2013 Engagement Impact Grants

The Office of Outreach and Engagement Impact Grant program supports the application of innovative and creative scholarship to address important societal challenges and fulfills Ohio State’s land-grant university commitment to public service by partnering with communities to address challenges of local, national and global significance.

This year, seven programs received Engagement Impact Grant funding totaling $300,000. These programs will promote health, wellness, and local community development, empower women to deliver healthy babies, inspire science education and the next generation of women engineers and scientists, and eliminate rabies in sub-Saharan Africa. Read more about each program below.

Making a Difference Program

Two people standing in front of a YMCA sign

Partners: College of Nursing; Making a Difference, Inc.; the Eldon and Elsie Ward Family YMCA

A critical component of “Healthy People 2020,” is to eliminate health disparities that stem from the interplay of the environmental, biologic, and social determinants of health.

Mark Twain said, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”

Through the proposed “Making a Difference Program,” The Ohio State University College of Nursing will partner with a Near East Side community organization, Making a Difference, Inc., in the first step of getting started.

This program will develop and implement a synergistic model of community and civic engagement for improvements in health and wellness by creating a steering committee and advisory board, implementing health screenings, participating in community events, developing a community-engaged model for research and scholarship, and seeding community agency-initiated innovation projects.

The program will encourage alignment of complementary resources to augment capacity, create trans-disciplinary teams, maximize research and educational advancement within the College of Nursing, and increase and guide community partners through sustained, mutually-beneficial relationships.

The Science of Language: Using Language Sciences to Promote Science Education at COSI

Student working in a lab.

Partners: College of Arts and Sciences; Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

“The Science of Language” seeks to expand a combined research and science education project sited in the "language pod" exhibit at the Center for Science and Industry in Columbus. The pod is one of three glass enclosed research spaces that enable museum visitors to witness and participate in actual scientific research on language.

Inside language “pod,” faculty from the Buckeye Language Network (BLN) conduct state-of-the-art research on how people acquire and represent language mentally, how language is produced and understood in real-time, and how it contributes to reasoning about social patterns of language use.

Ohio State students make this an interactive enterprise by engaging with COSI visitors outside of the “pod” to demonstrate concepts from the science of language through the use of portable exhibits and several research ‘toys’ created collaboratively by Buckeye Language Network members. The demonstrations provide accessible, interactive illustrations of concepts, ranging from basic physical and biological facts about speech to complex phenomena such as how language conveys meaning from one mind to another.

The project will provide students the opportunity to share the excitement of scientific explanation with COSI visitors, who in turn will be able to observe research in progress, participate in actual studies, and learn about the interpretation of research results.

Women in Engineering Robotics Outreach Initiative

Partners: College of Engineering; TECH CORPS; the Teaching and Learning Collaborative; the Ohio STEM Equity Pipeline Project

The Women in Engineering (WiE) Robotics Outreach Initiative (ROI) is a collaborative partnership that leverages existing Ohio State University programs and the expertise of three nationally recognized community partners - TECH CORPS, the Teaching and Learning Collaborative (TLC), and the STEM Equity Pipeline Project.

The WiE ROI initiative will impact educators and students on a state-wide, national, and international level. With the help of TECH CORPS, TLC, and the STEM Equity Pipeline, the program will host three community workshops for educators seeking to start programs for 4th through 8th grade students.

These workshops will provide technical content, information on gender equity and diversity, and best practices to encourage girls into STEM and develop 21st century learning skills. The program also will develop training materials to assist up to 20 new FIRST Lego League (FLL) teams across Ohio, potentially reaching more than 200 young students, with the assistance of more than 100 current Ohio State University student mentors.

The more than 30 educators and FLL mentors from Ohio State University and industry will be trained on how to start teams, ways to integrate core subjects – especially math - into FLL team tasks, and sustain their efforts.

Those educators who attend workshops will have an opportunity to reach more than 1,500 future students in STEM, and 45,000 students overall.

The program’s success will focus on WiE partners and student mentors, who play an integral role in initiating and sustaining the project through integrated education, research, and outreach programs to inspire and increase STEM knowledge of K-8 teachers.

Health Science Frontiers: Advancing Public Engagement

Partners: School of Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences; College of Medicine; the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital; WOSU@COSI; and the Center for Science and Industry (COSI)

As the health sciences advance at a swift pace the question arises about whether the public has the requisite community resources to make informed decisions about their health. At the same time, to be effective communicators, health experts must engage directly with the public to fully understand local community needs.

Building on an existing collaboration, “Health Science Frontiers” addresses community needs around health science literacy by creating a series of up to eight televised public forums. Each forum will include a panel discussion about a health science issue with a broad array of experts including scientists, communicators, reporters, medical providers, ethicists, advocates, and policy-makers.

The structure of these forums is designed to encourage two-way communication between experts and the public. In each forum, a discussion between invited experts about a specific health topic will be moderated by a WOSU journalist. The panel discussion will take place before a live studio audience of about 100 attendees at WOSU@COSI and will include members of the general public and invited educators and medical professionals.

Audiences will pose questions to the panel and engage in a public dialogue. Each forum will be taped and edited into a 60-minute episode aired later on WOSU TV during primetime, with an estimated audience of nearly 20,000 viewers per episode.

As a means to provide a permanent community resource a project webpage, created in partnership with WOSU and COSI, will post each episode and provide additional educational resources about health science issues.


Women preparing healthy food.

Partners: The Ohio State University: College of Medicine, College of Social Work, College of Nursing, Outreach and Engagement. OSU Extension, College of Education and Human Ecology and Schoenbaum Family Center; Nationwide Children’s Hospital; Ohio Better Birth Outcomes (OBBO); The Columbus Foundation; CareSource Foundation,; J.P.Morgan Chase Foundation; The Kroger Company ; Proctor and Gamble; Kiwanis Columbus; MEDTAPP; The Governor’s Office of Community and Faith Based Initiatives; Columbus Public Health, Caring for 2; Weinland Park Collaborative; Grace Missionary Baptist Church; Christ Memorial Baptist Church; Broad Street Presbyterian Church; Temple Israel; Godman Guild; American Red Cross; Mid-Ohio Food Bank and New Directions Career Center.

The Moms2B mission is to empower pregnant women in high risk neighborhoods to deliver full-term healthy babies by providing weekly group sessions focused on education, nutrition, clinical and social support that continues through the baby’s first year of life.

Moms2B addresses disparities in health and social determinants through weekly group sessions and builds bridges to prenatal care and community resources.

Each session includes pregnant and parenting women and a multidisciplinary team of physicians, midwives, nurses, social workers, medical dieticians and lactation consultants. Faculty and students from OSU and Nationwide Children’s Hospital lead and support the groups along with nurses from the Columbus Public Health Caring for 2 programs in collaboration with community partners, student interns and volunteers.

OSU-Ethiopia Outreach and Needs Assessment on Rabies Elimination: “One Health” Prototype for Zoonotic Diseases Control

Partners: College of Veterinary Medicine; College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; College of Public Health; University of Gondar (Ethiopia); Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Federal Ministry of Health and Agriculture, Ethiopia; Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority; African Union, Pan African Vaccine Institute

Rabies is one of the most significant zoonotic viral diseases in Africa, causing high morbidity and mortality in both humans and animals.

In sub-Saharan Africa, rabies continues to be a major public health concern, and Ethiopia has one of the highest rabies incidence rates on the continent.

The “One Health” initiative addresses one of the most significant infectious diseases of global public health importance and brings together diverse disciplines including public health, veterinary medicine, ecology, epidemiology, microbiology, social science, and communication toward a common goal of eliminating rabies in the region.

This project will focus on developing plans to eliminate incidences of rabies in Gondar, Ethiopia, while enhancing sustainable partnerships to make a significant global impact in the area of “One Health.”

The STEAM Factory: Outreach and Engagement

Children participating in a demonstration at the STEAM Factory.

Partners: College of Arts and Sciences; College of Medicine; University Libraries; College of Engineering; ACCAD; the Franklinton Development Association; and 400 West Rich

The STEAM Factory is an initiative of Ohio State University faculty, post-doctoral students and staff who seek to promote interdisciplinary collaboration across the university community in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, and disseminate research, technology and pedagogy through creative methods of reaching a broad audience.

One forum for public engagement currently used by The STEAM Factory is the multi-purpose facility located at 400 W. Rich Street, in the East Franklinton area of Columbus. During the Spring Semester of 2013 at the bi-weekly 400 W. Rich Winter Market, STEAM Factory members showcased their work, leading to direct interaction between OSU researchers and the local community.

Now, the STEAM Factory is looking to expand its range of activities by establishing a more permanent presence in Franklinton that contributes toward greater outreach between Ohio State and the Columbus community by hosting workshops and public lectures, conducting collaborative research, and showcasing current research to local school and community groups.

The STEAM Factory’s presence among the artists and artisans at 400 W. Rich, in proximity to downtown Columbus, COSI and the future site of the Columbus Idea Foundry also supports the possibility for developing a hub of creativity and technology in Franklinton.


Past Grant Recipients

2013 Engagement Impact Grants

2012 Engagement Impact Grants

2011 Engagement Impact Grants

2010 Engagement Impact Grants

2009 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2008 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2007 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2006 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2005 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2004 Excellence in Engagement Grants

2005 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grants

2002 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grants

2001 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grants

2000 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grants

1999 Outreach and Engagement Seed Grants