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Apr 26
Four Undergraduate Students from Ohio State University Receive 2019 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship

Four Ohio State University honors students have been recognized by the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Juniors Caroline Jipa, Thomas Porter, Vilas Winstein, and Meihui Zhang were all named 2019 Goldwater Scholars, 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.

Caroline Jipa is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in chemistry and physics. She aims to earn an MD/PhD in biophysics in order to conduct research on cellular pathways for regenerative medicine using biophysics techniques at an academic medical center. Caroline's research is advised by Dr. Michael Poirier.

Thomas Porter is a junior in the College of Engineering majoring in chemical engineering. He aims to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering to conduct research in bio/nanomaterials for cancer theranostics and teach at the university level. Thomas' research is advised by Dr. Jessica Winter.

Vilas Winstein is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences majoring in mathematics and computer and information science. He aims to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in order to conduct research in quantum algebra and quantum topology and teach at the university level. Vilas' research is advised by Dr. Sergei Chmutov.

Meihui Zhang is a junior in the College of Engineering majoring in electrical and computer engineering. She aims to earn an M.D./Ph.D. degree in biomedical engineering in order to conduct translational and clinical research using micro/nanoscale technology for medicine and biology. Meihui's research is advised by Dr. Jonathan Song.

496 scholarships were awarded to sophomores and juniors on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,223 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by colleges and universities nationwide. It is estimated that over 5,000 students applied for their university's nomination for the award. However, each institution may only nominate four students for this awardSince the award's inception in 1986, Ohio State has produced 60 Goldwater Scholars; fifty-two of the university's last fifty-six nominees have been recognized as a scholar or honorable mention. This is the second time in Ohio State history in which all four nominees have received the award; the last occurrence was 2007.   

For more information on the Goldwater Scholarship, please visit Students interested in applying for the Goldwater Scholarship or other nationally competitive awards should contact

Caroline Jipa1.jpg thomas porter1.jpg

vilas winstein1.jpg Meihui Zhang1.jpg

Apr 24
Two Undergraduate Students from Ohio State University Receive 2019 Udall Scholarship

Two Ohio State University Undergraduate students have been named 2019 Udall Scholars. The Udall Scholarship recognizes outstanding sophomores and juniors pursuing careers related to the environment as well as Native American students pursuing careers in tribal policy or Native healthcare.  The scholarship provides $7,000 towards undergraduate expenses, access to the Udall Alumni Network, and a five-day scholars orientation in Tucson, Arizona. Universities may nominate four students applying for the environmental award, and four students applying to the tribal policy or Native healthcare award. Fifty-five students from 50 colleges and universities have been selected as 2019 Udall Scholars out of a pool of 443 nominated students. This year's scholars come from 36 states and 12 Tribes and Alaska Native Villages.  A 14-member independent review committee selected this year's group of Udall Scholars on the basis of commitment to careers in the environment, Native health care, or Tribal public policy; leadership potential; record of public service; and academic achievement. The review committee also awarded 55 Honorable Mentions.

Nicole Doran Head Shot.jpegNicole Doran is a junior honors biology major at in The Ohio State University College of Arts and Sciences who is passionate about marine science, environmental justice, and increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM fields. She is the president of the OSU chapter of American Indian and Science Engineering Society (AISES) and has conducted research with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to study the effect of salinity level on juvenile blue crab development. Nicole intends to pursue graduate studies in fisheries and wildlife biology, with career goals of increasing inclusion of Native American communities in natural resource management, and incorporating traditional ecological knowledge in conservation research.

Callia head shot.jpgCallia Tellez is a junior environmental policy and decision making major in The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences who advocates for equal access to clean water, particularly for those subject to marginalization and environmental injustice. As a researcher, Callia aims to inform inclusive, science-based policy targeting underserved communities. Currently, Callia researches farmer behavior and their adoption of conservation practices to inform Great Lakes water policy. She is the president of the Ohio State University Sierra Club and works on various advocacy projects including West Virginia mountaintop removal awareness and the protection of public lands. Callia has studied community development and water quality in Nicaragua and Tanzania and feels passionately about prioritizing the voice of communities in policy making.

Nicole and Callia are Ohio State's 13th and 14th Udall Scholars. To learn more about the Udall Foundation, visit Students interested in applying for the Udall Scholarship, or other national awards, should contact

Apr 19

Sam Turner 4.jpgSam Turner's family would describe Turner's hidden talent as an instinctive ability to put together random items and make awesome clothes or recipes, but it seems that Turner has quite a few talents that are not so hidden. The 4th year Humanities Scholar is a double major, a consultant and assistant coordinator for Ohio State's writing center, a musician, a student organization leader, and a researcher.  She is currently getting ready to graduate and then begin earning her master's degree at Carnegie Mellon University, where she will study rhetoric. A few years down the line, she hopes to earn the title of Dr. Turner.

Turner was born in Dallas but has lived close to Columbus for most of her life. However, she adds that although Ohio State was ever-present in her childhood and teenage years, she never did get into football—something her parents have just had to come to terms with. She is, however, a fan of many other things: thrift stores, crafts, vegetarian cooking, and playing classical bass ("Yes, the huge one!"). As one might expect from a writing tutor, she enjoys writing pieces of her own. "Like a true documentarian, I have countless notebooks full of thoughts, fragments, and happenings that I think will make an excellent book one day," she says. "I've also been dabbling in typing up my own recipes." She finds inspiration in essays, cookbooks, and autobiographies, though her two favorite books are fiction novels: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë and Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman. She keeps lists of places she would like to travel; her next big trip will be to Japan in 2020.

Turner describes her path to choosing her majors as labyrinthine; she estimates she declared about six different combinations of majors and minors before choosing English and Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS). Though she admits to being chronically undecided (and adds that this was one of her reasons for attending a school with so many acclaimed programs), she was interested in the humanities from the beginning. Turner feels that Humanities Scholars has shaped both her academic and social experiences throughout college. "Living on the same floor, I was able to make friends almost instantly, and fondly remember moseying down to the Baker East Rec Room in our pajamas for Humanities Scholars Community Meetings," she recalls. One of her favorite events was Explore Columbus Day, when students in the program take a charter bus to Columbus landmarks such as the zoo and German Village.

For several semesters, Turner was part of the Humanities Scholars Leadership Council, and even outside of that role she continues to be an outstanding representative of the program. She recommends it to any prospective Arts & Science students when she meets them on campus visit days, and program coordinator Ben Fortman has invited her to speak at recruitment events. The connections she has made through Scholars have not only benefited her socially, but also professionally. Turner notes that Fortman has been extremely supportive throughout her entire undergraduate career and has recommended her for scholarships, awards, and graduate school.

Sam Turner 1.JPG

It probably comes as no surprise that Turner is highly involved with two student organizations related to the arts and humanities. "I've been enrolled in OSU Community Orchestra for seven of my eight semesters on campus and I've loved it," she says. "I play double bass— and wanted to major in music for a time— so a non-major, low-stress ensemble group has been a lovely way to do something outside of my usual involvements." Additionally, Turner serves on the executive board for Triota, which is the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies honor society on campus. She adds that Triota's academic journal will debut this semester and will feature feminist writing and research. "Keep an eye out for that," she says.

One of the most influential parts of Turner's past four years has been the countless hours spent at the Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing (CSTW), where she has worked as a writing consultant and became the center's first undergraduate assistant coordinator in 2017. Her position as an assistant coordinator with the writing center has allowed to her to lead and support the undergraduate staff as well as embark on a unique research project at the center.

Writing consultants are trained to work with anyone from first-semester freshman working on their first essay of college to PhD students working on their dissertations. Though much of the writing brought in is academic, consultants can also help with creative pieces, presentations, application essays, etc. The process is collaborative and the goal is to help clients improve their writing skills overall rather than to proofread a document line by line. Turner explains, "The best thing about working at the Writing Center is definitely when clients return with 'success stories'—either a resume that we worked on together landed them their dream internship, or a course-based writing project sparked their interest in a new field. It's just so exciting to be a small piece of our clients' successes." She shares a recent example of a client with whom she has been meeting with consistently throughout the year. He successfully defended his dissertation and is now preparing to graduate in May. "Being able to work with him on everything from his abstract to his final acknowledgements inspires me to work hard on my own projects," she says. Though she has quite a bit of writing expertise, she still finds herself learning from her clients and colleagues.

Working at the CSTW also has its challenges. For Turner, one of the toughest parts is hearing clients refer to themselves as bad writers. "Of course, I'm not frustrated at the clients themselves, but rather that somewhere in their academic journey, someone has made them feel inadequate, or like they shouldn't own their identity as a writer." She is a strong believer that "good writer" and "bad writer" are a false dichotomy and that although some people may have more natural talent than others, anyone can develop their writing skills through practice. "For me, good writing is what happens when someone has something interesting to say and knows how to say it," she explains. "Every one of my clients has something interesting to say, and our sessions are often a matter of working on how it's said."

After each session, consultants fill out summative, reflective forms to document what they worked on. These notes can be useful later on to the consultant who wrote them or to other consultants who are meeting with the same client. Some studies exist on session notes, but Turner describes their focus as the "aboutness" of the notes, the "perceptions and potentialities". Turner worked with the director of the writing center, Dr. Genie Giaimo, to develop a more ambitious research project on how the center uses their notes. It was a large-scale, longitudinal study for which Turner helped collect, analyze, and code data as well as co-authored a research paper about their findings.

Sam Turner 2.jpgBefore arriving on campus, Turner had considered herself just about "the least likely candidate to engage in undergraduate research," despite her STEM background and her family's attempts at persuading her otherwise. However, she explains, "My mind was changed when I got to campus and realized that undergraduate research can be so much more than vague test tubes and pipettes."  Now the student who insisted she was not "a research person" is set to have her work published in an international journal. She feels that the process was much less daunting with Dr. Giaimo's constant support, and considers Dr. Giaimo not only her co-author but also her mentor and friend. Sharing her work has also introduced her to researchers at OSU and across other universities who have similar interests and goals.

Turner is also a research assistant for Dr. Mytheli Sreenivas in the WGSS Department. They are working on a digital humanities project known as Reclaiming Our Histories. According to Turner, the project "aims to collect archival materials related to marginalized histories at Ohio State and present them in a public-facing, student-friendly database." She and her fellow research assistants have created digital exhibits featuring topics of OSU history including gay rights activism on campus in the 1960's and how sex education programming at the university has evolved over the years.

Amidst a schedule packed with research, a campus job, and student orgs, Turner also has to stay focused on her classes. Fortunately, she has enjoyed the coursework in both her majors. Her favorite class in the English department was Dr. Alan Farmer's literature class, "Popularity and Popular Culture in Renaissance England," a topic she did not expect to be nearly as interested in as she was. Her favorite WGSS class was called "Women and Work," which was her first experience delving into theory. If she could invent a course to take, she'd love to see someone teach an English course about YouTubers. Though she does not spend much of her own free time clicking through the expansive world of pranks, video games, makeup hauls, and baby animals, she respects the way people have been able to use the platform for creative, independent storytelling. "They are essentially their own writers, editors, and producers, which makes for the sharing of both really interesting content and voices that may be underrepresented in more controlled media outlets."

The final secret to Turner's success is that she has learned how she studies most effectively. She was surprised to find that studying, if done right, could be a relaxing activity rather than adding to her stress. Her favorite time to study is early—really early, around 5am. As for her favorite place? That would be Stauf's in Grandview, especially on the days where Ohio weather cooperates enough to let her sit outside. Still, transforming study time into self-care involved a process of trial-and-error. "Sitting in the Grand Reading Room at Thompson Library until midnight on a Tuesday may seem scholarly, but don't be fooled!"   

By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Student Writer 

Apr 15
Seven Undergraduate Students from Ohio State University Receive U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship

The following undergraduate students from Ohio State University have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) to study critical languages during the summer of 2019:

Student NameLanguageMajor(s)College
Kaitlin ActonKoreanInternational StudiesArts and Sciences
Faraz AnsariUrduEconomics, International StudiesArts and Sciences
Natalie AntonikIndonesianInternational StudiesArts and Sciences
Franklin Keller IIISwahiliCivil EngineeringEngineering
Natalie MajidzadehArabicInternational StudiesArts and Sciences
Jacqueline RomanChineseComputer and Information ScienceArts and Sciences
Helina SolomonPortugueseWorld PoliticsArts and Sciences

The U.S. Department of State sponsors the Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) program, which offers fully-funded intensive summer language institutes overseas in fifteen less commonly-taught languages. The CLS is part of a wider government initiative to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering foreign languages that are critical to national security and economic prosperity. Students who are named CLS recipients spend the summer abroad to intensively study a critical needs language while participating in cultural excursions.

This year, the CLS is offering programs in Arabic, Azerbaijani, Bangla, Chinese, Hindi, Indonesian, Japanese, Korean, Persian, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Swahili, Turkish, and Urdu. Some eligible languages require previous study, while others do not. Students of diverse disciplines and majors are encouraged to apply, and participants are expected to continue their language study beyond the scholarship period in order to apply their critical language skills in their future professional careers.

All enrolled Ohio State students are eligible to apply, including both undergraduate and graduate students. Undergraduates interested in applying for a Critical Language Scholarship should contact the Undergraduate Fellowship Office at

For further information about the Critical Language Scholarship or other exchange programs offered by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please contact and visit our websites at and

Apr 15

lauren.jpgThe Schefsky family's blood runs scarlet and grey. Harvey Schefsky attended The Ohio State University from 1953 to 1962, for his undergraduate and loved being a Buckeye so much that he came back as a researcher from 1963-1964 and then again for his Medical degree from 1964 through 1968. During Harvey Schefsky's finals week in graduate school, his son Marc Schefsky was born in 1966 and was an honorary Buckeye. Now, following in her grandfather's footsteps, Lauren Schefsky is the second generation of her family to study at Ohio State.

Lauren is a third year Honors student majoring in international studies and German. Her concentration in international studies is in relations and diplomacy. Schefsky's interest in her major was piqued when she spent a year abroad in Beverungen, Germany while in high school. From Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Schefsky went to Germany having never spoken a word of German before. While in Beverungen, she resided with three different host families and accumulated eight host brothers by the end of her stay there. She said with a smile, "My host family became a real family to me."

After learning of the exchange program from her father, a member of their local rotary club, Schefsky became the Williamsport Rotary's 2014-2015 Exchange Student. Throughout the process of being selected, awaiting her placement, finding out which country she would reside in, etc. she kept a blog, Lauren Meets Germany, in which she documented the whole process and her year abroad! "My favorite part about spending a year as an exchange student in Germany was that I was able to create a new life for myself within the span of a year. This was also the most difficult part because I was crushed when I had to return to the U.S.; it felt like I was leaving my "new life" behind. My younger host brother was my sister's age and he had an older sister my age." Regardless of the feeling of loss she felt at the end of her year abroad, Schefsky left with a newfound sense of self, an additional family, and renewed love for international travel.lauren family rotate.jpg

This year spent abroad is what set Schefsky on the path she has been pursuing at Ohio State. Schefsky remarked that her choices in majors, extracurricular activities, involvement with Honors & Scholars and Ohio State are all a result of an extraordinary year in Germany. This immersive experience is one that she craved again as a sophomore going into her junior year and this is the desire that led her to apply for an enrichment grant.

The Honors & Scholars Enrichment Grant is a program offered through the University Honors & Scholars Center to provide students with a more accessible way to gain experiences such as research, creative projects, and study abroad. During the academic year of 2017-2018, Lauren Schefsky applied for and was awarded a $3,000 Enrichment Grant, which she used for another education opportunity abroad. 

te General Frankfurt for an event to commemorate the anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.jpgDuring summer 2018, Schefsky spent her second bout of time in Germany, this time in the bigger city of Frankfurt. While in Frankfurt, she interned for the U.S. Department of State at the U.S. Consulate, the largest U.S. Consulate in the world. There she handled public relations and performed tasks such as, managing social media accounts, writing speeches for politicians and representatives. In this position she remarks logistically being a part of the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift. The Berlin Airlift occurred after World War II, when Germany was partitioned between the Allies—America, France, Britain, and the Soviet Union. In June 1948, the capital city of Germany, Berlin, was closed off from western-occupied Germany into western-occupied Berlin, in hopes of cutting off resources to eventually drive out the other occupants back to their countries. However, the U.S. and its allies organized an effort, the "Berlin Airlift," that carried millions of tons of cargo into West Berlin, which lasted for over a year. 

Presenting to a group of German students about the “American Dream”.jpgSchefsky's time with the consulate served to promote the bilateral relationship between Germany and the United States, in the same way that this relationship was promoted through efforts seventy years ago. "At the core of all diplomatic efforts lies culture and language. Working for the Public Affairs section of the Consulate, I learned that diplomacy isn't just what happens between politicians and diplomats behind closed doors, it's about the connections between people—between Germans and Americans," she explained.

During the 70th anniversary commemoration of the Berlin Airlift, Schefsky was a photographer for the U.S. Ambassador. Describing the importance of this event and the part she played in it she said, "It's important to remind citizens of their shared history because the connections are what promote [bilateralism] between states culturally, politically, economically, etc." Schefsky's time interning at the Consulate served as an opportunity to solidify her career trajectory, which is to represent the United States as a Foreign Service Officer as which she hopes to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while remaining passionate about the relationships the U.S. maintains abroad. Although, Schefsky is also considering going into the Peace Corps after graduation.

While the most remarkable part of her time in Germany was her work, she was thrilled having been able to visit her host family from her time spent in the country years prior.  She also remarked travelling to a commonly German-visited island, Mallorca, off the coast of Spain with other interns from the consulate. In Mallorca, also known as "Malle" or "Ballermann" by Germans, she tried paella, a popular dish there, that she raved she could eat every day.

Outside of her international travels, Schefsky is the Vice President of Students for Refugees, a student organization that strives to help refugees by voluntarily tutoring refugee elementary students and outreach. She encourages any students passionate about advocacy, awareness, mentorship, and compassion for refugees to contact this community service/ service learning initiative group via email ( and to follow their social media accounts, @ohiostateSFR on Twitter and Students for Refugees on Facebook, for updates and upcoming projects. In January she began a new internship at The Ohio State House of Representatives. Her new responsibilities include aiding the Legislative Aid, who is a Legislative staffer tasked with monitoring pending legislation, conducting research, drafting legislation, giving advice and counsel, and making recommendations. Since starting her work with the House of Representatives, Schefsky notes that the Legislative Aid has given her an abundance of responsibility that has taught her the ways of state government and freedom within her role, which she has found to be a propitious and constructive experience.

IMG_5F4ECDDBB5C1-1.jpegWhile it seems that Schefsky is all work and no play, she takes mental health and wellness seriously and uses art as an outlet for this. She's been drawing and painting for as long as she can remember, she cajolingly mentioned that it started with childhood drawings of unicorns that her mother has collected. Although colored pencil is her favorite medium to work with, she loves to experiment with different techniques like resin pouring, which she used to make a personalized table for her mother. Most of her art serves as gifts for her family, like paintings of her family pets, a touching sign she crafted for her host mother one Christmas years ago, or the drawing of Ohio State B1G Football player, Mike Weber, which was drawn for her father because of his love for football, especially Ohio State Football.

Beyond Schefsky's activity at Ohio State and internationally, she loves to superstitiously run her hand along the well-loved statue just inside the entrance of the William Oxley Thompson Library. She laughed noting that it was a tradition she learned of at orientation prior to her freshman year and after doing it once, for the sake of upholding traditions, she has incorporated it into her own Ohio State rituals. For summer 2019, Schefsky plans to expand her family even more while living with a host family in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She was recently chosen as a recipient of the USINDO fellowship from the United States—Indonesia Society in which she will spend ten intensive weeks immersed in language and culture studies of Indonesia. USINDO has had two-hundred and twenty-seven alumni of the program since 1996. Additionally, Schefsky will be learning Bahasa Indonesian at Sanata Dharma University within the ILCIC (Indonesian Language and Culture Intensive Course) —which offers foreign students of countries that have diplomatic relationships with Indonesia. She hopes to work with a local nonprofit or think-tank along with her studies and participate in cultural workshops and special lectures. After spending the summer abroad, she's hoping to do another State Department internship, "Perhaps in Jakarta, Indonesia," she mentioned. Schefsky's love for being a Buckeye is clear and as she prepares for her last year at Ohio State, she hopes that as she walks out, her little sister will follow in her steps just as she had followed in her grandfathers.

​By Audre McDowell, Honors & Scholars Student Staff Writer

Mar 21
Alumnus Chris Phillips on the Importance of Learning Through Failure

On November 2, 2018, I, along with a handful of other Honors & Scholars students at Ohio State, had the opportunity to sit with Chris Phillips and discuss his amazing career. Chris Phillips is an Ohio State alumnus, and he is currently the Chief Product Officer at Pandora Media. Over the course of an hour, Chris shared his experiences at Ohio State, his first jobs, and how he ended up at Pandora Media. He talked about what it was like working closely with Jeff Bezos, the Chief Executive Officer at Amazon. His story was motivating, inspiring, and encouraged me to think outside the box of career opportunities.

While at Ohio State, Chris was a member of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) and held a part time job at a bank. He majored in Finance. He was able to juggle school work, a part-time job, and his leadership position within his fraternity. It was relieving to hear him talk about how challenging it was to have such a full schedule; a challenge I am currently being faced with. Chris was very open about how those challenges molded who he is and where he landed in his career. When you have a full schedule, it can be easy to make mistakes or have failures. These failures, as Chris shared, are what make you a unique candidate. He shared what he looks for when interviewing applicants, and when applicants have not had a huge failure, that can tell him more about the person than their accomplishments. Aiming high means there is room for you to fall hard. How you recover from that fall is a strong way to build character. It also distinguishes you from other people in your field.  Hearing that was relieving. It is so easy to focus on being as close to perfect as you can be, and it is hard to remember that we need to fail in order to succeed. That was a reminder I think more students need, especially when their time is divided among clubs, school, work, volunteering, etc.


Chris's enthusiasm and dedication to his work was what was most inspiring. He kept a positive attitude even when talking about some obstacles and failures he has overcome. He knew that his position at Amazon was going to be fairly consistent. When Pandora Media reached out to him, he saw an opportunity to advance professionally. Chris took that opportunity and found that this position suited him. You could feel his enthusiasm for his new product updates and designs that have improved the quality of Pandora Media. I hope I am as passionate and excited about my job as Chris is. I think that is the energy everyone should have and strive for when reflecting on any position held.

Making Pandora Media a top competitor in the music world is a tough job. I asked Chris what Pandora Media does to keep existing listeners using the app and what is being done to recruit new listeners considering most people are very loyal to the music app they currently use. He was thorough when answering my question. He talked about Pandora's streaming and new downloading feature; features that he was head of creating. From a marketing standpoint, Pandora Media will be advertised in airports all across the country. I asked about this because I am majoring in Marketing, and I am always curious to see how companies promote their products. Chris made Pandora Media sound like a company I would love to work at!

It was refreshing to talk to an Ohio State graduate who has become so successful. Chris shared that it takes time to get to where you want to be in life and everything you do is an experience. Each experience is just a small piece of who you are. Those experiences will further your more than you can foresee. 

By Giana Parsons, Honors & Scholars Student Writer

Mar 08

mc-2.jpgHonors student and Eminence Fellow Mary Conway has had many enviable experiences, including being the child of King Charles Cavalier Spaniel breeders and spending one particularly memorable Thanksgiving surrounded by twenty dogs. In addition to being a seasoned expert and cuddling with puppies, she enjoys flute, guitar, running, yoga, and reading old classics. This past spring, she took a skydiving class and successfully jumped out of a plane at the end of the semester.

Conway grew up in the small town of Columbia Station, Ohio, going from a graduating class of 86 to a freshman class of about 7,600. This may sound intimidating, but it didn't scare Conway. By that point, she had already taken a gap year to spend 9 months in Moldova learning Russian through the National Security Language Initiative for Youth Scholarship. (Russian was particularly interesting to her because Russia is where her sister was adopted from.) Conway does not sugarcoat how difficult it was to move to a country where she barely knew how to ask to use the bathroom, but she says that after about three months of feeling overwhelmed, her patience paid off. "I began to be able to communicate with people, actually understand the stories and conversations my host family would have, watch movies, and even do something as simple as order a latte," she recalls. Once she was able to speak Russian conversationally, she and her host grandfather would sit outside and eat fresh fruit from the trees while he told stories about being under Soviet Union rule. She also took piano lessons from a Soviet teacher, attended Latin dance classes, relaxed in a Turkish sauna, and enjoyed a Russian version of Thanksgiving. She is now able to read books in Russian, and though she has started quite a few, her goal now is to finish one.

After returning to the U.S., Conway decided that no matter what her career would be, she wanted it to involve travelling. In fact, since her time in Moldova, she has visited Egypt and is currently planning a spring break trip to her friends to wherever flights are cheapest. She has also remained interested in Russian language and culture. Ultimately, she decided to pursue three complementary fields: International Business, Russian, and Economics. Now that she has had experience in these areas and how they influence each other, she is specifically interested in non-profits and economic development initiatives.

Like many Honors students, Conway is grateful for the academic and career benefits of the H&S as well as the Eminence program. She loves the smaller, more personal classes and events as well as networking with leaders in her fields, faculty, and students. However, she admits that her favorite event is the annual Eminence holiday party where she can relax and socialize with other students who have a huge variety of interests and life stories. She is also proud of the way the Eminence Program addresses service, using a cohort model to make a greater impact. Mary's class is dedicated to combating human trafficking in the Columbus area and has created Enlighten as an organization to spread awareness. In addition to her involvement in Honors and Eminence, Conway plans to work on her own research project before graduating.

Conway also participates in several student organizations and local organizations, including the Collegiate Council on World Affairs and the Columbus Council on World Affairs. Within the former, she participates in the United Nations Association. She is a member of the non-profit UNCHAINED Against Human Trafficking and recently became part of Phi Kappa Phi, an honors society that encompasses all areas of study. Finally, she helps bring in speakers to lead discussions on current issues facing the UN.

As Conway has pursued courses and community involvement related to diplomacy, business, technology, sustainable energy, economics, and public health, she has become increasingly aware of how these topics can be applied to small villages like the ones she visited in Moldova. She reflects, "I would meet people quite like myself, except they are not expecting to ever leave their village, ever get a higher education, and often do no more than just try to get enough food to support their family." She has become interested in sustainable development and how it could give these young people the chance not only to meet their current goals, but perhaps to develop bigger goals such as going to college, choosing a career they are passionate about, or starting a business in their own home region. Conway's own long-term goal is to work in the Post-Soviet area to help local women of all ages receive an education and become financially stable.

This past summer, Conway got to combine her interest in sustainable development with her passion for travel by attending the 2017 EXPO in Astana, Kazakhstan. EXPO is the modern evolution of the famous World's Fairs of the past (the most famous of which include the Paris World's Fair and the Chicago World's Fair). EXPO occurs every few years and, similarly to the World's Fairs, involves hundreds of countries gathering to share their achievements and ideas. Conway explains that there are short and long EXPO's; the short ones have specific themes. The one she attended was a short, three-month event with the theme of Future Energy. Specifically, governments, NGO's, companies, and the general public set out to discuss how to ensure access to sustainable energy for people of all nations  while simultaneously working to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Conway had the opportunity to attend as a result of her impressive Russian language abilities. She was one of only forty student ambassadors selected to work at the EXPO's USA Pavilion. Her responsibilities included presenting recent American innovations, especially regarding green and renewable energy. She was also tasked with translating, making guests and dignitaries feel welcome, advertising the Pavilion on social media, and coordinating events with the U.S. Embassy.


Though Russian is the common language in Kazakhstan, Conway did learn several sentences in Kazakh. Since some people there believed in continuing speaking Russian and others believed in strictly speaking Kazakh, locals expressed appreciation for Conway's efforts to communicate with both languages. She noted that the language politics were striking, though of course, similar debates about language and culture exist in the U.S. Conway was also interested in the cultures that intersected in Kazakhstan. "The country is close to the old Silk Road, and has a very long history of nomadic tribes and Islamic influence," she says. Russian and Soviet culture were later integrated with these older traditions. Sharing one piece of memorable imagery that exemplifies this mixture of traditions, she says, "There is a huge mall in the center of the city that is shaped like a nomadic tent, standing in front of this traditional tent, you can see a mosque to your right, and the top of a Russian Orthodox church to your left."

Perhaps the most important discovery Conway made in those three months was the extent to which others dream about going to the U.S. to pursue higher education and better jobs. Though the U.S. is far from perfect, Conway recognizes that she grew up with privileges such as a college education and ability to pursue any career she was passionate about. In Kazakhstan, she met brilliant, ambitious young people growing up without these privileges. She also visited an area of the country, Semipalatinsk, where families were still suffering the effects of nuclear radiation left over from the nuclear testing performed there during Soviet rule. These moments have been humbling and have begun to change her outlook. "Whenever I start to complain about having to write an essay, or that gas for my car is so expensive, I try to remember conversations I had with people whose life dream is to have what I already have and take for granted," she explains.

However, as she transitioned back into U.S. college life, she missed a lot of things about Kazakhstan, too. Despite the challenges some of the people there faced, it was a beautiful country. For example, she spent one of her days there volunteering at an English camp in the northern part of the country. She spent 9 hours interacting with local children in a traditional nomadic shelter called a yurt as it poured rain outside. Despite the 40 degree weather and the leaky yurt, she and the children passed the day with enthusiasm, playing Uno, singing American pop songs, and looking at pictures from America. Conway also reminisces on the adventures of trying unfamiliar local foods, such as a delicacy called kurt, which she describes as "fermented mare's milk chalk balls." Elderly women often make them on the roofs of their homes and sell them on the street, and they are popular among the locals. Conway humorously admits that they are an acquired taste.

As Conway continues to work toward graduation and perhaps an eventual graduate degree or Fulbright, she is determined to continue seeing new places. Specifically, she hopes to visit Morocco in the near future. In the meantime, she would not mind travelling across campus and paying a visit to the Shoe for an OSU-Michigan game before graduating. At some point over the next several years, she also hopes become a certified yoga teacher, work as a barista long enough to learn how to make exciting coffee drinks, and own a cat (or two). 

By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Student Writer 

Mar 07
Leadership Announcement

Ahlqvist_Ola.jpgI'm pleased to announce that Ola Ahlqvist has accepted the position of associate vice provost for the Office of Academic Enrichment and executive director of the University Honors & Scholars Center. 

A new office in Student Academic Success, OAE comprises a variety of academic enrichment programs and centers, including: Service-Learning, the University Honors & Scholars Center, Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry, and the academic liaison aspect of STEP (in conjunction with Student Life).

In addition to leading the development of OAE, Dr. Ahlqvist will oversee strategies, initiatives and operations for the Honors & Scholars Center, which has been operating under the guidance and leadership of interim director Dr. Anne Krabacher. Moving forward, the two will co-lead the Center.

Dr. Ahlqvist currently serves as director for Ohio State's Service-Learning office, working to support the development, implementation and evaluation of sustainable service-learning courses, and championing community-based scholarship across Ohio State's curricula. He earned a PhD in geography from Stockholm University in Sweden and joined Ohio State's Department of Geography in 2005. 

Please join me in thanking Dr. Krabacher for her leadership of the Honors & Scholars Center and welcoming Dr. Ahlqvist as he transitions to his new role.

Kind regards,

Beth Hume, PhD
Vice Provost for Student Academic Success
Dean of Undergraduate Education
Professor of Linguistics 

Mar 01

kate2.jpgMeet Kate Greer, a third-year in History and German and an International Affairs scholar, Kate is a history lover, a contemporary dancer, a policy enthusiast, a musician and an advocate for Ohio State students. Kate is also an Undergraduate Student Government presidential candidate.

From Hudson, Ohio, Greer chose Ohio State for its size, respected academics and location in Columbus. She said she wanted to be in a city with culture, art and character, and she loved the many opportunities to get involved on campus.

She also chose Ohio State for its German and History departments. After undergrad, Greer hopes to get her PhD and go into postsecondary education. She said she has a passion for both teaching and conducting research, which she considers equally important.

"I have known since the beginning of time that I want to go into education," said Greer. She said she was influenced by her high school history teachers and seventh grade German teacher, who brought culture and history alive in their classrooms.

For over a year and a half Greer has been a teaching assistant for her scholars program, International Affairs. Greer has taught lectures on cultural relativism and travel as well as international gun politics, which she developed working with a political science advisor.

She said it's given her exposure to what teaching at a college level is like. Greer said she enjoys connecting with and mentoring to first year students. "I've had such a great experience in scholars," Greer said. "I hope everyone can find their specific place in Honors & Scholars and feel as happy and included as I have."

In May of her sophomore year, Greer studied abroad for the U.S., Europe and the Second World War program. She spent three and a half weeks in England, Normandy, Paris, Krakow and Berlin with 20 fellow Buckeyes. "It was one of the most impactful experiences of my young life. It completely flipped the way I view history," Greer said. "The war is still alive and manifesting itself in the public atmosphere today."​

kate3.jpgGreer said she has a passion for looking into the past to learn how history can guide the future. Another of Greer's passions is education policy, which she committed to after discovering it was the best way to affect change on campus.

Greer got involved with Undergraduate Student Government (USG) her freshman year, when she served as a representative for academic affairs. She said she wanted to get involved in something that put her "in the heart of education" at Ohio State.

One of the most unique parts of Ohio State, Greer said, is that the university operates under a shared governance structure and values students input on decisions. "It's never if a student will be in the room, but which student will be in the room," she said.

Last year Greer served as the Director of Academic Affairs for USG. As current Chair of the Undergraduate Caucus, Greer manages USG relationships with faculty and administration. She suggests language for rules and policy changes that will benefit the student body.

Greer said this is difficult because approving change and progress in higher education is slow. But Greer has worked to advance general policies, helping to answer questions like… How do we standardize absence policy across the university? What are the basic guidelines that new faculty can use? What can students turn to when they're sick or have a family emergency?

Another initiative Greer has addressed is the decentralization of scholarship applications. Students have to search multiple websites and various departments to find scholarships relevant to them, but soon students will be able to access all scholarship opportunities on one website.

Affordability and access are important issues to Greer. In December 2017, she spoke at the Ohio Statehouse, testifying for a post-secondary textbook tax exemption. She spoke alongside Ohio State administrators, who were advocating for passing the bill. Because financial aid doesn't cover these costs, Greer said this issue needs to be addressed immediately."Students are choosing between buying textbooks and buying groceries," she said. Greer said that federal laws prevent bundling textbooks and access codes, which drive up prices for students. She hopes that using Carmen and integrating inexpensive e-book platforms will create an open and accessible learning environment for students.

Greer said her experience in USG has taught her a great deal. "I've gotten so much insight into how a university operates," she said. "It takes a lot of resilience on our end to make sure the undergraduate voice is heard. When she and her vice presidential running mate Julia Dennen, current director of governmental relations, made the decision to run for office, Greer said they each wrote down 50 reasons why. "I wouldn't do this at any other institution. Our voice is so valued at Ohio State. Faculty and administrators want to be our friends and colleagues," Greer said.

Students have driven revolutions around the world for thousands of years, and Greer said her study of history has influenced how she views her own role as a student."We often underestimate our power," she said. "Why am I doing this at the end of the day? I'm passionate about my place in the world as a student," said Greer.

Greer said she loves everything about Ohio State: how big it is, how diverse it is and how passionate the students are about the University. She said she believes a good leader is invested in their people and she hopes to be able to connect students to solutions supported by USG.

Students can cast their ballot in the 2019-2020 USG elections March 4-6. For more information, visit and Kate's website

By Eleanor Kapcar, Honors & Scholars Student Writer 

Feb 26
The Ohio State University is a Top Producer of Fulbright

Fulbright logo white blue bkgd.jpg 

The Ohio State University is proud to be included on the list of U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholars. Each year the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announces the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government's flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists annually.

Ohio State was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars with 6 faculty receiving the award, ranking Ohio State 5th for Scholars. In addition, nine students from Ohio State received Fulbright awards for academic year 2018-2019—ranking the institution 46th among top producing research institutions.

"We thank the colleges and universities across the United States that we are recognizing as Fulbright top producing institutions for their role in increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries," said Marie Royce, Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs. "We are proud of all the Fulbright students and scholars from these institutions who represent America abroad, increasing and sharing their skills and knowledge on a global stage."

The Fulbright Student competition is administered at the University Honors & Scholars Center Undergraduate Fellowship Office. The office assists all undergraduate Ohio State students interested in pursuing a national scholarship or fellowship. For more information about the Undergraduate Fellowship Office, email

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 390,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential — with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns. Over 1,900 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study are offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research abroad each year. The Fulbright U.S. Student Program operates in over 140 countries throughout the world.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a program of the U.S. Department of State, funded by an annual appropriation from the U.S. Congress to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, and supported in its implementation by the Institute of International Education.   

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study, lecture, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

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