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.

The Non Traditional Experience at Ohio State Mansfield

Written by Jason Spoon with Megan Bailey and Mindy McKenzie

The Ohio State University at Mansfield has always embraced its non-traditional students. Rochelle Jones and Heather Miller are testaments to that endeavor.

One of 15 children, Rochelle grew up poor and had little reason to hope for a college education.  Still, she refused to give up. A year ago, she enrolled at Ohio State Mansfield. Now 25, her life as a nontraditional student isn’t easy, but she is determined to make it work.  Working 24 hours a week along with a nearly full-time class load, Rochelle admits that the experience has been “beyond difficult,” but she credits the help she’s received from the regional campus for her success.

Rochelle is appreciative of the support she’s received. Whether it was a History Professor granting her extra time for an exam or an advisor keeping her grounded amid chaos, Rochelle has learned first-hand what it means to be embraced by a caring campus.  “You can talk to professors like they’re people,” she says.  And she’s not alone in her praise.

Heather Miller is 32, has four children, works 30 hours per week, and is taking six classes this semester at Ohio State Mansfield.  For Heather, the timing of her classes has proven particularly accommodating, and she says she was “truly surprised” to learn how many evening classes were offered.   As the mother of young children, she appreciates attending a flexible university and realizes that such flexibility makes pursuing her Social Work degree possible.  Still, she finds there’s more to support than simplified scheduling of classes.

While attending the Mansfield campus, Heather has benefited from caring faculty and staff.  Whenever her children are sick, the choice between caring for them and attending class is easy; fortunately for Heather, she is part of a campus community that wants nothing more than to see its students succeed.  Rochelle Jones can relate.

For both Heather and Rochelle, Ohio State Mansfield serves as a supportive partner in their future successes.  And while neither would be where she is without a strong work ethic, they would also not be here without the help of The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

Student Veterans

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Written by Terry Taylor, Stephanie Maneese, Jake Furr, and Heather Smith

A primary motivation behind The Ohio State University at Mansfield students involved with the Student Veterans of America (SVA) is showing support for the brave men and women who serve our country each and every day, regardless of the time of year. The group assists military veterans with the resources and encouragement needed to succeed in higher education and following graduation.

This autumn, SVA chose Care Packages for Troops as their major service project. Deployed members of the military typically need items that cannot be bought where they are, or they crave something homemade, like cookies or candy. Giving veterans a taste of home makes them feel appreciated, whether it is a handwritten thank-you letter or a bar of soap. The Student Veterans of America understand this feeling, because each member is also a veteran or current service member.

SVA encouraged students and faculty to donate non-perishable items like toiletries, beef jerky, and trail mix and leave them in one of several donation boxes spread across the campus. The response was absolutely fantastic, and the group soon found themselves sending packages to soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Today, the organization, led by Air Force veteran and Mansfield student Dustin White, is pushing forward to even bigger endeavors.  When asked what it means to be a member of the SVA, Dustin replied, “It means a lot. So much, in fact, that I wanted to be President of the group at Ohio State Mansfield.” Leading with an “Each One, Teach One” attitude, Dustin continued, “Putting my soldiers before myself was always my way of leadership. No one understands a military mind more than a military person.”

Returning veterans have earned our support and encouragement when they re-enter civilian life, and the Student Veterans of America at the Mansfield campus is there to help when these brave men and women come home.

But For Ohio State Mansfield: Dan Freund

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At The Ohio State University at Mansfield, Dan Freund began a journey from the mold of a Midwestern factory family, to a first generation college student, to leading the transformation of his home school district. It was the mid-1960s and Dan Freund had just graduated. “I really didn’t see myself going to college when I graduated from high school. I was 17 years old, I was not really thinking college was for me,” But something changed his course.

“We had one building. It was brand new. It was Ovalwood,” reminisces Freund. The campus featured a dirt road entrance that “you needed a four wheel drive vehicle to get in and out of,” he chuckles and adds, “But again, it was brand new in 1966.”

Along with fresh bricks and mortar, Freund noted that attitude of students and faculty was something special. “There was a really great sense of excitement.” Freund noted. “We got to know each other quickly and formed friendships. We felt like we were part of something.” Freund found a foothold in those fresh beginnings that became foundational to his collegiate career.

“It was really great to have the Mansfield campus, because I could live at home, and because my family didn’t have a whole lot of money, it helped out considerably from an economic standpoint. It was very convenient for me and the high quality of teaching was pretty impressive.” As he attended class, bonds began to form and he found a home in his local campus. “You know, I still remember the names of my teachers, and they had a powerful impact on my life.” The first step in his educational journey had not taken him far from home. The next step would take him 70 miles south.

He moved to The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus and found yet another home. He enjoyed classes there, meeting new friends and professors, and before long he found himself graduating with a Bachelor’s degree. He was not quite finished, however, and returned to complete a Master’s degree in Education from Ohio State.

His professional career has taken him through local schools, first as a grad school special needs teacher, a full-time middle school teacher, a member of local administrations, and finally, as a superintendent of Mansfield City Schools.

In his superintendent post, he has been a catalyst for community change and has received high marks from several community members. At a recent school board meeting, Cheryl Carter, director of North Central State College’s Urban Center, remarked “Students have a great advocate in Dan Freund. Behind every decision he makes is the thought: Is this best for our students? I know that the vision Dan has for this district is spot on.”

Freund has also led Mansfield City Schools in forging a remarkable partnership with The Ohio State University at Mansfield. The schools have enjoyed collaboration on the Algebra Project for a number of years and now look to expand efforts into scholarship programs. As part of Ohio State Mansfield’s But For Ohio State Mansfield capital campaign, the campus is working with Freund to establish the Tyger Scholarship Fund. Designed to raise aspirations for higher education, at least twenty percent of Mansfield Senior High School graduates are expected to receive support from this new scholarship, with plans in place to expand this opportunity to even more students through ongoing collaborations with Mansfield City School District alumni. “Superintendent Freund is the ideal partner in an initiative such as this,” notes Dr. Stephen Gavazzi, dean and director of The Ohio State University at Mansfield, “He brings real world experience and an openness to new ideas that set the stage for some truly transformative work to be done.”

Asked what he plans for the future, Freund stated simply, “We really want our kids to understand that there are no limitations in terms of their futures. If they have the will to succeed there are adults in their community working hard on their behalf so that their dreams can become real.”

As his remarkable career continues, Dan Freund dares students to dream, and begin a new educational journey. In doing so, they will be following a course that has been both walked and prepared by their superintendent.

But for Ohio State Mansfield: Mike LaCroix

SONY DSCBy Jake Furr, Stephanie Maneese, Heather Smith, and Terry Taylor

What started out as a journey of uncertainty for Mike LaCroix has turned into something truly special: serving as the Coordinator of Athletics and Recreation at The Ohio State University at Mansfield.

The Plymouth native knew that going to college was a necessity, so he enrolled in classes at OSU Mansfield to pursue a bachelor’s degree. He chose OSU Mansfield because it was close to home and he would have the support of friends and family while adjusting to the demands of college.

Like many incoming students, Mike wondered what there was to do. He soon discovered “games to attend, events to go to,” and numerous organizations and clubs to join. OSU Mansfield is also a prime location for many kinds of recreation, from skiing at Snow Trails to jumping out of airplanes with the skydiving club. Mike immediately joined the Mansfield Mavericks basketball team and helped out with freshmen orientation on behalf of the Campus Recreation Center. Sports are a big part of his life, and OSU Mansfield gave him the opportunity to live his dream of playing college basketball.

When asked about his favorite memory at OSU Mansfield, Mike declared without hesitation, “Playing basketball. Not so much the game, but the van trips to and from games. Fit twelve guys into an eleven-passenger van, and the conversations that come up are off the wall. Win or lose, that is my biggest memory from being a student.” Mike’s basketball team left a lasting impression on him, and he will always be thankful to OSU Mansfield for that.

In addition to extracurricular activities, OSU Mansfield encourages students to earn credit by completing internships. Mike gained real world work experience by interning at Plymouth High School. He dedicated over sixty hours working at numerous athletic events and has exemplified what it means to be an Ohio State Buckeye as a member of the local community.

By attending OSU Mansfield, Mike said he was able to “get a job as a student worker, find a major that suited me, develop the skills necessary to be selected as the new Coordinator, and meet my future wife, all because of the decision I made to play basketball for the Mavericks.”

Mike was unsure what he wanted to major in until his junior year when an OSU Mansfield staff member suggested he look into sports management. Mike took advantage of what OSU Mansfield offers in order to achieve his goals. The Ohio State University not only gave him the tools he needed, but also a professional opportunity to get his career started.

Being employed as the new Coordinator of Athletics and Recreation at OSU Mansfield means a lot to Mike because he has the best of both worlds; he gets to be close to his family while working at a nationally recognized university. Mike enjoys his time working with students and members of the Mansfield community through non-credit programs offered at the campus recreation center. OSU Mansfield not only gave Mike a launching pad for his future; OSU Mansfield employees also gave him advice and guided him in the right direction.

Mike’s advice to anyone who is contemplating getting their education at Ohio State Mansfield would be to absolutely go for it: it’s affordable, and it has a national reputation. OSU Mansfield is less expensive than Columbus, while offering smaller classes and more opportunities for one-on-one teaching. Mike believes the small campus atmosphere provides a better learning environment for students. He explains, “You don’t feel overwhelmed; you don’t feel like a number. At OSU Mansfield, when you have a question, you are not talking to a teaching assistant; you are speaking directly to a professor. You are able to focus more here, and there is much more of a support group.”

But for Ohio State Mansfield, Mike LaCroix would not have received the support, direction, and opportunity that landed him in Sports Management.

#myOSUMansfield

Our campus is a unique place. What defines that uniqueness is a set of compelling stories being lived out everyday by our students, faculty, and campus community.

To capture these stories, we grabbed a few whiteboards, some markers, and asked folks on campus and around our community what Ohio State Mansfield meant to them. Here in their own words is what they had to say.

But for Ohio State Mansfield: Jami Kinton

Jami interviews an Ohio State Mansfield student for an article in the News Journal.

Authors: Jason Spoon, Megan Bailey, Mindy McKenzie

Jami Kinton wasn’t ready to leave Mansfield after graduating from high school; ten years later, she still isn’t. As a newspaper reporter, model, actress, performer, and TV host, Jami continues to flourish in her hometown. This dedicated young woman is certain that she “cannot fail here.” Jami credits her drive to succeed to strong support from faculty and staff at the Mansfield campus of the Ohio State University.

Jami never thought she’d be asked to name 100 rocks, and she certainly couldn’t have guessed at the effect it would have. When she signed up for a Geology course at OSU Mansfield, it was with some anxiety. She was convinced that this wouldn’t be a very strong course for her, and was worried about the outcome. She needn’t have been. The “rock test” was given as one of the first class assignments, and she aced it. Encouraged by this early success, Jamie went on to get an A in the class, and ultimately become a teaching assistant in the Geology program.

But it was more than rocks that appealed to Jami about OSU Mansfield. The small class sizes at the Mansfield campus were a perfect fit for her. While getting lost in the freshman crowd at a larger campus may be fine for some, it just seemed overwhelming to Jami. Speaking about the intimate classroom setting at OSU Mansfield, Jami says, “This kind of atmosphere really helped me to do as well as I did.” For Jami, a bigger setting would have just meant being more inhibited; at the Mansfield campus, she was anything but.

Each day, she arrived on campus at 6:30 in the morning and normally stayed until the math lab closed at 8:00 at night. During her time at OSU Mansfield, Jami was involved in Spanish Club, Campus Activities Board (CAB), Buckeye Ambassadors, and was president of the Women’s Club. All of these activities, along with her teaching assistant position, meant that college was Jami’s primary focus. She jokingly admits to going to only one party while in college, but she has no regrets. “I still made a ton of friends, but I made them in school,” Jami says. It was that same kind of determined focus that would pay off later in her professional career.

There is no doubt that Jami has made a name for herself. Her drive and ambition have resulted in many professional opportunities, not just in Mansfield, but in Columbus and Cleveland as well. Whether working with Radio Disney, serving as the in-park host for the Cleveland Indians, hosting Ohio Idol in Columbus, modeling and acting for six different agencies, hosting for the Fashion TV network, acting as a beauty contributor for Nigel Barker’s website, or hosting the Cash Explosion Roadshow for the Ohio Lottery, Jami works tirelessly to advance her career and be an example of what hard work can do. And she is quick to credit OSU Mansfield with a piece of that success.

She attributes this success to being on a campus where professors truly care about the futures of their students, and are willing to do whatever it takes to help them do well. It was this personal attention from staff and faculty at OSU Mansfield that meant so much to Jami. These connections allowed her to form lasting relationships which would lead to employment opportunities. Ultimately, Jami knew that she would have to spend some time in Columbus to finish her degree, and it was with tears in her eyes that she made the initial drive south. Columbus, for all its supposed advantages, just wasn’t Mansfield.

Jami loves the Mansfield community and cherishes her time spent there. Although her many jobs give her opportunity to travel, it is always to Mansfield she returns home. The strong sense of community and purpose that her time at OSU Mansfield helped instill in her are part of what keep her here still. Jami is happiest when helping other people, and within the Mansfield community she has found many people to help and many stories to tell. Among those stories, she may pause long enough to consider her own.

Few people are as driven as she is, and fewer still turn that drive into such success. For Jami, much of that achievement has its roots at the Mansfield Campus of The Ohio State University. And until an offer rolls in to host American Idol, you can expect to continue seeing her successes right here in Mansfield.

But for Ohio State Mansfield, Jami might not have fulfilled her aspirations and launched a great career right here in her hometown.