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Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars accepting applications for 2021-22

Hardika Singh
February 10, 2021

Students can now apply for the prestigious Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholars positions for the 2021-22 academic year.

Voinovich Scholars gain valuable experience from working closely with professionals in Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs for 10 hours per week, 15 weeks per semester for two semesters. Students not only apply knowledge from their coursework and other academic experiences to real problems but also get paid $11 per hour to do it.

Highly motivated students from any school or department are eligible to become Voinovich Scholars. Students should have a strong academic record, with a preferred minimum 3.5 GPA. Interested students should email a cover letter, resume, recent DARS report and short writing sample to Professor Anirudh Ruhil at by March 15.

Opportunities include innovative research and work related to:

  • Energy and the environment
  • Sustainability
  • Watershed management
  • Ecology
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Field and lab research opportunities
  • Entrepreneurship and regional development
  • Small business planning
  • Economic development
  • Product design and marketing
  • Public policy and leadership
  • Community health
  • Education
  • Public relations and communication
  • Program evaluation

Zanovia Criss, a junior studying journalism, works for the Partnership for Children and Families and the Planning, Evaluation and Education Research team under Research Associate Natalie Wilson and Senior Project Manager Margaret Hutzel.

In her role, Criss writes evaluations for grant renewals, summarizes data projects, facilitates focus groups and attends program evaluation meetings. All these skills can be transferred to journalism to help with data analysis for data-oriented stories and conducting interviews, she said.

“Working at the Voinovich School provides great experience because under the guidance of the professionals, I gain new skills that I can take with me after I graduate,” Criss said.

As a result of her work, Criss has also become more connected with the community and the Appalachian region. “As a journalist, it is helpful to learn about my community, so I know what issues are relevant and what stories need to be told. The work that I’m doing has a direct effect on the communities we are serving.”

Sam Smith, a senior studying geography, also works with the Partnership for Children and Families under Hutzel’s guidance. Smith said the experience he gained in research and data analysis has been particularly useful because he had limited experience with them before becoming a scholar. Insight into the functioning and evaluation of public projects has helped him refine his career interests and goals.

“I have aimed to be a public servant for as long as I can remember, so working at the Voinovich School has provided me with the crucial skills required for my desired professional future,” he said. “This development of skills and connections will continue to pave a way to success as I look toward graduate school and consequently a rewarding career in the public sector.”

Sarah Stanzi, a senior studying environmental geography with a certificate in environmental studies and GIS, works on the energy and environmental team under Director of Environmental Programs Jen Bowman, Professor and Director of the Environmental Studies Program Natalie Kruse and Environmental Specialist Nicole Kirchner.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to understand the role of environmental studies in a variety of real-world applications,” Stanzi said. “I love being able to see the impact of my work in ongoing projects and knowing that my work contributes to long-term projects as well.”

Eli Wanner, a senior studying history, works under Research Associate Jessica Collura in the Programmatic Partnership for the Community-Based Prevention (P4CBP), led by Professor Holly Raffle. Wanner said he enjoys working in an independent environment, where the staff trusts scholars to complete assignments without being micromanaged.

“The professional staff are receptive to and appreciative of the ideas and skills that students such as I bring to the table,” he said. “My experience at the Voinovich School has clarified what I'm looking for in a career and taught me how the public health world functions.”

For more information, visit the Voinovich Undergraduate Research Scholar program webpage.