Upcoming Graduate Student Spotlight: Jake Schoen!

Help us celebrate Jake!

Image of TOPS student, Jake, smiling next to a statue of Brutus Buckeye

TOPS wants to recognize all of the hard work and accomplishments of the upcoming TOPS graduates by hearing about their individual experiences. This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Jake Schoen. Below is the interview with Jake.

What is your name?

My name is Jake Schoen.

When did you start TOPS?

I started TOPS in August 2018.

What was your favorite class at TOPS?

My favorite class was Acting 3 because I love acting and monologues.

What is one of your favorite memories from TOPS?

My favorite memory is the escape room from our summer orientation.

How was your overall experience with TOPS? Was it fun, hard, exciting?

It was pretty good.

What will you miss most about college?

My theatre classes and my internships at Navy ROTC and RPAC. I will also miss my involvement with Autism U at OSU.

What was your favorite thing about college?

My theatre classes and Autism U at OSU

What job do you have now?

I am finishing up my work at the ROTC and RPAC and plan to start working again in the fall.

What is your dream job?

I’m still deciding what career path I want to go on.

If you could describe college in one word, what would it be?

Awesome

Congratulations Jake! We are excited to see what your future holds!

Upcoming Graduate Student Spotlight: Matt Connors!

Help us celebrate Matt!

Image of Matt Connors smiling and holding a set of keys in his apartment

TOPS wants to recognize all of the hard work and accomplishments of the upcoming TOPS graduates by hearing about their individual experiences. This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Connors. Below is the interview with Matt.

What is your name?

Matthew Connors

When did you start TOPS?

August 2019

What was your favorite class at TOPS?

British History

What is one of your favorite memories from TOPS?

My favorite memory was my first day going to a college class, when I never thought I would be able to go to college!

How was your overall experience with TOPS? Was it fun, hard, exciting?

I thought TOPS was very fun. I met new people and had new experiences that I didn’t think I would ever have because of my problems with reading and writing. I am very grateful to TOPS.

What will you miss most about college?

I will miss my teachers a lot because they helped me so much. They helped me with my schoolwork and helped me to decide about jobs and to get a job.

What was your favorite thing about college?

My favorite thing was going to new classes and learning things that I didn’t know. I liked meeting new people.

What job do you have now?

I am working full-time at Ohio State Harding Hospital as a Nutrition Aide.

What is your dream job?

I would like to do food preparation or cook.

If you could describe college in one word, what would it be?

Amazing!

Congratulations Matt! We wish you the best!

Upcoming Graduate Student Spotlight: Connor Silverman!

Help us celebrate Connor!

TOPS wants to recognize all of the hard work and accomplishments of the upcoming TOPS graduates by hearing about their individual experiences. This time, we had the pleasure of speaking with Connor Silverman. Below is the interview with Connor.

What is your name?

My name is Connor Silverman and I’m from Hudson, Ohio. I am a very hard-working and passionate buckeye. I am in my last year and will be graduating on May 8th.

When did you start TOPS?

I started TOPS in August of 2018.

What was your favorite class at TOPS?

My favorite class would be KNSISM 4245 Sport Leadership and Programming last year. I really loved learning about what makes a great team and leader in the Focus 3’s from Tim Knight, Urban Meyer. I liked the “Get Better Mindset”, “Focused Energy”, “Win the Moment”, and “You’ve Been Trained for This” videos. We also discussed a few different forms of leadership like servant leadership, transformational leadership, group leadership dynamics. I would say that I really strive to win the moment everyday. My leadership skills through life are improving everyday.

What is one of your favorite memories from TOPS?

My favorite memories are everything: classes, jobs, internships, sport orgs, social outings, meeting new people, football Saturdays in the packed horseshoe.

How was your overall experience with TOPS? Was it fun, hard, exciting?

My overall experience was really great with all of the jobs, internships, and classes that I did. All of the people that I met too.

What will you miss most about college?

I’ll miss the social interactions and going to many places on campus

What was your favorite thing about college?

My favorite things are first, all of the classes that I took and everything that I learned from them so I can apply it to daily life. My favorite things are second, the internships and jobs at different places and learn new job skills. My favorite things are third, all of the student organizations that will help you with regards to my interest. My favorite things are fourth, the campus community and all of Ohio coming together on football Saturdays to support the buckeyes.

What job do you have now?

Well to answer this the best way possible, I have a paid internship at Value City Arena. I have worked since June of 2021. I really love it because of the people, and you have the opportunity to interact with the other employees. I also get additional shifts, pay for events like concerts, hockey, basketball too. I will be getting a job offer from the supervisor later this month.

What is your dream job?

My dream job is working with in the department of athletics at The Ohio State University and what I am doing that right now at Value City Arena. I will be getting a job offer soon from the supervisor.

If you could describe college in one word, what would it be?

Very fun, academics to internships, jobs to football.

Congratulations Connor! We are so proud of you!

Register for Spring Career Fair

The 2021 Spring Career Fair is happening virtually on the Handshake platform on January 27, 2021 from 12-5pm.

Students are required to register for both the fair and for the individual or group sessions with their desired employers. Make sure to register for the Spring Career Fair to connect with employers recruiting across a broad range of disciplines!

For more information, visit OSU’s Career Fair website.

Community Service: TOPS at COSI

Image of TOPS students and mentors at COSI.

As part of the partnership with COSI and Children’s Hunger Alliance teaming up to feed lives and minds of Columbus Children they have partnered to distribute grab-and-go meals and a new COSI “Learning Lunchbox,” which is a resource kit filled with hands-on science activities for children in need in the Columbus area.  https://cosi.org/zoo/item/learning-lunchboxes

Seven TOPS students and two mentors attended a community service event on October 23rd, 2020 to assist with the assembly of science kits to support the COSI “Learning Lunchbox.” Student’s traveled in small group car pools and worked with their masks on. They were provided gloves and a socially distanced work station for this in-person event.  We were able to take a quick moment to catch the group posing for a photo for you all.  Thank you to COSI for allowing us to come and volunteer, and thank you to the TOPS Students and mentors for your service!

“Students had a lot of fun making science kits and listening to Halloween music.  Molly and Alex from COSI were great!”
~Lauren B., Mentor

So happy to hear the students had a great time, we really enjoyed hosting them and they really helped out!
~ Molly, COSI

To learn more about the learning lunchbox project, please visit:  https://cosi.org/zoo/item/learning-lunchboxes.

On Top of the World: Meet Austin!

 

More than anything, Austin Shirk wanted to be a Buckeye.

Austin putting a sterilization rack back on the belt in Central Sterile Supplyl

From his home in Allen, Texas, he’d cheer for the football team alongside his parents, Dina ’88 and Dave ’92, and he often went to games when visiting Ohio relatives. As he grew up, he dreamed of taking college classes at Ohio State, making new friends and finding a good job.

But his prospects for higher education seemed remote to Austin and his parents. Austin is among millions of people in this country with an intellectual or developmental disability, less than a quarter of whom go on to college after finishing high school, according to Think College, a national nonprofit working to raise that percentage.

As for finding a good job, “We were having a heck of a time getting anyone to give Austin a chance in Texas,” Dina said. Though her son enrolled in independent living and job training programs, they didn’t lead to jobs. Instead, he languished on waiting lists.

If local programs could not help Austin, the Shirks decided, then they would move on. They began searching for an alternative and could hardly believe it when their quest led to their alma mater.

Ohio State had created a program in 2011 called Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings, or TOPS, to provide personalized support to students with intellectual or developmental disabilities. The program is designed for students who want to learn life skills and find a job that matches their abilities and talents — all while experiencing the university’s vibrant academic and social life.

Austin had a chance to be a Buckeye.

He couldn’t fill out the TOPS application fast enough, and the Shirks waited nervously for the call. Then it came: He was in. “It was a big accomplishment, a big step to get into TOPS,” Austin said.

A world of firsts awaited Austin when he arrived in Columbus in 2014. While he was excited to be on campus, it was a big adjustment, and he would be living in his own apartment for the first time. Austin, who loved auditing classes with more “typical” Ohio State students, discovered a special interest he didn’t know of: “I enjoyed earth sciences, especially the lectures, labs and hands-on activities,” he said.

Based on that, his job coaches found him internships with the Nisonger Center Dental Program and a private dental clinic in Columbus, where he assembled instrumentation trays and sterilized equipment.

After completing the TOPS program in 2016, Austin went to work at the Wexner Medical Center where he supports the Central Sterile Supply department. His position pays a fair-market wage with full benefits, including retirement benefits and health insurance. “I love my job,” he said. “It’s worth going through the [challenges that accompany] being in TOPS.”

His manager, Jen Smith, is similarly delighted.

“Austin is so eager to learn new tasks, and he gets along with everyone,” Smith said. “I’ve never seen one human being get along so well with everyone.” It’s not just that Austin is nice; his contributions make the entire team more effective. “He can handle tasks that were taking our clinical staff away from production,” said Smith, who hopes to create another job with TOPS. “We would have two of Austin if we could.”

In helping students find their way as young adults, TOPS changes lives for entire families.

“I am so excited about Austin’s job,” Dina Shirk said. “When we got his diagnosis at age 10, the doctor said, ‘If I were you, I would teach him a few things and forget everything else.’ We never went back to him, and Austin has so exceeded those expectations.”

Source: MacLellan, Erin. “On Top of the World.” The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Ohio State Alumni Magazine, 2017, www.osu.edu/alumni/news/ohio-state-alumni-magazine/issues/march-april-2017/on-top-of-the-world.html.

 

Upcoming CABS Route Changes

CABS Adds Routes, Expands Service

CABS is expanding to offer additional options for students, faculty and staff. While capacity remains limited to promote physical distancing, the Campus Loop South will resume modified service on Monday September 21st. In addition, the Wests Campus route will expand its daytime hours.  These additions provide more convenient transportation options.

Image of a red and white OSU CABS bus displaying the words GO BUCKS

As a reminder, all passengers should wear masks and are asked to enter from the front and exit from the rear door.

To learn more about CABS routes and schedules, visit the OSU Transportation and Traffic Management website.

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