back to news Feb. 27, 2018

Top honors for Arts and Sciences student, alumna

Students and alumni in the College of Arts and Sciences are no strangers to receiving awards and recognition. Among the college’s most recent award winners, fourth-year student Anna Voelker has been named a Brooke Owens Fellow and alumna Nima Dahir has been named to the inaugural class of Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford University.

The Brooke Owens Fellowship Program awards internships and senior mentorship to outstanding undergraduate women seeking careers in aviation or space exploration. As a fellow, Voelker will work at The Aerospace Corporation within the corporate communications and public affairs Division. 

Voelker’s passion for space exploration is well documented. Along with minors in astronomy and astrophysics, she is majoring in science communication and accessibility — a program she created herself through the college’s Personalized Study Program. Her ultimate goal is to make science more accessible to people with cognitive and developmental disabilities.

Voelker was one of two recipients of the 2018 President’s Prize, the highest recognition Ohio State bestows on exceptional students committed to social change. She plans on implementing AstroAccess, a three-part astronomy outreach initiative of her own design, starting her work in September 2019 at the South African Astronomical Observatory.

As a Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Nima Dahir will pursue a PhD in sociology at the Stanford School of Humanities and Sciences. The program provides financial support for the full cost of attendance for her graduate career. Dahir will also have access to leadership development resources, mentors in her field and experiential learning opportunities. Through her graduate education, Dahir hopes to study the economic barriers facing resettled populations.

Dahir, who graduated summa cum laude in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics, currently works as a research analyst within the microeconomics division at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While at Ohio State, she co-founded Refuge, an organization focused on making higher education more attainable for refugees and immigrants. 

She was also one of 20 students nationwide to be named a Beinecke Scholar in 2015, an honored awarded to students who show superior standards of intellectual ability, scholastic achievement and personal promise. Through her studies, she conducted an independent research project on how optimism may affect an individual’s willingness to take out a loan.

“The work and accomplishments of Anna and Nima speak to the college’s mission and deep commitment to provide students with exceptional education and opportunities for growth,” said David Manderscheid, executive dean and vice provost of the College of Arts and Sciences. “We are happy to have helped lay the pathway to what I’m sure will be two long and successful journeys.”


Hannah Smith, fourth-year journalism major