Major Service Project

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Starting in September last semester, I had the wonderful opportunity to volunteer for After-School All-Stars (ASAS) at Moler Elementary. I first experienced the amazing work this non-profit organization does for the children of Columbus when I volunteered at the New Albany Classic, a Grand Prix horse showjumping event. As a member of the OSU Hunt Seat Equestrian team, my club volunteered in the V.I.P. Children’s tent, where ASAS was hosting activities. After having a wonderful experience with the leaders who were there, I gave them my contact information in the hopes of becoming more involved. A few weeks later, I began my time at Moler Elementary!

My first day was overwhelming, but the kids were very welcoming and seemed to love getting to know me, although I have to say they provided me with more joy than I probably provided them. I worked with kindergartners and first graders and was usually partnered with one or two other college students to lead the class. We begin the time by helping them with any homework, or, if they don’t have any assignments from class, we provide them with enrichment activities or worksheets. Then, we do a craft or science experiment. Most recently, they learned about chemical reactions and making hypotheses through a “dancing raisins” activity, which compared the reactions of raisins with club soda, sprite, and baking soda and vinegar. After this activity, we have a structured physical activity, where we usually spend time teaching them a particular sport, such as soccer, basketball, or tennis. Finally, their favorite time of the day arrives: dinner! All of the children who participate in ASAS come from low-income families and in many cases, this meal is the only food they will receive until they come to school again the next morning.

I have enjoyed my time at ASAS more than I ever imagined I would. The children are incredibly sweet, even though they are much rowdier and require more discipline than I anticipated. Being able to be with them all year has allowed me to watch them grow and get to know them on a personal level. As a Public Affairs major, this experience has also peaked my interest in education policy, a large focus of the Glenn College. Even as kindergartners and first graders, I can see where their education is behind in some important aspects, especially reading. I would love to be able to help correct this through the channels of government and non profits, such as After-School All-Stars.

If you would like more information on how you can become involved in this wonderful organization, visit As a volunteer, they were very willing to have me come just for one day a week from 3-6 p.m., but there are also opportunities for part-time jobs and internships which are Monday – Thursday. You will not regret any of the time you give to this organization, which is truly life changing for the children who participate.

Year in Review

When I came to Ohio State as a freshman, I was confident I knew exactly how the next four years would play out and even the years after that. I was a Health Sciences major planning on becoming an optometrist and was confident that I would not change my mind, no matter what obstacles lay ahead. However, college quickly changed my plans and I am very grateful for this change, even though it was stressful at the time.

About mid-way through my first semester, I decided to switch my major to Public Affairs after much research about different majors and career options. Although this is completely different than Health Sciences, this major is such a better fit for me. I find policy analysis fascinating, and I love I am able to make significant impacts in hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people through the analysis of data and policy outcomes.

This year, I have had the opportunity to take higher-level PA and data analysis classes, which have further revealed to me that this major is the perfect fit for me. My favorite class has been Public Management, which has led me to declare this as my specialization within the Glenn College. I am also taking advantage of the new Bachelor of Science in Policy Analysis, which will allow me to combine my knowledge for data interpretation to make recommendations to the agencies of which I work for in the future. Along with my French for Business minor, I hope to use this mix of my interests to someday work for a government agency as a high-level administrator focused on policy decisions. I also appreciate that I am able to use my love for writing to impact others through policy ideas.

Through the Glenn College, I have found my home in Ohio State’s sometimes intimidating world of academics. This has allowed me to become more confident in myself as a leader and proud of my interests and talents, even if they are different than when I entered college as a freshman. This has allowed me to become more involved in volunteer opportunities and extracurricular activities. I was Education and Alumni Chair and am now currently secretary of Collegiate 4-H at OSU. In addition, my Christian faith has become a more significant part of my life since coming to OSU will be leading a Bible study through Real Life again next year. This year has been a wonderful experience, whether concerning academics, clubs, or other areas of life, such as family relationships and friendships, and I am looking forward to my next two years as a Buckeye.




Health and Wellness: I attended a training on Suicide Awareness, which taught the participants about the warning signs of depression and suicide. College students are especially prone to depression because of the stress placed upon us in school and preparing for the future, so this training taught me how to best provide help in a loving, caring manner.

Global Awareness: I will be participating in an OSU Study Abroad trip to London this Maymester. I have never traveled to Europe before, so I am extrememly excited to experience this through a study abroad program.

Original Inquiry: I participated in research at the Ohio State School of Optometry for 6-8 hours a week during Fall Semester 2014. The project dealt with retinal imaging of rods and the imaging techniques of new technology. Recently, I have helped with research for an associate professor who is completing her PhD in the Department of Animal Sciences. Her project researches nutrition in miniature horses.
Academic Enrichment: I interviewed my State Represenative, Robert McColley last fall. We discussed how his leadership skills helped him in his political and professional career. He also spoke to me about employment and internship opportunities at the State House.

Leadership Development: I am the Education and Alumni Chair for Collegiate 4-H. Through this position, I organize training sessions to teach 4-Hers in the surrounding counties skills such as officer training, camp counseling, and applying for state-wide leadership positions. I also organize alumni events, including our upcoming event to the OSU Women’s Basketball game.
Service Engagement: I am a volunteer program leader for After-School All Stars at Moler Elementary. I volunteer one day a week for 3 hours with the kindergartners and first graders. Through this program, children from low-income families are provided with academic enrichment, crafts, physical education, and a meal.


 Amber Gruenhagen – 2334 Indianola Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43202 –

(419) 956-9997


The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH      Expected Graduation Date: May 2018

B.A. Public Affairs, Minor: French, Specialization: Public Management    GPA: 3.816 /4.00


Napoleon High School, Napoleon, OH – Graduated May 25 2014, GPA: 4.00/4.00 (Valedictorian)




John Glenn Civic Leadership Council (February 2015 – Present)

  • Discuss current events and ways to engage the community in order to fix problems.

Undergraduate Ambassador for the John Glenn College (October 2015 – Present)

  • Represent the college at University-wide events and provide information about the major and Page Hall to prospective students

Ohio State Undergraduate Student Government Campaign (October 2014 – April 2015)

  • Help craft policy to improve the undergraduate student voice as a whole; ran for Senate as a representative for Public Affairs. Member of successful campaign team working to elect President and Vice President. Held position of Dorm Captain in Baker East working to engage and inform the residents about the campaign.

Health Science Scholars’ Program (August 2014 – Present)

  • Chosen to participate in competitive, community-based program for students interested in health-related careers; strong focus on community service.

Collegiate 4-H (August 2014 – Present)

  • Chair of the Education/Alumni committee
  • Help plan and coordinate activities such as Ployboy Prom and CNI Camp
  • Travel to various counties and help train 4-Hers in officer and camp counselor training.

Ohio State Hunt Seat Equestrian Team (August 2014 – Present)

  • Compete on club team against other colleges in the region, attend weekly lessons, take part in community service projects.

Real Life Cru at Ohio State (August 2014 – Present)

  • Active member of Christian church group comprised of fellow OSU students. Chosen to be a Bible Study leader for 2015-2016. Attended 2015 Big Break week-long seminar in Panama City Beach, Florida.



Ohio State Department of Animal Sciences and Equine Extension

Office Assistant (January 2015 – Present)

  • Assist with office responsibilities, including filling out spread sheets, filing papers, and many other activities, many of which relate to 4-H equine programs throughout Ohio. I also help with the state-wide volunteer training, Horse Bowl, and clinics hosted by the Equine Extension program.

Tropical Freeze, Ridgeville Corners, OH

Waitress/Food Service (April 2014 – Present)

  • Took customers’ orders and worked with team of employees to fill ice cream and food orders
  • Worked up to 18 hours per week during school year while also participating in sports and up to 30 hours per week during summer

Ohio State School of Optometry

Research Assistant (September – December 2014)

  • Worked with retinal imaging data researching rods 8 hours per week.



After-School All Stars (October 2015 – present)

  • Lead a group of kindergartners at Moler Elementary school at this after-school program. Activities include homework help, arts and crafts, sports, and providing them with a meal.

Ohio State Community Commitment (August) and Martin Lutheran King Jr. Day (January) service days

  • Volunteered for 6 hours each day at a local park, a refugee center, and a nursing home.
  • Activities include raking leaves, pulling weeds, vacuuming floors, picking up trash, interacting with the residents.

New Albany Classic volunteer (September 2015 & 2014)

  • Supervised bounce house and craft area in the V.I.P Children’s Tent at this Grand Prix showjumping event.

Buckeyethon participant (February 2015)

  • Raised funds and then danced in 24-hour marathon benefitting childhood cancer.

Henry County Extension Office volunteer, Napoleon, OH (June 2013 – August 2014)

  • Assisted with coordinating 4-H and Junior Fair activities and facilitating special projects
  • Organized Junior Fair entry forms and compiled lists and schedules for the shows



Dean’s List (Spring and Fall Semesters 2015, Spring 2016)

Henry County Junior Fair Queen (August 2015 – Present)

  • Represent our county at fairs across the state and numerous public relations events. Competed at the Ohio Fairs’ Queen Contest in January 2016.



Dr. Kimberly Cole

  • Assistant Professor and Equine Extension specialist
  • Supervisor at my job in the Department of Animal Sciences
  • Email:
  • Phone: 614-292-2625

Dreaddi Larcher

  • After-School All Stars Site Manager, Moler Elementary, where I have volunteered since October 2015
  • Email:
  • Phone: 614-257-1678

Laura Rohlf

  • Extension Educator, 4-H Youth Development, Henry County
  • Coordinator for various 4-H and Junior Fair activities of which I was a member for 13 years.
  • Email:
  • Phone: 419-592-0806

April Behnfeldt

  • Owner of Tropical Freeze, where I worked during the summers of 2014 and 2015.
  • Phone: 419-770-9820

Informational Interview

As a Public Affairs major with a strong interest in state government, I am aware of how wonderful a location Columbus is and how many opportunities are available due to the state house being only a short drive down the street. Although I do not have plans to become a politician, I would love to work in the state house after graduation in an administrative role or in a policy analysis position. This interest led me to contact my state representative, Robert McColley. I was extremely excited and thankful that he had taken time out of his busy schedule to meet with me. Although I do not personally know Representative McColley, he is from my hometown of Napoleon, and I had met with him once before during my senior year of high school because of a scholarship interview.

Elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in November of 2014, Represenative McColley spent his past year working to further the interests of his constituents and proving his ability as a leader in the House. Prior to his legislative career, he graduated from Napoleon High School in 2003, attended The Ohio State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and then attended the University of Toledo College of Law, graduating in 2010. McColley held numerous positions in Henry County, such as trustee for the Henry County Community Foundation, board member for the Center for Child and Family Advocacy, and a member of the OSU Alumni Club of Northwest Ohio. Now, as representative for the 81st District, he serves on the Government Accountability and Oversight, Judiciary, and Ways and Means committees.

When discussing his career, Representative McColley spoke highly of the value of strong leadership skills in any career. Whether in his law office, a business venture, or today as a legislator, McColley spoke of the different syles of leadership and the need for flexibility when using these. When asked about his particular style of leadership, McColley said that he utilizes laissez-faire, democratic, and authoritarian styles in the different aspects of his legislator position. Regardless of the job, Representative McColley asserted that the ability to read situations and respond according to the individuals and goals involved is a key to one’s success as a leader. When working in any type of government job, especially one at the state house, it will be important for me to be able to ignore any partisan differences in the interest of carrying out policy. In order to do this, blending the different styles and responding according to the specific situation will allow me to be successful as a leader.

Another aspect of leadership of which Representative McColley spoke was the importance of maintaining a high reputation. I appreciated that he spoke of his personal values and his ability to maintain these despite the challenges a career in public service brings with it. His ability to recognize that reputation and relationships are the keys to being a good leader is important because it provides me with guidance on how to strengthen my own leadership skills. As McColley ended the interview with a final piece of advice on becoming a great leader, he reiterated, “If you can go by first starting off and having a good relationship with people and having an interpersonal relationship with people, then that is the foundation upon which you build your reputation.”

About Me


Hello! My name is Amber Gruenhagen. I am a second-year Health Science Scholars student in the John Glenn College studying Public Affairs with a specialization in Public Management and a French minor. I graduated from Napoleon High School in 2014, where I was a three-sport athlete and active in many clubs. During my time growing up, I was also very involved in my county’s 4-H program and my church youth group. Since coming to Ohio State, I have become involved in Real Life, through which I lead a Bible study and have participated in spring break trips, Collegiate 4-H, the Hunt Seat Equestrian Team, and the John Glenn Civic Leadership Council. For the past year, I have worked in the Department of Animal Sciences in the 4-H Horse Extension department, where I help prepare for state-wide 4-H events.

Since coming to Ohio State, I have learned the importance of truly appreciating the education I am offered here. I am extremely passionate about both my major and my minor, which makes even the challenging classes enjoyable. My favorite class that I have taken so far is Public Affairs 2130: Civic Engagement and my current French 3101: French Grammar class. Looking forward, I am excited to spend this Maymester studying in London through an OSU Study Abroad trip, and I also hope to participate in the Glenn College’s Washington Academic Internship Program.