Scholar Spotlight: Taylor Lonas
From Toledo, Ohio
Political Science, Pre-Law | Legal Foundations Minor
Politics, Society & Law Scholar | Morrill Distinction Scholar
Secretary | National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
African American Heritage Festival Co-Chair
Who's Who in Black Columbus 15th Edition
112th Class of SPHINX Senior Honorary
Recently, Taylor Lonas, one of our Morrill Scholars, answered a few questions about her time so far at The Ohio State University and in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Morrill Scholarship Program.
Tell me about your journey to becoming a Buckeye. What role did MSP play in that journey? And how has MSP helped you once you arrived on campus?
I can vividly remember the day I received my acceptance letter to The Ohio State University. As soon as I read the email out loud, my parents started to dance in celebration. It wasn’t until we realized that my tuition would be paid in full by the Morrill Scholarship Program (MSP), that my mother began to cry. I am confident that had it not been for MSP, I would not have spent my undergraduate career at Ohio State. I cannot adequately express my gratitude to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) for providing me with this invaluable experience. Once I arrived on campus, I became heavily involved with ODI and MSP upon volunteering and finding membership in various organizations housed within the Frank W. Hale Jr. Black Cultural Center. MSP has provided me with mentors, resources, and unwavering support as I have navigated campus and classes throughout the duration of my time here.
What is your major and when do you plan on graduating? Why did you choose that major?
I am studying political science on a pre-law track with plans to graduate in May of 2019. I have always been innately drawn to law, politics, and the discrepancies that can be found in legislation that affects minority communities. I chose to study political science with the goal to better analyze and better understand political and governmental institutions. This knowledge will undoubtedly aid me in my future career as an attorney.
Did you participate in a study abroad experience at Ohio State? If so, when and where did you go? And how did those experience(s) change you?
The summer after my freshman year, I spent 28 days in Merida, Mexico with the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. At the time, I was a Spanish minor and wanted to integrate myself into the day-to-day local life to better understand the language. In my sophomore year, I traveled to Toronto, Canada with MUNDO, and during Spring Break of my junior year, I traveled to Bahia, Brazil with ODI and over this upcoming winter break, I will be traveling to Puerto Rico on another MUNDO trip!
As I have traveled somewhat significantly with Ohio State, I now work as a study abroad ambassador for ODI and the Office of International Affairs. I have been incredibly blessed to partake in these experiences and can undoubtedly say that traveling abroad has compelled me to experience growth like never before. I have undergone both a mental and spiritual maturation. Interacting with the native citizens on a daily basis while studying the rich culture and traditions of these countries led me to develop in ways I did not know were possible. I was intellectually fortified via the first-hand exposure to authentic customs while I simultaneously learned more about my own beliefs, customs, and self.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to gain political work experience with the Congressional Black Caucus in Washington, D.C. for one year before applying to law schools with an intended entry in autumn of 2020.
Who inspired/inspires you to succeed and why?
My loving parents and my younger sister, Simone, have been my biggest motivators and have continually inspired me to succeed throughout my collegiate career. I am forever indebted to them as they have provided me with support as I have studied, matured, and traveled across the world in these past four years. They remind me of my capabilities and consistently challenge me to use my talents to better my community.
If a high school student asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be?
I would advise an incoming student to be their best self. In explanation, never heed perceived limitations. Never count yourself out and don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. In fact, I was once told to “become comfortable being uncomfortable.” It is the only way to experience growth.
Skyla Johnson spotlight
Anyone who encounters the positivity that emanates during an interaction with Skyla Johnson could infer that her outlook stems from having had an easy road to success. And while Skyla, a social worker and owner of Suga Pie’s—a licensed home bakery, loves both of her current occupations, she admits that her path was a difficult and complicated one. Fortunately, the obstacles she encountered were conquerable with the help of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s ACCESS and Young Scholars Programs.
Monica R. Liggins-Abrams spotlight
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.
John McCray spotlight
John McCray lives and breathes college athletics and the college environment. Yet he admits that, as a young student, higher education wasn’t a concern. “At that time, I wasn’t even thinking about college,” says McCray, a Cleveland native and former high school basketball player. “So that’s what Young Scholars did for me. It opened my mind up.”
Diontre Davis spotlight
Diontre Davis’ journey to an education abroad experience at the University of Oxford began in grade school when Diontre’s 6th grade teacher encouraged him to apply to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion Young Scholars Program.
Yasmiyn Irizarry spotlight
ACCESS (an acronym for A Comprehensive College Experience for Single-Parent Students) focuses on increasing graduation rates via providing resources and opportunities to full-time single students who also maintain full custody of children. Dr. Yasmiyn Irizarry, now an Assistant Professor of African and African Diaspora Studies, is a testament to the enduring nature of the program’s benefits.
Korrie Johnson Spotlight
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.
Alfonso Gillette spotlight
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.
Bryson McEachin spotlight
Growing up, Bryson McEachin thought he wanted to be a veterinarian. But once he got older, he realized that science wasn’t his thing. “What am I passionate about? What do I care about? I realized that I was passionate about New York City, its people, the communities, the Bronx, Harlem, Queens, and Brooklyn.”
Reginald Woods spotlight
Within his major of microbiology, Reginald Woods has found the perfect discipline, one that combines both his passion for science and his devotion to alleviating issues in minority communities.
Jason Allen spotlight
Jason Allen is a Morrill Scholar from Houston, Texas, who is studying Political Science. He hopes to graduate in Spring of 2020.