Madi Hart is a freshman at The Ohio State University who intends to major in Integrated Language Arts Education. Ever since she was a little girl, she aspired to be a teacher but was unsure what subject she wanted to teach until she worked at her high school’s writing center during her senior year. As a peer tutor, she had the opportunity to see the writing of her peers improve drastically. She enjoyed tutoring so much that she began doing it outside of the writing center as well, marketing her one-on-one writing tutoring service on several community forums. Watching students find their voices and understand the power of words was so enjoyable for Madi that she decided to pursue a degree that would allow her to find a job teaching high-school level Language Arts. In her free time, Madi is involved in the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program at OSU. Additionally, she is a puppy sitter for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, and she is a mentor for Pen PALS OSU, which is an organization that provides role models and the improvement of literacy for students enrolled in the Columbus City School District.
My mentee (Christina Smith) and I chose to go to Kafe Kerouac for our autumn Explore Columbus assignment! One of the first things that she told me when we met was how much she liked coffee, so I thought it would be a good idea to show her a coffee place near campus that she had never tried before. In fact, I learned about Kafe Kerouac through my Explore Columbus activity with my ACES mentor last year, and I really wanted to share it with my mentee this year. She didn’t know much about it but thought it would be a good place to meet up again. I was excited to provide her with a cozy, cool study space that allows her to support a local business. After a few unsuccessful attempts at scheduling, we found a day that worked for both of us and I was so excited to go with her!
We walked along High Street to get there and talked about small things, like how our days were going and what we had going on in the coming weeks. The walk was only about ten minutes from the corner of Lane and High and the weather was nice (even though it was a little chilly). Because there are three entrances, she was a little confused at first, but we laughed about it and found the right entrance. Once we were inside, we had to wait a little while to order because there was only one person behind the counter, and they were both the cashier and the barista. We didn’t mind, though, because it was warmer inside than it was outside, and it was fun looking around and watching her absorb a new environment. We were surrounded by people diligently working, talking quietly, playing board games, reading books, and drinking craft beers (which is really interesting for a coffee shop to offer, but they appear to get a lot of business in that regard). Our favorite things about the coffee shop were the coloring nook, which had lots of printed coloring sheets and colored pencils for guests to use, the reusable cups that were different shapes and sizes, and the names of the drinks on the menu. All of them are named after famous authors, which is great for a couple of English nerds. When we finally got to order, I got a hot chai latte with soy milk, and she got an iced…something. I didn’t hear what she ordered because, when I was handed my drink, it was fuller than it appeared and spilled on my hand and the floor! My hand was a little bit burned, but I still had most of my drink and my spirits stayed high. Next time, I’ll be more careful about how eager I am to have my drink in hand.
Once we got our drinks, we continued to marvel at how cute the place was before we got down to business with the first-semester interview assignment. I asked her the various questions I was supposed to while we sipped at our drinks. When that was done, we talked for a while longer about some of the questions I asked. It served as a good icebreaker, and I felt much closer to her at the end. I most enjoyed talking with her about the crazy roommate stories we’ve heard, and I got to see her personality shine through when we were interacting in this informal, comfortable setting.
Although spending time on campus takes up a lot of time, going off-campus with my mentee allowed me to see her outside of a school setting, which is important in my understanding of how to mentor her as a whole person (rather than just her academic side). About Columbus, I learned that there are so many small businesses that I haven’t been to but want to support and getting back to Kafe Kerouac reminded me that I need to keep venturing off-campus to do this. Learning about a new city can be scary, but when you have someone familiar to do it with, it becomes much less daunting of a task. To whoever is endeavoring to visit Kafe Kerouac, I have a few pieces of advice. Firstly, don’t grab your drink too fast! Secondly, wear layers because it’s really toasty inside and I would’ve been miserable if I couldn’t have removed my jackets. Finally, go with somebody who’s interested in comics, records, and old books! You may find a new passion when the other person pushes you to explore those items in the store.
I conducted my first-semester interview with mentee Christina Smith in the middle of October, which allowed for her to have a better grasp on the questions I asked her. Rather than asking her one question from each category, we ended up discussing the whole list. I found that it helped to break down barriers between us because I could listen when she needed me to or share my personal experiences when she needed it. However, I chose to summarize six of the answers that sparked the most conversation between us.
The first question that I asked, under the ‘Academics’ category, was: “How do you like to study? Have you found a good place for studying on campus?”. She shared that her current favorite study spots are either her dorm room, Thompson Library, or the basement of her dorm building. We talked about the environment that is best conducive to studying for her: not dead silent, but with background noise that isn’t begging for her attention. She tends to just review her notes when studying for an exam. I liked talking about this with her because she’s an English major and I’m an English Education major, and we both want to be high school English teachers, so studying together would be a fun activity to do together in the future. The other question that I asked her from the ‘Academics’ category was: “What has been your most challenging class so far and why?”. This question resonated with her and allowed her to vent because her most challenging class was microeconomics and she had a midterm coming up! I took microeconomics in high school and told her that although I’m no good at memorizing the formulas either, I’m always able to attempt to help her if she’s stuck.
Under the ‘Involvement’ category, I chose to ask: “What kind of involvement are you interested in on campus?”. Her answer to this tied into the question, “What do you think will be some challenging aspects of the ACES program?”, and I found that it was something I could provide guidance for. She’s currently interested in doing service activities through the Newman Center and ACES, and she’s also interested in participating in OSEA, which I’ve been meaning to participate in. She was worried about fulfilling the necessary service hours for each semester, and I told her that, moving forward, it might be a good idea to get involved in a more consistent service activity. I gave her some examples and asked if the Newman Center had opportunities for this (it does), and it seemed to make her feel more at ease. I’m still lacking in my service hours for this semester, so maybe I can invite her to the activities that I’m planning to participate in.
Under the ‘Careers’ category, we discussed what her dream job is and why. Just like me, her dream job is to teach English in high school, and she came to it in a similar way that I did. She remembers her high school English teachers creating such calm classroom environments in which they helped her figure out the life lessons embedded in books. She’s looking to create that same atmosphere, and we bonded a lot in our conversation about it. I can definitely see myself sending her resources (campus or otherwise) that relate to our shared career goals and maybe participating in an education-related event together.
The final question that we addressed was: “How will you balance academics and involvement?”. This is something that I still don’t know the answer to regarding my own college experience, so I made sure to be transparent about that when she looked overwhelmed by the question. She seems to have a growth mindset when it comes to this, as she answered that it’s something she’s always working on. Time management skills, like prioritizing, are tricks that she knows can help her be successful in balancing academics and involvement but doesn’t always use. If I find any resources that help me answer this question personally, I’ll be sure to send them her way.
The culmination of the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program (ACES) survey class first semester was a project that required me and two other group members to watch a documentary and identify how each of the ACES Pillars (positive social change, advocacy, community, and service) appear in the movie. In order to fulfill the requirements of the project, it was necessary that we be collaborative. Because of this, we got together two times to work on the project. The first time we got together was to watch the movie and take notes in addition to discussing it. The second meeting was the meeting during which we were able to finish our presentation, as well as rehearse it. Completing this project allowed me to see real-life examples of the ACES Pillars, which makes it easier to find examples of the pillars in my own life. Moving forward, I’ll be able to dissect social issues that are presented to me and look at what needs to be done in order to ensure that somebody who looks at the issue years after I work on it will be able to identify those same ACES Pillars.
During my first semester at OSU, I took a class called School & Society, in which we discuss the history of education, the way that philosophies of teaching have evolved over time, and how to teach a diverse classroom. For our final project, we had to write a group paper focused on a specific issue in schooling and propose solutions to mitigate the issue. Because my group members and I were all interested in the connection between home life and the classroom, we looked at how the home environment of students impacted their classroom behavior and academic achievement. To present our research, we wrote a 16-page paper and presented it to the class with a PowerPoint Presentation that outlined the issues and our proposals. I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to look into an issue that I’m passionate about and think about how I can adapt my teaching in the future so that the issue is less prevalent. In addition to learning about the subject itself, I gained valuable experience working in a group because there were many aspects of the project that each group member had to compromise on.
In order to continue meeting this goal throughout the rest of my college career, I plan to continue taking classes that will encourage me to learn more about the issues I’m passionate about and how I can work to make those issues better over time. Additionally, I will continue to seek opportunities to learn beyond what is required of me, such as reading extra materials outside of the classroom and networking with people in the field that I’m interested in.
To me, engagement in service is necessary for our society to function properly. Because there are a lot of uncertainties in life, communities face hardships that can’t always be predicted or repaired by the people that reside in those communities. Additionally, all resources are scarce, which makes it difficult to make sure that everyone has an equal amount. Sometimes a group of people who lack resources needs to borrow some from a group of people who have an abundance of resources, whether it be time, money, material things, or otherwise, and those people who have an abundance of resources need to be willing to donate some of their excesses. Throughout the first year that I’m in the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program, I plan to do a significant amount of service. I am most passionate about issues involving children and animals, so I have served those communities in the time that I’ve been at The Ohio State University. The two service organizations that I have been most involved with are Pen PALS OSU and the Ohio State branch of Guiding Eyes for the Blind.
For Pen PALS OSU, I write bi-weekly to the Columbus City Schools student that I have been paired with to mentor. I wrote the first entry in the journal that we share, introducing myself and asking her questions. Since then, we’ve written to each other regarding the different prompts that we were given by the organization. By writing to my mentee, I am providing her with an example of a real student who goes to Ohio State and giving her insight about what college is like. Additionally, she is able to practice her conversational writing skills. I thoroughly enjoy learning about who my mentee is and reading her responses to my questions.
For Guiding Eyes for the Blind, I have gotten the opportunity to work hands-on with potential future guide dogs and contribute to their socialization and learning of skills.
As I move forward with my college career, I will continue to work with these organizations as well as find other service opportunities for which I can contribute my resources.
[ “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 email@example.com. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]
[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Delete these instructions and add your own post.
- Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc.
- Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
- Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
- Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
- Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community. -Healthy Community Day -Pen PALS -Guiding Eyes for the Blind -Making blankets and hygiene packets (9/19) –
[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career. Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated. 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 email@example.com. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]
I worked for a four-hour shift at Ohio State’s Healthy Community Day 2018. After being assigned to work in the children’s activity area, the other volunteers and I helped organize the people who were working in the activity area, like the clowns who made balloon animals and the face painters. Once people started arriving, we directed the flow of foot traffic through the activity area and made sure that the lines for activities moved quickly. After spending time on the concourse, two of us were asked to go to the main floor and direct people to the screenings on the concourse. Directing people to screenings helped make sure that people were utilizing the free resources available to him and potentially helped people catch health issues before they became life-threatening. After our volunteer shift, a fellow volunteer and I ran into Brutus and took a picture with him to celebrate the contribution we made to the improvement of public health.