“Who are You Talking To?” Tuesday-Allison Mayer, Admissions Staff Assistant

Allison Mayer is Ohio State ATI’s Admissions Staff Assistant. She has been at Ohio State ATI for four years. She works with prospective students and their families to schedule visits to campus.

While in-person campus visits at Ohio State ATI in Wooster are currently unavailable due to COVID-19 you can still schedule to meet with an admissions counselor over Zoom, which is a video conferencing service, or by phone or email. It may be possible to meet with a faculty member from your major through these methods, as well. You can use the website and contact information at the bottom to schedule a visit. We would love for you to meet with us (virtually at this time) to learn what Ohio State ATI is all about.

Allison’s favorite thing about her job is seeing hesitant students and their families come to campus and after meeting with an admissions counselor or faculty member their fears fade away. The families are reassured Ohio State ATI has the resources to help students succeed and the faculty and staff to support the student’s needs. Often relationships continue after a student is on campus, because their admissions counselor is one of the first people they meet when they visit campus as a nervous or excited high school senior. Students feel comfortable with a familiar face.

“Take this time to learn to be a good roommate,” Allison suggests. She says, “Under quarantine you are likely in your home with your family for an extended period. Living on campus is not a quarantine, but you will be living with new people in close quarters. Take this time to take care of yourself and learn how to support your household. Do the dishes, do the laundry, help make meals, read, practice your hobby, and most importantly establish study techniques to utilize when people are around. When you are in college, there will be lots of distractions and people will always be around. Being able to separate yourself and taking care of business is an important skill to develop.”

Allison and the rest of Ohio State ATI’s Admission Office are still here to answer any questions that you may have! During this time, visits look a little different, but we strive to provide as much information as possible to help students make their decisions about Ohio State ATI.  Please feel free to contact us!

ATI Office of Admissions

“Who are You Talking To?” Tuesday- Thom Janini, Ph.D.

Thom Janini, Ph.D.Thom Janini, PhD, is Ohio State ATI’s Assistant Director for Student Programming and Life. He has been at Ohio State ATI for 13 years. He came from industry to be a professor and then progressed into administrative roles. As the Assistant Director for Student Programming and Life, he works to make students’ lives better. His job encompasses all parts of the student experiences, including cocurricular activities, such as clubs and organizations. His role also encompasses Student Success Services, which provides services such as counseling and academic resources.

As he strives to make students’ lives better, he emphasizes that Ohio State ATI is a great place to come because there are so many resources to help students achieve their goals:

  1. It is a small campus community, so everyone knows everybody. It is an environment that facilitates making friends for life. We have a Student Activities Center, which hosts a multitude of activities for you
    Intramural basketball at the Student Activities Center

    Intramural basketball at the Student Activities Center

    and your new friends. Activities include intramural sports, trivia, and craft nights.

  2. Our faculty know our students. Our student-to-faculty ratio is 17:1, so your professors will know your name. Our classes emphasize experiential learning, so students can learn by doing. Janini states, “In an age where students are so empowered by things digital, they need opportunities to get experience and try things out in the real world.”
  3. There are many other resources for student success. These include peer-based tutoring, counseling, our library, and many other services. Dr. Janini says, “In pursuing
    Ohio State ATI Library

    Ohio State ATI Library

    your program here, you are going to have to do some things that are really hard and that you have never been asked to do before. While that may seem challenging, we offer a big support network. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”

There are so many resources available to students at Ohio State ATI, and we are constantly trying to improve the student experience! We would love for you to explore Ohio State ATI and see if our campus is a place where that you could thrive.

“Who are You Talking To?” Tuesday-Cate Hunko, Transition Counselor

Cate Hunko works as Ohio State ATI’s Transition Counselor. She has been with us for a year and a half. Before starting her role as our transition counselor, she had an internship in our Learning Lab , where she really loved Ohio State ATI’s student body and wanted to join us! Her favorite thing about Ohio State ATI is still the students! She says, “I meet a lot of fun and interesting students who have the drive and capacity to achieve their goals, and I enjoy being a part of that movement and growth.”

In her role as a Transition Counselor, she works with students who are interested in transitioning from Ohio State ATI to the Columbus campus to finish their bachelor’s degrees. This includes working with students on what classes they need to take, but it is more than that. She strives to give students the information they will need in every aspect of life, including housing, parking, transportation, and clubs and organizations. She works closely with people on the Columbus campus and provides information and contacts for students at Ohio State ATI to create a smooth and successful transition.

A piece of advice that she would give a prospective student is, “Be open to the possibilities of college and know that there is support if you are struggling not only academically but also if social and emotional issues arise. Over the years, the college experience has become all-inclusive, and a place like Ohio State ATI provides the opportunity for students to achieve their academic goal.”

Whether it be graduating with an associate degree and moving out into industry, or making the transition to the Columbus campus and finishing a bachelor’s degree, explore Ohio State ATI and learn how we can help you achieve your goals!

Healthy Meal Prep and Snack Ideas on a College Budget

by Mehan Gibboney

As a soon-to-be college student, you might have a lot of questions surrounding academics, living on campus and what the meal and food options are on, or around campus. Consider this a peek into the college dining lifestyle, on a college student sized budget.

Like many other prospective college students, I feared the “freshman fifteen” that we all hear about. But I’m here to tell you with some limited cooking skills, simple supplies and a few affordable grocery trips, it easy to avoid. For the prices and foods I talk about, I’m using the Wooster Aldi grocery store as my reference. This is where I personally shop due to the incredible low prices, and the convenient location. Aldi also carries pots, pans, and cooking utensils, as well as some other home products.

My favorite recipe to make in the full-sized kitchen in my campus apartment is a chicken vegetable stir fry. This recipe can be altered in many ways depending on your preferences.

Chicken Vegetable Stir Fry

Spaghetti/ pasta noodles                                                   $0.89

Sliced Mushrooms                                                            $2.35

Cubed Bell pepper of any kind                                         $0.67

Chopped Broccoli (I use frozen)                                       $0.89

2 Chicken breasts                                                                $6.25

A sauce of your choice (I use a bottled sauce)                  $2.26

TOTAL MEAL COST:                                                     $13.31

SERVES 1 person for 3-4 meals           cost per serving   $4.00-$3.00

Step 1: Prepare the vegetables and chicken by cubing them (if you buy prechopped of each it makes the process faster).

Step 2: Start boiling water and a dash of salt in a pan for your noodles, once it begins to boil place a small handful of spaghetti in then water and boil for the time listed on the box.

Step 3: Place the cubed chicken in a frying pan and fry until fully cooked.

Step 4: Once the chicken is done place the vegetables in the same pan at a lower temperature. Once they become soft pour in the sauce of your choice.

Step 5: Pour the water out of your spaghetti, combine all elements (vegetables, noodles, and the chicken). You may want to add a bit more sauce, but, otherwise, your meal is complete!

Recipes like this one are super tasty and quick to make. At the bottom of the page are some additional links to great recipes. Some of my other favorite ideas for meals are crock pot ham and potatoes, grilled chicken, as well as any type of pasta vegetable combination. These meals are also all crockpot and grill friendly, both of which students can have on campus! I encourage you to get online, on Pinterest or even ask family members who like to cook what some of their favorite easy meals are. It makes for a good time with roommates and a break from studying. Almost any meal imaginable can be adapted to your personal preferences and budget.

What Do I Need?

When it comes to cooking there are some supplies required but, in college you don’t need the most expensive brand of dishes and pans that money can buy. What I and many other students recommend is visiting stores like TJMAXX, Goodwill or any yard sale you come across. These provide you with some of the cheaper and still good quality cookware. The main tools you’ll need in the kitchen if you’re planning to cook are the following: a sauce pan of any size, a frying pan, cookie sheet for the oven, some utensils (plastic or metal — both are great), a small cutlery set (set of 3 is sufficient), a strainer, cutting board, and measuring cups/spoons. Keep in mind these things aren’t all necessary, just helpful if you plan to cook.

What About Quick Snacks?

For snack ideas, many college students will tell you a box of your favorite cereal is a vital key in getting through the semester. It’s an easy, lazy meal with some fruit or a nice, quick late-night snack or breakfast between classes. Gummy snacks, pretzels of any variety, granola bars, fruit and even cheese sticks and yogurt are all very delicious and cheap snack ideas to keep you going through the day. Many professors will allow you to eat during lectures and these snacks are great for on the go!

Meal Ideas



Additional Snack Ideas



David Richards ’81 receives CFAES Distinguished Alumnus Award

Dave Richards ’81 (Associate of Science in Nursery Management) was recently honored as a recipient of a CFAES Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Dave is a strong supporter of Ohio State ATI and has been an instructor in horticulture at Auburn Career Center in Painesville, Ohio, for over 20 years. Experiential learning is a focus of his teaching strategy, and he incorporates many different forms of hands-on education into his student lessons.

To help prepare students for what will be expected of them in the industry, Dave has worked to change Ohio FFA’s testing to be similar to the professional certifications in Ohio’s nursery and landscape industry. He continues to work with Ohio FFA and National FFA to offer apprenticeship programs in which students can participate.

One of the highlights of his experiential teaching strategies is a display at Cleveland’s Great Big Home + Garden Show where, with Dave’s leadership, students create a competition-level garden that is 1,600 square feet.

In his words, Dave’s greatest contribution to the landscape industry is “a passion for excellence in all endeavors both personally and for my students. I am particularly proud of the partnerships developed with business and industry which led to aligning classroom/ lab curriculum with industry certification credentials.” It is through his students that Dave’s legacy will live on.

David Payne recognized as 2020 Turfgrass Science Student of the Year

David Payne was one of two students to receive the 2020 Turfgrass Science Student of the Year Award (Brandon Stith from the Columbus Campus was also recognized). He accepted the award at the Ohio Turfgrass Foundation’s Spring Into 2020 event.

According to a letter of endorsement written on David’s behalf, although his academic accomplishments are noteworthy, his greatest achievements have been outside the classroom. He went out of his way to develop rapport with his classmates, and his outgoing personality encouraged them to become more engaged in classes and labs. Elected President of the ATI Turf Club by his peers, David immediately implemented a mentoring program, wherein second-year turfgrass students were assigned two or three freshmen to mentor during their first semester. David and three of his classmates completely overhauled ATI’s intramural softball field over autumn break because they did not feel the field condition reflected well on the turf program. David was also determined to have a competitive team at the 2020 Sports Turf Managers Collegiate Skills Competition and held his teammates accountable for rigorous study in the weeks leading up to the event. Their hard work was rewarded with a third-place finish.

Congratulations, David!

“Who are You Talking To?” Tuesday-Uttara Samarakoon, Ph.D.

Uttara Samarakoon, Ph.D.Uttara Samarakoon, PhD is an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator of Greenhouse and Nursery Management at Ohio State ATI. She has been at Ohio State ATI for four years. She currently is doing research on nutrient optimization for hydroponic crops.

Ohio State ATI’s Greenhouse and Nursery Management program is an Associate of Applied Science degree. It offers students the opportunity to specialize in one of three areas of controlled environment agriculture: Greenhouse, Nursery, and Greenhouse Engineering Technology.

“The greenhouse industry is taking agriculture to the next level, providing the possibility to grow plants in a controlled environment,” Dr. Samarakoon stated. “Job opportunities are many, and skilled people are paid very well. There are very few greenhouse management degrees in the US, and the greenhouse engineering technology specialization is the only 2-year program in the North America.”

Student working in our hydroponic greenhouse.

Student working in our hydroponic greenhouse.

Students in the greenhouse program have the opportunity to take a class called Greenhouse Vegetable Production. This course gives students principles and practices of vegetable crop production. It is Dr. Samarakoon’s favorite class to teach because she designed it! For hands-on activities, students establish crops in different growing systems. ATI has a greenhouse dedicated to hydroponic crops.

A Greenhouse and Nursery Management degree is not just for people who enjoy plants and learning about the process of growing. Dr. Samarakoon says, “Opportunities in the greenhouse and nursery industry are many and can range from growing plants and working with equipment, to sales and public horticulture. Students can experience these different opportunities at ATI and gradually build their career of choice in the greenhouse industry.” Ohio State ATI has state-of-the- art greenhouses established in 2017 to enhance the educational experience in controlled environment agriculture.

Students working with hydroponic plants.

Students working with hydroponic plants.

Dr. Samarakoon’s favorite part of Ohio State ATI is our students, and we would love to have you on campus as one! Find more information on our Greenhouse and Nursery Management degree here or schedule a visit to campus and experience it for yourself.