Graduates say their experiences could happen only at Ohio State
Columbus, Ohio – On Sunday, May 4, the next generation of health professionals, teachers, artists, engineers and more will stream into Ohio Stadium as 10,200 graduates receive their diplomas. Many of the graduates say their experiences could happen only at a school with as many opportunities and resources as The Ohio State University.
The ceremony celebrates the academic achievements, dedication and commitment that each student has put forth to earn his or her degree. Diplomas will be given individually to each graduate in a single ceremony, a practice rarely attempted by a university the size of Ohio State.
The class includes 134 veterans who compose the second class of Post-911 GI Bill recipients to graduate after the program was implemented in 2009; 46 ROTC cadets; and 162 current and former student athletes.
This is the second-largest graduating class in Ohio State University history. The largest was June 2012, with 10,642 degrees awarded.
The commencement ceremony will be available via a live video stream. The stream begins at noon. Watch: http://commencement.osu.edu/video.html. In addition, excerpts from the ceremony will be broadcast on WOSU-TV, Channel 34, at 5 p.m. on Monday, May 5.
Bethany Essman will graduate with a B.A. in English magna cum laude, with minors in creative writing and studio art. She hopes to travel after graduation. Her graduation is a milestone for both the university and her family, as she is the fifth generation in her family to graduate from Ohio State. Her family’s legacy began with the 1898 graduation of her great-great-grandfather, William Henry Reese. Most recently, Essman’s father, Paul, earned his D.D.S. in 1978.
Essman, of Wellston, was her high school valedictorian and enjoys English because it crosses over categories – for example, a Tennessee Williams play teaches history, social issues and connects with people and culture.
Beyond the classroom, Essman is a literary editor for Mosaic Magazine, Ohio State's annual undergraduate art and literature magazine. She also works as an administrative assistant in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemisty, and as a development intern for Ballet Metropolitan. In 2012, she participated in a study abroad program to Greenwich, England.
Buckeye memories are woven into Essman’s family stories. Each year, her father donned a marching band hat during her elementary school “hat days,” and her godfather ran onto the field during a football game and marched alongside the band, playing the bugle.
Mary Guido will graduate with B.A. degrees in German and strategic communication. Guido, from Brecksville, says her most meaningful experiences have come through her involvement with student groups. They include leading a group of 10 students to volunteer alongside the Cherokee Native Americans through Buck-i-SERV, introducing new students to campus as an Orientation Leader, helping bring speakers such as Jane Goodall to campus as activities chair with the Ohio Union Activities Board, and as student chair for Taste of OSU.
Guido was invited to the White House in January to live-tweet President Obama's State of the Union Address.
In addition, Guido was a member of the 107th class of SPHINX, Ohio State's oldest senior class honorary. She also worked two years as a resident adviser in Mack Hall, helping first year students navigate their way through campus.
Suraj Hinduja (Dublin Scioto High School) will graduate with a B.S. in special education, a field that interests him because it's about learning how to bring all those pertinent factors and individuals to the table and discussing what is needed to make the student most successful.
Hinduja, of Dublin, says the last four years have been filled with significant experiences that have shaped him. For the last two years, he has served as president of BuckeyeThon, the university's largest student-run philanthropy. During that time, the dance marathon has grown exponentially - this year, 3,000 students joined and raised more than $750,000 to fight childhood cancer at Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH). Since its founding in 2001, BuckeyeThon has raised more than $2.5 million for NCH.
He says, "I truly to believe that Ohio State has the ability to show people that we have the power, and quite frankly, the responsibility to change the world."
Austin Hood is graduating with a degree in business administration with a specialization in marketing. He will move to Washington, D.C., for a job as a consultant with Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the world’s largest strategic consulting firms. As an incoming freshman, Hood was awarded a four-year Morrill Scholarship and was named a National Achievement Scholar.
Hood, who grew up in Cleveland Heights and Solon, says his experiences in Ohio State’s student organizations helped him evolve and grow. He has been vice president of the American Marketing Association OSU Chapter. He was a mentor with the Ohio Undergraduate Recruitment Society and helped organize the African American Heritage Festival. He also was a career preparation fellow in Management Leadership for Tomorrow, a highly selective national career development program to put minorities on the fast track to success. He also held summer internships at Target Corp. and GE Energy.
In addition to his studies, Hood enjoys making music and writing. Hood is not the first in his family to earn a business degree at Ohio State. His mother, Kim, earned a bachelor's and master’s degree in business as well.
Wynton Jordan will graduate with a B.S. in business administration and an economics minor. An operations management major with a love for sports, the Atlanta native discovered early that getting involved on campus can lead to lifelong friendships and unforgettable moments.
One such moment came after Jordan answered a call for volunteers to help the news media set up for a visit from President Obama on the Oval. After the setup was complete, he was asked to sit on stage as the president spoke to a crowd of 35,000 people.
As an event management intern in the Department of Athletics, Jordan enjoyed the energy and excitement as he worked at football and basketball games. As a member of the Ohio Union Activities Board, he helped bring speakers and entertainment to campus.
Jordan was recently awarded the Bell National Resource Center’s Gene and Sheila Smith Excalibur Award, which goes to a student who exhibits exemplary scholastic achievement, outstanding character and leadership and service to the university community.
John Nemer will graduate with a B.S. in microbiology, a B.A. in Spanish and an Arabic minor. He will begin medical school after graduation. As an incoming freshman, he was awarded a four-year Glenna R. Joyce Scholarship.
Nemer says he is fascinated with both research and languages: research because discovery of simple biological principles can lead to new disease treatments; languages because they can connect to a world of different people and ideas.
Nemer has made the most of his undergraduate experience in the classroom and the laboratory. He conducts research on new cancer therapeutics for acute myeloid leukemia in the lab of Dr. Michael Caligiuri and his research has been published.
He has studied abroad in Spain (twice), Jordan and the UK. In addition to research and studying abroad, Nemer says his most meaningful experiences have been participating in Pelotonia and working as a resident adviser for two years.
Beyond the classroom, he has been involved in the American Red Cross First Aid Services Team, Arabic Conversation Club, Pelotonia Undergraduate Research Program and Student-Alumni Council.
Kyle Phillips (Mount Sterling, Madison Plains High School) will graduate with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a minor in history and will go to work for Owens Corning, working in manufacturing at a fiberglass facility in South Carolina. She says engineering has enabled her to better understand her world, and be able to take it apart and put it back together.
Phillips was her high school valedictorian, but came to Ohio State with no transfer, AP or other type of credit. She has achieved what few have, since “graduating with an engineering degree in four years is practically unheard of,” she said.
In addition to academics, Phillips has worked three jobs throughout college: with Women in Engineering, in the machine shop for the Mechanical Engineering Department and as a teaching assistant for the Fundamentals of Engineering for Honors program, where three times she was part of the annual robot competition. She is in the honors program and will graduate with Honors in Engineering. She also has played in the athletic band for six terms, and marched in Ohio Stadium for the spring game during her freshman year.
Phillips has participated in a Buck-I-Serv alternative break trip to Biloxi, Miss., and served as a peer leader for over 1,000 incoming freshmen, leading sessions on success in the first year of college. In addition, she is captain of the Supermileage Team at the university’s Center for Automotive Research.
Phillips volunteers with the team and Women in Engineering to bring STEM outreach and education to young girls, including at her hometown middle school, where a robotics club now meets weekly. She also volunteered as a conversation partner with the American Language program to assist international students who are learning American English.
Anastasia Purgianto will graduate with a B.S. in food science and technology and a minor in psychology. Following graduation, she will join H.J. Heinz in Pittsburgh in its corporate management training program.
The Jakarta, Indonesia, native has been involved in Food Science Club and Towers Agricultural Honorary. She also has been involved in product development teams since sophomore year.
She also completed her first half-marathon last October.
Purgianto says she has grown and flourished at Ohio State. “And I mean positive changes. I became more vocal in voicing my opinions, more open to new experiences, and have a more positive attitude.”
Monica Saccucci will graduate with a B.S. in biology and hopes to become a physician.
Saccucci, from West Chester, co-founded Sigma Lambda Gamma, the first Hispanic based sorority at Ohio State, and later became its president. It was meaningful because, when Saccucci came to Ohio State, the Hispanic community was small – there was only one club for undergraduate Latinas and that disbanded, and other student organizations were just getting started. She says now, “the Latino community is a lot stronger than it was, and I'm glad to have been able to contribute to this progress.”
She also has been part of a research group where students meet weekly to discuss scientific papers. She is currently working on a research project studying tail regeneration between unisexual and sexual salamander species.
Dawn Schwertfager has worked as an RN at the Wexner Medical Center since 2005 and will be earning her B.S. in nursing after a 17-year hiatus.
She says her return to school has allowed her to build relationships with classmates and co-workers and also helped bring her closer to her family. She inspired at least one classmate to change her major to nursing and has been joined by two co-workers in pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
Schwertfager found a number of unintentional correlations between schoolwork and family, including the overlap of math and history classes with her son’s elementary school projects, a photography class with the need for senior pictures, and a comparative studies class with the search replicas of her grandfather’s WWII medals.
In addition to taking 10 credit hours and working full-time, Schwertfager has a husband of 20+ years and two sons, age 10 and 14.
She says her second academic journey, which began in 2008, has been very rewarding and challenging. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, which forced her to take a look at her priorities. She has decided not to let herself be defined by a diagnosis, and after commencement plans to start training for a marathon…after exhaling and taking a well-deserved vacation.
M.J. Yatsko will graduate with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and plans to pursue her master’s degree at Ohio State. Yatsko has been involved in research at Ohio State’s Center for Automotive Research since high school. She has been part of the Green Engineering Scholars Program and Ohio State’s EcoCAR competition team, a partnership between General Motors and the U.S. Department of Energy that challenges student teams to redesign a Chevy Malibu into an environmentally friendly vehicle.
After the EcoCAR finals in June, she will lead Ohio State’s EcoCAR 3 team.
Yatsko also has volunteered with the Women in Engineering program and has completed an honors research thesis. One of Yatsko’s favorite traditions is singing “Carmen Ohio” at the end of every football game.
About The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University is a dynamic community of diverse resources, where opportunity thrives and where individuals transform themselves and the world. Founded in 1870, Ohio State is a world-class public research university and the leading comprehensive teaching and research institution in the state of Ohio. With more than 63,000 students (including 57,000 in Columbus), the Wexner Medical Center, 14 colleges, 80 centers and 175 majors, the university offers its students tremendous breadth and depth of opportunity in the liberal arts, the sciences and the professions.