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Students standing in the shape of 2022 at Peden Stadium
Celebrating OHIO's Class of 2022

Spring 2022 Student Features

Spring 2022 Student Features

Congrats, grads! 

Ohio University students are passionate, intelligent and driven. It's no wonder our alumni make a difference around the world.

Sydney Borsellino  

Sydney Borsellino

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Winter Garden, Florida 

Minor: Psychology

Certificate: Law, Justice, and Culture

What are your next steps or plans for the future? 

I will be attending the University of Chicago for a MA in Social Sciences, with a focus on sociology. During my time there, I will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Linda Waite, a leading scholar in the area of sociology of family! I couldn’t be more excited, and want to give a sincerely huge thank you to the Sociology Department and Honors Tutorial College here at OU, especially Dr. Amanda Cox. None of this would be possible without your constant support, guidance, and mentorship! You are truly the best!

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”? 

After one of my first tutorials with Professor Roberta Roberson, my tutorial professor for Introduction to Sociology. We talked well over the hour we were supposed to about sociology, going beyond the text and PowerPoint, and I remember just thinking, yes, this is exactly where I’m meant to be. OHIO, HTC, Sociology – all of it clicked for me! 

Why did you choose OHIO?  

One of the biggest reasons I joined is that my mom, Michele Teny-Borsellino, is a proud Bobcat – class of 1989. She has been my role model all my life, and getting to share Ohio University with her as a soon-to-be alum is really a dream come true. The Honors Tutorial College was the other major draw for me to OU – there isn’t a program like it in the world other than Oxford University. Getting to engage in the tutorial learning style, one-on-one with a professor, and complete an academic thesis as an undergraduate, is something few people are able to do, and HTC has allowed me to do this and more! HTC has been an experience I will cherish forever, and I know without a doubt I would not be where I am today without the amazing support and opportunities the College has provided me with!

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

This will shock no one who knows me, but my favorite professors during my time at OU, who have also been my biggest supporters since I met them have been Dr. Amanda Cox, Professor Becca Collins, Professor Roberta Roberson, and my Director of Studies, Dr. Howard “Ted” Welser, and Dr. Thomas Vander Ven. I know the list is long, but I truly want you each to know how much you’ve changed my life. I can’t put into words the impact each one of you has had on my life – you helped me to see that sociology and academia was my true passion, were there for me throughout my most difficult times, and have become family to me here at OU. I wish I could take you all in my suitcase with me to Chicago! You’ve all changed my life for the absolute best, and I will forever be grateful to you.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path? 

The hardest hill I had to climb (aside from Jeff Hill – you will NOT be missed) was losing my father in February 2020, right before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. It’s the kind of thing you hope will absolutely never happen to you, especially while being only 19 years old. Being so far from home I remember feeling so worried coming back to OU after the funeral, but was surprised with a care basket from my professors, along with a card signed by all of them which I always look at whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed. It was that moment when I realized I really did have family no matter how far from home I was, and their continued support is the reason I am where I am today! 

What are your favorite OHIO memories? 

I’ll never forget how much fun I had during my first homecoming at OU, when my mom was able to attend for the first time as an alumna. Going to the parade, football game, and uptown with my mom and friends (aka all my favorite Bobcats) was just the absolute best. And each homecoming was better than the last! If it wasn’t already abundantly clear, getting to share my favorite place/school with my favorite person, my mom, has just been an absolute joy. I can’t wait to be fellow alumnae and attend our first homecoming as alumni together!

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss? 

Without a doubt, all of homecoming week. It’s the most wonderful time of year!! It’s what sets apart OHIO from the rest and is an absolute must-do.

Natalia Burke Garcia  

Natalia Burke Garcia

Major: Specialized Studies (Area of focus: Experiential Design)

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

Right now, I am working as a Project Coordinator Intern at Jack Rouse Associates – Part of RWS Entertainment Group. JRA is an Experiential Design company in Cincinnati, Ohio that designs theme parks, museums, and other themed experiences. I plan to continue to work at JRA after graduation and then one day, I hope to move to Orlando to further pursue my passions in themed entertainment and experience design!

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My ah-ha moment at OHIO was when my Bachelor of Specialized Studies proposal to study Experience Design finally got approved by the OHIO faculty board. I knew I wanted to design theme parks and tell immersive stories ever since I was a kid. However, trying to convince my peers, family, and the entire OHIO BSS faculty board that designing my own degree would grant me valuable skills and lead me to a successful career was incredibly challenging. So, when I finally got my proposal approved and declared my BSS degree (with an area of focus in Experiential Design), it felt as though all my hard work had paid off. Finally, people were understanding how important Experience Design is and seeing me as a seriously devoted student!

After my proposal got approved, it felt as though everything started falling into place. Shortly after I declared my major, I got a scholarship to travel to Florida through OHIO’s Storytelling in Theme Parks Global Opportunities Program. This class is where I met some of my best friends and it gifted me with a community of supportive people who were as passionate about theme park design as I was. While this was happening, I was also able to land my dream internship at JRA which would count for 15 credit hours.

Overall, getting my degree approved was my “I’ve got this!” moment because it was the first real taste of success which led to so many great opportunities. It was such a rewarding feeling and it reassured me that I could accomplish anything I set my mind to!

Why did you choose OHIO?: 

I never imagined myself going to Ohio University. My dreams were always to attend an out-of-state design school to study theme park design, but I ended up getting an amazing scholarship offer through the OHIO Office of Multicultural Success and Retention.

Once I got to OHIO, I saw that the professors here were so supportive and excited about my career aspirations. My perspective of OHIO immediately changed when I recognized that I could still pursue my passions at an affordable cost and be able to design my own degree through the BSS program. I will never forget the feeling of having so many amazing professors/mentors supporting me and validating my dreams. OHIO provided me with such a strong network of people, and I ended up absolutely loving my college experience! I was able to stay close to home, save money, live on a beautiful campus, and follow my dreams by forging my own academic path. Looking back, I can’t imagine going to college anywhere else!

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

Julie Cohara was the best academic advisor I could have asked for, as she believed my dreams full-heartedly and helped me develop my detailed curriculum plan/proposal to present to the faculty board.

Beth Novak was my favorite professor at Ohio University, and she taught me so much about Experiential Design and the world of Themed Entertainment. I absolutely loved the Storytelling and Theme Parks class that she and Professor John Bowditch taught. She introduced me to so many of my closest friends and was such an incredible mentor during my senior year. I will forever be grateful for all the fun memories I have with her and the valuable skills she taught me.

In addition to that, I am very grateful for Paul Benedict. Paul introduced me to the world of business, management, and entrepreneurship. He was always so encouraging when it came to my career aspirations. He pushed me to not only see myself as a creative individual but as a businesswoman as well. I am grateful for the experiences I’ve gained through him such as getting the opportunity to be a board member on the Bobcat Seed Fund (OU’s Investment Committee), and the independent study we did together.

Lastly, I am very grateful for Dr. Marlene De La Cruz-Guzmán who believed in me as a Latina student and helped me during the hard transition year that is one’s freshman year of college. She helped me believe in myself and constantly encouraged me to be proud of my Hispanic roots.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path? 

As cheesy as it sounds, believing in myself was the hardest hill I had to climb at OHIO. Having to convince everyone around me that I would be successful was challenging enough, but the hardest challenge was convincing myself that I had the drive and capability to design my own major, land a prestigious internship, and be capable of anything I set my mind to. Although there are people who still question my success, I have developed an incredibly powerful sense of self during my college experience. I am proud of the confidence I’ve gained, and I’m grateful that I have such a strong community of people at OU who have my back and believe in me.

What are your favorite OHIO memories? 

My favorite OHIO memories are all the little things that I got to experience with my friends. Some examples include eating lunch at the dining halls, having movie nights in the dorms, hammocking at Strouds Run in the summer, taking hikes at the Ridges, and going out for karaoke nights on Wednesdays! I also will never forget getting to travel to New York for the LATINX Leadership Conference as an OHIO student representative, and getting to study theme park design at Disney World and Universal Studios through OHIO’s Global Opportunities program.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss? 

The one piece of advice that I’d give a new OHIO Student is that during your college experience, you will find out who you are as a person through your social experiences. The biggest lessons I’ve learned at college were all outside of a classroom! I would encourage new students to participate in as many clubs, organizations, and events as possible. A great event to attend is the annual OHIO Student Expo to see what other students are passionate about! Overall, I’d tell new students to not miss out on social events at OU and to value the small experiences and moments you have with your friends as much as possible.

Paige Campbell 

Paige Campbell

Major: Dance, Performance & Choreography

Paige comes from Cleveland, Ohio and will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, a minor in business administration, and a social media certificate.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My ah-ha moment while I've been at OHIO was right after my mom left after moving me into my dorm freshman year. I knew that coming into a new community was going to be a challenge within itself but knowing how independent I am and how determined I was to make the most out of my time here, I just knew that this was going to be an incredible chapter of my life. I knew that this was the time of my life when I had to take advantage of every opportunity that presented itself to make the most out of my college experience and my education, and I think at this point I can successfully say that's what I did. 

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I mainly chose OHIO because of how I felt the first time that I visited. I absolutely loved the feeling of the traditional college town that OHIO has, but at the same time, I simply felt like I was at home. The School of Dance provided so many opportunities to come and take classes and tour the department before coming here, which made the transition so much smoother. I also had a moment when I came for my audition that made me realize how much of a family the dance department is.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb?

The hardest hill that I had to climb was navigating being a dance major online. I know that there were a lot of majors where it was difficult to learn online but dancing at home was a whole different experience. I think I got through it through a level of creativity that I didn't know was in me by really taking advantage of this learning curve and seeing how much I could dive into at-home learning and dancing. This gave me a whole new view on dance and education and getting back into person full time showed me how much of a new perspective on dance I gained throughout online learning. 

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

The majority of my favorite memories have been with my best friends, most of whom are dance majors. A lot of the best times that I have had have been moments that were completely unplanned but so incredible.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Never say “no” to an opportunity. I have learned so much throughout my time here at OHIO, and there is so much I could have missed out on if I might have said “no” to an opportunity. I've met so many incredible people because of this, and truly had the college career of my dreams because I continuously said “yes!”

Kayla Combs 

Kayla Combs

Major: Nursing

After graduating and passing her NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination), Kayla will be working as a Labor and Delivery nurse at Genesis Hospital in her hometown, Zanesville, Ohio.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

When I passed the hardest semesters of nursing school while having other stressors along the way, I knew I would make it to the end.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

One of the main reasons I chose Ohio University Zanesville was that it was close to home. Also, when I was a senior in high school I went to OUZ’s open house for nursing. I specifically remember talking to two professors about my interest in pediatrics and maternal nursing. They were so encouraging and easy to talk to. At that point I knew I wanted to go there for nursing.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

I loved all of the nursing faculty at Ohio University Zanesville. Some of my favorites would have to be Dr. Vickers and Dr. Dowell, they were the two professors I talked with at the open house as a senior in high school. They were so encouraging and always easy to approach. One of my other favorite professors retired and that was Dr. Dodson, my anatomy and physiology professor who brought us many laughs as well as a valuable education. There was never a dull moment while in her classroom.   

What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path? 

The hardest hill that I had to climb was my junior year. Junior year in the nursing program is filled with the most credit hours and undoubtedly the hardest. My fiancé was also deployed at this time so there were a lot of stressors that were thrown my way throughout that year. I overcame it with the help of some wonderful friends I met through nursing school. They were always there to listen and make me laugh when I needed it most.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Some of my favorite memories would include spring fest and fall fest.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Don’t miss out on the opportunities. Talk to people. I have made so many close friends throughout these last four years. Making connections with classmates and professors will help you in the long run. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there or do something outside of your comfort zone. Join a group, talk to someone new, or get more involved within the school.

Brandon DeLorenzo 

Brandon DeLorenzo

Major: Sport Management and Marketing

Certificate: Sales

Hometown: Blacksburg, Virginia

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

After having interned at a couple of marketing agencies, I quickly realized the power that sports hold and the influence that brands can have to create unique and special activations that fans will remember for the rest of their lives. I plan to pursue a career at a sports marketing agency, where I hope to help brands determine how to invest in and around sports.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

I would say my ah-ha moment was the first time I met with a prospective student as a member of the College of Business’s ambassador team. As someone that had a difficult transition to college, being able to get to the point that I had enough pride and love for OU that I wanted to meet with potential future students was a really awesome feeling.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I chose OHIO because I was impressed by the genuineness and passion of students who I met while visiting the university. It never felt like they were trying to sell me on the school, but instead, it was just genuine passion and excitement about OU that they wanted to share with other people. I also absolutely fell in love with the campus, and as someone who grew up in a smaller college town myself, it felt like I was stepping into my home when I came to Athens.    

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

Annie Valeant is one of the greatest assets to Ohio University and the College of Business in particular. She was always willing to connect me with alumni and sent job and internship opportunities to me that she thought I might be interested in. She was always available to chat or grab a coffee if I was struggling and that willingness to support students both personally and professionally meant a lot.

Another great professor I had was Katie Thomson. Similar to Annie, she had such a transparent passion for working with students and was not only a great professor but also a great advisor and advocate for me. I also had the pleasure of working with her for one of my on-campus jobs and she did so much to help me realize what I value in office culture and how to be an empowering leader. 

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

The biggest challenge I faced during my time at OHIO was acclimating to college. To be honest, I thought shifting from high school to college was going to be easy and I quickly learned it wasn’t. Being on my own in a new state with very few people I knew was difficult. But I kept my head up as best I could, tried to keep the end goal in mind, and took advantage of the resources that the university makes available to its students. I would say more generally when I was faced with obstacles or challenges, I would lean into my support network. Whether that be fellow students, professors, or advisors, OHIO has an incredibly strong and incredibly supportive network in place.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

There are far too many to choose from! I would say one of my favorites was time spent sitting and reading on College Green. I’ve spent countless hours sprawled out on a blanket on College Green reading, studying, or chatting with friends. Another favorite is going to OU basketball games, particularly this season. The energy in the Convo is electric and cheering on the team with our fellow Bobcats is a great time.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Take a day trip to Hocking Hills! I love the outdoors and hiking in particular. Having such a beautiful place to explore is something you can’t miss. It is gorgeous there and is a great way to spend the day.

Daniel Dunfee  

Daniel Ryan Dunfee

Major: Honors Tutorial College Geological Sciences and Spanish

Hometown: Racine, Ohio

Minor: Paleontology

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

My next steps once I graduate involve a summer internship with the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute, where I'll help lead expedition members in excavating and preserving dinosaur fossils from the Late Jurassic! I'll be in Red Lodge, Montana, for about eight weeks, and then I'll come home to Ohio. After that, the plan is to find an interim job, apply to graduate school, and marry my fianceé next May.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

I've had a couple moments like that. I think one of my first was during my sophomore year in mineralogy class when I realized I had hit a really good stride in how I was preparing for and enjoying one of the hardest classes in the department. The next came later that year in petrology class on the field trip to Burnsville, North Carolina. I remember being out in the field looking at some of the rocks and synthesizing all of the processes that produced those rocks into one complex story, from beginning to end. More recently though, I was writing the acknowledgments for my senior thesis, and it hit me that I was almost done.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

 I'll be honest, for a kid from a working poor family from the poorest county in the state (I don't believe Athens County is the poorest, not for a second), a lot had to do with the financial aid package that Ohio University offered me. I knew long before I graduated high school that I'd have to earn my way through scholarships, and I was fortunate enough to be offered a substantial aid package. Only in hindsight did I realize how much of an opportunity I had stumbled into. The geology department here is stellar, if chronically understaffed, and my faculty advisors always did their best to work with me to resolve any issues I had throughout my time at OU. As a bonus, I was able to work in WitmerLab, one of the top paleontological research labs in the world, something I never knew existed here in Athens. The opportunities I've had here have really changed my life.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

I have two favorite professors that have had a tremendous impact on my life and career. One of them is my DOS, Dr. Keith Milam, and the other is my thesis advisor, Dr. Larry Witmer. Dr. Milam originally recruited me from his mineralogy class for the HTC, and has both inspired and challenged me to always do the best I can in the time I have. I see a lot of myself in him, and he has said the same of me. He put me in touch with Dr. Witmer, and has always had my back, no matter the issue at hand. Dr. Witmer has had an equally profound impact on my life. Without his guidance and training, I would not be where I am today. His experience and accumulated wisdom about science and the field of paleontology has been invaluable, and I've done my best to learn as much as I can from him and the other WitmerLab members.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

The hardest hill I had to climb at OHIO was the cultural transition from a small, relatively homogenous hometown to a larger, heterogeneous university town, and more recently all the pandemic-related changes. Aside from the fairly standard cultural shift that broadens your own horizons, the pandemic really impacted my time at OU. I was on a semester abroad in Spain when the pandemic hit, and that was one of the wildest weekends in my life. I'll skip the odyssey home story for now, but once I got home and after having been quarantined for two weeks, I moved in with my grandma and my parents. She was in poor health, at extremely high risk for Covid, and needed almost constant care. So, for the next nine months I became a part-time caregiver and a part-time student while I stayed at her house, worked on my senior thesis, and did classwork remotely. The summer and fall of 2020 are a blur in my mind, but I do have fond memories of walking my dog through the farm's fields and onto the hilltop beside her house, of just watching grandma and talking with her in her chair, and in general spending time with family. When the election came around, I disagreed vociferously with my parents about politics, and that strained some relations there. Partially because of that and partially because OU policy said I had to come back, I went back to the dorms for a virtual semester in the spring of 2021. I moved myself in and out that year, and learned that I could do a lot of things relatively independently. I also realized then that I had pretty nasty school-related anxiety that was only heightened by the pandemic. So, I took advantage of the mental health resources offered to HTC students, and while I'm not 100% back to normal, I'm a lot better than I was before. That covers the worst of the hills I've had to climb here at OU, and in my personal opinion, they've been a lot steeper than Jeff Hill.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Some of my favorite OU memories weren't made at OU at all, but in Toledo, Spain during my semester abroad there. I made some lifelong friends there and had dozens of adventures exploring the old part of the city. I would wander the maze of streets in the oldest part of Toledo for fun and to practice my Spanish, and ended up making some memories that could have come straight out of the Lord of the Rings. Some of my other favorite memories involve a hobby of mine called Humans versus Zombies. It's a campus-wide game of zombie tag with Nerf blasters where humans complete various missions and try to survive the "zombie apocalypse" by avoiding a tag from zombie players and stunning them with Nerf darts or sock bombs. It's a very fun time for those who play, but you have to get over your inhibitions about looking a little crazy while you play.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

I'd tell a new OU student not to miss out on having a life while you're here. That's something I've really had to struggle with over the past year or so, namely finding a balance between my personal life and my academic one. Knowing how to find that balance will be crucial to enjoying their time here to the fullest.

Isa Herrera  

Isa Herrera

Major: Industrial and Systems Engineering

Minor: Spanish

Certificates: Lean and Six Sigma

What are your next steps or plans for the future? 

This summer I will be joining Accenture-Blue Horseshoe as a part of their Consulting Development Program as a Consulting Analyst in Westerville, Ohio.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

Making Dean’s List my freshman year was a good reinforcement that I could handle engineering. Coming into college as a straight-A high school student I had mentally prepared myself that I would not get all As in college and that was okay, but making Dean's List my first year gave me a big confidence boost to keep going.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

My older brother was a bobcat and I fell in love with the city and campus while I was in high school. OU is one of the few schools in the state with an Industrial Engineering program which made it an easy decision for me.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

Dr. Masel has been my favorite and most impactful professor I have ever had since my first week on campus. He found out the day before classes started, I had some schedule issues, and he took it into his hands and rearranged my schedule so I wouldn’t immediately fall behind. Over the years he was my professor, department chair, advisor, learning community professor, student org faculty advisor, and someone I felt confident in coming to talk to whenever I was struggling.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

When Covid first hit I was studying abroad in Spain and was sent home early. From there I moved back to Athens finding it a completely new place than when I had left. Between the study abroad and Covid restrictions, I didn’t set foot in an OHIO building for 20 months. It made me feel so disconnected from my community despite living in Athens. What kept me going was my community within my major, the friends I had made that returned from my study abroad with me, and my Learning Community students. I had to do my best to show my first-year students how great Athens could be, even if they were not able to have their traditional first-year experience. My relationships with those three groups were made stronger during that year and coming back as a senior we were closer than we had been before.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

All the family weekends, Taco Tuesdays at El Tenampa with my roommate, and all the “study sessions” at the ARC that were very little studying and a lot of laughs

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

The Homecoming parade and the cherry blossoms in the Spring!

Brittany Huffman 

Brittany Huffman

Major: Childhood education

Hometown: Nashport, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

My next step is to secure a teaching job at a middle school near me, get married in September, and buy a house as soon as possible!

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My ah-ha moment occurred during the first few days of student teaching when I was certain I had chosen the right career for me. I felt very comfortable and natural being in the front of the classroom and loved every bit of it!

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I chose OHIO because it’s regional campuses offered a close to home affordable option for me to pursue my passion.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

My favorite professors from OHIO were definitely Professor Chris Trost and Dr. Jason Rawls. They provided me with so much valuable information and tips about the real world of teaching that it inspired me to continue growing as a teacher.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb?

The hardest hill I had to climb at OHIO was due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Completing a lot of my field hours in a virtual setting was a significant challenge. I overcame this challenge by trying my best to stay motivated and remind myself of the reason why I began my journey in teaching and that there were better days ahead.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite OHIO memories are meeting and spending time studying with my best friend between classes. We had never met before coming to OHIO Zanesville and now we are in each other’s weddings in just a few short months.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

I would tell new students to not miss out on any opportunities to get more involved in the campus. Even at the regional campuses, this makes a huge difference in the time you spend there!

Robert L Hunt III  

Robert L. Hunt III

Major: Nursing

Ironton, Ohio resident Robert Hunt III completed his coursework at Ohio University Southern and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a minor in biology and a diabetes certificate. 

What are your next steps or plans for the future:

Obtain a nursing position in a critical care setting with a hospital in the Tri-State area.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this! ”?

After my first pharmacology exam first semester. I think I got a high A and I felt that if I just keep it up, I would be just fine. 

Why did you choose OHIO?

Ohio University offered the highest quality of nursing education at an economical cost and the quickest path to obtain a nursing degree and RN credentials.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

I am a product of each professor, clinical instructor/lab instructor, and preceptor that I have gotten to study and practice under.  Everyone that I’ve encountered throughout the program was able to teach me something new and enhance my skills in a variety of ways. I am forever grateful!

What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

I think the hardest part was losing friendships and great nurses from the program for academic reasons. There were special bonds formed in this group that I feel will last after graduation.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Two, specific examples stand out in my mind. The first involved a pair of blue silicone lungs that managed to stick high on the wall in our classroom for a few weeks; the better part, of course, were the attempts to rescue them. Secondly, during our maternity/pediatrics course, we were discussing birthing physiology and structural changes to the cervix during labor. Needless to say:

Ping pong balls + balloons = quite the birth education experience 

This was a great time!

What advice would you give other OHIO students

A bit of testing advice:

  • Get a good night's rest before exams
  • Don't oversleep (LOL!)
  • Find some type of physical outlet e.g. resistance training, running, home calisthenics, etc.
  • Don’t forget to breathe; nursing takes time to develop critical thinking skills
  • Learn to answer the question being asked, not the answer you wish it to be.

Mackenzie Lowe  

Mackenzie Lowe

Major: Specialized Studies with an area of focus in agricultural studies, youth development, and community engagement

Certificate: Diversity Studies 

Hometown: Athens, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

After graduation, I will be finishing my job as the Summer Camp Program Director for Beacon School and as a Floor Manager at Kindred Market. After that, I plan to pursue a career in youth development and hope to work with unique and diverse individuals.

What was your ah-ha moment at Ohio University—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

After changing my major to specialized studies, I finally felt that I hit my groove. Before, I wasn’t sure if college was for me. But after working with my advisor and creating a personalized degree that highlighted my interests, OHIO became home.

Why did you choose Ohio University? 

I grew up in Athens and when I decided to transfer from my old university, I decided I wanted to fall more in love with my community. I feel very lucky to have experienced Athens as a child, adult, and as an Ohio University student.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

Though she wasn’t my professor, my advisor Julie Cohara impacted my life here at OHIO. Julie was always patient with all of my questions and is incredibly knowledgeable. Her unwavering compassion always calmed my nerves as I navigated the program.

Jennine Mick (assistant Professor of instruction in the Department of Social and Public Health) also made an impact on my life. After each of her classes, I felt excited for more education. She also radiates kindness to each of her students.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

COVID brought a unique challenge to each student at OHIO. I had to take a semester off for my mental health. I was able to come back prepared and refreshed because of my support system of family, friends, advisors, and professors. Lean on your community!

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Every homecoming! I’ve never felt more like a Bobcat than dancing on Court Street while the Marching 110 Alumni marches by.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Get involved in the Athens community! There is so much more to Athens than Court Street. Take a hike at Strouds Run, check out the Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, or grab a drink at Eclipse in The Plains. Pour your love into Athens, and Athens will love you right back.

 

Alexandria Madry 

Alexandria Madry

Major: Nursing

Alexandria Madry came to Ohio University from Dublin, Ohio and will graduate with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Diabetes Certificate. 

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

To work in an ICU for a couple of years and then go to Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA) school.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

When I took my first nursing exam, I was so nervous! I was in awe when I saw my grade and I had passed my exam with flying colors! It was at that moment that I knew I would get through nursing school successfully.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I am a first-generation college student. My parents did not go to college and even though my sisters did attend, they did not leave home. OHIO was not my first choice to begin with since it wasn’t the closest to home, but once I visited, I couldn’t say no. Ohio University immediately jumped to the top of my list. I loved the atmosphere and the professors.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

My favorite professor is Dr. Terri Hood-Brown because she always supports her students and is very relatable. She is one of the advisors for the Multicultural Student Nurses Association and has really helped support minority students in the School of Nursing. My favorite clinical instructor is Jennifer Saunders. She is very knowledgeable, great at explaining things, and is one of the best nurses I have ever met!

Dr. McAvoy was one of the main reasons I came to Ohio University. She was the speaker at the OHIO Up-Close tour my family attended. She demonstrated her passion for helping students. Throughout my college career, she has been a mentor and leader who has absolutely left an impact on my life. She even recommended that I apply for the full-time position that I am going into after graduation.

Every time I have had Dr. Sperry in class, it was a fun time. He teaches with enthusiasm, humor, and personality. He really wants to connect with his students inside and outside of class. I don’t think I would have been as involved as I am without his help and support.

Blake Regan is a great math professor, but an even greater person. I remember my first class ever at OHIO was with Blake. He burst into the door wearing shorts, a tattered shirt, and a hat; I immediately knew I would love his class. Blake wants you to learn. He wants you not only to learn math but to develop that engineering mindset that you will use for the rest of your career. His classroom is unique, with a hands-on approach. Even though I haven’t had him in class for three years, he still says hi when I see him around.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

The hardest hill I had to climb online learning. I had started my first year of the program in person, so it was a very difficult adjustment. I was able to overcome this by making sure that I had a designated study area and making myself a schedule to stick to.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite OHIO memory has been creating my own organization on campus. It is always my goal to leave things better than I found them. The Multicultural Student Nurses Association has helped make minority nursing students feel connected and interact with faculty in an informal setting.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Make sure that you explore Ohio University for all that it offers! There are a lot of resources and people that are willing to help you. Never hesitate to ask for help!

Read more about Alexandria

Rachel Pratt  

Rachel Pratt

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Chesapeake, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

I have accepted a job in the Surgical Vascular Care Unit at Southern Ohio Medical Center, and plan to further my education when the timing is right. I am very interested in women’s health as well as mental health, so I am curious to see if I will proceed in those fields in the future!

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My “ah-ha” moment at OHIO Southern was during my senior year. I started to realize that everything I had learned was finally starting to fall into place. Everything started to make more sense, and I feel confident that I will succeed in my career!

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I chose OHIO for many reasons. A big reason was how affordable it is. I will be graduating debt-free. Another advantage I saw was being able to stay close to my family and friends, who showed to be a great support system during these past few years.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

My favorite professors were Dana Scott and Michelle Theiss. They really made it known how important it was to them that we were learning and comprehending the information they taught. They were so willing to help and ask what they could do better in order for us to succeed. I would also like to mention Aaron Butler, one of our clinical instructors, who is both intelligent and extremely personable. I am so glad that I will have the opportunity to work alongside him at Southern Ohio Medical Center!

What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

My father passed away at the end of my first semester in college. It was a very difficult time, but as time went on, I proceeded. I had the major support of my partner, family, and friends. Another thing that got me through was knowing how proud he would be of my resilience and hard work as he was always so invested in my education.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite OHIO memory would be my experience as a whole. I have had such a great experience at OHIO Southern, and would do it all again!

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Don’t miss out on your summer break! These next few summers will be the last ones that you won’t have to worry about having a full-time job (in most cases). I tried to make the most out of my last summer break, as I knew it would be my last, and I am glad that I did!

Lauren Pyle  

Lauren Pyle

Major: Social Work

Lauren Pyle is from Bethesda, Ohio and has taken her courses at Ohio University Eastern. She plans to pursue credentials as a Licensed Social Worker and further her education by pursuing a master's degree in special education at OHIO. 

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My ah-ha moment at Ohio University was being able to navigate and complete my classes while being fully online for an entire year. I did this while maintaining my high grade point average throughout.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I had already taken several classes through College Credit Plus while in high school which made the transition to college much smoother. This led me to choose Ohio University Eastern because I liked the small classroom sizes and close interactions with my instructors.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

The social work professors at Ohio University Eastern are experienced professionals both in practice and in educating future social workers. They were very supportive throughout my time at OHIO Eastern.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

Transitioning from face-to-face classes to fully online was a challenge. Not having the in-person contact with classmates and professors was difficult, but with the help of my instructors and advisor, I was able to be successful.

Emma Rice  

Emma Rice

Major: Physics

Minor: Math

Hometown: Marysville, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

I will be attending the Nuclear Engineering doctoral program at UC Berkeley this fall.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

This happened to me this semester when I was on a trip to Chicago for an experiment at Argonne National Lab. I was talking to our collaborators--grad students, postdocs, staff scientists, and faculty from the US, the UK, South Africa, and Italy--and I realized I could understand and contribute to the conversation about the physics we were doing, even though I was the most junior member of the group. It was very exciting that my years of taking classes and doing research meant something more than a piece of paper.

Why did you choose OHIO?

I chose Ohio University because of the Honors Tutorial College. I was very excited to have one-on-one physics courses with faculty members and to do a senior thesis. I was well suited to the tutorial style of learning and I am a better physics student because of it. I also gained valuable relationships with my tutors and research experience which was a huge advantage when applying to graduate programs.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

This is a difficult question. I've had so many excellent tutorial professors. The most impactful tutorial professor was Dr. Crawford, my thesis advisor. She (and Dr. Augusto Macchiavelli) taught me almost everything I know about nuclear structure and guided the research that became my senior thesis. My favorite lecturer was Dr. Stinaff, he is very animated and engaging when teaching electrodynamics. He made learning the material a lot of fun, and I was excited to attend his class.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

Probably the hill going up to Radar at the Ridges--it's a difficult hill to run up! In seriousness, I've struggled a lot with my mental health, especially over the pandemic. I've been able to manage it better by leaning on my friends and by using the free mental health resources provided by HTC.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite memories are studying in the library late at night with my friends, building a trebuchet and using it to launch pumpkins after Halloween with the Society of Physics Students, and Sunday morning runs with Dean Skinner.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Take advantage of living in the dorms, especially for the first year. Use the common spaces, go to your RA's social events like scheduled hikes and karaoke nights, and be open to talking to people! It's the easiest time to meet people and make friends. Many of my close friends are the friends I made in Johnson Hall my freshman year, and they made surviving the rest of college much easier.

Maxeen Ramlo  

Maxeen Ramlo

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Hudson, OH

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

Starting a master’s program in the fall at IMT Nord Europe in Eco-Design and Advanced Composite Structures (EDACS). After graduate school, I plan on working in materials research with a focus on sustainability.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

When I had found and built my community at OHIO. Spring of my freshman year when I had friends in my classes and people who I felt that I could go to with problems, or just to hang out, that’s what I knew that I was set and getting started on an amazing four years.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

While I do love the campus, I chose OHIO because of the opportunities I saw when I visited and talked to students in Russ College who had taken advantage of the undergraduate research options and internship opportunities.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

I got to start undergraduate research with Dr. Cyders my sophomore year and this opened up a lot of opportunities for me throughout my time at OHIO. If it hadn’t been for those opportunities during my time at OHIO I wouldn’t be headed to graduate school next year!

What was the hardest hill you had to climb at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

Learning to study and utilize my resources! Coming to college – and especially in engineering – there is a big learning curve in how to study and learn best, but once I learned how to communicate with my professors, use the Academic Achievement Center, and work with peers, college life and learning got so much easier.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

Late nights working on projects with friends in the ARC and Stocker! Getting to laugh and do late-night Donkey Coffee runs while doing work are my favorite memories.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Spending time outside in the spring (especially when the cherry blossoms bloom!) – and maybe taking a summer (or part of one) and staying in Athens to enjoy the area and places such as Stroud’s, Lake Hope, and the Hocking Hills.

Garrett Spargur 

Garrett Spargur

Major: Civil Engineering

Hometown: Leesburg, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

Upon graduation, I will be working for the Mannik Smith Group on their civil/municipal team in Columbus. I look forward to starting full-time with the team and learning what truly makes an engineer. Once I have worked in the field to gain enough experience, I hope to gain my professional engineering licensure.

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

I was looking at this question and I couldn’t think of an answer. I have always enjoyed my time at Ohio University and always felt like I could do anything I put my mind to. Then, I remembered that first semester. I was nervous about making friends, getting to class, and doing good. I was able to meet some of my best friends who I still hang out with. Nolan and Maxeen were extremely influential in my life. They kept me motivated throughout our friendship and have really shown me what it means to do great things. Meeting everyone that first welcome week and immersing myself in the OHIO atmosphere gave me inspiration for the future and let me know I was in the right place.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I am a first-generation college student. My parents did not go to college and even though my sisters did attend, they did not leave home. OHIO was not my first choice to begin with since it wasn’t the closest to home, but once I visited, I couldn’t say no. Ohio University immediately jumped to the top of my list. I loved the atmosphere and the professors.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life?

It is really hard for me to decide who my favorite professors are. I could name nearly the entire civil engineering department and many more outside. Dr. McAvoy, Dr. Sperry, and Blake Regan are some of the ones that have had a lasting impact.

Dr. McAvoy was one of the main reasons I came to Ohio University. She was the speaker at the OHIO Up-Close tour my family attended. She demonstrated her passion for helping students. Throughout my college career, she has been a mentor and leader who has absolutely left an impact on my life. She even recommended that I apply for the full-time position that I am going into after graduation.

Every time I have had Dr. Sperry in class, it was a fun time. He teaches with enthusiasm, humor, and personality. He really wants to connect with his students inside and outside of class. I don’t think I would have been as involved as I am without his help and support.

Blake Regan is a great math professor, but an even greater person. I remember my first class ever at OHIO was with Blake. He burst into the door wearing shorts, a tattered shirt, and a hat; I immediately knew I would love his class. Blake wants you to learn. He wants you not only to learn math but to develop that engineering mindset that you will use for the rest of your career. His classroom is unique, with a hands-on approach. Even though I haven’t had him in class for three years, he still says hi when I see him around.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb (not counting Jeff Hill) at OHIO? And how did you overcome challenges or obstacles in your path?

While I could go on and on about the COVID-19 pandemic, we were all climbing that hill. We had each other’s backs and helped each other to escape the virtual world and to find motivation in that tough time.

I would have to say my hardest hill to climb was finding who I was. Coming from high school, I tried to please everyone and create a false image for myself. It took a while, but I did finally begin to realize what my inspirations were and who I wanted to become with the help of my friends. The COVID pandemic did set my progress back though. I was able to hide in my shell again and disconnect from real life. When we came back for my senior year, I wanted to start strong and make up for the progress lost. I got involved with the engineering ambassadors, Robe Leadership Institute and Tau Beta Pi. All of these organizations helped me form myself as a leader personally and professionally.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

I have so many OHIO memories that I love and will remember forever.

The first year in college, my friend and I went hiking up at the Ridges. We got lost for four hours! It was a great time trying to find our way back while seeing the beauty of Athens.

My first time as a resident assistant, I didn’t know what to expect. My staff was amazing and we had an amazing time together. We instantly became friends and worked together to create a great environment for our residents. That spring semester was when COVID hit, and while it was sad, I will always remember the messages my residents sent me. They let me know that I was a mentor and friend to all of them.

This Spring Break, the Robe Leadership Institute scholars went on a trip to San Diego. We were able to meet so many great leaders and discuss what they thought about leadership. I was able to really connect with the other scholars, some of whom I hope to keep in contact with for the rest of my life.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Be who you are and keep moving forward. Those first few semesters may be tough, but they are the best time to get involved, find friends, and find yourself.

Joseph Swingle 

Joseph Swingle

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Crooksville, Ohio – Currently living in Columbus

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

After graduation, I plan on working in the Operating Room at OSU. After I get a few years of experience, I would love to do travel nursing and then continue my education to become a certified registered nurse anesthetist. 

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

My aha moment at OHIO Zanesville was definitely in this last semester. My capstone as well as my clinical preceptorship helped me realize that I truly know what I'm doing, and I'm going to be an amazing nurse. 

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I decided to go to Ohio University Zanesville because it's the same school that my sister went to for her RN. I look up to my sister so much as a nurse, and I wanted to model myself after her in every way that I could.

Who were your favorite professors and how did they make an impact on your life? 

My most impactful professor was Christy Vickers. She taught my community health class as well as my pediatrics course. I feel very strongly about public health, and I think it's extremely important to focus on preventive measures in healthcare. Preventative measures allow us to stop a problem before it can even occur, and the future of our healthcare system will need to heavily rely on this idea moving forward. 

What was the hardest hill you had to climb?

At the beginning of this last semester, I had a seizure and fractured my T5 and T6 vertebrae as well as my nose. I was in a back brace for two months and I was not allowed to complete any of my preceptorship hours during that time. At first, I thought there was no way I was going to be able to graduate this semester because I was only going to have a month to complete 168 clinical hours. I quickly changed my mindset and told myself that I was going to try my hardest to fit all those hours in prior to graduation. I'm happy to say that I'm going to have all those hours completed prior to the due date of final grades. 

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite memories from Ohio University Zanesville include all the amazing people that I met in my program. The Zanesville nursing program introduced me to numerous different people who I am sure will be lifelong friends.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Don't miss any of the fun events going on at the main campus in Athens! I go to a regional campus, but that never stopped me from driving to Athens to participate in Ohio University activities.

Jasper Uldrick 

Jasper Uldrick

Major: Production Design and Technology

Certificates: Diversity Studies; Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Greenfield, Ohio

What are your next steps or plans for the future?

I am starting a year-long contract immediately after graduation with The Gateway Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County in Bellport, NY. I will be acting as Wardrobe Supervisor for the full season, including shows such as Head Over Heels, The Little Mermaid, The Cher Show, The Wedding Singer, and Clue. 

What was your ah-ha moment at OHIO—that point where you said to yourself, “I’ve got this!”?

I always had nonstop support from my professors and knew they believed in my ability, but it wasn't until this past semester while working as wardrobe supervisor for The Great Comet that I had a fellow student tell me they believed in my direction, that I finally believed it myself. Seeing my peers trust my decisions and in turn trusting that they will follow my direction was my "I've got this!" moment.

Why did you choose OHIO? 

I chose OHIO because I loved the atmosphere of the university when I toured in high school. After looking into the School of Theater I decided it was the place I wanted to spend the next four years.

What was the hardest hill you had to climb?

The hardest hill I had to climb was imposter syndrome. We went into lockdown right as I was getting into the nitty-gritty classes in my major, and then once we started learning to make theater again, I was thrust into positions of power and felt as though I hadn't earned them. This isn't true, as I have a resume of proof that I have worked hard over the last few years, but convincing myself that I had earned it was the hardest part.

What are your favorite OHIO memories?

My favorite OHIO memories are going to see shows I hadn't worked on and seeing the art everyone around me is creating.

What’s the one thing you would tell a new OHIO student not to miss?

Don't miss out on getting involved! Even if joining a club isn't for you, watch a show, see a gallery. You never know what could happen.

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Cutler Hall Bobcats 2022 with cap flipping

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