In April 2019, senior Kyle Huffman majoring in neuroscience was announced as one of of Ohio State's 150 Sesquicentennial Scholars — 32 of which are in the Arts and Sciences. The Sesquicentennial Student Leader Scholarship program aims to increase access and affordability, as well as recognize students’ academic and non-academic accomplishments and diverse interests.
Why did you choose your major?
I chose to major in neuroscience because it is the synthesis between science and the human condition. It explains everything from neuroatypicality to why we prefer some smells over others. Having changed my career aspirations from medical school to becoming a higher education professional, I've been forced to grapple with this major, to understand how it connects to who I will be now. I've learned how this major has taught me both the science behind empathy and empathy itself. As a future higher education professional, this understanding will be vital to my future goals and future self.
What does being a Sesquicentennial Scholar mean to you?
To me, being a Sesquicentennial Scholar represents the entirety of my Ohio State story. It conjures reflection, introspection and fond reminiscence. In 10 years, what I’ll remember most about Ohio State are the people who showed me kindness, love and support — who made every day so uniquely special. This ecosystem I’ve developed over these past three years has gotten me through some of the most agonizing experiences of my life, while also gifting me with some of my most affectionate memories. I know in 10 years, I’ll scan through old photos, take a deep breath in, nostalgia will fill my lungs, and I will smile. That kind of soft, aching smile where your eyes clamp shut and a few tears well up — that kind of soft, aching smile that forces you to recognize how special and intimate these four years really were.
The winter treks across The Oval. The daunting trip across a flooded High Street in my timid Toyota Camry. The early mornings in Celeste Lab. The late nights in the 18th Avenue Library basement. The affectionate moments with my fraternity family. These simple memories are so special to me, and so vital to my existence at Ohio State. In 10 years, these are what I will remember, along with the people who have been by my side through it all. Being a Sesquicentennial Scholar captures all these memories — it is inherently intertwined with my Ohio State story itself. The Sesquicentennial serves as at the final optic through which I view my last year at Ohio State, and it is an optic that is so bright, so clear and so powerful. My role as a Sesquicentennial Scholar is the apex of my college career, and it will always make me remember what my personal Buckeye experience means to me.
Explain what you love about being in the College of Arts and Sciences at Ohio State.
Being in the College of Arts and Sciences has afforded me a diverse educational experience that I would not be able to get anywhere else. I've had so many opportunities that I am so, so incredibly grateful for. Through the College of Arts and Sciences, my passion for teaching has flourished. I've been able to serve as a teaching assistant for general chemistry and organic chemistry in various roles, having taught for a total of seven semesters now. I've learned that this is something I love and something I am good at. Through the college, I've participated in research in the Behavioral Neuroscience group within the Department of Psychology. I've learned the ins-an-outs of rat models on sexually aggressive responses, and how to translate these results into potential research on human cases.
Through the College of Arts and Sciences, I've had the privilege to grapple with issues of social justice, learning so much about history, race and power dynamics through the freshmen seminar program, field schools, symposiums and more. Through the college, I've developed a well-rounded, socially conscious curriculum for myself and made it a priority to explore disparate fields of study because I love learning and I believe a wide set of knowledge is so valuable. I've been able to understand the intersectional nature of my studies, passions and skills, and I've been able to translate that into a future career for myself. This is what I love about the College of Arts and Sciences.
How do you hope to inspire the next generation?
In pursuing a future in higher education and student affairs, I hope to give back to students what has ever so generously been given to me. The ability to explore myself. To explore others. To explore the world. To inspire the next generation, I want to develop meaningful, engaging programming at the university level that allows students to unpack their personal identities and understand how to connect to a greater sense of purpose and belonging. I want to help every student see the unique identity within themselves.