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Student Spotlights

Maxwell Doku

Maxwell Doku’s joy for helping others has shaped his life and continues to influence the path he is taking professionally. As a student at Central Ohio Technical College pursing an Associate Degree in Nursing, Maxwell feels called to work in the healthcare sector.

Growing up in Ghana and attending university there, Maxwell had the opportunity to work with a charity foundation and travel to more rural areas to mentor under-privileged children. “The kids might not even be going to school,” Maxwell shared. Maxwell enjoyed working with his group to educate the children, but was saddened to see the inequality and realize not everyone has the same opportunity.

“To help someone in their situation get to the next level is a calling. Not everyone is born the same,” Maxwell said. “I find joy helping people regardless of their age, their needs. That has driven my focus of going into the medicine program.”

Maxwell came to the United States in 2017, settling in Columbus. While exploring other local options that could provide him the education needed to enter the healthcare field, Central Ohio Technical College was recommended to Maxwell by a friend at church. Maxwell found COTC’s admission process flexible and convenient, allowing him to begin his coursework during any semester once accepted.

His positive experience at COTC had only begun upon admission. Maxwell has found all of the resources he has needed to be successful. From getting academic support at the Student Service Center to the supportive faculty, he feels he is in the right place to broaden his understanding and achieve everything he wants to achieve. Another important part of his COTC experience has been his involvement with the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the community service he provides through the group.

Maxwell is also grateful for the financial assistance he’s been provided as a recipient of the Park National Bank & Associate Scholarship funded by the Newark Campus Development Fund. “It is not always easy to find people who want to invest in your education, he reflected. “Last semester and into this semester were the hardest, as COVID hit. Supporting family back home, paying school fees and rent…it was helpful to have a scholarship. One thing it really helps is it shift your focus. You always have fees and bills, but it shifts your focus from working to putting more time into your studies.” 

As Maxwell finishes his schooling at Central Ohio Technical College, it remains on his heart to return temporarily to Ghana to reengage with the charity foundation from his youth to continue to encourage and uplift others to reach their potential. Maxwell also has big plans to reach his own potential, possibly as a nurse anesthetist or advanced nurse practitioner.

“We need to help others,” Maxwell declared. “It is all about service, it is all about helping, it is all about encouraging and it is all about lifting someone’s spirits when someone is down. It is all about seeing the smile of your neighbor and seeing the smile of someone you don’t even know. Just putting a smile on their faces can make their day.”

Kobe Gosture

Kobe Gosture has not had to look far to see opportunity. The sophomore business major found it close to home when he decided to attend The Ohio State University at Newark. As a graduate of Newark High School, Kobe also benefited from a Last Dollar Grant from A Call to College, funded by a scholarship held by the Newark Campus Development Fund.

A Call to College, the college access program benefiting Newark City Schools graduates, has continued to support Kobe in his pursuits. “A Call to College stuck to it. They still reach out,” shared Kobe. Not only has Kobe been able to continue to count on the program to provide financial support, but his advisor remains a helpful link to completing his FAFSA paperwork. “I appreciate it,” says Kobe, when reflecting on the Last Dollar Grants he has received. “It helps the worry of graduating and being in huge debt. Even at the affordable rate of Ohio State Newark’s tuition, it’s very helpful.”

Answering a childhood friend’s call for help set Kobe on the path towards his future as a business owner. The friend, who had recently graduated with a business management degree himself, asked Kobe to assist with his resale business. Kobe went from helping him out to doing it himself! He regularly buys the contents of unclaimed storage units after several months of inactivity by the owner, as well as wholesale pallets of returned merchandise that never make it back to the retail floor. Kobe is then able to resale these items online.

“I like being involved in the transactions and being able to market and sell stuff,” he says. “It’s something I’d like to go to college for and graduate then make it bigger, other than just my little online account doing it myself.”

Luckily, Ohio State Newark offers everything Kobe needs to complete his business management degree at the regional campus. He can easily see himself remaining in Newark after graduating, hoping the community will continue to provide. With multiple warehouse buildings close by that are often available for sale or rent, Newark is a place where Kobe can establish himself and envision growing his business.

Kaleyah Lindsay

Kaleyah Lindsay is focused on her future and Central Ohio Technical College has been the ideal place to hone in on her goals. Initially entertaining the possibility of going out of state, the Newark High School graduate decided that pursuing her Associate Degree in Nursing close to home was a great choice for more than one reason.

It’s hard to truly measure the impact a great teacher can have on a student, but Kaleyah credits her high school science teacher, Mr. Neale, with helping guide her to nursing. Originally wanting to be a veterinarian, Kaleyah really enjoyed what she was learning in Mr. Neale’s human anatomy class. In conversation with her teacher, Mr. Neale planted the seed that Kaleyah could pursue nursing.  “He was the one person who kind of changed my field of vision,” she said.

Not only did Kaleyah find a great nursing program at COTC, but the affordability of the college was another great draw. As a graduate of Newark High School, Kaleyah was able to participate in the A Call to College educational access program and ultimately was awarded a Last Doller Grant, funded by a scholarship held at the Newark Campus Development Fund, to help finance her educational pursuits. She is thankful for the opportunity to have reliable funds for college.

“There are other expenses for nursing that start to add up, and finances was something I was worrying about going into college because I didn’t want to have a lot of debt or put a lot of things on my parents,” Kaleyah shared. “I am so motivated and independent, I want to be able to do things on my own terms by myself. So, I am really glad I’ve gotten an opportunity to pay for college mostly through scholarships.”

Juggling her time between her coursework, clinicals and work at a local physical therapy office, Kaleyah has a full schedule helping her gain valuable experience to take into her nursing career. She has also found great mentors in her COTC teachers and clinical instructors.  “It’s nice to reach out to them and ask them questions about what we are doing,” she said. “They talk about their experience and are so nice and welcoming. I am just glad that they have been a good support system for us."

Kaleyah will graduate from the program in August 2021 and then go on to sit for her nursing boards. From there, she’d like to become a Certified Nurse Midwife to work with women through their pregnancy and labor and delivery. With her drive and dedication, it is certain that Kaleyah will continue to reach the goals she sets for herself.

Grace Lucas

Grace Lucas yearns for adventure, and her most recent experience has brought her to The Ohio State University at Newark. An early childhood education major from Jamestown, Ohio, Grace is a grateful recipient of the Park National Bank Scholarship of the Newark Campus Development Fund. “I am a self-funded student. I really don’t want to be in debt,” she says, so the generous financial assistance has impacted Grace’s life.

Ohio State may not have been the first choice for someone looking to move from Ohio, but the cost-effective tuition offered by Ohio State regional campuses drew Grace in. After a tour of Newark’s beautiful and welcoming campus and interactions with her future professors, she knew this was the place she wanted to be. Now in her sophomore year, Grace is still drawn to the caring faculty and smaller classes sizes at Ohio State Newark. “I find it comfortable,’ she said, “just the right amount of people.”

A key to Grace’s success has been getting involved on campus early on. Grace volunteers at Buckeye Visit Days, scheduled days in which high school students come to Ohio State Newark to learn more about campus. Grace represents TLC, the Teaching Learning Community, to recruit others to the campus organization that serves as a valuable network for education students. She also spends time working in the Education Curriculum Center, the on-campus resource center for undergraduate and graduate education students at Ohio State Newark. She credits her experience working at the ECC to her strong bonds with her education professors, whom also frequent the center.

The personal connection with the education department faculty makes Grace thankful she can complete her degree at The Ohio State University at Newark. Many factors went into Grace’s choice to become an educator herself, one of those being inspirational teachers in high school who helped her discover her passion. Also, the satisfaction of tutoring elementary students in math and seeing the look on the children’s faces when they understood what she was teaching helped Grace to know education was the right path for her.

Grace hopes to further explore her passion for education with an internship abroad. As a participant in STEP (Second-year Transformational Experience Program), Grace is currently creating a proposal for her dream opportunity – studying abroad to satisfy her desire to travel and an internship to help in her future career. After meeting with a faculty-led peer group throughout the fall, if approved, Grace could receive a $2,000 fellowship to fund her travels. “Because of COVID, it is a little tricky,” she shared, but with a one-year extension she is hoping she’ll be able to travel and bring back what she learns to share with her community.

Grace looks forward to completing her degree at The Ohio State University at Newark and then seeking an opportunity for her next adventure teaching abroad.

Sarah Napper

As a non-traditional student, Sarah Napper began her studies at The Ohio State University at Newark with a clear focus and special drive guiding her towards her goals. A 2003 graduate of Westerville North High School, Sarah now lives in New Albany with her husband and one-year-old daughter.

Prior to starting her studies at Ohio State Newark, Sarah was years into a successful career as a licensed cosmetologist. Her presence made her clients so comfortable that they felt inclined to talk to her about their problems. Pairing that natural occurrence with her love of helping people, Sarah is majoring in psychology with a neuroscience minor. Her ambition to pursue a graduate degree through OSU’s neuroscience or clinical psychology program drives her towards excellence.

Apart from a few classes Sarah has taken in Columbus to complete her neuroscience minor, attending Ohio State Newark has allowed Sarah to focus on exactly what she came here to do. “The focus is really on the education and the academics. Being at Newark helps keep you centered and focused on the goal, without too many distractions. I’m a non-traditional student so I look at it from an abstract standpoint,” Sarah shared. “It will allow you the opportunity to focus on exactly what you went to college to do—get a degree, get an education and move on with your life.”

Life did not stop for Sarah a year ago when she and her husband had their first baby. After taking a semester off from her studies, the beauty of attending Ohio State Newark was that Sarah felt she could jump right back in and not miss a beat. “Where I thought I was going to be so behind, my psych professors and advisor Dr. Renee Benham helped me stay on track, keep my schedule and not fall behind in any way.”  The smaller environment offered on the Newark Campus felt like a little something extra that kept her from getting lost in the shuffle. Sarah’s growing team at home, with husband Kirk and baby Karah, add to her “why” as she pursues her education.

On top of everything else, Sarah has also had the opportunity to branch out and get involved on campus, even participating in her first theatrical play her freshman year! Sarah has been committed to her involvement with the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Black Heritage Program each February. Sarah sees room for growth and change in our community and recognizes there is a lot of work to be done. She continues to advance progress as a student representative on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee on campus.

Through all of her experiences, Sarah is exceptionally grateful to be the recipient of The Louis A. Mitchell Scholarship, a fund held at the Newark Campus Development Fund. “The scholarship has impacted my life greatly because it takes the burden off of me, my family and my husband,” she said. “It was very helpful to lighten the load for our family.” The financial support that Sarah receives as a result of generous donors is sure to help her in her pursuit of her dreams.

To her scholarship’s donors, Sarah says, “Thank you…money is a thing but when you translate it into something like a scholarship, it’s not a thing—it becomes life changing and it becomes meaningful. ‘Thank you’ says so much, even though it is only two words.”