SpringForward Student Success Stories

Student Success Stories

In SpringForward we talk about how the path to success isn’t linear. As student’s embrace “butterfly moments” they will get to experience new, unexpected opportunities that could take them to new and exciting places. Below SpringForward students share their unique stories and their goals for the future.


JuJuan (he/him/his)- SpringForward 2020 Cohort, Fourth year in Marketing

What were your major/career goals when entering college? My major entering college was accounting and I wanted to work at a firm dealing with audit and sales.

What are your current goals? My current goals are working in a marketing company focusing on either fashion or health. The end goal is to have my own business doing something related to Skating. It’s a passion of mine and I want to bring the feeling I got when I was younger to my community and other communities.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision. During my journey I always knew I wanted to be in business but didn’t know what way I wanted to take it when it came to business. I first took interest in accounting because I thought it was going to be doing math. As I took courses I began to learn that it was not fulfilling when I was in class. During the end of my second year I leaned towards marketing because I was able to be creative and really connect to customers and be in touch with marketing.

What are you most proud of as a college student so far? What I’m most proud of as a college student so far is that I’m the first in my family to attend college and I will complete my degree this year.

How has SpringForward contributed to your success so far? SpringForward has contributed to my success by being a support system and providing resources for me to succeed! If you ever need help, reach out; they are always there.


Chase Pope (she/her/hers)- SpringForward 2020 Cohort, Fourth year in Consumer Family Financial Services

What were your major/career goals when entering college? 

Major: Accounting

What are your current goals?

My goal is to become a Certified Financial Planner and Certified Public Accountant and champion the advancement of minority and women owned businesses. I want to be the financial confidant that those of all backgrounds are proud of.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision.

My experience at the Account Careers Awareness Program and my love for economics lit a spark in me that made me realize there is a great need for people like me in the Business, Accounting, and Finance field.

What are you most proud of as a college student so far?

I am most proud of my resilience and perseverance. There have been countless factors, including a global pandemic, that have stood in the way of me being the first in my family to graduate with a four year degree. This sheepskin will be a testament to how nothing can stop me.

How has SpringForward contributed to your success so far?

I owe everything to SpringForward, and that is not an exaggeration. After my first semester of my freshman year, I was placed on academic probation due to my unwillingness to reach out to literally anyone — classmates, professors, programs, etc. — for help. SpringForward provided me with a supportive teacher [in ESEPSY 2059] and a close-knit community, some other first-gen students themselves, that catapulted my college career. The semester that I took my SpringForward class (which was also the first semester of the pandemic) I got a 4.0 semester GPA. A complete turnaround. I am so grateful not only for the type of student, but the type of person SpringForward has made me. A student that not only allows help, but seeks it and welcomes it! I have connected with so many wonderful people since then.

What is one piece of advice that you give to students entering their second year?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions in class. Don’t worry about if you’re annoying the other students; they’re just mad they weren’t brave enough to ask. And definitely don’t worry about annoying the professors, your money contributes to them being there. Get in you professors’ faces even and go to office hours. I wish I did that more often.


Alex Ochoa (he/him/his)- SpringForward 2021 Cohort, Third year Public Health major with a specialization in Environmental Science

What were your major/career goals when entering college? 

I was a biology major with intention to be premed.

What are your current goals?

Majoring in Public Health with a specialization in Environmental Science. I am still pre-med, but with an emphasis on using research to inform policy change while practicing medicine.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision.

My freshman year I was put in isolation — 14 days for contact tracing COVID-19. It was there where I began to struggle academically because I had no guidance on how to use Carmen and Buckeyelink; these are two online platforms that are essential to accessing homework and going to class online. I began to feel underserving of the opportunity to attend tOSU because I was not up to par with my colleagues. I took the time to self reflect and determine what I wanted out of college and how I planned on completing my dreams.

What are you most proud of as a college student so far?

I was given the opportunity to attend the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institution Research Retreat where I presented my research on Assessing the Nutrition Environment in the South Linden Neighborhood. Although it was my first time presenting, I set my nerves aside, and acknowledged the privilege I held in representing and demanding much needed change for a neighborhood in Columbus. I was awarded 2nd place: Abstract of Distinction. I am proud of the connections I have with the ASPIRE Medical Research Program, the Center for child Health Equity and Outcomes Research team, and SpringForward for mentoring me every step of the way.

How has SpringForward contributed to your success so far?

SpringForward has built my understanding on how to maintain a healthy relationship with time and myself.

What is one piece of advice that you give to students entering their second year?

If you don’t fit in, you’re doing something right.

 


Caitlin Boutwell “I go by Caitlin and use (she/her) pronouns”. Third year Molecular Genetics major

What were your major/career goals when entering college?

I was on the pre-med track and was hoping to go to medical school.

What are your current goals?

I am still figuring that out but currently I am looking to work after graduation and potentially go to grad school.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision.

Throughout the summer into sophomore year and the first semester of that year, I realized that my natural drive for STEM was diminishing. I loved my science classes, but it took 110% of my energy to succeed in them. I had no time to do anything else – clubs, hobbies and even finding time to eat was difficult. I was slowly burning out and could not maintain this lifestyle. This meant that I had to re-evaluate my career goals and I realized that medical school was not for me. Although it was hard to accept that I no longer would fulfill that dream, it helped me grow into a stronger person and led to me finding more balance in my life.

What are you most proud of as a college student so far?

Persevering through challenges and allowing myself to grow and change. Each semester so far it feels like there is a new thing to juggle and I’m proud that I have found a way to not only adapt to change but grow with it too.

Has SpringForward contributed to your college success so far? How?

SpringForward has helped me connect with people and learn invaluable lessons that have helped me succeed in my time since the program. The SF team specifically has helped me navigate my college career, find resources, and make such a large school feel smaller.


Braydon Tomak (he/him/his)- SpringForward 2021 cohort, 3rd Year

What were you major/career goals when entering college?

Entering college, I had no idea what to do in life. My mother always said I didn’t need to be a rocket scientist, so I thought maybe I’d try and work for NASA. Or, since I played baseball for 12 years, it seemed like a good idea to become a MLB player.

What are your current goals?

Currently, I am striving to build a national entertainment franchise. After having launched an MVP (minimum viable product), I’ve begun upscaling a small business to accommodate the 10 year plan I’ve developed.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision.

Starting as an Aerospace Engineering Major, I switched to Computer Science & Engineering and then finally to Arts Management. I realized that my passion for music is more fulfilling than acquiring a six-figure salary as a corporate employee. Furthermore, as a manager of the arts, I’ll be able to determine my own route throughout life!

What are you most proud of as a college student so far?

I am most proud of the person I’ve become as a college student so far. I was an introvert in high school, though college quickly taught me that shaking hands and making connections is the key to success (i.e. GET INVOLVED).

How has SpringForward contributed to your success so far?

SpringForward has contributed to my success more strongly than almost anything else. My GPA was at 2.341 after my first semester, and I knew at was at risk of losing my scholarship and inevitably dropping out of college. Nevertheless, the programming provided by SpringForward changed the way I handle life, maintain productivity, and helped me to always keep a growth mindset!

What is one piece of advice that you would give to students entering their second year?

For students entering their second year, congratulations on making it through the first! I would suggest that you ought to Get Involved as much as you can, and remember that “your network is your net worth.” When times get tough, have Grit and persevere with a Growth Mindset. Ask yourself, “When no one else is around, who is going to pick me up when I fall?” The answer is, You.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

College is one of the most important times in your life, when you can explore and learn more about yourself and the world than ever. Try new things (no risk = no reward), never be afraid to ask questions, and know that the parties aren’t going anywhere (priorities first!). Lastly, the only point in life is to be happy and love 🙂


Leslie Aguilar Ramos (she/her/hers)- SpringForward 2021 cohort, 3rd Year, Public Health Sociology Major

What were your major/career goals when entering college?

While entering college I knew I wanted to be in the healthcare field. This led me to think about becoming a Physician Assistant and I began taking the prerequisite classes to apply for post-graduate. After an internship experience in the summer after y first year, I began working towards going to medical school after graduation. This too ended quickly as I learned more about the public health field where I found my true passion. 

What are your current goals?

As of now, I hope to obtain my Master of Public Health (MPH) and down the line go to law school to obtain my J.D. This is all subject to change, as I gain more experience in the field and become aware of different avenues I can take. I am also open to a 2 year training program that the Center for Disease Control offers to recent undergraduates. My goal is to expand on health disparities research to help create interventions that help deliver just care.  I hope to make change through policies that expand access to health care and supply equitable care.

Tell us about the path that you took to arrive at this decision.

During my first year, I was in the Exploration major because although I had an idea of what I wanted to pursue after graduation I did not want to limit myself with options. Public health was a major I had always had an interest in but did not have a full understand of the field to commit to. After being admitted in the major in my second semester, I began in the environmental specialization. This aligned with my pre-health prerequisites for PA/Med school. Yet, after various experiences, I recognized my interests bet fit with the sociology specialization.

What are you most proud of as a college student so far?

I am most proud of the community I have built on campus. As a first-generation student, it can be overwhelming to navigate college on your own. I have been blessed to find the best mentors who have guided me every single step of the way. This has not only helped me in feeling supported throughout this journey, but I have had exposure to amazing experiences. My involvement on campus has added to my experience by offering me the opportunity to meet inspiring individuals.

How has SpringForward contributed to you college success so far?

SpringForward has made an immense impact on my college success thus far. I applied to the program when I was in a pivotal moment in my undergraduate journey. It was during the peak of COVID in early 2021 and I was in a bad place with balancing coursework and my mental health. I needed guidance and the program offered support through practices I could apply during the rest of my college career. The check-ins with Paul (DLC-SpringForward Academic Coach) have been a wonderful way for me to reflect on my workload and see how I can improve going forward.

What is one piece of advice that you would give to students entering their second year?

My journey has not been linear, in the sense that my interests have changed as I gained more experience. For this reason my piece of advice is to seek out opportunities that enrich your interests. You may not realize that you are interested in a specific field until you experience it first-hand. Similarly, lean on the SpringForward staff to help you. College can be hard to navigate on your own and there are people on campus ready to help you!