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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

Feb 22

michaelbach6.jpgIf you've ever experienced that life-altering moment when you realize you've been singing that one line to your favorite song completely wrong, perhaps Michael Bach can help. The fourth-year Scholars student from Wadsworth, Ohio is an editor for the popular lyrics site and is on a constant search for new music. His favorite 2018 albums are Janelle Monae's Dirty Computer and Kali Uchis' Isolation. His expertise extends far beyond the meaning of song lyrics, however. He will soon graduate with a degree in psychology and minors in Spanish, philosophy, and political science.

Given his variety of interests, Bach would've fit in well in just about any Scholars Program, but he felt especially drawn to Humanities Scholars. "One of the best things about Humanities Scholars is that we don't just do one thing; the diversity of programming is incredible," he says. "I often say that Humanities Scholars is like a club in and of itself." Each week they attend events on campus as a group. These include academic lectures, volunteering, diversity-themed events, and opportunities to socialize; they also take trips to other cities. Bach is especially fond of playing intramural sports with his Scholars friends. "Though the Humanities Scholars aren't renowned for our athleticism, we have a lot of fun together and I only wish our Columbus recreational soccer season was a little longer," he says. He grew up playing soccer and now uses it as a chance to socialize and reduce stress. In fact, he is the captain of his Co-Rec team.

Bach is part of the Humanities Scholars Leadership Council, one of the many mentorship roles he fills. For him, it is a way of giving back after having so many positive experiences with people he has met at Ohio State. "I met three of my best friends through Humanities and gotten to know a lot of fantastic people, including program manager Ben Fortman, who I consider a valuable mentor and role model," he says. Bach helps with routine programming as well as special events; the one he is most proud of was Trick-or-Treat for the Hungry, an event he has participated in since his freshman year. "Each Halloween, the Humanities Scholars visit a local neighborhood and go door-to-door collecting canned food and non-perishable food items to donate to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank," he explains. "For the past two years, we have collected more pounds of food than the previous year, respectively."​


Being part of a Scholars community has been an important benefit of attending Ohio State for Bach; another is that it is an ideal place to study multiple topics. Some of the skills that he has picked up from this combination of fields include critical thinking, composition, civics, and cultural engagement. He explains, "My involvement in each one of these arts and sciences fields enhances my abilities to be both a holistic consumer and a global critic of the world around me." If he could research any specific area of psychology, it would be the topics covered by his Judgment and Decision-Making class, such as biases, schemas, heuristics, and utility. He says, "I would definitely enjoy learning about how people make decisions, how and why they make bad decisions, and under what conditions can we make less bad ones, less often." Bach is currently Co-President of the Psychology Club and helps plan programming relevant to psychology students.

Like many social scientists, Bach understands the importance of mental health. Last spring, he participated in the H&S Semester of Service program and spend four months volunteering at the Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) Lab next to the Recreation and Physical Activity Center. His role was to use the lab's biofeedback technology to teach students about the effects of stress and ways to mitigate it such as controlled breathing exercises, mindfulness activities, and meditation. He also met weekly with other students from the program to discuss mental health on a broader scale, especially as it relates to college students. He adds, "It was a great experience and I encourage every H&S student to participate in Semester of Service."

Another organization Bach is grateful to be part of is the Mabel G. Freeman Chapter of the Mortar Board Senior Honor Society. Ohio State was one of the founding members of the honor society and the national office is located in Columbus. The 100th Annual Mortar Board National Conference was held here in 2018 and Bach attended as an officer of his chapter. For him, the most memorable parts were attending the National Luncheon and the Candlelight Banquet as well as meeting alumni and students who are accomplishing exciting things in their fields. "In the afternoon, we had the privilege of hearing from renowned attorney, author, and Civil Rights activist Bryan Stevenson as he gave us a touching speech on the importance of being proximate to those who face injustice," he recalls. "Later that evening, I met many Mortar Board alumni from Ohio State—including Senior Vice President for Student Life Dr. J— as we celebrated the 100th Anniversary of the organization in the Statehouse."


Experiences like the Centennial Conference have served as a reminder of the power of mentorship. Bach has had some influential mentors of his own and feels fortunate to work with Ohio State leaders such as DaVonti' Haynes through Mentor-A-Buckeye and Program Manager Stephen Moore through LiFEsports. As Bach has taken on his own mentorship roles in these organizations and as a tutor for both the Columbus Library Homework Help Center and the Student-Athlete Support Services Office (SASSO), he has been continually impressed by the people he works with. "I have realized that young people today are mature and intelligent," he says. "I fully believe that young people, when determined and empowered by their mentors, have the capacity to do great things."

Bach's future plans include working for the AmeriCorps City Year program in Columbus after graduation and then attending graduate school. He hopes to continue gaining leadership experience and staying involved with the Ohio State and Columbus community. If he finds a spare moment in between, he will likely be found playing soccer, watching Mr. Robot, or reading American Psycho.

In the meantime, Bach is wasting no time making his final year at Ohio State a memorable one. Recently, he won an award for being an outstanding volunteer at the library. "That made my whole week," he says.  When he attended the Fall Welcome Concert featuring Miguel as the headliner, he ended up meeting Miguel's younger brother. He also experienced the epitome of excitement and relief as a Columbus Crew soccer fan. "I would have to say that #SAVETHECREW was one of the best things about 2018."

By Christina Szuch, Honors & Scholars Student Writer 

Feb 11
Eminence Fellows Program Names Class of 2023 Finalists

The Eminence Fellows Program at The Ohio State University has named 75 Finalists for the Class of 2023.

Finalists will visit the Ohio State campus on March 1 and 2, 2019 to participate in a full day of Eminence Program activities and Buckeye Bound.   This will include a special dinner with President Michael Drake at the Blackwell Ballroom.  They will have a chance to meet and talk with current Eminence Fellows, faculty at the University, and Honors staff when they visit.  Individual online interviews are currently taking place.

This year's Finalists represent 14 states, 31 Ohio cities, and 65 different high schools. Two Finalists will be travelling from abroad where they are currently attending high school. Among them are a variety of student leaders, researchers, tutors, mentors, publication editors, non-profit leaders, dedicated employees, and talented musicians and artists. They have all given of their time and talents to their high schools and their communities.

The Class of 2023 will be the 8th class of Eminence Fellows and will bring exceptional students to The Ohio State University based on academic potential, character, global competency, and altruism.  The Eminence Program encourages and supports students in these areas and provides many opportunities along the way.  The scholarship includes tuition and fees, room and board, enrichment activities, and additional expenses.  Approximately 25 scholarships will be awarded this year to outstanding high school seniors for undergraduate study in any discipline at The Ohio State University.

For more information, visit

Congratulations to the 2019 Eminence Finalists!

NameHigh SchoolCityState
Gabrielle AdamsUpper Arlington High SchoolColumbusOH
Sahil AmbardekarDublin Jerome High SchoolDublinOH
Aisha AyubPickerington Central High SchoolPickeringtonOH
Phoebe BakerHilliard Davidson High SchoolHilliardOH
Miranda BarnesBlacksburg High SchoolBlacksburgVA
Megan BezoldNotre Dame AcademyPark HillsKY
Lorena Bonet VelazquezFairdale High SchoolLouisvilleKY
Maria BurdjalovOrange High SchoolClevelandOH
Sander CapetzTheodore Roosevelt High SchoolKentOH
Sachi ChaudhariHoover High SchoolNorth CantonOH
Karen ChuLiberty High SchoolPowellOH
Alexis ClarkeIndiana Ac Sci/Math/HumanitiesMuncieIN
Harrsha CongivaramHudson High SchoolHudsonOH
Sylvie CrowellCleveland Heights High SchoolCleveland HtsOH
Lauren DahlerMiddleton High SchoolMiddletonWI
Sounak DeyThomas Worthington High SchoolWestervilleOH
Lucas EtterHenry Clay High SchoolLexingtonKY
Julia EvansMount Notre Dame High SchoolCincinnatiOH
Ronald EytchisonHuron High SchoolHuronOH
Emily FangWilliam Mason High SchoolMasonOH
Nya FeinsteinGrandview Heights High SchoolColumbusOH
Hannah FoutsOlentangy High SchoolLewis CenterOH
Grace GaoSolon High SchoolSolonOH
Alexa GobleHendersonville High SchoolHendersonvilleNC
Lia Gomez-PerezShaker Heights High SchoolShaker HeightsOH
Thanvi GullapalliDublin Jerome High SchoolDublinOH
Arushi GuptaDupont Manual Magnet HsLouisvilleKY
Sarah HaysleyArapahoe High SchoolCentennialCO
Robert HouselUniversity SchoolHunting ValleyOH
Deanna HunterHendersonville High SchoolHendersonvilleTN
Meenakshi JaniWorthington Kilbourne HsColumbusOH
Joshua JoseDupont Manual Magnet HsLouisvilleKY
Rishi JoshiNord Anglia International SchoolDubaiUAE
Hannah KitsmillerBishop Hartley High SchoolColumbusOH
Riley LawsonFrancis Howell North High SchoolSt CharlesMO
Margaret LenhartDefiance Senior High SchoolDefianceOH
Daniel LevineThomas Worthington High SchoolWorthingtonOH
Katherine LuckermanParkway Central High SchoolChesterfieldMO
Virginia MaColumbus AcademyGahannaOH
Collin MaldonadoBrentwood High SchoolBrentwoodTN
Noah MalikNew Albany High SchoolNew AlbanyOH
Logan MartensHoover High SchoolNorth CantonOH
Margaret McDowBexley High SchoolBexleyOH
Elena McGoeyNorth Hills High SchoolPittsburghPA
Asia McKenzieFederal Hocking High SchoolStewartOH
Nikolas McNealClay High SchoolOregonOH
Lana MillmanHinsdale Township Hs CentralHinsdaleIL
Anthony MoussaHilliard Darby High SchoolHilliardOH
Jacob MurrayHarvey S Firestone Sr HsAkronOH
Varshini OdayarSeven Hills Upper SchoolCincinnatiOH
Kylan PaigeMetro High SchoolColumbusOH
Claire PoultonBrownstown Central High SchoolBrownstownIN
Melina RaglinBloomington High School NorthBloomingtonIN
Devon RegalFlower Mound High SchoolFlower MoundTX
Evan ResselPlainview Old Bethpage Jfk HsPlainviewNY
Austen RobersonHoward High SchoolEllicott CityMD
Cecilia RussellTurpin High SchoolCincinnatiOH
Sonam RustagiLiberty High SchoolPowellOH
Raghav SainiDublin Jerome High SchoolDublinOH
Luis Sanchez BoedoFranklin High SchoolFranklinTN
Sydney SauerCincinnati Hills Christian AcCincinnatiOH
Anna ScheeserMariemont High SchoolCincinnatiOH
Eleanor SeibertMagnificat High SchoolRocky RiverOH
Snehi ShahPadua Franciscan High SchoolParmaOH
Evelyn ShankOlentangy Liberty High SchoolPowellOH
Alex SmithLakota East High SchoolLiberty TownshipOH
Sarah Grace SmithWalnut Hills High SchoolCincinnatiOH
Joe SweetChardon High SchoolChardonOH
Ian ThompsonSaint Ignatius High SchoolClevelandOH
Greta WarmbierWyoming High SchoolCincinnatiOH
Clayton WashingtonJackson High SchoolMassillonOH
Anna WatrousLafayette Senior High SchoolLexingtonKY
Sylvie WilsonAthens High SchoolThe PlainsOH
Isabel WuHudson High SchoolHudsonOH
Kevin YinCenterville High SchoolCentervilleOH
Edward ZieglerAmerican School of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain​
Feb 11
MMC Scholars Digital Sandbox

option fixed is a good pic of dorm life although not that great resolution.jpgOne of the greatest characteristics of the Scholars programs is their appeal to all types of students, accommodating individuals' specific talents and goals. For the Media, Marketing and Communication (MMC) Scholars, this means building on skills ranging from creating an effective LinkedIn profile to creating a video game. There are currently 21 topics students can choose to learn about over the course of either seven or 14 weeks, depending on difficulty. This program is called the Digital Sandbox, and as the name suggests, it aims to be as interactive as possible, allowing students to teach one another and then practice their new skills through weekly assignments and a final project.

The basic framework of the Digital Sandbox has been around since MMC Scholars (then called Communication Technology Scholars) began in 2001. David McIntyre, Program Manager of MMC Scholars, spent time talking to faculty members and potential Scholars students during the planning stages of the program, gathering their opinions about how to structure it and which topics to include. "It came back unanimous that you have to let students do stuff. I knew from the beginning that it would be a hands-on program," McIntyre says. During the first semester, the students worked on basic web skills. Videography was added in the spring.

As more students became involved, McIntyre began to notice something. "I had students coming in that already had skill sets I didn't have," he explains. For this reason, the project groups evolved to become student-led, with experienced students developing syllabi and teaching their peers during weekly meetings. With this structure, the instructors could learn just as much as their students, gaining unique undergraduate teaching experience.

Over time, McIntyre has given the student instructors more independence in terms of developing their courses. The main requirements for instructors are that they have the syllabus ready on the first day and that they remain flexible, always having content ready so that students can move on once they understand a topic. There are a loose set of guidelines for the syllabus, but the instructors choose what tasks to assign each week, how assignments are graded, and whether a student has done enough to pass.

Project groups meet for a minimum of 45 minutes each week, usually in the study lounges of Morrill Tower. LCD projectors are available and students usually bring their laptops or iPads. Groups discuss upcoming assignments, share what they worked on for homework, ask questions, and then tackle the next topic for the week. Many ambitious students take on multiple project groups during a semester. Students who show exceptional dedication are recognized, and McIntyre notes, "We have better attendance and participation than some classes do."

0372fix would be good for the new part where I mention iPads.jpgLauren Sabo was one of three freshmen to be recognized with Gold Status for her participation last year. She demonstrated outstanding effort in her project groups and managed to complete three despite a busy class schedule. Sabo is majoring in Marketing and minoring in Fashion and Retail Studies as well as Media and Society. She determined that the Applied Marketing group would help her get a head start on material that will be covered in her coursework at the Fisher College of Business. In addition, she chose Photoshop and Video because of her passion for photography and desire to gain more technical knowledge.

MMC Scholars are required to participate in the Digital Sandbox during their first year, but the majority continue during their second year; for most of these students, the Digital Sandbox was what drew them to MMC in the first place. Second-year Scholars often elect to teach a project group, though some instead complete independent projects such as blogging about an internship or interviewing professionals in their field of interest. Students can even spend a semester pilot-testing a project group to make sure their idea is feasible, as one group interested in digital comics recently did.

Generally, about 100 to 120 students participate in the Digital Sandbox, with each group consisting of anywhere from one or two students to upwards of 20. The program has expanded to include any interested Honors and Scholars students from across the university. Several Scholars programs count participation in the Digital Sandbox toward their own program's requirements, especially in the arts and STEM fields. After all, a student working on a video project might gain experience with writing a script, shooting, acting, or editing; similarly, a student creating a VR world might use artistic abilities to create the environment or use physics to determine how a person will interact with objects.

As one might expect, Digital Sandbox participants come from a variety of backgrounds. The most common fields the students come from are computer science, design, communication, and video. However, McIntyre adds that students in seemingly unrelated fields—for example, accounting—can also benefit from digital media experience. After all, they need to be able to present data in a persuasive, easily understandable format, and having some familiarity with creating graphics could give them a competitive edge.

Since a large number of Honors and Scholars students took AP, IB, or duel enrollment courses in high school, many were too busy to take classes on digital media and come in with little to no experience. "I don't want a student to come in and feel intimidated," McIntyre says. For many of the topics, including video, there is both an advanced and beginner group. "The goal is to push the envelope and move forward from wherever you're at."

Frank Meszaros, a Computer and Information Sciences major now entering his third year, developed a project group for the programming language Python. He wanted the material to be accessible to people without a computer science background, recognizing how significant coding skills can be in the workforce. His group also attracted students who had experience with other programming languages but wanted to learn a new one.

Python Project Group Image.jpg 

To Meszaros, coding is not just work, but also fun. "I did an internship the summer before my freshman year at Ohio State, which was the first time I got genuine programming experience," he says. He then jokes, "I was doing it and was like 'Hey, I don't hate this and this requires a lot less chemistry then all the other majors.'"

Meetings for the Python group were generally structured so that the first half was more lecture-based and the second half was more hands-on, with students working on small assignments or making progress on the final project. "The group work and individual activities do a great job of solidifying the concepts discussed that day," Meszaros explains. He believes this is when most of the learning happens, though slideshows and lectures can also be important.

The final project for the Python group involved making a video game. "H&S puts a large emphasis on artifacts students collect during their time at Ohio State, so I figured something like this would make for a cool artifact," he says.

Each group's final project is up to the instructor, but should be an accumulation of all the skills they learned that they can share with their classmates at the end-of-semester symposium. McIntyre says that an ideal final project will allow a person to experience what the students did even if the person cannot attend the presentation. "This program is tailor-made for students to produce artifacts," he says. "I want them to walk away with something they could include on an e-Portfolio or LinkedIn profile." For example, students who work on a podcast would not just include it on their resumes, but would also provide a sample of one of their episodes, especially now that more employers accept digital projects and portfolios.

IMG_0328fix shows 2 students creating an iPad app.jpgSome of the most popular project groups include Adobe Photoshop, Wordpress web design, professional development including LinkedIn and beginning video group. However, McIntyre add that by its very nature, the Digital Sandbox is constantly evolving as new technology becomes available. One example of that is offering new project groups this year that help first years get the most out of the creative apps available on the iPads that the university gave them. Students can learn how to be creative with Adobe Sketch, shoot video with Adobe Rush and Spark, and instructors can create lessons in Explain Everything. Another example is how students can now create their own VR environments using the Unreal 4 game engine made by the company that created Fortnite. 

Connections with MMC alumni has helped in this regard. Once, a former student— who now works with technology at a marketing agency— showed McIntyre a VR headset. McIntyre was impressed but remarked that there was no way he would be able to afford one for the program. The former student then informed him that the two main game engines for VR—Unity and Unreal 4—had recently become available for free.  As a result, MMC Scholars was able to start an Unreal 4 project group last year. McIntyre explains that VR can be useful outside of the gaming industry, allowing people to experience places and things they may not have the opportunity to see in real life—for example, a blue whale swimming by during an underwater experience, or a beautiful view from inside the Sistine Chapel. "It's not being there, but it's close," he says.

One of McIntyre's favorite final projects to witness was a VR bowling game. Throughout the semester, he watched the students create each element one by one—the ball, the pins, the alley. The group spent one meeting tweaking the mass and density of the ball so it would roll at an ideal distance and speed.  Other fascinating final projects McIntyre has seen have included videos, smartphone apps, interactive games created in C++.

IMG_0431  is a good picture of a student using VR.JPG 

Sabo's final project for Photoshop was to create an image that reflected her personality. For her Applied Marketing project, the group was divided into teams and competed to give the best presentation on ideas for new High Street businesses. Her team's idea was a two-story restaurant, a bar, and a bowling alley for students. Finally, her favorite project was the mockumentary she created with friends for the Video group; "Super-Swipe Me" explores what would happen if someone were to eat nothing but the food at Morrill's dining hall for thirty days straight. In the future, Sabo hopes to join an Adobe InDesign project group and perhaps even take on the role of teacher for a group.

McIntyre hopes to expand his concept to other H&S groups; as an example, he says he could envision something like an Art Sandbox. Just as students from other Scholars groups have worked on the Digital Sandbox, MMC students could try other types of Sandboxes to get experience in fields they may not have had a chance to pursue before.

Meanwhile, although he has already completed the requirements for MMC, Meszaros is looking forward to teaching the Python group again this year. Like any dedicated instructor, he is thinking of small improvements to make; particularly, he hopes to lecture less and give students more time to practice writing code during the class. However, if past success is any indication, he won't have to change much. "I hoped to start a class where kids with no programming knowledge of any kind could learn to code and actually come out of the class with an artifact of some sort that embodied everything they had learned throughout the course of the semester," he says. "I had kids who had never coded before really making video games at the end."

For Alumni: MMC is always looking for Ohio State alums who are working in media-rich careers to talk with students about their experience. If you would like to do this, email David McIntyre.

For Students: The MMC Digital Sandbox happens in 330 Morrill Tower and is FREE and open to ALL H&S students.  Go to to check out our weekly schedule. Groups for Spring 2019 started January 7th, but a new set of 7-week groups will start February 25th. No sign-up; just show up starting the week of Feb. 25th. If you are an H&S student who has a strong skill set in a particular digital media/programming language, you can send a proposal to David McIntyre about teaching a project group for Autumn 2019.

​By Christina Szuchh, Honors & Scholars Student Writer​

Feb 03

​​​Dillon McBride1a1.jpgDillon McBride is a fourth year Honors student majoring in zoology and hails from Lumberton, New Jersey. When asked about his decision to come to Ohio State, McBride says that he wanted to go to a university that had a good veterinary medicine program, undergraduate research and other opportunities that couldn't be found elsewhere. Choosing Ohio State was his best option and in his first year, McBride was hired as a Student Assistant Researcher for the College of Veterinary Medicine under Dr. Andrew Bowman and Jacqueline Nolting in the Animal Influenza Ecology and Epidemiology Research Program. And fun fact, McBride is also a Guinness World Record Holder.

As ​​​part of his program, researchers are expected to travel to over 100 county fairs across the country every year. During these trips they work closely with pigs and birds—specifically ducks. While traveling between county fairs on one of these trips, McBride's colleague noted that his whistling was abnormally high and then off-handedly mentioned that it could be a world recorded setting talent. With the help of people from Ohio State's School of Music, nearly a year later and he was officially the Guinness World Record Holder for Highest Note Whistled.

McBride received an Honors & Scholars Enrichment Grant and in the summer of 2018 and went to Singapore. He explained that he chose Singapore because he already had a connection there, Dr. Gavin Smith with Duke-NUS medical school department of emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Smith's research includes evolutionary genetics and phylogenetic methods. McBride stated, "My time in Singapore really gave me the opportunity to learn and experience things that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to do here in Columbus. What I learned there has been a big asset to myself as well as my research lab. And I just really look forward to using that knowledge in the rest of my undergraduate schooling and into graduate school working with infectious diseases."

Dillon McBride2.jpegMcBride not only improved himself as a researcher and Ohio States' research recourses, he was able to gain a better understanding of the diverse culture in Singapore and how to truly be independent. McBride laughed noting that he had no cell phone reception, was in a country where he knew no one, and that it was an experience that he found invaluable.

McBride noted that being an Honors student has benefited him most because he feels that being in a smaller group of like-minded and educationally motived people makes learning easier. McBride added that the advising he's received has been most impactful.

In McBride's research, he studies and researches how Influenza affects animals and how animals in-turn infect people with the flu. He chose zoology as a major because he's always had a love for and interest in animals, specifically exotic animals and their evolution. McBride's research has led him to change his initial clinical study of animals to the science behind them and how they are related to public health. "I don't believe in closing doors," said McBride.

McBride has never limited himself to one set notion for the future, rather being open to other potential opportunities or prospective careers that present themselves. With this in mind, McBride mentioned that he would like to continue his research in graduate school and work on getting his Ph.D. McBride enjoys the idea of eventually being a university professor and fueling students' passions with his own, just as his professors here have.

Videos of McBride's world record setting whistle can be found on YouTube

​By Audre McDowell, Honors & Scholars Student Staff Writer

Jan 25

Majikas.jpgAs a third-year public affairs and political science double major with an interest in women's gender and sexuality studies, Maya Majikas has found herself immersed in the world of controversy, a field of fighting for social justice and equality—politics. Majikas is from Mentor, Ohio and although Ohio State University wasn't her first-choice university, she's never regretted her decision to come here and is glad to have been welcomed into the Buckeye family. Through the Honors program, Majikas has been met with countless opportunities, specifically, she is a member of the Honors Collegium which has helped her make connections and network, academically and professionally.

Majikas had been interning at the State House last semester for Dan Ramos, who is the Ohio Representative for the 56th District and is a member of the Democratic Party. In addition, Majikas has also interned for local judicial campaigns, the Ohio Democratic Party, and the Cleveland Council of World Affairs. She remarked that it's an experience that has proved to be most significant in her time so far at Ohio State University. Majikas was recently promoted from being an intern at the Ohio House of Representatives to a Legislative Page. In this position she handles constituent work, working closely with voters and promoting voting, and she sets up and attends legislative sessions. Additionally, she works with Representatives and performs many tasks they ask of her.

1maya OSU votes ambassador.jpgMajikas is involved in many student organizations and even serves in leadership roles. Most significantly, she is the director of workshops and tables for OSU Votes , a student-led movement to get other students registered to vote. According to The Office of Student Life, "This nonpartisan group fosters civic engagement at The Ohio State University. OSU Votes is committed to providing students with the necessary information and materials needed to vote in every local, state, and federal election." After the election she learned that because of OSU Votes' hard work prior to and during the elections, Ohio State's student voter turnout in 2018 was thirty-three percent, which she said is a hundred percent increase from the student voter turnout than the last midterm election in 2014.

​While sitting beside Mirror Lake is one of Majika's favorite university traditions, she loves her involvement in Student Advocates for Sexual Health Awareness (SASHA), through which she helps to educate students on sexual health in all forms, including STI awareness, gender equality, and body acceptance. Additionally, she's a Glenn College Ambassador where she meets with prospective students to represent the undergraduate programs and answer their questions about Glenn College and life at Ohio State. In the future, keep an eye and ear out for this student ar ound campus discussing our right to vote and why it's important to exercise it, for us and everyone else. Follow @osuvotes on Twitter and Instagram, OSU Votes on Facebook, and @sashaatosu on Facebook to get involved or stay up to date on their initiatives!​

By Audre McDowell, Honors & Scholars Student Writer 

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