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.
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.
Zaire Sims Spotlight
Several times during her years in high school in Cincinnati, Ohio, Zaire Sims and her family were homeless, leaving Zaire with no idea as to how she could afford college. Zaire’s dream of attending college came closer to reality when a science teacher her freshman year took notice of her good grades, effort, and willingness to learn. Read more about Zaire Sims.
Veronica Harris Spotlight
Veronica Harris didn’t always know that she wanted to be a dental hygienist. She received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2010 from California State University, East Bay. “I was working as a juvenile counselor and was laid off from my job. I enrolled in a science course to keep me busy while I looked for work, and I became really interested in science and started to take more courses.” Read more on Veronica Harris .