners and developers. The book conveys not only ideas and resources for renovations, but also the importance of rehabilitating vacant housing in urban areas. My roles in this process include: contributing to decisions being made about the book’s overall layout and tone; the conversion of technical information into its most basic and accessible form; independently generating the book’s graphic and textual contents. I do all of this under minimal supervision. It is quite difficult at times because there are almost no definite parameters to the project.
My liberal arts education shaped the way I approach problem solving. I was encouraged to think for myself, so I grew accustomed to the modes of asking questions and organizing thoughts that worked best for me. As I entered this internship, I knew next to nothing about urban design. I believe many students fail to understand how doing so much schoolwork is going to be useful on the job. Admittedly, I struggled with the idea of learning content only for it to be irrelevant to life after the exam. But I realize now what mattered most. By developing my own methods of inquiry, I am able to learn about various topics and effectively communicate my comprehension. I am impressed by my ability to be productive in this new learning environment and expand my capacity for creativity. I’m interested to discover how confidence will continue to guide my career and let my personal background persevere with my future goals.
Kevin Gebura, a graduate of Otterbein University, with a major in Social Justice and Philosophy, is placed at Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative. Kevin works specifically on the Design[RE]Build studio, a community-based effort that began in 2014 to generate new ideas for low-cost, high-impact transformation of vacant houses that might otherwise be demolished.