Alumni Relations and Success Stories

Alumni Relations

Although not a college or school, the Ohio State Office of Diversity and Inclusion has served and continues to serve thousands of Ohio State students with life-changing scholarships, tutoring and mentoring services, student employment opportunities, and other programming. These vital opportunities, established to support the University's diversity mission, have rendered ODI the university home for thousands of students, past and present.

Below are ODI's significant scholarship and student support programs. Some of these programs reach back decades to Ohio State alumni who consider ODI scholarships and programming the foundation to their academic and professional success.

The Morrill Scholarship program Graduate and Professional Recruitment initiative (GPS) The ACCESS Collaborative The Bell National Resource Center Student Employment through the Hale Black Cultural Center

Success Stories

Marquis Gaines

A recent Young Scholars Program graduate has taken the road less traveled all the way around the world to a pro basketball career in Spain.

Despite starring on The Ohio State University's club basketball team—a notch below the men's varsity team—Marquis Gaines is headed back to Spain to play his second season of pro basketball after earning his degree in human development and family science this December.

Read more about Marquis Gaines

Alfonso Gillette

ODI Scholar alumnus Alfonso Gillette would be the first to admit that since he graduated from The Ohio State University in 2015, his career path has been anything but linear.Armed with a bachelors in strategic communications and a minor in economics, after graduation, Alfonso completed two years of service with City Year, an organization that helps to close gaps in high-need schools by supporting students' academic and social-emotional development. He first worked at South High School in Columbus, and his second year was at Livingston Elementary on Columbus' south side.

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Yasmiyn Irizarry

All students juggle responsibilities while navigating a semester at The Ohio State University. But spending the end of the day relaxing on the Oval or endlessly scrolling through social media are luxuries rarely afforded to single parent students. For these students, simply navigating a week of classes is a continuous balancing act that could exhaust and discourage even the most determined.

Read more about Yasmiyn Irizarry

Korrie Johnson

Growing up in Memphis, Tennessee, Korrie Johnson had plenty of support from family and friends. “I had people who looked like me to serve as role models, give me support and tell me that I was going to do great things.” So when Korrie made the decision to pursue a PhD, he knew that it would be very important for any university he chose to have an active diversity unit. “I was used to having a strong support system and would need that same kind of support at school, because wherever I went, I knew I would be a minority.” he said.

Read more about Korrie Johnson

Skyla Johnson

Growing up in Toledo, Ohio, Skyla was notified by her elementary school principal about the Young Scholars Program (YSP), which reaches out to Ohio's largest urban school districts to recruit young students of financial need and prepare them to enter The Ohio State University. Having an older sister who also progressed through the program, Skyla leapt at the chance. “I was already sold on being at Ohio State even before I was inducted as a scholar,” she says. “I fell in love with Buckeye football while being in elementary school, and once I was inducted as a sixth grader, Ohio State was the only college I desired to attend.”

Read more about Skyla Johnson

Monica R. Liggins-Abrams

In 2002, as a first-generation college student from a low-income family in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Monica R. Liggins-Abrams applied to The Ohio State University. While in high school, she had spent time in Columbus and attended a summer enrichment program through the African-American and African Studies Extension Center. It was a one week residential program that introduced her to Ohio State.

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John McCray

John McCray (pictured, left) lives and breathes college athletics and the college environment. He provided video and recruitment assistance at The Ohio State University's basketball program. He served as a Graduate Assistant at Saint Joseph's University and an Assistant Coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga before landing his current position as the Assistant Coach for the University of Florida Women's Basketball team. Yet he admits that, as a young student, higher education wasn't a concern.

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Mark Reese

From a very young age Mark Reese knew he wanted to be a pilot. But he also knew that the process of actualizing this dream would require many years and stages. A recipient of ODI's Morrill Scholarship who studied Aviation during his time as an undergraduate student at The Ohio State University, Mark is now a First Officer (the pilot designated as second-in-command to an aircraft's captain—though responsibilities are normally shared).

Read more about Mark Reese