Four chosen for prestigious Denman Forum

Tanesha Gardner-cropped

Tanesha Gardner

Senior, History
Mentors: Dr. Mollie Cavender and Dr. Heather Tanner

Ruffs, Slashes, & Farthingales: Fashion at the Court of Elizabeth l
My project is on Elizabethan Court Fashion. I look at how the fashion of the nobility changes when Queen Elizabeth I takes the throne.

Research is an integral part of being a History major and eventually a working Historian. Being able to do a large scale research project was a great opportunity to put my skills to the test.

I have loved every second I’ve been at Ohio State Mansfield! The small campus life lends itself to creating lasting relationships with peers and professors.

Leah Schwechheimer-cropped

Leah Schwechheimer

Junior, Biology
Mentors: Dr. Carol Landry

White Mangrove Pollination

The study is an investigation of reproductive barriers between two closely related, co-flowering Croton species on San Salvador Island, The Bahamas.

This project has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about scientific investigation and the process of experimentation, as well as get some experience doing field work.

I believe that study-abroad programs are extremely important for students to discover new places, people, and cultures, as well as learning about the projects they are studying.

Collin Sipe

Collin Sipe

Senior, History
Mentors: Dr. Mollie Cavender and Dr. Heather Tanner

Death, Silk, And Spices: The Issue of Gentleman Merchants and the Policies of the English East India Company

My experiences in research have increased my confidence in my work and academic studies, as well as provided me with networking with both fellow students and established academic scholars.

Ohio State Mansfield’s most important attribute has been it’s amazing professors, who allow  students to explore their interests while providing support and encouragement that inspire them to reach new levels of academic success and personal growth.

Sam Ulrich-cropped

Samantha Ulrich

Junior, Public Affairs
Mentor: Dr. Rachel Bowen

The Arab Spring: A Clash with Principle or another Unexpected Wave of Democratization?

My project seeks to discredit a school of thought in political science which states that Catholic, Buddhist, or Islamic nations cannot neither create nor maintain a democratic government.

I have gained so much from this experience – research skills, confidence in my own capabilities, and a mentor.

This has been an amazing opportunity for me not only because of Dr. Bowen’s research knowledge, but for her ability to mentor me as a law school hopeful.

McCune scholarship honors a working man

John McCune, Sr.

John McCune, Sr.

The John McCune Sr. History Scholarship is not your typical scholarship. Started by Marianne Parisi-McCune in her late husband’s memory, much of the funding comes from the many friends McCune met through General Motors, United Auto Workers, of which he was president of UAW Local 549 for several terms, and his work with politicians and the community.

“If anyone would be termed a ‘Mr. Richland County,’ it would be he,” Parisi-McCune said. “He mattered when he was living and he should matter after his passing.”

A $2,000 scholarship is given annually to a student majoring in history, political science or math. While it might seem an eclectic mix, the topics fit McCune, a blue-collar worker who never attended college, to a T.

“The scholarship envelops what I think he would have wanted,” Parisi-McCune said. “He always believed in education and he was an amazing history person. He was a very dynamic political strategist. He also was a mathematician. He could add a column of numbers before someone could key them into a calculator.”

The scholarship’s first recipient is History major Donald Shumaker, who is also the student member on the Ohio State Mansfield Board.

“I give Ohio State a lot of credit,” Parisi-McCune said. “They picked a young fellow that just epitomizes what John was like. He has that burning desire and he’s just energetic. I couldn’t be happier.”

A unique part of the scholarship is a service component, in which the recipient writes an historical essay about a local political figure. Parisi-McCune wanted to somehow honor local people who made a difference in Richland County.

“Most times, you get a scholarship and you fulfill the requirements via grades, but what do you learn from it,” she said.

Working with Brian McCartney and Parisi-McCune, Shumaker researched and wrote about Kenneth McCartney, a longtime Democratic Party activist in Richland County. He presented the essay at the annual K.E. McCartney St. Patrick’s Day Memorial Fundraiser last March.

“Of all the scholarships I’ve gotten, this is my favorite, in large part because I’ve gotten to meet all the people who were instrumental in getting it started, as well as the people I met while working on the project,” Shumaker said.

The power of regional campuses

Noraisa Jones, left, a Respiratory Therapy student at Ohio State Mansfield, receives information about the Writing Center from writing consultant Katherine Nixon. Individual attention is one reason students are drawn to regional campuses.

Noraisa Jones, left, a Respiratory Therapy student at Ohio State Mansfield, receives information about the Writing Center from writing consultant Katherine Nixon. Individual attention is one reason students are drawn to regional campuses.

Ohio State’s regional campuses are quickly becoming the destination of choice for students throughout Ohio. Affordability, excellence in teaching, small class sizes and opportunities for research and internships draw students.

“By design, we are a small liberal arts educational setting,” said Ohio State Mansfield Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi. “We are an extension of Columbus, yet we play a vital role in the university’s land grant mission by offering accessibility through open enrollment.”

Students may complete one of eight bachelor’s degrees offered at Ohio State Mansfield—Business, Criminology, Education, English, History, Psychology, Social Work or Sociology, or start at Mansfield and transition to the Columbus campus after a year or two.

For most students, it’s the small class sizes taught by award-winning faculty rather than grad students that is the main draw. The entire faculty at Ohio State Mansfield has obtained terminal degrees; 97 percent hold doctorate degrees. Many are conducting groundbreaking research in addition to teaching classes.

“I’ve been in contact with some really great teachers,” said Nick Stevens, a senior majoring in History. “Instructors are more accessible. You can go to their offices whenever you want and that’s really helpful.”

Gavazzi also points to an excellent student support system, from Admissions and Advising to the writing and math labs that gives students a jumpstart to college life.

“It’s the friendliness of the Admissions and Advising staffs, the intimacy of contact between faculty and students, the high-touch environment that our student support services can give, that many students list as reasons they choose a regional campus, and in particular, Ohio State Mansfield,” Gavazzi said.

For many students, cost also plays a factor in the choice to attend a regional campus. Tuition at the regional campuses is $7,140 full-time for two semesters, $3,000 less than the cost at Columbus campus. Factor in nearly $11,000 in savings a year by living at home rather than in a dorm and it’s significantly more affordable.

Students from throughout Northeast Ohio are choosing Ohio State Mansfield. Cuyahoga County accounted for 16 percent of new students last fall. Crystal Brown, a business major from Cleveland, likes the hometown feeling of the campus.

“I chose Ohio State Mansfield because I wanted to be a part of a small campus where I could connect better with those around me. In a small class setting, I have the chance to speak up and engage. I also have a chance to get better advising and guidance when I need it,” she said. “Although to others it may seem ‘just an OSU regional campus,’ Ohio State Mansfield feels like home!”

Students learn the value of service

Ohio State Mansfield Education students Mellissa Johnson, left, and Paige Poffenbaugh show some of the debris that students at Eastern Elementary School in Lexington found in a Clearfork tributary. The duo created the service learning project for the students.

Ohio State Mansfield Education students Mellissa Johnson, left, and Paige Poffenbaugh show some of the debris that students at Eastern Elementary School in Lexington found in a Clearfork tributary. The duo created the service learning project for the students.

By including service learning in his curriculum, an Ohio State Mansfield professor has created some unique local opportunities for his students.

Christian Winterbottom, assistant professor of Education (Teaching and Learning), received a grant from the Ohio State Service Learning Initiative last year to restructure a class in early childhood pedagogy to collaborate with local agencies. The idea was to teach Education students to incorporate service learning components into their curriculum. Students collaborated with the Richland County Development Group and United Way to identify potential community partners.

Ohio State Mansfield students paired up and completed several projects at area schools, including coordinating a clean-up day of a river near Lexington’s Eastern Elementary School.

“They were designing a science-themed module collecting fish and wildlife in the river, when they realized it was full of tires and cans and bottles,” Winterbottom said. “They pulled a lot of trash out of the river. It was a huge success.”

Some students partnered with the United Way Big Red Bookshelf project. In conducting research for the project, they found that some children in Richland County didn’t have access to books. They put bins around the Mansfield campus and in the community to collect books. They constructed a red bookshelf to give to United Way to house the books.

“They received so many books, just thousands of books,” Winterbottom said.

Another group partnered with Shelby Mayor Marilyn John on a similar project and donated the books to elementary schools.

At Madison, one group focused on collecting canned food to be distributed for Thanksgiving.

“A lot of children in that area are underprivileged, so it was interesting to see them give back something to other children who are also in a similar position,” Winterbottom said.

Another group at Lexington wrote letters to troops in Afghanistan.

“It is hard to get middle school students to write, in general, but when it’s something that’s really important to them, they write pages and pages,” he said. “And they write about things that are personal to them that you wouldn’t normally get to see.”

Winterbottom will teach a pure service learning class this fall, open to all students, where students learn to plan and implement a service learning project themselves.

“I’m really looking forward to starting that on this campus,” he said.


Bromfield Library Under Construction, Re-Opening This Spring

Dream becomes reality as the Bromfield Library and Information Commons renovation nears completion. Funded, in large part, by community donors through the But for Ohio State Mansfield campaign, the $3 million project is scheduled for completion in March, 2014, with a rededication ceremony in April.

Designed for community and campus, according to Susan Delagrange, Director of the Information Commons, the collaborative space fulfills traditional library and research roles as well as functioning as a comfortable informal area for faculty, students and the public to meet.

“We wanted to create a technology-rich open environment that was conducive to flexible learning,” said Brian White, superintendent, Mansfield Campus Plant Operations and Maintenance.

Shared by Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College, the 23,000-square-foot space will include a library instruction classroom and six private group study rooms, as well as collaborative seating areas throughout the space. Faculty will have use of a media center with a sound studio to create multimedia for classroom use and distance learning courses.

A trio of help desks will also be located in the open-plan Library and Information Commons, says Pam Benjamin, Director of the Library, to assist students with reference, research, writing and technology questions.

“There’s nothing else like this in Mansfield,” said Dean and Director Stephen Gavazzi. “Our students will have access to the resources they need to help them succeed in college and beyond.”

Through a generous grant from the Richland County Foundation, planners also were able to include a high-tech learning collaborative classroom in the Information Commons. Gone are lectures from podiums; instructors will encourage team-based learning and problem-solving from anywhere in the classroom.

“The skills that are required for these activities are the most sought-after by employers,” says Joseph Fahey, professor, Theatre. This model of self-directed and peer-oriented learning is the new direction in higher education. It is the key to preparing our students to be leaders in their fields, their institutions and their communities.”

Framework Plan Implementation Transforming Mansfield Campus

A new bridge behind Ovalwood Hall connects Mansfield campus with Molyet Village housing, the athletic fields and walking and bike paths.

In March, The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College published the Mansfield Campus Framework Plan, an extensive look at how the campus’ 640 acres, buildings and academic missions might evolve in the next 50 years. Campus leaders promptly went to work, securing funding and creating partnerships of opportunity to support the plan. Their successes to date -

Enhancing campus access: Plans are moving forward to create a new front door for the Mansfield campus through solicitation for a criteria architect for the $1.5 million project. The Lexington-Springmill entrance will be relocated further south, connecting community and businesses to the campus and increasing visibility of the campus. The SR 39 entrance has been redefined as an environmental entrance. About 75 saplings, identified by the Extension study as natural species, were culled from campus acreage and replanted along the entrance.

Modernizing Student Life facilities: In addition to the Bromfield Library and Information Commons renovation, design has begun for $1.1 million renovation of the cafeteria in Eisenhower Hall in late 2014, restructuring the kitchen service area for better efficiency, and adding new finishes and furniture in the cafeteria and coffee house. University Dining Services began providing meal and food service for the Mansfield campus in July.

The original bridge

Addressing student housing needs: A desire for additional housing sparked the interest of University Housing Solutions, who has built off-campus housing in other areas of Ohio. The private venture just south of the campus on Lexington-Springmill Road, called Buckeye Village, broke ground in August. The foundation is laid for the first phase to be completed, with framing to begin soon, weather permitting. The first housing units are scheduled to open in August for 158 students.

Enhancing campus wayfinding: A new attractive full-width bridge across the stream behind Ovalwood Hall greets bikers and walkers as they enter the bike path to Molyet Village student housing, access to the athletic field and the wooded walking paths. The $72,000 project is wide enough for small maintenance equipment to cross; soon-to-be-added directional signage will enhance wayfinding.

Preserving wetlands and woodlands: Steps were taken this year to begin a comprehensive land-use management plan. Ohio State Extension and the School of Environment and Natural Resources have become integral partners in preparing a land resource inventory; a surprising find—more vernal pools than initially thought. Students in a May semester 2014 course will further refine the plan. Extension also called Mansfield campus home for the Ohio Woodland Stewards program, a living laboratory of classes geared towards Ohio’s 340,000 private woodlands landowners.

Tyger Scholarship Creates Opportunities for Local Students

Raheem Washington says he’s been given a gift, one he is more than willing to pay forward. The Mansfield Senior High graduate is the first recipient of the Tyger Scholarship, created by the Mansfield/Malabar Alumni Association, and bolstered through the But for Ohio State Mansfield campaign.

“The Tyger scholarship was a blessing,” Washington said. “It was so random, I didn’t think I would even be eligible. I hope I can help them bring more awareness to the scholarship.”

Mansfield students simply need to graduate on time and complete university admissions paperwork to be eligible. Ohio State Mansfield math professor Lee McEwan suggested that Washington apply. Family Engagement and Outreach Coordinator Renee Thompson, who maintains an office at the high school, further planted the idea with Washington that he could attend college.

Washington, who is pursuing a degree in Education to teach middle and high school math, spent five years in McEwan’s Algebra Project. High school students in the program commit to enrolling in a double-period of math throughout high school.

The freshman is also involved in STEMpowerment at the campus, which provides mentors and service learning experiences between college and K-12 students in science, technology, engineering and math.

Washington walked away from a chance to play college football to attend Ohio State Mansfield.

“I fell in love with this program more than football,” he says, simply. “I could see myself doing more here in five years than after five years of playing football.”

Washington sees himself staying in the Mansfield area as a teacher, football coach, and eventually, a principal. He also wants to teach the Algebra Project in his own classroom.

“I want students to know that education is valuable,” he said. “You hear adults say it, but I think the young-on-young perspective is the best way to go about it, with students staying positive to students.”

But for Ohio State Mansfield: Scott Schag

Scott Schag

Scott Schag takes a minute out of his day in the Education Resource Room.

The Ohio State University at Mansfield was supposed to be a stepping stone to his future. Instead, Scott Schag found himself “falling in love” with campus and, in turn, found it to be a launching ground for a remarkable college career.

“I had known of it and the great value that it presented,” he explains, “But had intended on using it to gain transfer credits and then leave after a year since I was undecided.”

That first year, however, would bring something to Scott’s attention. “All of my friends who had gone away to school had bad experiences. They were in classes where the professor was never there and were being taught by a Teaching Assistant, or they were paying out the wazoo for tuition and becoming bogged down in loans.” His experience was markedly different. “I looked around and loved all of my classes, was maintaining an amazing GPA, knew my professors by name, had not accrued any debt, and really loved the community of the campus. I was hooked.”

It was not just his success that he enjoyed, it was the people who helped along the way. “Professors really take the time to make sure that you are doing well,” notes Scott, “The fact that you can approach them about issues is great! The small classes lend themselves to that amazingly well.”

Scott enjoyed his classes, and has no shortage of them to prove it. “I think I liked the campus so much that I hopped around majors in order to stay longer,” he jokes, “I changed four times from Zoology to Theatre to History to Education.” It would prove to be a combination of two of those stops that would prove to be his final destination.

Scott first got involved in theater when he was asked to help backstage during Ohio State Mansfield’s collaboration with Mansfield Youth Theater’s production of Beauty and the Beast, Jr. Scott enjoyed working with young actors and that experience caused him to enroll in a class in which he was immersed in a local classroom. He was not disappointed. Working on stage and in the classroom were so enjoyable that it would finally settle a long time question of “What should my major be?” for good.

Scott settled on an early childhood education major with a minor in theater. While the choice took time, the Shelby native could not be more sure of it. “It means the difference between a practice and a profession,” says Scott, “It affords me the opportunity to be an informed academic making a difference in every classroom and every child.”

In his 7 years on campus, Scott has been involved in a variety of things on campus and in the community. His stay has seen him as a Writing Consultant in the Campus Writing Center, a Welcome Leader for student orientations, a member of the English Club, Theatre Club, Club Ed, volunteering at local non-profits, and on stage. Scott’s most recent show, 9 to 5 The Musical, marks his 30th production. He has gone from backstage to filling roles such as the Cat in the Hat in Seussical the Musical, playing Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors, The UPS man in Legally Blonde, and Victor Frankenstein in Playing with Fire: After Frankenstein.

When asked to name one facet of his experience in particular, he does not hesitate. “I really love working with [Theater Director and Professor] Joe Fahey. He makes everything so much fun when you’re an actor and he really cares about the experience that you have.” Scott also notes that Dr. Fahey is not afraid to act as a stand in when props are unavailable. “During one of my first shows, he was kind enough to act as a human roadblock for me to fall over repeatedly. It was frightening and hilarious at the same time.”

When he is handed his M.Ed in Education, he knows exactly where he wants to go next. “I want to teach in the New York City public school system and get involved in theatre along the way, whether performing myself or being involved in Children’s theatre.”

As he enters the world stage, Scott is preparing to become an educator just like the ones he met at Ohio State Mansfield. “I never felt that a professor didn’t want to be there. They want you to succeed!” And as a result, those professors have watched Scott do just that.