Michael Gundich

Michale Gundrich breakdancing in IrelandAs a first-generation college student growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, induction into the Cleveland Young Scholars Program (YSP) opened a door to the resources that Michael Gundich needed to transition from high school to college. “Being selected as a Young Scholar meant that I had a chance in a place where the majority of the kids never graduate high school, let alone go on to attend college. Not a guarantee, but a chance through YSP that could be earned if I truly applied myself in school, completed community service requirements, and attended all of the meetings and events,” he stated. And when Michael graduated valedictorian of his class at John Hay High School and went off to The Ohio State University, YSP was, as he stated, “Waiting for me with open arms.”

Michael’s participation in the YSP College Success Program run by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), which included a three-week Summer Bridge Program, was instrumental in his transition from high school to college student. “The Bridge program not only introduced me to the intense rigor of college-level classes, but it gave me a chance to get to know the ODI advisors and other minority students who would provide guidance for years to come. There is no doubt in my mind that I would not have taken advantage of as many opportunities or have had the confidence to become a leader on this campus had it not been for YSP and ODI.”

ODI was also there to help Michael sort out his major at Ohio State. In a meeting with his ODI advisor, Chila Thomas, Michael mentioned his plan to become a Mechanical Engineer, only because he was good at math and science. Ms. Thomas challenged Michael to look past what he thought he should do to find what he wanted to do. She pointed him in the direction of Ohio State’s Industrial Design program, which only accepts 18 students each year. Michael applied and was accepted as a freshman. “The more I learn about Industrial Design the more I love it. Since then I have interned at two major industrial design firms and started an Industrial Design student organization geared towards the growth of current design students and helping them transition into the professional field.” (View Michael’s portfolio here.)

Michael is a senior at Ohio State and plans to graduate in May 2015. After graduation, he will be pursuing a Master’s in either Animation or User Experience Design, including applying to Ohio State’s Digital Animation and Interactive Media (DAIM) program. Michael will also be looking for entry-level Industrial Design positions around the country. Whatever he ends up doing, Michael knows it will combine industrial design with his other skills: airbrushing, tattooing, and photography.

When asked what his most important piece of advice for future Buckeyes would be, Michael didn’t hesitate: “Remember where you came from, and when you get to where you are going remember to reach back and bring another with you, because for every one of us that becomes successful, there are hundreds that are lost along the way or never even have a chance to begin with. A single stone is capable of creating thousands of ripples; together we can change the world.”