Scholar Spotlight: Taylor Lonas

Taylor Lonas in front of colorful flowers

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.


Prior Spotlights

Angela Frost Spotlight

Angela Frost Spotlight

Angela Frost always thought she would end up studying law. It is a field, she says, that touches literally every aspect of everyday life. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012 with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Kinesiology in Sport Management, Angela took two years off from school to re-focus and to make sure that law was the career that she wanted to pursue. Read more on Angela Frost.

Zack Bazile Spotlight

Zack Bazile Spotlight

Growing up, Zack Bazile had always been involved in sports: soccer, football, rugby, baseball, wrestling and swimming. While attending grade school in Teaneck, New Jersey, during the summer, Zack’s mom enrolled him in track camp, a sport that he found he enjoyed very much. However, Zack’s path to becoming a champion long jumper hit a hurdle once he tried out for a track club team and participated in his first meet with the club. Read more on Zack Bazile.

Demetrice Allen Spotlight

Demetrice Allen Spotlight

Demetrice Allen excelled in high school as a gifted debater but coming from a single parent home and attending a Wisconsin high school that was in the bottom tier posed some challenges. “I didn’t have exposure to many different careers, so my background was so crucial to me being where I am today.” Demetrice’s journey to where he is today was one of new interests. Read more on Demetrice Allen.

Nima Dahir Spotlight

Nima Dahir Spotlight

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Nima Dahir’s curiosity stemmed from her involvement in service and diversity activities in high school. “I was in the Student Council, was the president of the Interact Club, an organization dedicated to community service, and was a member of groups that focused on increasing understanding of diversity throughout the school,” said Nima. The same passion she had for service translated to her educational studies. Read more on Nima Dahir.

Shelby Newsad Spotlight

Shelby Newsad Spotlight

A love for nature is what inspired Shelby Newsad (pictured on right) to major in biochemistry. “I’m a very curious person at heart who adores nature and the outdoors. I took organic chemistry my sophomore year and fell in love with the illumination of life it brings. Understanding the natural world has always been an interest of mine, but with biochemistry it has become my career,” said Shelby. Read more on Shelby Newsad.

Kenneth White, Jr. Spotlight

Kenneth White, Jr. Spotlight

After graduating in 1995 with a BA in Mathematics from Wayne State University, Kenneth White, Jr. knew that he wanted to continue his education, with the ultimate goal of obtaining a PhD. He had heard that only about 1% of the population has a PhD, and he added, “Being a black male, I wanted a PhD to be a mentor in terms of educational attainment.” Read more on Kenneth White, Jr.

Carlos Mendez Spotlight

Carlos Mendez Spotlight

Born to parents who emigrated from Puerto Rico to America, Carlos Mendez often struggled with his identity and belonging and found himself wondering how to succeed academically and socially. But with the help of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s (ODI) LASER program, Carlos found a place where he can relate to people just like him, and he wasted no time getting involved. Read more on Carlos Mendez.

Da’Quan Knuckles Spotlight

Da’Quan Knuckles Spotlight

Da’Quan Knuckles believes in making a difference. “I just want to give back to my community and to the people who helped me. Without my community and family, I wouldn't be here,” he stated. This past January, Da’Quan was honored for his community work with the “Youth: Capturing the Vision of Dr. King” award presented at the 30th Annual Commemorative Celebration sponsored by the Ohio Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission. Read more on Da'Quan Knuckles.


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