Mentorship Program First Semester Interview

My wonderful ACE freshman mentee is Anna Gardner! Anna is from Powell, Ohio. She is a social work major and a Spanish minor at Ohio State and she is enrolled in a program that will allow her to graduate with her undergraduate and graduate degrees in social work in five years. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to sit down with Anna and talk all about her first year, her major, dreams, and inspirations. 

I first asked Anna about how she decided on her major of social work. Anna first came to learn about social work during her sophomore year of high school. In her english class she had to do a semester-long, career project and pick a prospective career to research and present to the class at the end. Anna and I attended the same high school just one year apart, so I remember this same assignment. Anna knew that she wanted a job that helped people because of her love for community service but she didn’t want to pick a career that would put her behind a desk in an office job. Upon researching for this project, social work seemed like a good fit for Anna due to her love for community service and individuals with special needs. Also, Annas younger brother is on the autism spectrum and, similar to my story, had a large impact on Annas desire to help people.

Anna and I also talked about volunteering opportunities in high school. In high school, Anna was very involved in the community through her church. She attended weekly bible studies, youth groups, and volunteered many places with the church. Anna and I also have a shared experience of both volunteering at the Delaware Common Ground Free Store during high school, in our hometown. Anna also went on five mission trips in high school to different locations in the United States. However, Anna’s favorite volunteer experience was being a camp counselor every summer at an orchestra camp, as she played the bass in the orchestra in middle school and high school. This love for community service and volunteering influenced Anna’s choice to join ACES at Ohio State. Anna choose ACES because she felt as though it fit the best out of all the scholars communities with the values of social work. Anna said that she knew when applying to Ohio State that she wanted to do scholars in order to live in community with people of similar interests. She also loved how ACES centered itself around service and doing good unto others, so it was easy for her to pick which community to join.

Anna’s dream job is to be a mental health and substance abuse social worker because she wants to work either in a hospital or a mental health care clinic helping those suffering from mental illnesses. Anna’s dream job would consist of connecting people to resources they need, running group therapy, and advocating for mental health reform on a policy level. Anna also would love to use her Spanish minor to work with all populations at a micro level, including Spanish-speakers and advocate for health care reform at a macro level. Anna would also love to be a medical social worker and serve as a liaison between patients and their families and doctors. In conclusion, Anna would love to have many different jobs within the social work field and she is keeping her options open and considering all of them.

When I asked Anna what has surprised her most about Ohio State since arriving on campus, Anna told me that she loves just how flexible her schedule is and she likes that there is not one day that looks the same as the previous one, unlike the rigid high school routine of her past. Anna feel as though at Ohio State offers many more opportunities for growth and development through that.

I absolutely loved getting to sit down and talk to Anna about her first year at Ohio State and all of the aspects of Annas incredibly bright future in social work.



  1. How did you decide your major?
  2. What type of volunteering and involvement were you involved with in high school?
  3. Why did you choose ACES?
  4. What is your dream job and why?
  5. What has surprised you most about Ohio State since arriving on campus?

Explore Columbus Excursion

On a chilly Tuesday night, my wonderful, new ACES mentee Anna and I chose to lean into the new, cold weather and go get ice cream for our Explore Columbus excursion!

Anna and I actually began our relationship during her first year and my second year of high school as we both attended Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio and we were both on the women’s tennis team! I knew Anna but we never got the chance to really get to know each other so I was so delighted when Anna sat down in front of me at the ACES mentor and mentee speed dating event. We quickly remembered just how much we have in common (including our love for colored hair) and then the rest is history! 

For our explore Columbus excursion, I asked Anna if there was anything that she hasn’t tried yet since coming to campus but that she would want to, and she told me that she had severe withdrawal from Jeni’s ice cream as she hasn’t visited any of the locations down here. She also had a free ice cream coupon that she won at OSU orientation. How perfect! So, we hopped on the first southbound COTA bus we saw on High Street and headed down the couple blocks into the short north. Anna is a relatively new COTA busser and so I got to introduce her to the frequent High Street busses and hopefully made her feel more comfortable! When we got to Jeni’s it was fairly busy for a Tuesday night and Anna and I both concurred that we have never seen a Jeni’s location not be busy. But we each tried some flavors before settling on “coffee with cream and sugar” for Anna and the same for me but with some dairy free “double chocolate truffle” to go along with mine. 

Once we had selected and paid for our ice cream, we found two stools available in the main seating area in the back and sat down, which was very lucky as we later saw people having to stand due to it being so busy. Anna and I talked in our seated and chatted so much that we lost track of time. We talked all about how Annas first year was going and how it has been making friends at Ohio State and being away from home. We talked about how Anna came to pick social work as her major and Spanish as her minor and how her first semester class load has been. We chatted about mutual friends from Powell and high school teachers, as well as our families and friends. I am almost positive that Anna had my mom as a teacher in middle school too, but we couldn’t remember for sure. We discussed our majors and minors and the tracks that we are both intending on taking. Anna is accepted into a program where she will complete both her undergraduate and graduate degree in 5 years at Ohio State, which is incredible. Anna came to choose her major of social work because of her heart for people and desire to help others, which is just one of the great aspects of Anna. I loved getting to know her more during our ice cream excursion. We COTA bussed back from Jeni’s on the number 2 bus and I walked Anna by Smith-Steeb on my way home to Neil Avenue Building.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams is a scrumptious Columbus staple and I would recommend it to just about anybody! They have delicious and very unique flavors of ice cream that rotate seasonally in addition to their iconic, year round flavors, so there is something for everybody! They have all kinds of varied ice creams like classic ice cream, dairy free, gluten free, sugar free, sorbet, and even frozen yogurt now too! While it may be busy upon entering the store, it is definitely worth the wait!

G.O.A.L.S -Service Engagement

For the service engagement component of the G.O.A.L. acronym I am involved in multiple service driven organizations. This is my first year being involved in the Autism Speaks U chapter here at Ohio State. Today, November 12th 2018, myself and other students from Autism Speaks volunteered at Oakstone Academy, a special needs elementary school in Westerville, Ohio. While we were only there for a brief 2 hours, our time spent with the kindergarteners flew by in a blur. In the spirit of Thanksgiving coming up, four other students and I read multiple books to the 16 children in the classroom and we followed with discussions of Thanksgiving food and what we are thankful for this season. We also facilitated making hand-turkeys with the kindergarteners. I had such a fun time and it reminded me that serving the community (through these kids) can be fun too!


G.O.A.L.S. -Global Awareness

For global awareness, I chose to highlight a recent mission trip I went on this summer. In July 2018, I took an eight day trip with my mom, younger sister, and other members of my church to the Northern mountains of Chisec, Guatemala. Throughout those eight days, I learned so much about how to serving and loving on people from an entirely different world. My church took 28 people on its first trip to this village to build a parsonage for the pastor of the already existing “Iglesia de Nazareno”, or Nazarene Church there. I personally helped set up and lead the vacation Bible school for over 300 children that were in elementary school, at the time, in this village. This was my second mission trip and I learned so much about people from all different cultures. From the very urbanized Guatemala city, to the smaller town Guatemalans that resided in the hotel we stayed in, to the villagers living in intense poverty just miles from the city, we saw it all and interacted with them all differently. It was most impactful for me to see the joy that all of the villagers had, even though they have nothing. I thought to myself, “They have nothing and are filled with joy. I have essentially everything… Why do I still complain about what I have?”. It was a very humbling experience. I definitely have a heart for global missions and I hope that I will get to do many more mission trips in the future.


ACES Pillars Film Project

On Tuesday, November 6th 2018, three other ACES Scholars and I gave a presentation on the Netflix documentary “Tricked” while through the lens of the four ACES pillars, for the ACES Pillars Film Project. The four pillars, community, service, advocacy, and positive social change, play a large role in most social and social justice issues in today’s society. This 2013 documentary follows multiple points of views of people that are directly affected by the sex trafficking issue in the United States. The film allows victims of sex trafficking to speak firsthand on their experiences as well as law enforcement officials who deal with human trafficking in their lines of work to offer their viewpoints. It also allows individuals that control women in human trafficking (pimps) and those individuals who partake in the trade of sex trafficking (johns). Individually, I took a look at the film and the positive social change that occurs in the film. Sex trafficking, or as President Obama claimed, “modern day slavery”, is a growing American epidemic, but that does not mean that there are not individuals trying to help in any way that they can. One example of positive social change seen in this film was Danielle Douglas, a former sex trafficking victim, and arguably the main character of the movie “Tricked”. Danielle’s willingness to publicly share her story is very powerful and her commitment to help other girls that are in a similar situation that she was in is a perfect example of how Danielle is enacting positive social change. Through the ACES Pillars Film Project, I collaborated very well with my group members and I am very proud of the outcome of all of our hard work.  

Autism Speaks Outreach

On the morning of October 7th 2018, I participated in the Autism Speaks walk on the Columbus Commons in downtown Columbus. This is my first year participating in Autism Speaks U at Ohio State and this was not my first time participating in the Autism Speaks walk but, it was my first time volunteering at the walk. The Ohio State chapter of Autism Speaks U has been selling t-shirts to benefit Autism Speaks at the walk for many years now and this year, we sold enough t-shirts to donate more than one thousand dollars to Autism Speaks this year! I have regularly attended the Autism Speaks Walk in Columbus as a participant in the past but, this was my first experience being a volunteer and being behind-the-scenes. I had a great experience at the Autism Speaks Walk 2018!

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more guidance on using your ePortfolio, including questions and prompts that will help you get started, please visit the Honors & Scholars ePortfolio course in Carmen. To get answers to specific questions, please email Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me


Hello, my name is Elizabeth Croop. I graduated from Olentangy Liberty High School in Powell, Ohio in May of 2018. I am a Speech and Hearing Sciences major in the College of Arts Sciences here at The Ohio State University. In the future, I hope to be a pediatric speech pathologist specializing in treating the the speech necessities of children with autism spectrum disorder. Here at Ohio State, I am involved in Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars, the Ohio State chapter of Autism Speaks, The National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association (NSSLHA), and Cru, a christian movement on campus.  During my high school career, I developed my love for working with children through volunteering in my churches nursery and the frequent babysitting of my young neighbors. In my free time, I enjoy singing and playing the piano for my church, reading, playing with my 2 little brothers, and playing tennis. I am very excited to begin my college experience and make lifelong connections and memories while furthering my education.