ODI Scholars and affiliates shine in 2020 Student Life Leadership Awards

ODI Scholars Shine in the 2020 Student Life Leadership Awards

The Student Life Leadership Awards celebrates members of the Ohio State community who are growing as leaders and creating the Extraordinary Student Experience. Over the past 60 years, The Ohio State University has recognized hundreds of students, advisors and organizations who demonstrate leadership, collaboration and a commitment to the Ohio State community.

ODI is proud of the following ODI Scholars and ODI affiliates who were honored with awards for 2020:

MIA CAI CARIELLO: ​Morrill Scholarship Program

Diversity Engagement Award

Mia is a Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies major from Columbus that has served in leadership roles on campus that have been responsible for creating and developing unique programming that addresses the needs of all women-identifying students on Ohio State's campus. Mia is one of the founding members and current President of Take Back the Night at Ohio State which seeks to fight against sexual violence in all forms. In her role, Mia fostered an environment and culture that centered the experiences of women of color on the issue of sexual violence and illustrates the concept of “women of color” as a term of solidarity. Mia continuously implements intersectionality theory and praxis in all that she organizes and has a deep understanding that in order to make change, the best strategy is to recognize the shared struggles across identities and fight for each other so that she can make sustainable change in the world. All this work has helped her become this year's Diversity Engagement Award winner.

OUMOU FOFANA: Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color

Outstanding Senior Award

A Biochemistry major from Columbus, Oumou is a winner of this year's Outstanding Senior Award. Oumou is dedicated to giving back to the community through her involvement with organizations such as the Muslim Student Association. Oumou became involved with Project Downtown, a collaboration between MSA and Trinity Episcopal Church that packaged and delivered meals to the homeless population in Downtown Columbus. Oumou eventually served as Director of Project Downtown and worked with her MSA team to provide an even greater supply of goods for those in need in the local community. Oumou plans on becoming a physician that will advocate on behalf of her homeless patients.

SOPHIA YAZMIN HERRERA: Morrill Scholarship Program

Outstanding Senior Award

A Public Health major from Milwaukee Wisconsin, Outstanding Senior Sofia found a home in the Latino Student Association. Sofia served on the organization's executive board as the Vice President of Membership and President, respectively, where she was part of a welcoming community where Latinx students felt celebrated and valued. Specifically, Sophia worked toward educating her peers on the experiences of Afro-Latinx students on the Ohio State campus and bringing awareness to the cultural nuances within the Latinx diaspora. With plans of pursuing a dual MD/MPH degree, Sofia cannot wait to work toward finding solutions to health disparities in marginalized communities to improve their health and longevity.

ROAYA HIGAZI: Morrill Scholar and Young Scholars Success Mentor

Kaplan Humanitarian Award

A third year City and Regional Planning Major from Pickerington Ohio, Roaya is this year's Kaplan Humanitarian Award winner. Roaya has found her home at Ohio State within the North and South Sudanese Association, and as the Outreach Chair this year has planned several impactful programs, including the second annual Sudanese Cultural Night which informed the Ohio State community about Sudanese traditions while also raising money for the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan. She has served as the Vice Chair of Diversity and Inclusion within the Undergraduate Student Government this year and was just recently inducted as the new president of USG. After graduation, she plans to pursue graduate education and study the intersection of urban studies and law.

SERENA KAUL: Morrill Scholarship Program

Outstanding Senior Award

A champion for women's health and reproductive rights, Serena has worked tirelessly to support and empower those that have been historically marginalized, helping her become an Outstanding Senior. Serena worked to establish a clinic within THREE, a local women's respite center, to bring healthcare providers and services directly to the populations that need them most. In this role, she learned the many intricacies of non-profit work and the importance of serving with empathy and compassion. Serena plans on continuing to serve the community after graduation by working as a Clinical Research Coordinator in the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Cincinnati for a year and eventually becoming a physician that will open up a community health center that serves women who have been affected by trafficking.

ANTHONY BRYAN LONG II: Young Scholars Program

Outstanding Senior Award

Anthony serves as the Chair of the Council on Student Affairs takes up issues that affect all aspects of the life of a student at Ohio State. In this role, he serves as the representative of all Ohio State students and has collaborated on initiatives and projects to promote student advocacy and success, such as managing the revision process for the University's Student Code of Conduct. His recommender writes that he is a service-oriented leader that holds a deep commitment to fairness and inclusion. Following graduation, Anthony plans on attending law school and further developing the advocacy and policy management skills he developed during his time at Ohio State.

RAVEN LYNCH: Leadership Initiatives for Women of Color

Outstanding Graduate/Professional Student

Raven is a Doctoral student within the College of Social Work student from Chillicothe, Ohio. Her PhD will be her third degree from Ohio State, also having received her B.A. in Psychology and Master's of Social Work. Since starting at Ohio State in 2010, Raven has been an involved leader on campus and in this community. One of her most impactful experiences was serving as a Graduate Administrative Associate in Student Life Social Change, where she was able to be involved in community engagement projects that shaped the trajectory of her career in Social Work. Raven currently serves as the Social Work Delegate in the Council of Graduate Students and was also just recently elected Treasurer of CGS for next year, where she will continue to do the good work that helped her become a winner of this year's Outstanding/Graduate Professional Student award.

SRI VIDYA UPPALAPATI: Morrill Scholarship Program

Outstanding Positional Leader Award

Sri Vidya is a third year from Beachwood Ohio studying Public Policy Analysis. She is being recognized for the Outstanding Student Organization Positional Leader for her work in the Undergraduate Student Government. This year, Sri Vidya has transitioned from Deputy Chief of Staff to Senior Director of Operations, a role that the current USG administration has worked to strengthen to specifically play to Sri Vidya's strengths as a leader. Sri Vidya has not only met, but exceeded, these elevated expectations for her role, building not only strong relationships within the organization, but strong structures for better connection and effectiveness that USG will maintain for future administrations. She balances many involvements across campuses and leverages them to make her a better leader and role model for USG, and she embodies USG's value of innovation.

JAYSON VELAZQUEZ: Morrill Scholarship Program

Scarlet, Gray and Green Student Leadership Award

Jayson is an Environment, Economy, Development, and Sustainability major with a Specialization in Community Development that is extremely passionate about understanding and implementing solutions to combat urban environmental injustices that disproportionately impact lower-income communities of color. As an Inclusion and Outreach Coordinator for the School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR), he works to enhance academic advancement, professional development, and networking opportunities for students of color. This position has allowed him to coordinate programming that celebrates minoritized students, work alongside faculty to emphasize SENR's commitment to diversity and inclusion in the faculty hiring and tenure processes, and promote the use of non-Western environmental practices and movements in the classroom. He is a winner of this year's Scarlet Gray, and Green Student Leadership Award

SLY WORTHY (Primary Leader): Young Scholars Program

Outstanding Student Organization: Buckeyes First

One of this year's winners for Outstanding New Student Organization, Buckeyes First was established to create community among and provide opportunities for first-generation students at Ohio State. Their meeting content and programming is specifically targeted towards the academic and social transitions that first-generation students experience when coming to college. Buckeyes First hosted the university's first National First-Generation College Student Day program this November in collaboration with First Year Experience and the Student Life Multicultural Center, a program they plan to continue to build in future years. They are working hard to build connections with other student organizations and offices on campus, as well as in the broader Columbus community, to continue to grow and serve the needs of first-generation Buckeyes in years to come.