MSP Talks: Morrill Scholars discuss excellence through diversity

MSP talks speakers and coaches

Through their passion for diversity and social justice advocacy, four second year Morrill Scholars are making their mark at The Ohio State University and inspiring other to do the same. Speaking on their own unique experiences and perspectives, the four students took to the stage at Saxbe Auditorium on October 20, 2015 to an audience of over 100 students, faculty, staff and family members. And although the voices and narratives were different for each, the passion these students showed by promoting excellence through diversity differed not at all.

Marshall TroxellMarshall Troxell, a neuroscience/pre-med major from Hilliard, Ohio, spoke about the socioeconomic and racial disparities in healthcare in the United States. He believes – and has the research to back up that belief – that improving the availability and continuity of primary care will provide better and less expensive care for underrepresented groups.


Kamara ThomasKamaria Thomas, who is undecided in her major, hails from Westerville, Ohio. She talked about how black women’s narratives aren’t being heard and described how the lack of research about these women’s experiences leads to a lack of resources. She reminded the audience that black women were very important during the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements  and encouraged everyone to take notice of the voices that are missing from popular culture.


Stephanie WentzelStephanie Wentzel, from Columbus, is also studying neuroscience and pre-med. A military child, Stephanie attended a new school about every three years, including a school in Hawaii where she was one of only a few white students. When she experienced discrimination from her fellow students, it helped her begin to understand the experiences of other marginalized groups.


Yusef SaeedYusef Saeed, a neuroscience/pre-med major from Cincinnati, spoke about being a Muslim and the Islam religion. He told three stories that illustrated qualities essential for the Golden Rule: understanding, empathy and patience. Yusef emphasized the importance of not categorizing anyone, that hope and connection between people are what is important.

After the Morrill Scholars presented, they held a panel discussion, taking questions from the audience and digging deeper into the process of creating their Talks.  They each discussed how they identified their social justice passion, as well as how they found the courage to pursue activism for lasting change.  The event ended with each Scholar being presented with an award from their mentor who helped them craft their message.

The Morrill Scholars Program would like to thank Blaze Pizza, Buckeye Donuts, and Chipotle Mexican Grill for the gift cards they generously donated in raffles between each Talk. Check the website for details about the next MSP Talk event.

The Morrill Scholars Program (MSP) is the largest diversity leadership scholarship program of its kind, awarding over 300 high school seniors scholarships each year. The scholarship is awarded to students who showed commitment to both academics and diversity by excelling in the classroom and making a positive impact in their communities and contributing to those around them.