Service Project

For my 40 hour service project, I combined two different sites of service. The common theme in my two service sites is volunteering with children.

For the majority of my service, I volunteered at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Reach Out and Read program. For this role, I read to and with children in a primary care facility who were waiting for their doctor’s appointment. I was also responsible for promoting continued reading at home and school. I gained 33 hours of service through this site.

My other source of service hours was through College Mentors for Kids. This program is a partnership between local elementary schools and OSU. Students from first through fifth grade come to OSU once a week and are paired with a mentor. Every week is a new activity that we all participate in together. These activities are meant to teach the students about college life and their future choices in careers. Although the program is educational and the students are learning, they also have a lot of fun and look forward to coming to OSU every week. I got the last 7 of my required service hours through this program.

Informational Interview

For my interview, I spoke Amy Newtown, a family friend who is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA). I asked her several questions about her work and why she chose to specialize in this type of work.

She works as a smaller hospital in both acute care and inpatient rehabilitation settings. She shared that she usually sees about 14 patients a day, from around 8 AM to 5 PM with a break for lunch. She said that she works with a wide variety of patient diagnoses, including: strokes, heart surgeries, and hip and knee replacement surgeries. In her treatments, she works with patients to improve their activities of daily living (ADLs) like bathing, dressing, and grooming. She also works with them on home exercise programs for arms and cognitive retraining.

When I asked her why she chose Occupational Therapy, she told me that she always knew she wanted to work in the medical field. When making her career choice, she was deciding between nursing and OT. She believed that OT would be a better fit for her personal qualities and skills. She also shared that her favorite part of her job was seeing a patient in some of the worst times of their life and being able to help them get better and return home.

She also shared with me advice for someone just starting out in the field. She told me to make sure that I know the diagnoses, abbreviations, and precautions and how those apply to you as a therapist. She also said to make sure to ask questions and utilize the resources you have like your professors and instructors in school.




Over my freshman year, I volunteered my 20 hours at several different places. I had many opportunities through Pay it Forward, a service based club at OSU. My most memorable volunteering experience was at Spring into Service in April 2017. I volunteered at a local church’s community garden. Me and my group worked to relocate compost piles and clean plastic bottles. When we were done volunteering, our hosts offered all of the volunteers lots of snacks and a free hot lunch. Their unexpected kindness overwhelmed me, and I gained a new understanding of being grateful and humble.


I also participated in Community Commitment in the fall with Pay it Forward. I worked at a local food pantry for 2 hours. I volunteered with IAA for Be the Change Day. We made sandwiches for homeless people in the Union for 2 hours. I worked with Habitat for Humanity in the fall for 7 hours. We worked on a building site and helped wherever we could. In the spring, I participated in MLK Day of Service with Pay it Forward. I worked at COSI and helped assemble kits to take to local schools. I did this for 3 hours. I also participated in Spring into Service with Pay it Forward where I worked in a community garden for 3 hours. I also volunteered at a Parkinson’s 5K with a club that I am involved in, UNOO (Undergraduate Neuroscience Outreach Organization). I helped set up, clean up, and direct runners on the course. I did this for 3 hours. I have had very diverse service opportunities this year.


Freshman Year


Since coming to OSU, I have seen lots of personal growth. For one, I am much more independent now than I was when I was living at home. I have learned how to do things on my own, even when I don’t want to do them. I learned that I have certain responsibilities that need to be done every week, no matter what. I have learned how to manage my time, and how to prioritize deadlines. I have branched out of my comfort zone more than I ever expected to. Before coming to college, I had no idea what to expect of HSS. It has been a good way to get involved and provided me with fun activities to do. I expected that classes would be difficult, and that expectation has been met. I expected that it would be a very tough transition, and surprisingly, it wasn’t too bad. My goals for next year are a continuation of what I’ve been working on this year. I hope to become more involved in new clubs, make new friends, and to focus on my classes. I want to establish a good work/life balance.

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 information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

Upperclassmen Interview

I recently interviewed Kylie Scott, a second year HSS student. She is Biology major with a minor in Spanish and an aspiring optometrist. From talking to her, I learned more about optometry as a field. I learned about the conditions of working in an optometrist and the courses required to get into optometry school. Optometry schools also require shadowing experience, and prefer for the applicant to have experience working in an optometry clinic. I learned some of the benefits of optometry as a career. Optometry has flexible hours, the possibility for private practice, and it is usually not life-or-death work. This means that optometry as a field is more laid back than other medical professions. Kylie is involved in several clubs, both relating to optometry and not relating to optometry. She has had several opportunities to get involved in optometry related service through these clubs. I also received advice about my career search. She advised me to go out and shadow people in different professions, and to choose a career that I loved. After learning more about optometry, I am interested in the career, but not sure if this is the career for me yet.


This picture is from my family’s trip to Colorado this past summer. On this trip, I realized that Colorado is where I want to live after college.


This picture is from my high school Anatomy class. We dissected a sheep brain and I thought it was very interesting. This lead me to pursuing the degree in Neuroscience that I am currently working on. I hope to one day work in the medical field within Neurology.


This picture is of me and my family at my senior powder puff game. These are the most important people in my life.


My investigation into different majors, like Nursing and Psychology, solidified my interest in my current major, Neuroscience. Although I was slightly interested in these different majors, I realized that the subject that holds most interest for me is Neuroscience. Through the Health Science Scholars survey class and other experiences throughout my first semester, I have identified several resources on campus to help me. The Younkin Success Center and the advising in the Neuroscience office will help me greatly in determining the right career for me. Also, internet resources like the Occupational Outlook Handbook will give me more information about careers that I may be interested in. My plan to stay healthy throughout my college experience includes ideas to keep my body healthy and to keep my mind healthy. To keep my body physically healthy, I will make healthy choices in the dining halls and around campus, and have regular workout sessions. To keep me emotionally healthy, I will make time for myself every day and also regularly make time to do things with friends. I will be able to stick with this plan because these are things that are very important to me, so they will be my priority. Next semester, I would like to get to know my professors more than I did this semester. Going to office hours and establishing a relationship with professors, and talking with upperclassmen as much as possible will give me valuable advice and guidance. I would like to continue working on improving myself, by following my plan to stay healthy. I would like to continue to have new experiences and meet new people.


[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation is a reflective description of the artifact that attempts to communicate its significance.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me

My name is Rachel Leimkuehler and I’m a freshman Neuroscience major. I’m from St. Charles, Missouri, which is a suburb of St. Louis. In high school, I was the flute section leader in my school’s marching band and I was in National Honor Society. I enjoyed going to the University of Missouri Columbia’s Mini Med School summer camp during the summer of 2015. This solidified my interest in medicine and helped me set my goal of having a career in the medical field, either as a doctor or a physician’s