Cynthia Turner in a classroom

Fisher College of Business recently hosted sixth-grade students from Livingston Elementary School for the inaugural Rising Leaders Youth Program. The event was designed to introduce the next generation of leaders to Ohio State and to business-specific topics such as personal branding.

Elementary students also participated in icebreaker activities, toured the university’s campus  and spoke with undergraduate and graduate students at Fisher about their experiences.

“I want to uplift younger students who were once in my shoes coming from inner-city schools,” said Daylan Jernigan, an accounting student who volunteered at the event.

Jernigan, who also is a member of the Young Scholars Program for first-generation college students, said he wanted to mentor and uplift students coming from backgrounds similar to his own. 

“When volunteering, I don’t think of much of what I can get out of it; I think about what I can put into it and what others can get out of it,” he said. “People who look like me can hear my story and can find inspiration in my story.”

Anil Makhija, dean and John W. Berry, Sr. Chair in Business, and David Harrison, the senior director of Fisher’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion Student Services and Corporate and Community Outreach (ODISSCCO), also spoke to students, sharing with them the value of college and advising them on what they can do now to earn acceptance into colleges and universities later.

The Rising Leaders program was inspired by an existing offering for underrepresented students at Fisher. Project THRIVE, which was created in 2016 by Cynthia Turner, assistant dean and Fisher’s chief diversity officer, is a comprehensive program designed to create a community of minority and underrepresented Accounting and MIS students that is equipped to succeed at Fisher and beyond.

Students in the Rising Leaders program felt an immediate impact from participating.

“I learned that you can be anything that you put your mind to and if you have a dream you can achieve it if you try hard,” said sixth-grader Kennedy Rogers.

I want to uplift younger students who were once in my shoes coming from inner-city schools.

Daylin JerniganAccounting student


Cynthia Turner Asst. Dean and Chief Diversity Officer, EY Faculty Fellow
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