Angel Stacklin

When asked to describe the impact that an educational and career-focused program has had on her development as a young woman, Angel Stacklin laughs, as if to say, “Where do I start?”

Angel Stacklin
Angel Stacklin

She remembers being a high school freshman at the Metro Institute of Technology (MIT), part of the Ohio STEM Learning Network, in Columbus, when representatives of the Legacy Project — a new leadership, entrepreneurship and scholarship program — showed up.

Despite not knowing much about entrepreneurship, something about the Legacy Project appealed to Stacklin. She applied, interviewed and was ultimately among the 20 students — out of approximately 100 freshman at MIT — selected for the program.

“My freshman self didn’t know all the positive outcomes I would get from program,” said Stacklin, a first-year student at Ohio State who is pursuing nursing. “Without the Legacy Project, I probably wouldn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. There’s a lot of educational materials out there about different careers, but the hands-on, experiential learning and focus on entrepreneurship, really helped me find my passion for nursing.”

The Legacy Project

Created by the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and the Hagedorn Legacy Foundation in 2016, the Legacy Project is a coaching-centered program focusing on pillars of ‘grit’ — growth mindset, character strength development, financial literacy and goal setting.

In partnership with, The Ohio State University Center for Innovation Strategies (CIS), The Mayerson Academy in Cincinnati, Global Financial Partners and Whitehall City Schools, the Legacy Project provides high school students with the resources, innovative experiences and a network of support to move toward post-secondary education and career options — all with a focus on providing equal access to social mobility.

The program offers one-on-one, individualized coaching and mentor relationships, real-world internship opportunities and hands-on camp experiences throughout the students’ four-year journey through high school.

Scott's Legacy Program participants
Legacy Project students and program participants meet with Harley Blakeman (BSBA '17) during one of the program's sessions.

“Working with the Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation and the Hagedorn Legacy Foundation, the Center for Innovation Strategies and the advancement team at Fisher College of Business sought to create a framework for a program that provides a pathway for students to Ohio State and Fisher,” said Paul Reeder, executive director of the CIS. “As our first cohort has matriculated through the program, we’re proud to see that six Legacy program graduates are now attending Ohio State.”

Stacklin and other program participants met bi-weekly in one-on-one settings with their coaches, in addition to monthly “Grit Gatherings,” all of which was focused on deepening students’ problem-solving skills, personal growth mindset and goal-setting abilities. They took part in presentations and site visits that connected them with entrepreneurs throughout Columbus, including the teams behind The Idea Foundry, a makerspace in downtown Columbus, and Penzone Salons and Spa.

“When I joined the Legacy Project, I was going through a hard time transitioning to a new high school,” Stacklin said. “But through the coaching and opportunities to meet new people and experience things I never would have, it was really a great bonding experience that helped me so much.”

‘What else can I do to help my community?’

Stacklin points to a Legacy Project experience during her sophomore year that set her on a path to Ohio State and nursing. Called Personal Venture Projects, students identify and provide solutions to challenges facing their community. Stacklin didn’t have to look far to find a community in need.

“At school, I saw fellow students stressed and dealing with a lot of personal issues,” she said. “So, I chose to host an event geared toward mental health. It was a subject that wasn’t talked about a lot at school.”

Stacklin worked with staff from Nationwide Children’s Hospital to secure resources and funding for the event, which culminated in an evening that drew classmates who shared their stories, as well as other creative expressions — poetry and art — of their mental health struggles.

“My freshman year, I was extremely shy; I hated talking and hated the spotlight,” Stacklin said. “Leading up to the event, I was really nervous and was thinking ‘No one’s going to come. Why am I doing this?’ But I realized I was thinking in a fixed mindset and not a growth mindset, which is part of what I learned through the Legacy Project.”

“Knowing I was able to show leadership through this event really sparked me. It made me realize I can be a leader in my community and left me asking ‘What else can I do to help my community?’”

Moving forward while giving back

Angel Stacklin with Hagedorns
Angel Stacklin with Dr. Susan Hagedorn, chair of The Hagedorn Legacy Foundation, and her brother, Jim Hagedorn, chairman and CEO of ScottsMiracle-Gro.

Harnessing the three years of perspective and growth the Legacy Project had provided her, Stacklin’s final year as a participant in the program culminated in a career venture project. Similar to a career mentor or hands-on job shadowing experience, she used the opportunity to better understand the field of nursing. She was paired with Audra Hanners, assistant professor of clinical nursing within Ohio State’s College of Nursing, and the two quickly built a strong relationship ultimately solidifying Stacklin’s decision to pursue nursing.

Concurrently, the Legacy Project helped Stacklin tackle the college application process, financial literacy and financial aid, as well as the transition to college.

She was accepted to Ohio State as a Morrill Scholar and remembers the essay prompt on her Morrill Scholarship Program application: How have your life experiences and/or endeavors prepared you to be a Morrill Scholar?

“I wrote about the mental health program I created,” she said.

Recognizing the impact the Legacy Project had on her personal development, Stacklin couldn’t just walk away after completing her four years as a student. In 2021 she was selected to serve as a student program leader for the Legacy Project through the Center for Innovation Strategies.

“We are thrilled to come full circle with Angel as one of our four student leaders for the program,” Reeder said. “Her direct experience and established relationships with current Legacy students will provide a unique connection for the students. She follows in a long line of student leaders dedicated to the program, which includes current Fisher students Lizzie Voss, Ethan Rosas and Yash Verma.”

Said Stacklin: “Knowing everything I got to experience really drew me to this position. I looked at the student leaders as being influential to me. They were the building blocks in our program. They were always challenging us to think in different ways. Knowing I could be someone like that, I just wanted to give back.”


Photos courtesy of Angel Stacklin and The Legacy Project.