Year In Review

College is exciting, daunting, and can be a little bit scary as an incoming freshman. I was all of those things as I arrived to start my freshman year of college at Ohio State, which is a great, and very large university. It felt like I was starting over in a sense, I had to make new friends and get acclimated with the new environment I was in. I for one definitely underestimated the difficulty of my first exams, but that helped me transform my study habits and create a plan for my academic success. In a way, doing average on my first round of midterms was better for me than doing well because I was able to change my method of studying sooner rather than later. I also learned to reach out more, and I have since become a regular at my Chemistry professor’s office hours. I learned that professors want you to succeed, and that they are almost always exceedingly helpful in their office hours. Ohio State is a huge university and it has tons of resources to take advantage of. Part of my growth as a student was learning to admit that asking for help was okay, and in general it is a lot more efficient than trying to do it all on your own.

I have also changed and grown in other aspects of my life. In the STEM Scholars program I was part of an experimental design group that created various experiments to show children, and then would go present our projects to them. I have grown more comfortable in my presentation skills, and if anything I have to say that little kids can be more intimidating than adults because they will tell you exactly what they are thinking, good or bad about you. I also decided to apply for the STEM leadership committee, as it seemed like a tremendous opportunity to become more involved in STEM, and also develop my leadership skills. I always regretted not getting involved in high school heavily until my junior year, and so I decided that I would make a change in college. I think STEM has really allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin, and in my authority as a leader. Being in STEM allowed me to practice being authoritative when necessary to keep an event on schedule, or get a group project done. I think that some of the skills I have gained though STEM such as leadership, collaboration skills, and willingness to work would not have been possible other places.

When I first entered the STEM program, I was slightly naïve, and not as mature as I am now. I have changed for the better in my mind. One thing that I remember vividly is coming back home for winter break and realizing how supportive my parents were, and how lucky I was that I had them. I was always encouraged to put school first, and my parents gave me the necessary tools I have now to succeed at college.  A lot of the people I knew in high school did not have the same opportunities that I have had this past year in STEM and various other activities and it really led me to be more appreciative. I think that was a tangible change in my perspective on my life, and it was really eye opening. Coming in to STEM scholars my idea of what it would be like is a lot different than what it actually is. I’m not sure what I thought it would be completely, but I thought that we would be doing a lot more busy work. As I have realized though that that is not the case though, and that is a good thing in my opinion. STEM members were taught to think for themselves and to engage in original inquiry, which is an essential skill for after college. Looking in on myself now I see a young man that still has lots of room to grow, but with more of the tools to succeed in my next few years of undergrad. I have more confidence in myself and my abilities, and I know that with a little help, and a lot of hard work, my goals are not as far off as they may seem.


I would like to be a doctor in the future, and so that means excellence in my undergraduate career as well as in medical school. As a doctor, that means people’s lives would be in my hands. I must be confident in the knowledge I have gained over my years of schooling. Medicine is constantly evolving and should I get into medical school and graduate from there, my learning would not stagnate. I will constantly be learning new things, and I find new treatments and sciences of medicine exceedingly interesting, particularly in cancer research and the development of vaccines. The fact that we have created a shot that can essentially eradicate diseases that used to wreak havoc on populations is astounding to me. I am excited for the future of medicine, and what that means for new treatments and cures for some of today’s diseases, and to get to that point it is integral that I, and everyone else never stops learning to ensure that medicine never stops progressing.

Global awareness is also very important to me since lots of other countries are not as fortunate as we are in the quality and infrastructure of medicine. While I am still young and have not settled down anywhere, I would like to join a medical program such as Doctors without borders that goes and helps where help is needed most. I think that would be a valuable life experience, I would learn a lot about different cultures, and different ways of life. I think that a different perspective is invaluable to really understand the world that we live in, and as I have never been outside of the United States I know it would be a challenging experience, but worth it in the long run. I definitely feel like helping those less fortunate than oneself shows one’s character, and afterwards it would allow me to connect with my patients better regardless of where they come from. I know it is sometimes intimidating to go to an unfamiliar place in an unfamiliar culture, but hopefully this would alleviate some of that fear. I would have gone through some of the same things that they would be dealing with, such as language barriers and cultural differences. I firmly believe that an experience such as that I mentioned before would make me a better doctor, and a more well-rounded person.

In short, while all of the G.O.A.L.S of the Honors and Scholars program are important, the two that I believe are most relevant to me are academic enrichment and global awareness. I believe I can better myself, and hopefully the world by using the principles of those two goals.


Artifact #1


This picture, which shows my group members and I at a presentation we did for our Experimental & Developmental groups is an artifact that I have chosen to share. I chose this picture because it captures the essence of what I gained from that experience from the expression on everyone’s faces. I grew to appreciate the teachers in my life, and I also got a little taste of what it means to be a teacher and all the joys that it can bring. Watching the kids faces as they got to see the chemistry of acid and base reactions in conjunction with decomposition reactions in action was truly a delight. Using some of the knowledge that I gained at Ohio State to explain why that reaction was happening that way was also rewarding. This experience also brought me closer to other STEM members and I firmly volunteering opportunity benefited all that were involved in it.


Zachary Thomas Smotzer

Current Address: 1066 W Lane Ave Columbus Ohio 43210

Phone: (330)-318-2937 Email:

Objective: To obtain a degree in chemistry and to pursue a career in the health professions

  • Ohio State University 2015-2019 (expected graduation date)
  • Major: Chemistry, BS degree
  • GPA: 3.206
  • Boardman High School 2011-2015
  • Diploma
  • Gpa: 3.85


STEM scholars at Ohio State, 2015-present (approximately 1-2 hours per week)

  • Efficiently worked with team members to develop projects in Experimental Development groups
  • Presented projects to students in a professional and educational manner
  • Participated in STEM flag football, and will be part of the STEM basketball team

Link Crew Leaders, 2014-2015 (High school, 3, hour long meetings per month)

  • Responsible for the planning of freshman activities
  • Dependable resource for any of my ‘crew’s’ needs

Boardman Varsity Soccer, 2012-2015 (High school, 12 hours per week during season, 3 hours per week during off season)

  • Lead team as a captain senior year
  • Worked effectively as a team with other varsity players

Emerging Leaders Officer, 2014-2015 (High school, 1 hour per week)

  • Designed service projects for the club to participate in
  • Ensured smooth, successful events

Pharmacy Club at Ohio State, 2015-present (3, 1 hour meetings per week)

  • Networked with outstanding people currently in the pharmacy field

Work/Volunteer Experience:

STEM Scholars Leadership Council, 2016-present

  • Worked with other Leadership Committee members to enrich the STEM scholars program
  • Planned events for scholar’s members to attend

YMCA Lifeguard, 2014-2015

  • Entrusted with the lives of multiple person
  • Worked in conjunction with other lifeguards to maintain a safe environment

Link Crew Carwash (for funding club) , 2014

  • Carefully assisted the other Link Crew Members to work together to provide the most optimal, efficient car wash for our customers
  • Responsible for reliably washing the cars

Skills/Critical reflection:

Leadership: Developed leadership skills through sports programs and various executive club positions, most notably the STEM EE scholars Leadership Council. This has helped me grow as a leader, and learn from older STEM leaders. This experience will certainly carry over to other aspects of my professional career as any career requires a certain degree of leadership. Being part of pharmacy club has taught me the value of networking and hearing what current members of the field have to say about the job. Furthermore, knowing when to listen is invaluable. 

Planning: Being part the Large Scale Events Coordinator has developed planning skills as well as  communication skills with other members. This skill can be transferred to other clubs, and even future employment prospects.


        Voted to the Senior Representative position for the Boardman Symphony orchestra

        Academic Award for Boardman Boy’s Soccer, 2013-2015

        National Superior Ratings for Symphony Orchestra, 2011-2015

        State Superior Ratings for Symphony Orchestra, 2011-2015

        Boardman Scholastic Soccer Coaches Association Academic Excellence Award, 2015

        All American Conference Second Team, 2015

        Most Valuable Offensive Player, 2015

Strengths Essay


My top five strengths were in order; competition, achiever, ideation, strategic, and learner. I found these strengths to be a remarkably accurate, and the paragraph generated about them equally as insightful. I can clearly seeing these strengths playing a large role in my current life. This is particularly true regarding my first strength; competition. I used to play soccer, and I would always be driven by competition (I always hated losing). It led me to train harder, play harder, and I now use that in my day to day life. Even if there is no competition with others to be found, I then compete with myself striving to get better each day.Competition however is not the only strength in my arsenal, I use all of them in conjunction with each other to achieve my goals. The interlockings of these strengths became quite interesting to me once I began to look at it, which appealed to my ideation strength. if I have a goal then I use my strategic strength to plan out what I am going to do, then I use my ideation and learner strengths to think about how I am going to execute my plan, and finally I use my competition and achiever strengths to actually accomplish my goal.In my opinion, the combination of these strengths is really what makes them so helpful and thus considered ‘strengths’.

Regarding my academics, I think that I will have to rely on my strengths to be successful at Ohio State. I already use them to push myself to study more,and work harder. I foresee myself leaning on my Strategic strength even more in the coming years as I search for effective time management solutions to deal with harder exams, and a more challenging curriculum. I also think that in my academic life, there is no better place for me to achieve my goals, or dream up new ideas all while learning a great deal than in college where ideas are constantly flowing. All in all though, I can really see myself drawing upon these strengths whenever I am called upon to do an assignment, or study for an exam; pretty much anything that requires academic conviction and fortitude.  

Knowing my strengths just reaffirms my convictions about my future goals even more. I want to become a doctor someday, and that is a challenging field with a daunting road ahead. I know that I will need use all the assets I have to be successful in that endeavor. I am glad that I can rely upon my strengths to help me, as I know that I am going into a very tough field. Looking at my strengths, they seem like they will only help the journey I will have. In the short term, I want to excel at Ohio State, and of course maintain a level of happiness despite all the work. In the long term I want to be successful and to know that I have lived up to my potential, not letting my life slip away. I am confident that will not happen though, because my strengths give me the dedication that I need to be accomplish the goals I have set for myself.

I will certainly be using my strengths to help me both in my professional and personal goals. I want to be successful professionally, but also work to better myself. Getting a good job after college that pays well and that fulfills me mentally is the ultimate dream of mine.  I know that job like these are heavily sought after though, so I must be the best candidate for the position that I can be. So yet again I will draw upon my strengths to lead me to be that person, through vigorous academic study and networking which require a great deal of competition and achievement, as well as a learning plan developed through insightful, strategic thinking. Regarding my personal life, I want to form stronger relationships with the people I care about, and form close bonds with those people. I also want to be of sound mind and body. In all aspects of my life, my strengths will be nothing but a resource for me, I am glad I have the strengths that I do and I will use them to achieve all the goals that I aspire towards.

Landing Page

      I am a first year student at The Ohio State University. I am majoring in chemistry, and I plan to become a doctor in the future. I have a strong interest in STEM, and STEM fields and love those type of classes. I have been a lifeguard for 2 years, and as a result I have some knowledge about CPR, AEDs, and other lifesaving techniques. I believe that these skills will be very valuable to me considering the profession I want to go into. Beyond that, I have participated in various clubs, such as math club, Emerging leaders, National Honors Society, and musical groups. While not all of these activities are not expressly STEM related, I hope that they further my development as a student, and as a professional working in my chosen field later in life. I have been playing piano since I was 5, and violin since I was 4. Music provides me with a way to relax, and it brings people together, and the other clubs taught me people skills and the value of service. In short, I hope to convey that my activities are not just limited to one single field, and also to demonstrate how I believe that these skills/activities will be a boon to me not just now, but later in life.


[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

IMG_20150827_203445Stem EE about me

Since a young age, I have always had an interest in science and anything pertaining to it. I would catch butterflies, grasshoppers, literally anything I could get my little hands on. For me it was about exploring my curiosities, and it opened my mind to the world outside of my house. This love for science grew throughout the years, most notably when I got glasses during fourth grade. Initially I hated them, they were ugly, I had to be more careful when horsing around, and worst of all I got called the dreaded “four-eyes” a few times. However, once that initial rebellion subsided I came to be interested in them. After all, why didn’t my brother have to have glasses? What made my eyes different, and how did two oval shaped pieces of glasses make them see normally? These are types of questions that were always burning inside me, and are what I believe to have really sparked my interest in joining a STEM field, and my far reaching dream of becoming a doctor.

The most pertinent example of a struggle I have overcome is from my first year of High School. I came from a different school than everyone else, having been enrolled in the Montessori school for all my life: it was quite a culture shock moving to a public school with different ways of doing academics, sports and a different social life.  I didn’t know how to study effectively for the new academic system, and consequently my grades showed it. While they were nowhere near awful, they were lower than what I had hoped. So towards the end of the year I made a change, I put my academic responsibility on my own shoulders and didn’t aspire to get the good grades for my parents, or for anyone else but me. I feel that this has helped me in many regards, especially as I progressed into harder classes. It helped me overcame an initial bad grade in chemistry, and walk out with an A from one of the most dreaded classes in my high school. I even decided to pursue a major in chemistry after my experience.

Ever since the summer of junior year, I was a lifeguard at the local YMCA. I found it to be a rewarding job, and I gained some knowledge and money during the course of my employment. Being a lifeguard is heavily medical and science oriented, one must know how to save a patron from a heart attack, choking, drowning, and other hazards. I learned a lot of things while working there, not all of which is directly related to STEM. I learned to have better people skills, and how to deal with belligerent adults who could not understand why their little Johnny was not allowed to run all over the deck, despite the multitude of signs all over. My firm opinion is that to be successful requires a well balanced approach to learning, and that one doesn’t necessarily have to be in school to be learning.

In my final paragraph I would like to discuss what I want to make of the future, and to share some fears that I harbor. One of those being, am I good enough to be here? After all, there are roughly 60,000 other students competing for good grades and opportunities. I want to eventually go to med school and become a doctor. I know that I did not choose the easiest path for my future, nor would I want to, but there is still a small whisper of doubt inside me. I must constantly assure myself that yes, I do belong here, and that yes, I can make my aspirations become a reality.

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.]