Surgical Pathology Observation

This semester, I was extremely fortunate to receive an opportunity to shadow in the surgical pathology lab at the James. Before observing, I had no idea of what a “normal day” in the lab looked like. As soon as I entered the lab, I was fascinated. Pathology assistants and technicians were grossing a variety of specimens in order for the pathologist to make a diagnosis. Some of the specimens even belonged to patients still in the operating room and were looked at to give the surgeon a better idea of how to move forward in surgery. Everything was fast-paced and efficient, and I was able to learn about the grossing process and how cancer could be diagnosed by looking under the microscope. As a current student on the pre-medicine track, this shadowing opportunity gave me the chance to learn more about pathology and other careers within the specialty, including that of a pathologist assistant. I was extremely grateful for the opportunity to observe in this lab!

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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

My name is Sydney VerDow and I am from Lancaster, Ohio. I am going into my third year at The Ohio State University majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies on the pre-medicine track. I am also part of the Biological Science Scholars group. I hope to continue on to medical school or a related graduate program to expand my knowledge of the sciences and have a future career that will impact the lives of others.

Year in Review

Vision Statement: After graduation, I hope to attend medical school or a related graduate program.

Action Statement: I would like to observe more areas and specialties within the medical field, continue volunteering in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Grant Medical Center, and take on more leadership in both the Neuroscience program and in extracurricular clubs.

Two years of studying Neuroscience at The Ohio State University have come and gone before I even knew it! After taking the core classes required of my major, I have decided upon a Molecular-Cellular specialization within Neuroscience. I was able to take a Psychopharmacology course that I thoroughly enjoyed and look forward to filling my last two years at Ohio State with more specialized courses. Also, I added a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies that will allow me to include my passion of women’s rights with the sciences throughout the rest of my undergraduate career.

From the beginning of my time at The Ohio State University, I have looked for opportunities to get involved. Currently, I serve as an ambassador in the scholars division of the Neuroscience program, volunteer in the NICU at Grant Medical Center, and help in an Injury Biomechanics research lab. I shadowed in the surgical pathology lab at the James this past semester and was able to learn all about the specialty and the various career paths within it. I am interested in continuing to look at different medical-related careers to give me a more solid idea of what I would like to pursue after I graduate.  My hope is to eventually attend medical school!

Helping the babies in the NICU and becoming more informed about women’s rights through my WGSS classes brought me to an field research internship position this summer at the Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona. They are a nonprofit devoted to providing those in need with diapers and period products. They are partnered with over 40 agencies in the area, including many health-clinics. My job will be to meet with the agencies and those receiving the products to create a research project on the impact receiving these health necessities has. I am very excited for the internship and spending a summer in the Arizona heat!



Although there has been a lot of good, my past two years definitely have not been easy. I’ve struggled through some extremely tough classes and have had freak-out moments questioning just about everything in my future, but my family, boyfriend, and friends have been there for me through it all. The challenges I’ve faced have become learning experiences that I can take with me as I maneuver my way through the rest of my college experience.

Ohio State has provided me with an amazing support network, great friends, and awesome experiences! I can’t wait for the fall!

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.