2018 University Engagement Recognition Awards

Ohio State’s University Engagement Recognition Awards honor faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement in meaningful partnerships that produce engaged scholarship and community impact. 

Awardees were recognized at a ceremony on May 2 at 10:30 a.m. in the Ohio Union, U.S. Bank Conference Theater. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP requested at http://go.osu.edu/awardsceremony.

Sponsoring units: Offices of International Affairs, Outreach and Engagement, Service-Learning, Student Life, and Undergraduate Education


 Watch a replay of the awards ceremony:


Distinguished Community Engagement Award

LiFE Sports team receiving award

Learning in Fitness and and Education through Sports (LiFEsports)


Primary Contact:
 Dawn Anderson-Butcher, anderson-butcher.1@osu.edu

The LiFEsports Initiative is an innovative community‐university partnership that aims: "to enhance the quality of youth development, sport, and recreational programs through service and outreach, teaching and learning, and research, thereby increasing positive developmental outcomes for youth."

LiFEsports annually provides a summer camp and sports clinics for 600 low‐income, underserved youth, the Youth Leadership Academy (YLA) for over 60 youth ages 15‐18 which includes one‐on-one mentoring, and the LiFEsports afterschool model which is now implemented with over 1,000 youth across Ohio. LiFEsports also has a focus on impacting the field of youth development through research. LiFEsports research has been documented in over 10 journal articles and book chapters meaning lessons learned help inform improved practices in youth development programs both locally and globally. In 2017, for the first time, LiFEsports hosted the LiFEsports Collaborative which brought together youth workers from multiple disciplines to learn about innovative topics in youth work.

Community Partners Involved: Cardinal Health, Columbus City Schools, Huntington National Bank, Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County, Columbus Recreation and Parks, Pickerington Local Schools, After‐School All‐Stars Ohio, I Know I Can, Ohio Department of Education, Illinois State University, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Michigan State University, Local Matters, Mid‐Ohio Food Bank, Youth to Youth International, Nike, Marathon Kids, Greater Columbus Art Council, Pitney Bowes Presort Service, Ohio Child Care Resource and Referral Association (OCCRA), Continental Real Estate Companies, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC, Plunkett Cooney, 5/3 Bank, AETNA, MENTOR, and Boren Brothers

Ohio State Partners Involved: College of Social Work, Athletics, College of Education and Human Ecology, College of Food Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Dentistry, College of Public Health, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Optometry, College of Arts & Sciences "Sports and Society Initiative", OSU Extension, Recreational Sports, Outreach and Engagement, Undergraduate Admission and First Year Experience, Office of Student Life, Kinesiology


Distinguished International Engagement Award

Neonatal Survival Program receives award

The Ohio State University Greif Neonatal Survival Program


Primary Contact:
 Diane Gorgas, diane.gorgas@osumc.edu

Led by Diane Gorgas, MD, Ohio State's Greif Neonatal Survival Program has contributed to the global reduction in neonatal deaths through intensive and targeted training and empowerment of local healthcare workers in Haiti and East Africa since 2013. With a proven method of creating culturally appropriate clinical training and mentorship opportunities, Ohio State has educated over 900 nurses, physicians and healthcare workers to efficiently and effectively assess newborns and provide needed interventions leading to improved outcomes.

The program's design is based on a sustainable education platform, which quickly enable local healthcare providers to become skilled educators. The key to its success has been introducing Westernized training concepts in a culturally sensitive way, through studying the target districts, their perception of newborn care and the community's interaction with neonatal survival throughout the survival spectrum, from maternal health to family integration to care of the critically ill neonate. The curriculum is continuously revised for use in low income countries, but was developed by physician and nurse educators at Ohio State and Nationwide Children's Hospital, in conjunction with in-country African and Haitian partners including Partners in Health, University of Dodoma, and WE Charity.


Distinguished Service-Learning Award

Medication Management team receives award

Medication Management Program
Institute of Therapeutic Innovations and Outcomes


Primary Contact:
 Milap Nahata, nahata.1@osu.edu

Nearly 60% of all adults in the U.S. have one or more chronic health conditions and take at least one prescription medication daily. The Institute of Therapeutic Innovations and Outcomes (ITIO) was created in 2011 to improve medication outcomes in the communities. During 2011-13, the students and faculty provided services to the beneficiaries of the State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) and Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) with service learning activities about the best use of medicines for chronic conditions. Since 2014, a telephonic medication management program (MMP) has served patients residing in all 50 states in the U.S. that are taking multiple medications every day suboptimally.

Key interventions made to improve quality of care have included discovering medication doses as being too high or too low, duplication of medications prescribed by different physicians, patients not taking medications as directed due to confusion or high cost, occurrence of drug-to-drug interactions and adverse side effects that could create unnecessary office or emergency department visits or hospitalizations. Currently, 40 fulltime professional staff and 130 students enrolled in the College of Pharmacy are helping over 3,300 patients across the US every week to improve their medication use. The success of our innovative program is reflected by 55 peer reviewed publications in journals and books, and 50 presentations at regional, national, and international meetings.

Community Partners Involved: Rx Ohio Collaborative, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan, Express Scripts, SinfoniaRx, and Walmart

Ohio State Partners Involved: College of Pharmacy


Emerging Community Engagement Award

eFields team receives award

eFields: Connecting Science to Fields


Primary Contact:
 Elizabeth Hawkins, hawkins.301@osu.edu

eFields is a research initiative focused on testing and refining management practices with the goal of increasing farm efficiency and profit while minimizing the environmental impacts of the agriculture industry. eFields consists of field-scale research projects that are planned, designed, and executed in partnership with Ohio farmers. Ohio State researchers and Extension professionals work with partnering farmers to design field experiments that allow them to compare different approaches to solving a problem and choose the solution that offers the best result for their operation.

This approach ensures that the research is aimed at answering questions that matter to farmers and the results are relevant to the challenges farmers face in their operations. In its inaugural year, over 50 studies conducted at 39 unique research sites, across 13 counties and more than 3,000 acres were included in the final report. Our collaborators included more than 30 farmers, 21 industry partners, and more than 15 Ohio State faculty and staff.

Community Partners Involved: Ohio farmers, Industry partners (Case IH, Salford, New Holland Agriculture, Orthman, Beck's, Pioneer, Camso, Precision Planting, Soucy Track, Farmobile, Unverferth)

Ohio State Partners Involved: College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, Department of Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering, OSU Extension


Emerging Community Engagement Award

Toy Adaptation team receives award

Toy Adaptation Program


Primary Contact:
 Rachel Kajfez, kajfez.2@osu.edu

The Toy Adaptation Program's mission is to provide hands-on educational opportunities to engineering students and community members, while making a positive societal impact through the modification of electronic toys. Participants learn to apply problem-solving and technical skills to adapt toys so that children with special needs are able to use them. The toys are donated to toy lending libraries or directly to families. By developing this connection between academia and the community, TAP strives to address social issues through experiential learning.

Naturally, TAP requires the expertise of many individuals within varying fields due to the integrated nature of work related to technology and health. Together, all our partners derive solutions related to adapted toys. Each semester, we hold an advisory board meeting to bring together our partners in one space. These meetings continue to generate additional collaborations, including one recently developed with Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists at OSU.

Community Partners Involved: RePlay for Kids, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Heinzerling Foundation, Columbus Public Libraries, Columbus Local Schools, Mississippi State University, American Electric Power

Ohio State Partners Involved: College of Engineering, Department of Engineering Education, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, Nisonger Center, Honors & Scholars Center, Assistive Technology of Ohio, School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Emerging International Engagement Award

Our common home team receives award

Our Common Home: A Youth-Based Approach to Food Security


Primary Contact: 
Dustin Homan, homan.64@osu.edu 

Our Common Home: A Youth-Based Approach to Food Security came to fruition out of common challenges facing the sister cities of Columbus, Ohio, and Accra, Ghana. These issues included food insecurity, climate change, and youth disengagement. The vision was to connect the two communities through urban gardens cultivated by youth, along with cross-cultural exchanges, to mutually improve urban food security, promote climate resilient systems and positively develop youth.

An interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff and students from Ohio State started this project by using a community development model to identify pre-existing capital across social, cultural and natural dimensions that informed which community partners to engage and where to locate the gardens. Two barren plots of land at YMCA facilities in Columbus and Accra have been revitalized into urban gardens. Intentionally structured youth activities were designed using 4-H's "Positive Youth Development" model to nurture life and livelihood skills in youth through trained, caring adult mentors. Youth engaged in the project were also guided by pre-existing youth gardening curriculum to teach climate-resilient gardening techniques appropriate for each geography. Approximately 50 youth have been engaged at both sites so far, experientially learning new skills. The Sister City relationship enhanced the impact of this project by also enabling an exchange visit in order to build cultural awareness and competency towards addressing the issues of climate change and food security. Three young girls and two adult men, representing 4-H Ghana and Greater Accra YMCA, visited Columbus and surrounding areas August, 2017.

Community Partners Involved: YMCA of Central Ohio and North YMCA, Ghana YMCA and Greater Accra YMCA, 4-H Ghana, Greater Columbus Sister Cities International

Ohio State Partners Involved: 4-H Youth Development; Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership; Mershon Center for International Security Studies; Center for African Studies; School of Environment and Natural Resources; Franklin County Extension; Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT); Collegiate 4-H


Emerging International Engagement Award

Clean cookstoves team receives award

ONIL Clean Cookstoves Initiative


Primary Contact:
 Megan Zonker, zonker.4@osu.edu

Project Nicaragua, a non-profit student organization at Ohio State, volunteers and advocates for sustainable projects in the fields of nutrition, socioeconomic development, water quality and education. The chapter developed a strong relationship with Escuela Tierra Prometida, an agricultural and technical school in Rancho Grande, Nicaragua. Since 2015, Project Nicaragua has replaced traditional, open-flame stoves with ONIL clean cookstoves. The chapter works with five students in Rancho Grande who oversee the day-to-day operations and hope to create a more sustainable and healthy lifestyle for families, decrease air pollution and lower biofuel costs.

This year, Project Nicaragua hopes to enhance this project by developing a study to determine the primary factors in the community's adoption of these clean cookstoves - projected health and economic benefits or other financial, political, religious and social cultural values. They also hope to learn if stove recipient families' perceived health and economic changes after use of the stove. The plan is to continue installing stoves through the selection of 20 new stove recipients in Rancho Grande. In addition to conducting surveys, data also will be collected through Stove Use Monitoring Systems to measure actual stove use. Project Nicaragua seeks to understand the perception gap so it can be filled and the community empowered.. Project Nicaragua partners with College of Public Health Dean William Martin, Environmental Health Sciences Assistant Professor Olorunfemi Adetona, Helps International and Love in Action.


Emerging Service-Learning Award

The Jubilee House Community-CDCA Service-Learning Partnership  in Nicaragua team receives an award

The Jubilee House Community-CDCA Service-Learning Partnership in Nicaragua


Primary Contact:
 Elizabeth Fitzgerald, fitzgerald.118@osu.edu

Nicaragua is the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The Center for Development in Central America, the Jubilee House Community/CDCA/JHC in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua is a non-profit organization with a mission to enable communities to become self-sufficient, sustainable, democratic entities. The goal is to work in partnership with communities to facilitate empowerment by enabling them to find their own solutions to the problems they identify and connecting them with resources to solve problems. The projects of the CDCA/JHC include sustainable agriculture, sustainable economic development, health care, education and appropriate technology.

The focus of this service-learning project is health care. Service learning activities include collaboration with clinic staff (i.e., pediatrician, general physician, radiologist, gynecologist, a community health nurse, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, health promoter, and 30 lay health promoters) to provide education and support for healthier lives of community residents. Students observe home visits with the nurse and lay health promoters and lead charlas (education sessions), under the direction of a nursing faculty members from the College of Nursing. Students who participate in the project are invited to take the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) before and after participating in the SL opportunity.

Community Partners Involved: Center for Development in Central America, the Jubilee House Community in Ciudad Sandino, Nicaragua

Ohio State Partners Involved: College of Nursing, Office of International Affairs Education Abroad


Excellence in Community Partnership Award

Charitable Pharmacy team receives an award

Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio


The Ohio State University College of Pharmacy partnered with the Charitable Pharmacy of Central Ohio (CPCO) close to eight years ago with a mission of enhancing the education of pharmacy students while improving access to medications and pharmacy care for underserved patients. The College of Pharmacy recognized that the unique practice model at CPCO, which involves providing medications for vulnerable patients at no charge and conducting one-on-one consultations to discuss the patients' medications, provides a rich learning environment for pharmacy students. Students are exposed to the challenges many patients face related to medication access, and also have the opportunity to apply a patient care model that helps them fine-tune their communication skills and empathy. CPCO leadership recognized that they would be able to increase the number of patients they could reach and could work with the College of Pharmacy to show continued benefit of the services being provided to the community.

Through excellent communication and shared strategic planning, the partnership, which began with four advanced pharmacy practice students in 2010, has grown to over 45 students, over 200 volunteers, an average of four independent study research students, and two pharmacy residents per year along with a shared faculty practitioner and a community pharmacy residency director. Students consult with approximately 150 patients during their month-long rotations, and demonstrate exceptional performance related to the required competencies needed for experiential learning. Patient care has been positively impacted as well with growth from 906 unduplicated patients in 2010 to 1,583 unduplicated patients in 2017. The total number of prescriptions filled over the eight year period is over 350,000 prescriptions with a medication value of over $27 million.


Staff Award for Excellence in Community Engagement

Estephanie Ortiz receives an award

Estephanie Ortiz


Estephanie Ortiz is a project coordinator in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (SPPO) and also serves as the program assistant for the SPPO Outreach Committee. Her positive impact spans a number of OSU programs and initiatives as well as a slate of volunteer activities. Estephanie is the project coordinator for the Integrated Second Language Learning for Chronic Care study (ISLL) (NIDDK/NIH Funded), A tu L.A.D.O study (P.C.O.R.I Funded), Interpreter for the Medical Profession through Advanced Curriculum and Teaching (I.M.P.A.C.T.) (OSU Funded), and the Validation Study for the Spanish version of the IAPCC-R.

Through working with the ISLL study, she has developed creative strategies to reduce student and Latino diabetic patient attrition rates and coordinated the implementation of a Spanish conversation table at the College of Nursing for student participants. In A tu L.A.D.O, she fosters engagement among institutions, researchers, interpreters, and Latino diabetic patients and caregivers in Columbus, Toledo, Lorain, Cincinnati and Cleveland. She also assists with providing access to affordable health programs and opportunities for personal development such as ESL courses in Columbus. Estephanie works with Westland High School and Southwestern Career Academy students for the IMPACT project. This project serves as a pipeline from high school to college for heritage Spanish speakers by utilizing their language abilities to certify them as medical interpreters and earn college credits upon completing their high school graduation.


Undergraduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

Erin Halleran receives an award

Erin Halleran 


Erin came to Ohio State looking for ways to make an impact through her passion for social enterprise. Erin became involved with Alleviating Poverty Through Entrepreneurship, Student Leadership Advocates, and began working for one of Columbus's social enterprises, Hot Chicken Takeover. Through these experiences Erin got involved with The Ohio Prison Entrepreneurship Program (OPEP) and RESUME. Through OPEP Erin authored, directed, and facilitated a 14-week class for currently incarcerated participants that prepares them for building their own career as a positive contribution to society upon release. Through Erin's work with RESUME, a career development workshop for currently incarcerated individuals, Erin created a sustainable program that will live on well past Erin's graduation and positively impact the Columbus community.


Graduate Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

Michael Shirzadian receives an award

Michael Shirzadian 


Michael is a Columbus native who as a child, benefitted from Ohio State students that were active in his community. Now as a graduate student, Michael aims to be that positive role model. Michael launched The Writer's Studio at Karl Rd, a program that brings university writers and teachers from the Department of English to the Karl Rd. library, and The Writer's Studio at Columbus Global Academy, a collaboration between The OSU Writing Center and Columbus Global Academy—a local public school focusing exclusively on teaching recent middle and high school immigrants. On April 9, 50 CGA students traveled to campus to lead an on-campus art gallery, where they presented their visual and textual art to undergrads, graduate students, faculty, staff, and administration. By bringing young writers to campus Michael hopes to show university students and teachers what it means to write and teach within our community.


Professional Student Award for Excellence in Community Service

Lauren Sabo receives an award

Lauren Sabo 


A 3rd year law and public policy student, community service is central to Lauren's character. Throughout her time at Ohio State, Lauren has served the veteran community through the Grassbaugh Veterans Project, volunteered with 4 Paws for Ability raising a service dog for a child with special needs, partnered with the Optometry School to provide vision care and education for Columbus students, and contributed to Pelotonia as a member of Team Buckeye. Lauren's service driven character led her to be sworn in as a Guardian ad Litem in the fall of 2015 with Court Appointed Special Advocates of Franklin County. In addition to investigating cases of abuse and neglect of children Lauren has trained more than half of CASA's 300+ volunteers and helps coordinate events to raise funds and awareness for children in central Ohio. Her combination of experiences and academic coursework throughout her dual degree program has helped her merge all of her passions. Lauren hopes to work in a public interest career upon graduation, continuing her service as juvenile court judge and staying active in the nonprofit community.


Student Group Award for Excellence in Community Service Programming

APA-ASP group receives an award

American Pharmacists Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists 


Student members in the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) focus on providing free patient care services in a local community in central Ohio. APhA-ASP alongside a former faculty member collaborated to start a patient care initiative at Helping Hands Health and Wellness Center, located in the Northland Area. At the clinic, APhA-ASP student pharmacists work with other volunteers such as physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and social workers to provide comprehensive care for uninsured patients. This care includes performing medication reviews, checking in patients for physicians or nurse practitioners, dispensing free prescriptions, and providing medication counseling. Student pharmacists are able to serve an average of 20 uninsured and underserved patients per clinic day. Collaboratively between APhA-ASP and their community partner the focus is on providing educational materials and resources to underserved patients making a positive impact on their lives.


Past Award Recipients

2017 Awards

2016 Awards

2015 Awards

2014 Awards

2013 Awards

2012 Awards

2011 Awards

2010 Awards

2009 Awards

2008 Awards

2007 Awards