Sesquicentennial Student Scholar Leadership Program
Disciplina in civitatem, Education for Citizenship
In honor of our 150th anniversary, Ohio State named 150 students as sesquicentennial scholars in the 2019-2020 academic year. These students each received a $2,500 scholarship while developing as leaders and engaged global citizens to carry on Ohio State's proud tradition of service and excellence.
They came from 5 continents, 9 countries, 22 states in the United States and 42 counties across Ohio and represented every campus and college at the university. During the anniversary they collectively attended 45 leadership seminars taught by faculty and staff and served as ambassadors for the university at over 70 events and programs.
Thanks to the support of the regional campuses and academic colleges, this is a continuing program for returning scholars through completion of their degree programs. In honor of these passionate Buckeyes, we have preserved the original 150 scholar list and their biographies below to serve as a historical reference.
To be a successful ambassador, it’s necessary to believe in the cause you’re supporting. As a member of Buckeye Nation, I’ve been swept away by school spirit and aim to instill that pride in others. I want to serve as a resource for people to discover what Ohio State stands for and help them get involved.
I’m a member of the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, the oldest scholars group at the university. Through Mount, I’ve deepened my knowledge of what it means to be a leader and used my skills to participate in various service projects, including volunteering at a soup kitchen, raising more than $39,000 for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, hosting a visit for middle school students and founding a reading program for local children. I have been selected to participate in College Mentors for Kids, where I can share my excitement about Ohio State with young students in the community.
Elena AkersInternational Studies, Spring 2020
I love finding meaning in coincidences, such as the fact that Ohio State’s sesquicentennial aligns with my completion of four years here. My experience has been monumental in shaping who I am today, and I know that I will be prepared to tackle whatever opportunities and setbacks the future throws at me. This mirrors how the university has adapted to changing times and has always provided an excellent student experience, no matter the challenges of the decades.
I find my place in different corners of the university. I’ve had new experiences each year, from Swing Dance Club to Undergraduate Student Government to Peace Corps Ambassadors. I am dedicated to service and can offer perspective. As a big-picture thinker, I’ve advocated for people to be aware that Ohio State is an academic powerhouse, a service center and a door to opportunity. I hope to share that perspective as an ambassador.
Being a Buckeye means being excited to learn and excited to give back to the community. It means overcoming obstacles and helping others do the same. It means being part of a family.
It’s astounding to me that Ohio State is so rich in its history, legacy and tradition after only 150 years. Just imagine what we can do in the next 150 years! It’s wonderful to see such a great university accomplish and give so much in such a short length of time.
The opportunity I’ve had to be so involved with the university is like a dream come true. Outside of the classroom, I am active in several clubs on the Marion campus, including a creative writing group. I serve as treasurer in Undergraduate Student Government, and in addition to working for Student Life’s Diversity and Inclusion Office, I’m a writing tutor for the Academic Success Center.
Samuel Alfonso-Tavarez, Spring 2021Management and Industry Exploration
Because I’ve lived in Ohio all my life, I’ve seen the impact this institution has on the state and our nation. I wanted to attend Ohio State because of its outstanding commitment to helping students succeed after graduation.
The 150th anniversary marks a new beginning for Ohio State as a family of innovators for the future that not only meet but exceed the university’s high standards inside and outside the classroom. There is nothing holding us back from being the best that we can be. This new era should motivate students like myself to take charge and appreciate what those who came before us sacrificed in order to get Ohio State to where it is today.
When I am asked what this university’s sesquicentennial means to me, I quote Sir Isaac Newton by stating, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Elise AllenEducational Psychology Ph.D., Spring 2023
I’ve been a Buckeye literally since birth. I was born on campus, went to games at Ohio Stadium and St. John Arena, and attended Ohio State for my undergraduate coursework. Although I completed graduate work elsewhere, when I returned to campus for my doctoral education I felt that I was back where I belonged.
As an undergraduate, I belonged to organizations that showed me how Ohio State connects fellow Buckeyes, from prospective students all the way through alumni celebrating their 50th reunions. And as a high school English teacher, I participated in programs through the university that helped my students extend their thinking and forge early connections with the Ohio State community.
I love helping others foster these connections and find ways to make Ohio State part of their everyday lives. The sesquicentennial offers alumni and students the chance to come together to forge new traditions and goals for the university’s future.
Caroline AndersonSocial Work, Spring 2021
I came to Ohio State for the endless educational opportunities it provides. I know I won’t outgrow the university; I’ll grow with it.
One of my favorite traditions is singing “Carmen Ohio” in the ’Shoe after a football game. It makes me realize how many students have come before me, and that I’m part of a much bigger picture. Many women around the world do not have the opportunity to receive higher education. Ohio State has given me the chance to learn and help others.
One trait that makes me a great sesquicentennial ambassador is my passion for everything I do. I work in Ohio State’s admissions office. I volunteer with a youth group and at a community center that serves meals to those in need. I also work for the YMCA of Central Ohio and at a domestic violence shelter, and I am an instructor with LIVESTRONG, a program for cancer survivors.
Lily AndualemIndustrial and Systems Engineering
I recognize the privilege I have been granted by being a student at Ohio State. The opportunities, the resources and the people here have all contributed to a transformative student experience.
As an ambassador, I want to share my story and show others the impact that this stellar institution has. I also want to learn about Buckeyes of past generations and compare their experiences to my own, and to reflect on what has been accomplished and strive for more. I see the potential in this university and want to sculpt it into reality.
I’m a leader and mentor in the Morrill Scholars Program, which focuses on inclusion, leadership, service and social justice. In my free time, I volunteer at Huckleberry House, a nonprofit crisis shelter for at-risk teens. These experiences help me realize how blessed I’ve been and how much more I can give back to my community and those around me.
Vijay AnilMechanical Engineering M.S., Spring 2020
I found Ohio State an easy place to settle into, with the caring students and faculty and the friendly city of Columbus. I carry a buckeye in my backpack as a token of my good fortune.
Along with being a pioneer in the automotive field—and one of the most beautiful and international-student-friendly campuses on my application list—the university appealed to me because of the motto “Buckeyes give.” I loved hearing how alumni stay closely bonded to their alma mater and keep returning to give back.
I’m a member of the Center for Automotive Research’s EcoCAR team. In my free time I’m in the process of creating artwork inspired by landmarks around campus, and I like to learn more about Ohio State’s vibrant history, scribbling down details and sending them to faraway friends and family. The sesquicentennial invites all Buckeyes to draw inspiration from that history to create a greater future.
Demetrio AntoliniItalian, Ph.D., Spring 2023
I moved to Columbus from Italy to earn a Ph.D. in Italian screen studies. Before coming, I did extensive research on Ohio State. I wanted to find a place that offered high academic standards and the opportunity to be part of a community of students, faculty and alumni well integrated into a flourishing city. Buckeye Nation fit this description perfectly.
The university’s sesquicentennial is a milestone for the city of Columbus as well. It allows this community of Ohioans and world citizens to reflect on Ohio State’s local and global impact.
I am vice president of the Global Mediterranean Working Group. Our goal is to raise awareness among students about the Mediterranean area, which not only plays a strategic role in today’s global politics but is also composed of many different cultures and traditions that merit acknowledgment. I am grateful for opportunities such as this that the university has given me.
Caleb ArcherEarly Childhood Education, Spring 2021
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial is important not just because it celebrates 150 years of achievement, but because it reflects the impact the university makes on individuals.
I’ve worked hard to earn the title of Ohio State student. I struggled in my early schooling and believed that my grades would never be very good. Then I heard the words “Do you have what it takes?” and I realized I’m just as capable as anyone else to thrive as a Buckeye.
I believe kindness is one of my most valuable traits. Sharing kindness between people and groups builds confidence and safety. I’m also trustworthy and honest, and I hold truth above all else. If I have a goal, I strive to obtain it and to do my very best.
What I do outside of class is just as important as my studies. I enjoy socializing with fellow Buckeyes who love the university as much as I do.
Abigail AronoffExploration, Spring 2022
My father went to Ohio State in the early 1980s, and he tells me that the school I am attending is much different than the one he did. In a mere 40 years this university has revolutionized itself. That, along with the undying Buckeye spirit of students and alumni alike, is what the sesquicentennial celebrates.
Growing up in a diverse school district, I learned open-mindedness and acceptance at a young age. In my academic as well as my extracurricular commitments, I strive to create the best version of whatever I am working on.
Outside of the classroom, I am primarily involved in the Mount Leadership Society, participating in service projects and volunteering at university events. I am also a Morrill Scholar. Through organizations including the Student Group on Race Relations and student government, I work to integrate and diversify Ohio State’s campus and to create a welcoming environment for all people.
Kritagya AroraIndustrial and Systems Engineering, Spring 2021
In January 2019, as I walked through the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi wearing my Block O shirt, a man yelled “O-H!” and gave me a high five. Behind him, his wife raised her arms to create O and H as I replied “I-O!” A few people around us stared, perplexed, but I could only feel the immense pleasure of that moment shared with two strangers.
It is that pride and joy that defines Ohio State’s sesquicentennial for me. The anniversary encompasses those emotions, the university’s history and the great future that lies ahead. It’s about taking pride in the last 150 years of this school and looking to achieve even more greatness in the next 150 years.
As an international student, I value the relationships I’ve made at this university. I want to make Ohio State proud and support my Buckeye family in doing the same.
Chris BairdAgricultural Systems Management, Spring 2021
I’m part of the fourth generation in my family to attend Ohio State and to pursue a degree in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. I knew the university could provide me with unparalleled knowledge, a plethora of opportunities and a network that would help me grow and succeed in this ever-changing world.
My love for Ohio State began with athletics and evolved into a passion for learning, service and tradition—some of the core values at this university. My work ethic is a result of the many years I’ve spent on my family’s farm. I’m involved in multiple organizations, including the Crops and Soils Club and the Agricultural Systems Management Club, and I’m the service co-chair of the sophomore class honorary, Romophos, which raises money for Community Refugee and Immigration Services. I’ve also participated in Buck-I-SERV and studied human impacts on the natural environment in Australia.
Ellen BakerStudio Art, Spring 2020
When I arrived at Ohio State, I felt the impact of a tight community. The university’s vastness and diversity allow me to be myself and still be connected to every peer around me. As Buckeyes, we grow together with strength.
I intend to bring my positive spirit, leadership skills and love of the university community to my role as a sesquicentennial ambassador. I hope to contribute what I’ve learned about communication, dedication, organization and conflict resolution from my previous positions as a camp counselor, employee trainer and group project ambassador.
The learning experiences I’ve had at Ohio State extend far beyond the classroom. I’m a member of the Chinese Culture and Conversation Club and volunteer with the English Conversation Program. I support the LGBTQ+ community with Gamma Rho Lambda sorority and learn about the value of human expression with Arts Scholars. Finally, I’m exploring faith and spirituality with H2O church.
Being from Columbus, I hoped to fly from my parents’ nest and explore the world beyond. But after I visited multiple universities, Ohio State was the only one that made my heart flutter. On its huge campus I saw many chances to experience varying disciplines and backgrounds. I saw the potential for me to prosper in my home city. I chose to be a Buckeye because I could see myself becoming the best version of me right in my own backyard.
I’ve been granted unique opportunities because of everyone who worked to build Ohio State into a place of academic and personal growth. I have been involved in university organizations and volunteering. Additionally, I’ve had research experiences in the microbiology department studying carbon metabolism and in a developmental neuropathology laboratory studying respiratory disorders. I also volunteer at the Columbus Free Clinic, assisting in delivering health care to underinsured populations.
Brieanne BeaujolaisSocial Work Ph.D., Spring 2021
I entered Ohio State as a dance major, grew into a graduate student committed to improving the experience of college students, and am now a doctoral student who will graduate in a couple of years and join the professorate at another outstanding university. But I will always take Ohio State with me wherever I go.
The university has done an incredible job of educating generations of Buckeyes. However, it has not always provided equally excellent opportunities to under-represented populations, such as first-generation college students, military veterans, non-traditional-age students, students of color, and those with disabilities. The sesquicentennial is an opportunity to reflect on past successes while charting a course for the next 150 years.
I can imagine what Ohio State will look like in 2170. It will be a place—both real and virtual—where students can come together to learn inside and outside the classroom on equal footing.
Angela BekeszManagement and Industry Exploration, Spring 2022
My mother attended Ohio State but was unable to complete her degree. Financial and family circumstances forced her to take another path, making higher education for her daughter a top priority. Although I am a first-generation student and have encountered challenges, I have enjoyed the benefit of loving, supportive and hard-working parents who have done everything in their power to give me a better chance than they had.
To me, Ohio State’s past 150 years are comprised of people—not time. The sesquicentennial is not about how the university has existed since 1870, but how it has grown since then. The past is a springboard for the future, and just as my mother’s experiences have given me the chance to learn and lead, the sesquicentennial is an opportunity for progress. My eagerness to learn and my desire to improve myself will lead me to make the most out of my position as a sesquicentennial ambassador.
Abigail BergmanMarketing, Spring 2022
Being a six-foot-tall female has benefits beyond athletics. It allows me to be noticed. It gives me confidence to be a leader and use my voice to convey my beliefs. I’m an outgoing person, and being a part of Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebration—representing the school I love and sharing my experiences with others—gives me the chance to not only reflect on the rich history of this university, but to envision my opportunities and the impact I hope to make on Ohio State and the world.
Since 1870, there have been 50 Olympic games, we’ve put men on the moon, and 13 constitutional amendments have been ratified. The university has produced incredible minds that were the forces behind incredible feats. Jesse Owens broke down barriers. Mary Oliver won the Pulitzer Prize. Jack Nicklaus became the best golfer of all time. Society has changed in many ways, and Ohio State has been here for all of it.
Pam BertschiBiology, Spring 2021
I enjoy talking to people about Ohio State and the many good things that have come into my life because I’m a student here. For example, I’m involved with the Pen PALS program, through which I write to a student at a local elementary school. I love hearing from her and watching her grow as a writer and student. I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my college experience with her.
I consider it an honor to be a student during this anniversary and to be part of a family that has been growing for 150 years. I grew up in Columbus, so I’ve always felt Ohio State’s presence. But I didn’t realize until I came here that the Buckeye spirit reaches beyond Columbus, the state of Ohio and even the United States. The university’s sesquicentennial is a reminder of everything Ohio State has accomplished and a promise of all it will go on to do.
Olivia BlayBusiness Administration Exploration, Spring 2022
“O-H!” “I-O!” was a phrase I echoed to my parents when I first learned to speak. Because I was raised by two dedicated Buckeye alumni parents, I decided that following in their footsteps would allow me to make a difference locally and globally. I knew it would open doors and enable me to fulfill my dreams.
As a wide-eyed freshman, my first experience was working side by side with President Michael Drake as we unloaded the belongings of other freshmen on Move-In Day. I continue to embrace all that the university has to offer. I’ve enjoyed being a member of the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program, and I was selected to join the Ernst Young Signature Series Cohort in the Fisher College of Business. I also joined the college’s mentor program to learn more about business opportunities. Two of my favorite student organizations are Smiles with Style and Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s.
Karaline BosoAnimal Sciences, Summer 2020
I want be involved in something great, like being an ambassador for Ohio State, because I hope to be a mentor to my classmates and to lead by example by helping those in need.
Getting a quality education is the beginning of a quality life, and that’s why I chose to become a Buckeye. The education I’m receiving at Ohio State will allow me to pursue my dream of becoming a veterinarian. I look forward to becoming involved in organizations geared toward animal sciences. Currently, I volunteer at a shelter, and I plan to find other animal programs to work with, not only to make a difference but to expand my experience and help my future career.
I’m not just growing academically; I’m also learning lessons that will stick with me for life. My determination keeps me going. No matter what life may throw at me, I am willing to take it on.
Cassie BoutelleIndustrial and Systems Engineering, Spring 2020
I’ve been dancing since I was three years old. It was important to me that I could continue to take dance classes in college, so that was one item on my checklist of requirements during my search.
Because I planned to study engineering, I wanted a school with a top-tier program. I also wanted a large school with many majors, just in case I changed my mind.
Last, I wanted a school with a strong sense of community. I was not born a Buckeye, but when I stepped on campus I instantly felt welcome. As I walked across the Oval, I knew I would call myself a Buckeye for life.
Of all the rewarding academic and service programs I’ve been involved in since then, I feel most connected to the university as a team captain for BuckeyeThon, which brings the campus together to fight for a cure for pediatric cancer.
Tori BradfordPsychology, Spring 2021
Two factors helped me decide to attend Ohio State Lima. First, I won the Arthur and Marian Rudd Scholarship. I’m grateful that the Lima community recognized the financial burden of higher education and was willing to support me. The second factor was the earnest concern the faculty members at Lima have for their students’ academic progress.
I enjoy sharing the wonderful experience I’ve had at Lima. I helped found a student-led singing group called REEDefined A Capella that performed at several local venues and sang in an international competition. I’m also the president of Buckeye Scholars, the social group of the honors program at Lima. We plan volunteer projects to give back to our campus and the community and participate in academic enrichment events that stimulate conversation between faculty and students. I’ve participated in undergraduate research for three years and am currently pursuing my honors thesis research distinction.
Andrew BranstetterMedicine M.D., Spring 2020
As I stood beside the Mississippi River watching the sun set over Memphis in the spring of 2012, I received a phone call inviting me to attend Ohio State as a Presidential Scholar.
While admission into the Honors Collegium (similar to the current Eminence Scholars) was definitely a perk, what drew me to Ohio State was opportunity. Becoming a Buckeye meant the chance to integrate myself in a diverse student population, to network with hundreds of students with whom I could share life experiences. It meant the chance to engage in groundbreaking cancer research at the Wexner Medical Center, continuously pushing my personal boundaries as well as the boundaries of our scientific knowledge. It meant the chance to join the movement to end pediatric cancer, uniting a campus community in the spirit of philanthropy. Being a two-time Buckeye has encompassed all of these opportunities and more.
Kirsten BrunswickBusiness Management
I chose to become a Buckeye for one major reason: the chance to be involved in something much bigger than myself. Living to serve is important to me.
Ohio State shares this value by focusing on philanthropy and volunteering at all of its regional campuses. I have been able to give back in many ways through community service initiatives on the Lima campus, where I’m the social media coordinator and serve on the leadership team for the Buckeye Scholars program. Through Student Senate I volunteer for the Red Cross and have completed training for a blood donor ambassador position and the Pillowcase Project. I also assist our student activities director with promoting a program called Emerging Leaders. I’m an assistant in the Office of Advancement and the Dean’s Office, and I enjoy helping with events for our alumni and donors and doing my part to serve our university.
Mary BuehlerAgribusiness and Applied Economics, Spring 2020
My initial apprehension as a first-generation college student from rural Ohio was quickly eased when I arrived on campus and was welcomed into the Buckeye community. Ohio State has a way of uniting people from all over the world.
As an agricultural major, I am proud of Ohio State’s land-grant roots and excited about how the university continues to cultivate growth and diversity. The sesquicentennial marks a milestone of increased access and inclusion, of a culture that is welcoming to all and working for the betterment of everyone.
My interest in connecting individuals to resources within the agricultural industry drives my focus academically. I would be thrilled to tie my passion for agriculture with efforts to promote the Buckeye community by discussing work being done at Ohio State to fight food insecurity and to create a more sustainable tomorrow. My investment of time and talent shows my commitment to growing this university.
Kayla CapeNursing, Spring 2021
I first considered coming to Ohio State because of its exceptional nursing program and partnerships with top hospitals. Once I toured the campus I was hooked. I fell in love with the Orton Hall chimes and the beautiful architecture and landscape. I knew I could benefit from the thousands of organizations, jobs and opportunities here.
Now I’m an ambassador for the College of Nursing, so I get the privilege of meeting with prospective students and alumni to talk about how wonderful Ohio State is.
In the beginning the university faced criticism for educating the children of farmers and factory workers. Still, it went on to become a top innovative institution and receive high rankings for its sustainability, research and student success. Its transformation represents what the sesquicentennial stands for: no matter where our students come from or what their background may be, Ohio State gives all the opportunity to change the world.
Luke ColinBiology, Spring 2020
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebrates every discovery, every football game won, every life saved in our hospitals and so much more. It honors our strides toward greatness and our efforts to make an impact on the world.
My mom’s side of the family all went to the University of Illinois. What convinced my parents to let me attend Ohio State was my descriptions of the hospitals, research activity and extracurricular opportunities that would make my dreams of becoming a physician come true.
I appreciate that Ohio State has put me in a position to help those around me. I’ve participated in projects such as researching the cognitive development of deaf infants and working with children with special needs.
Like many students, I’ve had my share of struggles, but I’ve overcome and learned from them. I’m not afraid to share my stories, and I strive to help others triumph over their own adversities.
Maddie ConleyEnglish, Spring 2022
I grew up in a small town where there are two stoplights, a McDonald’s, a library and not much more. Outside of town, there’s a graveyard with crumbling stones—remnants of generations who didn’t grow much farther from where they were planted.
I long for transplantation. I became a Buckeye because of the multitude of opportunities available to Ohio State students. The possibility of travel, research and classroom immersion appealed to my sense of curiosity and my love of learning. I knew that adventure would never be outside my reach. I want to meet as many people as I can, engage in as many events as I’m available for and create the most rewarding and diverse college experience possible.
The sesquicentennial gives all members of the Ohio State community a greater chance to connect with each other and the university we all treasure. Every day is a proud day to be a Buckeye.
James Davis Sr.Social Work, Spring 2021
Ohio State has become a leader in helping minorities develop personally, professionally and academically. As an African American male, I’ve been able to build up my academic confidence and identify my strengths and areas of necessary growth, and to become a role model for other students and children in the Mansfield community.
I’ve learned a lot about how to help families, teens and adolescents excel. My role as a diversity coach at the Mansfield campus has positioned me to be a mentor to students and my peers. I’m also a life coach and have mentored people who struggled with their academic identity and personal worth. At the Juvenile Detention Center of Richland County I volunteer with independent living groups that work on social and education skills and employment readiness. I believe my success is a positive example for troubled youths and their families as they pursue their own goals.
Joshua DavisEarly Childhood Education
Celebrating Ohio State’s sesquicentennial means I get to be a little nutty. Buckeyes are nutty enough to dream big. I was nutty enough to quit my career of more than 10 years as manager of a hotel and conference center.
As a nontraditional student, husband and father of six, I’m living the life I was meant to live. I’ve always dreamed of teaching others. As my love for my own children has grown over the years, so has my love for children in general. Now I’m looking forward to success as an educator.
I’m organized, communicative and creative. I use these traits when speaking with visitors to the Mansfield campus and as worship pastor at my church, where I lead others in song and assist in organizing and building ministries. I also founded the North Central Buckeye Optimist Club, which encourages an interest in good government and inspires respect for the law while promoting patriotism.
Mathias DawitElectrical & Computer Engineering, Spring 2022
I’ve always wanted to do something that would be impactful to my local community and to those from far away. Coming to Ohio State gave me the opportunity to meet people from different cultures and life experiences—something that I find invaluable. I hope to make the connections that will allow me to use my major in electrical engineering to help others improve their lives. I want to become a humanitarian engineer and travel to places around the world where my skills are needed.
I have joined several cultural and engineering student organizations, including Engineers Without Borders, to enhance my technical abilities and prepare me for the experience of working abroad. I’m also involved in the Vietnamese, Filipino, Korean and Ethiopian/Eritrean student organizations. I joined these because I want to learn about other cultures and identify parts of the world where I can apply my humanitarian engineering knowledge.
Ebenezer de OliveiraMaster of Mathematical Sciences, Spring 2020
I have run the Columbus marathon every year since 2013, when I was the youngest finisher. I run even when I don’t want to, just as leaders do the “right thing” even when it’s inconvenient or nobody is looking.
I’m also mostly introverted. Though leaders are often portrayed as loud and confident, I believe they should be listeners who think carefully before speaking.
For three years I was a peer mentor at the University of Akron’s Office of Multicultural Development, where I worked mostly with underprepared, first-generation freshmen to smooth the transition from high school to college. It was exciting to see them succeed and difficult to experience their failures. I reminded them that failure is part of the road to success and that I, too, had made mistakes in life but learned to overcome the challenges. It was rewarding to contribute to that safe space where freshmen could discuss obstacles, injustices and triumphs.
Melena DillinghamAgricultural and Extension Education M.S., Spring 2021
My first-grade teacher wrote on my report card that I was “the mother earth social secretary” of the class. To me, interacting with others has always been what gives experiences their vibrancy.
Having worked as an elementary music teacher, I know how to encourage engagement. I’m enthusiastic and enjoy getting people excited about the things I care about.
When I am not working or attending classes at Ohio State, I usually can be found with my husband playing music or volunteering with Columbus Humane, including as foster parents to homeless animals.
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial reassures me that my institution is respected and established. The university prides itself on always being at the forefront of academic progress and innovation. Growth can put stress on an infrastructure that isn’t properly governed, so to carry that reputation for 150 years is evidence of a firm foundation and solid moral compass.
Sarah DonerAnimal Sciences, Spring 2020
I learned from my cousins who attended Ohio State about the variety of opportunities at the university. I’m now the fifth person in my family to become a Buckeye, and I won’t be the last.
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial means 150 years of continuing such family traditions. I’ve met many alumni who treated me as if I were a member of their own family, and I want to help pass on this wonderful sentiment to as many future generations as I can.
Among the organizations I’m involved with on the Wooster campus is Miss Agriculture USA, which promotes the inclusion of women in the field. I’m an alum of Future Farmers of America and 4-H. I’ve also created a livestock show for those with disabilities so they can work with animals, and I make cat and dog toys to donate to shelters and collect pet food to donate to Meals-on-Wheels.
Megan DoughertyOccupational Therapy O.T.D., Fall 2022
When asked about my greatest accomplishment, I always mention my acceptance into Ohio State’s occupational therapy doctorate program. I woke up to the acceptance email on the first day of spring semester in my senior year, then drove 45 minutes to surprise my mom and deliver the good news in person. I’ll never forget the look on her face when I walked in the door with scarlet and gray balloons.
I chose Ohio State for its values, faculty and reputation, and to become the best pediatric occupational therapist I can. I am humbled to be able to learn at an institution that has been training occupational therapists for more than 75 years. The faculty members are genuine and student-centered.
Ohio State is one of the few schools where occupational therapists perform cadaver dissections, and the curriculum is designed to develop students’ clinical reasoning skills dynamically. Ohio State values collaboration over competition, learning over GPA.
Yang DuNursing, Summer 2021
As a guest on a Chinese talk show about studying abroad, I proudly wore my Ohio State shirt and shared my experience with 1,300 viewers.
When I decided to attend college in America, my English was poor. Now I serve as a nursing student ambassador and am a honors student who is able to communicate fluently. I love having challenges and pushing my limits—I go skydiving, hiking and rock climbing—as well as helping others. In China, I have been volunteering in nursing homes since I was eight, and I also volunteered at a summer camp to help kids learn English. In Nanjing I helped organize a welcoming dinner for incoming Buckeyes and their families to prepare for their new life away from home.
The “O-H!” “I-O!” spirit is contagious and welcoming. The Buckeye Nation is able to unite people with different backgrounds behind a common goal of improving our beloved university.
Boluwatiwi DurojayeOSU Nutrition Program Ph.D., Fall 2020
I was looking for a university with world-class research facilities, as well as professors who care about mentoring the next generation of scientists and who take as much pride in their students’ successes as their own. After interviews with faculty and graduate students in Ohio State’s Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Nutrition program, I knew I wanted to be a Buckeye. The program consistently ranks as one of the best of its kind in the nation.
The university’s 150th anniversary is a reminder that this is an institution where there is a free exchange of ideas that shape our world. I’ve had the opportunity to be a leader in and out of the classroom. I have grown as a researcher, with an understanding that interdisciplinary collaborations are an effective approach to solving global health and nutrition problems. I have also regularly volunteered at the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to deliver nutritious fresh produce to food-insecure families.
Raychel EdelsbergSocial Work
Given that I am a fourth-generation Buckeye, it is safe to say that I bleed scarlet and gray. Being an ambassador means I get to brag about all of the opportunities, people and beauty that thrive at Ohio State. There is so much to celebrate, from academics to athletics to research initiatives taking place all around the world. I also talk about my personal connection to the university and how much it has meant to me ever since I was little.
I’m an athletic host for the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, where I strive to inspire prospective student athletes to commit to Ohio State. I also serve as deputy director in Undergraduate Student Government. I’m a member of College Mentors for Kids, where we spend time with youngsters to inspire growth, confidence and bright futures, and I work to promote awareness of domestic violence through my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega.
Nnaeto EmechebeMedical Laboratory Science, Spring 2020
The definition of “sesquicentennial” is “the 150th anniversary of a significant event.” But for Ohio State it means 150 years of distinction, scholarship and leadership. Being part of the university’s sesquicentennial is a great honor. I want to be able to add to the years of success that Ohio State has accumulated and become part of something greater than myself.
When Ohio State students and alumni work together, they are a force to be reckoned with. I chose to become a Buckeye because I wanted to join a community that has the power to make a difference in this world. I aspire to enter medical school and become a physician.
Among other activities, I volunteer with the Stadium Scholarship Program’s service committee and make care packages for the homeless. I also played the saxophone in the Athletic Band, and I make and record music as a way to express my creativity.
Artan EminiVeterinary Medicine D.V.M., Spring 2022
The connections and opportunities Ohio State offers are second to none. Furthermore, the alumni network for the College of Veterinary Medicine is unmatched.
I’m a member of veterinary clubs and organizations at the university through which I attend lectures detailing advancements and participate in instruction outside of the curriculum, such as surgery technique and cattle artificial insemination labs. I also volunteer for a program where I clean and provide enrichment for resident cows.
One work experience that I’m proud of was interning for Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge, a nonprofit organization in Arkansas. We were able to rescue big cats and other exotic animals from unlicensed roadside zoos exploiting them for financial purposes. Working six 10-hour days a week was a lot of manual labor, and it was an extremely humbling experience. It was unbelievably rewarding to be able to provide proper living conditions for the helpless animals we rescued.
Dalton FaulderMiddle Childhood Education, Spring 2022
It astonishes me that through many generations Ohio State has continued to evolve at the same pace as the fast-moving world. I have no doubt that the university will remain at the forefront of development in years to come.
I chose to become a Buckeye at the Lima campus because the quality of the education remains superb despite the more inexpensive tuition. Also, because of the campus’s proximity to my hometown, I’m able to commute.
Joining the Campus Activity Board at the beginning of spring semester 2019 introduced me to the joys of being involved and resulted in my transformation from a commuter who comes to class and goes home to an active member of the student population. I helped launch two new clubs—an improv club and the Meme Dream Team—and I belong to the Lima Honors Program, the History Club, the LGBTQ+ Allies Club and the Ohio State Puniversity.
Terra ForsytheAero and Astronautical Engineering, Spring 2022
I saw the IMAX film Hubble when I was 12. As I gazed at nebulae and star nurseries, I decided I would do anything I could to come closer to the stars. When I grew older I aspired to serve my country and get my degree in aerospace engineering.
Ohio State has the best detachment in the nation for Air Force ROTC. I knew the university would help me achieve my dreams of serving as a commissioned officer with a degree and eventually leading our country in exploring space.
Often I’m the only woman in the areas I’m involved in, such as engineering and the military. Because of this, I’ve learned to step outside my comfort zone and push harder than most to lead the men around me.
I want to use Ohio State’s clout to make the world a better place. Thanks to ROTC, I have the leadership skills to make it happen.
Kristopher FullerGraduate Non-Degree, Spring 2021
When I moved to the Columbus area about 10 years ago to begin my career as a high school teacher, it was almost impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of Ohio State and the Buckeyes. I marveled at the unshakeable bond alumni share and their devotion to their heritage.
When it came time to go back to school in order to advance my career, enrolling at Ohio State was the only option I considered. I may not be a traditional student, but I’m a Buckeye through and through. Although I’m enrolled in a graduate program, I feel like I’m experiencing the unbridled enthusiasm of a freshman.
I believe Ohio State’s sesquicentennial represents 150 years of an institution growing, evolving, innovating, leading and inspiring. It gives us a chance to stop, take pride in what we’ve already built and imagine what the next 150 years could bring.
Akshaykumar GaneshNeuroscience, Spring 2022
My fate was sealed around 30 years ago when my father set foot on American soil in Dayton. He found a new home at Wright State University, which was then a branch campus of Ohio State and Miami University. My father passed down his experiences to me, and when it came time to search for a college, I decided to become a Buckeye.
Ohio State’s prosperity is a responsibility borne by its current students, staff and alumni. As a member of this community, I can be found anywhere on or off campus every day. If I’m not in class or lab, I could be in Campbell Hall, arguing over social and political issues with the Speech and Debate Club. I might also be found at Traditions at Kennedy, wiping down tables or sweeping in the Great Hall. Or I may be in Fred Beekman Park, playing the magical sport of Quidditch.
Derek GoodmanFood, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Spring 2021
Growing up in a small town, I had limited contact with people from diverse cultures, backgrounds and lifestyles. Ohio State has opened doors for me to explore all of those facets.
I was raised in a family that appreciates agriculture and makes it a part of daily life. The university’s sesquicentennial gives me the opportunity to continue my education as an agricultural engineering major with resources like no other and a temporary home during some of the most crucial years of my life.
I’m involved in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, where I’ve served as a council representative and vice president, and Cru, a Christian organization on campus in which I serve as Bible study leader. I am a member of the Quarter Scale Tractor Team, where I experience direct application of engineering principles. I also volunteer at My Family Pantry on the west side of Columbus.
Stephanie GowinMarketing, Spring 2020
Did you know Ohio State is home to the world’s largest cartoon and comic museum? Did you know the university is older than the light bulb, the telephone and even the zipper? Those are some of the fun facts I’ve learned here.
I love talking about Ohio State and the difference it has made in my life. I’m able to fulfill my goal of helping others develop professionally through my involvement in the Fisher College of Business and my business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta. I assist with mock interviews and career chats, and I facilitate programming that allows first-year students to explore the opportunities and resources available to them. I’m especially proud of being named the 2018–19 Fisher Pacesetter.
I would not be where I am today, professionally or otherwise, without the support of my peers. It is my hope to pay that forward to future generations of Buckeyes during my final year.
Sydney GreenPolitical Science, Spring 2021
Ohio State’s welcoming environment has supported me when I needed it and given me opportunities to establish my identity and be comfortable in my own skin. Now, as a sesquicentennial ambassador, I’m able to convey my personal journey with confidence while also listening to others’ stories.
I specialize in making the world safe and more accepting for future generations of students. I volunteer with the Department of Social Change’s Grow, Explore, Mentor program, where I mentor fourth- and fifth-grade students. I’m also a research assistant working to implement change within the school system so that early childhood education includes teaching children how to better balance and control their emotions. Additionally, I work as a resident advisor in Taylor Tower. Because suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, I’m especially focused on providing my residents with resources and programs that promote mental wellness.
Sarah GreenbaumElectrical and Computer Engineering, Spring 2021
I was a teacher for five years before I found the motivation to pursue my interest in engineering and space exploration. Ohio State has a top-tier engineering program, and the more I found out about it the more excited I was to attend.
Ohio State has been a wonderful place to pursue lifelong learning. Being a nontraditional student means taking responsibility for my own potential. I thought I would have to wait four years before doing any “real” engineering work. But already I have made parts of the DESI telescope that sits on Kitt Peak in Arizona, and I’ve presented research findings at conferences at Wright State University.
I’ve enjoyed making friendships with students who have different backgrounds and worldviews than myself. Students for Diversity in Education through Service has become my go-to volunteer family, and I’m proud of the work we do, including canvassing for LGBTQ rights and helping youth in crisis.
Santy Gualapuro GualapuroSpanish and Portuguese Ph.D., Spring 2022
Ohio State has a well-earned reputation of being one of best universities in the United States and the world. I chose to come here because of its outstanding faculty and work environment, as well as the multicultural and multilingual departmental environment.
I’m an indigenous student, which exemplifies Ohio State’s commitment to diversity in higher education. As an active member of the Ecuadorean indigenous communities in Chicago and New York, I intend to represent the university well to those who may be less familiar with it.
In my free time, I serve as a Quechua ambassador at Ohio State. I provide information about the program to prospective students and reach out to communities who may be interested in the Kichwa language, an indigenous language spoken in Ecuador. I’ve also authored a Kichwa-English dictionary that is now available for purchase. Finally, I work to raise funds for indigenous student scholarships.
Ahmad HajjIndustrial and Systems Engineering, Fall 2021
I grew up in Lebanon and was fortunate to travel to all kinds of places, which made me crave an adventure in a new place. When I came to Ohio State I felt like a goldfish that had been thrown in the ocean. I was constantly in a whirlpool of excitement and anxiety. But then I would recall what I heard during my orientation: “You can make a big school small, but you can’t make a small school big.”
My family believed in the importance of cultural knowledge, which led to my becoming fluent in Arabic, French and English and gaining exposure to many cultures. This proved beneficial because I’m able to interact with the diverse student body easily.
One of my interests is seeking new experiences, and I’ve learned to accept failure as part of that process. The activities I’ve enjoyed most were the ones that required me to develop skills from scratch.
Audra HannersNursing Practice D.N.P., Spring 2020
When I walked into an open house at the College of Nursing, the first statement I read on the wall was “Think and Do the Impossible.” This resonated with my mission in life, which is to become an answer to a problem I see in the world. As a nurse I want to help create a solution for sustainable health and wellness for those I serve.
I have started two successful businesses since attending Ohio State in order to impact communities around me. I enjoy entrepreneurship because it allows me to create and connect with so many diverse people.
The sesquicentennial leadership program means preparation now with the expectation of an extraordinary opportunity in the future. It’s a chance to develop the skills and mentality to become a leader and an engaged citizen who influences local and global communities. The personal development, networking and leadership training to be received from this experience are priceless.
Mackenzie HannumFood Science and Technology, Ph.D., Summer 2020
I represent Ohio State in three ways, each of which embodies an aspect of my experience that will allow me to be a great ambassador and give back to a university that has given so much to me and my family.
As a Buckeye I apply the life lessons I learned in my undergraduate years, whether it was how to give a compelling speech or how to execute a successful event. As an alumna, I make an effort to wear something Ohio State–related when traveling so I can find fellow Buckeyes (100 percent success rate!).
Recently, I have embraced my role as a doctoral student in one of the most elite food science programs in the nation. I was skeptical if I was suited for research, but the mentorship within our department established an environment that fostered my creativity. I study why people like the food they do—something everyone can relate to.
Clara HarrodPsychology, Spring 2020
In 2014 my mom was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Without the aid of the doctors at the James Cancer Hospital, I am not sure what my family would look like today.
After spending my weekends visiting my mom at the James, I became intimately familiar with Ohio State and was in awe of all the opportunities available. I knew there was no other university for me.
Personally, the sesquicentennial means a time of reflection on the groundbreaking research that this university has produced. I work in a social psychology research lab and contribute to the important studies that Ohio State conducts every day. I am researching domestic violence and hope to apply my findings to intervention methods. I’m also a member of Chimes junior honorary, where I serve on the fund-raising committee, and a student assistant for the curriculum and assessment department of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Lacey HeathEarly Childhood Education, Spring 2022
I’m a first-generation college student from a severely impoverished background. The idea of attending such a prestigious institution as Ohio State was incomprehensible to me. The day I discovered I would become a Buckeye was the most memorable of my life.
I’ve been involved inside and outside of the classroom since the beginning of my Ohio State journey. Among other activities I’m the founder and president of the Southern Poverty Law Center Organization, a member of the Introspect Psychology Club and part of the Buckeye Generation Learning Community. I work as an office assistant within the residence halls on the Newark campus, and I volunteer as a manager at the campus food pantry.
It’s remarkable that Ohio State’s excellence will continue to inspire the world. We will build engagement for many more years to come, and I’m proud to be alive at such a wonderful moment in our history.
Alie HernandezSport Industry, Spring 2021
With my interest in working in sport, I saw abundant opportunities to learn from Ohio State’s premier athletics program. The innovative Sport and Society Initiative also caught my attention because of the research about the intersectionality of society and sport and the opportunity to make a positive social impact in sport.
I am involved in a variety of activities on campus. I’m working to grow an organization called Club Girls on the Run, which helps young girls enjoy being fit and confident. I’m the vice president of marketing for a new investment club for which our executive board is looking to gain active status. The organization’s goal is to establish an inclusive environment that will focus on education, networking opportunities and careers for women in finance. I also am proud to represent Ohio State athletics as a member of the Street Team, performing grass-roots marketing efforts for all 36 varsity teams.
David HiblerPublic Health Ph.D.
Ohio State’s commitment to the armed forces has made a difference in my life and those of many in my family and community by helping our military members reach their full educational potential.
I’m an older student with work experience from Battelle, Procter and Gamble and the Columbus Zoo. I served as a combat medic for the Ohio Army National Guard and took my Ohio State pride with me to Iraq from 2005 to 2007, where my unit was known as the Buckeye Medics. We flew an Ohio State flag in the heart of Baghdad and would stay up late to watch every football game live.
Now that I’m back on campus, I’m the official Ohio State veteran community advocate for the College of Public Health, where I help other military students navigate the difficulties that can come with serving and school. We hold events, host inspiring speakers and tailgate before games.
Josh HoeflichFinance, Spring 2021
I transitioned from a large public middle school to a small private high school in order to feel safe and welcome as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I felt that same sense of belonging the moment I set foot on the Ohio State campus, and I want to pay that feeling forward.
The university’s anniversary represents a tradition of superior education, unmatched athletics and a huge and diverse family. I’m a leader in the Stadium Scholarship Program, whose history can be traced to before World War II. Additionally, I’m part of the Marching and Athletic Bands, the paid performance pep band and many traveling athletic tournament and championship bands. Last year I went with our women’s ice hockey team to Boston and Minneapolis and with the men’s ice hockey team to Allentown, Pennsylvania. I was thrilled to see the number of Buckeyes that came out to support us even in the most far-flung places.
Alexis HomikEnvrnmnt, Ecnmy, Dvlpmnt, and Stnblty, Spring 2022
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial means knowing that there’s common ground where everyone wants to represent what being a Buckeye is. It’s like joining a club or a team. People want to bring their goals and personalities to the table, and with that comes opportunity and trust. The university wants to inspire our and future generations. It wants to see what we have to say.
Throughout my life, I’ve strived to produce art in multiple forms. From gymnastics to visual arts, being creative brings out the best in me. I do whatever I can to raise awareness about issues that I care about and engage others. With that comes intuition. My perspectives have shifted and strengthened based on the connections I’ve made and the knowledge I’ve gained during my time at Ohio State. The spirit and opportunities here make me believe I can make the world a better place.
Kyle HuffmanNeuroscience, Fall 2020
I began college unsure of my future, identity and purpose. Three years at Ohio State have converted this uncertainty into pure direction. I started out as a finance major, but I’m now studying neuroscience and want to go to medical school. I came to the university lacking an understanding of my purpose in life; I now know that I’m most fulfilled by helping others. I arrived as a closeted gay teenager; I’m now out and being the most authentic me.
My most affecting involvement has my time as a teaching assistant for the Department of Chemistry. I’ve taught labs and recitations within the general and the organic chemistry series. I’ve committed to becoming an empathetic and effective educator, and this has shined through in my interactions with students. I’ve heard “Thank you for looking out for me” and “You’ve made a difference in my life.” Such validation is what makes this experience so indelible.
Sarah HumphriesSocial Work, Fall 2022
I am a third-generation Ohio State student, and I came here wanting to continue my family’s tradition of excellence while looking to start a few traditions of my own.
My grandma earned her Ph.D. from Ohio State. My uncle played tennis for Ohio State Newark, while my stepmother was in an academic sorority. My father joined multiple educational clubs.
I’m in awe of the opportunities the university offers through its regional campuses, which offer the same groundbreaking technology and education as main campus, along with a unique connection to their students.
I believe a successful ambassador is always willing to teach and mentor, and to listen and aid students in making decisions. I plan to be involved in campus life as much as possible to take advantage of this opportunity. Outside of the classroom, I’m dedicated to my job and volunteer work, including the Meals on Wheels program.
Joe Ingram IIISocial Work M.S.W, Spring 2020
Many Ohioans dream from an early age of becoming a Buckeye. I was one of those people who felt proud whenever I encountered anything scarlet and gray. My dream stemmed from athletics, but as I matured it became more than that.
Ohio State has changed my life and kept me on a trajectory toward greatness. I love the opportunities I have been given and look forward to the ones to come.
I’ve been an ambassador with the Department of Social Change, an academic success partner and peer success leader for the Young Scholars Program, and a committee member for the African American Farewell Celebration. I’m president of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, a graduate administrative assistant at the Hale Black Cultural Center, and interned at the Boys and Girls Club of Columbus and Ohio State LiFE Sports. I also founded a student organization called Men with Purpose.
Hallie IsraelLaw J.D., Spring 2021
I became a Buckeye not once but twice. The second time was due in part to my love for the traditions I participated in as an undergraduate, from playing the Orton Hall chimes to rooting for the athletic teams.
I was also looking forward to my own growth and that of the university. It’s something I can share with my mom, who passed away before I was accepted to college but whose BuckID from 1979 I still carry. It’s something I share with my grandparents. Sixty-six years after they met at an Ohio State football game, they watched me in the ’Shoe as a member of the Homecoming Court in 2016. It’s something I share with an allied and intergenerational network of Buckeyes across the globe.
Outside the classroom I apply my skills to advocating for justice, including as a board member for the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Franklin County.
Mohit JangidComputer Science and Engineering, M.S., Spring 2022
It is my honor to be part of 150 years of the evolution of my university. I feel a responsibility to contribute to Ohio State’s growth by engaging in research, volunteer and leadership opportunities. I have the vision to learn and experience every part of life and give back to society.
I want to return to India and teach in a government university while working on research to solve the country’s major problems. India is a developing country, and it needs people’s contributions.
I believe it’s valuable to continue educating myself for life, not just in pursuit of my career. During my time at Ohio State I’ve volunteered with student organizations like Falun Dafa, Pay It Forward and the Indian Student Association. I’m also the event coordinator for the International Friendships student organization, and I’ve taught general science and computer education at a nonprofit organization and Parva School in India.
Abbey JarrettEarly Childhood Education, Spring 2021
Growing up outside of Columbus, I saw how Ohio State came together on football Saturdays to support one cause. Now I see that we also support each other and our communities. Buckeyes make leaps and bounds toward any goal that is put before them. Students leave knowing they have become contributing members of society.
As an education major as well as a resident advisor at Ohio State Newark, I’ve learned how to accommodate those around me and strive to help my campus become more inclusive and understanding of cultures by educating others. I aim to empathize with people around me and to help them in their strife. Doing so often requires patience and the ability to communicate in different ways.
Off campus, I enjoy working with older horses to make sure they get the exercise and extra care they need. I’ve also volunteered at a soup kitchen since my freshman year of high school.
Emily KanneyFood Science and Technology, Spring 2020
I grew up in a town that wasn’t diverse. However, through books and social media I gained exposure to diversity, and when I came to Ohio State I was blown away. The university is a place where different perspectives can come together to create solutions to problems.
My motto is “If you’re not going to be excited by something, why bother?” I’m delighted to tell everyone that I go to Ohio State and what majoring in food science means. (No, Aunt Marge, I’m not going to be a chef.)
I’m also proud of being a resource for my high school agriculture teacher. For a lot of students where I come from, it seems like the only path to a successful career is working the third shift at a factory seven days a week. I’m excited to be able to tell them about the opportunities and the affordability of Ohio State.
Brendan KelleyCommunication, Spring 2020
It is an honor to be a student during Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebration. It brings a smile to my face when I hear the stories of Buckeyes who graduated years ago—150 years of smiles, 150 years of wins, 150 years of helping others succeed. That is why I am at this university: to make my own memories and tell others about them. No words can describe how much love and respect I have for every student and every faculty and staff member on campus.
I have years of experience in volunteer work, from raising more than $11,000 for pediatric cancer research to spending spring breaks digging aqueducts to bring clean water from existing sources to homes in the poorest communities in the world. I’m a member of Ohio State’s rowing team, as well as a marketing intern for VISA, where I’m proud of my work creating a training manual for employees.
Hannah KemblePublic Health, Spring 2020
I didn’t decide to attend Ohio State until April of my senior year of high school, when I came to campus for an Honors and Scholars day. We started by singing “Carmen Ohio.” It felt as if we were singing a hymn. When I saw the tears streaming down my aunt’s face and those of other parents and alumni, I realized becoming a Buckeye was choosing to join a community of people with a desire to change the world. I soon learned that this school would challenge me to reach my potential as a scholar, friend, advocate and leader.
Outside of the classroom, my most meaningful endeavor has been working with suicide prevention. I have trained hundreds of Buckeyes, written articles about the dialogue surrounding suicide, planned events to erase the stigma of mental illnesses and assisted with the Suicide Prevention Task Force. I strive to cultivate a community of inclusion, wellness and excellence.
Chelsea KentHuman Development and Family Science, Spring 2020
Even though I’m outgoing and not afraid to start a conversation, before becoming a resident advisor I was worried that people wouldn’t want to talk to me. However, I’ve found that most people are looking for friends, and that a smile and welcoming “hello” can go a long way.
As an RA working with mainly first-year students, I’ve seen them at their best and their worst. My primary role is to support them through both. I have taught students about fad diets through waffle tasting, engaged them in conversation regarding transnational identities relating to the movie Selena, and passed out goldfish crackers when they “o-fish-ally” finished their first semester. I have made it a point to learn from them as well. I’ve found that the best way to learn about different identities and opinions is to not judge, offer advice or talk about myself, but just listen to everything they want to share.
Musa KhanComputer Science and Engineering, Springv 2022
During the eight years that my two older siblings attended Ohio State, I got to experience the joie de vivre of the campus. Then I saw how this community came together to support my brother after he experienced a sudden cardiac event on campus in 2015. That was when I knew I had to become part of the Buckeye family.
After being accepted into the Integrated Business and Engineering Honors Program I helped facilitate social events for new members and alumni. As a member of the Buckeye Undergraduate Consulting Club I met with industry leaders and participated in providing solutions to problems in corporations. I had the opportunity to work on an advisory project to revamp a small-business owner’s social media presence. However, one of my favorite involvements was being a Welcome Leader, which gave me the chance to make new friends while running suitcases up the ramp of Taylor Tower.
Shaun KhuranaPublic Policy and Management
When I became a Buckeye I knew I would be joining a community that stands up for what is right.
While living in Virginia I worked at a nonprofit that assisted LGBTQ+ individuals who experienced discrimination. I developed a workshop on employment readiness, and as my team conducted the workshop in multiple cities I was moved by the stories of discrimination and allyship that I heard. I learned that I was not alone in my encounters with workplace discrimination as a transgender man and could make a difference by creating awareness.
In the John Glenn College of Public Affairs I am an executive board member of the Public Affairs Multicultural Student Organization, where I help stage events that explore a range of policies and their implications for marginalized groups. We encourage people of all backgrounds to participate and often have civil, productive discussions while creating multicultural sensitivities for those who participate.
Alan KimVeterinary Medicine D.V.M., Spring 2020
I made an abrupt change from a career in finance when I decided to pursue veterinary medicine, a field in which I had no experience. I was impressed by the facilities at Ohio State and the curriculum encompassing all the major health disciplines, bringing them together to promote health in humans, animals and the environment.
During my first summer in veterinary school, I worked with transgenic mice to study the dynamics of T cells in a model treated with various lymphodepletion agents. I recently participated in research at Stanford University related to advances in spinal cord injury therapies. I hope such experiences will help me pioneer creative ways to improve animal and human care.
My unconventional student journey exemplifies my multifaceted personality. I believe I embody the hardworking spirit of this university, and my past is proof that with hard work Buckeyes can achieve anything we set our minds to.
Rebekah KoehnMechanical Engineering Ph.D., Summer 2022
All the institutions I considered attending for my doctoral work had similar resources and opportunities for research in my field. The thing that set Ohio State apart was the community. The faculty and staff in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering made me feel at home in an environment with a student population more than 10 times the size of my undergraduate university. Personalized tours, offers to help me navigate the application process, and overall support from the students, faculty and staff showed me there was something different about this place: Buckeyes support each other.
I look forward to serving the Ohio State community as a sesquicentennial ambassador. In addition to other volunteers activities I’m a council member of the Mechanical Engineering Graduate Association and vice president of the Bioengineering Student Team. Other interests include running, trying new restaurants, taking my friends on road trips and playing team sports.
Michael KohlerPublic Policy Analysis, Spring 2022
The sesquicentennial is a chance to think about what schools like Ohio State are capable of. We are on the cutting edge of medicine, engineering, policy exploration and so many other fields. It will be interesting to see what other great products come out of the university in the next 150 years.
I am an Eagle Scout, and when I start a project I do everything possible to make it the best it can be, no matter the time or effort. I serve on the Academic Affairs committee of Undergraduate Student Government, which is exploring ways to improve the Honors and Scholars program, among other projects. I plan to run for off-campus senator in the Undergraduate General Assembly next year. I’m involved in Hillel and in several Israeli advocacy organizations. I’m also active in the Politics, Society and Law Scholars Program, which is a first-year living community for political and law-minded individuals.
Courtney KriegerAgribusiness, Spring 2022
I am proud to be attending one of the top agricultural schools in the nation. I knew that I would be welcomed and treated with respect by professors and students, allowing me to make a smooth transition from high school and life on the farm to the Agricultural Technical Institute and eventually main campus. My decision to become a Buckeye will benefit me well into the future.
I have had years of experience working with people through employment and while serving as the Fulton County Dairy Ambassador. I’m able to work while attending classes, and I love my job at an elementary school. The kids’ excitement and joy when I walk into the classroom makes it worth every second of my time. I’m also proud of my experiences as a business owner. I’m an independent consultant for a skin care company and also a partner in our family dog-breeding business.
Blake LambBusiness Management, Spring 2021
I know that as a Buckeye I’m part of something bigger than myself, and that I have a great support system behind me. While receiving a world-class education at the Ohio State Lima campus, I’m also following in the footsteps of many who have made lasting positive impacts on the world.
As president of the Business Club, I love the challenge of adding value to the members’ professional development. I also work in the Heath Learning Center on campus as a mathematics tutor, where I help students reach their full potential through developing their ability to solve complex problems. During the 2017–18 academic year I served as the student representative to the Ohio State Lima Board of Directors, assisting the members in making decisions about strategic planning. I have also contributed to the community through internships at Allen County Job and Family Services and the Allen Economic Development Group.
Melissa LandsmanDentistry D.D.S, Spring 2021
I decided I wanted to become a dentist after founding a student organization called Volunteers Around the World Dental Branch and leading 15 students on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic.
At its core, dentistry is a customer service job that allows me to use specialized skills to serve others. As an undergraduate I enjoyed volunteering for organizations including KidSMILES pediatric dental clinic, the Bridge tutoring center for Somali refugees and Students Supporting People with Down Syndrome. I am the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s community outreach coordinator for Ohio State and the Health and Wellness committee chair for the American Student Dental Association. I also was involved with Mortar Board senior honor society.
I enjoy playing competitive indoor beach volleyball and teaching yoga classes for my peers. For my church I helped coordinate Night to Shine, an event that creates an unforgettable prom experience for children with special needs.
Mitchell LazarowAtmospheric Sciences, Spring 2022
Ohio State’s influence can be found all over the world, from backyards in the United States to the vast African prairies to the polar ice caps of Antarctica. Honoring this impact through the sesquicentennial calls attention to staff and students who are achieving groundbreaking accomplishments on a daily basis, while also helping to inspire future Buckeyes to strive for bigger and better things.
I take pride in contributing to the culture and environment at the university. I am a member of the Men’s Glee Club and two a cappella groups, and I work for the Department of Recreational Sports as an official and scorekeeper. I enjoy packing my day with activities so I can maximize my college experience in every way. Sometimes I have classes, two rehearsals and then officiating, and even though I’m tired at the end of the day I feel like I got the most out of it.
Anna LegueHuman Development and Family Science, Spring 2021
I have dreamed since high school of being an occupational therapist. Ohio State’s program is one of the best in the country, so the opportunity to receive a top-rated education and still be close to home is perfect. I want to continue to be a Buckeye through graduate school and beyond.
I’ve gained skills and insight from my time dancing and working with individuals with special needs, which has taught me that everyone, regardless of ability, has something important to offer. I am involved in the Pre-Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Club, as well as Empower Sports, Dance for Parkinson’s Disease and a contact improvisation class. These programs support students who are intellectually and physically disabled.
I’m also part of pilot research study called Play-On where we explore the interaction between preschoolers and the elderly population. I recently began an internship at Haugland Learning Center, a school focused on children with autism.
Sadé LindsaySociology Ph.D., Summer 2022
As an underrepresented graduate student who attended Ohio State as an undergraduate, I’ve watched the university continue to transform for eight years. Ohio State can stand the test of time.
For example, 2018 marked 50 years since activists protested to get administrators to address black students’ issues. Many schools would ignore such a history, but Ohio State acknowledges it and makes changes. Educating others about the school’s past as it seeks to improve its future is a strategy that will keep this university alive and thriving.
I have served with organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion, and I am an advocate for groups including formerly incarcerated people and minority students. As an undergrad I started a mentoring organization for minority women of color called Ladies of Leadership, which continues to thrive today. Today I guide students of color through the graduate school application process and include them on my research projects.
De Monte LindseySocial Work, Spring 2021
Although I lived in an environment where success seemed out of reach, I came to Ohio State intending to develop a new narrative for myself and knowing that I’d be surrounded by like-minded individuals.
Being a Buckeye means having the courage to chase your dreams. Without courage, it would be difficult to manifest my vision and particular gift. How would I determine if I could achieve what has yet to be manifested if I didn’t have the courage to believe that my gift is worthy of manifestation? Perseverance is another trait I bring to my role as an ambassador because from courage sprouts the will to persevere.
Outside the classroom I work in career services and the admissions office. I love my jobs because they help me pay for school expenses while allowing me to make connections with faculty and staff that help me grow as a student and a person.
Zijing LiuAccounting, Spring 2020
I’m not only a proficient storyteller but also a patient listener. At Ohio State I’m able to share stories and learn about different cultures and values, which will help me become a citizen with global perspective.
Currently I am president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Society, whose members participate in events that influence more than 3,000 people each year. On behalf of the society I built sponsorships with State Farm and Prudential Financial and connected with more than 150 big companies and 50 founders or co-founders of start-ups. I also volunteered as the student panelist and translator for university leaders in pre-departure orientation. These experiences improved my leadership, time management and event planning skills. In 2018 I interned at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where I performed various jobs and learned a lot about emotional control and multitasking.
I hope to continue helping Ohio State grow throughout my life. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye.
Meghna MahambreyHuman Development and Family Science Ph.D., Spring 2020
I applied to several schools for my undergraduate education but was fortunate to receive a full scholarship through the Office of Minority Affairs, which allowed me to follow my sister to Ohio State. I went on to earn my master’s from Xavier University and became a Montessori preschool teacher for eight years.
When I decided to pursue a Ph.D., I applied to only one school. It was a risky decision but one I was confident about; my time as an undergrad was so positive that I had my heart set on Ohio State. My experience once again has been a testament to the high-quality education the university offers.
I’ve had so many opportunities for professional growth through courses, workshops, clubs and mentorships. The opportunities for personal growth are equally important. Fitness programs, guest speakers, concerts, networking events and other activities have filled my free time and cultivated a sense of belonging.
Anna MartinNursing M.S., Summer 2022
Ohio State’s top-ranked nursing program offers its students the best of all worlds: a world-renowned hospital, a high-caliber education and a down-to-earth, welcoming community. I couldn’t be happier with my decision to turn down an offer from an Ivy League nursing school, uproot my life and drive across the country from Washington to come here.
My undergraduate background includes engineering, but soon after graduation I developed an interest in helping women at their most vulnerable: while they’re giving birth. I’ve volunteered as a birth doula and with the Midwives’ Association of Washington State, and I’ve lobbied for Medicaid coverage of doula care at the state level. Currently I’m working nights full-time at the Wexner Medical Center as a patient care assistant while completing my program. I hope to someday open a nonprofit birth center, and this job is providing some financial freedom while helping me become the provider I hope to be.
Alex MartiniSport Industry, Spring 2022
I’m a person who doesn’t like to stay still. I constantly want to push forward. Because Ohio State is such a difficult and competitive school, I know the lessons I learn as a student will better my life in countless ways.
My leadership skills have grown exponentially while I’m here. I have taken several leadership classes and plan to take on a minor in leadership studies. I also applied to be on the coveted Leadership Council for the Dunn Sport and Wellness Scholars Program, whose focus is on leadership and volunteerism. I belong to the Association for the Business of Sports here on campus and plan to apply to be a recruitment host for the football team.
Back home I am a member of a community outreach group called GO HAM (Giving Our Hearts And Minds). I have a real love for sports and advancing myself in the sports world.
Eric MayPart-Time Master of Business Administration M.B.A., Summer 2020
I’m a working professional student with an engineering undergraduate degree, and I served in the U.S. Army with deployments to Iraq, South Korea and Hawaii. I’m also the first person in my family to go to college. I had opportunities to attend other prestigious universities, but for me it came down to making my own community better, like Ohio State has done for the last 150 years.
My biggest involvement outside the classroom is the work I do with Startup Weekend. This entrepreneurathon helps members of the Columbus community learn about entrepreneurship and gives them the tool set to take an idea from conception through prototyping and validation and finally on to funding. We host several events each year and bring in around 120 attendees from throughout the community. I also participate in and mentor at other hackathons throughout Ohio. It’s rewarding to help others make connections and achieve their dreams.
Jesse McAndrewBusiness Management, Spring 2021
The opportunity for altruism is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a human being. From volunteering opportunities and leadership involvement to work experience, there are endless chances to grow and succeed at Ohio State. I am proud to be part of a diverse school with genuinely caring professors, faculty and staff.
I love volunteering and dedicating my time to a greater purpose. I have poured hundreds of hours into the student organizations I’ve been involved with at the Newark campus, including as vice president of Residence Life’s Community Council, housing liaison for Student Government, president of the Campus Activities Board, team captain for BuckeyeThon and member of the Community Outreach Committee.
I also have worked three jobs in Residence Life, including office assistant, summer conference assistant and resident advisor, and as a student peer mentor through the Academic Advising Office, all of which have helped me gain experience with handling relationships.
David McGrathFinance, Spring 2020
As I walked the halls of Fisher College of Business for the first time, I imagined myself experiencing all Ohio State has to offer. Woody Hayes captured that idea best when he said the university is about “the people, the tradition and the excellence.”
I realize the importance of creating social networks, volunteering in nonprofit events and motivating my peers to become active in service projects. I have participated in leadership roles throughout my academic career in student government and extracurricular clubs and on soccer teams.
As a competitive soccer player for much of my life, I’ve learned that being successful is not the result of one individual. My role as the goalkeeper for Ohio State’s men’s club team is to direct the play on the field, in addition to being the last line of defense. Building confidence by encouraging my team, as well as fostering camaraderie, has led to the squad’s success.
Hunter MerchantSocial Work, Spring 2021
Ohio State is blessed to be the home of many people with many different stories. To me, the sesquicentennial means 150 years of such personal stories.
I have two jobs that involve interacting with those from all walks of life. Working at the bookstore on the Marion campus allows me to help students make decisions that are right for them. I find that a familiar face on campus makes a world of difference.
I also work at a pharmacy, which helps me engage with my community and hear stories of struggle and triumph. I’ve learned so much about empathy, and it deepens my love for the social work profession. With my degree I will be able to help change the worlds of people who need it most. I’m thankful for what Ohio State has done for me, and I want to learn how to pass on this great legacy to someone else.
David MerwinArabic, Spring 2020
My service as a U.S. Marine will help me act as a bridge to veterans at Ohio State. Because of their experiences and age differences, veterans sometimes occupy a separate world on college campuses. Ohio State is committed to providing education for military communities, and it is crucial to have ambassadors like me who can communicate with and understand these students.
I began to love languages after traveling and seeing different means of expression. I felt alive during my first semester in college; I discovered a new way of thinking about life and a way to develop skills like writing, languages, cultural exchange and mathematics.
I’ve found that mentoring refugees promotes tolerance and acceptance of various viewpoints. As an example, interning with Community Refugee and Immigration Services and volunteering with World Relief led to cross-cultural exchanges between myself and a Syrian refugee family that grew into the friendship of a lifetime.
Jayllex MillsPharmaceutical Sciences, Spring 2020
Ohio State students go about their daily lives with an enthusiasm that would wear others to the core. But slowing down isn’t in our vocabulary. Buckeye don’t drift through life; we take it by the reins and live it.
I’ve always been what’s called a “people person.” My ability to talk to anyone, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity, makes being a volunteer at large events something I look forward to, rather than an obligation.
Block O is a great way for me to take a break from my studies while spreading Buckeye spirit. I’m also involved in the College of Pharmacy, where I work in the Office of Student Affairs and am a teaching assistant. I serve as an ambassador for the pharmaceutical sciences major, speaking with high school students about the Ohio State experience, and am on a committee that meets with faculty to discuss ways to improve the program.
Although my parents didn’t get to go to college, they emphasized the importance of higher education. At Ohio State I can be around other people who also want to improve their well-being. To be involved with a university that empowers individuals while creating opportunities is significant.
I wake up every day with the attitude that I will better my own life and the lives of those around me. I’m an academic peer coach through the Buckeye Generation Learning Communityat Ohio State Newark. I’ve been on the development and marketing committee for Behavioral Healthcare Partners for two years. I’ve also volunteered for five years at Hope Farm Granville, which provides equine therapy for individuals with developmental disabilities. I’m on the advisory board and volunteer at Lifetown Columbus, a nonprofit that helps individuals with developmental disabilities practice life skills. Finally, I volunteer with an organization called Women2Women, which offers support through mentorship.
Mariah MuhammadCriminology and Criminal Justice, Spring 2022
When I was in sixth grade I joined Ohio State’s Young Scholars Program, where I learned about the opportunities the university had for students like me. When it came time to select a college, I knew that Ohio State was where I belonged. Even before my first semester I had a community of supporters to turn to.
The sesquicentennial means that Ohio State is still moving in the right direction. It is not afraid to take huge steps in becoming more diverse, inclusive and gender-fluid each year.
I care about this institution and about making sure it sustains itself for another 150 years. I belong to multiple organizations reflecting my interests, including politics, music, poetry and religion. I’m especially proud of my experience working at the Akron Bar Association as an assistant secretary. It was my first time working in government, and I felt that I was really making a difference.
Bayley MyersBiochemical Sciences, Spring 2023
A legacy can only come from a credible and deserving source. Ohio State’s sesquicentennial is proof of the university’s lasting impact through camaraderie, excellence and initiative. It’s a testament to the dedication of the staff and students, and it demonstrates the strength and companionship found in being a Buckeye.
In addition to providing opportunities for academic and professional advancement, Ohio State encourages community involvement and public service while supporting personal growth. Buckeyes are constantly building on their skills and striving to improve.
I’m active in several organizations at the Agricultural Technical Institute branch campus, including the Community Council, the Student Activities Club, the Literature Club and the planning committee for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Celebration of Students. Through these organizations I’m able to take advantage of university resources and give back to the community while creating new ways to engage with my school and my peers.
Alyssa NaHealth Services Management and Policy, M.H.A., Spring 2020
Navigating my identity as a Cambodian-American woman has meant that I’ve struggled to find spaces I felt welcomed in. I was afraid that this sense of isolation would carry on into my graduate studies, and I was desperate to find an institution that fostered inclusivity in its classrooms and community spaces for diverse students to succeed.
At Ohio State I was immediately engulfed by a culture of tradition and pride. Every interaction I had with students, faculty and alumni showed that Buckeyes value diversity and interconnected relationships. The spirit was contagious.
To me, the sesquicentennial symbolizes the making of dreams into reality. Cambodian-Americans remain underrepresented in higher education, with only 13 percent obtaining a bachelor’s degree. In my endeavors I aim to challenge the barriers that inhibit the success of minorities. To be part of an institution that supports this means that I am able to fully participate in the university’s mission.
Aviva NeffTheatre Ph.D., Spring 2020
I am proud to be a dot on a 150-year timeline of progress.
My grandfather, a Cleveland native, called Ohio the “sacred soil.” Thus, despite being raised near Ann Arbor, I have always felt a connection with the Buckeye state.
While I was researching Ph.D. programs in theatre and performance, Ohio State consistently was at the top of my list because of its vibrant setting, innovative productions and opportunities for students. As a seasoned actor and director, I love connecting and creating with people and having stimulating conversations. I’m involved in many activities through the theatre department, including directing a festival of works by black American women of the Harlem Renaissance.
In my spare time I unofficially represent the university at my undergraduate institution, the College of Wooster, and at Eastern Michigan University, where my mother teaches. I share my positive experiences and encourage students to pursue graduate studies at Ohio State.
Makayla NewmanAthletic Training, Spring 2026
I knew the rigorous work required at Ohio State would offer me a challenge and a goal to strive for every day. The many opportunities to get involved allow me to find what I love to do and share those interests with others.
I am a member of organizations and scholar groups that support the community and my professional development. I am on the Running with the Buckeyes 5K committee through the Athletic Training Club, which raises money for sports medicine organizations. I belong to the Ohio State chapters of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the National Society of Leadership and Success, as well as the Dunn Sport and Wellness and Morrill Scholars Programs through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, both of which offer volunteer and service opportunities. Professionally, I am a member of the American College of Sports Medicine, which is devoted to advancing sports medicine professions.
Helena NguyenHospitality Management, Spring 2021
I’m proud to say I’m part of a university that has stood its ground for so long and fought to give its students and members a voice and appreciation.
Throughout my childhood I was different from other kids. I am an American-born citizen who grew up in a Vietnamese household. I am a gay woman raised in a traditional Asian family. As I began to figure myself out, I discovered more traits that made me stand out from the crowd. I knew Ohio State would be the place where I would be able to embrace the differences I grew up with.
I pride myself on having a deep sense of compassion for others, as well as a desire to help the world in any way I can. My activities include being the administrative assistant of Mack Hall’s council and a member of the Vietnamese Student Association and the Ohio State Ukulele Club.
Lilly O'ToolePublic Health, Spring 2021
Like my mother—a single immigrant raised under the Soviet Union—I imagined myself attending a community or technical school to earn an associate degree, with no clear view of the future. Then I received an acceptance letter from Ohio State, and a seed was planted.
The 10 summers I have spent living with my grandparents in Latvia have instilled in me a worldly perspective that gives me an understanding of varying backgrounds. With the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, I volunteered with a program that provides a safe space for socially disadvantaged children. My interactions with these adolescents have shown me the application of public health as I have witnessed the effect that social context can have on learning and health outcomes. Also, teaching spoken word poetry at a juvenile correctional facility has opened my eyes to the importance of education and to the injustices faced within prison systems.
Alexis OberdorfWorld Politics, Spring 2020
As a black woman adopted and raised by a white mother in a homogeneous community, I craved diversity in heritage, in experiences and in ideas. I wanted to attend a school that shaped my identity as much as it shaped my academics. Ohio State was a reflection of who I was when I accepted my spot here and a reflection of who I could become.
I am proud to be active in the Ohio State community and beyond. Among other things, I serve as a host in the Office of the President, where I work as a student ambassador at events. The opportunity to represent my university is an honor I never take for granted. I also was president of College Democrats at Ohio State, and I represented the university in Ghana, where I was the sole Ohio State student working for the country’s Health and Education Initiative.
Hannah OngPharmaceutical Sciences, Spring 2021
I began cancer research at Ohio State as a high school student. I also had the opportunity to serve Columbus’s marginalized communities through a free medical clinic associated with the university. Being able to continue my service at the clinic, as well as engaging in leadership opportunities here at Ohio State, reminds me every day why I became a Buckeye.
I conduct biomedical research at the Comprehensive Cancer Center, working with professors to combat breast cancer. With the Honors and Scholars Ambassadors I have the opportunity to talk with prospective Buckeyes and showcase how Ohio State can elevate their college experience to the next level. I also am on the logistics committee for TEDxOhioStateUniversity, where I help plan large-scale events that serve as a platform for “ideas worth spreading.” And I am a staff director and mentor for College Mentors for Kids, an organization that combines my love for kids and promoting higher education.
Sarah PalockoSocial Work, Spring 2021
Ohio State allows me to serve both my family legacy and my Columbus community every day. My grandfather graduated in 1944 from the College of Agriculture, supported entirely by his hard work and that of my grandmother. They would park cars for football games to earn money for tuition before retreating to their house trailer to sleep.
In 2017, during my first year as a student, we celebrated my grandmother’s 90th birthday at the Longaberger Alumni House, located on the same site where she and my grandfather used to park cars. I felt overwhelming love for my school that day.
In marking 150 years of the university, we celebrate those that created change before us, such as my grandfather, and pave the way for future change-makers like myself. Among other activities, I am a trip leader for Buck-I-SERV, guiding participants toward direct, sustained service across the country in many different social justice areas.
Shiying PanComputer Science and Engineering, Spring 2021
I went to a large high school in China and enjoyed making friends with people from all around the country. So when I was admitted to many colleges, I chose Ohio State because it is the biggest university in one of the most diverse cities in the U.S. I have become friends with peers, faculty and alumni from throughout the world. We share our experiences and insights, and I learn so much from them.
As a teaching assistant for a computer science course, I lead lab sessions twice a week, hold office hours and grade homework. I am also involved in student organizations including the Big Data and Analytics Association, Code 4 Community and the Chinese Culture and Conversation Club, where I organize events. In my spare time I have been volunteering with other students to develop a Web app about adolescent mental health for a sociology professor.
Erin PanczykChemistry Ph.D., Summer 2021
The analytical chemistry department at Ohio State is comprised of top female researchers who are striving to increase the number of females participating in STEM graduate programs. These faculty members take pride in the opportunities that the university has given them to advance their careers and research goals.
I immediately knew I wanted to follow in their path and learn from their experiences. I wanted to celebrate the next generation of female Buckeye scientists while surrounding myself with those who would challenge and support me.
While some say the devil is in the details, I believe the difference is in the details. This trait is advantageous to me as a scholar and a volunteer. I serve as a chemistry delegate on the Council of Graduate Students, and I volunteer at recruitment events for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in which accepted students visit campus to meet with faculty and current students.
Ben ParilloFinance, Spring 2022
Nothing is more inspiring to me than seeing old photographs of campus and reflecting on my opportunity to attend the same school as my grandfather, knowing that he went to class in the same buildings and studied in the same libraries. Growing up in a poor immigrant family, he had to work hard to pave his path through college on the way to medical school and becoming a radiologist. He taught me to love the Buckeyes from a very young age.
Like my grandpa, I want to use my experience as a Buckeye to inspire the generations that come after me. I am a founding member of Beta Upsilon Chi, a nationally recognized Christian social fraternity. I also work as an office assistant in my residence hall and strive to meet every resident with a positive attitude and friendly smile. I believe that all Buckeyes deserve a place to feel welcome and at home.
Jalauna PhillipsSocial Work, Spring 2022
Because I grew up close to Ohio State and immersed in Buckeye pride, it seemed almost unnecessary to tour the campus when considering colleges. But the moment I stepped on campus it was if a match had been struck and a fire started. I realized I didn’t know everything there was to know about Ohio State.
I love traveling and learning about different cultures. I have had the opportunity to travel to Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Israel. These experiences have changed my life forever. I am involved with the volunteering ministry at my church, where I serve meals and help people who do not have regular access to such basic needs as laundry and shower facilities.
Because I knew I would need support while in college, I created a group called Life Olympics to create a safe space for students to talk through the roadblocks we all come across.
Lydia PickrellOptometry O.D., Spring 2020
I’m pursuing both an O.D. and a master’s degree in vision science and am proud to be an ambassador for optometry.
Within the university I am the lead delegate representing optometry on the Inter-Professional Council, which works to unite the programs in Ohio State’s six professional schools. I also represent the professional schools on the Ohio Union Council, which discusses current and upcoming plans for the union.
As the secretary of SVOSH, an optometric student organization that provides eyecare to underserved areas, I have traveled with the group to Ghana, where we provided complete eye examinations for nearly 700 patients.
When I was an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, I volunteered as the director of a free summer camp for children affected by a parent’s cancer. It was one of the best experiences I have had, and I gained leadership skills from managing the counselors, staff and more than a hundred campers.
Sharbreon PlummerArts Admin, Education and Policy Ph.D., Spring 2020
Ohio State’s reputation as a leading research institution was what drew me to the university. Once I realized how deep and far-reaching the relationships between the school, alumni and community partners were, my decision was solidified. I knew Ohio State’s significant presence beyond campus would benefit me well beyond my tenure as a student. Furthermore, having access to some of the top faculty and scholars in the art education field who were excited about my work and research—and what I had to offer the department—was of the utmost importance.
Outside of campus service, I was recently a fellow in the YWCA Columbus Leadership for Social Change Program. As an arts practitioner and administrator, I also facilitate conversations and advocate for artists of color and women artists to receive equitable visibility, treatment and resources. This experience led to my being selected as a 2019 Alliance of Artist Communities Diversity and Leadership Fellow.
Anna PriorArts Management, Spring 2021
As a high school senior in Colorado I was unsure about where my college journey would take me. If I could go back in time I would tell that nervous girl that choosing to become a Buckeye would be the best decision she’d ever make.
My dad and other relatives attended Ohio State, but the reason I came here goes beyond family ties. The university has the same goal as it did 150 years ago: to be the best it can be by providing quality education to all students and giving back to the local community and to the world as well.
I have found student organizations here that I am passionate about, including the club waterskiing team, where I have made lifelong friends. My favorite part about being a member of the Women’s Glee Club is seeing faces light up when we sing “Across the Field” or “Carmen Ohio” at tailgates.
Rina RashidDental Hygiene
When I think of the word “Buckeye” I think of high-achieving people who want to make a change in this world, and of an institution that is willing to do whatever it can to prepare those people for success.
I knew I wanted to be a Buckeye even before I knew what career I wanted to pursue. After becoming part of this great community, I was inspired to pursue dental hygiene.
I am an avid student of many subjects. Outside the classroom, I belong to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, which provides opportunities to volunteer and earn scholarships. My goal is to complete 100 hours of volunteer work within one year. I’m also proud of my efforts and those of a few friends help raise awareness and money for children in underprivileged countries who needed polio vaccinations. That allowed us to impact the lives of hundreds of children in a positive way.
LeRoy Ricksy Jr.Law J.D., Spring 2021
As a kid in New York I wanted to play football for “the team in red.” As I grew older I realized “red” was actually scarlet and the team was the Ohio State Buckeyes.
I was accepted on a full-ride scholarship. My dream school was the best thing to happen to me, and it was my first choice to pursue my second degree. My experiences and time here have been life changing.
My interest lies in educating, assisting and empowering students by increasing college access and retention rates for those in urban and Appalachian areas. I have coordinated two programs working to increase Ohio State’s presence across the state, both of which have been featured in national and local news. As a diversity ambassador I have participated in university tours and interactions with prospective students. The activity I’m most proud of is being linked into the 111th class of Sphinx Senior Class Honorary.
Jayda RogersPublic Management, Leadership, and Policy, Spring 2022
Being a Buckeye is an opportunity to inspire others to pursue their interests at the university and within the community.
As a child I envisioned only what I saw around me: high school dropouts, homeless people, broken families and crime. I did not have role models or the financial stability to think about college. Once I started to remove the stigma of my neighborhood, I began to understand my purpose. I became aware of the benefits of higher education by surrounding myself with goal-oriented professionals who changed my perspective.
I am a visionary who sees the world as it could be and motivates people to look beyond their current circumstances. My leadership positions include working at the Ohio House of Representatives and being a Politics, Society and Law Scholar. I also am a community outreach ambassador for Ohio State’s African Youth League and a member of the Undergraduate Black Lawyer Student Association.
Raina RotondoCivil Engineering
I am excited to be a 2020 sesquicentennial graduate and an informed global citizen and alumnus who will exemplify the values, leadership and commitment to others that Ohio State has fostered. There is no place I would rather be at this critical juncture in my life. In honoring the university’s 150th anniversary, I know the best is yet to come.
Ohio State’s engineering and architecture programs are top-notch and academically challenging. My involvement with the Mount Leadership Society Scholars has taught me to be a good global citizen and leader for a diverse society. I have always had an ethic of service to others, and during my Mount year of service I volunteered at Ethiopian Tewahedo Social Services, teaching English and job skills to adult refugees. This transformative, rewarding experience was a communications challenge, but I succeeded in creating lifetime bonds and meaningfully improving lives of immigrants facing unimaginable hardships.
Xamarie RuizAnimal Sciences, Spring 2022
As a sesquicentennial ambassador I hope to represent the Buckeyes and benefit others with my openness to diverse ideas and individuals, my care for my peers and all those in my community, and my confidence in myself and the community. By “confidence” I mean embracing my talents, achievements and capabilities to avoid doubt in myself, which is key if I wish to best serve others.
So far in my time at Ohio State I have been involved in the Pre-veterinary Medical Association; Shades of Animal Science, of which I am the community science chair; the Animal Welfare and Behavior Club and Partnering Up with Pets. I also participated in the 2018 Buckeye Royal showmanship contest, where I spent two weeks breaking a young Jersey heifer. I release my creativity by painting, and outside of campus I volunteer at the Franklin County Dog Shelter, where I walk dogs and assist in their behavioral training.
Melanie RussellMedicine M.D., Spring 2021
My journey to Ohio State started when I was inducted into the Young Scholars Program, giving me the opportunity to learn what it means to be a Buckeye. I now take pride in being part of a diverse community whose members see value in celebrating differences—one of the many reasons I chose Ohio State for my undergraduate degree and remained for my professional studies. It was among the best decisions I have made.
I want to become a physician who provides competent and compassionate care to the underserved. I have translated that interest into leadership with Ohio State’s Student National Medical Association, where I serve as the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students liaison, striving to cultivate connections between underrepresented minority medical and premedical students. I also recently started an inter-professional organization among the university’s graduate programs that visits Columbus Public Schools to speak about breaking barriers and achieving goals.
Zach SalinasBiology, Spring 2022
My friends and family sometimes get tired of how often I bring up the fact that being at Ohio State has been the best experience of my life.
I have been obsessed with the campus and culture since I was a sophomore in high school. Being a part of Ohio State’s history of great students is an honor I will remember forever. The students who came before me have set the standard for the university’s exceptional academic programs, and that means I have to do the same for the next wave of students after me.
Several traits make me ideal as an ambassador. I like to socialize, I’m energetic and I can spark a conversation with anyone. I belong to the Community Outreach Committee, through which members volunteer around the campus and the community. I’m also in an organization that visits elementary schools to teach kids about diversity in art.
Hunter SandwischAgribusiness, Spring 2022
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be involved in agriculture for my career, so Ohio State’s Agricultural Technical Institute was the place for me to continue my education.
I take pride in my leadership role as a student ambassador at the ATI. I try to learn from my peers as well as administrators because I know the lessons I learn will help me later in life.
I’m also involved in clubs that allow me to broaden my knowledge about agriculture. They include Collegiate FFA, Community Council and Agronomy Club. I’m vice president of the Poultry Club, and I enjoy volunteering to help make my county fair enjoyable for all.
In all my activities I am team-oriented because I believe that everyone has strengths to share with others. I try to lead by example, accommodating others’ opinions while voicing my own, and I’m open-minded to ideas that may be better than mine.
Danielle SchooleyEarly Childhood Education, Spring 2022
I’m a Buckeye because it’s who I’m meant to be. I was born and raised in Ohio, and when I came to Ohio State I felt like I had come home. As soon as I stepped onto campus I knew it was where I wanted to be. The community and togetherness that surrounds anyone who is a Buckeye is the most welcoming and loving atmosphere I’ve ever seen.
Ohio State has helped me build up my leadership skills. I was president of Bucket and Dipper Junior Class Honorary, presiding over meetings, running an executive team and organizing philanthropy events.
I’m also an avid member of BuckeyeThon, which fights to end pediatric cancer. Being in this organization means everything to me; it has allowed me to further myself as a leader and in teamwork settings. I am surrounded by a community of leaders, innovators, students—truly the next generation of world changers.
Veronica SchuverOptometry O.D., Spring 2021
While interviewing at the College of Optometry I noticed the way the students and faculty were able to be proud of Ohio State without bragging. It’s an understanding that the university provides a superior education while fostering community and inclusivity.
I picked a lucky time to attend Ohio State because I get to experience the 150th year of its existence. It’s a chance to look back at Buckeyes who have made the world a better place. I feel a responsibility to carry on the legacy of those before me when I graduate and start my career.
I represent Ohio State as the trustee-elect to the American Optometric Student Association, which brings scholarships, advocacy opportunities and information to students nationwide. My service opportunities include talking to children about eye health and safety, doing vision screenings at the National Urban League convention, and working at the Epsilon Psi Epsilon Fun Run/Walk, which benefits Pilot Dogs.
Kimberley ScottHealth and Rehabilitation Science Ph.D.
As a member of the Class of 2004, it is my pleasure to be a Buckeye again as a Ph.D. student.
My undergraduate experience was rich with opportunities to develop as a leader. I was a member of the inaugural class of Mount Leadership Society Scholars, where I discovered how to lead through service. Resident advising taught me leadership by example. I went on to a leading professional program for physical therapy.
After accepting my first job in San Antonio, I was inspired to reconnect to Buckeye Nation, so I joined the local alumni club and was proud to share my love of Ohio State at recruiting events for Lone Star State students.
The university provided a residency training opportunity to enhance my clinical career. Now I have returned to campus for my terminal degree, confident that my Buckeye experience will set me apart as a leading researcher and educator.
Livie SearsMarketing, Spring 2021
Ohio State’s sesquicentennial is the perfect time to recognize some historic moments that have flown under the radar, like the appointment of Caroline Breyfogle as the first dean of women in 1913, or the establishment of the Office of Minority Affairs (later known as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion) in 1970.
Furthermore, the sesquicentennial is a time to kickstart an era of care by beginning a campaign of prioritizing mental and physical health on campus. Additionally, we need to ensure our campus is a place where victims of sexual assault and harassment feel comfortable coming forward with their stories and knowing the university will protect and believe them.
I know adjusting to Ohio State can be hard, and I want other students to feel that they belong and are loved. No matter what their interests are, they can find a group of people with similar interests to support them.
Kayleigh SeiberPsychology, Spring 2021
Being a regional student at the Marion campus has allowed me to stay close to home to watch my siblings grow up while also being in a meaningful education environment.
It is important to me that regional students feel involved and engaged in their opportunity to responsibly serve their community. From the time I applied I knew I wanted to be involved in service, and the regional and main campuses have given me the chance to work not only in central Ohio but around the country.
Buckeyes are leaders in our studies and our communities with the drive to implement change in the world. From a regional campus student to a senior varsity athlete, each student is equally valued and accepted into the Buckeye family. If we continue to strive for excellence and pride ourselves on our diversity, our descendants may be celebrating Ohio State’s tercentenary 150 years from now.
Jerrod ShackelfordChemical Engineering / Jazz Studies, Spring 2023
During my junior year in high school Ohio State’s head of jazz studies, Shawn Wallace, did a clinic with my school’s band at a jazz festival. He showed us how to feel the music, more than just what was notated on the page. I left the festival with the feeling that the instructors at Ohio State were really invested in their fields of expertise.
The following summer I went to the university’s jazz camp and fell in love with a staff full of compassionate musicians who wanted to share their experience and help students become the best musicians they could be. They promised me the department would do everything it could to make an engineering major and a music major compatible. From that time on, I knew Ohio State was a land of opportunity where I’d always be able to find what I want and people to enjoy it with.
Audrey ShreveProduction and Operations Management
It is an honor to attend a university with such a great reputation; it is even more exciting to be able to celebrate a century and a half of its existence. I thrive on Ohio State’s motto of “Education for citizenship” and constantly use my education and opportunities here to assist others.
I am involved in two student organizations, both with a heavy focus on volunteering: Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s and FisherCares. I volunteer in the Alzheimer’s unit of a nursing home, where we spend weekend mornings sitting with the residents, talking and doing activities with them. FisherCares links me to many nonprofit organizations through volunteer opportunities—I recently helped make blankets for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and picked up litter along the Olentangy River—as well as networking opportunities with the guest speakers we host. Additionally, I was hired as a school-based program assistant for Big Brothers Big Sisters.
An unknown artist said, “We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.” With that in mind, I believe it is part of one’s duties as a leader to teach others how to be successful. Leadership should be sustainable and tangible, which is the purpose of training sesquicentennial scholars to support those within the Ohio State community who have the foundation to become CEOs, nonprofit leaders and difference-makers.
I entered college as a finance major and did not expect to fall in love with the nonprofit sector. I added a nonprofit management major and have taken classes in both the Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The two colleges vary greatly, yet both offer invaluable information. In addition, my involvement with campus organizations has taught me how to overcome the dynamic schedule of college while fueling my interests.
Deondre SmilesGeography Ph.D., Spring 2020
I am a first-generation college student in my immediate family and the first person in my larger family to enter a Ph.D. program. As a sesquicentennial ambassador I hope to bring recognition to our Native American student population.
I am an enrollee of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and one of only 70 Native American students at Ohio State. I’m president of the Indigenous Community of Graduate and Professional Students, an organization that supports Native American students on campus and organizes events to increase awareness of the Native American student population and the issues that face us at the university as well as in central Ohio and across the U.S. I also am treasurer of the Geography Graduate Organization. Outside the university I am secretary of the Indigenous Peoples Specialty Group of the American Association of Geographers. I am a musician and work as an instructor with drumlines in Ohio and Indiana.
Aaron SmithAgronomy, Spring 2021
As a child with a rural heart in an urban school system, I joined 4-H and met countless friends who became like family and had experiences that led to leadership and educational opportunities. When I decided to pursue a degree in agricultural sciences, Ohio State was the only option I considered because of the university’s role as a land-grant institution and its ties to 4-H.
I attend the Agricultural Technical Institute, where I am vice president of the Agronomy Club and social media chair of the Poultry Club. As a member of the Dairy Club, I frequently attend Community Council and Collegiate FFA meetings. I also plan to become involved in our LGBTQ+ support group. On top of all this, I am a resident advisor and often host programs or attend events.
When I am not on campus, I enjoy going home to work on my family farm and volunteer at 4-H events.
Kaitlyn SnyderSociology, Spring 2021
Ohio State is multidimensional. In a few square miles it has managed to squeeze in pretty much everything you can think of: world-class research, outstanding athletic programs and hundreds of student organizations. I walk to class every day knowing that I’m surrounded by opportunities to become anything I want to be.
Still, as an out-of-state student I have been really homesick at times. But I quickly learned that Buckeyes take care of Buckeyes. I don’t think another school would have been able to give me the joy that I have gotten from the people here.
My activities include being a member of Remote Area Medical Columbus, a new branch of a national organization that is providing quality, affordable health care to underserved populations. I also belong to the Honors Collegium, through which I have had the chance to collaborate with my peers in ways that will help me achieve my career goals.
Taylor StamperHealth Sciences Program, Fall 2022
I chose to become a Buckeye because I sought community. I wanted to surround myself with scholars who were as dedicated to their studies as they were to keeping traditions alive and assisting those in the community.
As a student at the Mansfield campus, I am able to work with others in Columbus via online classes while staying connected to my hometown. I belong to the Ohio State Mansfield/North Central State Best Buddies Chapter, which creates opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I also tutor, and I volunteer at a food pantry, at vacation Bible schools and with cheer and track teams. Essentially, I look to empower those whose voices are not always heard.
In addition, I am a crew leader at McDonalds and a project service associate for School Specialty. Being a sesquicentennial ambassador allows me to expand my outreach in the community while furthering my skills as a leader.
Jonathan StechschulteLandscape Architecture M.L.A., Spring 2020
I chose to become a Buckeye because chocolate/peanut butter buckeyes are delicious.
There were other reasons, too: deep family ties, the promise of an excellent education, and opportunities to further myself as a student, a professional and a human being hoping to make the world a better place.
My main involvement on campus is as vice president of the Society for Ecological Restoration. I am a trip advisor for Buck-I-SERV, and I volunteer in my church and at a community garden.
In addition, you can find me composing landscape architecture drawings, playing basketball and perusing tropical fish at aquarium suppliers. My interests in nature also include collecting: I collect shells, and I have an expansive plant collection, with specimens from my travels across America. The insects I collect provide an outlet for my persistent curiosity, and their array of colors helps me appreciate the beauty in details while I am out hiking.
Malika SunasaraAstronomy and Astrophysics
As a foreigner I did not have the opportunity to visit Ohio State before I applied. However, the university’s contagious school spirit and rich history—and its strong astrophysics program and opportunities for research—strengthened my resolve to attend.
Due to the size of the university I knew I would learn something new every day. I would be able to explore more classes and fields and have more opportunities to rediscover myself.
I’ve been able to be part of organizations including Global Minds and Amnesty International, and I have been involved in volunteering opportunities not only in the United States but also in India and Angola. One experience I am proud of was working with women in the slums of Mumbai, where I taught them ways to handle finances and helped them establish a steady income for themselves. I also learned many lessons from them and carried on with a newfound humbleness and gratitude
Aditi ThaparPublic Policy and Management, Spring 2020
As a third-culture kid who has lived in Dubai, India, the Philippines and the U.S., I know what it’s like to feel “othered.” I work to prevent those around me from experiencing the same.
I belong to the John Glenn College of Public Affairs Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Task Force. My participation allows me to survey students on important issues, work with team members, and make recommendations that will enhance student wellness and foster a culture of care. I am a career mentor at both of my alma maters, and I also help students search for internships and give them information about their options in the academic and professional worlds.
When I’m not conducting research, mentoring or volunteering, I’m teaching; it is the work experience I am most proud of. Teaching allows me to inspire my students and help them understand the importance of community.
Words cannot describe the feeling when I heard “O-H” shouted to me in the Beijing airport as I was on my way to my study abroad experience as an undergrad. I was proud to be from Ohio State and thrilled to engage with another Buckeye so far from home.
I decided to stay at Ohio State for my pharmacy degree because of the Buckeye spirit that surrounds me wherever I go. I have taken full advantage of the opportunities to immerse myself in what I care about. I’m president-elect of the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy and co-founder of the Student Association of Specialty Pharmacy. As a pharmacy ambassador and mentor, I help incoming students make Ohio State their home. I spend spring break in Honduras on a medical brigade with Buckeyes Without Borders, and I volunteer with Buck-I-SERV, serving communities all over the country for a week during winter break.
Bo TokarskiPharmaceutical Sciences Ph.D., Spring 2021
Throughout my life I have experienced difficulties that have helped shape the determined man I am today. I do not shy away from challenges, and I believe the best people are those who are able to become stronger through overcoming hardship.
I study medicinal chemistry not just because I love it, but because of the opportunity to apply what I learn to aiding people. I am a member of the American Chemical Society, American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society of Pharmacognosy, and I was asked to join Rho Chi, the academic honors society for pharmacy. I also serve on a committee that plans recruiting events for prospective graduate students and hosts students when they visit our program.
I’m in charge of the college’s Graduate Student/Faculty Soccer Club, which meets every week from May through October to play soccer and let off steam from the stresses of graduate school.
Andrea TsatalisDentistry D.D.S., Spring 2020
Ascending the steps of Machu Picchu, I heard “O-H!” Was I imagining things? Or was I—thousands of miles from Columbus—hearing a cheer so woven into the fabric of my upbringing that I instinctively chanted back “I-O!” Moments later, a 1974 Ohio State graduate ran toward me to say hello and reminisce about her campus days.
With a landmark called Mirror Lake, it is fitting that the sesquicentennial of Ohio State is marked by reflection on the university’s educational legacy; on 150 years of hope, citizenship and innovation; and on the diversity that has come together in one location for 15 decades.
There is nothing more welcoming, confidence-inducing or empowering than a smile. I have dedicated my dental school career to making more smiles through activities including founding a club that provides dental supplies and education to homeless Columbus youth and raising funds to reduce dental treatment costs for domestic abuse survivors.
Camille VictorCommunication, Spring 2020
When I became a Buckeye I was also welcomed as a Morrill Scholar, which helped me gain a deeper understanding of Ohio State’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
The sesquicentennial to me isn’t just a celebration. It’s a time to look back at the university’s foundations and appreciate its growth. It’s also a time to reevaluate our goals as a community devoted to uplifting and educating others. If we fall short in any way, this is the time to embrace changes that will push the university to an even better future.
I’m involved in the Black Advertising and Strategic Communication Association, which has helped me build connections with students and professionals with similar career and educational goals and explore what I can pursue with my degree. Additionally, I’m the pledge class secretary of Alpha Phi Omega community service fraternity, and I have completed the Media Marketing and Communications Scholars Program.
John VuBiochemistry, Spring 2021
I left my home in Illinois to indulge in the energy I felt when I first stepped on campus. And I have not wasted a moment: whether I am leading a study group or cheering at a football game, I maintain the welcoming attitude that defines the Buckeye spirit.
Much of my time is spent performing undergraduate research and working as an instructor for the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. I was proud to receive the Freshman Chemistry Award for being the top student enrolled in the honors general chemistry sequence.
My other involvement includes mentoring freshmen within the Morrill Scholars Program as well as volunteering at food pantries and raising money for victims of domestic violence and cystic fibrosis with Alpha Kappa Lambda fraternity. I often spend my leisure time playing volleyball and board games, watching movies, and finding any excuse to explore Columbus, including participating in a 24-hour team scavenger hunt.
Richie WainioMechanical Engineering, Spring 2021
When I first visited Ohio State and learned about the more than 1,300 student organizations on campus, I realized this diversity would ensure that I could make my mark.
I am interested in learning about the university’s environmental impact, specifically energy consumption and carbon pollution, and I have been able to channel my interest through the Sustainability Committee of Undergraduate Student Government. I worked with a team to create a resolution that provided reasons why Ohio State should push toward using 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2050. Last December I became a deputy director of sustainability, and I lead a group of six to pursue their sustainability interests as well as create events and policies of my own.
Furthermore, I have found a way to promote change through Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations, which provides the perfect setting for me to impact the Columbus community and improve my professional skills.
Iris WalterEarly Childhood Education, Spring 2021
Ohio State Mansfield encompasses everything I was looking for: small class sizes, a beautiful campus, affordability—and it’s close to home.
The university’s sesquicentennial makes me proud. It means that for 150 years Ohio State has been providing numerous opportunities and helping make dreams come true for countless people. It’s a chance to look at how far the university has come and remember what it means to be a Buckeye. As an ambassador I’m willing to learn everything about the very roots of our university and what Ohio State has accomplished.
Outside of the classroom I am a Buckeye ambassador here on the Mansfield campus. I work in the library for the education department and as a student assistant. I also am helping to get the Twitter and Instagram accounts active for the department. I was elected to lead public relations for Club Ed, and I enjoy volunteering in my church community.
Austin WardEconomics, Spring 2020
Growing up in Vinton County, I dreamed of “escaping” southern Ohio and attending a prestigious school out of state. However, after participating in the Day in the Life of a Buckeye program, I started to take Ohio State seriously. When it came time to decide, my choice was easy.
My activities include serving as treasurer of the Alexander Hamilton Society, a nonpartisan group focused on foreign policy that hosts events with speakers from across the country to debate international topics. As an officer I was able to attend the Reagan National Defense Forum, where I met members of Congress, policy experts and people from the defense industry.
Additionally, I am a student financial assistant in the Office of Student Life, where I enjoy experiencing the business side of student housing, dining, recreational sports and other functions. I also am a presidential host at events and football games, one of my most enjoyable experiences at Ohio State.
Max WeberMechanical Engineering, Fall 2021
Many universities offer impressive engineering curriculums, but none of them come close to Ohio State in terms of other aspects of the engineering and professional world. Research, career services, study abroad and service learning programs—the breadth of opportunities reflects the importance of doing more than just getting a degree.
I became a Buckeye because I want to change the world for the better. I serve as health and wellness chair for Phi Kappa Tau, and through the fraternity I’ve been able to do plenty of community service, including cleaning up the campus, helping kids at the Boys and Girls Club and volunteering at the Cat Welfare Association. I’m also on the Underwater Robotics Team, where we design a complex robot for a national competition. I plan to get involved in a martial arts club and a drawing club, and to work an engineering co-op, where I’ll design automated systems for buildings.
Kirsten WeisenbergerSocial Work, Spring 2021
Ohio State has become my home away from home. My knowledge of the university—its traditions, what it stands for and how it has progressed—makes me a good sesquicentennial ambassador. I realize the expectations that are held for me as a Buckeye, and I am happy to exceed those expectations.
At the Mansfield campus I work as an ambassador for the director of career development and internships, which includes helping in the classroom, answering questions, doing outreach and running the Twitter page for Mansfield Career Connections. I am also a member of the Social Work Club.
I’ve been working at a private optometrist’s office since my graduation from high school. I divide my time between being a smiling face at the front window, checking patients in and out, answering phone calls and completing any tasks that need to be done. I also am a technician and do pretesting for the doctors.
Nicole WengerMaster of Business Administration, Spring 2020
My hometown in Illinois had its sesquicentennial while I was young, and I remember my sense of pride in belonging to the community. I feel similar pride when I think about being part of Ohio State as it celebrates its 150th year.
As part of this community, both the medical school and the greater university sectors, I have made lifelong friends, learned from top physicians and had opportunities I may not have had elsewhere, including chances to be involved in many ways. I was a co-chair of the LGBTQ+ and Allies group, organizing events to help educate students about how to better take care of our diverse patient population. I also organized a memorial service to honor the family members of our body donors. One of my most meaningful experiences was being on the steering committee of a student-run clinic that provides free health care and medicine for patients in need.
Sarah WhiteExercise Science Education, Spring 2021
I love how Ohio State has grown into a school that is inclusive and does everything it can to push students to pursue their dreams. I love how international it is. I love the wide variety of degrees and opportunities that it has to offer. I love that I have been given the chance to be part of such an organization. I never considered going anywhere else.
I’ve taken advantage of opportunities including volunteering for the Big Ten and NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, as well as Women’s Last Chance. I worked as a lane timer and assisted with the awards ceremony. I also volunteered with Pelotonia, where I helped keep track of participants’ bicycles as they were stored on the racks. I participate in the creative writing program at Ohio State Newark and am a member of Phi Sigma Theta National Honor Society. I also volunteer at Capital City Hospice.
Mia WilliamsDance, Spring 2020
My college decision was difficult. I was torn between one school known for its prestigious and traditional dance department and Ohio State, where the performances I had seen pushed me out of my comfort zone and showed me a side of dance I had never been part of.
I chose Ohio State because I sensed this would be a journey that would make me not only a more experienced dancer but also a more open-minded individual.
One activity I am proud of is being lead assistant for TRIBE Dance, a nationally touring in-studio dance intensive. My position is all-encompassing. I am involved with designing and selling merchandise, creating promotional materials for social media and assisting faculty to organize and aid dancers. I also teach classes, plan events and act as a role model for company assistants, trainees and brand ambassadors. I continue to grow with the company as it expands.
Seth WilliamsonFinance, Spring 2020
As an out-of-state student, I chose to come to Ohio State because I believed I would have the opportunity to make an impact and to learn from some of the most innovative thinkers on the planet.
I’m a member of the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, through which I’ve done projects ranging from serving the homeless to planning a birthday party for immigrants who do not know when their birthdays really are.
I serve on the Governmental Relations Committee of Undergraduate Student Government, where I helped register students to vote and advertised the midterm elections. Through my committee’s work the student voter turnout skyrocketed by 33 percent over the last midterm elections. Another project was planning the annual USG trip to Washington, D.C., where we advocated for mental health and higher education at a state and federal level. I’m also a member of Buckeye Capital Investors, the leading undergraduate investment organization on campus.
Mingxin XieEconomics, Spring 2021
Ohio State developed into a world-famous university over 150 years. Now it is time for us to contribute to its future. Maintaining a good academic record, being involved in organizations and creating connections with faculty and friends—these efforts prepare me to serve my university.
As an international student, I often am asked about my reasons for coming to Ohio State. I used to answer that I came here to study and to get a better career. But I felt detached from other Buckeyes. Time passed, and now I am experiencing the campus from various aspects. I joined the Chinese Students and Scholars Society to raise understanding and awareness of Chinese culture. My other volunteering activities include the Residence Halls Advisory Council and Buck-I-SERV.
As the office assistant at the front desk of Baker Hall, I provide the best customer service I can. Being a helpful friend to every resident is an enjoyable experience.
Rainier YanoPsychology, Spring 2021
Ohio State has given me the chance to do things I never would have imagined. I’ve volunteered in cities across the nation and the globe, meeting peers from Beijing to Los Angeles to Appalachian Ohio. My experiences have taught me life lessons and made me realize the impact Buckeyes can have on the world.
Every student here is given the opportunity to dream and the resources to make those dreams reality. I hope to become a doctor. As director of international travel for the club Doctors Without Borders, I organized a volunteering trip to Ghana. Each summer I teach English at an elementary school in Japan, where my family is from. I also participate in Buck-I-SERV trips.
At other times you can find me doing research on the relationship between the immune system, cardiovascular health and chemotherapy, and hanging out with my brothers in Pi Lambda Phi, a new fraternity aimed at eliminating prejudice.
Maxwell YoccoPsychology, Spring 2021
I’m proud to be part of Ohio State Marion, an excellent institution well deserving of its role as a regional campus of one of the most celebrated public institutions in the world.
Representing all Buckeyes, I bring my own style into play as we forge our path, set the standard and lead the way into the future. Being a Buckeye isn’t just a title or a sweatshirt. It’s a mindset, an opportunity and a way of life. It motivates me to be the best I can be and gives me a sense of responsibility and community.
I had the privilege of playing in the Ohio State Athletic Band and pumping up the crowds with our sound. I will always cherish the fellowship and effort of performing and the standard of excellence the band strives for. I also cofounded a student organization at the Marion campus where we rehearse and refine the art of comedy improvisation.