The ‘ABC’s…

The ‘ABC’s’ of school

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 21:05

Welcome to Spring Quarter in great O-H-I-O. Did you enjoy another rousing year of meaningless memorization?If you’ve forgotten history dates or science terms from lectures already, here’s an idea: Just Google it.Whether we forget a fact in two days or two years, we can refresh our minds with the click of a button — assuming we need the information anyway.

There is a bigger task at hand now. We must get involved with our community and loved ones — and more importantly, find a job. I worked my first full-time job last summer, and just in the nick of time. I needed a wake-up call before I graduate this spring. And boy, did I get one.

I was a secretary at a nursing facility in my hometown. I was bombarded with questions about medical records and codes of conduct in the business setting, among others. I was initially stunned by my ignorance to issues that others face daily.

Thankfully, my knowledge did improve while working. But it’s still not up to par.

Why, you ask? Because I’ve fallen behind after jumping through hoops in high school and college, which diverted me from a true education.

I did achieve my full potential throughout elementary and middle school. I have smart, compassionate teachers to thank for learning essential components of each core subject.

From grammar rules to basic math functions, both during and after school hours, each teacher made his or her mark — so much that I keep in touch with most of them today, and it’s clear that their passion for learning hasn’t dwindled.

But the downturn began in high school, and it’s taken a nosedive in college. I’ve lost track of the amount of hours I’ve heard educators rant about high school test scores (OGT), college entrance exams (ACT/SAT) and core class requirements (GEC).

By now, I’m lucky if I remember every teacher and counselor’s name, let alone what they claim to have taught us students.

I have attended two high schools and three colleges, so I’ve probably undergone this routine more than the typical student. Then again, I know from experience that these useless “ABC’s” dominate the school system.


OGT: The Ohio Graduation Test was implemented in 2005 in Ohio to test students’ proficiency in five core subjects during their sophomore year of high school. If students did not pass every subject the first time, they could retake the needed section(s) until their senior year. They must pass all five subjects in order to receive their diploma, and would be “held back” until this was achieved.  A reform bill was passed in 2009 by the Ohio legislature to eliminate this test and assess students differently, but will take several years to take effect.

ACT/SAT: These two college entrance exams still prevail as determinants of students’ intelligence, and placement into college.

GPA: This one number plays a role in admission into a specific college major, and sometimes the whole college.

GEC: The General Education Curriculum is a set of courses outside a student’s major in college, designed to expose them to a variety of different topics. GEC requirements are slightly different among majors, and especially among OSU’s colleges. So students who change their majors find that they wasted time taking GEC classes that no longer pertain to their major, while new GECs are added to the list.


Of course certain benchmarks are needed to measure students’ intelligence. Yet they consume educators’ minds about their salaries and reputations, more than students’ minds about their own success.

What happened to helping students become informed citizens during high school, or begin the fast track to a career in college? Instead, they are left arguing with admissions counselors about entry-level requirements, and with professors about test scores — the dispute of which will go down the tube when they finally land a career.

For me, most of this has gone down the tube already. But whether I forget lecture material in two days, or my classmate forgets it in two years, it’s only a matter of time before we all erase the pointless ABC’s of school from our memories.

I know plenty of my classmates share my frustration, and have suffered worse consequences than me. Some will begin a fifth year in college after failing and repeating classes designed for Einstein. Others have been blatantly denied admission to the major of their dreams.

I hope to make a mark on society, more than the high school OGT and ACT/SATs, and college GEC’s, and even GPA’s, have made a mark on me. But for now, I’ll focus my positive attention on graduating this spring — one year earlier than the rest of my high school classmates of ’08, or fellow ’08 graduates I’ve met here. No fault of my classmates, clearly.

But to the educators, not so fast. This isn’t the first time I’ve ranted about the poor education system, and it may not be the last. So pardon me for being sour, but it’s about time this phrase comes back to you, because for once, it’s you who failed.


Ohio State stud…

Ohio State students relay message of hope at cancer fundraiser

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, May 17, 2011 22:05

Hundreds of Ohio State students endured an “all-nighter” last weekend, but this time they weren’t the victims of test anxiety.

The seventh-annual Relay For Life OSU kicked off Saturday at noon. Located at Lincoln Tower Park, the 24-hour event had games, a live DJ and sales of food and souvenirs to promote the event.

OSU raised funds for the cause prior to the event via the organization’s main website, OSU’s chapter of Relay For Life announced at the event that about $115,000 was raised; $13,000 was raised during the event itself and 109 student teams raised the remaining $102,000 prior to the event. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society.

The opening ceremony began at noon and included testimonies from students of OSU’s chapter of Relay For Life. They read quotes from famous philosophers or mentioned close relatives who influenced their participation in the event.

Dr. Amanda Toland, of OSU’s Medical Center, talked about the prevalence of cancer. She said colon cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer.

Toland said 700,000 cases of melanoma, or skin cancer, were diagnosed in 2010. She advised the audience to do their part to protect themselves by getting screening tests for all types of cancer and wearing sunscreen.

“We all know the dangers of lung cancer: 90 percent of smokers develop cancer, so nine-tenths of lung cancer is caused by smoking,” Toland said. “But flip that around, and just 10 percent of smokers are susceptible to lung cancer. We want to figure out why that is, and this is just one example of why you are here today: to help us continue our research.”

She said she was motivated to begin her practice at a young age, after losing her 13-year-old cousin to cancer.

The event began with a ceremonial ‘Opening Victory Lap’ around the track that cancer survivors and their families led.

At sunset all attendees were given glow sticks to put in paper bags that lined the track for the Luminaria Ceremony. They labeled their bags with names of loved ones who lost their lives to cancer and then walked a ‘Rememberance Lap’ in unison.

During this, students read a poem about hope being the ‘last thing ever lost.’

Matt Stoltzfus, a chemistry professor at OSU, said 2.5 billion people worldwide — including one in two men, and one in three women — are told they have cancer annually and during the 24-hour Relay For Life, 22,000 people are diagnosed.

Stoltzfus said $13 billion are spent worldwide and $4 billion are spent in the United States annually to prevent this epidemic.

“We need to come together with one goal: finding a cure,” he said. “If not us, who? If not now, when?”

IX Webhosting, a Columbus-based website service and a sponsor of the event, held a booth and sold t-shirts to promote its website and the event.

Mel Vidal, personal assistant for IX Webhosting, said 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit Relay For Life.

“I’m thrilled with the turnout,” Vidal said. “And this hits home for me. My mom had breast cancer, and her sister died from it. I had an uncle that died from bone marrow cancer.”

Games such as volleyball and cornhole continued throughout Saturday afternoon. Pie-eating contests kept participants active throughout the night.

As the clock struck midnight a dance contest among seven male students dressed as females brought some laughs.

“It was hot and sexy. I really like to shake my hips, so it was fun,” said Anthony Deppen, a first-year in food business management and contest participant.

Sarah Slowter, a second-year in food business management, kept a tally for the 120 laps she walked around the track to signify the days since her dad was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. She said he is still undergoing treatment with the hopes of being completely cured.

“This is very tiring,” Slowter said. “But when you think about it, this is nothing compared to what a cancer patient goes though. So this is a cool experience.”

Group garners a…

Group garners attention, spreads word about water

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Friday, April 15, 2011

Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011 17:04

A string of people carrying buckets and milk jugs full of water on their heads across campus can turn some heads.

Ohio State’s chapter of the United Nation’s Children Fund, UNICEF-OSU, hosted a Water Walk on Thursday afternoon to raise awareness about the lack of clean water in developing countries.

The group of about 40 volunteers began their mission at 4 p.m. at the Ohio Union. They walked down 17th Avenue or through Thompson Library with empty buckets and milk jugs on their way to Mirror Lake, where they collected water then passed by 12th Avenue and Neil Avenue before returning to the lake.

Campus policy required the group to put the water back in the lake before returning to the union.

While walking, participants chanted, “Everywhere we go, people wanna know! What we believe in. We believe in zero! Donate a dollar! Forty days of water!”

Ariana Hoet, president of UNICEF-OSU and a fourth-year in psychology, said she was pleased that both spectators and volunteer partipants were witnessing the group’s mission.

“By walking today, students get to feel what children feel every day. (Children) have to walk three miles every day for water,” Hoet said. “And it’s dirty water. Everyone saw us walk by today and wondered, ‘What are you doing?'”

Hoet said when she joined the organization three years ago, 25,000 children were dying daily from preventable factors such as diseases and lack of water. That number has now decreased to 22,000 and it continues to fall. But she said she still isn’t content.

“UNICEF believes that number should be zero,” she said. “And it will be, if we keep doing what we’re doing.”

Hoet said the group has three goals: to fundraise, educate and advocate. Each of their events involves at least one of these goals. The Water Walk’s main priority was fundraising, as each participant was required to raise $30.

“All it takes is $1 to give water to a child for 40 days,” Hoet said. “A child needs a liter every day for 40 days, and $1 buys 40 liters.”

Bryan Hogg said he joined the group because he has seen the difference it has made compared to other student organizations.

“I joined UNICEF because it’s the organization on campus that saved more lives than any other one in history,” said Bryan Hogg, a second-year in political science and English.

Kiaira Zachary, a fourth-year in economics and agribusiness, volunteered for the walk after learning of it. But she said she wasn’t impressed with the turn out.

“It surprised me that not many people volunteered for it. But now that I know, I will volunteer more,” she said.

Hoet said she was content with the day’s events and hoped others were inspired to assist with UNICEF’s mission. Hoet said in past years, the event was not as successful with raising awareness because of poor weather conditions

OSU, CSCC partn…

OSU, CSCC partner, make it easier to transfer credits

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Updated: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 22:04


Any college student who has transferred from one university to the next knows what a headache it can be with the burden of transfer credits – or lack thereof – that follow.

The “Sorry, that doesn’t fulfill the requirement” response is the last thing a student wants to hear.

But Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee and Columbus State Community College President David Harrison made an announcement Tuesday about a new academic partnership. This affiliation, known as the Preferred Pathway Program, will guarantee qualified students transferring from CSCC to OSU a quicker bachelor’s degree with more opportunities.

The plan was arranged by each school’s Board of Trustees. They devised a joint contract that redefines collaborative coursework and extracurricular activities between both colleges. It consists of six sections that redefine coursework and overall services to accommodate students. Section 1 of the contract states that qualified students with an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree from CSCC are “guaranteed admission to The Ohio State University, consistent w/ university policy.”

David Wayne, media relations coordinator for CSCC, clarified that this doesn’t ensure every CSCC student admission to OSU.

He said that first, students must meet all requirements, particularly GPA pertaining to their specific major at CSCC. Only then are they guaranteed admission to OSU. After this admission, they must either initially meet or strive to meet the GPA requirements for their desired major at OSU.

But Wayne said both schools have shared advising services to assist students with class choices between the 80 different majors between both colleges.

“This puts students into a direct pathway to show them exactly which path to take from A to B,” Wayne said.

The student body at CSCC is 30,000, including all branch campuses and online. Wayne said for this reason, he appreciated the harmony between both schools.

“I think students will welcome this opportunity to get on the right track, (to go) directly from Columbus State to OSU,” he said.

For some students, this opportunity did not arise in time. Jason Menendez, a fourth-year business marketing major, has taken classes at OSU and CSCC simultaneously since his second year. He said he wished the two colleges would have joined together sooner, as some of his hard work has gone to waste.

“I’ve taken accounting classes that should’ve transferred,” Menendez said. “I still have to get permission and prove that I took them.”

Regardless of the college’s decision, Menendez said he has lost a year’s worth of credit and must begin a fifth year at OSU. He said he has witnessed countless students suffer the same consequences.

But for others, the headache is over. Both Gee and Harrison finalized the Preferred Pathway Program Tuesday during a news conference at the Columbus State Conference Center. Both colleges’ board of trustees must still vote on the agreement to implement it, but it is expected to begin in September.

OSU’s board of trustees are scheduled to meet Thursday and Friday.


Pelotonia gears…

Pelotonia gears up for cancer-benefiting race

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Updated: Monday, April 19, 2010

Pelotonia visited the RPAC on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to announce the program’s next race, which will begin on August 20, and to inform participants how large a donation would be required.

The amount of money cyclists are required to raise will increase in relation to the distance they travel. Each biker must raise between $1000 and $2000. Bike riders may choose between six distances to ride in the Columbus area, which are between 20 and 180 miles, and receive donations from volunteers.

The large stairwell leading up to the food court in the RPAC was flooded with interested students, spectators and bikers who were already committed to participating. The event began with OSU cheerleaders leading the audience in a chant of “Go Bucks!”

A total of eight speakers spoke to the crowd. Tom Lennox, executive director of Pelotonia, a large cancer research organization, said that $4.5 million has already been raised this year, and all of it has been donated toward cancer research at OSU. Companies such as American Electric and Nationwide Insurance have donated money.

Other speakers included Steve Gabbe, the CEO of the OSU Medical Center, Steve Steinhauer of Huntington Bank, Abigail Wexner of Limited Brands Foundation and Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. Gee expressed his gratitude to all attendees and was impressed with how the event has created unity on campus.

“I believe unequivocally that we are going to cure cancer, and we will do it right here on this campus,” he said.

Any student interested in participating in the event or making a contribution should stop by the RPAC or visit 

Holocaust victi…

Holocaust victims remembered on campus

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Updated: Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ohio State’s Jewish Student Union, The Hillel, will hold a 24-hour memorial service on the Oval beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to remember all Holocaust victims. The event will begin with a short reading by students in the Holocaust Awareness Council, followed by songs from OSU’s a capella group, the MeshugaNotes.

Immediately following, the service will begin the 24-hour vigil to pay tribute to those who lost their lives during the Holocaust. More than 40 students have volunteered to read the names of the Holocaust victims during the day. The Brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi, a Jewish fraternity, will continue to read the victims’ names throughout the night. All students are welcome and encouraged to sign up to read the victims’ names when passing by the ceremony.

The vigil is scheduled to end when Shabbat begins on Friday. This week’s Shabbat, “Holocaust Remembrance and Awareness,” will include speeches from students and Murray Ebner, a Holocaust survivor.

The ceremony, which will conclude Holocause Awareness week, will end with a free dinner for attendees.

Samantha Bloom, a member of the Jewish Community Center’s student board, said she was glad to witness students getting involved in Holocaust Awareness Week.

“Yes, the Holocaust happened over 50 years ago, but that is really not far away,” she said. “If we do not tell the story of those we lost, then who will?”

On Monday, students on the Oval and near the Wexner Center passed by Ribbons of Remembrance tables, which were decorated with facts about the Holocaust and its victims to remind students of the tragic events in history.

Bloom and the Jewish Student Organization encourage all students to participate in the weekly events by signing up to read victims’ names at the vigil or simply reading the various posters on display.

The Hillel has supplied snacks and refreshments to those reading names.

“It is important for each student to understand what happened and make a personal connection to this tragedy, as to ensure that it will never happen again,” Bloom said.

There will also be a luncheon from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday at the Hillel, on 46 E. 16th Ave., hosted by the Jewish Student Center. The meal will be provided at no cost, but all students who plan to attend the luncheon must RSVP to

Elementary and …

Elementary and secondary students compete in OSU Science Olympiad Tournament

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Updated: Sunday, April 18, 2010

Elementary and secondary school students from 80 schools throughout Ohio competed Saturday in the Ohio State Science Olympiad Tournament.

The tournament allowed some competitors, in grades seven through 12, to qualify for the national tournament.

Lynn Rathke, OSU program assistant, helped coordinate the event, which was held at 25 different locations on campus.

“We’re really excited about having over 1,500 middle and high school students on campus,” Rathke said. “They’re excited about coming to campus but they’re also very bright, so it’s a great experience for them as well as for Ohio State.”

The French Field House was the sight of four events, in which students built models to withstand gravity and sustain motion. The airplane competition required students to build model airplanes that fly for as long as possible.

Thomas Strewbik of Toledo said his goal was simply to make his plane fly upward. He and his father, Oliver, said they were anxious to see what the events of the day had in store for them.

The helicopter competition was similar to the airplane competition. 
The goal was to keep two pinwheels, placed on either side of a wooden stick, in flight for the longest time.

Other students participated in the trajectory competition, which required them to launch a tennis ball from machines they built onto a target pad approximately 5 feet in front of them.

The fourth event in the Field House was the junkyard challenge. This event required teams of four students to create a device within 30 minutes that would set off four mouse traps when a golf ball was rolled into it. The team that set off all four mouse traps in the time closest to a minute would win the competition.

“It’s fantastic to use real science and apply it,” Anne Kimmins said while watching her son compete in the junkyard challenge. “This takes it beyond what a typical teacher can do in the classroom.”

Just outside the field house, students participated in an event that required them to complete individual physical activities while simultaneously answering science-related questions. Cameron Spencer, a seventh-grade science teacher at the West Liberty Salem School District, said he was proud to watch his students excel.

“We’re just a country school, but we work hard. We’re very competitive,” he said.

One new addition to the competition this year was the egg-a-thon competition, held at the Lincoln Tower Park Fields. Students were required to store and protect an egg inside of a 2-liter bottle so that it would not break when the bottle was shot up from a small cannon and fell back to the ground.

Gail Yacyshyn, a 10th-grade student, said she was glad to learn from this event.

“I’m a sophomore and studying ornithology, so it prepares me,” she said.

Each event ended by 3 p.m., giving the event coordinators time to compile awards for the ceremony at 7 p.m. in the French Field House.

Student participants anxiously awaited their school’s name to be called for an award in their category, while parents and teachers observed from the bleachers. The top six schools in each competition were awarded with medals, and the top three winners in each division went on to receive trophies. The top two winners in each division will advance to the national tournament at the University of Illinois this summer.  


OSU EcoCAR team…

OSU EcoCAR team to reveal re-engineered GM vehicle

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Updated: Thursday, April 29, 2010

The OSU EcoCAR team’s re-engineered GM vehicle will be revealed Friday.

The Ohio State EcoCAR team will reveal its completed electric vehicle to the media at 3 p.m. Friday during the OSU Motorsports Open House.

General Motors donated a vehicle to the cause this year. The team was required to re-engineer its given vehicle to minimize its energy consumption and reduce gas emissions into the air.

Sam Spofforth, executive director of Clean Fuels Ohio, is the keynote speaker for the event. Spofforth is expected to give a presentation about the environmental benefits of electric vehicles.

The team’s vehicle will then be revealed for all audiences to observe its construction while the student team demonstrates the vehicle’s functions.

“The design we made is an extended range electric vehicle — it can generate electricity to drive 40 miles without charging,” said Justin Ford, a fourth-year in engineering.

Ford also said he is anxious to show off the team’s invention during the national competition, called EcoCAR: The Next Challenge. Only 16 colleges in North America will participate in the event, located in Yuma, Ariz.

“It’ll be interesting to see who comes out on top,” he said. “I don’t know what to expect, but in the past, we’ve always been near the top.”

All students are welcome to witness the initial unveiling of the EcoCAR from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday at the OSU Center for Automotive Research, located at 930 Kinnear Road.

Elementary and …

Elementary and secondary school students win awards, scholarships with science experiments

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Sunday, May 9, 2010

Updated: Sunday, May 9, 2010

Ohio State hosted the 62nd annual State Science Day on Saturday at the French Field House. More than 1,000 students in grades 5 to 12 throughout Ohio came to display their science experiments to a panel of judges in the hopes of receiving awards and college scholarships.

Lynn Elfner, CEO of the Ohio Academy of Science, said he was eager to begin the day’s events.

“We want everyone to have a fun time, and hopefully see that learning is fun,” he said.

Elfner explained that students with special needs or physical disabilities were still able to compete.

“As long as they’re qualified, we want them here,” he said.

Students were only qualified for the state tournament if they competed and won at the county level. Their project was then placed into one of the five categories at the state fair: environmental, cancer research, nanotechnology, behavior or alternative energy.

One-hundred and fifty volunteer judges began evaluating their assigned category at 9 a.m. Students anxiously awaited their judge to arrive and rate their project on a numerical scale. The scores were then rated as good, excellent or superior.

Student William Qu admitted he was nervous to receive his score, but said he was still proud of his project.

“My project looks at ways to lower the risk of cancer, and I found that people should take antioxidants and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables,” he said.

The sophomore at Solon High School said younger people, especially teenagers, have an increased risk of developing cancer.

Katie Tupper and Madeline Hire, seventh graders at Coshocton High School, displayed a poster about the ways dogs and cats walk. They said they were curious to discover whether both animals began walking with their left or right paws.

The students set out to observe 11 dogs and nine cats to discover the answer. They said that dogs usually begin walking with their left paws, while cats favor their right paws.

Tupper said she was no stranger to devising science experiments, as this was her sixth year competing. But she said she was proud to advance to the state tournament for the first time.

Ninth grader Nathan Kline, of Ashland, devised his experiment about harmful chemicals in cigarettes. He said he wondered if tar and carbon monoxide were more harmful in certain types of cigarettes.

“I went to a science camp and learned about it,” he said. “It turns out that even second-hand smoking can be worse depending on the specific cigarette.”

Overall evaluation of the projects was based on students’ developmental, psychological, and creative processes.

“I’ve done just 8th graders, but I think it’s great that students have this opportunity and (we) have this opportunity,” one volunteer judge said.

The judging concluded by 3 p.m. and the winners and their parents gathered in St. John Arena for the awards ceremony.

Elfner began the ceremony by thanking the students and parents for their effort.

“It was great to see what these students put together,” he said. “This gives you a taste of what scientists do.”

All winners’ names were read according to their category, and some students received additional awards and scholarships.

The Ohio Academy of Science hosted the event. 

Organization ra…

Organization rallies to condemn violence against women

By Amy Mittinger

Published: Wednesday, May 12, 2010 ; Updated: Wednesday, May 12, 2010

One of Ohio State’s oldest campus groups, Women and Allies Rising in Resistance, will kick off Take Back the Night to celebrate women’s achievements in society and encourage further improvement.

The event will be held today from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Wexner Plaza. It will begin with a rally, which will include speeches from assault survivors. Men are also encouraged to attend the event, as some members of the campus group are males.

“We’re inclusive! It’s not all women,” said Helene Holstein, a fourth-year in sociology.

Holstein joined the group when she transferred to OSU in Autumn quarter 2008.

Emily Kitsmiller, a third-year in psychology, said the purpose of the event is to protest not only sexual violence, but all violence against women. She said all stories are welcome.

“Even if it wasn’t you, we encourage everyone to speak out against violence,” Kitsmiller said.

The organization began in Belgium during the 1970s as a way for women to acknowledge that they shouldn’t be abused, Holstein said. Festivals soon popped up in California as people became more willing to share their stories.

OSU’s campus organization, originally named Women Against Rape, began in March 1972. The group’s goal is to improve the status of women at OSU and throughout Columbus.

Today’s event will include a performance by News of Your Departure, a band of OSU students.

Deb Schipper, a current member of Women and Allies Rising in Resistance, is also scheduled to speak at the event. Her speech will be followed by poetry readings by other members of the group and speeches from Sexual Violence Education Services.

In addition to various OSU student groups attending the event, off-campus groups Voices for Planned Parenthood and Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio will be there. Student visitors from Otterbein College will also attend the event.

No members of the media will be allowed.