Creating the Extraordinary Student Experience : Office of Student Life

Buckeye Brief: Graduate Students to Watch

Posted: April 6, 2020

Sadé Lindsay, MA - College of Arts and Sciences - PhD candidate, Sociology


Sadé L. Lindsay is a Columbus native and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Sociology. She received a bachelor’s degree in criminology and a master’s degree in sociology at the Ohio State University in 2015 and 2017, respectively. As an undergraduate student, she co-founded a student organization for first-year women of color, conducted undergraduate research, and helped plan large service events, such as MLK Day of Service and Community Commitment. She continues her service efforts in the community while a Ph.D. student by mentoring both incarcerated youth through the Buckeye R.E.A.C.H. program and undergraduate sociology and criminology students. She received the 2018 Graduate Student Award for Distinguished Service from the College of Arts and Sciences for her dedication to serving the university and Columbus community. 

Sadé integrates her passion for service and research by producing engaged, policy-relevant scholarship. Her research interests include social inequality and punishment, prisoner reentry and employment, incarceration and health, and drug use and policy. Sadé’s research has been published in the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency and The Prison Journal and she is a Ruth D. Peterson Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, an Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences’ Doctoral Summit Scholar, an Ohio State Sesquicentennial Scholar, and a recipient of the Inaugural Black Women PhDs® Scholarship. 

Sadé’s mixed-methods dissertation broadly examines whether prison programs help formerly incarcerated men overcome criminal stigma and discrimination in the labor market. Her dissertation has already received an award from the American Society of Criminology’s Division on Corrections and Sentencing and is funded by both the National Science Foundation’s Sociology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant and the Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship at the university. In her free time, she loves reading, writing, spending time with family and friends, and kickboxing.

Kazune Pax - College of Dentistry - DDS/PhD student, Oral Biology

Kazune Pax is a 3rd year DDS/PhD student in the College of Dentistry pursuing a doctorate degree in oral biology and dentistry. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pre-professional Studies and Math from the University of Notre Dame in 2017. As an undergraduate, her time was split between researching in Dr. Matthew Ravosa’s lab and Japan Club. As a Japanese American, it was important to her to share Japanese culture beyond anime and sushi to the Notre Dame and South Bend community. 

Beyond research, a major part of Kazune’s life has revolved around babysitting and nannying. This fuels her strong interest in child health and development. When she began at Ohio State, she found the perfect project in Dr. Purnima Kumar’s lab studying moms, babies, and the bacteria that grow in their mouths. She is interested in how maternal health and habits influence the health of the child.

Kazune is currently heavily involved with the College of Dentistry’s Student Research Group (SRG) and the Asian Pacific Student Dental Association (APSDA). SRG works to highlight the ongoing research in the college and hold events for students to learn about different dental specialties. SRG also collaborates with the College to host the College of Dentistry Research Day to showcase current research by dental and dental hygiene students, undergraduates, visiting scholars, and post-docs. APSDA aims to promote Asian culture in the dental school and reach out to the Asian Community of Columbus. One of Kazune’s favorite events is volunteering at the Columbus Asian Festival. At this event, APSDA members spend two days providing oral health screenings and fluoride treatments for the broader Asian Community. APSDA also collaborates with the Asian Pacific Dental Alumni Association to provide free treatment to at-risk children once a year. 

Kazune has also become involved with SRG at the national level with AADR NSRG because she believes it’s important to promote student research across the country and highlight fellow dental student researchers. AADR NSRG not only promotes student research but provides opportunities for dental students to compete at the national level and offers guidance on how to navigate future career paths. She was recently elected secretary of AADR NSRG. 

Kazune has received the Orville E. Russel Award of Excellence from the College of Dentistry’s Theta Chapter of the Omicron Kappa Upsilon Honor Society in recognition of her academic achievement and character. She has also been recognized for her research by being selected as a finalist for the American Association of Dental Research’s Hatton Award as well as receiving the AADR/Dentsply Sirona SCADA Award at this year’s Research Day. This gives her the opportunity to compete in the Student Competition for Advancing Dental Research and Its Application Competition at the American Association of Dental Research’s annual conference in Boston next year. 

Outside of school and research, Kazune loves to bake, run, and paint her nails with new ornate designs that she finds online.

Alexis Little - College of Education and Human Ecology - PhD candidate, Education Policy

Alexis Patrice Little is completing Ohio State University’s education policy doctoral program, spring 2020. Her doctoral research comprised of a mixed-methods study examining state-wide school discipline records and Black girls’ perceptions of current discipline practices and positive alternatives. During her time in Columbus, Ms. Little has volunteered and participated in organizations designed to support Black girls and women, including Rise Sister Rise, Federation of Christian Athletes’ Elementary Mentorship program, and Ohio State’s Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus (BGPSC) Mentoring Program. This year she will be concluding nearly four years working with the Ohio Department of Higher Education as a Graduate Research Associate. During her time at ODHE, she acted as state liaison for Ohio College Application Month, and several ongoing grant-funded initiatives related to Adult Education. This academic year, she has presented papers based on her dissertation research at the University Council for Educational Administration Conference, Western Positive Psychology Association Academic Conference, Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology’s (EHE) Research Forum, and the Hayes Research Forum. Ms. Little currently has several co-authored articles in the process of publication, including “Black Girls in Columbus: A Quality of Life Report,” in which Ms. Little is a contributing writer. In addition, Ms. Little’s research team earned EHE’s First Annual Graduate Student Interdisciplinary Research Initiative (GSIRI) grant for a mixed-methods study examining the impacts of discipline on academic achievement. Currently, Ms. Little is exploring future research opportunities in faculty positions, research organizations, and post-doctoral fellowships.

Renee Desing - College of Engineering - PhD candidate, Engineering Education

Renee is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Engineering Education. Previously, she earned a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research from the Pennsylvania State University. Renee most recently worked as a Managing Consultant and Senior Engineer for IBM Public Sector Advanced Analytics in Washington, DC. 

Renee is passionate about supporting women engineers and is actively involved in both the Ohio State College of Engineering and Columbus communities. At Ohio State, Renee is a graduate teaching associate for the first-year engineering program and a graduate research associate focusing on engineering identity and motivation, entrepreneurial minded learning, and community development. Renee is also the President of OSU’s Women in Engineering Graduate Council (WEGC). WEGC is an organization dedicated to supporting women engineering graduate students by providing events and resources to aid in academic success, professional development, personal growth, and community engagement. In the Columbus community, Renee volunteers as a head coach for the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program, whose curriculum empowers girls to be confident and live healthy, active lives.

To further engage her passion, Renee is focusing her dissertation on supporting women engineers in their early career who may feel underprepared to face gender-based challenges in the workplace. She is researching the types of challenges they face, such as discrimination and harassment, and how their experiences impact their career decisions and whether they want to stay in their engineering career. Based on how women experience and react to these challenges, their motivation to persist may be impacted.

Renee enjoys interacting with, being a role model for, and motivating girls and future engineers of all ages! She incorporates this passion in her teaching, research, and community service.

Brittany Fischer - College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences - MS student, Animal Sciences

You can usually find Brittany and her office associate, Bear (pictured), in the Animal Sciences Building. Brittany Fischer is a second year Master’s student in the Department of Animal Sciences pursuing a specialization in Animal Welfare and Behavior. She is advised by Dr. Kelly George. As an undergraduate she spent a few years volunteering at the Ohio Wildlife Center, gaining experience with public speaking and taking care of animals. She has always wanted to work in the zoo industry, and became interested in research as an undergraduate student, while working at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. She says, “one of the reasons I was able to do research with the Columbus Zoo was due to my experience working there, as well as Dr. George’s preexisting partnership with them.”

For her Master’s thesis, she has been working with the zoo’s Animal Programs Department to implement an animal welfare assessment for their cheetahs. Her project uses the Five Domains Animal Welfare Model, which states there are five major aspects to an animal’s wellbeing: nutrition, environment, health, behavior, and mental state. Using behavioral observations and individual animal histories, combined with cortisol measurements (to assess stress levels), her assessment takes a holistic view of welfare.

Brittany is also the Program Manager for the OSU Center for Human-Animal Interactions Research and Education (CHAIRE), established three years ago. As program coordinator, she manages CHAIRE’s social media sites, plans fundraising and outreach events, and assists with research projects as needed. CHAIRE is unique, as they approach research questions from both the human and animal perspective, which is reflected their many ongoing projects. “Working for CHAIRE has really allowed me to appreciate the ways that we are really connected to animals in all facets of life and that there is a lot of interest in this area.”

When asked about OSU, she says “I think my favorite thing about OSU has been the many opportunities that have presented themselves since I have been a student at the university. I transferred to Ohio State as a junior during my undergraduate career and during the last four years of being here, feel like many doors have opened for me. I am also beginning a PhD program in the fall. It really goes to show that if you work hard and put yourself out there, people will notice and want to help you succeed.”

Joshua Simon - College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences - MS student, Environmental Social Science

Joshua J. Simon is a native of Morganza, LA and earned his BS from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, LA where he majored in Urban Forestry and Natural Resources. Joshua is a second-year MS student in the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) specializing in Environmental Social Science with a minor in Public Policy and Management where he has received an OSU Graduate Enrichment Fellowship and National GEM Fellowship. Joshua chose to pursue his master’s degree at The Ohio State University because it was a chance to integrate his undergraduate degree and love for trees and the environment with his passion for studying and combatting environmental racism.

His current research focuses on urban greenspace and access patterns by minorities and immigrants in Columbus from an environmental justice lens, in an effort to determine if urban greenspace access is influenced by social and economic class. When deciding to attend Ohio State, it was non-negotiable for Joshua to join one or two student organizations to become active, where he could engage with other like-minded students and create a community. He is a current member of InterVarsity: Black Student Movement, Black Graduate and Professional Student Caucus (BGPSC), and Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) in which he is currently the president.

BGPSC has allowed Joshua to connect and learn from older Black graduate students while being a leader in MANRRS allows him to engage and cultivate the next generation of agricultural leaders. As the MANRRS at OSU president, he is most proud of growing the chapter's recognition with students, faculty, and staff within the college, and tripling student membership and engagement and connecting its undergraduate members with professional, academic, and community resources.

Joshua plans to graduate in August 2020 and pursue a career closely related to his research interests in improving greenspace equity within urban communities through community-focused policies.

Miguel Lopes Perez - College of Medicine - PhD candidate, Biological Sciences Graduate Program

Miguel’s interest in research began during a summer research opportunities program (SROP) at Ohio State, with Dr. Dehua Pei in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. His summer project aimed to enzymatically synthesize and purify an amino acid analogue to characterize protein specificity profiles. He became fascinated by how we could harness the power of a bacteria’s cellular machinery to produce our desired protein of interest. This experience not only sparked his curiosity but also presented biomedical research as a career option. Since that summer program, he has developed a protein expression/purification skillset and is currently studying the use of recombinant proteins as novel therapies for muscular dystrophy.

Throughout Miguel’s undergraduate degree and before starting his Ph.D. with BSGP, he worked in retail sales for approximately 10 years. Sales was fast-paced, and he thrived in the results-driven environment. When he decided to return to academia, he knew that he wanted to leverage the skills he acquired during his professional work experience and merge them with his love of science. Now, as a Ph.D. candidate, he is considering several potential career goals. Principally, his long-term goal is to use his scientific training and apply it to the dissemination and commercialization of scientific discoveries. This can be through several avenues, including science policy, biotechnology R&D, and life sciences consulting. Currently, his focus is conducting R&D within the biotechnology/startup sector.

Courtney Sexton - College of Nursing - MS student, Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner 

Courtney is currently a student in the Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner program at The Ohio State University. Courtney graduated from Ohio State in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Neuroscience. This degree sparked an interest in neurodevelopmental disorders and nutrition. After clinical exposure, in graduate school, these interests evolved to include obesity prevention and mental health promotion in pediatric populations. Courtney is passionate about pediatrics and community outreach. While in the graduate program, Courtney worked in a research lab exploring physical activity and dietary habits of adolescents residing in her hometown in Appalachia. Courtney was named a key member of Dr. Smith’s team on “Sodabriety" and was second author on a recent publication in the Journal of School Nursing. Additionally, Courtney received funding from the Innovation Studio to develop and publish her first children’s book entitled “In Your Tummy.” The aim of the book is to teach kids about the microbiome and the evidence-based importance of eating fruits and vegetables. For this work, Courtney received recognition in the Johnson & Johnson Nurses Change the World Campaign and acknowledgement at the TEDx Columbus talk "The Participation Trophy Model for Innovation." Additionally, while in her graduate program, Courtney became a certified Creating Opportunities for Empowerment (COPE) instructor, an evidence-based program, to better meet the mental healthcare needs of both children and adolescents at her current clinical rotation site. Furthermore, Courtney was competitively selected to participate in the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship as the College of Nursing’s representative. The LEND fellowship afforded the opportunity to practice holistic, family-centered care within the setting of interdisciplinary teams. As part of her LEND fellowship, she is conducting a project with “Next Steps” - a program for at-risk, new mothers with children aged 1-3 years to promote healthy child development and relationship building. She has secured funding for a healthy snack budget to cover program sessions for 1 year; and, she is currently working with COTA to ensure transportation for participants as it is cited as the largest barrier to participation.  Recently, Courtney was nominated and selected as the March award winner for the LIVE WELL Student Leadership Award within her College.

Ann Morrison, OD, MS - College of Optometry - PhD student, Vision Science

How does my baby see? This question is often on the minds of parents of newborns, especially if the family has a history of vision problems. Not particularly good at answering “which is better -- one or two,” newborns present challenges for eye examinations. Dr. Ann Morrison is an optometrist and PhD student in the College of Optometry working to provide an answer through her research in infant vision. Most infants are born with a moderate amount of farsightedness. This is not generally a problem because there is a process called emmetropization that reduces the amount of farsightedness, placing most infants’ eyes right where they need to be in order for them to see clearly by their first birthday. However, up to 10% of infants do not emmetropize properly and end up with eyes that are shorter than normal in length and a very high farsighted prescription (refractive error). Farsighted children are at increased risk of vision problems such as such as strabismus (eye turn) or amblyopia (lazy eye) later in childhood as well as difficulties with early literacy and academic performance. 

Dr. Morrison is investigating a novel accommodative therapy for infants with high levels of hyperopia to encourage eye growth and to reduce their hyperopia to normal levels. Given that the presence of a highly farsighted refractive error is unknown to parents in the first year of their child’s life, Dr. Morrison has developed a strong collaboration with Michael DiBartola, MD, and the pediatricians at Riverside Pediatric Associates of Columbus to screen children on-site for high amounts of farsightedness. This type of inter-professional cooperation will be the key to detecting affected infants and offering them treatment in the future if Dr. Morrison’s approach is successful. To date, pediatric eye care has targeted treating the consequences of high amounts of farsightedness rather than the underlying refractive error itself. If successful, Dr. Morrison’s novel treatment will have significant impact on the clinical management of refractive error in infants. 

Dr. Morrison’s achievements have been recognized at every stage of her education. While in optometry school, she was the American Optometric Student Association Distinguished Student of the Year and received a Lawrence Schaefer Scholarship for outstanding clinical skills and professionalism at the end of the third year. Upon completing her Doctor of Optometry degree, Dr. Morrison pursued the Advanced Practice Fellowship in Binocular Vision and Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Optometry, completing advanced training in patient care and a Master’s degree in Vision Science. Her thesis examined the ocular components of myopic children who experienced retinopathy of prematurity, identifying that the anterior segments of these children were underdeveloped, resulting in greater than normal myopia. Her abilities have been recognized both locally as well as nationally as a two-time recipient of the prestigious Ezell Fellowship, the highest recognition awarded by the American Academy of Optometry Foundation to graduate students in vision science programs both in North America and abroad. She received the Terrence N. Ingraham Pediatric Optometry Resident award from the same organization for her clinical care and teaching. She continues to attend in clinic while in graduate school, with optometry students voting her Attending of the Year in 2019. Dr. Morrison’s clinical care, teaching, and research are making for a brighter future at the College of Optometry. 

Ezgi Karaesmen - College of Pharmacy - PhD student, Pharmacology

Ezgi Karaesmen, a fifth-year PhD student in the College of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmaceutics and Pharmacology, was recently recognized for her efforts to teach a programming language, R. 

Since she transferred to The Ohio State University in 2016, Karaesmen has conducted several workshops to help people from various backgrounds acquire skills in R, a programming language for statistical computing and graphics. “In the era of big data, many businesses, researchers and students are struggling with data processing and analysis in an efficient and reproducible way,” Karaesmen said. “I try my best to teach the most useful tools for data processing, visualization and report generation R has to offer. One of my main goals for the workshop is for attendees to get a good sense of what a clean dataset looks like and what steps they need to take in order to get their real-world data to look like that.”

In addition to workshops, Karaesmen organizes R-Ladies Columbus, a monthly meetup group that aims to promote gender diversity in the R community and addresses R-related topics. Through the group, Karaesmen encourages women to code and provide a platform to speak about their programming knowledge. This allows women to teach other women how to code and sets a good example for future female developers. Karaesmen’s workshops have not only allowed her to promote valuable technical skills but also to give back to causes she’s passionate about as well. She has donated over $4,000 this year to Pelotonia, a non-profit that supports cancer research, from proceeds raised by the workshops.

Karaesmen received the 30 Under 30 Award in 2019 at ComSpark, an innovation and technology summit in Columbus, for her efforts promoting statistical programming education for people working in data analytics and research fields.

Her research at the College of Pharmacy centers on understanding the contribution of genetics in the success of hematopoietic stem cell transplants among leukemia patients in Dr. Lara Sucheston-Campbell’s lab. “The combination of Ezgi’s biological knowledge, programming skills and computational abilities have really allowed her to excel as a PhD student in terms of grants, papers and presentations,” said Sucheston-Campbell, PhD, an associate professor of pharmacy practice and science at COP. “Her desire and willingness to share this understanding with others makes her a wonderful addition to the lab and the broader scientific community here in Columbus.” In addition to the 30 Under 30 Award, Karaesmen received the College of Pharmacy Research Day Award in 2018, Recruitment Weekend 5 Minute Research Talk award in 2020 and the competitive Pelotonia fellowship in 2016 and her research has been funded by Pelotonia since. 

After she earns her PhD this semester, Karaesmen will work as a summer intern at RStudio (the software company that develops products and solutions for R programming language) to create interactive tutorials to teach statistical modeling in R. In August 2020, she will join Nationwide Children's Hospital, Institute for Genomic Medicine as a postdoctoral scientist under the supervision Drs. Elaine Mardis and Peter White to conduct genomics research on rare and/or complex diseases in children. 

Robert Hood, MPH - College of Public Health - PhD candidate, Epidemiology

Robert Hood earned his bachelor’s degree in biology and public health from Baldwin Wallace University and his Master of Public Health from the University of Georgia. He is currently in his fourth year of the public health PhD program where he focuses on epidemiological methods and their applications to cancer, infectious disease, and reproductive health. Robert is very passionate about reducing health disparities and ensuring all people have access to safe and effective reproductive healthcare. His dissertation focuses on how hepatitis C virus impacts maternal and child health in the United States. 

Robert has served as a graduate research associate for several faculty members in the College of Public Health. Robert also worked for the Opioid Innovation Fund at the University and assisted with the planning of a harm reduction conference. He applied for and was awarded a research scholarship from the OSU Graduate School and Center for Clinical and Translational Science to investigate the role of neighborhood deprivation on liver cancer treatment and mortality. Robert has published in several areas including infectious disease and reproductive health and has presented at several national conferences. 

He has also worked as a teaching assistant and served as a primary instructor for undergraduate public health courses. Robert is passionate about ensuring students receive the best education possible and that the next generation of public health practitioners and epidemiologists are prepared for the future. 

Robert has dedicated a significant time to extracurriculars at OSU. Robert is the President for the Public Health Graduate Student Association and a coach for College of Public Health’s Public Health Scholar Bowl team. As a coach, has helped the team win 1st and 2nd places in the past two years. Robert has also helped to plan a case study competition for the College and a student research day for public health students. Robert is also a member of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society. 

Jaylynne Likely - College of Social Work - MSW student, Social Work

Jaylynne Likely is a Master of Social Work candidate in the advanced standing program studying an area of emphasis in mental health and substance abuse. She has long been passionate about being a change agent for all individuals and a having strategic vison to make a difference in individuals, families and the community.  Jaylynne is a proven leader who demonstrates tenacity toward her professional and personal goals. She is originally from Memphis, TN and completed her Bachelor of Social Work Degree at the illustrious Miles College located in Birmingham, AL. As she completed her matriculation at Miles College, Jaylynne was a proctor for the 2018 Alabama social work conference on Trauma Informed Approaches: Stress, Trauma and Toxic Stress in Early childhood, she also served as a host for the Alabama and Mississippi Social Work Conference with Alabama Department of Human Resources. 

Following graduation from Miles College in the year of 2019, Jaylynne was motivated to continue her studies and receive her master’s degree. After being invited to The Ohio States Graduate and Professional weekend program event, she immediately knew the Social Work program would be a great fit and provide her with the skills, techniques and best practices needed to be a competent social worker. “I selected this University because I was impressed by the diversity of college, how genuine the social work faculty were and because it is one of the top programs in the country”.  The social work department was influential in providing a culture that focuses on the growth of every student. Immediately after the event, Jaylynne applied to the college, not only was she accepted she was also received the Early Offer Inclusive Excellence Fellowship award that supported her distinction in her well-deserved scholarly achievements. Jaylynne’s drive was evident in the College of Social Work. Along with balancing life, school and an internship, she is also a Social Work Champion. She collaborates closely with the College faculty and participates in recruiting prospective students by sharing her personal experience. She was also selected for a signature event called Buckeye Dinner of 12 which included 6 alumni professionals and 6 current students to network and create lasting relationships. In addition, she was also selected for the Washington D.C. Advocacy trip to provide legislative reviews and policy analysis. 

Competing amongst other educated scholars, Jaylynne completed her field practicum at the Department of Veteran Affairs on the acute care and hospice unit where she was offered a stipend to support her professional goals. After graduating from OSU Jaylynne plans to work in the community for two years and return to school to complete her Doctoral in Social Work for advanced clinical practice, administration and leadership.  

When asked why she chooses to pursue social work for her career, Jaylynne is quick to clarify that “Social Work is a calling. My experience at OSU has taught me to demonstrate true determination. I was able to put my heart in my work and learn how to balance passion with priorities. To think creatively yet critically that provides uniqueness. My learning’s at this profound University contributes to the work that I will provide in the community, making me a better social worker. I never dreamed for success, I have worked for it my entire life and I put my all into everything that I do”.

Joe Ingram III - College of Social Work - MSW student, Social Work

Joe Ingram III, originally from Youngstown, Ohio, is a graduate student in the Masters of Social Work program. He received his undergraduate degree in Early and Middle Childhood from The Ohio State University in 2018. Throughout his undergraduate career he discovered that a had great passion and desire to serve others. “Service is the rent we pay for living,” by Marian Wright Edelman and “To whom much is given, much is required” Luke 12:48 of the Holy Bible are two quotes he has embodied and used as a guide throughout his experience.  

Joe was involved in many different things that allowed him to help and inspire others. He has served in many mentorship roles for the Young Scholarship Program (which he is a recipient of), president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., Kappa Chapter, co-chair for OSUReads of the African American Heritage Festival, and co-founded Men With Purpose (a student organization to mentored first-generation, underrepresented male students in their transition phase from high school to college). Additionally, he participated in and work with The Department of Social Change, also known as the Buckeye Civic Engagement Connection (BCEC), to develop curriculum specific to addressing the need of youth in communities like Linden and Near Eastside. 

As a graduate student, Joe has continued to make a difference in the world and help address various social issues. Joe served as an intern for the LiFEsports Initiative of the College of Social work where he has had the opportunity to mentor and teach youth valuable life skills through sport. Alongside another MSW student, he has had the opportunity to create a development series, Men of Our H.O.O.D., for underrepresented high school boys that seeks to normalize literacy while also emphasizing education as an important pillar of participant’s development and growth at the early transition phase of boyhood to manhood. 

Joe will be graduating this spring with his master’s degree. He has high hopes of continuing to grow at this trajectory. Upon graduation, he plans to continue to work with student-athletes, as well as underrepresented populations. Joe is also in the process of acquiring a literary agent represent a children’s picture book he has developed.”

Michael Martinez, DVM - College of Veterinary Medicine - PhD candidate, Veterinary Biosciences

Michael Martinez is in his 5th and final year of the Combined Veterinary Anatomic Pathology Residency/PhD Program in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Biosciences, and Center for Retrovirus Research at The Ohio State University. His interests in pathology and research are seeded in his veterinary medical education (DVM 2015) and the Veterinary Scholar Summer Research program, respectively. The Veterinary Scholar Summer Research Program was his first significant experience with the search for answers to well-constructed scientific questions. A National Institutes of Health (NIH) T-35 Training Grant and a Merial Summer Research Scholar Award supported his participation in this program, which was instrumental in his decision to further pursue research in a combined residency/PhD program. 

Michael received extensive didactic and practical pathology training throughout the combined program, but after the first year, his focus was primarily on the PhD graduate degree portion of the program and his dissertation research. His research has focused on Human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) pathobiology utilizing in vitro and in vivo techniques under the direction of his advisor and mentor, Dr. Patrick Green. HTLV-1 is the retroviral etiologic agent of adult T-cell leukemia (ATL) and the neurological disorder HTLV-1 associated myelopathy/tropical spastic paraparesis (HAM/TSP). There is no cure for HTLV-1 infection, treatment options for ATL and HAM/TSP are limited, and both conditions carry a poor prognosis. Thus, research exploring HTLV-1 pathobiology in an attempt to identify novel therapeutic targets is of critical importance.

One of Michael’s research projects examined the effects of a chromatin insulator, CTCF, on HTLV-1 in vitro immortalization of human T-lymphocytes and the persistence of HTLV-1 infected cells in vivo. CTCF is a highly conserved, multifunctional DNA-binding protein that plays a major role in organization and differential expression of the human genome. A CTCF-binding site was identified within the HTLV-1 genome. Therefore, upon infection and integration of HTLV-1 into the human genome, a new CTCF-binding site is introduced into the chromosome of the cells. He hypothesized that abrogation of the HTLV-1 CTCF-binding site would disrupt local viral and cellular gene expression and in vivo persistence of the virus. Utilizing an HTLV-1 mutant virus with abrogated CTCF-binding and an animal model established in our laboratory, Michael determined that the HTLV-1 CTCF-binding site is dispensable for in vivo persistence of the virus, but it does play a significant role in the immune response directed against HTLV-1 infection. Hos work, and the work of other laboratories suggests that the HTLV-1 CTCF-binding site could play a role in HTLV-1-specific immune-directed clonal selection and in HTLV-1 oncogenesis via interaction and regulation of flanking cellular genes. This research, funded by a NIH Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research, was recently published in the Journal of Retrovirology (Martinez et al 2019). The work has been presented intramurally at the OSU Center for RNA Biology Annual Meeting and CVM Research Day and extramurally at the Society of Toxicologic Pathology Annual Meeting and the 19th International Conference for Human Retrovirology.  The project was also recognized with a basic science poster award at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Annual Scientific Meeting (2019). The study of the effects of CTCF on HTLV-1 pathobiology is still in its infancy but is a promising focus. His current work focuses on an HTLV-1 gene that overlaps the HTLV-1 CTCF-binding site, HTLV-1 bZIP factor (Hbz).

Hbz and Tax (primary HTLV-1 oncogene) are the two regulatory genes of HTLV-1. Hbz is the only antisense HTLV-1 gene, plays a critical role in the regulation of Tax, and is the only viral gene constitutively expressed in ATL cells. Hbz protein has been shown to be indispensable for viral persistence in vivo and recent studies have shown that Hbz mRNA possesses proliferative effects in vitro. Michael’s working hypothesis is that alteration of Hbz mRNA secondary structure will result in decreased HTLV-1 persistence in vivo. HTLV-1 proviral mutants that generate Hbz mRNA with intact or altered Hbz mRNA secondary structure in the presence or absence of Hbz protein have been created and are in the process of being tested both in vitro and in vivo.  This work offers great promise in its potential to shed light on the contribution of Hbz mRNA to HTLV-1 pathobiology. This final chapter and year of his dissertation research investigating the role of Hbz mRNA in HTLV-1 pathogenesis is supported by a grant from the C. Glenn Barber Fund.

The combined pathology resident/PhD program has offered excellent training in both veterinary pathology and research; fields which undoubtedly complement one another. Gaining experience in two highly specialized and time-intensive disciplines has afforded Michael invaluable experience in multitasking and time management. He passed Phase 1 of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists (ACVP) Certifying Examination in the spring of 2017 and months later passed his PhD candidacy examination in the summer of 2017. This staggered process is scheduled to occur again at the end of the summer of 2020 with Phase 2 of the ACVP Certifying Examination followed shortly by the projected completion of his PhD in the fall of 2020. Concurrent to his dissertation work and meeting the aforementioned milestones, he has a first author HTLV-1 review publication, multiple second author HTLV-1 publications, and first and second author pathology or pathology-related case reports.

Michael has had excellent mentorship and developed a much greater understanding of the value of teamwork throughout my time in the residency/PhD program. He is driven by insatiable curiosity and supported by his wife Margaret (who is a highly accomplished trainee in the same combined program), his son Jude, and his family and friends. In the future he will pursue a career in the pharmaceutical industry that will utilize his specialized skill sets to their fullest extent and contribute positively to society.

Anthony Unger - Fisher College of Business - MBA student, Business Administration

Anthony Unger has a passion for delivering work that has a noticeable and positive impact on society. Anthony is a second year MBA student at the Fisher College of Business, graduating this May. This is his second time around at Ohio State, the first time earning a degree in chemical engineering in 2012.

After graduating, Anthony worked as a tire development engineer for 6 years with Bridgestone. The engineering work he did not only improved tire performance, but it also made tires safer. He developed new rubber compounds that could better grip roads in wet and snowy conditions so drivers and their passengers could confidently navigate through inclement weather. Anthony also helped organize charity intramural sports leagues at Bridgestone with the goal of bringing coworkers together and donating funds to Akron community non-profits. He took great satisfaction in knowing that his work at Bridgestone was helping his company, his coworkers, and society around him.

While Anthony loved his job at Bridgestone, he decided to take on the challenge of returning to Ohio State to pursue his MBA and open up new career opportunities. He knew this would be a difficult transition because it meant that he would be focusing on himself and his education rather than working to impact those around him. When he saw the opportunity to join Fisher Board Fellows, he knew it would be the perfect fit. Fisher Board Fellows is a graduate student organization that brings the Columbus community and the business school together by selecting Fisher graduate business students and placing them on boards of local non-profits as non-voting members. Anthony was matched with his top choice non-profit, Lutheran Social Services (LSS).

LSS serves thousands of people in need each day in 27 Ohio counties by addressing the four core societal issues of food, shelter, safety, and healing. LSS offers food pantries, homeless shelters, domestic violence services, and senior living and health care. Anthony’s involvement with LSS has been focused on the food pantries, where he is able to use his passion for data analysis and process optimization to drive efficiency improvements at the pantry. He was able to tap into a wealth of data held within the food pantry’s online ordering system and use it to generate insights on which items the customers care about and need the most so the pantry could focus on getting those items to the customers. He also used data on weekly item turnover to calculate economical re-order points for each item to help the pantry operate as efficiently as possible with limited inventory space while also ensuring availability of items to the customers. Ultimately, these efficiencies allow LSS to better serve their customer, those in the community who are food insecure.

Anthony also became the president of the Supply Chain Association (SCA) at Fisher, a graduate student organization that goes beyond the classroom to help students learn about supply chain and network with industry professionals. This academic year, Anthony and his SCA leadership team hosted a Supply Chain Networking Symposium with a sustainability theme to learn about how companies pursue sustainable choices within their supply chains. SCA also hosted a networking trek to Seattle to meet with companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and Starbucks. After graduating in May, Anthony will be starting the second phase of his career in supply chain.

Mark Pauley - John Glenn College of Public Affairs - MPA student, Public Administration

Mark Pauley is a graduating Master of Public Administration (MPA) student specializing in public policy analysis at The John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Prior to this, Mark received his Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree at The Ohio State University in Political Science and International Studies, with minors in History and Spanish. Mark is originally from Schaumburg, IL.

During his time at the university, Mark has contributed to the university community in many ways. As an undergraduate student, he was a Peer Mentor for the College of Arts and Sciences Honors freshman survey courses, was a brother with the International Fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta, and was a member of Undergraduate Student Government (USG). During his time as a graduate student, Mark has been a Glenn College Ambassador and has served as a Delegate and Chair of the Graduate Student Affairs Committee for the Council of Graduate Students. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Sigma Alpha, and was involved with Bucket and Dipper during his time as an undergraduate.

Mark is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center out of the Moritz College of Law. He is also a Special Events Manager for the Department of Recreational Sports. He has previously worked for Innovation Ohio, United States Senator Sherrod Brown, and former Governor Ted Strickland, amongst other opportunities. He has professional experience in policy, politics, and research. He hopes to work on social equity policy issues at the federal level beyond graduation. He regularly volunteers his time on political efforts and with the Ohio State Alumni Association.

LaShanda Coleman - Michael E. Moritz College of Law - MSL student, Study of Law

LaShanda C. Coleman is a graduate student in Moritz College of Law pursuing a master’s in the study of Law. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Education with a Specialization in Sport and Leisure Studies from The Ohio State University, a master’s in Student Affairs and Higher Education from Indiana State University, and currently a Doctoral candidate in Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs with a focus on African American Male Student Athletes and sports participation at Ohio University.  

LaShanda is an employee of The Ohio State University and has been with the university since 2007. She is the Founder of Unleashed Sports and Fitness (Certified Personal Trainer and Group Fitness Instructor) based in Central Ohio, and Co-Founder of L.E.A.D. With Purpose Academy. 

LaShanda has been a proud and active member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Incorporated, a community conscious action-oriented organization since 2003. The local chapter, Gamma Zeta Zeta of Columbus, OH where she holds financial membership has served the Columbus community for over 75 years. The chapter currently maintains ongoing partnerships with CelebrateOne, I Know I Can, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Columbus City Schools, March of Dimes, and the American Red Cross just to name a few. 

Over the years she has devoted her time and talents in various capacities with The Ohio State University, the City of Columbus (Commission on Black Girls – Columbus City Council), various collaboration efforts with all National Pan-Hellenic Council Organizations, and was named a Who’s Who in Black Columbus Emerging Leader by The Ohio State University in 2016. Under her leadership as the President of the National Pan Hellenic Council of Columbus, she was an active participant in the reactivation of the NPHC HOPE Scholarship were she currently serves as the scholarship chair. 

LaShanda coached high school girls’ basketball in Columbus City Schools and Groveport Local Schools for 5 years and currently coaching with Pickerington Youth Athletic Association. 

The following quote has been a driving force in her life: “Success isn’t about how much money you make, it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives.” Michelle Obama