11:05 AM

Student success highlighted in new housing, mentoring experience

Students and faculty thank the Board of Trustees for the North Residential District development.

A published author, a dancer just back from learning in Brazil and a political science student interning with the Canadian Parliament. All are students highlighting the success of the Second Year Transformational Experience Program at The Ohio State University.

The STEP effort and the recently completed North Residential District are part of a renovation of the north side of campus that includes 10 new buildings as well as a new approach for students and faculty to learn and teach. The Board of Trustees witnessed the success of that effort with a presentation at its November meeting.

“STEP is not a facility and it is not simply a program,” said Vice President for Student LifeJavaune Adams-Gaston.

Adams-Gaston said the project has been transformational for students and faculty.

The $370 million North Residential District added 3,200 beds for student living, new dining options and lots of green space. But it also added an educational opportunity.

STEP encourages students to work with a faculty member who serves as the student’s mentor. Approximately 2,500 students and 135 faculty members participate in the program. They work in cohorts of 20 students per teacher.

One STEP success story is Daniel Rodriguez. The fourth-year communications major is also an author. Rodriguez used a STEP grant to self-publish a book of poems and short stories entitled The Peregrine Muse. He has sold 200 copies.

“I worried that people would not want to read such things and that what I had written would not be relatable,” Rodriguez told trustees. “I found nothing could be further from the truth. The response has been overwhelming.”

Rodriguez was joined at the board meeting by students Danielle DiScala and Callie Lacinski. As part of her STEP experience, DiScala, a political science student, went on a study abroad trip to Canada to participate as an intern with the Canadian Parliament.

Lacinski, a fourth-year dance major, used her experience in STEP to travel to Salvador, Brazil. She demonstrated what she learned with a dance performance for the trustees.

“I spent a semester and a half in intense rehearsals and classroom course preparation to depart on a 13-day tour and educational experience in Salvador,” Lacinski said. “Without STEP I would never have had this experience.”

Dance student Callie Lacinski performs for the Board of Trustees. 

Students, faculty and staff gathered in the courtyard of the district to thank trustees for supporting the vision of this new program. A sea of red signs and letters spelling out “thank you” greeted trustees as they met in Curl Hall.

Students and staff thank the Board of Trustees for the North Residential District development.

STEP and the North Residential District are now recognized as a national model on how student housing and education can be combined.

“It’s amazing what thoughtful and intentional planning produces,” said Trustee Linda Kass, chair of the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee.