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 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 Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


Global Awareness:

Along with the ACES community, I am a part of two other communities: The Buckeyes First Student Organization and the Undergraduate Student Government. In those two communities, I had the opportunity to meet and converse with people of different races and cultures. These conversations have developed my character because it broadened my knowledge by exposing me to new ideas. Within USG, I am constantly collaborating with different people to create and develop projects that will possibly lead to change on the Ohio State University campus. I enjoy collaborating with a group of diverse people because I learn something new each day and I become more aware of the problems that are facing certain groups. In the future, I plan to participate in a study abroad program. I want to expand on my knowledge about different groups around the world and become more aware. Participating in a study abroad program will be beneficial to me because I will have a diverse class setting in the future and what I learn from the trips will help in the future. It also will be beneficial for me because I have the opportunity to study and learn about the different educational systems in some parts of the world, which will help me determine which system of teaching works best for the students.

Leadership Development:

    During the 2020-2021 school year of the ACES program, I had the opportunity and pleasure to mentor Taylor Johnson. She is a Columbus native, however, she has decided to stay at home for the time being. At the start of the school year, Taylor entered OSU as a psychology major with aspirations to be a psychiatrist. However, Taylor had an epiphany and soon she would be switching to Neuroscience to become a Neurologist specialist. Beautiful how she was able to find a more passionate career during her first semester? Let me not get too ahead of myself, however, because that is one thing we had in common! It was a pleasure to speak and ‘virtually’ explore with Taylor because I see another young, smart, and beautiful Black woman who is going to succeed in life. Taylor and I have different career interests, however, our love for Black beauty and art is what kept this pair interesting. Also, our personalities are fairly the same in which we love to talk about what we are passionate about and we also get along well with those seemingly different. We love going with the vibe of the situation, and finding inner peace within ourselves. It is unfortunate, due to the virus, that I was not able to share in person experiences with Taylor. It would have made this mentorship pairing even better. And allowed for more opportunities to prosper and really understand each other.

    Because of the constraints and limits with virtual mentoring and education, Taylor and I were unfortunately not able to form the type of relationship I wanted for us. Both of us, especially myself, were busy people during this online school year and the pandemic. It affected us greatly, and communication was scarce because of it. However, Taylor and I both knew that if we needed the other, it was only a text away. The moments we did briefly chat via Zoom and text, it felt endless because we each had something to add to the conversation! It was in those moments that I cherished and remembered how thankful I am for Taylor. She is an extraordinary woman and I enjoyed speaking with her. However, virtual is not the same as in person and I wish I got to create more bonding moments with Taylor. If none of this happened to the world, I would have taken Taylor out for dinner each week and regularly saw her during the week (since the both dorms were directly down the street from each other). Though, time is endless and we may have next school year to makeup for this school year. I do know that Taylor will have me (and vice versa) to contact if anything becomes tough as we both progress through college. 

    I believe both Taylor and I grew to be aware and successful with our academics. Because of everything being online the entire school year, both Taylor and I ran into trouble with managing time wisely. Especially with everything online and a lot of free time being available. However, since Taylor is a freshman and I am a sophomore, we both also understood that it was up to us to be on task and up to date with assignments. Taylor told me at the beginning that she had a plan to map out her assignments and do them accordingly, especially since college is different from high school. She had a plan, a few bumps in the road, but she came out on top overall. For myself, I knew what college was like yet online was an entirely new experience for everyone. I had trouble adjusting first and truly using my time wisely. However, as the months progressed, I slowly developed a plan and mindset to stay on top of my academics. Online education was frustrating for us all, but Taylor and I have adapted to it well. Therefore, transitioning from first to second semester was an easy and well needed growth for both of us. I feel that Taylor and I could conclude that we would be fine if online education continues. Transitioning from first to second semester was no problem for Taylor, especially since she switched majors. However, she switched to a more interesting and comfortable major. She will do amazing the remaining years of college and I am excited to witness her success! 

    Honestly, because of the current situation, I did not feel like much of a leader to Taylor. The constraints of online mentoring/education has put a block on the intended impact I wanted for this mentorship pairing. Do not get me wrong, this experience has made me fall back in love with being a mentor and offering words of encouragement. Getting to know and help a fellow Black woman was the only thing I loved about this mentorship program. Taylor and I both reiterated how terrible we are at communicating, but I wish I had done more to create more of those opportunities. I tried not to overbare Taylor, especially with her new major being Neuroscience and her focus being on succeeding. However, I knew Taylor did not need me much because she reflected my work ethic and personality; an independent woman who will get the job down no matter what. This experience has allowed me to connect and grow within my passion of helping and guiding others. I aspire to be a teacher and to make a change for the younger generation. I hope my voice and wisdom leads those down the road to success. This mentorship program has allowed me to grow a bit more in those areas, but improvements could have been made throughout. Nonetheless, Taylor and I were able to develop a good relationship that is reliant after this mentorship program. 

    I gave Taylor the best advice that I could for a freshman at The Ohio State University – advice I wish I had received. In terms of orientation, Taylor and I discussed a lot about what it is like to be a Black individual at a pwi (predominantly white institute). I offered words of advice to Taylor about finding homage in the Black community that is on campus. I explained to Taylor that she is not alone, especially within her major, and that is why I stressed with her to communicate with others like herself. Due to the pandemic and Taylor staying at home, I made it a point for her to be involved with a few organizations. Even if it is virtual, a relationship could be developed with other peers in her major, clubs, or scholar group! She needed to build those friendships to help her through college. She followed my advice and as the second semester approached, she is involved with two to three organizations now! She is making a tremendous impact in each and I am very proud of her. In terms of mentoring, Taylor and I were previous mentors and we both expressed our interest for that. I told Taylor that being a mentor was amazing, but I do not suggest it if it will be online. It is not the same as being in person, however, I am not sure if Taylor would have approached it as I did. However, mentoring is something that Taylor truly loves and I know for a fact she will be an amazing addition to whatever mentoring program she picks. A mentoring program has a lot of benefits, but I believe the main one is being able to help a younger peer. Being able to help someone set forth on a path of success is a wonderful thing. I knew Taylor already had it in her, but I believe guidance and encouragement meant a lot coming from a fellow Black woman. I reiterate with Taylor that we will be successful and we will be the change the world needs. I love the mentoring program because it gave me that opportunity to lead and provide in my own little way. Do I wish it was a different experience? Yes, but I can only be thankful for and cherish the experience I did have with Taylor. And may I say, it was a wonderful one that will blossom soon. 

Service Engagement:

Since the beginning of the semester, I have been volunteering whenever I have free time in my schedule. Thus far, I have been mostly volunteering at the ACES food pantry and within another organization that I am a part of, for example, the Undergraduate Student Government (USG). Further, into the semester and next year, I plan to branch out and volunteer at different places. I am specifically looking to volunteer at different schools in Columbus. My goal is to further develop my teaching skills and volunteering at a local school will expose and help me achieve that goal. However, I enjoy volunteering at the food pantry and at different events with USG and plan to continue throughout my years at OSU.


[“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 Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


The first artifact of mine is a journal. In high school, I took an educational class at the University of Akron and for that class, I had to keep a journal of observations I made while observing two of my high school math teachers. A lot of sweat and tears went into perfecting this journal. This journal is filled with more than just observations that I wrote down about both of my teachers, but it is also filled with comments, questions, and concerns that occurred to me while I was observing.

This journal is important to me because it is one of the many stepping stones to becoming a high school math teacher. Aside from wanting a good grade, I invested a lot of time in making sure that this journal was perfect for personal reasons. I wanted to make sure that teaching was something that I could see myself doing. This experience has allowed me to observe and learn different types of teachers, students, teaching methods, and other things. It made me fall in love with teaching more because of the environment that was created in both of the classrooms. I am big on inclusivity and the two classrooms that I observed had a lot of inclusivity with the students and engagement between everyone. I strive to have a classroom setting similar to that one. This artifact secured my decision on being a high school teacher. The entire experience and the journal inspired me to continue to do something in a similar manner at local Columbus school in order to further my teaching and leadership skills. A lot of work went into perfecting this journal and I am glad I got the opportunity to share my thoughts, comments, and questions with others.








The second artifact of mine is a pin. The pin says “First Gen: Ohio State”. I got this pin while I was tabling for another organization that I participate in, which is the Buckeyes First Student Organization. At the beginning of the semester, I participated in the Buckeyes First Early Arrival Program and it was an exciting experience for me. I also got a free shirt too! I decided to participate in that program because I did not think in-depth about that particular identity. I knew that neither of my parents went to college, but I did not know that would introduce me to a new identity at Ohio State University. I am considered a First Generation college student and I am proud of that.

This pin is important to me because it allows me to show others that I am first and that I will lead future scholars. The pin reminds me that I have an identity that I am allowed to embrace and be proud of. The Buckeyes First Early Arrival Program introduced me to other people who share the same identity as me and it allowed me to form meaningful bonds. The organization and the program allowed me to share my story and feelings about this identity. Both allowed me to network with others that will help me create an environment for future first-generation students. Both taught me how to embrace and appreciate my new identity and that I am not alone in this process. Both taught me how to navigate through college as a first-generation student. This pin is a reminder of important lessons and tips that both the program and the organization shared with me. Not a lot of students can say that they are a first-generation student and I am proud to hold that identity. I am the first one to set the path for future generations to walk down. I am the first one to live out the dreams that my parents and I have. This pin is now displayed on my bookbag for everyone to see. As I continue through my years at OSU, I will lead and teach other first-generation college students who may not have had the opportunity to be a part of two amazing communities.

About Me

Hi! My name is Alexus Oliver and I am a first-year student at Ohio State University! I was born in Akron, Ohio and I lived there all my life. I have two sisters and four brothers and I am the youngest out of all of us. I have a beautiful niece and nephew, both of whom I adore dearly. My favorite color is yellow and my favorite movie is the Five Heartbeats. A few of my favorite shows are Greys Anatomy, Stranger Things, Shameless, and Riverdale. I am not religious, but I respect others and their beliefs. I am a big fan of the rock band Queen! Currently, I am majoring in STEM Education, specifically Math Education. I am minoring in African American and African Studies and possibly French. My career goal is to become a high school math teacher, specifically teaching Algebra 1 and 2. If teaching math does not work out for some odd reason, I have French to fall back on and teach to students. I want to become a teacher, specifically, a math teacher is because I love helping others in anyway possible and I found that I love to teach and solve problems with other people. Math is a subject that always came easy to me, although I am not so sure about Calculus! I also believe we need more math and African American teachers in our schools. Some other interests of mine include reading, playing tennis, listening to music, and volunteering. I have always been a fan of reading since I was a young girl. Being pulled into a completely different world and escaping reality was something that I always enjoyed and loved as a child. My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. I played tennis throughout high school and I love it so much. Tennis, music, and good books are my gateways to a stress-free life.

I am a first-generation college student. Neither of my parents exceeded the high school level and none of my siblings went to college except my oldest brother, but him and I do not share the same father. So on my dad’s side, I am the only one who went to college. Having this specific identity puts a lot of pressure on my shoulders to succeed further in life than my parents and most of my siblings have. They expect the best to come out of their youngest child and I expect the best out of myself as well. I definitely want to continue to be a role model for my niece and nephew. It has been a challenge adjusting to this new life without much experience, but I came in with a new mindset that I am excited to explore more as a further my career at Ohio State University!