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Staff Reports

The Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory Awards Scholarships for 2017 Research Experience for Undergraduates Students

COLUMBUS – Eight outstanding undergraduate students, four Ohio State students and four students from other Midwestern colleges, have been selected for Stone Laboratory’s 2017 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Scholarship Program.

The five-week program is a competitive, comprehensive research internship that gives students the chance to conduct scientific research in the field alongside top scientists from June 18 through July 22, 2017 at Stone Laboratory, The Ohio State University’s island campus on Lake Erie.

This year’s awardees are:

• Stacey Clay, a Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife major at The Ohio State University from South Vienna, Ohio. Clay will be studying birds.

• Kearstin Findley, an Evolution and Ecology major at Rockford University from Rockford, Illinois. Findley will be studying fisheries.

• Alex Johnson, an Environmental Science major at Cleveland State University from Huron, Ohio. Johnson will be studying water quality.

• Madeline Lambrix, an Environmental Science major at The Ohio State University from Parma, Ohio. Lambrix will be studying water quality.

• Camille Manoukian, a Public Health major at The Ohio State University from Needham, Mass. Manoukian will be studying plants.

• Taylor Michael, a Biology major at Kent State University from Mantua, Ohio. Michael will be studying field zoology.

• Marissa Musk, a Clinical Laboratory Sciences major at Michigan State University from Muskegon, Mich. Musk will be studying water quality.

• Andrew Oppliger, a Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife major at The Ohio State University from Westerville, Ohio. Oppliger will be studying fish.

REU students receive a full scholarship to Stone Lab, including lab fee, room and meals and in-state tuition for the 2-credit research experience and a 4-credit, five-week course. The program runs concurrently with Stone Lab’s five-week summer term. Students spend their non-class days focused on research, working closely with their supervisors to design an experiment, collect samples and analyze data. At the end of the program, they give a final presentation to their peers and the public.

More information on Stone Lab’s REU program can be found at To make a donation to REU scholarships, visit REU Scholarships are funded through three Friends of Stone Lab (FOSL) endowments at The Ohio State University: the John L. Crites Research Experience Forum Fellowship Endowment, the Thomas Huxley Langlois Research Fellowship Endowment and the F.T. Stone Laboratory Research Endowment.

Located on the 6.5-acre Gibraltar Island in Put-in-Bay harbor, Stone Laboratory is Ohio State’s Island Campus on Lake Erie and the research, education, and outreach facility of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program. Established in 1895, Stone Laboratory is the oldest freshwater biological field station in the United States and the center of Ohio State University’s teaching and research on Lake Erie. Stone Lab offers 25 college-credit science courses each summer for undergraduate and graduate students, advanced high school students, and educators. For information on Stone Laboratory, visit

Brian Raiff earns recognition at Marietta College’s annual Spring Honors Convocation

MARIETTA, OH (05/04/2017)— Marietta College’s Brian Raiff of Galena, Ohio, was recognized at the annual Spring Honors Convocation at the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

Raiff, who is majoring in Petroleum Engineering, received the The SPE Award on April 20 in the Dyson Baudo Recreation Center.

Raiff is a graduate of Olentangy High School.

Located in Marietta, Ohio, at the confluence of the Muskingum and Ohio rivers, Marietta College is a four-year liberal arts college. Tracing its roots to the Muskingum Academy begun in 1797, the College was officially chartered in 1835. Today Marietta College serves a body of 1,200 full-time students. The College offers 45 majors and has been listed among Barron’s Best Buys in College Education and Peterson’s Competitive Colleges, and has been recognized as one of the top regional comprehensive colleges by U.S. News and World Report and The Princeton Review.

Audit Identifies $4,745 in Overpayments, Unsupported Checks at Central Ohio Charter School

A financial audit of a Columbus charter school cited seven individuals for $4,745 in improper payments and discovered a possible ethics violation.

The review of Gateway Academy of Ohio, presently known as the East Bridge Academy of Excellence, found school officials violated academy policy by reimbursing a teacher for the full cost of her tuition.

The academy paid Ashley Pence $3,036 in May 2015 to cover the cost of two courses she completed at Arizona State University. Under the academy’s policy, Pence was only permitted to receive reimbursement for half of the tuition costs, meaning she was overpaid by $1,518.

“We should all be for supporting employees who want to better themselves professionally,” Auditor Yost said. “But financial assistance for continuing education has to remain within the boundaries spelled out in policy.”

In a separate finding, auditors found the academy lacked adequate supporting documentation for six checks issued to five individuals during 2014. Consequently, auditors could not determine if the $2,189 in expenditures served a proper public purpose.

Also in 2014, the academy overpaid Thurman Walker, a former student resource officer, by $1,038 in accrued wages following his termination from employment.

The audit also uncovered an email from former Treasurer Teresa Woods to former Principal Hydia Green encouraging Green to hire Woods’ husband, Daniel Woods, to perform maintenance work, for which he was paid $1,904. The matter will be referred to the Ohio Ethics Commission.

As a result of the audit findings, auditors issued findings for recovery in the following amounts:

• Ashley Pence: $1,518

• Dwayne Russell: $1,500

• Thurman Walker: $1,038

• Frederick Taylor: $400

• Teresa Woods: $173 (Repaid)

• Daniel Woods: $104

• Hydia Green: $12

The academy officials who authorized the respective improper payments are jointly and severally liable in the event that the above findings are not repaid.

Ohio State awarded record number of degrees at spring commencement

Graduating class is largest in university history for third consecutive year

The Ohio State University awarded a record 11,734 degrees to the largest graduating class in university history on Sunday, May 7. The ceremony begins at noon in Ohio Stadium. The 2017 graduating class size surpasses the previous records of 11,235 set in 2016, and 11,040 set in 2015.

Ohio State President Michael V. Drake presided, and the commencement address was given by Abigail Wexner, community leader, philanthropist and university trustee.

Students Graduate from Ashland University

ASHLAND, OH (05/03/2017)— The following students completed their Ashland University degree requirements and will graduate during commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 6.

  • Jessica Day of Sunbury, OH, will receive a Master of Education degree. Day is majoring in Curriculum & Instruction: Educational Technology.
  • Anthony Forrest of Westerville, OH, will receive a Master of Education degree. Forrest is majoring in Educational Administration.
  • Robert Opalenik of Westerville, OH, will receive a Master of Business Administration degree. Opalenik is majoring in Executive Management.
  • Jason Wood of Westerville, OH, will receive a Master of Education degree. Wood is majoring in Curriculum & Instruction: Educational Technology.
  • Owen Heckman of Westerville, OH, will receive a Bachelor of Arts degree. Heckman is majoring in History and Religion. Heckman is a 2013 graduate of Westerville South High School. He is the son of Kirk and Gwendolyn Heckman of Westerville.

Ashland University, ranked in the top tier of colleges and universities in U.S. News and World Report’s National Universities category for 2017, is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University ( deeply values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong, applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.

Thousands of Former Corinthian College Students Eligible for Federal Student Loan Cancellations

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced that thousands of Ohio residents will begin receiving notice about their eligibility to cancel federal student loans used to attend schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, including Everest Institute, Everest College, Everest University, Heald College, and WyoTech.

Approximately 5,490 eligible Ohio residents will receive a letter explaining the available relief and how to apply for loan cancellations with the U.S. Department of Education.

“We want people to know about this opportunity,” Attorney General DeWine said. “If you qualify for this program, apply through the U.S. Department of Education, and get your federal student loan canceled, you won’t have to make additional payments on the loan, and you’ll be refunded for payments you already made.”

For-profit Corinthian Colleges abruptly ceased operations in 2015, transferring some of its campuses to a nonprofit called Zenith Education Group. The U.S. Department of Education then found that while it was operating, Corinthian Colleges made widespread misrepresentations between 2010 and 2014 about post-graduation employment rates.

Students who fall within the U.S. Department of Education’s findings of fraud and who are eligible for a special “streamlined” process to discharge their federal student loans are being notified as part of an outreach effort by the attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia.

Lists of the affected programs and dates of enrollment are available on the Federal Student Aid’s website: Everest and WyoTech and Heald.

Other students who attended Corinthian Colleges and believe the school lied about job prospects, transferability of credits, or other issues may apply to have their federal student loans canceled using the Department of Education’s universal discharge application.

It may take time for the U.S. Department of Education to process applications, so any borrowers who apply for loan discharge should continue making payments on the affected loans until they are informed by the U.S. Department of Education or by their loan servicer that their federal loans have been canceled or that the loans are in forbearance while their application is pending.

Attorney General DeWine also reminded borrowers to beware of student loan scams. Borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness or find related information for free through the U.S. Department of Education. Requests for application fees or offers to cancel student loans in exchange for advance payments may be scams.

To help Ohioans navigate student loans and plan for college, Attorney General DeWine’s office provides an online Student Loan Center for prospective, current, and former college students. The online resource offers calculators to help students budget their expenses and plan loan repayments. It also addresses saving for college, exploring careers, and understanding financial aid.

Otterbein University Art Professor Named Guggenheim Fellow

Westerville — Artist Nicholas A. Hill, a professor at Otterbein University and resident of Granville, was recently awarded a prestigious fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. He is one of only two recipients from Ohio this year.

Hill is a printmaker and art curator who has exhibited his work internationally. Through his studio work, he explores history, other cultures, and the creative process of the artists living in those cultures. His fellowship will support his travelling to art centers in India, developing new work, and collaborating with craftspeople and artists.

Hill has exhibited his work in over 150 juried and invitational exhibitions in the United States and abroad. Most recently his work has been included in exhibitions in Germany, France, Poland, India and Denmark. His work is represented in such public collections as the Library of Congress, the New-York Historical Society, the United States Department of State and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Previously, Hill has received grants from the Ohio Arts Council (OAC), the Greater Columbus Arts Council (GCAC), the New York State Council on the Arts, the Kansas Arts Commission and Artists Space-New York City. He has been granted two international residencies in Dresden, Germany, by OAC and GCAC.

The Foundation awarded a total of 173 Guggenheim Fellowships to a diverse group of scholars, artists, and scientists to comprise the class of 2017. Appointed on the basis of prior achievement and exceptional promise, the successful candidates were chosen from a group of almost 3,000 applicants in the Foundation’s 93rd competition.

“These artists and writers, scholars and scientists, represent the best of the best,” said Edward Hirsch, president of the Foundation. “Each year since 1925, the Guggenheim Foundation has bet everything on the individual, and we’re thrilled to continue to do so with this wonderfully talented and diverse group. It’s an honor to be able to support these individuals to do the work they were meant to do.”

The great variety of backgrounds, fields of study, and accomplishments of Guggenheim Fellows is one of the unique characteristics of the Fellowship program. In all, 49 scholarly disciplines and artistic fields, 64 different academic institutions, 27 states and the District of Columbia, and three Canadian provinces are represented in this year’s class of Fellows, who range in age from 27 to 79.

Since its establishment in 1925, the Foundation has granted more than $350 million in Fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, among whom are scores of Nobel laureates, Fields Medalists, Turing Award winners, poets laureate, members of the various national academies, winners of the Pulitzer Prize, and other important, internationally recognized honors.

The Guggenheim Fellowship program remains a significant source of support for artists, scholars in the humanities and social sciences, and scientific researchers. New and continuing donations from friends, Trustees, former Fellows, and other foundations have ensured that the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation will be able to continue its historic mission. For more information on the Fellows and their projects, please visit the Foundation’s website at

Otterbein University is a small private university nationally-recognized for its intentional blending of liberal arts and professional studies through its renowned Integrative Studies curriculum and its commitments to experiential learning and community engagement. Otterbein is a recipient of the 2015 Carnegie Community Service Classification; a finalist for the 2014 President’s Award for Economic Opportunity Community Service; and has been honored With Distinction by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll since the list’s inception in 2006. It stands in its category’s top 10 percent in U.S. News & World Report’s guide to “America’s Best Colleges.” Otterbein offers more than 70 undergraduate majors; seven master’s programs; and a doctorate in nursing practice (DNP). Its picturesque campus is perfectly situated in Westerville, Ohio, America’s fifth friendliest town (Forbes), just minutes from Columbus, the 15th largest city in the country. Otterbein’s commitment to opportunity started with its founding in 1847 as one of the nation’s first universities to welcome women and persons of color to its community of teachers and learners, which now numbers 2,400 undergraduate and 500 graduate students. Otterbein remains committed to its relationship with the United Methodist Church and its spirit of inclusion, and welcomes people of all backgrounds to Otterbein’s Model Community. To learn more about Otterbein, visit

Two Ohio youth honored for volunteerism at national award ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps pays tribute to Cincinnati and Columbus students

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ohio’s top two youth volunteers of 2017, Adam Sella, 18, of Cincinnati and Mackenzie Lewis, 10, of Columbus, were honored in the nation’s capital last night for their outstanding volunteer service during the 22nd annual presentation of The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards. Adam and Mackenzie – along with 100 other top youth volunteers from across the country – each received $1,000 awards and personal congratulations from Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps at an award ceremony and gala dinner reception held at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), named Adam and Mackenzie Ohio’s top high school and middle level youth volunteers in February. In addition to their cash awards, they each received an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip with a parent to Washington, D.C., for four days of recognition events.

Adam, a senior at Walnut Hills High School, founded a club at his school to aid refugees in the Cincinnati area and raise awareness of the world’s growing refugee crisis through projects that include collection drives, a tutoring program, and events to fund college scholarships. After spending six weeks in Morocco studying Arabic, Adam returned home just as the Syrian refugee crisis was unfolding. Adam said he could easily relate to the plight of these refugees because he is Jewish and had relatives who were displaced after World War II. Seeking to help, he immediately contacted a local mosque and refugee resettlement agencies. “I thought my Arabic language skills made me uniquely well-suited to aid refugees, so I was surprised and disappointed when they told me I was too young or that someone would get back to me – but nobody did,” Adam said.

Not to be deterred, Adam founded his club, “Students Together Assisting Refugees” (STAR). He and fellow club members invited two Bhutanese refugees to share their heart-wrenching stories at a school assembly, organized a public screening of a movie about Sudanese refugees to raise money for refugee scholarships, conducted a community drive that collected 750 household items for 266 refugee families, and began tutoring refugee children at a local elementary school. Adam also created a website and used media interviews to gain more visibility. His club’s biggest project so far was last fall’s benefit chamber concert that featured members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and raised more than $25,000 in scholarship funds. Adam’s efforts have inspired students in six other states to start STAR chapters in their communities.

Mackenzie, a fifth-grader at Berwick Alternative K-8 School, conducted two community drives that collected 1,350 cases of bottled water and more than 300 gallon water jugs for people dealing with unsafe tap water in Flint, Mich. After hearing news stories about Flint’s contaminated water supply, Mackenzie felt she had to do something to help. “I wanted people in Flint to have clean water,” she said. “It wasn’t fair that their water makes them sick and gives them rashes.”

After obtaining permission to store water at her church, Mackenzie challenged members of the church and other churches to contribute. She made fliers and dropped them around town, and began contacting individuals and businesses for donations. After Mackenzie collected 1,200 cases of bottled water and 300 gallon jugs, she and 12 other youth volunteers from her church rode in a donated truck to Flint, where they handed out water at a church and gave the rest to a school and after-school program. Mackenzie then asked kids at several summer youth programs and camps to bring water donations to an advocacy festival that she organized, which featured music, food, games, prizes and a raffle. Afterwards, Mackenzie made another trip to Flint, delivering 150 additional cases of water and 20 jugs to residents of two apartment complexes.

“These honorees have done exemplary work to contribute to the health and vitality of their communities, and we look forward to seeing the great things they achieve in the future,” said John Strangfeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Financial, Inc. “Congratulations to each of these extraordinary young volunteers.”

“It’s a privilege to celebrate these students not only for outstanding volunteer service, but for the example they’ve set for their peers,” said Jayne Ellspermann, president of NASSP. “These honorees prove that one person truly can make a difference.”

Youth volunteers in grades 5-12 were invited to apply for 2017 Prudential Spirit of Community Awards last fall through schools, Girl Scout councils, county 4-H organizations, American Red Cross chapters, YMCAs and affiliates of the HandsOn Network. More than 31,000 middle level and high school students nationwide participated in this year’s program.

The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program was created in 1995 to identify and recognize young people for outstanding volunteer service – and, in so doing, inspire others to volunteer, too. In the past 22 years, the program has honored more than 120,000 young volunteers at the local, state and national level.

For more information about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards and this year’s honorees, visit or


The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and school leaders from across the United States. The association connects and engages school leaders through advocacy, research, education, and student programs. NASSP advocates on behalf of all school leaders to ensure the success of each student and strengthens school leadership practices through the design and delivery of high quality professional learning experiences. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit

About Prudential Financial

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit

Moms can enjoy free “night out” with WNZR

MOUNT VERNON — WNZR 90.9 FM, a broadcast ministry of Mount Vernon Nazarene University, presents its 13th annual Mom’s Night Out on Friday, May 12, 2017. This free event celebrates mothers with a night of fun, a movie and prizes. It will be held in Foster Hall in Ariel Arena, located on the MVNU campus. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the event starts at 7 p.m.

Mom’s Night Out is free for all moms and will include a showing of the movie “Beyond the Mask.” “Beyond the Mask” is a revolutionary family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ.

The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds, has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he’s never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte — as well as Ben Franklin — while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. As Will Reynolds discovers, if we let true freedom ring, history can be redeemed!

There is an all-star cast in this romantic drama including Andrew Cheney (from Seasons of Gray), Kara Killmer (from Chicago Fire), and John Rhys-Davies (from Lord of the Rings).

WNZR plans to distribute over $1,000 worth of prizes throughout the evening, courtesy of 15 different local businesses and organizations. A complete list of prizes and Mom’s Night Out sponsors is available on the station’s website

Tickets are free and are available at WNZR, located on the second floor of Founders Hall at MVNU or at the door on May 12, 2017.

WNZR is celebrating 30 years of ministry at 90.9FM. The Lifeline broadcasts contemporary Christian music, family-oriented programs, sports, news and weather 24-hours-a-day.

Mount Vernon Nazarene University is a private, four-year, intentionally Christian teaching university for traditional age students, graduate students and working adults. With a 327-acre main campus in Mount Vernon, Ohio, and several convenient Graduate and Professional Studies locations throughout the state, MVNU emphasizes academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to community and church. MVNU offers an affordable education to more than 2,200 students from 28 states and 17 countries/U.S. territories.

Staff Reports