Junior biology transfer student found her niche and success in her own backyard

After a short stint at a private university in the south, Ohio State Marion junior biology major and Marion, Ohio native Kiersten Dailey has set big goals for her educational journey and future career as a doctor. According to Dailey, the campus has given her all the tools and support she needs to achieve her goals.

As a first-generation college student, Dailey didn’t feel she could rely on family to help make her college decision, so she turned to herself to decide what was right for her.

Dailey said, “For the longest time I didn’t want guidance or mentorship on what to do when it came to college. I had always done things for myself, and I didn’t think my college decision should be any different.” 

Despite growing up on the doorstep of one of the most respected and comprehensive universities in the country, she didn’t have Ohio State as her first choice out of high school but in hindsight found transferring has created a multitude of advantages. 

“Ohio State was not my first choice in all honesty,” she said. “I originally went to Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.” 

After their tuition raised at Belmont University,” Dailey explained, “I realized that Ohio State made the most sense. I had missed my family from being out of state and I knew that I did not want to graduate with an absurd amount of debt.”  

“Ohio State Marion has helped relieve my stress about debt and brought me closer to my family,” Dailey added. 

“Since Ohio State Marion’s tuition is low my aid completely covers my tuition and relieves so much stress when it comes to paying for my education,” she said. “I will graduate with a little bit of debt but without Ohio State Marion’s affordable tuition cost, I probably would not graduate at all because college is expensive.”

 Returning home to pursue her undergraduate degree also gave Dailey the ability to be in the city she loves and foster her love of community.

“I was born and raised here in Marion, said Dailey. “So, I really have a heart for this city and its success. I have always wanted to see Marion succeed and I believe that the Ohio State Marion is a beacon of hope for this town, and I wanted to be a part of it. 

“When it came to my academics,” she added, “I knew that I liked classes that didn’t have more than 50 people in them and I wanted to have access to my professors to grow relationships with them. I value connection and I knew that Ohio State Marion was a good place to cultivate community.

When deciding on a major, Dailey felt strongly that she wanted to help others and break the generational cycle of poverty her family has experienced.

“As I had mentioned, I am a biology major with a specialization in pre-health. I had originally picked this major because I knew I liked helping people and I wanted to make money,” Dailey said.  

“I am a first-generation college student,” she said, “and I knew doctors made good money and above all else I was dedicated to breaking the generational curse of poverty that ran circles through my family.” 

“I knew that I liked helping people but as I got to know myself, I learned that I do not just like helping people, I liked healing people. I had always been curious about how the human body worked and why it worked or why it didn’t. Also, being a Christian I had a natural love of learning about what I believe God created and I believe science can be one of the best lenses to see his creation through,” Dailey explained. 


“Marion itself has plenty of places to go and do things,” Dailey shared, “but also is a midpoint to so many different large cities to explore. During college you will find your people and, on this campus, finding your people is easier. You will find community here.” 


Ohio State Marion faculty

Dailey shared her love of Ohio State Marion faculty, but pointed to Associate Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Ryan Yoder as someone who has made the biggest difference in her educational career. 

“He has a way of mentoring students to be confident in attacking problems on their own and if it doesn’t work out to try a different way,” Dailey said. “I know that I am in charge of my learning, but his guidance has made it easier to ask for help whenever something just doesn’t make sense.” 

“He has helped me with career ideas and has given me opportunities to step outside of my comfort zone,” she added. 

Getting involved on campus

Beyond academics, Dailey is involved in a host of activities and leadership roles on campus.  She is a student worker in the academic advising office and the student representative to the Ohio State Marion advisory board for the 2024-2025 academic year. Besides those recognized student leadership positions, Dailey sees herself as an ambassador for the campus. 

“I believe that my main involvement is talking to whoever I can and making people feel more welcomed and seen here,” she said.

One of the key locations Dailey has gotten involved in is the Academic Success Center in the Library Classroom Building.

“I meet all my friends there during lunch hour and I have never had so many genuine people in one place at one time. It is such a welcoming environment and can guarantee good laughs and I guess learning,” Dailey said jokingly.  

Living in the Marion Community

“I rent a house with 2 other girls and my dog. My dad is deathly allergic to dogs, and I made a commitment to my dog Butter so I could not stay with him, and my mom no longer lives in Marion,” said Dailey. 

“One of the two girls I live with has been a lifelong friend and living with her has made the hardest times less hard and the best times better. The other roommate has given me so much wisdom and insight into life since she graduated college over a year ago. Besides having them while going through school, living on my own I have had Friendsgiving parties, Christmas parties, and game nights where all my friends here on campus are invited so it’s allowed me to bridge my home community and my campus community.

BIG 10 university, small campus setting

According to Dailey, being a Buckeye, especially in the fall, is an honor and an experience that sticks with you. 

“Yes, Ohio State Marion is a small campus, but we live an hour away from the Columbus campus and can utilize their facilities as well. An hour is not a far drive so it’s not like the big campus experience is far away,” she said. I would say that that would be the biggest advantage.” 

“As an Ohio State Marion student, you get to pay less to be a Buckeye,” she said, “have small classes to where your success is a priority, have tighter knit connections, and then only have to drive an hour to experience everything that makes Columbus campus more desirable like the Shoe, the Schottenstein Center.”

A bright future

Beyond completing her Bachelor of Science in Biology degree at Ohio State Marion, Dailey has a specific path forward when it comes to her educational and career aspirations.

“What I want to pursue requires medical school and a master’s program,” she said. “In 5 to 10 years I will hopefully be finishing residency through the Wexner Medical Center. I see myself with a Ph.D. or an M.D. and hopefully starting to work in clinical medicine.

Dailey reflected on earning a degree from Ohio State and the importance of Ohio State Marion’s faculty, academic rigor, and atmosphere as contributing to the right decision for her. 

“My degree from The Ohio State University will reflect on the countless hours of hard work that I put in to earn it but also the countless hours that my professors put in to help my degree be more than a piece of paper,” she said. “Especially here at Ohio State Marion, since the class sizes are relatively smaller, I have always felt valued as more than just a student and it’s elevated my college experience and my academic career,” Dailey concluded.

“I will say time and time again that Ohio State Marion will help you save money even if you are only here for 2 years,” said Dailey.

“Deciding to come here can make the adjustment into college so much easier and will help you cultivate the skills necessary to succeed on a larger campus but also in your career,” Dailey said. 

“Marion itself has plenty of places to go and do things,” Dailey shared, “but also is a midpoint to so many different large cities to explore. During college you will find your people and, on this campus, finding your people is easier. You will find community here.”