Autumn 2017

Each new academic year brings energy and renewal — students flooding the Oval, the fresh line-up of events and, don't forget, the excitement of football season — homecoming is right around the corner!

It is an exciting time on campus, but it is also a time for reflection. Looking back over the past year, we are amazed by what has been achieved — take a look in our newest annual report, featuring a sampling of our high points and stand-out faculty, students and staff and their accomplishments from the past year.

And once you've taken a look back, scroll down and take a look at some of the outstanding things our alumni, students and faculty are doing now.

Have a fantastic fall ... and Go Bucks!

Working with #TeamFiona

Working with #TeamFiona

A couple of years ago, Angela Hatke (communication, '07) landed her dream job at the Cincinnati Zoo. When Fiona, the premature baby hippo — and internet sensation — was born in January 2017, Angela was with her every step of the way, sharing her journey with the world on the zoo's Baby Hippo blog and social media.

Innovation & Discovery

Advancing High-Impact Energy Research

Two STEM researchers each received a five-year, 2017 DOE Early Career Award, to advance their high-impact energy research. Hannah Shafaat, assistant professor, chemistry and biochemistry; and Kelly Wrighton, assistant professor, microbiology; were chosen from a nationwide pool of more than 700 applicants. Wrighton’s $797,000 award “targets knowledge gaps” in microbial methane processes in soil to improve carbon-cycling transport models across terrestrial-aquatic environments. Shafaat aims to “bring inorganic carbon to life.” Her $750,000 grant will support the development and characterization of model nickel enzymes that can efficiently convert carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide into liquid fuels.

Discovering the Hottest Planet Known

Astronomer Scott Gaudi, Thomas Jefferson Professor for Discovery and Space Exploration, co-led an international team that has discovered the hottest planet on record. The team has been tracking the distinctly odd planet, named KELT-9b, since mid-2014. The star that the planet orbits is called KELT-9. It is found about 650 light years away from Earth in the Cygnus constellation.

According to Gaudi, it is so hot that it stretches the definition of the word ‘planet.’ It’s a planet by any of the typical definitions based on mass, but its atmosphere is almost certainly unlike any other known. Its day-side temperature, more than 7,800 degrees, is hotter than most stars, and only 2,000 degrees or so cooler than our Sun.

“Whenever we find systems like KELT-9, systems that stretch the boundaries of what we consider extreme, typically we always learn something new about planets, the relationship to their host stars, and the atmospheres of giant planets,” Gaudi said.

Improving Math Skills Through Psychology

Just in time for the new academic year, Ellen Peters, professor of psychology and director of Ohio State’s Decision Sciences Collaborative, has developed a psychological intervention — values affirmation — to help students improve their math literacy, or numeracy. Turns out that confidence and core values have a lot to do with learning numbers.

“You want to get students to step back in a sense, to think more about what’s important to them in life so that ultimately you shore up their sense of self so they’re more resilient to threats that come in the classroom and the classroom materials.”

Documenting the Sounds of Religions

Isaac Weiner, associate professor of comparative studies, is co-director of the American Religious Sounds Project, a collaborative project of Ohio State and Michigan State University, documenting religious sounds in the U.S. Researchers have amassed nearly 400 recorded clips of religious expression ranging from a Spanish Catholic procession for Our Lady of Guadalupe in Columbus to an Asatru (German Norse) midsummer ritual in rural Ohio. Housed in the Center for the Study of Religion, the project will create a digital archive of religious sounds and an interactive website, which will be a resource for scholars, educators and the public.

Incoming Student Profiles

Gabriella Reyes

Gabriella Reyes chose to come to Ohio State because of a scholarship she received through the Morrill Scholars Program. Reyes is majoring in international studies. She is fluent in Spanish and hopes to become more proficient in French and Arabic. “I love learning about different people and their cultures because I feel like I can get an understanding of who they are and where they come from.”


Gabe Carlucci

Gabe Carlucci transferred from Columbus State Community College after completing his GE requirements. He is pursuing a degree in geography because of its versatility and relevance. “Geography covers topics such as demographics, history, environmental science, politics and culture. Every location on Earth has a story to tell, and that is why geography interests me.”

Briana Brooks

Morrill Scholar Briana Brooks was hooked on biochemistry when a pharmaceutical expert walked into her high school AP chemistry class. “I was intrigued by the way chemicals in beauty products and cosmetics affect the human epidermis.” Last year, she worked in a Kent State University biochemistry lab, where her research with RNA and proteins confirmed her need to expand her knowledge.

Joan Reardon

Incoming freshman and Guthrie Scholarship recipient Joan Reardon will be majoring in history — an area that she feels will be a foundation upon which to build her career. She plans to attend law school and pursue a career in politics. “Some of the greatest statesmen have been history majors, including John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill and Woodrow Wilson. Hopefully, I'll be able to follow in their footsteps!”

Autumn Borovich

Autumn Borovich is from St. Clairsville, Ohio. She is a first generation student, majoring in biology, with a dream of going on to medical school. “My reason for doing so is because of a close family member who has always dealt with heart problems. I want to learn more about it and help in any way I can.” 

Kamille Colbert

Kamille Colbert transferred from the University of Nebraska at Omaha to Ohio State to pursue her love of flying. Colbert chose to major in air transportation with the end goal to become an airline pilot. “I am incredibly excited to begin my flight training at Ohio State. I just received my Private Pilot Certificate and can't wait to continue my training this fall."

Anna Dorey

Incoming freshman Anna Dorey, who hails from Tampa, Florida, says she was drawn to Ohio State “because there is so much opportunity here. I really want to participate in research and Ohio State is the perfect place for that! I would like to pursue a double major with biology and horn performance,” she said, “and I also hope to participate in the marching band.”

Jazmyn Agudelo-Mustafa

Jazmyn Agudelo-Mustafa is a first generation student and a Mount Leadership Scholar with an interest in psychology. “I gravitate towards research-based inquiry about the human mind. I am curious about the way we think and how our thoughts impact our decisions in business.” Agudelo-Mustafa believes that she’s chosen the right place to spend the next four years. “Columbus is a city where I see a future for myself.”

Rachel Thurman

Rachel Thurman will begin her studies in political science with the help of a Morrill Scholarship. “I researched Ohio State’s political science program and found it was one of the best in the country.” She is looking forward to learning about what how the world works and what she can do to make a difference. She hopes to attend law school and work hard to make changes in the world. 


This summer, Arts and Sciences students travelled the world — interning, studying and volunteering. They were dancing through Denmark, underwater studying coral reefs, designing in Milan and everywhere in between. Along the way, they were creating and innovating, challenging themselves, and extending their ASC experience beyond the classroom.


New Year Highlights

Record Breaking Fundraising

The College of Arts and Sciences has set a new record by raising more than $37 million in FY17.

We are the academic heart of the university and thanks to the generosity of our more than 200,000 arts and sciences alumni and friends, as well as our own faculty and staff, the Arts and Sciences continues to set a national standard for excellence in teaching, research and service.

We are continually amazed by the generosity of our community of faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Your support makes a tangible difference in the lives of our students and faculty. Here are just a few examples of the ways in which an investment in the College of Arts and Sciences reshapes and transforms our disciplines and the lives our students and faculty.

New Leadership in the College

We are fortunate in the Arts and Sciences. Our departments, centers and institutes enjoy outstanding reputations, due, in large part, to the dedication and commitment of our deans, chairs and directors to our mission to be a leader in teaching, learning, research and creative activity, and outreach and engagement. The following are new appointments and reinstatements.

Welcome New Faculty Members

Arts and Sciences faculty performs at the highest levels in teaching, research and service – the three tenets of the great land-grant institutions. We work hard to identify, recruit and retain the most gifted scholars, artists and researchers from around the country and across the world. Together they form a formidable faculty who drive the success of our programs and educate our students for leadership.

Distinguished Professorships

The College of Arts and Sciences has an amazing depth of talented, dedicated and respected faculty. They are leaders in Ohio State’s research and scholarly enterprises — in discovery, in global collaboration, and in teaching and training the next generation of scientists, scholars and artists. They have won every major honor and award in their field and have been selected for membership in the country’s top learned societies.

The Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professorship honors a select few of these faculty members — full professor colleagues — who have excelled in teaching, service and research/creative activity, and whose work has demonstrated significant impact on their fields, students, college and university, and/or the public. This honorific title is reserved for the most distinguished faculty; no more than ten percent of the total number of full professors in the College of Arts and Sciences may hold this title at any one time.

The 2017 Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors:

See the complete list of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professors and their academic departments.

Featured Events

New Programs

The 2017-2018 academic year brings a fresh batch of programs to the college. New master’s programs, minors and study abroad trips and highlight both the power and the relevance of an arts and sciences education, giving our students the opportunity to pursue any possibility.

Featured Courses

courses you might take:

ARTEDUC 2367.03: Criticizing Television

The department's most popular GE course, a second-writing that also fulfills social diversity requirements, students are introduced to a full range of critical analysis skills related to television. Developing strong writing skills and analytical thought are important components to this course's overall goals.

INTSTDS 2200: Modern Middle East

This course presents the students with a multidisciplinary analysis of the issues involved in the modem day transformation of the Middle East. You’ll discuss aspects of the traditional culture still relevant to life in the Middle East today and the problems of rapid changes as experienced in the 20th century. There is a great diversity across the region, which will be emphasized in the course; Jewish, Christian and Islamic religious cultures.

ENGLISH 3364.20: Insurgent Youth: Punk, Riot GRRRL & Black Metal

How do cultural worlds respond to moments of political distress? How can music, art and lifestyles model other ways of living and thinking? This class pursues these two questions by investigating three distinct subcultures: punk, riot grrrl and black metal.

Political Science 3780: Data Literacy and Data Visualization

Many, if not most, of the major debates in modern political science revolve around questions that can be addressed with data — voting behavior, the correlates of war, political economy, psychology, institutions and conflict. This course marries the substance of political theories to the methodologies of data visualization and exploratory data analysis.

BIO 1350: Biology of Hope and Belief

Examines the evolutionary significance of hope and near universal desire to believe in a supernatural deity from multiple perspectives and details the neurochemistry of both phenomena.

Sociology 2211: Corrections: An Inside-Out Course

This experiential-based learning course brings college students and incarcerated individuals together in a classroom setting as part of a partnership between institutions of higher learning and prison systems nationally. Students take part in a grass-roots movement directed at transforming public thought and opinion on mass incarceration.

Philosophy 2342: Environmental Ethics

Environmental problems and the ethical questions they raise have become inescapable in the 21st century. This course introduces students to philosophical reflection on ethics. What is the connection between the environment and human well-being? What is the value of the non-human world and do we have moral obligations to animals, plants, species and ecosystems?

EEOB 2410: Biological Invasions

Invasion ecology is the study of introduced species and the factors that sometimes lead to their population explosions and negative ecological impacts in the new region. We will make explicit connections between concepts in ecology and evolutionary biology, topics specific to invasion ecology, and details surrounding particular invasive species.

EEOB 2250: Dynamics of Dinosaurs

A review of the current information on dinosaur biology, emphasizing scientific approaches to reconstructing dinosaurs as living, dynamics animals.

HISTORY OF ART 2001: Western Art I: Ancient and Medieval Worlds

This course explores the history of Western art and architecture from ancient Mesopotamia through the medieval Europe, including investigations of Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, and the Middle Ages. From tombs to temples, castles to cathedrals, our core faculty members reveal the fundamental role that artworks have played in shaping Western culture.