Leadership Development

Summary of Mentorship Experience

My first-year mentee was Maddy Melzer. She is originally from Cleveland. However, after she came to Ohio State, her family moved down to Florida, which is where she calls home now. Maddy is pursuing a degree in neuroscience with the intent of going to medical school to become a family medicine doctor or an obstetrician-gynecologist. Maddy joined the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program because she actively volunteered all throughout high school, and she wanted to continue volunteering during her college career. She was also interested in being connected with other students who value service as much as she does and organizations that do different forms of advocacy for a wide variety of causes.

Maddy and I connected with each other over our mutual love of Disney, coloring, and volunteering, but we mainly bonded over our passion for baking and cooking. At the ACES Mentorship Speed-Dating event, we talked about all our favorite things to bake and the unique dishes we like to cook. Coming to college and cooking with subpar kitchen appliances in the dorms has not quelled our passion either. At our second semester explore Columbus dinner, we realized that we both were going to voluntarily make big meals for our friend groups on Easter. Most college students I know would not voluntarily make a holiday meal on campus, so Maddy and I must be more similar than we initially realized. We are also connected by the fact that we are both pursuing degrees in STEM fields and are required to take similar prerequisite classes for our majors. The main difference between Maddy and I is our career goals for after we complete our undergraduate degrees, which affects the kinds of involvements we participate in now. Because Maddy wants to go to medical school, her current extracurricular involvements tend to be based in medicine and hard science. I aim to attend graduate school for genetic counseling. My involvements are more service based, so I can learn and practice counseling skills.

Maddy has grown significantly over her first two semesters here at Ohio State. She has figured out how to tailor her study habits to best fit her life as a busy college student. Over the first semester, Maddy identified the study habits and tricks that work best for her. She learned that if she procrastinated studying and waited until a couple days before an exam to cram, she became very anxious and overwhelmed. She used these experiences as examples of what not to do in the future, so she could better establish a prolonged study plan for each of her exams. Maddy has also learned how to budget her time wisely between course work and extracurricular involvements. During her first semester, she tried to be involved in a lot more organizations than she realistically had time for on top of her very heavy first-year neuroscience course load. During her second semester, she cut back on her involvements so she could spend more time participating in what she truly wanted to participate in. Maddy learned to use her club and organization meetings as homework and study breaks, as to maximize her time. She also became more comfortable in her ability to say no to going to club and organization meetings if she was too overwhelmed by her workload.

Being a second-year mentor to a first-year ACES student has taught me many valuable and transferable skills. The main skill I learned was how to listen to another person’s situation and tailor my knowledge and past experiences to help that person in a way that is best for him or her. For example, neuroscience majors and molecular genetics majors are required to take a lot of the same chemistry classes. Because I was year ahead of Maddy in chemistry classes, I was able to give her tips on how the chemistry exams tend to go and recommendations of which professors to get for different classes.

I think the biggest benefit I have received from participating in the ACES Mentorship Program for my capstone project is being given the opportunity to reflect on my freshman year, see how I grew and changed as a person, and use that self-reflection as a way to connect with and help another ACES student who is going through very similar experiences. Having a mentor-mentee relationship also provided me with someone to bounce ideas off of. Maddy and I challenged each other’s views and understandings of the college experience and learned new ways of working together and problem solving.

Spring Explore Columbus

For our second semester explore Columbus activity, Maddy and I went to eat dinner at Brassica. Brassica is a build your own sandwich and salad place that specializes in brassica, which is the scientific name for cabbage. Brassica has four different locations in the Short North, Bexley, Upper Arlington, and Shaker Heights. This evening, we visited the establishment in the Short North, which is located at 680 N High Street. For lent this year, Maddy became a vegan, and I became a vegetarian. When trying to find a place to eat dinner at, we had to make sure the restaurant had accommodations for plant-based diets. We both love Mediterranean food and heard that Brassica had good falafel pitas and well-cooked vegetables. Maddy and I were both looking forward to catching up on each other’s semesters and trying out a new restaurant.

Maddy and I rode the COTA bus down into the Short North. Brassica is at the corner of High Street and Brickel Street, so the bus ride from south campus took a little less than ten minutes. The COTA bus is very helpful for when students need to go up and down High Street because just having to swipe your BuckID to hop on a bus on the east side of campus that simply runs the length of High Street is quick and convenient. Maddy and I missed the closest bus stop, so we got off the bus at the Russell Street stop. We walked north along High Street to Buttles Street, to cross the road at a crosswalk. After crossing the road, we then walked south along High Street, to the restaurant.

Walking around the Short North was so nice because the weather was perfect. Sometimes, as students, it is difficult to spend time outside, other than walking to our classes, because we are so busy between classes, homework, and finals week coming up. Most of our time is spent at a desk indoors. I am glad Maddy and I had the chance to spend a little time walking around outside while the sun was still out.

The Brassica restaurant in the Short North has developed a unique space with a modern and industrial setting. From the exposed brick and green tiles covering the walls, to the marble tables, to the chalkboard signs and menu, to the thick metal rings used to hold up the pitas, Brassica was warm and inviting. When you first walk into the establishment, you are greeted by a large metal oven where the employees are baking the pita breads as you order.

Ordering works similarly to that at Chipotle, where you ask for a pita and a type of protein, then move down the line to choose from a wide variety of cooked vegetables to add to your pita. Maddy and I both ordered falafel pitas and shared a side of fries. The food tasted fantastic. The falafel was flavorful, and all the vegetables were seasoned and roasted to perfection. Maddy and I have found that the most frustrating aspect about dining on campus is the lack of well-cooked vegetables. At the majority of the dining establishments on campus, the vegetables are either steamed until they are mushy, served cold, despite being cooked, or are in limited variety. Getting to eat well-cooked vegetables, seasoned like my parents would have cooked them at home, was a treat.

After eating and having good conversations, Maddy and I took an Uber back to campus because we were tight with time due to our evening plans.

I would absolutely go back to Brassica in the Short North again, and I will recommend it to anyone looking for restaurant recommendations as well. Now that lent it over, I would like to go back to try out some of the other protein options, such as the glazed lamb bacon or the brisket. I would also like to try out some of the other locations Brassica has to see how to establishments differ.

This Explore Columbus Activity was a fantastic way to experience different aspects of the city that students don’t always get the opportunity to try out. Trying out new restaurants in a new city lets you see and experience the cultural background of the city and what locals like to eat and experience. I had been saying that I wanted to go to Brassica for over a year now because I had heard so many good things about its food from people who have lived in Columbus for a long time, but I never found the time or opportunity to go. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to spend good quality time and experience this wonderful restaurant with Maddy.

Mentor/Mentee Second-Semester Interview

My ACES mentee is Maddy Melzer.  She is a pre-medicine neuroscience major.

So far, she has enjoyed her major.  She likes the Neuroscience department because she feels that it facilitates a lot of activities throughout the major.  Maddy likes her advisor because she is helpful and knowledgeable.  When it comes to difficult classes this semester, Maddy anticipates General Chemistry II to be the most challenging in her course load.  She thinks Cellular Molecular Neuroscience will be challenging as well because it is difficult for her to visualize the concepts on a microscopic level.  However, she is excited for the Cellular Molecular Neuroscience class because she finds the subject fascinating.

Maddy developed strong studying habits during her first semester as an Ohio State student.  She has learned from past experiences that only starting to study for an exam a few days prior makes her anxious, especially when she has multiple exams scheduled close together.  With this new-found knowledge, she tries her very best to not cram for exams by developing study plans that are spread out over more time.

Maddy has become very involved on campus, outside of ACES.  This semester, she is participating in the American Medical Women’s Association.  Through this organization, Maddy completes a lot of volunteer work.  She has volunteered at the women’s shelter and the Ronald McDonald house.  She has also volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and Clean Up Columbus.  Maddy is a member of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Research Organization.  With this organization, Maddy helps raise funds that are donated to research in the field of neuroscience.

With all this involvement comes a strong need for time management.  Maddy, however, has a solid plan to manage her time wisely.  Because academics always comes first, she will sometimes miss club meetings to study when she feels she needs more time to adequately complete her course work.  Most of the time though, as long as she can stay on track with her assignments, she uses club meetings and volunteering as breaks from studying.  Maddy has felt successful with her time management over the past semester, so she intends to keep her same involvements next year.  She also would like to join the College Mentors for Kids program.

Maddy very much enjoyed her first semester in ACES.  She liked the activities we did as a scholar’s program and how all the first-years live on the same floor, so there is always someone to go to an ACES event with.  She was not surprised by the program, but she liked the relaxed vibe of the group and that the program connects her with many volunteer opportunities.  She appreciated that many of the program’s events were located in Smith-Steeb, which made it easier to fit them into her busy schedule.

Maddy’s career plans have not changed since her first semester.  She is still planning on attending medical school.  Through her volunteering experiences and visiting her personal doctor over the past semester, Maddy has reconfirmed her dream to be a doctor.  She is currently interested in either going into family medicine or becoming an OBGYN.

With all the ups and downs associated with completing your first semester as a college student, Maddy very much enjoyed last semester.  Her favorite memory from last semester was meeting her best friend, Claire.  Maddy and Claire were lab partners in Biology 1113, and they were in the same sections of their neuroscience survey and Arts and Sciences survey.  Claire lives on south campus too, so they spend a lot of time together studying for their neuroscience classes and exploring campus and Columbus.

Maddy has set high goals for herself this semester.  She would like to get at least and A- in General Chemistry II, an A in Biology 1114, and at least an A- in all her other classes.  She also would like to increase her time spent volunteering.

I truly appreciated the opportunity to sit down with Maddy to discuss how her first semester went and what the rest of her second semester will look like.  Knowing her expectations for herself will help me, as her mentor, to check in with her throughout the semester to make sure she is staying on track with accomplishing her goals.


Questions Used in Summary:

·        Are you enjoying your major? Why or why not?

·        What kind of study habits have you developed? Did they work successfully in the fall?

·        Which class on your current schedule do you think will be the most challenging and why?

·        How have you gotten involved on campus?

·        How do you manage your time between your involvement and you academics?

·        Do you think you will keep your same involvement next year?  Why or why not?

·        How was your first semester in ACES?  What has surprised you about the program?

·        Have your career plans changed since your first semester?  Why or why not?

·        What is your favorite memory from last semester?

·        What kind of goals have you set for yourself for this semester?

Autumn Explore Columbus

For Maddy and my autumn semester Explore Columbus Activity, we went to the Angry Baker Café and Bakery.  The Angry Baker has two locations, one in the Short North and another in Olde Town East.  Today, we visited the Short North location.  One of the many passions Maddy and I both enjoy is baking.  When I first met Maddy at the ACES Mentorship Speed-Dating event, we connected by sharing all the various creations we had baked through the years.  Maddy and I thought visiting a bakery together for our first Explore Columbus Activity would be a wonderful opportunity to explore a local establishment rooted in an activity we both love.  We were both looking forward to spending time together, getting to know each other better, trying delicious local baked goods, and having a new experience in Columbus together.

This afternoon, Maddy and I rode the COTA bus from campus to the Short North.  The Angry Baker is located at 1247 N High St., a little way south of the Kroger and by Condado, so the bus ride from south campus was not too long.  Riding the COTA bus in an experience in of itself, as it is a very urban experience to use public transportation. After getting off the bus at the stop at Clarke Pl., we walked about a block to get to the Angry Baker location.

The Short North location is an adorable small bakery.  With warm green walls and brightly colored chalkboard displays, the Angry Baker created a cozy atmosphere to all those excited to purchase some fun pastries.  Decorating the bakery, there were cute cartoon desserts making funny comments, such as “Bite Me!”  There were two large cases full of baked goodies.  From baked donuts, homemade pop tarts, and croissants, to brownies, cookies, and cupcakes, the Angry Baker had a wide selection of uniquely flavored pastries and desserts.  It was difficult to decide what we were going to order because there were so many options, and everything looked absolutely amazing.  Maddy purchased an Oreo brownie and a cinnamon bun pull-apart muffin to share with her roommate, while I got a very chocolatey croissant. The pastries were so delicious and reasonably priced.

Since, there were no tables or places to sit to enjoy the baked goodies at the Short North location and the fall weather was so perfect, Maddy and I decided to take a stroll through the Short North. We enjoyed taking in the urban setting with all the amazing, brightly colored murals and one-of-a-kind local shops.  It was wonderful to have a time to just chat with Maddy to see how her first semester was going and talk about her plans for the upcoming fall break.  Because the warm, sunny weather was so enjoyable, Maddy and I made the fifteen-minute walk back to campus, instead of riding the COTA bus back.

I would most definitely go back to the Angry Baker Café and Bakery in the Short North again, and I wouldn’t hesitate to encourage others to go either.  It would be fun to try out all of the different desserts and pastries made there.  Walking down through the Short North when there is nice weather to get some freshly baked pastries would make for a perfect morning or a perfect afternoon.  I would also love to venture and check out the Angry Baker location in Olde Town East, to see what the atmosphere is like there and what other unique pastries they offer.

This Explore Columbus Activities was a great opportunity to visit a new place and try new things in the city.  I have previously traveled to many different cities with my family before.  When we go somewhere new, we like to find places and cuisines unique to each city.  By actively searching for new experiences in each city you visit, you get a more authentic and genuine view of each city.  You also get to see the lesser known places locals’ value as the cornerstones of their communities.  Even when we just stay in Cincinnati, we still like to test out different restaurants and experiences to broaden our view of our city.  Prior to moving to Columbus for college, I had not been able to explore the city, even with only living two hours away.  Now that I am living in Columbus during the school year, when I have free time, it is a lot of fun to go out to explore and find all of the hidden gems this vibrant city has to offer.

Mentor/Mentee First-Semester Interview

Maddy Melzer is a Pre-Medicine Neuroscience student from Cleveland, Ohio.  She was originally a pre-aerospace engineering student, but she decided she did not like physics enough to become an engineer.  This past summer she shadowed at the Cleveland Clinic, which influenced her to want to work with patient care in the medical field.  She changed her major to Neuroscience because she thought it was interesting and wanted to be involved in neurological research.  After completing her bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience, Maddy plans on attending medical school to become a physician.  Currently, she is thinking about being a pediatrician or an obstetrician/ gynecologist, however it is too soon for her to be sure.  She wants to be a physician because it is a career in which you are constantly learning new things from the most recent research.  She likes how you can make someone’s day better by caring for them.  Maddy is a warm person, and she wants to use that quality to help others.  While I am not planning on attending medical school, I am planning on attending graduate school for genetic counseling.  This year, as Maddy’s mentor, I will be able to apply my experience with mapping out academics and involvements to prepare for graduate/professional school to helping Maddy.

In high school, Maddy was highly involved. She was secretary of student government, on her class’ advisory board all four years, on the Science Olympiad Team, and in the Civil Air Patrol.  She also ran cross country, played soccer, and volunteered for the Voices for Violence program with the Cleveland Police.  Most of her volunteer work was through the Civil Air Patrol.  As a flight sergeant, she taught lessons and ran drill for her squadron.  She also taught aerospace/ STEM activities to children.  Maddy intends to continue her pattern of many involvements as she transitions to life at Ohio State.  Now that she is on campus, Maddy wants to be involved in the Undergraduate Neuroscience Outreach Organization, American Medical Women’s Association, College Mentors for Kids, the Disney Club, and the Causal Sports Club.  In high school and the first two years of my college experience, I have been highly involved, as well.  I can use my experience balancing academics with involvements and volunteering to advise Maddy as she figures out how to divide her time between everything she wants to accomplish.

Maddy enjoyed volunteering all throughout high school.  She wanted to participate in the ACES Program because she wanted to continue volunteering and giving back to her community.  She also wanted to surround herself with people who value volunteering.  She is most looking forward to being exposed to various volunteering opportunities and having access to more resources for advocacy.  She is excited for the mentorship program.  She values having connections with people who have recently experienced what she is experiencing currently.  Maddy appreciates how the ACES Program has created a more close-knit community for her at a large school.  I chose ACES for the same reasons Maddy did.  I truly enjoy giving back to my community, and I love being a part of a community that values volunteering as much as I do.  I look forward to working with Maddy this year to find different opportunities to get involved in the ACES Program.

One of the most important things Maddy has learned so far at Ohio State is that you should not stray away from people if you are having a rough time.  You can find more comfort in others than in staying by yourself.  I agree whole-heartedly with Maddy’s observation.  Since you are not living at home anymore, your friends become your “at-school” family.  Your immediate family is no longer immediately there to lean on, so you lean on your friends.

I enjoyed the opportunity to sit down with Maddy and connect over her initial transition to Ohio State.  I look forward to getting to know Maddy better and seeing her acclimate into our ACES family this year.


Questions Used:

How did you decide on the major you have chosen?

How do you plan to get involved on campus?

What types of volunteering and involvement were you involved with in high school?

Why did you choose ACES?

What are you most looking forward to in the ACES program?

What do you plan to do with your major after graduation? Graduate of Professional school?  Enter the workforce?

What is your dream job and why?

What is one of the most important things you have learned so far at Ohio State?



With all the opportunities provided on Ohio State’s campus, it is easy to forget most of those opportunities come from the surrounding community.  As Ohio State students, it is our job to do as much as we can to give back to our surrounding community.  In this past semester, I have volunteered my time at various different organizations and events, such as the Habitat for Humanity Restore, the Buckeye Food Alliance, and the United Methodist Free Store.  As I move forward through my four years here at Ohio State, I will continue to volunteer my time to various organizations and give back to my community as much as I can.

Global Awareness

Global awareness is a major part of a well-rounded education.  While it is beneficial to learn new information and skills, what is the point of learning that information or those skills if one is unable to apply one’s knowledge to the world.  I think it is very important to understand how what is learned in the classroom can be used in the outside world.  So far, the classes in college that I have taken that have made me more globally aware are the ACES Survey class and my Spanish 1102 class.  In both of these classes, I have been exposed to different ways of thinking and different cultures.  To broaden my global awareness in the future, I intend on completing a Spanish minor to become fluent in Spanish and study abroad in a Spanish-speaking country.

Spanish Talk Abroad

Below, I have attached a reflection I have written about a conversation I had with a person living in a Spanish-speaking country through the Talk Abroad website.  Talk Abroad is an organization that pairs one person trying to learn a foreign language with another person who fluently speaks that language.  Talk Abroad is a wonderful way for people to get conversational practice with native speakers without having to physically travel to a foreign country.  This experience helped me grow as a Spanish student and Talk Abroad is a resource I fully intend of utilizing as a go forward with completing my Spanish minor.

Talk Abroad Reflection Questions-SPAN-2kbmmur

ACES Pillars Film Project

I have attached a PDF of my group’s ACES Pillars Film Project below.  The three of my group members and I watched the documentary The Hunting Ground.  This documentary focuses on the tendency of universities to cover up and prevent the report of rape and sexual assault on college campuses because of financial incentives. Two students from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill took matters into their own hands and founded the organization End Rape on Campus to spread awareness for the nationwide problem and support survivors.  This documentary resonated with me because I am a female on a college campus and also because the ACES Pillars were concretely interwoven throughout the film.

The Hunting Ground-216wfgw

About Me

Hi, I’m Nicole Moulas.  I am a first-year Molecular Genetics student and a member of ACES (Advocates for Community and Education Scholars).  My hometown is Cincinnati, Ohio, and I graduated from Anderson High School.  While in high school, I played tennis, sang in two different choirs, participated in my high school’s theater department, and was involved in the National Honor Society.  In many of these activities I found a passion for leadership, whether it was as a team captain, choir president, or chapter treasurer.  On top of the extra-curricular activities I participated, I spent a lot of time volunteering in my community.  I have helped tutor Spanish one students. For three years, I was a Peer Counselor that taught fifth-grade students about peer pressure, communication skills, and assertiveness.  I acted as a Link Leader my junior and senior year of high school, helping freshmen with their orientation and acclimating to the high school environment.  While, ACES does not exactly align with my major, I hope that it will help me stay in touch with my love of leadership and volunteering.