Most nights you can find Abby Bouton steadfastly working in Hayes Hall, home of the Department of Design. Bouton is a second-year Design major here at Ohio State, minoring in Theater, and is a member of the Arts Scholars program.
Bouton identifies as non-binary—identifying with neither male or female, rather lying on a spectrum of gender—and uses they/them/their pronouns. They are also a new member of the communication and marketing team at the University Honors & Scholars Center as a student graphic designer.
Ohio State's design program is highly competitive and a small niche that allows Bouton and their peers to work very closely with one another and create artistic and invaluable relationships with professors. "We all know each other and are always bouncing ideas and concepts off of one another. My classmates always inspire me creatively."
Through their first year as an Arts Scholar, Bouton discovered their love for interior design and was introduced to the idea of production design for both film and theater—especially Broadway in New York. During the last spring semester, Bouton, along with the troupe of friends they met through scholars, went to New York City where students were able to meet with OSU Alumni, explore the city, as well as get an up-close look at off-Broadway theater sets. The latter is what sparked Bouton's interest and set them onto their path in the design world.
Bouton made it very clear that their scholars' program, friends, and classmates have been and continue to be influential in their experience at Ohio State and as a designer and artist. During their first year in design, Bouton innovated projects and structures that bent and distorted space, as well as made statements on duality and communication between people and society. "We did this project where we basically altered a space and witnessed how the experience of people changed after the space was altered. It blew my mind and I switched to Interior. I choose OSU because they have a competitive design program and because Columbus is full of the people I want to surround myself with." Bouton laughed remarking the time they had worked at the design studio for two full nights with other classmates and rested briefly in hammocks they'd hung in the middle of the studio.
Outside of academics, Bouton loves to explore Columbus with friends, photography, and being an active member in the LGBTQ+ community. For the near future they hope to acquire at least two internships, one ideally in New York City, and continuing to create and recreate the spaces that surround them and their peers.
By Audre McDowell, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member
Students who remember the good old days when Mirror Lake was actually a body of water may also remember the campus legend known as AfroDuck. About a month after his tragic death in January 2016, students were surprised to see a similarly fluffy duck hanging out at Mirror Lake. Did OSU have an emergency backup supply of AfroDucks for situations like this? Or was it the campus icon himself, resurrected just on time to comfort students during the dreaded midterm season? Sam Harris was one of the first on the scene, interviewing fellow students about proper duck nutrition and evil twin conspiracy theories. Over the past few years, she has written articles about topics such as American politics, campus housing, and one student organization's passion for burritos. After all this time writing about other people, it turns out she has done some things worth writing about, too.
Harris is a fourth-year student in International Affairs (IA) Scholars. She is a self-described bookworm whose two current favorites are The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and Notes from the Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. She adds "movie nerd" to her list of identities as well, considering Gateway Film Center the second best part of Columbus. The first, of course, is the Oval—at least in good weather, and maybe with less construction.
For Harris, Ohio State was a big adjustment from growing up in a small town outside of Cleveland, but she was drawn to the university because she knew there would always be something going on and she would never be bored. As it turns out, she doesn't have much time for boredom either way. She is pursuing International Studies because she likes to stay informed on politics and current events, Journalism because she has had a long-standing dream to be a reporter, and Arabic because she finds the language fascinating and often considers her Arabic classes her favorites.
At first, transitioning into college life felt overwhelming. "It was quite the culture shock," says Harris. "Scholars gave me a community right from the beginning." She adds that she is still good friends with some of the people she met through the program back when she was a freshman living in Smith-Steeb, where all IA students live together during their first year.
Harris also feels that the mentorship and resources provided by Scholars have helped her make decisions about her future. For her, one of the best parts of IA was hearing from guest speakers in a more intimate setting than one might expect on a campus of about 60,000 students. Particularly notable was a woman from Doctors without Borders who shared her experiences in Sudan. In terms of social events, Harris is a big fan of the first year retreat and the Halloween social. After having so many positive experiences during her freshman year in IA, she decided to join the Leadership Council as a chair and has filled this role for the past three years, working with program coordinator Steven Blalock to help IA evolve. Harris remarks, "I can't say enough wonderful things about Honors and Scholars."
In addition to IA, Harris has been involved with The Lantern since her first year at Ohio State. After getting a few stories published that year, including the triumphant Afroduck story, she took on the role of assistant campus editor as a sophomore. She reflects, "I worked with some incredibly talented individuals and we put out some great coverage for a tough year. I actually have a tattoo of The Lantern logo that a few other editors and I went out and got at the end of the year." Now, she has less time to dedicate to writing stories than she did two years ago, but when she does stop by the newsroom, the excitement she felt when she toured it back in high school is still there.
Perhaps one reason she is so busy is because she works as an RA, which, to her, means making an effort to be there for her residents both "as a resource and, even more than that, as a person." Another reason might be that she plans to attend law school after graduating from OSU and had to spend countless hours studying for the LSAT, motivating herself with thoughts of the future and cups of tea. (She adds, "I find that a hot cup of tea can do wonders.") Then again, maybe it has something to do with the fact that she has travelled abroad three times through OSU—to Morocco, the Czech Republic, and—mostly recently—New Zealand. She eventually hopes to go hiking in Iceland.
This was exactly the kind of college experience she'd been hoping for when she submitted her application for IA Scholars. "Prior to my time at Ohio State, I had only left the country once to go to the Bahamas," she explains. Her recent trip to New Zealand was about a month long and much of her time was spent in a small city on the South Island called Christchurch. She was there to study linguistics, something she had no background in but ended up enjoying quite a bit. Of course, the trips to Lake Tekapo and Mt. John probably didn't hurt.
"My favorite thing about New Zealand is that you could walk in any direction and find something unlike anything you had ever seen before," Harris recalls. "We would visit the beach and the mountains in the same day." (It is easy to understand why this might be a nice break from the Ohio experience, which more closely resembles visiting multiple seasons in the same day.)
A specific favorite memory of hers was going to Castle Rock, which was the site of battle scenes for The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia. If she could travel through an old, dusty wardrobe to New Zealand at will, she would probably do it most days, even if there were none of Narnia's talking animals and Turkish delight. Harris admits that, despite growing up in Northeast Ohio, she often feels homesick for New Zealand. To anyone who knows her well, this is no surprise. She reports having wanted to travel there since she was a little kid. "I actually had photos taken from National Geographic articles hung up all around my room," she says.
Now, she has her own photos to hang up. "I think that my face hurt by the time the trip was over just from smiling so much."
By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member
The Eminence experience is one of opportunity but also one of responsibility and commitment. In keeping with the mission of the Eminence Fellows, the selection committee looks for students who have demonstrated potential as leaders and academic scholars both inside and outside the classroom. Applicants should be driven to excel and be interested in the support of a small community of peers.
Students awarded the Eminence Scholarship are part of a select group of undergraduate Honors students that embark on a unique, four-year journey of academic rigor, service, and leadership. The program provides extraordinary opportunities and support for students that are ambitious and have high expectations for themselves. Eminence Fellows demonstrate academic achievement, intellectual curiosity, high regard for humanity, and significant involvement both on and off campus.
While the program recognizes the value of learning as part of a community and facilitates opportunities to do so, individual goals and aspirations are nurtured. Eminence Fellows go on to pursue advanced study at the nation's top graduate programs, gain admittance to competitive professional schools, and have garnered national awards including Fulbright, Churchill, and Goldwater scholarships. Fellows that enter the work force immediately upon graduation are able to draw from valuable internships and are prepared to hit the ground running.
Follow this LINK for more information on the Eminence Fellows Program and how to apply.
Hello everyone! My name is Kristopher Davis and I'm the Student Staff Assistant at the Honors & Scholars Center for the summer. My task is to keep everyone updated on campus news, programs, events, the Honors & Scholars Center, and life in general.
To start, I'll tell you a little about myself. I am a neuroscience major, Biological Science Scholar, and transitioning into neuroscience honors once I complete my pre-major. I live in Pickerington, Ohio with my dog, a cockapoo named Kody and my two kittens, Bentley and Cassondra. In addition to my work at the Honors & Scholars Center, I'm also a manager at Walmart and work there on the weekends. My hobbies include video gaming, swimming, rifle and pistol, and cooking. Now that we have you're more informed about me, let's begin the first "Kris' Corner."
It is orientation time around campus. This is a very exciting time and different than other admitted student days, such as GoBuckeyeDay. With orientation, you will schedule your first classes, take language placement tests, meet faculty members, your academic advisor, scope out your room and much more. You will be attend many events during the day and may feel overwhelmed by the sheer size of Ohio State. Don't be, campus gets small and you will find a place. Here are a few tips to help ease the minds of you incoming students!
First off, we have sessions and events planned for Honors & Scholars students and parents, which I encourage everyone to attend. There, we will explain the benefits, the G.O.A.L.S of our students and what it means to be an Honors & Scholars student. Our director, Linn Van Woerkom, along with other student (including me!) will be speaking at these sessions and can give you tons of information and opportunities you might not know about yet. Being an incoming student, you may feel like you are stepping into an unknown, vast university by yourself. This is not the case!
Honors & Scholars builds community. Living with other Honors & Scholars students helps build relationships with peers that will last a lifetime. However, this is not the only way to meet new people. At Ohio State, there are over 1,300 student organizations that can fit anyone. From drawing to shooting, from an engineering community to a community focusing on helping third world counties, we have it all.
One thing about being a first year student is not being able to get into all of the classes you want. Depending on the major, test scores from language and math, or a class being filled already, these factors can affect your chances of being in a class. You may feel like you are falling behind your peers but I promise you, you are not. As a neuroscience major, I felt obligated to take chemistry and biology my first semester but, due to my math test score, I was not allowed. At orientation, I felt distraught and mad because I felt I was falling behind my peers and could not complete my major in time. This was not the case at all.
I completed a lot of gen-eds in high school for college and in a sense, put me "ahead" of my peers. I would be stuck in my pre-major until fall of 2019, but I would still be on track to graduation, even graduate early if I choose to. This brings me to a very important point. In high school, everyone had the same straight path that guided you through it. Everyone took the same classes, got the same grades generally, and made it to college expecting the same. Ohio State will not be a straight path. You will encounter dips, changes, and hazards that will be on the road toward your degree. No road will be the same. You as an individual will control how you maneuver on your own path and will find your own way. So, in the end, do not be discouraged if you feel you are falling behind, you will always find a way to make it through. You are an Honors & Scholars student and have a vast number of people and resources at your disposal. Never give up.
To end, I would like to talk about a special meeting I had with an important figure on campus.
I met Yolanda Zepeda at the Honors and Scholars Center after she attended a meeting with my supervisors. We started a conversation about my research, she seems to take interest and invited me to her office to discuss further. In our meeting, we talked about our lives, our research, our plans, and much more. Before wrapping up our meeting, she finally informed me of her job title, Assistant Vice Provost to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. I couldn't believe that I was talking to a woman as high up as herself. It really goes to show that, if you spark a conversation with as staff or faculty member, they will be inclined to meet you and talk with you about your interests.
Miss Zepeda's willingness to speak with me was wonderful and has connected me to the Todd Bell Resource Center. She helped me set up a meeting with the program coordinator to discuss the different types of programs that would suit me. Zepeda also informed me about the numerus scholarships that ODI has that no one really applies for that often. They offer many scholarships and grants to all students and these can be gifted through their programs, by alumni still active in these programs, or through the special scholarships application. Miss Zepeda is a wonderful woman who would love to talk to more students! If you would like to know more about her, look her up on the ODI page and maybe shoot her an email if you're interested.
I think this wraps up Kris' Corner for today. I will be back soon with more exciting news from Ohio State.
Before I go, I would like to add that if you know any new students who have been accepted into Honors & Scholars and have questions, tell them to Contact Us at any time. I am on campus and would be willing to meet with any students. Have a great day!
By Kristopher Davis, Student Staff Assistant
Nine Ohio State students have been offered grants from the Fulbright U.S. Student Program for the academic year 2018-2019. Fulbright grants offer one year of academic study, research, or teaching assistantship experience in more than 160 countries. Over 1,900 grants are awarded annually to increase mutual understanding between the U.S. and other countries. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the U.S. Congress to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support. Recipients of Fulbright grants are selected on the basis of qualifications such as their academic success, leadership capabilities, and desire to foster mutual cultural understanding.
Undergraduate students interested in applying for a Fulbright grant should contact Corey Efron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate students interested in applying for a Fulbright grant should contact Theresa Hazelwood at Hazelwood.email@example.com.
2018 Ohio State Fulbright Recipients
Rachel Beery (English Teaching Assistantship, Malaysia) – International Studies, Spanish
Jonathon Capps (Arts, Finland) – Art
Andrew Carringer (English Teaching Assistantship, Germany) – German, Communications
Christopher Kinley (History, Greece) – History
Megan Lobert (English Teaching Assistantship, Spain) - Education
Yamilex Molina (English Teaching Assistantship, Spain) – Early Childhood Special Education
Alejandra Timmins (English Teaching Assistantship, Spain) – English, Psychology
Joshua Truett (Theater Studies, Mexico) – Theater
Hannah Young (English Teaching Assistantship, Romania) – Linguistics, Romance Languages
In addition, two students have been named to the list of Fulbright Alternates:
Erica Gbur (English Teaching Assistantship, Russia) – Political Science, Russian
Vanja Tolj (English Teaching Assistantship, Serbia) – Neuroscience
Senior honors student, honors collegium member, and Morrill Scholar Laila Ujayli has been named a Fall 2018 Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow. Ujayli, a double-major in International Relations and English with minors in Creative Writing and Business, will work in D.C. as a fellow on a project related to international peace and security. A small group of Scoville fellows are chosen twice yearly from a competitive applicant pool. Fellows receive a competitive salary as they partner with organizations like the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Brookings Institution, and the Truman Center for National Policy, among others. In addition to a stellar academic record, sustained interest in international peace, and a well-crafted policy essay, fellows must successfully interview and match with a partnering organization. Anywhere between three and ten recent graduates are named Scoville fellows each year. Ohio State students interested in applying for the Scoville fellowship or other nationally competitive awards should contact Corey Efron at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Edward Sutelan is a man of many hats in the most literal sense of the phrase. He has exactly 110 (although this number may have increased in the time it took to write this article). As for metaphorical hats, the one he most recently acquired was that of the editor-in-chief of The Lantern. He is also a third-year journalism major and a member of Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholars (DSWS).
Sutelan appreciates fly-fishing, music from the 80's and 90's, and movies (both watching and occasionally reviewing). He has also been a fan of Ohio sports teams since long before he moved here for school. Nobody is quite sure how that happened, as he is from a small town in Virginia and nobody in his family had ever shown a particular affinity for Ohio sports, but it's a good thing it did, because his love for sports is part of what drew him to Ohio State. Sutelan wasn't just planning on watching the games, though. Though he had an initial interest in the business side of the sports industry, he was eventually drawn toward the journalism side instead. He already had some experience, having written for his high school newspaper and for a fantasy baseball site called RotoBaller. He also knew that if he wanted to write about strong college and professional teams, Columbus was not a bad place to be. (After all, where else could he run into Cardale Jones at a Big Sean concert?)
Another perk of attending Ohio State was the Scholars program. In his hometown of Norfolk, Virginia, Sutelan had attended the same school (Norfolk Collegiate School) from kindergarten through 12th grade. He says it was "quite the transition" to go from a school where there were not 900 students total to one where there could be nearly 900 in one lecture. "My time spent at DSWS— living on the same floor with all these Scholars that I met with in our weekly meetings— gave me a chance to build a core group of friends that I am still close with today," he says. Sutelan admits he is not always very outgoing, so having this group from the very first weeks of freshman year was invaluable. One of his favorite H&S memories was when he was a sophomore and DSWS spent an entire afternoon canoeing down the Olentangy River. He reminisces, "I found it a great chance not only to just relax and forget about classes for a day, but it was also a good chance for me to get to know some of the first-year scholars that I did not know as well."
Aside from DSWS, most of Sutelan's time is taken up by his involvement with The Lantern. During his first year, Sutelan was intrigued by the newspaper but knew he couldn't become a beat writer until he took the required practicum class. Not one to waste any time, he got The Lantern's attention early on by developing a database of Ohio State baseball statistics, something he had already done previously for his high school team. The database allowed people to view the career stats for each player, not just their stats for the current season. Sutelan hoped this initiative would help him stand out, and it did. By spring of his freshman year, Sutelan was invited to begin covering baseball games, an opportunity he was thrilled to take. "To this day, I will say that the team that year, which won the Big Ten tournament with Ronnie Dawson, Tanner Tully, Troy Montgomery and Jacob Bosiokovic — all of whom were drafted by MLB teams that summer — was an incredibly fun team to cover and a great first experience for me to start off with The Lantern," he says.
Baseball remains Sutelan's favorite sport to cover. He is a longtime reader of Baseball America and his ultimate goal is to write for them eventually. To work his way up to it, he is open to covering college, minor league, or major league baseball after graduation. This year, Sutelan expanded his repertoire by covering some of OSU's biggest football games. It was a completely different experience from being at the baseball games, but it's one he is glad he had. "Reporting on Ohio State football feels like covering a professional sports team," he says. "The content is always very demanding because there are so many outlets covering them."
Regardless of which sport he is covering, Sutelan says that the most rewarding and the most challenging things about sports journalism are one in the same: finding a unique story. "It's very easy to go to a press conference and listen to what is said, write a story from it and publish the content," he says. "However, what isn't easy is digging deeper into the background of a player, coach or other sports figure and finding out something that no one else but you has." The research is time-consuming, but he adds that it often feels like the stories write themselves when he's passionate about the topic. Sutelan doesn't have any specific writing rituals, but listening to classical music or film scores often helps him focus.
If Sutelan could create a new column for the Lantern about anything he wanted, he would use it to raise awareness about the incredibly talented but lesser-known sports teams at OSU that many students overlook. "Students especially are fortunate to be able to watch some of the country's best amateur athletes compete for free in all the non-revenue sports, and they often don't take advantage of the opportunity to do," he observes. As just a few examples, he notes the success of the men's and women's hockey teams, the synchronized swimming team, and the men's volleyball team— and that's not even mentioning the individual athletes who get their start here. "Ohio State simultaneously had one of the best collegiate basketball players in history in Kelsey Mitchell, an Olympic gold-medalist in Kyle Snyder, two of the best college tennis players with Francesca di Lorenzo and Mikael Torpegaard, as well as Nicolas Szerszen, one of the country's best volleyball players," says Sutelan.
As he prepares to take on the role of editor-in-chief, Sutelan shares one of his favorite memories from working with The Lantern so far. For some of the football and basketball games he covered, he and the other sports staff had to take long road trips. For example, they recently embarked on a 15 hour drive to Nebraska. This may sound like an agonizingly long time to be crammed in a car, but according to Sutelan, it's not so bad when the group gets along well and has an endless supply of conversation topics. One of his favorite road trip stories happened on the Nebraska journey when they were running low on gas in the small town of Clarence, Missouri. "We drove up and approached this old gas station that had a lot of cars that appeared like they were from the 1950s. As we neared the station with little sunlight left, we noticed what appeared to be people in each of the cars," describes Sutelan. "However, it came to our attention that there were not any people in the cars at all, but rather, each one was filled with mannequins." It was the middle of the night in a quiet and unfamiliar town, so the squad was quick to flee down the road in search of a less terrifying option for fulfilling their fuel needs, never slowing down to investigate the horror movie-esque scene they left behind.
Even for a group of journalists, sometimes it's better not to ask.
By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member
Thirteen Ohio State Students have been awarded DAAD RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) scholarships. RISE awards fund a summer for North American, British, and Irish students to conduct research at top German university and research institution laboratories. Students apply to specific labs matching their research interests in a variety of science and engineering subfields. In order to become RISE fellows, students must successfully match with their lab of choice and receive funds from the DAAD organization. German language knowledge is not required of RISE fellows as the working language in the labs is English.
With thirteen RISE fellows, Ohio State ranks number two in the United States for successful applicants after the University of Rochester, which is sending seventeen scholars to Germany this summer. In total, 315 students have been placed into German labs for this summer. Ohio State students interested in applying for the DAAD RISE program or other nationally competitive awards should contact Corey Efron at email@example.com.
Ohio State Students receiving the award include:
- Michael Lee: (Honors) Mechanical Engineering
- Scott Monnin: (Honors) Physics, English
- Caroline Watt: (Scholars) Chemistry
- Nathanial Hofford: (Scholars) Evolution and Ecology
- Noah Donald: (Honors) Math
- Mariam Emara: Mechanical Engineering
- Benjamin Higgins: (Honors) Materials Science and Engineering
- Caroline Jipa: (Honors) Physics, Linguistics
- Lauren Ballard: (Honors) Biochemstry
- Madeline Otto: (Scholars) Materials Science and Engineering
- Sarah Schulz: (Honors) Mechanical Engineering
- Brooke Delventhal: (Honors) Mechanical Engineering
An Ohio State honors student has been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Sophomore Kyle DeBry was named a 2018 Goldwater Scholar, the most prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, math, and engineering. Goldwater Scholars receive an award to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board up to a maximum of $7,500.
Kyle, an honors student and Valentino Scholar majoring in engineering physics, plans to conduct research in the field of quantum information science, particularly in the area of quantum computing. He is currently working on a research project studying quantum key distribution and quantum machine learning under the direction of Dr. Daniel Gauthier and Dr. Gregory Lafyatis. In the course of this project, Kyle has developed a way to fabricate superconducting coaxial cables for use in his laboratory's cryostat to reduce the heat load on the coldest stage. Additionally, Kyle has fabricated superconducting nanowire single photon detectors (SNSPDs). Kyle intends to pursue a PhD during which time he will conduct experimental research with the goal of creating practically useful quantum computers.
211 scholarships were awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,280 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. An additional 281 Honorable Mentions were also awarded. Each institution may only nominate four students for this award. Since the award's inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 56 Goldwater Scholars; forty-seven of the university's last fifty-two nominees have been recognized as a scholar or honorable mention.
Some of third-year Honors student Matt Loxley's favorite things in life include long-distance running and Queen Latifah. He is from Fairborn, Ohio, which he describes simply as one of those rare towns where Halloween decorations line the entirety of their main street during spooky season. This is a season during which Loxley thrives due to his love for horror films. However, he also enjoys movies that are a bit more lighthearted, his favorite being Last Holiday with—surprise!—Queen Latifah. In terms of TV shows, Loxley watches The X-Files, Stranger Things, and Bob's Burgers. His favorite musicians include Dolly Parton, The Killers, Alabama Shakes, and Grouplove. He ran his first marathon last year and finds long runs to be an excellent excuse for escaping from fellow humans for a while.
Loxley is majoring in both Economics and Islamic Studies. He is a member of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the economics honors fraternity. He is also a member of Bucket and Dipper as well as Fishbowl Improv. Recently, he began volunteering as a HIV/STI counselor at the Wilce Student Health Center, which he considers one of his most rewarding experiences at OSU. As an Honors student, Loxley notes that H&S has given him extra depth in his majors and extra breadth in completely different fields. His favorite event is the annual Kuhnival, admittedly in part because of the free food truck vouchers. However, free food aside, Loxley has gotten so much out of his H&S involvement that he decided to become a peer mentor for other H&S students. His unending loyalty to Honors can be seen each time he chooses Kuhn as his study spot, which is reportedly quite often. However, he laments that each semester, as finals week approaches, every chair and couch is suddenly filled due to the house being overrun by "fake fans."
If Loxley sounds like a rather humorous guy, it may be because he is a stand-up comedian who often performs at venues such as Kafe Kerouac and Shrunken Head. One of his claims to fame is getting heckled while hosting a burlesque show for charity. Loxley adds that the Columbus comedy scene is more vibrant than most people realize. He is currently involved with a local comedy organization called Get Weird Columbus, which puts on anything from a compliment battle to a Scooby Doo-themed Halloween show.
His interest in comedy began the same way so many of us had our first forays into the world of awkward performance art: the 8th grade talent show. Loxley insists that it took him about five years after that to actually say anything funny, but sources are not currently available to confirm or deny this. Once he moved to Columbus, he spent months attending comedy open mics almost nightly (but adds that he still managed to get a 4.0 that semester). Though he believes he has not yet developed a distinct comedic style, he says he often uses storytelling and self-reflection to turn his own experiences—positive and negative alike—into humorous narratives. "It's like mining your own subconscious. Through reflection and comedic writing on your experiences, you get to learn and study the best subject: yourself," says Loxley. Though his jokes tend to be narrative in form, he shares a shorter one in which he uses his own identity as a source of both pride and humor. "Because I wear crop tops, a lot of people ask if I'm gay," he explains. "The short answer is yes, but the long answer is YAAAAAAS."
Loxley somehow finds time between comedy shows and volunteering to pursue two majors, something he did not originally plan on. He began as an Economics major and was all set to graduate early, but taking a course on Middle Eastern economic development sparked interest in a new field. "Islamic Studies' status as an interdisciplinary field grants me the flexibility to focus on contemporary Islamic culture, religious history, or whatever other subject I want to structure my electives around," he says. He names Dr. Ida Mirzaie as the mentor who played a critical role in helping him integrate his two very different academic interests. His knowledge of Islamic culture and current events helps economic statistics become more meaningful, providing context and perhaps even explanations for the data. Loxley's current research explores whether a rise in youth involvement with protests is correlated with changes marriage habits. For example, he wants to know whether women getting married at later ages as they play an increasingly important role in protest movements, and whether effects differ depending on level of urbanization.
Loxley recently completed an internship with the U.S. Department of State. The experience provided a chance to engage with both his academic areas of interest as he worked on the economics team for the Iraq office at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA). "Each day started with checking email," he explains, adding (perhaps only half-jokingly) that this was "the most important thing, ever." The rest of his day rarely followed a routine, instead involving a lot of on-the-go problem-solving. He was responsible for reading all relevant news and cables on a daily basis. He says, "I had to update myself on everything that had happened in the region in areas as small as social media trends and as large as political or military movements." During the internship, his boss also allowed him to pursue independent research. Loxley was interested in the development of American franchises in Iraq and how franchise rules and regulations need to be negotiated differently to accommodate Iraq's culture. For example, he explains that franchisees in Iraq do not agree with the idea of giving back part of their profit to the franchise owner, who they feel is not directly involved with their operations. Regulations were adjusted so that they would no longer have to pay these fees. Loxley's anecdotal research was based on phone conversations with Iraqi franchise owners, franchisees, and suppliers (which also allowed him to practice speaking Arabic!). Much to his surprise, his report was later used as briefing material for officers coming over to Iraq.
As graduation approaches, Loxley reports that the future feels much more tangible than it did during his first few years of college. "I realize that I'm not actually going to drop out and fade into oblivion," he says. In the few semesters he has left here, he plans to finish a few more submissions for comedy events and perhaps run an ultramarathon before he "gives into the bodily excesses that come with suddenly having a discretionary income." If past performance is any predictor of future results, it is likely that he will appear on the OSU Snapchat story at least one more time. Furthermore, it is likely that he will be teaching economics in the video. It is particularly likely that his student of economics will be a dog—not any specific dog, just a dog in general, probably different from the dogs that he has appeared with the past three times he has been featured on the story, none of which belong to him.
His longer-term goals consist of continued involvement in comedy and volunteer work as well as pursuit of a job in economic analysis. Though he is not opposed to a traditional position at a private company, he would love to work as a policy consultant in the Middle East. He hopes to eventually travel to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, or Bahrain. For those who have never heard of Bahrain, Loxley explains that one of the main appeals is the gorgeous coastline of its capital, Manama.
His research has also led him to a more unexpected life goal. He feels compelled to visit Basrah, Iraq, but not for sight-seeing or career purposes. No, he needs to visit in order to experience Texas Chicken, which is apparently identical to Church's Chicken, but with a different name for marketing reasons. He learned about this through studying fast food chains in Iraq during his internship, and it has not left his mind since, though he cannot quite articulate why, simply stating "There's something about the futility of going all the way to Iraq to try something that's available here that makes me happy."
By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member