Grant Medical Center NICU

My favorite part of the week has to be making the trip to downtown Columbus to volunteer in the NICU at Grant Medical Center. Shockingly enough, I had been one to steer away from kids/small children, hoping to volunteer with adults. My experience at Grant with a wonderful volunteer coordinator, doctors, and nurses has completely shifted my perspective.

On an average weekend, I spend 6 hours volunteering in the NICU. I get to hold and soothe babies, fold linens, and sometimes just observe the amazing roles of the nurses as they do everything in their power to take care of their tiny patients.

Being at Grant has undoubtedly had a profound impact on my life, from witnessing babies leaving the hospital to go home for the first time to better understanding how much work goes into the recovery process.

I hope to continue volunteering at Grant Medical Center for the next few years of my undergraduate education.

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Barrett House Study Session

One of the scholars events I attended was the study session in our dorm, Barrett House. Upon first look, it may seem like an event such as this would be pointless or boring. However, this is where all of the Bio Sci Scholars students really get to interact outside of the classroom. I was able to work on my homework, and get help when needed, by all my peers sitting around me. The environment was focused, yet relaxed. Overall, the study session brought me closer to others in the Scholars community and focus on my studies.

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This fall, my seemingly comfortable life was whirled into a new adventure of challenging academics, opportunity, and friendship. I, along thousands of other nervous students, was beginning a new chapter of life at The Ohio State University. Although there were so many of us, we were divided. Different backgrounds, religions, socioeconomic statuses, lifestyles, and even personal opinions separated us. However, that all changed when we had the opportunity to join together on the football field to form the Block “O” for the annual class picture. In that moment, we became family. Everyone was now part of something much bigger than themselves. Differences were highlighted and used to make new discoveries. By standing there with my peers, I knew my future would be bright. Seeing everyone in the same position I was in gave me the confidence to introduce myself in class, be more social in the dining hall, and embrace my academics with motivation and rigor. This artifact, cherished by many, represents my introduction to the greatness that is The Ohio State University.


About Me

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My name is Sydney VerDow and I am from Lancaster, Ohio. I love to read, relax, and learn. Science and music are two subjects I am passionate about. Throughout high school, I was involved in various music groups and ensembles. Marching band and Assembly Singers, among other groups, allowed me to meet new people and gain valuable leadership skills. Also, I enjoy playing the piano. Making and playing music serves as a good stress reliever. As a freshman at The Ohio State University, I am majoring in Neuroscience. I am also part of the Biological Science Scholars group. I hope to continue on to medical school to expand my knowledge of the sciences and have a future career that will impact the lives of others.

Semester in Review

“I took a walk in the woods and came out taller than the trees”

– Henry David Thoreau

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Without realizing it, three months can change a person a lot. I came to Ohio State in August not knowing at all what to expect, yet hoping I would be able to adapt without any difficulty.  I quickly realized that was not true. As prepared as I could have felt, my first semester of college was a big adjustment and filled with its share of trying circumstances. However, I grew as an individual so much, both academically and emotionally.

I received my first not-so-great test grade. After the initial freak-out moment when the scores were posted, I was really able to evaluate my studying techniques. My method of cramming the night before that had worked in high school transitioned into highlighting notes, taking practice exams, and going to review sessions (even when I did not know anyone else there).

Instead of being with friends that I had known since I was little, I had to find new friends. I learned to step out of my comfort zone and find those with similar interests to me. Roommates and lab partners at the beginning of the year quickly became friends I know I will have for many years to come.

Volunteering became a reality as I found a spot in the NICU at Grant Medical Center. As a person that was “unsure” about spending time with small children, my heart continues to grow as I get the opportunity to hold and snuggle babies every weekend. Being able to gain some experience in the healthcare field and meet many amazing nurses has majorly impacted me for the better.

Research popped up where I least expected it. After a session with faculty members involved in research during a Scholars survey,  I was able to get more information in a Injury Biomechanics Research Lab. After many emails and an interview, I found an opportunity to volunteer at the lab starting in the spring. I could not be more excited to learn and grow in the lab.

So much happened in one short semester, and it is only the beginning! My experiences so far at Ohio State have far exceeded my expectations, and I look forward to all the future opportunities.


Go Bucks!



Global Awareness: Learning about one another’s unique cultures and backgrounds is critically important. Besides gaining interesting knowledge regarding different lifestyles, you understand others better. For me, being exposed to diversity starts in the classroom. By working with peers in the lab setting and discussing challenging questions, I’ve gained global awareness. My peers answer questions with angles I never would have thought about, which allow me to think things through differently the next time I approach a question. In the future, I would like to study abroad to further my understanding of the world. One study abroad opportunity that I am interested in is Atlantis Project, which deals with clinical shadowing in a hospital setting in other countries. This would allow me to see how hospitals in other countries are operated and an increase in comprehension in my studies to bring back home.

Original Inquiry: As a Neuroscience major, original inquiry is exciting to pursue. To start, I would like to volunteer at a hospital/clinical setting in the area. Obtaining a sense of the inner-workings of a setting such as this better prepare me for my future career. At Ohio State, there are many research opportunities, especially ones involving Neuroscience. Eventually, I would like to get involved in a research lab to be working on the front lines of a subject area I am interested in.

Academic Enrichment: Throughout my four years as an undergraduate student at Ohio State, I would like to take rigorous classes that challenge me to think critically and abstractly. This includes taking higher level courses and being willing to take on difficult coursework. However, academic enrichment can be pursued in any course on any given day. I have attended Monthly Mojo’s hosted by Nu Rho Psi, the neuroscience honor society. These are talks given by professionals in the field on related neuroscience topics. It gives real world applications to what I am learning in the classroom. Also, I would like to continue to go to office hours and seek help or clarification when needed. Academic enrichment begins with fully understanding the concepts taught, and being able to teach them to others.

Leadership Development: Leadership positions are hard to come by as a first year college student. However, development can begin now. Two clubs I have joined are Buckeyes Raising Awareness in Neuroscience and the Undergraduate Neuroscience Outreach Organization. By being an active member, I am presenting myself as a capable leader in the future.

Service Engagement: It is important to give back to the community you live in. This year, I am taking part in various service activities. Through Biological Sciences Scholars, I have been able to take part in Zero Waste, which is centered around encouraging tailgaters to recycle. Not only was it fun being in the football game atmosphere, but it was rewarding watching the fans use the bins passed out. Waste was eliminated by a simple act. In the future, I would like to take part in a health-related service engagement that I can really spend a lot of time on.