Meet the Scholars

2022-2023 Scholars

Photo of Sofia Baris

Sofia Baris (she/her/hers)

Hi there, my name is Sofia Baris! I'm from Shaker Heights, Ohio, which is about 20 minutes from downtown Cleveland, and I'm proud to call myself a Cleveland sports fan! I am currently majoring in Integrated Social Studies Education through Patton College of Education, and I have my wonderful history teachers at Shaker Heights High School to thank for helping me find my passion for teaching and learning.
When I'm not scrolling endlessly through Wikipedia, I can be found in the Women's Studies office as a student assistant, or eating fresh baked challah at the Chabad house (Jewish Student Center), but anyone can entice me into a conversation if it has to do with trivia, a good book, guitars, or anything outdoors!
I'm so grateful to be a part of the new cohort and be a freshly minted Maggie B! This is such a special opportunity and I'm ecstatic to see where this program takes us! Email me at with anything (but new music or Spotify profiles are encouraged)!

Photo of Gwena Ehlers

Gwena Ehlers (she/her/hers)

Hello, my name is Gwena Ehlers! I am a Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major here at Ohio University. I am originally from La Crosse, Wisconsin (yes, like the sport). I am also considering a minor in History and/or Spanish. I am very passionate about empowering women and I am so excited to be a part of this program!
I love to read and paint in my free time. I also love music, pretty much all of it, but especially love songs. Cats are probably my favorite animals, my cat's name is Colette and she lives in my dorm!
Feminism has been my biggest passion since middle school and creating open and safe environments and educating myself and others on the diverseness of our world is very important to me. I hope to work within Non-profits to empower and support people and social-justice movements in my future. 
I am so thankful to have the opportunity to participate in this incredible program and I am so proud to call myself a Margaret Boyd Scholar.

Photo of Claire Shelpman

Claire Shelpman (she/they/any)

Hi! My name is Claire Shelpman, and I am an aviation major at Ohio University. I am from Urbana Ohio, which is about a 2-hour drive from Ohio University.

I chose aviation because of my love of traveling and getting to see the world. I am double-majoring in aviation flight and aviation management, with (hopefully) 3 minors, 2 from aviation and 1 in Spanish.

At home, I spend my time reading, babysitting, volunteering, playing video games, and spending time with my friends and family. I have 2 cats and a dog, and they are all a huge part of my life, and started my love of animals, leading to some of my volunteering activities.

I am part of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, and am honored to be a part of such an amazing group of women! I cannot wait to begin the requirements and activities that being part of this program entails.

Photo of Sierra Bowersock

Sierra Bowersock (she/her/hers)

Hi! My name is Sierra Bowersock and I am from Lancaster, Ohio. I am currently pursuing a psychology major. I am excited and honored to be a part of this program! I am looking forward to all of the exciting and professional opportunities that this program has to offer.

In my free time I like to sew, crochet, read, macrame, and hike. I am very creative and I love making things from scratch. I find making something with your own hands and hard work is very satisfying. I love the outdoors and whenever I can I like to immerse myself in doing outdoor activities. I also am a huge documentary fan. I find past stories and events fascinating.

If anyone needs a friend or wants to talk, my email is I love to make new friends and to talk to new people, so please do not hesitate to reach out.

Photo of Celia Hawk

Celia Hawk (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Celia Hawk and I am an environmental studies major within the Honors Tutorial College here at OU. I currently plan on pursuing a career in environmental law so I am pursuing a minor in biological sciences and a certificate in Law, Justice and Culture. I am passionate about preserving the environment and protecting the public against environmental injustice.

I am involved with the Ohio University Sustainability Ambassadors and often attend events through ACLU and Bobcats Go Green. I love to write music, craft, and go on hikes.

I am so grateful to be a part of the Margaret Boyd Scholars program. I can't wait to learn and grow with all of the scholars in my cohort! Feel free to reach out to me at! :)

Photo of Chloe Fabricante

Chloe Fabricante (she/they)

Hi! My name is Chloe Fabricante and I am from Fairfield, Ohio. I am a first-generation college student and Classical Civilizations major in the College of Arts and Sciences, and pursuing a Philosophy double major with a minor in History. I graduated from Butler Tech’s Veterinary Science Program but fell in love with the humanities upon arriving at Ohio University. I love finding new ways to include my major in extracurricular activities and sharing something I am passionate about with others!
I am a member of the Ohio University Speech and Debate Team and Recruitment Chair for the College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassadors (CASSA). In my free time I can usually be found somewhere on college green, Ping Rec Center, or with friends at Court Street Coffee. 
The community at Ohio University has been my favorite part of school so far and I am thrilled to be a part of an amazing cohort where I can grow and learn with other amazing women! Feel free to reach out anytime at

Photo of Ashlyn Sleesman

Ashlyn Sleesman (she/her/hers)

Hello all!
My name is Ashlyn Sleesman, and I am from Edgerton, Ohio. I am a Political Science major in the Honor’s Program, and I am also pursuing a certificate in Law, Justice, and Culture here at Ohio University. I am involved in the Pre-Law Phi Alpha Delta Fraternity, American Civil Liberties Union Student Group, Ohio Innocence Project University Chapter, H20 Church, and Bridge USA.

Most of my free time is spent with my family, so I’m often found bothering my sisters and playing with my nephews and nieces. I love to book thrift, watch films, taste test new coffees, golf, and practice yoga. If you see me around campus, I’m most likely listening to a podcast about politics, history, finances, or true crime. I am so excited to be apart of the Margaret Boyd Program, and I can not wait to get involved in this community! Please feel welcome to reach out to me at @

Photo of Maeve Fellerhoff

Maeve Fellerhoff (she/her/hers)

Hi! My name is Maeve and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. I am currently studying Studio Art in OU’s Honors Tutorial College and pursuing a concentration in Sculpture & Expanded media as well as a minor in Biological Sciences. I grew up in the woods and am deeply passionate about the outdoors, conservation, and wildlife. I love backpacking and camping and am an amateur birder/wildlife photographer. Additionally, I have a deep love for reading, poetry, and prose and have played flute for over ten years. I’m happiest living in the intersection between the academic and artistic and am super excited to be taking part in the Margaret Boyd program. You can find me laying in my backyard, wiping out on my bike around campus, or by email at-

Photo of Emily Arnold

Emily Arnold (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Emily Arnold, and I am thrilled to be a part of this year's Margaret Boyd Scholars cohort. I major in Exercise Physiology Pre-Physical Therapy in the College of Health Sciences and Professions. 

I grew up in Marietta, Ohio, only forty minutes away from Athens. Because Athens is close by, it feels like a home away from home. I have always been familiar with the positive energy that surrounds Ohio University, and I am excited to have the chance to continue my undergraduate education here. You can find me on the fifth floor of Alden library- (my favorite spot on campus!)

When I am not studying, my hobbies include working out, swimming, hiking, and spending time with friends and family. Ohio University is the perfect place to pursue my studies while enjoying college life! I cannot wait to see what Ohio University has in store for me!

Photo of Isabella Martin

Isabella Martin (she/her/hers)

Hello everyone! My name is Bella, and I am an Athens local. I feel so lucky to have grown up here because it is a very special place with so much to offer. I am currently double majoring in Acting and Communication Studies, and I am also an Ohio Honors Program student. Even though I’ve always felt drawn to the world of film and television and have always dreamed about pursuing acting professionally, I wasn’t very involved with performance when I was growing up; I was geared more towards the outdoors and sports. My family and friends are very adventurous, so I experienced a lot of camping, mountain biking, rock climbing, kayaking- you name it. I was very passionate about soccer. It was a sport that I loved to play, dedicated a lot of time to and found a lot of joy in. In terms of my creative side, I've enjoyed singing and playing the guitar for many years now, and I also like to draw and paint here and there. I am incredibly grateful to have been accepted into the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program. It is a wonderful and empowering program, and I am very excited and optimistic about this opportunity to learn and grow with a group of amazing people. Feel free to contact me anytime!

Photo of Sara Weller

Sara Weller (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Sara Weller, and I’m from Pittsburgh, PA! Here at Ohio, I’m studying Wildlife and Conservation Biology, and currently considering a few different minors including Outdoor Recreation Education. My goal in life is to impact the lives of others in a positive light, and hopefully do that through education.

Growing up I tried almost every sport under the sun, and ended up spending high school engrossed in the different worlds of music. Apart from music, I love attending sporting events, reading, and taking walks with my dog. 

I am so excited to be at Ohio! I was drawn in by the beautiful campus, and all the wonderful faculty that are ready to help students. Currently, you can find me on campus with either TriBeta Biological Honors Society, CASSA (College of Arts and Sciences Student Ambassadors), or wandering around with my wonderful friends. My favorite study spot is anywhere outside on a nice day, or a cozy corner of Alden! 

Along with everything else at Ohio, I am elated to join the Margaret Boyd Scholars. This program is filled with empowered, intelligent, diverse women, and I am honored to be a part of the story. I am excited to watch the growth of myself and my fellow scholars over the coming years!

Photo of Taylor Payne

Taylor Payne (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Taylor Payne, and I'm from just outside of Columbus, Ohio. I am currently undecided within the College of Arts and Sciences, but I am interested in pursuing a degree in relation to Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. I’m extremely honored to be involved in this program!

Some of my hobbies include thrifting, vintage shopping, reading, and baking! I really love collecting unique pieces of clothing and jewelry, as well as doing new and fun makeup looks when I have time! I also love all types of music, and I played the flute all throughout high school. I’m extremely passionate about social justice, as well as becoming a more thoughtful and engaged citizen. I hope to continue to pursue activism work throughout my time at OU, as well as once I graduate.

I am very excited to experience this program this year, alongside other young women who have the same passion for creating a difference in our world! Feel free to contact me at to chat!

Photo of Annika Lindsey

Annika Lindsey (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Annika Lindsey, and I am from Zanesville, Ohio. I am majoring in history through the Honors Tutorial College and am also currently pursuing a certificate in Law, Justice, and Culture. I have always enjoyed learning about history, so I am very excited to be able to research it further! I fell in love with the beauty of this campus and enjoyed the community I found myself a part of during my time here. My older sister also attends OU, which definitely contributed to my choice to attend school here. 

In my free time, I enjoy drawing, painting, running, reading, and swimming. Aside from the Margaret Boyd Scholar Program, I am also a part of the ACLU and participate in swim club!

I am super excited to be a part of this program! I look forward to getting to know all the wonderful people within this program and engaging myself within the community the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program is providing us with!

Photo of Emersyn Wolfe

Emersyn Wolfe (she/her/hers)

Hi! my name is Emersyn Wolfe and I am from Cleveland OH. I'm majoring in sociology pre law and I am especially interested in civil rights law. I hope to attend law school after my undergrad. Outside of academics, I am the Women's affairs senator for Student Senate and apart of Phi Alpha Delta Pre Law Fraternity. I also love to do yoga at ping with my roommate and hanging out with friends is my favorite thing in the world! Honorable mention is my little pug looking dog named Pinky.

I knew I've always wanted to go to OU since the day my mom and I dropped my big brother off here for his freshman year in 2019. Both my parents went to OU as well so it feels like hOUme to me!

Photo of Syd Casterline

Syd Casterline (she/her/hers)

Hi! I’m Syd, I’m from the Columbus area and I’m studying Nursing with a minor in Psychology and certificate in Woman and Gender Social Studies while in the Honors program. The plan right now is to get my masters to be a midwife, after being a labor and delivery nurse, helping women bring in the generations of the future!

My interests include theater, I could talk for hours about musicals and plays, and have performed in a few myself! I love painting (only with the numbers haha!) and my cat Cleo who is also a bobcat and my biggest support! I also love advocating for people and serving as an aide to those around me, as I love psychology in every way and helping people is my source of happiness.

I am so honored to not only be a part of the 2022 Margaret Boyd Scholars cohort, but to also be the first nursing student of the program! I am blessed to be around such a wonderful group who supports me through thick and thin!!

Photo of Alana Mitchell

Alana Mitchell (she/her/hers)

Hi, my name is Alana Mitchell! I am from Mansfield Ohio, where I graduated from Mansfield Saint Peter’s high school with honors. At Ohio University, I am an economics major in the College of Arts and Sciences. I am also pursuing a certificate in wealth and poverty.

I have many interests that fill my time when I am not focused on my academics. I really value community service. While in high school, I was secretary of the Key Club and orchestrated many service projects. I also enjoy watching documentaries. My love of documentaries stems from my love for learning new and interesting things. Having been a part of varsity high school athletics, I have become a big sports fan.

I am incredibly grateful and excited to be a part of this program and the connections it will bring me! If you ever want to chat about service opportunities, documentaries, go for a walk, or simply be friends, feel free to reach out.

Photo of Molly Murphy

Molly Murphy (they/them)

Hello! My name is Molly Murphy and I was raised in Cameron, West Virginia before moving to St. Clairsville Ohio where I graduated high school. I am a Wildlife and Conservation 
Biology major and hope to work in wildlife rehabilitation in the future. My earliest memories are with animals so I knew right away that Ohio University was a perfect fit for me. 

Outside of class I love spending time with my chickens and my dog, Pongo. I also like to hike, read, collect shiny rocks, sew, and spend time with my friends. Pretty much any outdoor activity is right up my alley. I come from a pretty big family with five sisters and one brother so if I’m ever out of Athens you can find me spending time with my family at home. 

Words can’t express how grateful and lucky I am to be a part of the Margaret Boyd Scholar Program and I can’t wait for the years to come!

Photo of Kylee Raye Pitts

Kylee Raye Pitts (she/her/hers)

My name is Kylee, and I am a first year English- Creative Writing major here at Ohio University! I am from Columbus, Ohio and I have eleven siblings, one of which is my twin sister Kaylie. Some of my interests are hiking, reading, and traveling! I love hiking through the woods in my hometown. My favorite genre of book is dystopian and science fiction because I enjoy being submerged in unique, alternate worlds. So far, my favorite places to travel to are Houston, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina and Orlando, Florida. I would like to one day travel outside of the country. The top two places I want to visit are Tokyo, Japan and Cape Town, South Africa. In regards to the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, I am most excited about expanding on my leadership skills, giving back to my community, and learning about, while also celebrating, prominent women in history!

Photo of Mariko Cooper

Mariko Cooper (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Mariko Cooper, and I grew up 80 miles northwest of Athens in Grove City, Ohio. I was very fortunate to have several choices of universities to continue my education, but upon my first visit, I absolutely fell in love with Athens and knew that Ohio University was where I was meant to be. I am majoring in Biological Science Pre-Professional and minoring in Japanese. Beyond undergrad, I plan to go to medical school and pursue a career in plastic surgery where I can assist people as they make decisions for themselves that provide both physical and mental benefits. 
Someday I hope to be able to travel and see the world, while at Ohio University I do plan on at some point studying abroad, likely visiting Japan due to my minor as well as family. Whenever I find time for myself, I love to snowboard, read, attend festivals, and listen to heavy metal music, which often coincides with the aforementioned activities. I love to treat myself to an occasional matcha run and Bagel Street Deli. I have already been able to make so many new and fantastic memories with my family and friends here in Athens and look forward to many more!
I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to be part of the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program and excited to learn and grow alongside this outstanding group of women. Please feel free to reach out to me at

Photo of Courtney Ruffin

Courtney Ruffin (she/her/hers)

Hello! My name is Courtney Ruffin. I was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in Bowling Green, Ohio. I attended Bowling Green High School and Penta Career Center. The latter was a trade school where I obtained my cosmetology license. I am an engineering student majoring in Aviation Flight with a minor in Aviation Management. I am a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and Women in Engineering; I hope to be involved in more organizations. I am so excited to be in the program and the relationships I will build through it. I am passionate about minorities being able to advocate for themselves and having the resources to do so. When I'm not doing schoolwork, I enjoy anything involving hair, skin, nails, and reading. If you see me around campus, feel free to say hi or start a conversation. I would love to talk to you!