Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Columbus TV sports journalist, Ohio University graduate Matt Barnes to speak at OU-C graduation event

Matt Barnes, sports anchor and reporter for NBC4 in Columbus, will deliver the keynote address at Ohio University-Chillicothe’s Recognition of Graduation event at 7:30 p.m. on May 2 in the Shoemaker Center on campus. The event, which is free and open to the public, honors Chillicothe Campus students who have earned their associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ohio University during the 2013-14 academic year.

Area TV viewers know Barnes for his enthusiasm and sports knowledge. Barnes, a fellow Bobcat, is familiar with the Ross County area from his time at NBC4 as well as his previous work covering high school sports at WOUB-TV during his days as an Ohio University student in Athens.

Barnes is a 2008 alumnus of Ohio University, graduating cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, with a focus on broadcast journalism. While at Ohio University, Barnes stayed busy, working various jobs such as a tour guide, a PreCollege orientation leader and an intramural sports referee and supervisor.

According to Barnes, the most impactful job he had was working at WOUB-TV, the PBS affiliate that he credits with allowing him to hone his craft. All four years, he worked for “Gridiron Glory,” a student-run high school football show that showcased Southeast Ohio football. Barnes served as host of the show his junior and senior years, and in 2006, the show won a Regional Emmy for Best Student Production, an award the show has won six times in its 14-year run.

Before working in Columbus, he spent two years working as a sports anchor and reporter at WRDW News 12, the CBS affiliate in Augusta, Ga. While there, he was able to cover the Masters Tournament for two years.

He joined NBC4 in 2010, returning to his hometown to cover the sports teams he loves. These days, Barnes spends much time covering high school football in central Ohio, including his alma mater, Bishop Hartley, and many other sporting events. In the past four years, he has already covered a Final Four tournament, two BCS bowl games, the Memorial Tournament, President's Cup and a Super Bowl.

Throughout his career, Barnes notes that he has never lost his love for southern Ohio and that he always enjoying a trip back to Athens or finding great stories at schools he covered while in college, including here in Chillicothe.

“We look forward to having Matt Barnes as the speaker for the Chillicothe Campus’ graduation event,” OU-C Dean Martin Tuck said. “As a former Bobcat, he understands the value of an Ohio University degree. Further, he appreciates the value of hard work, having a goal and striving to achieve it so that his passion has become his profession. That is an important story to share with our students at this important time in their lives. I look forward to hearing his remarks.”

A pinning ceremony for graduates of OU-C’s nursing program will be held at 6 p.m. on May 1 in the Shoemaker Center. Formal commencement activities are held on the Athens campus on May 3.

First-generation students driven to pursue aspirations

By student public relations writer Megan Valentine

Last week various faculty members commented on the challenges faced by first-generation college students and the efforts OU-C makes to aid their transition. Read more here. Now we have the opportunity to learn from the personal experiences of four students who made the leap to pursue higher education against the odds.

The decision to attend college made by first-generation students is often guided by a number of factors. Professional aspirations, personal goals and family needs all must be taken into consideration.

Krista Jones chose to continue her education after high school and pursue a degree in human services technology after reflecting on her career options.

“I’ve always loved art and anything related to creativity, but I knew that a job in those fields would probably not be very beneficial. People always told me that I was a great person to talk to and that I always had the right things to say when they needed advice,” says Jones. “I decided that I wanted to help adolescents in foster care or who are defiant or runaways because I was once like that. Even if I could just help one kid turn their life around like I did mine, that one kid could maybe help another do the same.”

Sara Winans made the decision to go back to school to provide a better life for her daughter.

“She looks up to me, watches my every move and depends on me, so going back to school was one of the smartest things I will probably ever do,” says Winans. “Going through a divorce, raising my
Sara Winans
daughter, working, going to school and taking care of everything else that is on my plate isn't easy, but sitting in a corner doing nothing isn't going to make it better either. I want my daughter to grow up knowing you can still be strong even when faced with things that weaken you.”

In addition to taking classes on the Chillicothe Campus she also currently works in the cafeteria at Unioto School. Winans, who is studying human services technology, plans to go into social work after completing her degree.

To ease the financial burdens of tuition and other expenses some first-generation students are able to secure loans, scholarships and grants. Others also take smaller steps to save money, like purchasing books early on discount sites or borrowing them when possible. Students lacking support or understanding at home are often able to turn to high school guidance counselors, OU-C faculty members and other mentors for help navigating the new obstacles.

According to Jada Vandagriff, an early childhood education major from Circleville Ohio, the greatest challenge she faced as a first-generation student was the lack of guidance when it came time for the transition from high school to college.

“It is actually a lot more difficult than I imagined. Signing up for the FAFSA and filling out scholarship and college applications were challenging,” says Vandagriff. “Scheduling classes was also a little overwhelming for me at first and dealing with it on my own was definitely hard.”

OU-C offers assistance with completing the FAFSA and other steps related to the college application process.

For Winans, many of her challenges are more personal.

“According to statistics I should be hiding under a rock or worse because of all the things I could use as crutches, but I try really hard not to let them ruin what I'm working so hard to achieve. I'm not going to be a statistic,” says Winans. “So many people fall back on their hard times in life, but I want to be able to say, ‘no excuses’ and graduate on time or sooner.”

The satisfaction earned by first-generation students when they accomplish their educational goals is, in many ways, more rewarding than for other students. Overcoming numerous disadvantages and becoming the first in their family to break the mold helps to pave the way for continued success.

Larissa Palmer, a sophomore studying early childhood education, began her college career at
Larissa Palmer
Shawnee State University before transferring to the Chillicothe Campus. As a first-generation student with younger siblings, being the first to attend college will also allow her to step into a mentoring role.

“I was motivated, and basically expected to go to college, because I am the oldest and I would be the first in my family to attend,” says Palmer. “Going to college in my hometown where my younger brother lives is an advantage. With him graduating this year, I can teach him all of the ropes!”

Students learn practical applications of theory through business pitch competition

A student team fine-tunes its pitch for the competition

OU-C students are applying classroom learning to practical situations through a business pitch competition. Students in faculty member Tanya Hire’s SAM 4700 “Managing Strategically in the Future” class have spent spring semester developing plans and presentations that will benefit them long after graduation.

The nine students in the class are divided into two teams that will compete in a campus business pitch competition at 9:30 a.m. on March 27 in the Technology and Business Development Center, Room 147. The two teams participating will be pitching their companies, OrthoMed and SkyEnergy. Each presentation will be 10 minutes long followed by a question and answer period with the judges. The public is invited to attend.   

As a capstone project, the endeavor encompasses a range of learning experiences.

“This exercise allows the students to apply concepts they have learned in the classroom to practical situations and is excellent preparation for their careers,” Hire said. “This helps to give them a better understanding of the components of any business entity and to learn how to take an idea from concept to completion and implementation.”

“The skills they acquire during this process will benefit them throughout their careers. In any organization, no matter how long it has been established, innovation is a critical component to organizational success, and this process encourages the students to take an innovative approach and utilize their critical thinking skills,” Hire said.

The local competition is part of a larger effort. The PORTSfuture project, in collaboration with Ohio University’s TechGROWTH Ohio, Shawnee State University, and OU-C, is holding a business pitch competition. Students must pitch an idea for a business involving any of the buildings, grounds, equipment and/or skilled staff available at the Gaseous Diffusion Plant site in Piketon.  This is an academic exercise and is funded by the PORTSfuture project (www.portsfuture.com), a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.

A regional competition will take place at Shawnee State University in April.

”The PORTSfuture program, TechGROWTH and the entire regional entrepreneurial ecosystem deeply appreciate the OU-C faculty and students’ dedication to a rigorous regional exercise,” said Faith Knutsen, associate director of operations at  TechGROWTH Ohio.  “It takes a lot of cross-disciplinary skill to apply business know-how like market research, industry analysis and financial assessment, as well as strong presentational style, to a project of this sort.  Kudos to the teams for really engaging with this demanding assignment.”

 Members of Ohio University’s Voinovich Center have been offering insights and advice to the students throughout the process. The two teams will also be competing in the university-wide “Pitch us Your Plan” competition at the Student Expo held on the Athens campus April 10.

“The students’ grades will be based partially on how well they use and apply the feedback they receive from the campus, regional and Student Expo competitions,” Hire said.

The students benefit from the practical aspect of preparing for the competition and the insights they have gained through this endeavor.

“This experience of developing business plans will be especially beneficial,” said David Felty, who is
David Felty
pursuing a bachelor’s degree in applied management (BSAM). “This experience ties together everything that I have learned before. The presentation and communication skills will be helpful in my career.” Felty plans to pursue an MBA in finance and become a financial analyst.

Mishion Payne
“I am learning about the variety of steps and procedures in developing a business plan,” said Mishion Payne, an applied management major. “There are a lot of developmental steps I would not otherwise know about. I want to eventually manage a business, so this is ideal experience.”

Jordan Schaeffer
“This has been very helpful in allowing me to put two and two together. It is one thing to read about a concept in a book and another thing all together to put it into actual practice,” said Jordan Schaeffer, a health services administration major. “Previously, I did not know how to put together a business pitch. Now, I have learned to work as a team, and I feel I am better prepared for the workforce. It has been a challenge, but I have learned the importance of being prepared and being professional.”

Cory Porter
Fellow health services administration student Cory Porter said, “This project gives me more of an understanding of the business side of the profession and what goes into starting a business.  Never before have I done anything this detailed. I have learned what I need to think about in terms of setting short- and long-term goals.”

Chillicothe Campus students describe their tailor-made college campuses

Isaac Robertson
Dustin Waugh

Colt Causey

Ashley Waugh

Kaitlyn Sevy

We regularly speak with Chillicothe Campus students to gain their insights. This week, we asked students what features they would include if they were creating their own college campus.

Isaac Robertson, a nursing student from Unioto High School, would focus on meeting students’ appetites for food and studying. “A food court would be nice,” he said. “Also, I would include quiet study rooms so groups of students can meet together to study; something similar to what we already have in the Learning Commons, but expand on it.”

Dustin Waugh, an undeclared major from Unioto High School, takes a student-centered approach to
his college campus. “I would have a student center that allows students to socialize more with each other and opportunities for interaction. I would have activities that bring people together.”

Colt Causey likes to read, and it is evident from the architectural features he would include in his campus. “I would have a library that has a big glass dome study area, is two stories tall and has a huge fountain in the middle,” said the business major from Unioto High.

Ashley Waugh, Dustin’s sister, has some both exterior and interior plans. “I would have a nice outside area, with a pond and nice scenery, so people can sit down, study and have lunch together. I would also have something similar to the Learning Commons, but quieter with more study areas where students have access to computers.” She is a biology/pre-professional major from Southeastern High School.

Kaitlyn Sevy, an Adena High School graduate who is undecided on her college major, is focused on keeping students active as part of her campus. “I would have a large recreation center with fun activities such as a climbing wall. I would also have basketball courts, both inside and outside.”

Authors to share how to have the ‘write’ stuff in their careers

“Digital and Traditional Publishing: Tips from the Trade” is the topic of a talk at 4 p.m. on March 27 in the Student Success Center, located in the Stevenson Center at Ohio University-Chillicothe.

John Mitchell, author of Arc of the Rainbow, and Karen Patterson, author of Allies Forever, will share insights on their profession.

The talk, which is sponsored by the OU-C Writing Center, is free and open to the public.