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of these passionate Buckeyes, we have preserved the original 150 scholar list and their biographies below to serve as a historical reference.

Jordan Abron

Health Sciences Program, Spring 2021

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 Akers

International 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.

Amber Alexander


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 2021

Management 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 Allen

Educational 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 Anderson

Social 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 Andualem

Industrial 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 Anil

Mechanical 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 Antolini

Italian, 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 Archer

Early 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 Aronoff

Exploration, 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 Arora

Industrial 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.