Scholars Study Session

In The Biological Sciences Scholars, we held the first study session on September 10th. It can be hard for someone who wants to get involved in everything to make time specifically to study, so this really helped me get work done early into the semester. I also liked how it gave me a chance to meet other scholars and make friends in my program.

People To People International

In the summer before my senior year of High School I was invited to participate as an ambassador for two weeks in South Africa for an organization called People to People International. People to People International is a travel organization started in 1956 by President Eisenhower to spread cultural understanding between countries. Now, the program reaches 160 countries and is focused on immersing students in a country’s unique culture, prioritizing education above tourism.

The program I participated in was called “South African Safari.” Within this trip, I visited multiple cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Knysna, George, and Hoedspruit. The experiences I had can be divided into two categories, cultural, and environmental. I learned a lot about the apartheid, and saw first hand the effect it had on citizens. I interacted with so much of the community, visiting not only the higher classes of South Africa, but also the lower. We played with children at daycares/schools, listened to a children’s choir sing, attended a native South African themed dinner where we learned how to drum and dance like past tribes did, and ate food that I would never find in the United States like springbok and ostrich. My delegation also went to a lot of different rescues, rehabilitation centers, and Kruger National Park. I learned about African wildlife and the current dangers much of it faces because of poaching and diseases.

This trip was my first time out of country, so it opened my eyes up to a lot of new experiences. My travel group itself was a national delegation, so I was traveling and befriending people from Massachusetts to California. Being from a fairly small farming community, this was my fist time meeting so many new people between my delegation and everyone I met from South Africa. It was also my first time away from my family for more than a week. I came home more independent and learned a ton about how people lived outside of Ohio. One of my favorite people I met was one of our tour guides when we visited the townships in Cape Town. The city was still fairly divided from the apartheid, leaving the outer parts of the town, the townships, in less than ideal conditions. Yet my tour guide said something that stuck with me, “You look at these and feel sad, because in the states they are a sign of a depression, but here they are a sign of better times.” He told us of when people were allowed to begin moving back into the cities, when families were reunited, is when these makeshift homes were created. He taught me to look at this community in a new light, forcing me to challenge stigma behind what I previously thought. Another community I visited was the Rastafarians, of whom live a very different lifestyle than us. Everyone I met viewed the world in completely different ways than I, exposing me for the first time one of the Honors and Scholars G.O.A.L.S, Global Awareness. It sparked my passion for travel so much that not even a year later I visited Costa Rica. Becoming globally aware is one of my biggest goals to get out of The Ohio State University and my career. I knew of the endless opportunities I would have as a scholar and plan on continuing to pursue this passion of mine.

My visit to South Africa also had a large impact on my career goals. Before going, I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian, most likely small animals. While there, I learned not only about South Africa’s history and culture, but also about their environment and wildlife. In fact, one of the reasons I chose this trip was because of the immersion into African wildlife I would receive. We visited national parks, sanctuaries, ranches, and reserves. Some of my favorites included Kruger National Park, Tenikwa’s large cat sanctuary, an Elephant Sanctuary in Plattenberg, and The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. I walked with elephants, went into cheetah enclosures, and raced through Kruger with my guide named Roxi to find a sleeping male lion. While all of these were exhilarating and sound cool, I learned a lot about current issues in Africa’s wildlife in doing these. At the Elephant sanctuary I met elephants of whom had been stripped of their tusks, caught in traps, and simply couldn’t live o their own anymore because of ivory poaching. I leaned how this affects not only the animals directly affected, but by removing large tusked elephants from the breeding pool, how this affects the overall population of elephants. In Hoedspruit I encountered rhinos and learned of the poaching for their horns, as well as how current specialists are trying to prevent it. I also learned about a current problem they face with wild dogs and a disease they spread because of unique behavioral rituals they perform every morning. At Tenkikwa I saw the wildlife people once kept as pets and then got rid of once they became too big, and learned about the detrimental affects this has on the animal as well as the surrounding community. Reflecting upon my experience, I realized how much I cared for these issues and found my love for zoo and exotic animals. I saw how many opportunities I had to help these animals through visiting so many different places. It opened my eyes up and helped me find my passion for wildlife and zoo veterinary practice.



The Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S serve as a way to motivate students and focus their academic careers towards the improvement of themselves and their community.

  • Global Awareness: Students learn how to appreciate diversity in their community and become aware of the world around them through education and life experiences.
    • I am very passionate about this goal, finding my love of travel and other cultures on my trip with People to People International. Since then, I have visited one other country, Costa Rica, and I plan to continue traveling through study abroad. I hope to one day work as a zoo veterinarian, helping to educate others on exotic wildlife and the problems they face globally.
  • Original Inquiry: Students push themselves to ask new and original questions, and look towards the research process for answers. They understand how to use the process to answer their questions and know how to find resources that can assist them in this.
  • Academic Enrichment: Students continuously push themselves to find rigorous coursework and opportunities for the betterment of their education.
  • Leadership Development: Students work to develop their leadership skills that they can use in the classroom, workplace, and extracurriculars.
    • I continuously strive to better my leadership skills through placing myself into positions to lead others. I competed in competitions in which I created clubs to educate children and coordinated plans to lead 20 of my peers. I have also attended leadership workshops in which I learned the best leaders are ones who can apply their strengths for the betterment of a team.
  • Service Engagement: Students are committed to the improvement of their community through service work.


The careers section is reserved for my academic and career experiences. This section contains my resume and a collection of any other skills or experiences I have acquired.


These artifacts serve as a way for me to go into more detail of influential moments in my academic career that influenced my goals and accomplishments.

About Me

Hi! My name is Marisa Nicol and I am a first year zoology student at The Ohio State University. My ulitmate career goal is to attend a veterinary school and obtain my DVM. With this degree, I hope to work with zoo and/or exotic animals with my largest passion residing in large cats. This interest stems from my history of international travels, the most influential being South Africa. On this trip I visited a large cat rehabilitation center named Tenikwa and The Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. In fact, I have looked into revisiting either location for either community work or an internship in the future.

Besides my career interests, I am passionate about photography, service work, and international travels. I recently got involved at 4 Paws as a puppy sitter as well as joined clubs such as Zoology Club, Pre-Vet Club, Young Life, and CHAARG. My current job is with a catering company named Gourmet Fresh where I have been a server for the past 2.5 years. Recently, I have looked into studying abroad and hope to broaden my horizons at OSU over the next four years.

Welcome to my e-Portfolio

Hi everyone and welcome to my e-Portfolio. Here I keep a running portfolio of my experiences and goals as I complete my Bachelors of Science in Zoology at The Ohio State University. Look around and feel free to email me with any questions you may have.