Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholars class of 2015 is announced

Selection committee members discuss scholarship applicants.

14 area students use fund to pursue their college ambitions

This year’s recipients of The Gates Foundation – Ross County Scholar’s Fund have been announced. Fourteen students received the scholarships, including seven new recipients and seven continuing students.

In 2004, Chillicothe native Larry A. Gates and his wife, Mary, established the scholarship fund to pave the way to a college education for students graduating from Ross County high schools. This is the 12th class to benefit from the scholarship fund, which will eventually total approximately $10 million.

The scholarships are intended to help offset the cost of an undergraduate college education not covered by financial aid and/or scholarships.

Since the scholarship fund’s inception, more than 150 scholarships have been awarded. The endeavor has been an unquestioned success, with many former recipients already advancing in their career fields and several scholarship recipients going on to pursue master’s degrees after earning their bachelor’s degrees.

It has been a labor of love for the scholarship fund’s founders, with success measured on criteria that go beyond the numbers.

“Mary and I began the foundation because of our strong belief in young people, and that trust has been reinforced by the young people who have earned these scholarships over the years,” Larry Gates said.

The endeavor has been a rousing success in realizing its intended outcome – opening doors of opportunity for area individuals to pursue their dreams and turning their passions into their professions. The scholarship fund puts in motion the true value of a college education and the doors of opportunity it unlocks.

“It is all about the students. We wanted to do something to give a boost to these young people, who are very deserving,” Larry Gates said. “Some things in life, you look back on them and wonder if you would do it again. Without a doubt we would do this again. We have met so many wonderful families that we may otherwise not have gotten to know.”

Gates Foundation directors include Nicole McLaughlin, Michelle Shanholtzer, Matthew Haller, Kimberly Hirsch, Nancy Harris and Valerie Miller. Jack Jeffery, communications director of the Ohio University Chillicothe campus, will join the committee in 2016.

Selection criteria for the scholarship include potential to succeed in college as determined by high school grades and college entrance scores, letters of reference and financial need.  The scholarships are renewable for up to an additional three years for those who continue to qualify. Students may attend the college or university of their choices.  

Mr. Gates is a retired executive with the Philip Morris Companies.

The donor-advised fund is administered by The Ohio University Foundation, the private fundraising arm of the university.

2015 The Gates Foundation – Ross County Scholars

The new recipients include:

Student                High School        University/College
Levi Lane            Adena HS        Ohio University
Cassidy Lynn            Zane Trace HS        Kent State University
Cassaundra Parker        Chillicothe HS        Ohio State University
Courtney Parker        Chillicothe HS        Ohio State University
Abbey Perry            Southeastern HS    Shawnee State University
Christopher Sabin        Chillicothe HS        Ohio University
Izabella Timmons        Unioto HS        University of Findlay

The renewed recipients include:

Student    University/College
Kelsey Dunkle                    Ohio University-Athens
Colleen Fitzgerald                Ohio University-Chillicothe
Ali McCracken                    Ohio University-Athens
Katie McMahon                Ohio University-Athens
Sydney Minnix                    Ohio University-Athens
Olivia Payne                    Ohio University-Athens
Jillian Pontius                    Ohio University-Athens

More information on The Gates Foundation-Ross County Scholar's Fund is available online at

Individuals can explore areas of human services technology and office technology at upcoming event

The Human Services Technology and Office Technology programs of Ohio University-Chillicothe will host a “Try on a Major” event from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 29 in Bennett Hall room 134.

Faculty members and students of the two programs will discuss the advantages, career opportunities and job availability associated with these two associate degree programs.

According to program coordinator Barbara Mahaffey, Ph.D., the Human Services Technology program offers training in areas such as crisis intervention and chemical dependency, and graduates can obtain certificates in the fields of chemical dependency counselor assistant and social work assistant in Ohio. 

As program coordinator Allison White points out, the Office Technology program offers a wide variety of office computer courses designed to help individuals navigate professional or college arenas. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Two OU-C education students extend their horizons through international teaching experiences

Megan Patterson
Sharles Thompson

Two Ohio University-Chillicothe early education students will expand their horizons, both literally and figuratively, by teaching in international classrooms this fall. Megan Patterson and Sharles Thompson are both participating in the Ohio University-sponsored Consortium for Overseas Student Teaching (COST) program, which offers teacher candidates the opportunity to live and student-teach abroad in English-speaking classrooms for a semester.

Patterson will be teaching in Costa Rica, while Thompson will pursue her international experience in the Netherlands.


Patterson has been intrigued by others’ culturally-expanding experiences and decided to experience diversity for herself. A Southeastern High School graduate, she will be teaching kindergarten students at Country Day School in Escazu, Costa Rica.

“A lot of things led up to this. My mom does medical mission work and has traveled to central and southern America.  Also, Dr. (Mary Barbara) Trube does a lot of work in China and talks about it often in class, and other teachers have emphasized the importance of diversity. From all of this, I became interested in opportunities to become immersed in another culture, and the only way to do it is to teach globally.”

Patterson looks to grow, both personally and professionally, from this experience.

“Being immersed in another culture makes the whole concept of diversity real and gets me beyond just thinking about other cultures but allows me to indulge in it,” she said. “Also, I hope it sets me apart from others in the job search. I want to stand out when interviewing for jobs. And, once I have my own classroom, it should help me to teach from a global perspective.”

Her Costa Rican experience offers a variety of cultures in itself.

“From what I have researched, it will be a mixture between different types of living conditions,” Patterson said. “Where I am staying is only eight miles from the capital of San Jose, so the luxuries of Walmart and Starbucks are just a little way away. There are also vendors in small markets selling their goods as well as local fruits and vegetables.”

For Patterson, the timing is right for this type of adventure.

“Although I have family here, I do not have anything tying me down, so I want to take advantage of that. I hope this opens up opportunities to travel again in the future.”

OU-C’s education faculty members have been helpful.

“Dr. Trube really encouraged me to try this, as did Dr. (Jamie) Harmount. Both have been very supportive and have always been there to help out.”


A great deal of serendipity paved Thompson’s upcoming path to the Netherlands. On her first day as a waitress at Lake Hope State Park’s lodge, Frans Doppen, the COST program coordinator, was one of her patrons.

“When he found I was an OU-C student, we got to talking about college and careers, and he said I should check out the COST program,” said Thompson, a Vinton County High School graduate. “I kept thinking about it, a couple of years went by, doors kept opening, and here I am.”

As a result of Thompson’s interest and those opening doors of opportunity, she will be teaching at the De Klinker school in Oud-Bijerland, the Netherlands, this fall.

“I have always wanted to do something like this, but I never imagined myself, being from Vinton County, would have this opportunity and it would all begin with serving tables,” she said.

Thompson looks for this experience to give her a new perspective that will benefit her throughout her teaching career by helping her to better connect with students and understand their viewpoints.

“If I can survive in that environment with the language and customs barriers I will face, what child is there I cannot reach?” she said. “Even if I teach in Ohio, there will always be students in the classroom who speak another language, who are from another country or face a similar barrier. If I can get under the surface and see how they learn, that will be my ultimate goal.”

“I feel I will be the one learning although I will be teaching the kids,” Thompson said.

To prepare for the trip, she has been learning the basics of the Dutch language as well as keeping up on current events in Holland. She plans to get the most out of this opportunity.

“I look to visit other countries while in Europe. I want to experience other lifestyles and customs. These are things I can take with me into the classroom wherever I wind up teaching.”


The two globe-trotting future teachers are bound to reap benefits that will extend beyond this fall’s adventures.

“Participating in the COST program will have lifetime benefits for Megan and Sharles,” Trube, professor of education, said  “Their personal, intercultural, academic, and professional experiences will be enhanced and enriched as a result of completing their professional internships (student teaching) abroad. They will have opportunities to increase their understanding of their own cultural values and biases as they learn about the culture of individuals in another country. Sharles and Megan have strong interpersonal skills and I predict both future teachers will be able to make life-long friends as a result of their semester in COST.”

Assistant Professor of Education Jamie Harmount said, “These types of experiences allow the students to bring personal experiences from another country into the classroom and to forge relationships with educators from another country. They also offer the future teachers to view diversity from another perspective and to gain a global view of education they can bring back and share with other educators.”

OU-C student speaks on body-positive movement at recent conference in San Francisco

By student public relations writer Madison Corbin

This past April, Ohio University-Chillicothe student Samantha Newman spoke at the Youth + Tech + Health Live Sessions in San Francisco, Calif.  The YTH Sessions invites entrepreneurs, innovators and social leaders to convene and consider some of the most prevalent topics in modern society.  Newman’s presence was requested on a panel that discussed online harassment, the effect it can have upon its victims and the positive action that can be taken to prevent damaging consequences.  

Newman is a dedicated activist in the fight against body-shaming.  She maintains a strong online presence, encouraging body-positive proactivity and respect for bodies of all shapes and sizes.  Following controversy over an Instagram photo during the summer of 2014, about which more information is available here, Newman has been awarded the public attention and social platforms necessary to promote her self-respect-centered message. 

“My overall experience was incredible,” said Newman. “Being surrounded by people who were as motivated to change the world as I am was an incredibly inspiring and moving experience.”
Newman was welcomed warmly to California, her insight into overcoming online harassment highly sought from audiences.  After speaking with fellow panelists whose work she admired and having the opportunity to provide input from her own experiences, Newman began to fully understand her impact.   

“To be able to feel like I was doing something right . . . like every choice and decision I had made to stand up for myself and speak out had lead me here . . . I knew I did the right thing.”
Newman works avidly to offer encouragement to her peers by participating in student organizations and by living a proud example.  She hopes to one day weave the specific lessons she has learned into influential curriculum, as a professor.  Her primary goal is to inspire those around her to love themselves and invite happiness into their everyday lives. 

“When you experience things like online harassment the way that I did, you wonder if you should have just left things unsaid. You feel afraid and alone,” said Newman.  The conference ignited a different emotion in her.  “I felt like no one could stop me from spreading my message and speaking my mind, and that was so empowering . . . I am so grateful.”

More information about the YTH Sessions can be found at