06:42 AM

​Summer research students help needy families in central Ohio

As part of Ohio State’s Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), undergraduate students from across the country gave their time and talent last month to help sort and prepare over 2,700 pounds of food for 1,755 needy families in the Westerville area.

Westerville Area Resource Ministry hosted this year’s annual day of service on June 2 for the 38 SROP students, who helped the ministry fulfill its mission of “Restoring Dignity and Hope by Offering a Hand Up, Not a Hand Out.”

“The SROP students volunteered with passion and love. They asked insightful questions about social justice and about WARM, and to paraphrase Martin Luther King, Jr., they are not silent about things that matter,” said Taylor Owens, director of volunteer services. “And, truly, ‘hunger’ matters.”

SROP is a signature program of the Graduate School at Ohio State. Its singular purpose is to expose highly talented undergraduates from underrepresented populations to graduate study at the Ph.D. level.

The annual day of service is a way for the visiting students to give back to the central Ohio community and strengthen friendships. They also discover that successful undertakings, whether a research project or a service, share common attributes: a compelling vision, a solid plan, and strong effort from all involved.

“I believe that events like this are important so we keep our humility and learn to be selfless,” said Myriah Wadley, a senior from Penn State University who is conducting research in agricultural studies at Ohio State. “We also gain a stronger connection to others. It breaks down the divide between us and them, eliminates stereotypes and makes us better human beings.”

Beloit College senior Kendra Weinrich, who is studying anthropology, said, “I learned that teamwork is a crucial component to success. Our combined efforts made it possible for us to accomplish a project much bigger than any one of us could do on our own.”

SROP students come to Ohio State from colleges and universities around the country for the eight-week program, where they are matched with an Ohio State faculty mentor who oversees their intensive research experience. They also participate in activities crucial to preparation for graduate school, including workshops on research skills, seminars on topics related to graduate education and professional development events.

“Every year I am impressed by the brain power and work ethic that the SROP students bring with them to Ohio State,” said Scott Herness, interim vice provost of graduate studies and dean of the Graduate School. “I am equally impressed by the care and concern they bring to their annual day of service. By any measure, they are a credit to the Graduate School and Ohio State.”