MLK Scholar Thomas R. Mengesha II

Thomas_Mengesha_IILeaving his hometown of Westerville, about 15 minutes north of campus, Thomas arrived on campus before the 2015 fall semester began with approximately 50 new African American male freshmen for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s nationally-recognized Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male’s Early Arrival Program where he would invest two and one-half days exploring resources and fellowshipping to support his acclimation to Ohio State. In addition to his participation in this program, Thomas applied for and was accepted into the University Honors Program, where he would have the opportunity to participate in an enriched academic experience that promotes intellectual and personal development through the integration of curricular and co-curricular programming.

In between his academic pursuits, Thomas participated as an ambassador for the Bell National Resource Center and in its Leadership Institute. Thomas would like to recognize and thank the staff of the Bell National Resource Center for their invaluable support.

Committed to giving back, Thomas served as a mentor for the Finding Undergraduate Success Peer Mentoring Program where he mentored students taking general chemistry at Ohio State. In addition, his outreach service includes participation in the Mentor-A-Buckeye Program where Thomas mentors a 9th grade high school student from Columbus City Schools and serves as the outreach committee chair. 

During spring break his sophomore year, Thomas traveled to Lexington, Kentucky with Buck-I-Serve where they visited a local elementary school to understand more about the fragility of education, income, and food in the area.  

Dedicated to influencing others to pursue healthcare related careers, Thomas is the founding member of the club Developing Leaders of Healthcare all the while serving as a committee member on the Academic Affairs Committee for Undergraduate Student Government. 

Last summer, Thomas interned with Nationwide Children’s Hospital where he shadowed physicians in the pediatric Cardiology unit, attended medical education seminars, and gave presentations on various surgical techniques and congenital heart disorders. This experience would prove instrumental in his desire to pursue medicine as his career path.  Thomas shared that this experience allowed him to see first-hand how important the work of a doctor is, especially in pediatrics. What a doctor does today can determine how a patient lives the next 20 years of his or her life.

Along with his internship, Thomas has been able to spend time in the lab conducting research with Dr. Imitola, where he is working on a case study that focuses on the connection between the intracranial lipomas and Multiple Sclerosis. 

Thomas is looking forward to his final year at Ohio State, which will include applying to medical school. He also plans to develop a program that will inspire young Black males to pursue careers in health care. 

Should Thomas keep up his exceptional academic work, he will graduate with the highest of the Latin honors:  Suma Cum Laude.