Current Scholar Spotlight: Bryson McEachin
Growing up, Bryson McEachin thought he wanted to be a veterinarian. But once he got older, he realized that science wasn’t his thing. Having always been a good writer, a good reader, Bryson though he might try being a court clerk like his dad, but by his senior year of high school, Bryson realized that that wasn’t what he wanted to do. “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.” Thinking about a future career, Bryson wondered how that passion could be applied to college. His interests in advocacy, public office, and city government made Bryson think of political science. “I care about politics, and political science would be the perfect fit.”
Major decided, Bryson began to consider what colleges and universities he would apply to. His decisions were based on experiences he had attending high school in Winchester, Massachusetts, even though he was born and raised in the Bronx and now calls Harlem home. “I went there through a program called ABC, A Better Chance. It’s a program across the nation affiliated with high schools, boarding schools, private schools, even public high schools. They help bring students from the inner city and provide them with better educational opportunities at other schools.”
After being away for four years in Massachusetts, Bryson knew he didn’t want to go back to New York for college, but he still wanted a school with an urban setting and a fun and exuberant campus. “That’s what drew me to Ohio State. It is a big school with a lot of people, and it’s diverse, so you can meet people from all across the world and the country. And I’m a big sports fan, so sports did play a part!”
Once he got accepted, Bryson came to Ohio State to visit, and he fell in love with the campus. “All the people that I interacted with, the faculty and staff, they made me feel like they wanted me here. And it’s been a great decision.”
Towards the end of his senior year in high school, Bryson received an email from the Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male (BNRC) saying that he’d been accepted into their Early Arrival Program (EAP). The program brings Black male freshmen to campus a few days early to meet with mentors and each other. “I didn’t know what the BNRC was. At Ohio State, you don’t really think about Black students, so seeing other Black male students who are doing well, who are striving and are a close knit community, made me feel good about myself and that I could succeed here.”
Bryson credits EAP with making his freshman year a good experience. “If I didn’t do EAP, my freshman year would have been a lot different. I wouldn’t have met a lot of people including my best friends. And starting off the year with people you already know, that’s one less thing to worry about.”
Having such a positive experience during EAP, to pay it forward, this past year Bryson became a BNRC Ambassador, providing mentorship to incoming students. He was also part of the BNRC’s Leadership Institute and the Black Male Retreat last year, which was eye-opening. “I didn’t have it easy growing up because I grew up in a single parent household, but at the same time, I didn’t have it that hard. So hearing the stories from my friends at the BNRC, who opened up about their childhood, I realized how lucky I was.” This past autumn, Bryson was also a BNRC middle school mentor. “We helped the students with their behaviors, got their minds flowing about ideas, and taught and mentored them.”
Bryson also credits others for the important roles they have played in his life. “My great-grandmother passed away when I was 10 years old. She was the one who for birthday presents – usually kids get toys – bought me books. She stressed education for me, and my mom, too.” For Bryson, not going to college wasn’t an option. “I’m a fifth generation college student in my family, so I knew I was going. My great-grandmother tried her best to prepare me for that.”
While at Winchester, Bryson’s Resident Director, Jamoul, as well as his father, helped to prepare him to be a man. “They taught me that you have to take responsibility for your actions. Be self-aware. It’s ok to make mistakes, but don’t make the same mistake again. That helped me learn how to behave here at Ohio State.”
This summer, Bryson will be doing a study abroad as an intern to a member of the Canadian Parliament for five weeks. “I will be interning for a liberal MP, Ali Ehsassi. He focuses on human rights, and I’ll be working in his office doing whatever they need me to do.” Bryson will be living in Ottawa during that time with about 28 or so other students from Ohio State and other universities. When he returns from Canada, an internship with the Manhattan Borough president, Gale Brewer, will be waiting.
A sophomore, Bryson plans to graduate in the spring of 2020. His plans after graduation are something he’s “still working on,” but everything he’s done so far has been preparing him for a job in city government in New York City as an elected public official like a borough president or mayor. “The future doesn’t really happen as you expect it, so who knows what will happen and where I will end up, but in my mind, I want to work in NYC or for the state of New York.”
Demondre Peak Spotlight
Sitting in his AP history course at Gilbert A. Dater High School in Cincinnati, Demondre Peak immediately fell in love with politics and history. From that moment on, he knew that he wanted to obtain a career where he could pursue his love for the art of debate and exchanging ideas. However, choosing a college or university that would develop him to his fullest potential was the first step. Read more about Demondre Peak.
Komal Paradkar Spotlight
A third-year student, Komal Paradkar chose The Ohio State University not only because it is close to her home in Mason, Ohio but also because of the university’s many opportunities, including the number of undergraduate degrees offered. Ohio State’s 200 plus majors contributed to Komal’s decision to attend: the university is one of only a handful of colleges in the country to offer an undergraduate major in Biomedical Science. Read more about Komal Paradkar.
Alessandra Bliss Spotlight
A 1976 report, The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science, highlighted three challenges faced by underrepresented women in scientific disciplines: gender, race or ethnicity, and having a career in a STEM field. These same obstacles were familiar to Alessandra Bliss, a scholar in The Ohio State University’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Program. Read more on Alessandra Bliss.
Starling Tolliver Spotlight
When she was in middle school, Starling Tolliver read a book that changed her perception of what she could become. The book, We Beat the Streets, tells the story of three friends from poor, single-parent homes in urban neighborhoods who made a pact to go to college and become doctors and dentists. The book resonated with Starling because she also had two best friends who wanted to become doctors. Read more about Starling Tolliver.
Kato Mitchell Spotlight
Watching his parents struggle as a child, Kato Mitchell knew that there wouldn’t be much of a chance for him to attend a university. All of that changed when Kato found a way to a college degree through the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Young Scholars Program (YSP) in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Read more about Kato Mitchell.
Marissa Weatherly Spotlight
Growing up, Marissa Weatherly was raised by a single mother who instilled in her at a young age the importance of paying forward and having a good education. Marissa’s childhood included volunteering at soup kitchens – even though her family often ate at them – and spending her free time at the library attending programs and reading countless books. Read more about Marissa Weatherly.
Mark Reese Spotlight
As a young child, airplanes fascinated Mark Reese. Family vacations left him more excited for the plane ride than the vacation itself, and his mom bought him books on aviation that he would read from cover to cover. When Mark was eight years old, a United Airlines captain took him up in a light aircraft for a quick flight around eastern Colorado. Read more about Mark Reese.
Chris Schwarz Spotlight
After graduating from the University of Washington in Seattle with majors in Political Science and American Indian Studies and minors in Diversity and Human Rights, Chris Schwarz continued on his academic journey, and his high school friends had a lot to do with his choosing law as a profession. Read more about Chris Schwarz.
Mara Smith Spotlight
After Mara Smith graduated from Unioto High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, she knew her next step would be attending The Ohio State University to study respiratory therapy. That journey, however, took a slightly different path when two weeks after she began college, Mara found out that she was pregnant. Read more about Mara Smith.
Nicolas Fernandez Spotlight
My family emigrated from Colombia to Miami, Florida in 2011. Halfway through my senior year of high school, the process of applying to college was more stressful than I thought, and not being completely fluent in English added to my stress; I wasn’t sure whether my SAT writing and grammar scores would help me get anywhere at the time. Regardless of my doubts I had a desire to succeed and salir para adelante. Read more about Nicolas Fernandez.