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Hayley Feightner, a graduate student at The Ohio State University studying City and Regional Planning, started as an intern with the Division of Planning, Office of Environmental Services in March 2017. Here is her story:
What skills have you gained from working at ODOT?
In my time here at ODOT, I’ve gained a variety of skills that I will carry with me throughout my personal and professional development. Aside from the invaluable knowledge and guidance I’ve gained from my mentors and coworkers, I have been able to receive trainings that have helped me to understand and be directly involved in the processes of our office, in addition to being a great asset to my resume. I have also been able to strengthen my communication skills due to opportunities to collaborate with individuals and groups across offices at ODOT and with other agencies. Working at ODOT has also allowed me to improve and expand my skills in research and report writing.
What is the most surprising thing you've learned about ODOT?
The most surprising thing I’ve learned about ODOT is how involved and hands-on they are in all parts of their work. I always joke that I’ve been able to see more parts of Ohio within one year at ODOT than I have in my entire life living here. From helping to excavate prehistoric sites with staff archaeologists to researching and visiting abandoned railroad tunnels, my experience at ODOT has given me a heightened appreciation and understanding of Ohio and its history.
How have your educational experiences helped you here at ODOT?
In the Cultural Resources section, we do a lot of historical research on properties and sites. Because my undergraduate background is in history, I’ve been able to exercise and expand my research and writing skills and translate that into reports for our office. I have also been able to apply my educational experiences in city and regional planning because our office’s responsibilities fall under the umbrella of the planning process. Working at ODOT has allowed me to get a lot of applicable experience within this scope.
How have your experiences here at ODOT helped with your education?
My experience at ODOT has given me a valuable perspective on the process of completing large-scale infrastructure projects. This has been helpful in my coursework in planning because it has helped me to understand the complexities, challenges, and opportunities that occur in project development on a broader level. It has also given me skills and tools to better understand site analysis and processes where projects involve the use of federal or state funds. This knowledge has been useful in my courses and studio classes where the same skills and tools are used.
What are your goals after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to merge my educational path in planning and history with the skills I’ve gained interning at ODOT. It is my goal to help guide communities in smart development patterns and to open opportunity for all people to thrive. I wish to work in a field that is relevant to planning and community/economic development, and to work on creatively preserving historic places that are of importance to the community.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
I enjoy spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading and playing piano.