OSU Nisonger TOPS Program Information Sessions

What is TOPS?

Red block O with buckeye leaves

The Transition Options in Postsecondary Settings program at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center offers individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities a unique opportunity to engage in OSU academic coursework and work experiences.

We offer a 2 and 4-year Workforce Development Certificate Program that focuses on: Academics, Career Development, Independent Living, and Self-Determination.

The sessions will feature in-depth discussion on: 

  • Academic Classes
  • Work Experiences
  • Independent Living
  • Application and Financial Aid Processes

Session Dates and Times:

  • 9/11/20 9:30am-11:00am
  • 10/5/20 12:00pm-1:30pm
  • 11/10/20 5:00pm-6:30pm
  • 1/13/21 5:00pm-6:30pm
  • 3/4/21* 5:00pm-6:30pm

*Please note that the March information session is after the application deadline

Application Deadlines:

  • Early Action: November 15th
  • Regular Decision: February 1st


Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 973 8452 0687
Password: 891356


Call 614-685-3185 or email Transitions@osumc.edu

Visit our website at go.osu.edu/tops

QR code and ThinkCOLLEGE logo

Welcome to Transitions Vinotheni!

Please join us in welcoming Vinotheni as the new Program Assistant to the Transitions Department at The Ohio State University Nisonger Center.

Vino lives in Dublin, Ohio with her husband and two daughters. They lived in Japan for 10 years before moving to the United States in 2014. Vino started volunteering for an after-school learning program in Dublin and became their Center Administrator before joining us here at Nisonger. Her husband works as an Engineer at Honda. Their daughters will be entering 9th grade and 4th grade this fall and are fun, loving and caring. As a family, they enjoy spending time together playing sports (basketball, volleyball and badminton), watching movies, taking walks and watching the kids play.

Vinotheni and her family

We are so excited to have Vino join our team. She looks forward to meeting all of our students soon – please be sure to give her a warm welcome when you meet her!

Ian Danielsen, Longwood University – Programs for Students With Disabilities


Portrait of Ian Danielsen, Assistant Professor at Longwood University. Ian is wearing a blue button up shirt with an orange tie and a plaid blazer.

Ian Danielsen, Assistant Professor at Longwood University

Ian Danielsen, assistant professor of social work, discusses programs designed to help those with disabilities get the education they need in the Academic Minute Podcast for Inside Higher Ed.

Assistant Professor Ian Danielsen earned his Master of Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1992. He then worked for the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice for nearly ten years in an intensive treatment program for sexually reactive youths.  He then worked for almost four years as a Clinician for a private agency providing residential treatment services for sexually reactive adolescent boys in foster care.

He began serving as the Director of the Greater Richmond SCAN Children’s Advocacy Center in June of 2006. Serving also as an adjunct faculty instructor for the VCU School of Social Work from 2009 to 2016, Ian has coordinated several important projects including earning Accreditation from the National Children’s Alliance, forming new multidisciplinary child abuse teams, and engaging in statewide legislative advocacy efforts.

Ian was honored to be a 2011 recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award and a 2012 awardee of the Commonwealth of Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board on Child Abuse and Neglect. He also serves on the Virginia Bar Association’s Commission on the Needs of Children. He was also named an honoree of the “Unsung Hero” award for victim advocacy in April 2020 by the Virginia Office of the Attorney General.

Ian accepted a faculty position in Longwood University’s Social Work Program in 2016.  Shortly thereafter, he joined a steering committee to form “The Longwood LIFE” Program, a post-secondary education program at Longwood for young adults who have intellectual disabilities.

Discussing Programs for Students With Disabilities


Transcript of the Academic Minute Podcast with Ian Danielsen

Increasingly across the U.S., colleges and universities are establishing programs for young adult students with intellectual disabilities and students on the Autism spectrum. In Virginia alone, there are at least three such post-secondary programs active in state universities, with some collaboration among them. 

While programs vary in style, structure, and cost, they are all rooted in a value system of inclusion and accessibility.  The growth of programs nationally reflects a collective recognition that the vast and deep resources of universities can be of great benefit students with intellectual disabilities, both academically and vocationally.

Colleges and universities are often seen as microcosms of larger society; they represent a training ground for students to practice skills for future independent living.  It therefore follows that if students with disabilities gain access to this setting of supported semi-independent living, then their competencies for greater independence will grow as well.

Some university programs include students with disabilities in pre-existing non-degree courses, on a sort of “audit” basis, tailoring the students’ course loads to their academic and career interests. Others provide more individualized instruction, offering courses in social skills, daily living skills, and skills for development of healthy relationships, as well as tailor-made coursework in economics, physical education, music, and theatre.

We have studied the ways in which our program has benefited students and found genuine growth in their life skills and vocational readiness. My research focus is in the benefits to other university students, faculty, staff, and parents, as we have seen time and time again that inclusion enhances and lifts the culture of the university as a whole, our mutually beneficial experiences supporting the personal and professional growth of us all.

SOURCE: https://academicminute.org/2020/07/ian-danielsen-longwood-university-programs-for-students-with-disabilities/

New Staff: TOPS Residential Coordinator – Sheri Uhrin

Good Day,

I’m Sheri Uhrin and I recently joined the TOPS staff as the new residential coordinator.  I have lived in the Columbus area for the past twenty years but grew up in Wisconsin. I attended college at University of Wisconsin – Stout and earned my B.S degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and M.A in Rehabilitation Counseling from Gallaudet University in Washington D.C.   I have a CRC Certification (Certified Rehabilitation Counselor). I was previously the Transition Services Coordinator at the Ohio School for the Deaf for over twenty years. Where I have worked with youth 14- 22 with transitioning and preparing for life after high school.

My husband Janos of 26 years met in Tucson, AZ when I was on an internship for my Masters and he was traveling and visiting the states (he is originally from Hungary). We have an adult son Riley, who is 23.  Stella, is our 8 year old Australian Sheppard.

Things I enjoy in my free time are: traveling, hiking, cooking and spending time with my family and friends.

I am looking forward to being a part of the TOPS Staff and getting to know you all.  🙂


Orientation and an escape!

Thursday morning was filled with Orientation sessions. The videos showed were entertaining yet very informative giving a glimpse into life on campus. We captured a few photos during this time.


In the afternoon incoming students headed to the Med Center to start the process of being cleared for internships. This meant they needed to get their fingerprints taken. A few of them stopped along the way to pose with Brutus!

It was time to escape this evening to a Museum Heist and Island Escape. The group escaping the Island was able to escape with 53 seconds to spare. Here is the Museum Heist group.

Back in Action

Happy Summer!

After focusing on our Facebook page for outreach the past few years, we are going to be turning back to this platform for updates and goings-on for the OSU TOPS Program.

A few updates since our last post in February 2016:

  • On May 3rd, the program graduated three students – Natalie, Jamie, and Megan – all of whom have paid community employment! We are so proud of our graduates and wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors. Photo of TOPS graduates and faculty at TOPS graduation on May 3, 2018.
  • On April 27th, TOPS students and staff collaborated with the Van Buren Shelter on the bi-annual TOPS Day of Service to help prepare their Garden of Hope for the season. Students assisted with mulching, weeding, and planting of fruit bushes. Their hard work was rewarded with a delicious visit to North Market!

TOPS Students at the Van Buren Shelter's Garden of Hope.

  • In June, the TOPS program will be welcoming 13 students to campus for the annual Campus Orientation and Transition Assessment (COTA) program. Ten of the young men and women are incoming TOPS students and the program will be their first taste at campus life!

Student Spotlight – Jack

Jack at Schoenbaum

This month we are spotlighting Jack. Jack is a second year student in the TOPS program. His original career focus was childcare but he is now revisiting that for a new career path to be determined.

Jack currently works at the Schoenbaum Family Center as a classroom assistant. He has a natural knack for engaging with the students. He will be missed when he starts his new internship in the Dodd Hall Rehabilitation Center.

Jack is taking Crossing Boundaries: A Journey towards Intercultural Leadership and Identity Development this semester. Although this is not his favorite course he has taken at OSU, he believes it will be a great course for students who want to challenge their leadership abilities and better understand their disability as it relates to their identity.

Jack is taking full advantage of the resources at OSU. He has been very active with the social program, participating in the basketball game watch at BW3’s, attending the Americans with Disabilities Act Seminar with OSU senior leadership and of course attending the movies.  Jack even got up really early on his day off to volunteer his time during OSU’s MLK Day of Service.

Think College @ the 2016 OSU Multiple Perspectives Conference

The Multiple Perspectives Conference is an ongoing exploration of disability, a conversation including many voices and reflecting perspectives gained through experience and research; theory and practice; arts and sciences.

I am very excited to announce that Think College will join Multiple Perspectives this year, featuring faculty, staff and students from the TOPS Program. Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability.

I would like to highlight 2 sessions in particular:

  • Michael Kranak, LEND Trainee, will present in the session titled “Using Technology Supports to Enhance Employment Outcomes for Postsecondary Students.” The session will discuss  how technological supports, such as video prompts, models and apps, can enhance and lead to better postsecondary employment outcomes for students with IDD.
  • Dr. Diana Clouse, Interim Director of University of Cincinnati’s Transition and Access Program (TAP), will present a session titled “Supporting Social Competence and Dignity of Risk with Adults with Intellectual Disability in Post-Secondary Education.” The session will discuss the components of TAP, the successes and challenges involved in supporting social competence in a postsecondary education (PSE) residential setting, and potential evidence-based tools that can be utilized by other PSE programs.

The Multiple Perspectives Conference will take place from April 13th to April 14th at the OSU Blackwell Inn & Pfahl Conference Center. The Think College track will take place on the first day (4/13), and there is a $60 single-day attendance fee for non-OSU persons, including lunch! I strongly encourage you to consider attending this very exciting opportunity, and perhaps invite a friend or two.

For more information, please see the attached flyer: Think College at OSU Multiple Perspectives Conference – April 13 2016

A Word from the Program (Feb 16)

February is already upon us!  I have for you both a tip and an exciting update.

Social Activities and RSVP

Many social activities require you to make transportation arrangements; a very important thing to remember is to make these arrangements BEFORE the event. If you need help planning a bus route or others please let us know. Our social coaches are often willing to support your transportation needs. This is especially important for the upcoming events to go Bowling on the 20th and to the Capital Area Humane Society on the 27th.

RVSP, what does it mean? A RSVP is a request for a reply. When you get an invitation to an event or an email with a question you most likely need to respond somehow. Often our staff will required a response in an email or you may need to RSVP to a social event. It is important to respond even if you are saying “No, I can’t attend.” This helps with planning.

TOPS Students Sharing Their Experiences

Megan and Shane meeting Dr. James Minor from the Office of Postsecondary Edcuation

On January 26th, two TOPS students, Megan and Shane, met with Dr. James Minor, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Higher Education Programs in the Office of Postsecondary Education. Dr. Minor wanted to meet with students directly impacted by grants from the Office of Postsecondary Edcuation. Megan and Shane were able to speak to their experiences in the TOPS program and the benefits of the program on their futures. It was a great experience for them!