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College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff receive 2024 University Outreach and Engagement Awards

April 11, 2024

College of Arts and Sciences faculty and staff receive 2024 University Outreach and Engagement Awards

red tulips in spring

Ohio State's University Outreach and Engagement Awards honor faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement in producing engaged scholarship and community impact. Congratulations to this year's recipients from the College of Arts and Sciences!

Community Engaged Scholar Awards

The Community Engaged Scholar Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated co-created engaged scholarship that has positively impacted communities. Community Engaged Scholars have made significant contribution to Ohio State's culture of engagement, further establishing, and strengthening the institution's commitment to communities.

Sharon Amacher

Sharon Amacher, Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Molecular Genetics

Sharon Amacher's research focuses on muscle development and disease. She loves engaging with the community, and her most extensive effort is establishing and running the Columbus BioEYES program. Every Autumn, she brings zebrafish into elementary school classrooms to engage students in an interactive, week-long experiment, and each spring, she invites BioEYES "grads" to campus for more engaging, hands-on activities. Since 2019, BioEYES has reached more than 700 Columbus 4th and 5th graders. In 2023, BioEYES was offered as an undergraduate service-learning course for the first time. The overarching goal is to spark interest in STEM, foster interactions between public schools and OSU, and make science and scientists approachable.


John Beacom

John Beacom, Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor, Departments of Physics and Astronomy; Director, Center for Cosmology and AstroParticle Physics (CCAPP)

John Beacom is the longtime faculty mentor for SciAccess, which is dedicated to advancing disability accessibility in STEM. While the laws of science are universal, access to science is not, and it should be. SciAccess is led by former and present Ohio State undergraduates, including the multi-award-winners Anna Voelker and Caitlin OBrien. SciAccess runs conferences (the next in May 2024, free and open to all!) and has helped seed several related outreach efforts, including AstroAccess (led by Voelker) and Solstice (led by OBrien and two colleagues).

Townsand Price-Spratlen

Townsand Price-Spratlen, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

Townsand Price-Spratlen researches health disparities among marginalized populations and organizations which address them. He focuses on how Medicaid helps reduce access inequalities and other structural dimensions of carceral citizenship. This includes how local mass incarceration severity is a social determinant on maternal health disparities and adverse birth outcomes, and perceived racial discrimination and its adverse effects on the health of Black youth in Ohio. He analyzes how returning citizens and allied others address structural impediments to reduce health disparities and strengthen civic and health equity. His most recent book, Addiction Recovery and Resilience (SUNY Press 2022), and each of his long-term projects show how community organizations collaborate in high poverty neighborhoods to help reduce health disparities and nurture social ecologies of health and resilience.

Community Engaged Practitioner Awards

The Community Engaged Practitioner Award recognizes staff members who have demonstrated superior commitment to developing, coordinating, and/or sustaining projects, activities, or initiatives involving Ohio State and community partners that enhance engaged scholarship and community impacts.

Jason Cervenec, education and outreach director at Byrd Polar, speaks with a student of Thomas Davis' English class.

Jason Cervenec, Education and Outreach Director, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center

For more than 11 years Jason Cervenec has served as the education and outreach director for the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center. During that time, Jason's name has become synonymous with polar and climate education. Under his direction, Byrd has reached more than 107,800 people through nearly 2,000 education programs over the past 11 years. Byrd brings students, educators and the public to campus for education programs and behind-the-scenes tours. Jason has led the Byrd team in the development of an impressive portfolio of interdisciplinary education resources and virtual programs designed to engage audiences from youth to adults, students to community members.

Community Partnership Award

The Community Partnership Award recognizes a partnership that produces positive impact in the community and at Ohio State.

Labs in Life at COSI

Labs in Life is a state-of-the-art laboratory inside the Life exhibition. Here, researchers from The Ohio State University are conducting research in three visible laboratory spaces. Researchers are gathering invaluable data through studies on pharmacology, vision and language, and cognition using state-of-the-art equipment.

Programs of Excellence in Engaged Scholarship

To support and promote high-impact engaged scholarship, the Office of Outreach and Engagement has instituted a process to certify programs of excellence in engaged scholarship. The certification process seeks to identify and certify projects annually that demonstrate excellence in community-engaged scholarship and meet the criteria of high-impact engaged scholarship.

  • K'acha Willaykuna Andean and Amazonian Indigenous Arts & Humanities Collaboration, College of Arts and Sciences
  • SciAccess, College of Arts and Sciences
  • WestFest, Stem Impact Collaborative
  • PALS & Marion Mentors, Ohio State Marion/College of Arts and Sciences
  • Lord Denney's Players, College of Arts and Sciences

See the full list of awards on the Outreach and Engagement website.

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