Sesquicentennial Scholars graphic reading 150: 1870-2020

From marketing to finance, undergraduate to graduate, Fisher is proud of the talented students named to Ohio State’s Sesquicentennial Student Scholar Leadership Program. Their academic excellence, engagement as students and passion and drive are moving our land-grant mission forward.

Abigail Bergman, Marketing

"Being a six-foot-tall female has benefits beyond athletics. It allows me to be noticed. It gives me confidence to be a leader and use my voice to convey my beliefs. I’m an outgoing person, and being a part of Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebration—representing the school I love and sharing my experiences with others—gives me the chance to not only reflect on the rich history of this university, but to envision my opportunities and the impact I hope to make on Ohio State and the world.

Since 1870, there have been 50 Olympic games, we’ve put men on the moon, and 13 constitutional amendments have been ratified. The university has produced incredible minds that were the forces behind incredible feats. Jesse Owens broke down barriers. Mary Oliver won the Pulitzer Prize. Jack Nicklaus became the best golfer of all time. Society has changed in many ways, and Ohio State has been here for all of it."

Olivia Blay, Business Administration Exploration

"O-H!” “I-O!” was a phrase I echoed to my parents when I first learned to speak. Because I was raised by two dedicated Buckeye alumni parents, I decided that following in their footsteps would allow me to make a difference locally and globally. I knew it would open doors and enable me to fulfill my dreams.

As a wide-eyed freshman, my first experience was working side by side with President Michael Drake as we unloaded the belongings of other freshmen on Move-In Day. I continue to embrace all that the university has to offer. I’ve enjoyed being a member of the Advocates for Communities and Education Scholars Program, and I was selected to join the Ernst Young Signature Series Cohort in the Fisher College of Business. I also joined the college’s mentor program to learn more about business opportunities. Two of my favorite student organizations are Smiles with Style and Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s."

Stephanie Gowin, Human Resources, Marketing

"Did you know Ohio State is home to the world’s largest cartoon and comic museum? Did you know the university is older than the light bulb, the telephone and even the zipper? Those are some of the fun facts I’ve learned here.

I love talking about Ohio State and the difference it has made in my life. I’m able to fulfill my goal of helping others develop professionally through my involvement in the Fisher College of Business and my business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta. I assist with mock interviews and career chats, and I facilitate programming that allows first-year students to explore the opportunities and resources available to them. I’m especially proud of being named the 2018–19 Fisher Pacesetter.

I would not be where I am today, professionally or otherwise, without the support of my peers. It is my hope to pay that forward to future generations of Buckeyes during my final year."

Josh Hoeflich, Finance

"I transitioned from a large public middle school to a small private high school in order to feel safe and welcome as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I felt that same sense of belonging the moment I set foot on the Ohio State campus, and I want to pay that feeling forward.    

The university’s anniversary represents a tradition of superior education, unmatched athletics and a huge and diverse family. I’m a leader in the Stadium Scholarship Program, whose history can be traced to before World War II. Additionally, I’m part of the Marching and Athletic Bands, the paid performance pep band and many traveling athletic tournament and championship bands. Last year I went with our women’s ice hockey team to Boston and Minneapolis and with the men’s ice hockey team to Allentown, Pennsylvania. I was thrilled to see the number of Buckeyes that came out to support us even in the most far-flung places."

Blake Lamb, Business Management

I know that as a Buckeye I’m part of something bigger than myself, and that I have a great support system behind me. While receiving a world-class education at the Ohio State Lima campus, I’m also following in the footsteps of many who have made lasting positive impacts on the world.  

As president of the Business Club, I love the challenge of adding value to the members’ professional development. I also work in the Heath Learning Center on campus as a mathematics tutor, where I help students reach their full potential through developing their ability to solve complex problems. During the 2017–18 academic year I served as the student representative to the Ohio State Lima Board of Directors, assisting the members in making decisions about strategic planning. I have also contributed to the community through internships at Allen County Job and Family Services and the Allen Economic Development Group.

Brad (Zijing) Liu, Accounting

"I’m not only a proficient storyteller but also a patient listener. At Ohio State I’m able to share stories and learn about different cultures and values, which will help me become a citizen with global perspective.

Currently I am president of the Chinese Students and Scholars Society, whose members participate in events that influence more than 3,000 people each year. On behalf of the society I built sponsorships with State Farm and Prudential Financial and connected with more than 150 big companies and 50 founders or co-founders of start-ups. I also volunteered as the student panelist and translator for university leaders in pre-departure orientation. These experiences improved my leadership, time management and event planning skills. In 2018 I interned at PwC, where I performed various jobs and learned a lot about emotional control and multitasking.

I hope to continue helping Ohio State grow throughout my life. Once a Buckeye, always a Buckeye."

Eric May, MBA 

"I’m a working professional student with an engineering undergraduate degree, and I served in the U.S. Army with deployments to Iraq, South Korea and Hawaii. I’m also the first person in my family to go to college. I had opportunities to attend other prestigious universities, but for me it came down to making my own community better, like Ohio State has done for the last 150 years.

My biggest involvement outside the classroom is the work I do with Startup Weekend. This entrepreneurathon helps members of the Columbus community learn about entrepreneurship and gives them the tool set to take an idea from conception through prototyping and validation and finally on to funding. We host several events each year and bring in around 120 attendees from throughout the community. I also participate in and mentor at other hackathons throughout Ohio. It’s rewarding to help others make connections and achieve their dream."

David McGrath, Finance

"As I walked the halls of Fisher College of Business for the first time, I imagined myself experiencing all Ohio State has to offer. Woody Hayes captured that idea best when he said the university is about “the people, the tradition and the excellence.”

I realize the importance of creating social networks, volunteering in nonprofit events and motivating my peers to become active in service projects. I have participated in leadership roles throughout my academic career in student government and extracurricular clubs and on soccer teams.

As a competitive soccer player for much of my life, I’ve learned that being successful is not the result of one individual. My role as the goalkeeper for Ohio State’s men’s club team is to direct the play on the field, in addition to being the last line of defense. Building confidence by encouraging my team, as well as fostering camaraderie, has led to the squad’s success."

Ben Parillo, Finance

"Nothing is more inspiring to me than seeing old photographs of campus and reflecting on my opportunity to attend the same school as my grandfather, knowing that he went to class in the same buildings and studied in the same libraries. Growing up in a poor immigrant family, he had to work hard to pave his path through college on the way to medical school and becoming a radiologist. He taught me to love the Buckeyes from a very young age.

Like my grandpa, I want to use my experience as a Buckeye to inspire the generations that come after me. I am a founding member of Beta Upsilon Chi, a nationally recognized Christian social fraternity. I also work as an office assistant in my residence hall and strive to meet every resident with a positive attitude and friendly smile. I believe that all Buckeyes deserve a place to feel welcome and at home."

Olivia “Livie” Sears, Marketing

"Ohio State’s sesquicentennial is the perfect time to recognize some historic moments that have flown under the radar, like the appointment of Caroline Breyfogle as the first dean of women in 1913, or the establishment of the Office of Minority Affairs (later known as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion) in 1970.

Furthermore, the sesquicentennial is a time to kickstart an era of care by beginning a campaign of prioritizing mental and physical health on campus. Additionally, we need to ensure our campus is a place where victims of sexual assault and harassment feel comfortable coming forward with their stories and knowing the university will protect and believe them.

I know adjusting to Ohio State can be hard, and I want other students to feel that they belong and are loved. No matter what their interests are, they can find a group of people with similar interests to support them."

Audrey Shreve, Production and Operations Management

"It is an honor to attend a university with such a great reputation; it is even more exciting to be able to celebrate a century and a half of its existence. I thrive on Ohio State’s motto of 'education for citizenship' and constantly use my education and opportunities here to assist others.

I am involved in two student organizations, both with a heavy focus on volunteering: Buckeyes Against Alzheimer’s and FisherCares. I volunteer in the Alzheimer’s unit of a nursing home, where we spend weekend mornings sitting with the residents, talking and doing activities with them. FisherCares links me to many nonprofit organizations through volunteer opportunities—I recently helped make blankets for patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital and picked up litter along the Olentangy River—as well as networking opportunities with the guest speakers we host. Additionally, I was hired as a school-based program assistant for Big Brothers Big Sisters."

Gwen Sieman, Finance

"An unknown artist said, 'We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children.' With that in mind, I believe it is part of one’s duties as a leader to teach others how to be successful. Leadership should be sustainable and tangible, which is the purpose of training sesquicentennial scholars to support those within the Ohio State community who have the foundation to become CEOs, nonprofit leaders and difference-makers.     

I entered college as a finance major and did not expect to fall in love with the nonprofit sector. I added a nonprofit management major and have taken classes in both Fisher College of Business and the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. The two colleges vary greatly, yet both offer invaluable information. In addition, my involvement with campus organizations has taught me how to overcome the dynamic schedule of college while fueling my interests."

Austin Ward, Economics

"Growing up in Vinton County, I dreamed of 'escaping' southern Ohio and attending a prestigious school out of state. However, after participating in the Day in the Life of a Buckeye program, I started to take Ohio State seriously. When it came time to decide, my choice was easy.

My activities include serving as treasurer of the Alexander Hamilton Society, a nonpartisan group focused on foreign policy that hosts events with speakers from across the country to debate international topics. As an officer I was able to attend the Reagan National Defense Forum, where I met members of Congress, policy experts and people from the defense industry.

Additionally, I am a student financial assistant in the Office of Student Life, where I enjoy experiencing the business side of student housing, dining, recreational sports and other functions. I also am a presidential host at events and football games, one of my most enjoyable experiences at Ohio State."

Nicole Wenger, MBA

"My hometown in Illinois had its sesquicentennial while I was young, and I remember my sense of pride in belonging to the community. I feel similar pride when I think about being part of Ohio State as it celebrates its 150th year.

As part of this community, both the medical school and the greater university sectors, I have made lifelong friends, learned from top physicians and had opportunities I may not have had elsewhere, including chances to be involved in many ways. I was a co-chair of the LGBTQ+ and Allies group, organizing events to help educate students about how to better take care of our diverse patient population. I also organized a memorial service to honor the family members of our body donors. One of my most meaningful experiences was being on the steering committee of a student-run clinic that provides free health care and medicine for patients in need."

Seth Williamson, Finance

"As an out-of-state student, I chose to come to Ohio State because I believed I would have the opportunity to make an impact and to learn from some of the most innovative thinkers on the planet.        

I’m a member of the Mount Leadership Society Scholars, through which I’ve done projects ranging from serving the homeless to planning a birthday party for immigrants who do not know when their birthdays really are.

I serve on the Governmental Relations Committee of Undergraduate Student Government, where I helped register students to vote and advertised the midterm elections. Through my committee’s work the student voter turnout skyrocketed by 33 percent over the last midterm elections. Another project was planning the annual USG trip to Washington, D.C., where we advocated for mental health and higher education at a state and federal level. I’m also a member of Buckeye Capital Investors, the leading undergraduate investment organization on campus."