Behind the Lens with Josh Farr

By Miranda Koewler

Josh Farr can often be found somewhere on campus taking photos for his job in Student Life Marketing, for student organization or just for fun. His photos show his creativity and passion and they capture his extraordinary Ohio State student experience.

What are you studying and why?
I’m a student at the Fisher College of Business with a specialization in logistics management. My parents are entrepreneurs, so growing up I was exposed to a lot what goes into running businesses. Naturally, I wanted to study business when it came time to pick a major in college. I selected logistics management since it has to do a lot with transportation and solving problems, both of which I am passionate about.

What are you involved with on campus and in the Columbus community?
I am a photographer for Student Life – I’m sure many have seen me covering events around campus. Through my position I’ve been able to get to know different facets of the Student Life community. I get the opportunity to help document events that I otherwise might not have heard about or been interested in.

I’m president of the Photography Enthusiasts Society here on campus and I have my own wedding photography business. I spend many of my weekends traveling the country and photographing awesome couples – it’s an honor being trusted to document such a special day in people’s lives and it’s a privilege I don’t take lightly. 

josh farr_photo club photo

“This is a picture from one of the Photography Enthusiast Society’s first meetings where we brought in a model and took turns photographing her.”

What sparked your interest in photography?
During the summer between my sophomore and junior year, I spent some time doing humanitarian work in Tokyo, Japan. A lot of my friends were really into photography at this time, and we were living in incredible places. Because of their influence, I decided that I wanted to get into photography so I could better document my travels.

Where do you find inspiration for your photos?
I am currently studying the work of several pro photographers like David Alan Harvey and Hiroji Kubota. I’ve found that by studying the works of other photographers, I’m able to predict and frame things with much more ease. I also draw my inspiration from the people and moments around me, as these are often the most interesting things in front of my camera.

josh farr_buckeye bus photo

“I take photos of Brutus at different events around campus and am always looking for creative ways to capture him.”

What advice would you want to pass along to your fellow Buckeyes?
Find something that you’re passionate about and go all in. I know that it’s a bit cliche, but I don’t think I would be in the position that I am now as a photographer had I not decided one day to just go out and give it a go.

See more of Josh’s photos at and on Instagram @ja.farr.

Trent Schroeder: Buckeye Spirit Through and Through

Personal Essay by Trent Schroeder

Fourth year Trent Schroeder gave Student Life’s communications team an exclusive look at his Ohio State experience in a thoughtful personal essay. Discover what makes him a unique and truly extraordinary Buckeye – and walk around his home away from home, the Ohio Union, with him at the end!

As a senior at Ohio State, I’m studying Information Systems in the Fisher College of Business. This major has been a perfect fit for me, as I love the hybrid of business and technology! I recently accepted a job offer with Epic in Madison, Wisconsin, and look forward to starting my career as a project manager.

Outside of the classroom, I can usually be found in the Ohio Union! I began working part-time in the building during my freshman year and have become a Building Manager. Now, I aid in creating the best experience possible for our guests by maintaining cleanliness, ensuring smooth operations and supporting the student organizations and visitors that make our building so special. Working in the Ohio Union has given me incredible opportunities to develop as a communicator, team player and leader.

I’m also involved in the Ohio Union Activities Board (OUAB). As a member of the Collaborative Events Committee, I work with student organizations to bring their dream events to campus. OUAB has ignited my passion for bringing new ideas to campus and providing opportunities for students to see the world in new ways.

This past February, I participated in BuckeyeThon. After fundraising for months, BuckeyeThon culminates in a 24-hour dance marathon at the Ohio Union. I raised more than $800 by collecting donations at my annual computer-controlled Christmas light show at my parents’ house in Findlay, Ohio.

“Trent’s Christmas Light Show” has been a personal hobby of mine for the past six years and I’m so glad I could use it to benefit the children being treated in the Hematology, Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant departments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital this year.

Involvement outside the classroom has been such a meaningful component of my education, and my best advice for younger students is to find their own ways get involved!

Take risks and engage yourself in something that might challenge you to see the world from a new perspective. Surround yourself with people that are different from you and be open to new ideas. I am incredibly grateful for all the experiences I’ve gained, and the people I’ve met by getting involved.

Inside and outside of the classroom, I couldn’t be more thankful for my Ohio State experience. Fisher’s top-ranked courses have been the core of my education, but my involvement with the Ohio Union and OUAB have developed me as a global citizen. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for the world, and I am proud to be a Buckeye for life.

Stephanie Wentzel’s Global Impact

By Miranda Koewler

Fourth year neuroscience major Stephanie Wentzel has traveled the globe with the aim of spreading compassion and helping others. Her impact close to home, here at Ohio State, is as important to her as her impact abroad.

stephanie wentzelMiranda: What are you studying and why?
Stephanie: Neuroscience with a minor in leadership studies. I’m planning on going into medicine and figuring out how to apply leadership in that realm. I want to empower other people through my work. For my capstone project, I’m planning an art showcase for Asian-American students on campus to open the conversation about mental health and how we can improve it in the future.

Tell me about what you are involved in on campus and in the community.
I am co-president for Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association (PMWA) which is an organization I helped start two years ago. We address the stigma around mental health, particularly in the Asian community. Our goals are to educate, promote dialogue and provide advocacy around these issues. I’m also president for Ladies of Leadership, a mentorship program for women of color where we discuss scholarship, leadership, wellness and empowerment. The program helps women find their place and pave their way here at Ohio State.

What are three words to describe you?
First is compassion. This is what drives my dedication and commitment at Ohio State. It’s so important to connect with people. I understand discrimination and loneliness, so I hope to build an inclusive community here. With that is dedication. I help run two student organizations and that wouldn’t be possible with my drive and passion. Lastly, I would say kindness. This is often the word people use to describe me, and I’m incredibly proud of that. I strive to be approachable and welcoming to others.

You mentioned in your bio that you’re a “people person.” How has this fit into what you’re doing at Ohio State?
I hope to make the organizations I’m part of feel like a home. As a freshman, I was happy but lost and looking for a connection. I focus on bringing warmth into my communities and making people feel invited. I want to personalize everything and make the strongest connections by catering to people and proving to them that they’re special.

pmwa movember event

The Pan-Asian Mental Wellness Association and Pi Delta Psi Fraternity hosted a collaborative Men’s Mental Health event called “Are You Man Enough?” last fall.

Where does this aspect of your personality fit in with your future goals?
I’m very passionate about helping people who don’t have as many opportunities as I did growing up. In working with underprivileged communities, both domestically and abroad, I’ve encountered language barriers and seen the need for equal access. Showing that you understand where people are coming from – and not passing judgement – is so important. The people you remember are the ones you connect with, and that’s what I want to take with me when I become a doctor.

stephanie in machu pichu

Stephanie at the top of Sun Gate at Machu Picchu, Peru

You also mentioned traveling across the globe. Where are some places you’ve been?
I spent six weeks in Spain last summer learning Spanish in non-conventional teaching styles. I tried to really immerse myself in the culture. As a Korean-American, I am in touch with my culture but am interested in viewing it in other ways. I grew up traveling, because we moved every three years as a military family. I was born in Korea and have lived in so many different places. Recently, I volunteered at a clinic in Peru working to bring healthcare access to small villages. American culture is so fixated on career, so I wanted to take a moment to think about strengthening relationships with cultures and people.

What advice would you pass on to your fellow Buckeyes?
Definitely be involved – don’t let it just be a checkbox. Be passionate in whatever you do, because passion carries you so far. Don’t get bogged down in the idea of “work” when passion can turn what you do into something you love.

Shivani Patel on Advocating Health and Happiness

By Miranda Koewler

Pharmaceutical sciences student Shivani Patel knows that her actions can make a powerful impact across the globe. Read her story to find out more about her incredible journey at Ohio State and around the world.

shivani patelMiranda: What are you studying and why?
Shivani: I am studying pharmaceutical science. I know it’s an unpopular opinion, but I love chemistry. I want to help others learn and understand the medication they are taking and how it helps their body.

What are you involved in on campus and in the Columbus community?
With the Global Health Initiative program, I went to Malawi. There, I gave health presentations to help educate villagers. We were able to give them supplies they did not have access to for things like pneumonia and neonatal health. I also helped to take blood pressure and provide simple medical check ins. We were trying to create a system where they don’t rely on medications, because they won’t have access to them. We also brought clothes, pencils, coloring books and household supplies.

I’m also a USG senator for the pharmacy department. Lastly, I helped bring the ONE Campaign to Ohio State. The mission is to help communities with extreme poverty and high rates of preventable disease.

shivani in malawi
“I struggle finding words for how humbled I am to have been with the people of Malawi for the duration of the trip,” says Shivani. “I miss them and the feeling of pure happiness that I experienced there every day.”

What are three words to describe you?
First, I would say mindful. I am always looking for how my work can benefit other people. I try to pay attention to how others are feeling, because it’s important to understand what they’re going through. Next is ambitious. I set goals and do whatever it takes to achieve them. Lastly, adventurous. I’m constantly looking for new experiences to get out of my comfort zone. I try to dive into things head first –– I committed to Ohio State even before seeing it!

In your bio, you talked about fostering happiness and creating positivity around you. How do you see this in what you do at Ohio State?
I have always been the type to approach anyone, and try to do so with sincerity and care. You have to acknowledge that everyone is doing something they love, so there is no reason to shut them down. One smile can change someone’s day and keep them motivated.

How did you realize that helping others is what you’re meant to do?
I knew I wanted to go into the medical field, not just because I love science but because I love people. I’m passionate about helping people who have no means of helping themselves, because where someone lives shouldn’t determine their quality of life. One person can change so much by helping, advocating or bringing happiness. It feels good to do good.

Can you tell me more about the ONE campaign?
The ONE Campaign’s mission to end extreme poverty and diseases in Africa. They prioritize by talking to village elders to find out what is actually needed. It’s advocacy to help promote and bring this movement alive, not through actions but through speaking up. There is power in words and how they connect people.

What have been your biggest successes or most proud moments while working with ONE?
I was Invited to National Power Summit in D.C. where I got to hear from sponsors like the RED campaign and Malala Fund. People from all over the globe came together for one common cause. We heard about equal education for young women all across the globe. It’s a concept that many women never thought would come to light. I hope to bring that feeling back to Ohio State.

What advice do you want to pass along to your fellow Buckeyes?
Keep your paradigm wide. Instead of doing things your friends are doing, do one thing nobody else is. You’ll be surprised by how much you like doing something on your own. I came to Ohio State knowing few people, so being thrown in by myself helped me to find what I love.

Ari Vandersluis: The Power of Positive Change

By Miranda Koewler

Fourth-year operations management student Ari Vandersluis has his sights set on medical school, but plans to make a positive impact on the student experience here at Ohio State first.

ari vandersluisMiranda: What are you studying and why?
Ari: I’m a business operations management major in the Fisher College of Business. I’m also pre-med. I know that’s a bit different, but I think the business degree will allow me to look at medicine more holistically. It fosters people-oriented thinking.

What are you involved with on campus and in the Columbus community?
I have been in BuckeyeThon since freshman year and am currently serving as the vice president of outreach and engagement. I oversee events throughout the year and our year-long engagement strategy. I am a member of the Mount Leadership Scholars Society, Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity, and the 111th Class of SPHINX Senior Honorary.

Lastly, I serve as a clinical research coordinator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where I work on quality improvement studies in the hemophilia department. In this role I focus on what will have the best results for consumers rather than what is the most “groundbreaking.” My current project looks at assessing and providing knowledge for patients with hemophilia to ensure they are medically independent by 19 to 20 years old.

What are three words to describe you?
First, I would say ambitious. I’m very goal and achievement oriented, and I am driven by a specific idea of what I want an outcome to be. For the next two, I would say creative and analytical. I put these two together because most personality tests would say they are very conflicting – but I like to look at and solve problems in creative ways that are also actionable. Putting these two mindsets together works best in real-life applications, because I can look at things from both perspectives.

Why are you inspired by providing opportunity for others to make change?
Ohio State has shown me that regardless of your passion or interest, there is always someone who shares that passion and will help you thrive. People harness these opportunities and resources to prove that anyone can do anything they want. We all have the same opportunities to grow here. This campus is filled with ambitious people ready to change the world, and it motivates me to know that I can do the same.

Who has empowered you to become a positive change maker?
More often than not, it’s the people I work with in BuckeyeThon. They’ve shown me the way my actions can make a larger impact. Before I was on the executive board, I felt like my impact was within the small circle of work I was doing as a committee member. My more recent positions have allowed me to think bigger to see how my interactions change the way students think about philanthropy.

What has been the result of the empowerment you’ve found in BuckeyeThon?
It has proven over and over throughout my college career that I can make a strong impact in the world around me by working with people and sharing my ideas. A group of people working toward a common goal can have a larger impact than individuals on their own, and the mind power at Ohio State has so much potential.

During my sophomore year, I took a service-learning class where my service site tasked me with organizing the community free store. When I first walked in, it seemed like a mountain of clothing, so I worked with a classmate to research how we could make it a sustainable resource that would help the community access clothing and other daily necessities. We ended up creating an efficient system for long term success. Working together for a clear purpose is what drove us to find what was best for this community.

What advice do you want to pass along to your fellow Buckeyes?
There is always more to learn on this campus. Take advantage of opportunities outside of the classroom. Get involved, find new passions, learn new things – people and experiences change as you grow, so push yourself out there. Any passion you have, you can find an opportunity here at Ohio State to grow it.