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Jan 18

ladan navari.JPG

When Ladan Navari is not dancing at BuckeyeThon, being active in her Honors program, or the Chimes Junior Class Honorary, she can be found in a lab doing research. Originally from Iran, Navari came to America because she wanted to get her education here. Navari is the kind of student and person that lives for a challenge and continues to aspire for more as she pursues her degree at Ohio State.

There's a tree on north campus between the Mathematics Tower and Baker Systems Engineering that on the right days, smells like flowers and Navari always goes out of her way to find this bit of happiness on campus. This, along with writing poetry, paper quilling, collecting coins from around the world, and singing, albeit to herself, Navari finds ways to express herself and find joy.

One of the reasons Navari picked Ohio State was that it is a large public school that presented the experience of the real world. Ohio State was a community unto itself that offered diversity and opportunities for Navari to explore her passions and find herself along the way. Navari explained that she wanted to "grow up while learning."

As a biochemistry major on a pre-med track, Navari has found herself in the midst of a diverse cohort of peers that all care about one thing, research. ASPIRE is a program that according to the Ohio State University College of Medicine, "aims to provide research experience for Ohio State undergraduate students from underrepresented and/or disadvantaged groups who aspire to become medical doctors, clinician scientists, or basic science researchers by earning an MD, MD/PhD, or PhD degree." Through ASPIRE, Navari has been able to meet amazing people who she can relate to. Navari has created one-on-one relationships with her peers that she finds significantly impactful on her time here at Ohio State. Navari hopes to pursue medicine in some aspect, so long as it relates to cancer research and allows her to represent and help people who lack the confidence or resources.

ladan navari 3.JPGNavari's research is specific to pathology and cancer and she has special interest in liver cancer. Navari says that more studies on the liver need to be done because of its increasing mortality rate among other more well-known cancers. "RNA modifications or epitranscriptomics have attracted significant attention in recent years. I am particularly interested in a specific type of modification associated with liver cancer progression," said Navari. ASPIRE has helped Navari learn the importance of having minorities in STEM research. Their program is designed to minimize the imbalance in healthcare and health outcomes in underrepresented communities due to implicit bias and limited access to research and medical resources that are translatable and improve the quality of healthcare.

An accomplishment Navari is proud of is presenting her research at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS​). The conference also gave Navari the chance to meet a wide variety of people involved in the STEM fields and talk about their research and projects.

Navari has a love for challenging herself stating that she loves to, "taste the fruit from the challenge, then finding another tree to climb." For her twenty-first birthday, she hopes to complete twenty-one challenges such as, twenty-one days meat-free, running a marathon, and learning to play an instrument. Aside from these, she wants to become more active in service and activism and social justice.  ​

By Audre McDowell, Honors & Scholars Student Writer

Jan 11

Paige Batauski11.pngPaige Butauski has never won a yogurt lid gold medal in Flonkerton, but she did once beat Brutus in a spontaneous game of Rock Paper Scissors at COSI, which has to be at least as impressive. Growing up nearby in Hilliard, she was the prom queen for her high school but now has her sights set on a different title. "My biggest goal is to get 'Dr.' in front of my name," she explains. "I hope to go to school to get my PhD in Counseling Psychology and work as a counselor on a college campus."

Butauski spends her free time trying out local restaurants with her family, FaceTiming with her long-distance boyfriend, relaxing in hammocks on campus with her friends, and watching such acclaimed shows as The Office, Mindhunter, Psych, and A Million Little Things. When she had headphones in, there's a good chance it's alternative rock; her favorite bands are NeedtoBreathe, Hozier, Mayday Parade, Panic at the Disco, and AJR. Over this past winter break, one of her highlights was visiting Clifton Mill, which won an award for the best light show in the nation.

Now in her second year, Butauski originally entered OSU as a biology major, fearing that she wouldn't be taken seriously if she chose psychology due to stereotypes about the social sciences being "easy". However, she decided soon afterward to study what she was passionate about regardless of what other people might think. "My education began to develop into what I actually wanted it to be," she says.

Butauski felt immediately welcomed by her Scholars program, Advocates for Community and Education Scholars (ACES). Because of ACES, she had made some friends at orientation and met even more people with similar interests on her floor; even now, she is close with her roommate from freshman year. Not only did she have a plethora of new friends, but she also had plenty of activities to do with them--some social, some educational, and some that covered little bit of everything. Says Butauski, "Being in ACES has allowed me to travel around the Columbus community with some of my best friends, transferring my love of service I had in high school to my lifestyle in college." One of her favorite events was volunteering at the Ohio Rabbit Rescue House to socialize bunnies, preparing them for adoption by getting them used to being held and talked to by humans. It's hard to think of many things as awesome as hanging out with bunnies, but her other favorite events have been volunteering at food pantries and making blankets for children in need.

Paige Batauski3.pngShe has even hosted a few events of her own. As the ACES Membership Relations Chair, she is responsible for helping mentors and mentees build relationships throughout the year. For example, she planned an activity that allowed pairs to get to know each other at the beginning of fall semester. "The pairs went on a photo scavenger hunt around campus and then came back to all eat Jimmy Johns together," she recalls. She also hosted a presentation about alcohol safety for her fellow ACES Scholars all on her own. She has mentored two younger ACES students herself, and adds that they have helped her grow just as much as she hopes to have helped them.

Mentorship has been a strong suit for Butauski, who is a Peer Expert for the psychology department and a Wellness Ambassador for the Student Wellness Center. As a peer expert, she spends time with students who are struggling with PSYCH 2220, the statistics course that every psychology major has to take. As a Wellness Ambassador, she focuses mostly on educating students about alcohol, but also talks to them about relevant topics such as sleep, stress, nutrition, safe sex, drugs, and career preparation. She was recently admitted into the Wellness Coaching program, in which she will work with students one-on-one to help them manage campus life. Butauski also leads a bible study group for Cru, a Christian organization on campus. Through Cru, she has made close friends who support her and keep her accountable. She now feels more confident being her genuine self and expressing her faith. 

Butauski not only has leadership experience, but also got an early start on research. It took a lot of searching and emailing, but by spring semester of her freshman year, she had joined a psychology lab. She later found one that aligns with her interests more closely and will continue to conduct research there until she graduates. Specifically, she studies conflict in romantic relationships in Dr. Jennifer Crocker's Self and Social Motivation lab. As a research assistant, she is responsible for coding videos and for training people to introduce the study to participants and debrief them when it's done. Butauski is about to begin her senior thesis on the cognitive elements of relationship conflict. If she could study any topic in the future, it would be long-distance relationships. The topic is interesting to her personally because she is in one herself, and her current research has sparked curiosity as to how conflict resolution might operate differently in these relationships. Another one of her research goals is to eventually write an informative psychology book that is accessible and entertaining even for people outside the field.

An interesting psychology tidbit she's learned herself is that rehearsing information in different environments can enhance memory. As a result, she has several favorite study spots on campus, but her number one is Orton Hall-- which you may recognize as home of the giant sloth skeleton and Carmen-singing bells. "It is so peaceful, beautiful, and it smells like old books. What more could you want?" she says. "Plus, you can see the new dinosaur on the way inside!" She is also a firm believer in color-coding her notes and getting an early start on assignments and studying. So far, her methods have proven quite successful; she has maintained a 4.0 GPA every semester. Of course, that's not to say that correlation necessarily equals causation...Maybe her success is due in part to the fact that she has created the cutest possible finals week stress-relief resource: an Instagram account dedicated solely to pugs with inspirational messages. She recalls, "I ended up getting around 600 followers in a couple of days!"

By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Writer​

Nov 18
Laila Ujayli Named Rhodes Scholar

Laila Ujayli.jpgThe Ohio State University alumna Laila Ujayli has been named a 2019 Rhodes Scholar. The Rhodes Scholarship was founded in 1902, and supports graduate study at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Thirty-two scholarships are awarded annually to outstanding seniors and recent graduates across the United States. The Rhodes Trust selected Ujayli for her commitment to advocating for policies benefitting immigrants and refugees, her drive to encourage diplomatic rather than military interventions, and her ingenuity in using film and literature to increase mutual understanding between the Western and Arab worlds.

As a University Honors undergraduate student, Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow, and recipient of Ohio State’s Morrill Scholarship, Ujayli graduated summa cum laude in 2018 with honors, double majoring in international relations and English, with minors in screenwriting and general business. Ujayli completed an honors research thesis on social change in modernist Turkish literature. She was a member of the Honors Collegium and served as a College of Arts and Sciences Peer Mentor at The Ohio State University. 

yli’s passion for international diplomacy and refugee rights stems from her time spent visiting family in Syria and her five years living in Saudi Arabia. Having witnessed the devastation of the Syrian civil war and the waning optimism and subsequent human rights violations in the wake of the 2011 Arab Spring, Ujayli became determined to pursue a course of education leading to a career in international policy.  

While Ujayli aspires to inspire meaningful change in the realm of international politics, she also aims to combat negative and simplistic depictions of Arabs and Muslims in the media. During her time at Ohio State, Ujayli realized she could accomplish this while pursuing her love of stories through the study of narrative forms. “My screenwriting minor often raises eyebrows,” Ujayli explains, “but I discovered how significantly the cultural realm influences our understanding of international relations. The stories we tell about crises can determine our political will to engage, the types of solutions we pursue, and whether we center the voices of victims.”  Ujayli’s screenplay, “The Last Librarian in Raqqa,” was named a finalist for the Shore Script’s Short Film award, an international competition. She has also drafted a feature-length epic screenplay on Abd al-Rahman I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty in the eighth century. Additionally, Ujayli serves as a sensitivity reader, providing feedback on unpublished manuscripts for Western authors seeking to improve their representations of minority characters. 

Ujayli is currently working in Washington, D.C. as a Scoville Jr. Peace Fellow, one of only four fellows named for her cohort. As a Scoville Fellow, Ujayli is working at Win Without War advocating for alternatives to military intervention.  

As a Rhodes Scholar, Ujayli will pursue a Master of Science (MSc) degree in refugee and forced migration studies and a Master of Studies (MSt) in world literature. She will study the conflicts that drive displacement and narratives of displacement. After ear​ning her degrees at Oxford, Ujayli will return to the United States to attend law school so that she may achieve her goal of utilizing victims’ stories to drive the creation of foreign policy. 

Ujayli is Ohio State’s seventh Rhodes Scholar; the university’s last Scholar was Ilhan Dahir in 2015. Ohio State University students interested in pursuing the Rhodes Scholarship or other national fellowship opportunities should contact the Undergraduate Fellowship Office located within the University Honors & Scholars Center,​. More information on the Rhodes Scholarship can be found through the Rhodes Trust,​

Oct 18

Yasmeen.jpgWe have all been through our first weeks as college students. We've experienced adjustments like navigating a new campus and environment, coursework, social activities, and student organizations. The same could be said for Yasmeen Quadri, who, during these weeks, also ideated and developed a technology that would be helpful to her, as well as countless others. When asked about something in her life that is unexpected, Quadri said with a smile, "finally feeling the ability to make a lasting impact." 

From Cincinnati, Ohio, Quadri is a first-year student at The Ohio State University majoring in neuroscience and minoring in world politics and economics. A Stamps Scholar​, she is a member of the Honors & Scholars Eminence Fellows, a program designed to assist and support intellectually and socially engaged citizens who commit themselves, both individually and as a group, to addressing academic and societal challenges, a description which perfectly captures Quadri as a person and student. Quadri eventually hopes to utilize these qualities as a neurosurgeon for Doctors Without Borders, an international humanitarian non-governmental organization.

The Program Manager of the Eminence Fellows, Rebecca Ward, explained that during the first weeks of school, Quadri shared an idea with her along with a three-page proposal, prompting a fellow staff member at the University Honors & Scholars Center to suggest Quadri attend Columbus Startup Weekend. "In just 54 hours, you will experience the highs, lows, fun, and pressure that make up life at a startup. As you learn how to create a real company, you'll meet the very best mentors, investors, cofounders, and sponsors who are ready to help you get started. Your community is here to help you," headlines Techstar's website for Startup Weekend. Techstar's Startup Weekends are powered by Google and work to help people like Quadri make their ideas a reality. "At the last-minute Yasmeen went somewhere she'd never been before in a city she's new to, with people she'd never met, with nothing but an idea," Ward stated with pride.

From 60 pitch ideas, Quadri was one of 15 chosen to expand on their original proposals. A diverse team that signed on to help develop Quadri's product that weekend was instrumental in the progress of her startup. Quadri laughed as she explained that her initial idea was "like a dating app for volunteer services."

Yasmeen3.JPGQuadri has always loved participating in volunteer work and wanted to continue that at college. Like many people, she realized there are myriad volunteer opportunities, but everyone runs into the problems of finding which organization is best for them, aligns with a cause they're passionate about, and works with their busy schedule. Additionally, it can be challenging for both students and organizations to efficiently keep track of the volunteer hours and verification processes sometimes necessary as students complete volunteer work. That's what motivated her to develop ServUS. ServUS is an app designed to improve the volunteer experience for both volunteers and the organizations who utilize them.

According to Quadri, "ServUS is a mobile app that connects students to philanthropic opportunities in Central Ohio. It is a way for local students looking to volunteer to match their interests with businesses and nonprofit organizations seeking volunteer support. The app contains an interactive interface where students can select their service interests, form a social profile, and be directed to nearby ongoing projects that need volunteers. ServUS also benefits organizations that routinely deal with cumbersome volunteer verification processes in order to certify their volunteers' participation. According to Quadri, "ServUS provides a consolidated network of data that includes certified volunteer hours for participants."

Essentially, ServUS will serve as a portal for both volunteers and service organizations, creating a stronger connection between them and providing a more efficient way to validate a person's service hours, while including new and constantly-improving features for people on all sides of the volunteering experience .

Columbus Startup Weekend included Google executives, professors from Ohio State, and local businesses like Grange Insurance, along with other start-up owners who judged and coached participants. While moving through the weekend's process, Quadri and the team she acquired—a group of individuals "from all walks of life," including other Ohio State students and alumni—made a prototype of the app and ultimately finished in third place and were awarded a consultation with ThompsonHine law firm and admission into Rev1, a Central Ohio start-up studio. Now, Quadri and her growing team can continue working on and developing ServUS, creating networks and establishing a final product.

yasmeen1.pngWhen asked who her biggest influence is, Quadri mentioned that her mother is someone who continuously supports and inspires her. She even admitted to initially thinking of ServUS while talking with her mom in the Ohio Union parking garage while visiting Ohio State before becoming a Buckeye. ServUS is now a growing project to watch for in app stores. In the meantime, Quadri also recognizes the value of the connections and opportunities that have been given to her as an Honors & Scholars student and is thankful for the foundation that provides as she seeks to make a lasting impact on the community around her.

To join the ServUS team and effort, contact Quadri at or

By Audre McDowell​, Honors & Scholars Media Team Member​​​​

Sep 28
One Country, Two Internships, Countless Experiences

DAAD photo.jpgEvery year, Rebecca Ward, the program manager for Eminence Fellows, suggests programs like DAAD RISE to her students. DAAD stands for Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, or German Academic Exchange Service, while RISE stands for Research Internships in Science and Engineering. "Students are encouraged to think broadly about what to do with their summers," says Ward. DAAD RISE provides an opportunity for STEM students who have completed at lea​st two years of their degree to work on an existing research project at a German university for the summer. They are matched with doctoral student mentors and are provided with a stipend to help with living expenses. Internships are offered in fields including biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering, and physics. "It's amazing because it allows them to network with other individuals from across the world while working in Germany on a specific project," Ward explains.

Only about one in three students who apply are accepted, but Ward encourages students to give it a try even if they do not feel confident about being chosen. This past summer was the first time two of her Eminence Fellows participated in the program at the same time, although they stayed in different cities and worked on different projects.

One of those students was Michael Lee, a fourth year in mechanical engineering from Brecksville, Ohio. The other was Caroline Jipa, a third year in physics from Columbus. Ward remarks, "They're both extremely focused individuals." She adds that they have both been heavily involved with undergraduate research since freshman year, another quality that made them great candidates for DAAD RISE.

Lee chose OSU for the "massive number of projects, resources, corporate partnerships, and experts in every field that can be found here." He has certainly taken advantage of many opportunities and believes that the Eminence Fellows program has helped him focus on the things he wants to accomplish. The program has also contributed to his friendships and his research. One of his favorite events was the Eminence First Year Retreat. He was also grateful to be involved with Best Food Forward, a food co-op on campus that originally began as an Eminence cohort project but has now grown into a large organization of its own. According to Ward, "I can always count on Michael to contribute in such unique ways to discussions. He's a very deep and creative thinker." Lee found out about the DAAD RISE internship opportunity through Eminence.

Lee was placed at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern. "My project was an investigation of the properties of samples fabricated using cold spray, a technology used to coat a metal substrate with microscale metal powder in order to change the surface characteristics," he explains. A PhD student from the lab mentored him but he had a lot of independence. "For the most part, I worked alone to fabricate samples, make improvements to the system, and take images for analysis."

He would usually get to the lab around 8:30 and spend the first part of the morning making any necessary changes to the code and hardware. Next, he would prepare a sample and make sure the substrate would be sprayed at the correct temperature and speed and in the correct pattern. He would then use a SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) to take images of the sample and determine how well the particles fused to the substrate. He was used to working with numbers and images in the lab back home, but this experience taught him more about working with hardware. He also learned quite a bit about filling out German paperwork as he matriculated into the university and signed a lease agreement using the little bit of German language knowledge he possessed.

A less stressful but equally new experience was the laid-back atmosphere of higher education in Germany. "At least once a week, our lab got together to barbecue and drink some beers," he says. "Seeing cases of beer in the lab and machine shop was a big surprise."

Because German universities tend to be less strict about leisure time than American universities, Lee was often able to take Fridays off from the lab and travel. He spent some time in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Heidelberg, Mannheim, and Frankfurt. Outside of Germany, he made it to London, Paris, and Edinburgh.

His favorite part of the summer was hanging out with the German students and other RISE students. He spent his twenty-first birthday celebrating with them at a wine fest organized by the university. And what's a birthday without a little cake, you ask? Rest assured; Lee spent quite a bit of his summer on a quest for the perfect Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, a German version of what Americans call black forest cake.  He explains, "I found a cafe that made them, and I had a piece, and it was great." Naturally, the only thing better than ice cream to go with a cake is ice cream that looks almost exactly like a bowl of spaghetti. "I was also a big fan of Spaghettieis," says Lee. It is a German dish made of vanilla ice cream put through a spätzle press and served with whipped cream, strawberry sauce, and either coconut flakes, grated almonds, or white chocolate shavings. It is meant to look like spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and parmesan cheese. Lee insists that you can't get quality Spaghettieis just anywhere. "In my experience, if an Eiscafe has a special press behind the counter to make it, then it will be pretty good."

Whether he is in the U.S. or abroad, Lee enjoys hobbies such as building models, baking, and reading; his favorite author is Thomas Pynchon.  In addition to Eminence, he is involved with several clubs at OSU including a chapter of the American Foundry Society

Lee hopes to travel more and is thinking about South Korea as a potential next destination. He had already been to Liberia, Costa Rica, and Scotland prior to last summer and, thanks to RISE, can add Germany, England, and France to the list. At the end of his internship, the professors he worked with at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern encouraged him to consider graduate school there, offering to help him navigate the application process. "So who knows?" he says. "I might even go back to Germany at some point."

While Lee was hard at work in his lab, Caroline Jipa was across the country in Berlin. DAAD RISE was her second experience studying abroad; she had taken a health policy course for one month in Denmark during the previous summer. She had also been to Romania to visit her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Jipa studies physics and has minors in chemistry and linguistics. She has been interested in research since high school and believes that physics teaches her problem-solving skills that will be applicable in any career. Her experience in the lab will be especially relevant if she follows her current plan to get an MD/PhD and become an academic physician-scientist. She chose to attend Ohio State because of the strong physics program and the opportunity to be part of the Eminence Fellows Program— though perhaps the Buckeye-themed wallpaper in one of the rooms of her childhood home played some subconscious role in her decision as well.

On her walks to class, Jipa has always appreciated a solid playlist; she enjoys any genre of music. Similarly, she enjoys almost any genre of movie, the only exception being horror films. Her current favorite movie is Your Name, but her enthusiasm about film means her favorites are always subject to change. She has also been a Pokémon trainer since childhood. If one thing is certain, it is that even the most high-powered Drowzee has not managed to eat her dreams.

Ward describes Jipa as highly involved in the Eminence Fellows program. She has helped plan events and previously served on the Symposium committee. Jipa says, "Both when beginning college and throughout the years, it has been beneficial both socially and academically to have a small group of students with diverse majors and backgrounds but who shared the drive to achieve a lot in their field." She has also benefited from resources such as her advisor, networking events, funding for student projects, and service opportunities. Through Eminence, she and her cohort developed a service project called Enlighten, about which the goal is to fight human trafficking through awareness, outreach, and legal advocacy.

In addition to attending (and planning) countless Eminence events, Jipa has been doing research since freshman year. She works with Professor Poirer in the physics department and even received a fellowship from the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry to stay on campus last summer and continue working in the lab. Jipa's lab studies Reb1, which is a transcription factor in yeast. "Reb1 is a really cool protein because unlike normal transcription factors, it has similar affinity to nucleosomes and DNA," she explains. "This activity suggests Reb1 is a nucleosome displacing factor, which helps with the arrangement of nucleosomes. As nucleosomes prevent transcription, Reb1 controls gene expression at a very fundamental level." She adds that studying Reb1 could help researchers learn more about the early stages of gene activation.

In the spring, Jipa found out she was selected for the DAAD RISE program and was matched with Ewers Lab at Freie Universitat Berlin. Her main responsibility was fixing a Super Resolution Microscope so it could be used to take images of cellular structures through a process called STORM (stochastic optical reconstruction microscropy). She arrived at the lab each morning around 9 or 10 and spent the majority of her time working on three different optical setups or running analysis on a computer. There was a lot of trial-and-error involved. "Aligning the lasers would consist of me turning on the laser and turning off the lights and adjusting the mirror and other optical components with the knobs on the side or sliding them slightly until it went in the straight path I wanted," she explains. "Other parts were more technical, where I unscrewed, moved, and reattached parts, or more electronic where I connected equipment to the computer and installed drivers and controls through micromanager."

On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, the members of her lab would meet for Journal Club, where they discussed recent articles that were relevant to their field. They also had regular group meetings to update each other on their progress. She noticed that the labs in Germany were bigger than typical American labs; hers had over twenty people as well as three microscope rooms, two biochemistry lab spaces, a cell culture room, and a social room. The researchers would usually eat lunch together at the Mensa (a university cafeteria) and often held celebrations at the lab, sometimes involving barbecues and cake. Occasionally, they saw movies or went out to restaurants and bars together in the evening.

When she wasn't hanging out with the other members of her lab, Jipa had weekends free. This gave her time to go sightseeing in Berlin, explore other German cities (including Dresden, Heidelberg, and Leipzig), and fly to other countries within Europe (including Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Greece).

"Of course there were sights of historical importance I enjoyed, like the Berlin wall, Fehrsehenturm, and Brandenburg Gate, but there was also just simple stuff like visiting the lakes, walking through the park, or watching World Cup games and movies with fellow lab-mates," says Jipa. "Probably the most interesting place I traveled to was Samos in Greece, where I stayed with some family friends in a cute village by the edge of the sea."

The highlight, however, was her time in the lab. It was her first time working with a complex microscopy set-up and by the end of her internship she had gotten it to work. She felt proud knowing that the fixed microscope would allow other researchers to continue groundbreaking projects.

Jipa agrees with Lee that the most difficult part of that summer was the paperwork. "I had to open a German bank account to get my paycheck, register as a resident of Berlin, find a place to stay—which is quite hard for short term leases and expensive in Berlin—and get a student metro pass," she explains. Having lived in the dorms for her first two years of college, she was also used to the convenience of meal plans and now had to grocery shop and cook regularly for the first time.

Not every day, though. After all, it would be foolish to spend a summer in Germany without trying any of their authentic dishes. Jipa's personal favorite was the Döner, which was first created by Turkish immigrants in Berlin. She describes it as similar to a gyro, with shaved meat and cooked vegetables on bread. According to Jipa, Döner kebab shops are ubiquitous in the city. "If you're ever in Berlin, eating a Döner is a must."

Both Lee and Jipa are grateful to the Eminence Fellows Program for helping them connect with the RISE program and providing them with invaluable academic and social experiences to help them prepare for their future endeavors. Though their internships were across the country from one another, they both had a chance to conduct impactful research in their specific areas of interest, befriend fellow researchers, explore other cities, see German culture firsthand, and track down some delicious local foods.  ​

By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Writer

Sep 03

abby1.jpgMost 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.

abbystair.jpgBouton 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​​​​

Aug 26

Harris1.jpgStudents 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."

Harris2.jpgIn 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

Aug 01
The Eminence 2019 Application is Open

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.

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Jul 10
Kris' Corner

kris tux22.jpgHello 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."

kody2.jpgIt 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 

May 09
Nine OSU Students Offered Grants From the Fulbright U.S. Student Program


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

Graduate students interested in applying for a Fulbright grant should contact Theresa Hazelwood at

​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​

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