2017 University Engagement Recognition Awards

On behalf of The Ohio State University, the Offices of Outreach and Engagement, International Affairs, Service-Learning, Undergraduate Education, and Student Life recognize faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement with the University Engagement Recognition Awards program.

Watch a replay of the 2017 Engagement Recognition Awards Ceremony from May 3.


Distinguished Community Engagement Award

National Expansion of Reading Recovery


Primary Contact:
Emily Rodgers, rodgers.42@osu.edu

In September 2010, the U.S. Department of Education's Investing in Innovation (i3) initiative awarded Ohio State a $46 million grant to scale up the Reading Recovery (RR) program. Ohio State and 14 other universities with RR training centers raised $9.1 million in matching funds from 18 private donors to secure the grant. Professors Jerome D'Agostino and Emily Rodgers structured the grant to help thousands more school children across the country, especially first-graders struggling to read.

The established network of 19 RR university training centers in 43 states, including the Ohio State hub, coordinated with D'Agostino and Rodgers to recruit teachers at high-need, low-performing public, private, parochial and charter schools. They gave priority to teachers from each state's bottom five percent of Title I schools, Title I schools engaged in restructuring or corrective actions, select rural schools and schools with a large number of English Language Learners. Nearly 400,000 school children improved their reading skills during this time. Since 1984, Ohio State, RR and partners are recognized nationwide for helping 2.3 million struggling readers succeed. The federal government's What Works Clearinghouse specifies that Ohio State's RR has produced the largest impacts on student reading skills of any reading intervention.


Distinguished International Engagement Award

Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH)-China Pediatric Violence and Injury Prevention and Research International Program


Primary Contact:
Henry Xiang, Henry.Xiang@nationwidechildrens.org

Led by Henry Xiang, the Nationwide Children's Hospital (NCH)-China Pediatric Violence and Injury Prevention and Research International Program is an outreach scholarship and engagement partnership that has profoundly impacted pediatric violence and injury prevention and research in China. Starting in 2004, the program has worked diligently to provide training to Chinese scholars and professionals on issues critical for reducing pediatric violence and injuries, expand collaborative research activities between the injury control research, provide training and continue development of human subjects research ethics and provide an opportunity for Ohio State College of Medicine residents, fellows and physicians to travel to the People's Republic of China to enhance their knowledge and skills in pediatric emergency medical care at a network of Chinese children's hospitals.


Distinguished Service-Learning Award

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program


Primary Contact:
Stephanie Lewis, lewis.1819@osu.edu

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program has been assisting low-income taxpayers in the Columbus community since 2005. Prof. Stephanie Lewis recruits student volunteers who complete technical training to become IRS-certified tax preparers and then contribute nearly 1,000 hours each year toward completing over 250 tax returns for clients. These dedicated students help to alleviate the stress of tax preparation, ensure compliance, and expedite tax refunds. The VITA Program partners with Godman Guild, United Way, and OSU Extension.


Emerging Community Engagement Award

Pharmacy Ambassadors Program


Primary Contact:
Chelsea Pekny, pekny.2@osu.edu

Refugees come to the Columbus area from many countries around the world where healthcare and pharmacy systems are structured very differently than they are in the United States. When they arrive, navigating the United States healthcare and pharmacy systems can be a challenge for these refugees. During a student learning experience at a community pharmacy, the community pharmacists and students came together to realize that refugee patients were indeed experiencing challenges in accessing pharmacy services and were hesitant to ask questions at their pharmacy.

Utilizing pharmacists' accessibility and knowledge gained during their learning experience, the Pharmacy Ambassadors Program was developed in 2013 by Ohio State pharmacy students, US Together resettlement agency, and Kroger Pharmacy. The program educates refugees about the pharmacy and healthcare system in the United States, the role of the pharmacist, and provides other basic medication information. In a 2.5 hour class, participants are introduced to over the counter and prescription medication classifications, how to read a pharmacy label and interpret directions, and in hands-on interactive demonstrations with common pharmacy supplies like teaspoon devices and prescription bottles.


Emerging International Engagement Award

The Umoyo wa Thanzi Research Collaborative


Primary Contact:
Alison Norris, norris.570@osu.edu

Led by Alison Norris, Umoyo wa Thanzi (UTHA, Health for Life) is a dynamic research collaboration based in rural Malawi. Ohio State faculty and students work with faculty and students from the Malawi College of Medicine and staff from the non-profit organization, Child Legacy International, in order to understand health decision-making and improve access to preventative and curative care. UTHA now employs 5 fulltime Malawian researchers and conducts clinic-based studies of tuberculosis, sexual health, community-based studies of cervical cancer, reproductive health decision-making and obstetric fistula.


Emerging Service-Learning Award

Follow the Tomato


Primary Contact:
Michelle Kaiser, kaiser.267@osu.edu

Michelle Kaiser’s course, known as Follow the Tomato, takes interdisciplinary groups of undergraduate and graduate students to the Franklinton neighborhood of Columbus to examine the complex problem of food insecurity.  By partnering with Franklinton Gardens and other organizations, Prof. Kaiser’s students gain direct knowledge of the interrelated social and environmental issues related to the food system.  These students also provide useful documentation to community partners in their final course projects, including infographics, promotional videos, and reports.


Excellence in Community Partnership Award

Franklinton Gardens


Franklinton Gardens, a non-profit urban farm that has a mission of "growing and sharing food, creating beauty, and building community" and has been involved as a partner with several Ohio State projects over the past four years. They allowed many students, researchers, and other networks of partners to address food insecurity and to have hands-on experiences and conversations leading to improved healthy food access.

Projects have included The Food Mapping Team, a unique community-university partnership that developed as a result of the Hunger.FOOD.Health initiative funded by the Food Innovation Center in 2012. Franklinton Gardens was a key partner in the development of a research project in 2013-2015. Franklinton Gardens also collaborated with Michelle Kaiser, a faculty member in Social Work, to design a service-learning course called "Follow the Tomato." Additionally, OSU students have had internships and short-term volunteer experiences with Franklinton Gardens.


Excellence in Community Partnership Award

Faith Mission Clinic


For more than 17 years, The Ohio State University College of Optometry has partnered with Faith Mission Clinic to bring no-cost vision care to the Columbus-area homeless population. The Faith Mission vision clinic began in 2000 with a grant that created a pilot program in which Ohio State Optometry students – under the supervision of attending optometrists - provided free vision care to the homeless. The pilot program was so successful it was turned into a permanent site for our students, even after the grant money ran out. Under the Faith Mission leadership of Vic Ward, Sue Villilo and Kevin Phillips, this clinic location has provided a symbiotic relationship of teamwork and the space for exam rooms and an eyewear dispensary, including utilities, security, patient reception and housekeeping for 17 years at no cost to the college.

The partnership has exceeded its outreach goals of providing free comprehensive eye examinations to this at-risk community surpassing more than 1,000 dilated examinations every year by interns and externs. In total, about 2,000 patients per year are helped, not just through examinations, but by dispensing glasses, repairs and follow up care. This allows professional students to put classroom theory into clinical practice in challenging patient situations. Around 30 optometry students per year rotate through the outreach clinic at Faith Mission, as well as eight undergraduates interested in vision care and outreach.


Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement

Kathy Krajnak


Kathy Krajnak has a superior commitment to community engagement and development of Ohio State leaders and philanthropists through the OSU Mount Leadership Society Scholars Program. The Mount Leadership Society, the university's first scholars program, fosters leadership and community service as they relate to current social justice issues. Her efforts and contributions have more than doubled the class size of incoming Mounties, significantly enhanced student learning and made countless positive differences in university, local and world communities.

She teaches the first-year Mount Seminar class, which promotes leadership for a diverse society and cultivates an ethic of service in over 100 new Mounties each year. Mounties learn how to be good leaders and make meaningful contributions to the community from Krajnak. She not only educates and trains us, but more importantly, she leads by example through her own ethic of service. Through her guidance, training and leadership, hundreds of new Mounties each year go forward to make their own positive impacts on the world.


Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi


Upon returning from his second medical relief trip to Syria in 2015, Abd Al-Rahman Traboulsi turned his focus to the Columbus refugee community in hopes of maximizing his capacity to create change as a student. With two others, he co-founded what is now known as Refuge, a college-readiness program for high school-aged refugees facilitated by university mentors. Since the initial idea in January 2016, they have expanded their board to six members, collected $10,000 in seed funding, vetted 20 college mentors from around 100 applications, and launched a pilot program in January 2017. Throughout the semester, students develop a college plan, expedite their understanding of cultural norms, and improve their conversational English skills. Utilizing university sponsorships, the refugee students will visit OSU in April and experience classes and residence halls first hand, transforming college into a tangible reality. In collaboration with US Together, they are also hosting a campus refugee advocacy training to address students' roles as community members to serve refugees.


Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

David Chambliss


Since becoming a graduate student at OSU in 2014, David Chambliss has been active in the community. He has served as chair of the COSI Young Professional Board, supporting fundraising and events at COSI and encouraging young professionals in the community to give back to STEM education and programs at COSI. He has also spent the last year serving as an ambassador for the James Cancer Hospital. In this role he plans, supports, and encourages attendance at events that support The James. Chambliss sits on the board of FLIP Cancer, a non-profit dedicated to the prevention of cancer and encouraging an active lifestyle. He has also been active in building partnerships between KIPP Columbus and the Fisher College of Business to bring students from KIPP to campus for tours, often the first time the students have been on a college campus.


Professional Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

Erica Bockhorst


A third-year dental student, Erica Bockhorst is president of "Smiles for Schools," an organization that educates local elementary students about oral hygiene. This is her sixth year educating kids about how to take care of their teeth and the importance of going to the dentist. She has also participated in the "Give Kids a Smile" event, which provides free dental care to children whose parents cannot otherwise afford it. Aside from her dental-related community service, she has volunteered at Ronald McDonald House with the organization "Columbus Gives Back." Through these experiences, she has learned how critical it is to serve the community. Upon graduation, she plans to provide discounted care to patients who cannot afford it and host a Saturday program, once a month, dedicated to providing free dental services to the underserved.


Student Group Award for Excellence in Community Service Programming

The Generation Rx Collaborative: Community Education and Drug Take-Back Days


The Generation Rx Collaborative is a unique organization that performs community service through educating the community about the safe use of medications and prescription abuse. The group has been able to reach out to over 36,000 people to educate them about the misuse of prescription medications. Some highlights of the year include contracting with the Columbus Blue Jackets to host a GenerationRx Night at Nationwide Arena, performing presentations at Columbus City Schools utilizing GenerationRx toolkits, holding the record for highest attendance in its five year history at a campus-wide candlelight vigil in remembrance of those that have lost their battle to addiction, holding biannual Drug-Take Back Days at the student health care center on campus at which they were able to collect nearly two hundred pounds of unused or unwanted medication, and collaborating with the Collegiate Recovery Community to host a Recovery Ally Training for student pharmacists to serve as patient advocates.


Past Award Recipients

2016 Awards

2015 Awards

2014 Awards

2013 Awards

2012 Awards

2011 Awards

2010 Awards

2009 Awards

2008 Awards

2007 Awards