Year in Review

To help instill global awareness, I have decided to use my STEP funds towards a study abroad program in Copenhagen, Denmark this upcoming summer. I will be studying abroad for three weeks as I take a course in Neuropsychology of Social Behaviors. I also experience global awareness through the extra-curricular activities I have chosen to participate in. Currently, I am a volunteer at La Clinica Latina, a free clinic focused on helping the Spanish-speaking community in Columbus with any general/primary care issues they face. The clinic is run solely by medical students from Ohio State and volunteer physicians from the surrounding hospitals. At the clinic, I am a part of the intake team that is responsible for assuring that any paperwork or past medical history information is updated and in the system prior to the patient meeting with the doctor. I also input lab results for La Clinica and inform patients of their results as well as any further steps that need to be taken. When needed, I also translate appointments for the doctor and patient, minimizing the language barrier and creating a positive experience for the patient. I am also a mentor for the CRIS (Community Refugee and Immigration Services) Community Connectors program. I meet weekly with me mentee to help her reach established goals and help adjust to life in Columbus.  


As a Neuroscience major, I am a part of the Neuroscience Ambassador program which hopes to create community within the major by organizing events, such as bonfires, cookouts, and more, for current Neuroscience majors and also welcoming prospective students on campus by hosting information sessions and open houses. This helps in my development as a leader as I am looked up to by younger students who have questions regarding the university and the Neuroscience program. I am also a tutor for the Neuroscience Tutoring program which targets students currently enrolled in the core Neuroscience courses with additional weekly help. As a tutor, I provide students taking Behavioral Neuroscience and Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience with individualized or group help regarding class material and create study guides and practice questions.


I am an undergraduate research assistant in Dr. Kristen Carpenter’s Women’s Behavioral Health Lab at Harding Hospital (Part of the Wexner Medical Center). The lab aims to provide patients who are experiencing illness, unique to women, special care regarding mood/anxiety disorders, sexual health, and more. As a research assistant, I help with the data input of our studies that deal with patients’ sexual lives during and following breast/gynecologic cancer treatment and how well patients cope following the initiation of chemotherapy for breast/gynecologic cancers. Data input involves having access to patient data and making sure to correctly enter it into the Teleform system. Currently, my time in the lab is mostly taken up by literature reviews for CICI, or chemotherapy induced cognitive impairment, the topic of my personal project in the lab. With the guidance of my head RA and PI, we plan on using cognitive data from breast/gynecologic cancer patients to determine if women undergoing adjuvant cancer treatment are more likely to experience CICI, also widely known as “chemobrain,” or any other comorbidity such as mood/anxiety disorders. We hope to find statistic significance within our data set, as current research findings from past journals show varying results.


My Honors contract demonstrates a commitment to the goal of Academic Enrichment by showing a diversity of courses, many of which are upper division-level. My planned curriculum relates very well to my future aspirations of being a physician as I plan to complete all the pre-medicine requirements. Additionally, my major classes are also geared towards this profession. My minor courses for Latin@ studies allow me to steer away from the sciences and further develop my other academic interests such as linguistics, history, and politics. I have also chosen my GE courses to help develop other areas of interest that are not related to the sciences. I think this is important to becoming a well-rounded educated citizen.  



Global Awareness: To achieve the goal of Global Awareness, I plan on participating in the shadowing experiences and partaking in service while abroad in Colombia. Additionally, I hope to take part in the Atlantis Project, a pre-med fellowship abroad in a variety of countries.
Original Inquiry: I hope to get involved in research at the beginning of my sophomore year. I plan on also helping others achieve their Original Inquiry goal by being a subject for psychology research experiments.
Academic Enrichment: To achieve this goal, I will take full advantage of the Honors courses and upper level courses available to me. Additionally, I hope to partake in as many events provided to Honors students throughout the academic year.
Leadership Development: I hope to be an active leader of the Latino Student Association(LSA) at OSU. I plain on joining committees, eventually leading the committees, and then being on the board in some capacity. I also hope to be a Neuroscience Ambassador, and lead activities at my volunteer locations.
Service Engagement: I will continue my service in Colombia and hope to volunteer in the Columbus area, as well. I would like to volunteer at Wexner and at the Ronald McDonald House by helping Spanish speakers. During the summers, I plan on volunteering at the Cleveland Clinic or University Hospitals.


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Getting Involved:

I came into my first semester of college thinking that I was going to focus on academics and leave extracurriculars for second semester. I decided this would be best, allowing myself to “settle in” and “figure out” how to navigate OSU’s campus and college courses. In high school, I was involved in student council, National Honor Society, French club, Diversity and Inclusion, and a few more. As the semester progressed, I found myself looking for ways to do more on my weekdays other than attend class and study. I found myself attending LSA’s gatherings, joining Buckeyes Raising Awareness in Neuroscience(BRAIN), and eventually taking part in  the BRAIN Buckeyethon team. I hope to define what extracurriculars I wish to partake in in the future and find some that I am truly passionate about.

About Me

Sofia Baena is a first year student at The Ohio State University. She is majoring in Neuroscience and plans on graduating with Honors. In the future, Sofia hopes to attend medical school and one day become a physician. She enjoys running, trying different foods, and traveling the world. On campus, Sofia is involved with the Neuroscience Department, La Clinica Latina, CRIS Community Connectors, and is a RA in Dr. Carpenter’s Women’s Behavioral Health Lab.

If you have any advice, comments, or questions for Sofia, feel free to let her know. Go Bucks!