Summer Experience Series Summer 2020

The Office of Student Life’s Buckeye Leadership Fellows Program offered the Summer Experience Series - a 6 week leadership immersive experience to OSU students who experienced a loss in professional, academic or study abroad experiences. Summer Associates participated in an experiential program that included a Leadership Book Club, virtual leadership dialogues, a white paper competition and Leadership Challenges with corporate and non-profit organizations in Ohio and the Mid-West region. Below is a quick recap of the summer experience and highlights from the program’s top performers:

Total Number of Applicants: 201

Selected Summer Associates: 145

Leadership Certificates Provided: 106

Virtual Dialogues with University Alumni:

Suzanne Scharer – OSU ‘06

Emmanuel Dzotsi – OSU ‘15

Senator Tom Carper – OSU ‘68

8 Leadership Challenges and 33 Project Teams with the following Partners:

Ohio State Medical Association


Student Life – Career Counseling and Services

Mid-Ohio Food Collective

Brandt Robert Galleries

Health Carousel

Leadership Impact Award – Top Student Associate

Shivani Kaw

Majors: Public Health and Biology

Hometown: Solon, Ohio

Future Plans/Goals: “I've always wanted to be a reconstructive plastic surgeon, but am becoming increasingly interested in public health work! My hope is to build a sort-of hybrid career combining both of these goals”

The consulting challenge for this program definitely intimidated me, since I never really saw myself as a "business-minded" individual. Something which I actively dreaded from the first day ended up becoming my absolute favorite part of the program--I found myself wishing it would never end! This was a reminder that sometimes what we view as the most uncomfortable challenge can end up being the most rewarding.

Top 10 Excellence Award – Top 10 Performers

Mariana Salazar:

Major/Minor: Material Science Engineering / Business

Hometown: Cali, Colombia

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “My future goals involve taking on a leadership position where I can represent South America and give back to the community that raised me”

The biggest barrier I ever felt stand between me and the person I wanted to become, was self-doubt. During the BLF Summer Experience Series I learned to use my strengths to overcome my weaknesses by reflecting and discussing my vulnerabilities with other fellows.

Shanvanth Rayal Arnipalli

Major/Minor: Environmental Molecular Science (Pre-Medical Pathway)

Hometown: New Albany, Ohio

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “After graduation I would like to pursue an MD/PhD program because my goal in medicine is to provide sufficient and much needed healthcare to those who do not have such access to immediate care they need”

My most significant lesson I learned was self-awareness. The quote by Noble Prize-winning economist Herbert Simon, “Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”, resonated the most with me. It taught me that we have to appreciate the little things in our lives and focus on being present now by not anticipating the future. We have to love ourselves through adversity and stick with what we know rather than focusing on too much on the unknown, that way we are better equipped to handle life.

Jessica Sarff

Major/Minor: Neuroscience / Spanish

Hometown: Overland Park, Kansas

Future: “I plan to graduate with a B.S. in Neuroscience and then go on to medical school to become a pediatric neurologist, with a focus on underserved populations. Apart from a career I want to travel as much as I can and try to learn from as many people and cultures as possible”

This program was an amazing way to do something with this summer, and I really enjoyed connecting with people that were in reality so far away from me. I loved working with Nana and Deja on my Leadership Challenge Team to help improve the Ohio State Medical Association, and it was amazing to see our work pay off when we won the challenge. I also loved getting to speak with different people I may otherwise never have learned about in our fireside chats, and hearing everyone’s white papers about topics they were passionate about. Overall, it was a great experience and I learned so much more about what it means to be a leader, how to work as a team, and effective networking skills than I ever thought I would.

Amna Rustom

Major/Minor: Strategic Communications Political Science and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “MA in Public Administration or Higher Education with the goal to work in the non-profit and advocacy fields”

Pursue your own path and don't feel the need to compare to others. We each have our own journeys and experiences which will lead us where we are meant to be.

Aaron Brown Jr.

Major/Minor: Marketing / Engineering Sciences

Hometown: Akron, Ohio

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “I hope to pursue promoting corporate sustainability reports and initiatives in a 21st-century world”

Give yourself time and grace in the change you want to see in yourself. In addition, rely on others for guidance and uplift them in return. I learned these two principles from my fellow associates who amazingly transformed this experience for me.

Ziqi Chen

Major/Minor: Finance and Economics

Hometown: Fujian, China

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: Consulting

During this summer BLF Program, I was fortunate to be selected as a project manager for Leadership Challenge with Health Carousel. Through the group project, I served as the bridge between my teammates and the clients. Although none of us had much prior experience relating to health care industry, I was very impressed by our final presentation. The most significant lesson I learned is the beauty of teamwork that an individual is not omnipotent but a team that emphasizes each member’s strength is all-rounded.

Eduardo Reyeros

Major: Political Science and Pre-Law

Hometown: Lake Forest, Illinois

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “My goal is to earn my B.S. in political science then my Juris Doctor to become a civil rights attorney and lead the world in the continuation and progression of civil rights”

The biggest lesson I have learned is that life is all one big journey and you just have to remind yourself to cherish all the small moments and accomplishments no matter how big or small they may seem. You also need be reminded that a lot of people are on the same journey as you, and you must never compare yourself to others as we all accomplish and achieve at our own pace.

Ali Bongiorno

Major/Minor: Operations Management

Hometown: Columbus, OH

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “Ultimately, I want to enjoy and be challenged by what I do everyday! I am interested in Operations Management, Consulting, and Strategy”

One of my favorite memories was traveling throughout Italy last year! The most significant lesson I have learned is that storytelling and listening are the most important things in communicating! Storytelling helps to think critically about the things around us and solve problems!

Ella Mushen

Major/Minor: International Studies and Spanish / Economics

Hometown: Narragansett, Rhode Island

Future Plans/Goals/Pursuits: “It is my plan to attend law school following graduation and pursue a career on the international spectrum in some facet of policy construction. My interests in this realm sort of fall into two categories: currently, I am either interested in working on behalf of indigenous communities across the globe through policy advising regarding land and water grants. I am very passionate about climate change mitigation and it is my sincere belief that this begins with the help of and support for indigenous peoples. My other area of interest is also in public service but with an organization such as the IMF or World Bank due to my fascination with the socioeconomic operations of the greater world and how funds can be more properly allocated to support populations who are suffering the most”

My favorite memory throughout the BLF SES program this summer had to be the weekly book club discussions. I would leave each of these chats with a smile on my face and faith in the fact that the next cohort of world leaders are going to be deeply intelligent, kind, and empathetic individuals. Not only did I learn so much from my peers along with many fantastic book recommendations, I also learned so much from each of the articles and how to better understand myself and how I may go forward as a more effective leader.

Hinal Pujara

Major/Minor: Strategic Communication / Media Production, Inequality and Society

Hometown: Wheeling, WV

Future Plans: “After graduation, I’d really like to do PR/communications work for a social issues-related organization in a bigger city (like Chicago or DC)”

I’ve really began to grasp the importance of education in the past few years. Whether it’s through school or self-education, it is so important to constantly keep learning about the world we live in.


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