Current Scholar Spotlight: Deja Rush

Deja Rush leaning against a treeLSAMP Scholar

Rank: Sophomore
Major: Biomedical engineering with a minor in
Spanish and music
Graduation date: 2020

What motivated you to become a part of LSAMP?

I knew I wanted to be a part of a STEM-based minority program at The Ohio State University. Within STEM, there is a lack of cultural competency. So, I believed it was critical for me to be involved in a program with people who can relate to me and my experiences at an institution which is comprised of only about 20% minorities. Also, I believed it was a good way to connect with other minorities who would be taking similar classes.

What opportunities have you had at Ohio State because of LSAMP and ODI that you might not have had otherwise?

Because of LSAMP and ODI, I have been able to fully fund my education and focus on having the ultimate college experience. I have been able to succeed academically because I have had access to resources such as private tutoring and 1:1 success coaching. I have also had the opportunity to improve my portfolio by expanding my network and getting involved in research.

What can you share about your research, and why had you selected that area of study?

I am involved in a cancer research lab in the department of biomedical engineering. I chose this area of research because I am a cancer survivor. My own battle has inspired me and motivated me to make a difference and help find a cure.

What challenges have you experienced as an underrepresented student in STEM? As a woman?

I believe I have had to work harder in order to prove to my peers that I belong and that I am just as capable as they are.          

What are your plans after graduation?

I plan to attend medical school and become a doctor in the field of physical medicine and rehabilitation.

What advice would you like to give to future LSAMP scholars?

I would advise them to take advantage of everything that LSAMP has to offer. Stay connected with your mentors, attend conferences and network and be honest about areas you could improve in and then make a change.


Prior Spotlights

Donovan Hampton Spotlight

Donovan Hampton Spotlight

The summer before his first year at The Ohio State University, Donovan Hampton received an email from the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male. The email contained information about the BNRC and its Early Arrival Program. 

Read more about Donovan Hampton.

Meilenys Peraza Spotlight

Meilenys Peraza Spotlight

Meilenys Peraza always had an interest in Japanese. That interest grew into a full-blown passion after she took her first Japanese class in high school with a teacher who lived in Japan for over 40 years and spoke fluent Japanese.

 Read more about Meilenys Peraza .

Yehosef Thomas Spotlight

Yehosef Thomas Spotlight

Yehosef Thomas knows that diversity matters because people matter, and how individuals, communities, and the world deal with questions of diversity can have profound implications for the future. He sees diversity more as how people relate to one another than as an abstract board room concept that needs to be deal with quickly and effectively.

 Read more about Yehosef Thomas.

LeRoy Ricksy Spotlight

LeRoy Ricksy Spotlight

Growing up in Harlem in New York City, LeRoy Ricksy loved football. Especially that “team in red.” As he got older, the “team in red” became Ohio State, and LeRoy realized the school also had a great academic side. “From there, I applied, received a scholarship as a Morrill Scholar, and there was no chance I would tune it down.”

 Read more about LeRoy Ricksy.

Melanie Russell spotlight

Melanie Russell spotlight

Melanie Russell’s path to medical school began in the 6th grade with a request to come to the guidance counselor’s office at the Cleveland School of the Arts. “I didn’t know why I was asked to come to the office; I thought I was in trouble!” Instead, Melanie was told about the Young Scholars Program. 

 Read more about Melanie Russell.

Carly Sobol Spotlight

Carly Sobol Spotlight

Growing up in a small community in Dayton, Ohio, Carly Sobol was fortunate to receive a great education, be surrounded by inspiring individuals, and have a strong family unit. “My family was one of a few Jewish families in the neighborhood. I learned at a young age the value of tradition and the challenges that come with being unique. I loved explaining my heritage to friends and learning more about theirs.”

 Read more about Carly Sobol.

LaRazia Tolbert Spotlight

LaRazia Tolbert Spotlight

The neighborhood in Youngstown where LaRazia Tolbert grew up wasn’t the kind of place, she says, where people wanted to stay or come back to. “Where I’m from, no one says they want to return; everyone is trying to escape with no looking back.” But LaRazia looks at her community from a different perspective: she, too, wants to leave but only so that she can return and bring back what she has learned and better where she is from.

 Read more about LaRazia Tolbert.

Alexis Myers spotlight

Alexis Myers spotlight

When she first came to The Ohio State University as a Young Scholar, Alexis Myers never thought of herself as someone who could be a role model or a mentor. Little did she know that at Ohio State, Alexis would become an Academic Success Partner within the Young Scholars Program. “When I came to Ohio State, I never thought of myself as someone who could be a role model or a mentor for anyone else, but when this opportunity came to me, I knew I needed to take advantage,” she said. Read more about Alexis Myers.

Kyla Wilson spotlight

Kyla Wilson spotlight

Kyla Wilson has put a lot of thought into her career path. “I always wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer, but I hate science so that didn’t work. As for the law, I like reading, but law just bored me!” Her uncle would tell Kyla, who was good at math, that since she was in the fourth grade, she should know her multiplication tables. “He made me work in a composition book every day over the summer.” By the end of the summer, Kyla was hooked, and she knew that arithmetic was going to play a part in her future.

 Read more about Kyla Wilson.

MiChaela Barker spotlight

MiChaela Barker spotlight

Through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program, The Ohio State University and 10 additional Ohio colleges and universities are helping to increase underrepresented student success in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.  As one of 78 LSAMP scholars on the Ohio State campus, MiChaela Barker has found a community that not only understands her on a cultural level but on an academic level as well. Read more about MiChaela Barker.


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