TOPS Faculty Spotlight-Dr. Kelly George

Currently, I am an Assistant Professor – Professional Practice in the Department of Animal Sciences and Co-Director of the CFAES Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research & Education (CHAIRE). I obtained all of my degrees from OSU and have been working for the university since 2006.

I serve as an instructor to TOPS students interested in my field of work – the human-animal interaction.

I have had several TOPS students over the years, some of the students have taken more than one class with me.

I find that TOPS students are very engaged in the classroom. They often ask the best questions and help others to feel comfortable asking questions.

Professors should not be hesitant to have TOPS students in their classes. The support from your office has been great and I have not experienced any additional workload as a result of having TOPS students in my classroom. I believe this program provides a great service to a great group of students.

-Dr. George

Dr. George with her youngest grandson Ian and a baby Otter




Student Spotlight: Meet Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a 1st year student enrolled in the 4-year program with TOPS at OSU.

Her current career interests include Animal Care and Art.

She is currently an intern with Glass Axis in downtown Columbus. Glass axis is an art studio that is dedicated to helping artists, students, and members of the community to create innovative glass artwork. Her job duties include cleaning restrooms, sweeping, organizing, and even occasionally helping out with the glass making process. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to make multiple pieces of glass, including a glass pumpkin! She says glass making is her favorite part of the job.

Elizabeth’s favorite class that she has taken so far is Ceramics. She is very artistic so this class goes right along with her interests and talents. Her favorite animal is an Elephant, and she was able to make an elephant sculpture that also serves as a plant holder in her Ceramics class!

Throughout her first year, she says she has learned a lot from just living on her own and having to navigate around campus. She really enjoys the independence of living in a dorm on campus at OSU. It’s worth noting that Elizabeth is part of the first group of TOPS students to live in the campus dorms!

She loves getting to know more about herself and her interests through the TOPS program. She loves being able to meet new people, have new experiences, and have new surroundings while attending Ohio State.

In her free time, Elizabeth loves going to the zoo and being outside. More specifically, she loves going to the Cleveland Zoo and seeing all the animals. Elizabeth also enjoys building stuff with legos and doing artwork in her free time.

Some fun facts about Elizabeth include that she is a swimmer and has swam in the Special Olympics competitions at OSU. She is also a cancer survivor! Keep up the good work Elizabeth!






Meet Mary-Doctorate of Occupational Therapy Student

I am from Canfield, OH.

I am a third-year OTD student, graduating this May 2021!

I love working with the IDD/DD population, and particularly have a heart for increasing the independence and quality of life for individuals who are in stages of transition. The TOPS program fosters each of these areas in students who have graduated from high school and are looking to further their education and add to their resumes and life skills. I find employment incredibly valuable and appreciate that the TOPS program takes the time to place students in settings that they are interested and capable in, but that still encourage growth and edification. Additionally, the TOPS program not only focuses on employment skills, but also addresses everyday life functions and problem-solving which completely align with the vision of occupational therapy. I knew that for my Capstone project I wanted to emphasize increased employability in life skills among this population, and knew that TOPS would be a perfect place to learn about that!

I love to swing dance, play the guitar, bake, spend time in the great outdoors and hang out with friends and family.

I’ve gone sledding down an active volcano, I am the youngest of 5 and the only girl, I raised pigs and cows while I was growing up and I’ve spent 6 weeks in Nicaragua!


FCC Launches Emergency Broadband Benefit Program; Please View If Pell Eligible!

FCC Launches Emergency Broadband Benefit Program

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has launched an Emergency Broadband Benefit Program to help households struggling to pay for internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, and virtual classrooms.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit will provide a discount of up to $50 per month towards broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for households on Tribal lands. Eligible households can also receive a one-time discount of up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute $10-$50 toward the purchase price.

The Emergency Broadband Benefit is limited to one monthly service discount and one device discount per household.

A household is eligible if one member of the household:

  • Qualifies for the Lifeline program;
  • Receives benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, or did so in the 2019-2020 school year;
  • Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
  • Experienced a substantial loss of income since February 29, 2020, and the household had a total income in 2020 below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
  • Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating providers’ existing low-income or COVID-19 program.

The program has been authorized by the FCC, but the start date has not yet been established. The FCC is working to make the benefit available as quickly as possible. Please continue to check the program webpage for updates.

Healthy and Delicious Snack!

Healthy Snack introduced to us by Mary Kenney that is doing a Capstone with TOPS this semester.

We made in TOPS SLC2 Class SO GOOD we wanted to share it with you!

Food Groups: Dairy (can use almond vanilla Greek yogurt if needed)

Protein: Peanut Butter

Fruit: Apples, Bananas or whatever you choose to “dip”

Quick and Easy – Enjoy

TOPS Breakfast Club Event (3/13)-Review of Katalina’s

Katalina’s in Clintonville  – Clintonville 3481 N High St, Columbus, OH 43214

Katalina’s was such a cute breakfast location! Finn ordered the Mexican French Toast without bacon and got some orange juice to drink, and I ordered the Avocado Toast. Both meals were excellent, and there was plenty of food so that we both had enough to take home leftovers . The restaurant was fairly small on the inside, so we recommend going at an earlier time if you have a larger group of people. Finn gives Katalina’s a 5 out of 5 stars and a thumbs up, definitely a place to visit again sometime!

-Lindsey Overmyer

Student Spotlight: Meet Zach

Zach is a student enrolled in the four-year program with TOPS, and is set to graduate this spring. 

He currently is working with the early childhood program with the Nisonger Center. A normal day consists of doing temperature checks for the kids to make sure that their temperatures aren’t over 100. He also laminates and staples papers together, and does general office type work.

He says it is very fun to interact with the kids and to help them out and get to know them better. He helps kids from infant age to preschool. Sometimes there are a lot of new things that he doesn’t know yet, and he just takes a deep breath and goes with the flow.

Zach has worked many jobs while enrolled in the TOPS program including working with the COSI outreach program to help teach kids science, working at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the PT and OT department, and volunteering at the National Veterans Memorial Museum in downtown Columbus.

His favorite job that he’s worked is his job at COSI, because he got to work with a lot of different people who were all very nice, and he got to do a wide variety of tasks. This included helping kids with science activities, and working in the Dino exhibit to sort out dinosaur skulls. He was also in charge of explaining what the skulls were to the kids.

Zach’s favorite class that he has taken during his time at Ohio State is his History of the Holocaust class. He liked learning about how everything happened and the history behind it. In his free time, Zach loves watching Jeopardy and seeing if he can get all the answers right. He enjoys participating in Special Olympic sports such as basketball and track and field. He also loves learning about historians and other interesting facts on the internet.

Post-graduation, he has plans to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC to learn more about the Holocaust. Zach has a lot of interests, but is most interested in a career in museum education. However, he is still open to a wide variety of jobs and is working to find a job.

A fun fact about Zach is that he can name all 32 NFL stadiums!


Word of Thanks to OSU TOPS for COSI Project Last Fall

WAY TO GO TOPS Students/Mentors and Volunteers!

We know how hard everyone worked for the COSI Project last Fall.

You all did fabulous and they have invited us back!

Upcoming OSU Career Fair: Register Now! March 4th from 1pm-5pm

Upcoming OSU Career Fair

Instructional video demonstrating how to register and participate in the virtual career fair on Handshake: