2019 Buck-I-SERV

Don’t forget to sign up for the TOPS Buck-I-SERV trip for Spring Break 2019! Here are a few pictures of all of the fun we had on a past trip:

If you are interested in signing up, contact Shannon Prince at shannon.prince@osumc.edu.

On the Job: Asking for Feedback

Source: Fringe Professional Development

As we wrap up the semester, TOPS students are also wrapping up a lot of great internships. On the job and at the end of an internship, it’s valuable to ask for feedback to improve your future job performance (and to keep doing what you are already doing well)! Here are quick tips when asking for feedback:

  • Feedback should have five characteristics: It should be specific, timely, compassionate, sincere, and regular (Muguku). If you feel that the feedback you have received is too vague, ask questions. Feedback is for your benefit, so make sure you have a complete understanding!
  • Beforehand, reflect on how you typically respond to constructive criticism (Muguku). Will you need to be aware of this when you meet to receive feedback?
  • Don’t hesitate to ask! If you are wondering how you are doing at work, take the initiative to ask for feedback on your own (Muguku). Additionally, ask for ongoing feedback. If you do this, there shouldn’t be any surprises on a more formal performance review (Seiter, 2018).
  • Make a plan to implement change in areas that need improvement. It’s easy to get feedback, but it’s the change in behavior that can be tough to follow through on.
  • Adopt a growth mindset. Click here to learn more.


Muguku, D. (n.d.). 31 Tips on How to Give and Receive Feedback at Work. Retrieved November 29, 2018, from ThriveYard: https://www.thriveyard.com/31-tips-on-how-to-give-and-receive-feedback-at-work/

Seiter, C. (2018, September 14). How to Give and Receive Feedback at Work: The Psychology of Criticism. Retrieved November 29, 2018, from Buffer: https://open.buffer.com/how-to-give-receive-feedback-work/

Student Spotlight: Hunter

This week’s Student Spotlight is Hunter! Hunter, a second year in the TOPS Program, is interested in being either an actor or a voice actor. He is currently taking an acting course and, so far, it has been his favorite class he has taken at Ohio State.

One of Hunter’s favorite parts about being in the TOPS Program is getting to engage in a variety of activities, such as movie night and karaoke night at Woody’s Tavern. His song of choice for karaoke is “Easy” by the Commodores. His favorite memory has been working at a garden, where he planted, weeded, removed branches, and more.

Hunter is very engaged on campus, and he says his favorite part of attending Ohio State is getting to take part in the clubs offered. Hunter is involved in the Disney Club, Art Club, the Lego Brick Club, and BuckeyeLAN (a video game club). He also enjoys Star Wars and doing intricate coloring projects.

The TOPS Staff think Hunter has a great sense of humor and a fun personality. He has lots of talent in voice acting too! Keep up the great work.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jack

This week’s volunteer spotlight is about Jack, who has been involved with TOPS for three semesters now as both an Educational Coach and Academic Tutor. Jack learned about TOPS from his sister, who was involved with the program during her time as an undergraduate student. When asked about his favorite part of volunteering with TOPS, Jack said: “I get to interact with and help mentor some incredible young people at key points in their lives.” In Jack’s time as a volunteer so far, there is a memory that sticks with him the most:

I was an Ed Coach for a student who struggled with public speaking. We were in a communications class and we spent a lot of time preparing for his first big speech. It was a lot of work, but the final product was great. I was so proud of how hard my student had worked.

In the future, Jack wants to go to medical school and become a physician specializing in orthopedics. “TOPS has taught me a lot about patience, as well as trying to see things from other people’s perspectives. Such skills will be valuable in my future career as a physician.”

Besides his love for hiking and being outdoors, Jack stays busy in a variety of clubs and other involvements on campus, such as Rally Cap Sports, the MOvES and ATR labs, Sigma Phi Epsilon, and more.

If Jack could tell someone thinking about volunteering with TOPS one thing, he would say: “TOPS is not just an opportunity to help others. You will come out of your experience a better, more well-rounded person.”

The TOPS Staff would like to thank Jack for his dedication to the TOPS Program. Jack is very helpful in his role as an educational coach. The student he works with said that other students in the class sometimes think Jack is a teaching assistant!

Family Resources on Think College

Do you have a student in high school who is interested in inclusive postsecondary education opportunities? Think College’s Family Resource page has a lot of great information, including suggested preparatory IEP goals. This document addresses goals related to education, employment, community participation, and independent living.

The Foundational Skills for College and Career Learning Plan is another helpful resource made available by Think College. This document provides assistance in goal setting related to skills that college students can continue to develop.

For more resources, visit the Think College Family Resources page.

Student Spotlight: Kate

Kate, a second-year in the TOPS Program, is this week’s Student Spotlight. Kate loves animals and is really enjoying her Animal Sciences class. In class, she gets to interact with her favorite animal – dogs! Going to class is Kate’s favorite part about being at Ohio State.

Kate really enjoys making new friends through the TOPS Program. Her favorite TOPS memories are at social events, such as bowling and going out to dinner with friends. Kate’s favorite place in Columbus is anywhere she can get her nails done.

The most important thing she has learned so far in the TOPS program is how to be safe both on and off campus. In the future, Kate wants to be either a dentist or a surgeon.

Kate says the best ice cream flavor is actually sherbet, especially the rainbow kind!

The TOPS Staff want to recognize Kate for her optimistic and go-with-the-flow personality. Thanks, Kate!


Volunteer Spotlight: Zanda

Meet Zanda, who has been volunteering with TOPS for five semesters now! She has served in many capacities with TOPS, including as an Academic Tutor, Educational Coach, and a Social Coach. She learned about the program during her freshman year. “Back in high school, I volunteered with the Special Education program and have always been passionate about helping my peers,” she explained. “I thought becoming a volunteer for the TOPS program was the perfect opportunity for me to meet new people and get more involved at Ohio State.”

Zanda’s favorite aspect of the TOPS Program is the social events, which she still attends even though she is no longer a Social Coach. She loves that she gets to “to become friends with people [she] would not have met otherwise.” She continued:

My favorite TOPS memories have always been at social events and getting to hang out with TOPS students and volunteers. Last semester, a bunch of the social coaches and TOPS students had a blast at Karaoke Nights at Woody Hayes. We all sang together, cheering everyone on — it was so much fun and would recommend every volunteer to go to the Karaoke Nights if they had to choose one social event to go to.

Zanda also feels that she has taken a lot away from the TOPS program. She says:

Volunteering with TOPS has taught me a lot of social and academic skills for my own life. It has made me appreciate the friendships I have made with the TOPS students. I think the biggest thing for me is that I don’t really see myself as a volunteer, but more like a peer. Whenever I am in class or helping a TOPS student with homework, we are both putting in effort to finish the task at hand.

Outside of TOPS, Zanda is also the president of the Deaf and Hearing Club at OSU. She is majoring in Neuroscience and wants to be a doctor in the future. Her favorite place in Columbus is the Park of Roses and she hopes to visit Greece one day!

The TOPS Staff love Zanda’s flexibility in serving in all of the program’s positions. Her kindness, patience, and responsibility make her a great asset to TOPS!

BuckeyeThon Chipotle Fundraiser

Who? What?

Come support the TOPS BuckeyeThon team at their upcoming Chipotle fundraiser!


Monday, November 19th 5:00-9:00pm


The Chipotle at 2130 North High Street (the new location at High & Lane)


Click here to learn more about the awesome work that BuckeyeThon is doing. We are so excited to support the TOPS team in their fundraising efforts!

Make sure to show the cashier the flyer when you checkout, which can be printed out or shown on your phone. Here is the flyer: