DISCO Interdisciplinary Programs Scholarship Awardees

DISCO, together with the Sexuality Studies, Latino/a Studies, Disability Studies, Asian American Studies, and American Indian Studies Programs, congratulates all winners of the DISCO Scholarships.



Abby Mills

Abby Mills is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Disability Studies and Education. Abby plans to work as an advocate for exceptional children in schools. Through her minor in Disability Studies, Abby had the opportunity to particpate in an internship with the Haugland Learning Center. There she worked with children with Autism Specturm Disorder and learned the ins and outs of  developing curriculum to best serve these students. 


Nicolette LeonNicolette Leon is an Spanish Major and with a minor in Latina/o Studies. Nicolette turned to Latina/o Studies after a semester abroad, working and researching in Mexico City. The minor fulfilled her desire to better understand Latina/o culture and bilingualism. The Latina/o Studies minor has helped Nicolette engage in difficult but important conversations about immigration, education, literature, and identity, making her "more culturally sensitive, aware, and informed." Nicolette aspires to become a bilingual educator and apply the many lessons learned in the Latina/o Studies program.  



Rebecca WoodsonRebecca Woodson, a Health Sciences Major and Disability Studies Minor, writes, "I am very grateful to be receiving a scholarship through DISCO and this award will help me to continue to follow my passion for working with individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. After graduating in May of 2018 I plan to attend an Occupational Therapy program so that I can spend the rest of my life working with individuals with disabilities of all ages. This award will help me continue my education and reach my goals!"



Tess SomervilleTess Somerville, a Health Science major with minors in Disability Studies and Dance, writes, "I will use the scholarship award to fund my classes for Autumn semester. The disabled population is very close to my heart and I have been working with them since age 10.  On campus I am involved in Best Buddies and Unified Basketball and this minor has given me tools to be a better and more inclusive friend. Ultimately, I would like to be an Occupational Therapist for individuals with special needs and this scholarship will help me continue to achieve this goal."


Emily MarkhamEmily Markham is graduating this Spring 2017 and is currently in the process of applying for positions as a Transition Coordinator, helping individuals transition from institutional settings back into the community. Emily will be going back to school after the following year for my Master's in Public Health with the potential for a degree in Disability Studies Leadership as well. She also hopes to start my Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (Path Intl.) certification during her gap year.


Mikaela R. Kussmaul


Mikaela R. Kussmaul plans to use the money to finish my Disability Studies minor. Being granted this scholarship will help fund the final classes that I need, which I will complete in the summer.




Emily Buchanan, a Public Health major and Sexuality Studies minor writes: "After I graduate I want to continue volunteering in HIV/STI prevention and testing and with the LGBTQ community and hope to even have my career connect to them in some way. I want to either do health policy or health promotion work and would love to do this work around the area of sexual health and can say that I think that may be a possibility with the information I have learned from my sexuality studies minor. I am thankful that I have had the opportunity to take the classes that I have and hope to take a few more before I graduate to better expand my knowledge of sexual health in our world today."
young woman with curly brown hair smiles at the cameraLyndsay Joyce, a Psychology major and American Indian Studies minor writes: "As a part of my project through the AIS minor, I will be using the funds to support further research on finding records on my family history. I have done some looking on ancestry.com, but I plan on traveling to Virginia and getting legal records (as much as I can). I also plan to get a DNA test done with sufficient evidence of my bloodline."
a young woman with dark blond hair squints and smiles at the cameraAnna Lieswyn, a Spanish major and Latina/o Studies minor writes: "I’m very excited to be taking a “Portuguese for Spanish speakers” class this Maymester which will be my first Portuguese language class and a great way to explore Latin American cultures in a new way. Aside from my Maymester class, I hope to continue working either as a Writing Consultant at OSU’s Writing Center or work at the Ohio Hispanic Coalition. I plan on using my DISCO Interdisciplinary Programs Scholarship to help pay for fees associated with my summer class and help me to continue my studies in Spanish and Comparative Cultural Studies, the latter of which my Latino/a Studies minor has inspired me to pursue."
a young woman with long dark brown hair and light skin, wearing glasses and a white button up shirt, smiles at the cameraAllison M. Paquette, a Sociology major and Sexuality Studies minor writes: "After I graduate in August, I hope to become a Community Health Educator with a focus on comprehensive sex education and prenatal and postnatal care. I want to work in at-risk communities, both domestically and abroad, to try and combat teen pregnancy, HIV/STDs, and infant mortality. After gaining a couple years of professional work experience, I plan to go back to school in order to become a Certified Nurse Midwife. I want to focus my midwifery career in underprivileged and impoverished communities helping women take control of their sexual and reproductive health, navigate the healthcare system, and complete healthy, successful, and wanted pregnancies."
a black and white photo of a young woman with long hair leaning against something smiling at the cameraAvery M. Schneider, a Psychology major and Disability Studies minor writes: "The scholarship money will go towards funding my Psychology and Disabilities Studies courses for next semester. I am also living in New York this summer, where I plan to find a part time job that will be associated with working alongside individuals with disabilities, in addition to shadowing Occupational Therapists, which is my ultimate dream job."
a young woman with long dark brown hair smiles at the camera, wearing a sleeveless shirt with flowersElizabeth Suarez, a Journalism major and Latina/o Studies minor writes: "While I expect that my minor in Latino studies will mainly further me professionally, I also selected the minor to further myself personally. Growing up the daughter of an immigrant, I learned that I was given a special gift. y minoring in Latino Studies, I am embracing my culture. Through reflection, I have realized that my inner voice wants to share the stories of Latin America and the Latino community because I had been giving a voice to a member of that community my whole life. I plan on using the scholarship money to pay for tuition, and I will be Multimedia Editor of The Lantern next year."
a light skinned woman with blonde hair and glasses, wearing a black shirt, smiles at the cameraDyana N. Zeidenstein, a Speech and Hearing Science major and Disability Studies minor writes: "I hope that as I enter graduate school I can utilize the information I learned through my disability studies minor courses and experience gained from the internship through the TOPS program to mold me into the best speech language pathologist possible. Once a licensed speech pathologist, my ultimate goal is to continue working with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities."


Photo of Stephanie Hadley, black and white photo of a light-skinned woman with blonde wavy hair and a black shirtStephanie Hadley, a Human Development and Family Science major with a minor in Disabilities Studies writes: "I first decided to pursue a minor in Disabilities Studies when I was faced with physical challenges while using a wheelchair on campus due to an injury, but have always had a great passion for improving the treatment of persons with disabilities in today’s society. By having this short-term experience with the obstacles that society presents for PWD, I was driven to become more knowledgeable of these issues and work with PWD to combat these challenges in my future career as an Occupational Therapist. This May, I will be traveling to Nicaragua to study social issues and human rights, and am interested to understand the treatment, experiences, and stigmas of disability in this country. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by influential colleagues, classmates, and faculty in the field of Disabilities Studies and look forward to applying all that I have learned to my daily life and profession!"
Photo of Lindsay JoyceLindsay Joyce, a Psychology major and an American Indian Studies minor, writes: "I am a 4th year student from Columbus, Ohio and I plan on using the money to help pay for classes so that I am able to further my career to one day be a psychiatrist. I would like to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist that deals with suicide and trauma like rape or child abuse that could potentially lead to suicide. That is why learning that suicide is the number one cause of death among Native Americans was so important to me. I wanted my friends to know about this issue so that they could help me spread the word in their homes."
Photo of Chelsea MasonChelsea Mason, a Speech and Hearing Science major and a Disability Studies minor, writes: "My plan for this scholarship money is to continue my undergraduate studies at Ohio State. I will use the fund in the future to apply and attend a graduate school to earn my doctorate and certification as a clinical audiologist so that I can help improve the lives of people with hearing losses. Professionally, I will be better equipped with knowledge about disabilities, the laws created to improve their conditions, and the best ways to make life as satisfying as possible for my future patients. I will have an improved understanding and general information on how to communicate with my patients."
Maria Morris, a History major and Latina/o Studies minor.
Photo of Samatha StephensonSamantha Stephenson writes: "I plan to use the scholarship to help me reach my ultimate goal of becoming an occupational therapist. This summer I have accepted an opportunity working with children with various types of disabilities as a summer camp counselor. I believe that being a counselor will complement my Disability Studies minor by allowing me to exercise all that I have learned so far. I cannot wait to experience what other benefits my minor has to offer in the future."
Photo of Jonathon SunJonathon Sun writes: "The scholarship money will be used to help continue my studies at The Ohio State University. Because I switched my major last semester to Sociology, I will have to be in school for one more year. My career goals is to work in Higher Education and Student Affairs or work in Education Policy. Thus, next year I will be applying to graduate school. My summer plans are currently in the air, as I am awaiting responses from a couple programs. I had an interview with the Attorney General's office downtown, and I applied for some internships in Washington D.C. However as of today, I will be working for the Religious Leadership and Diversity Project in the Sociology department. This is a national project that studies pastors of multiracial churches all across the nation. I will also be studying for the GRE as well. Aside from academic studies, I will be battling in the Midwest Beatbox battle, a panelist and co-host for Matsuricon, a convention held in Columbus, and traveling for to L.A for a little bit."


April HorstmanApril Horstman, a major in Health Sciences with a minor in Disability Studies, writes: "I plan to use this money to assist me towards my ultimate goal of attending graduate school for Occupational Therapy. I can't wait to see how my study in disability will benefit me in my future career!" She notes that the Disability Studies minor has benefitted her in various ways, "academically by gaining knowledge of disabilities in context, professionally by relating disability to my future career, and personally by understanding disabilities in society."

Seung JunSeung Jun notes: "Today, I stand as a leader for the Asian American Association. Having accepted the role of an event chair, I proudly take part in integrating discussions and workshops relevant to problems Asian Americans face daily into popular Asian American campus events. By taking AAS courses, I believe I can bring to light other problems that are affecting the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Community and offer additional ways to face these problems...Without Ohio State’s Asian American Studies program, I would not have been able to develop my understanding of the identity issues we face every day." Seung is a Computer Science/Engineering major and an Asian American Studies minor.

Kay KargKay Karg is a Speech and Hearing major with a History minor and Disability Studies minor. She is completing research regarding how people with disabilities were targeted in the Holocaust and the logistics and impact of the euthanasia program implemented during the Nazi State. She plans to become an Audiologist and has learned important and valuable information from her disability studies minor. She says "being a part of DISCO has allowed me to gain a wider understanding of how people with disabilities have been and are currently treated and that the exploration of this subject has made her more well-rounded and prepared to work with people with disabilities in her field.

Katrina LazarteKatrina Lazarte is a Psychology major with minors in Sexuality Studies and Education. She is an active member of Kappa Phi Lambda, an Asian interest sorority; Pilipino Student Association; and the Multicultural Greek Council where she holds the position of Executive Vice President. She hopes to use the knowledge she has learned from her Sexuality Studies minor to enlighten and educate the diverse community that she is greatly involved in. Upon receiving her bachelor’s degree of science, she hopes to be accepted into a School Psychology graduate program, with the help of the scholarship award funds, where she will earn an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree before beginning her career as a School Psychologist. Her ultimate goal is to affect the people around her to be more accepting and curious about furthering their understanding and acceptance of the differences of each individual around them.

Emily Paetz notes in her essay: "I work as a Resident Advisor at Ohio State and I have been able to help educate residents about disabilities and encourage them to change their language to combat the stigmas and misuse of their words when it comes to disabilities. I also work to get them to understand the impact that it can have on others. We talk a lot about inclusive language in Student Life and many people assume that talks only about things like race and gender, but disability is often left out. I continually try to bring it back into the conversation because there is such a wide range when it comes to disability it is important to include everyone and understand the different things that effect people in their everyday lives that may or may not be visible." Emily is majoring in Human Development and Family Science, with a minor in Disability Studies.

Brieann SchmidtBrieann Schmidt says that "receiving this scholarship is an honor and a reminder that I'm on the right path by majoring in Sexuality Studies.  Though many aspects of sexuality and sex itself are hidden and kept behind closed doors, there are also many messages about sexuality we can't escape from: advertisements depicting gender roles, sex tips in magazines, social pressures to express sexual identities in limited ways.  Sexuality Studies has helped me realize the possibility for diversity and variation, and I'd like to use this education to eventually get a Master of Social Work and provide therapy to those who struggle with their own sexuality.  In the meantime, I've started volunteering as a Sexpert in the Wellness Center and using the tools I've gained from my studies to better understand sexuality in the context of everyday life."

Kyle SchofieldKyle Schofield, a Psychology and Sexuality Studies double major, continued work on his thesis over the summer before beginning his final year at OSU this fall. In his essay, he writes: "The concepts I learned in my Sexuality Studies classes have given me a fascinating lens through which to view the world of psychology.  It has driven me to incorporate diversity of all types into my research considerations, and it gives me a way to positively critique and tweak past and current studies in order to be as inclusive - and therefore as representative and constructive - as possible."

Kate SmidlKate Smidl volunteered in the Speech-Language Pathology Department at Cincinnati Children's Hospital this summer and continued her search for graduate programs in Speech-Language Pathology. Of her career goals, she notes in her essay: "I want to specialize in Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and work with students who experience severe communication needs. Many of the students I will teach will have communication difficulties that result from IDDs such as Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome. Speech-language pathologists, along with educational coaches, support and promote the use of assistive technology that helps students maximize independence and increase their self-determination. AAC promotes assistive technology, including soundboards and alternative forms of communication, such as American Sign Language."

Beth StatlerBeth Statler noted that, this summer, she "hoped to venture on a BUCK-I-SERV trip as a volunteer at an out-of-state HIV/AIDS clinic to enhance my understanding of the virus itself and the psychological and physical effects that it has on the people who have become infected." A Biology major, Beth recently added the Sexuality Studies minor "to benefit my future career in genetic counseling, as well as to spread the word to others about the importance of sex and the grand consequences that it can have."


Jenny WurthJenny Wurth is a third year Speech and Hearing Science major planning on pursuing a career as a Speech Language Pathologist with a Reading and Literacy Specialization. She says that she "first decided to pursue a minor in Disability Studies in order to expand my knowledge and awareness regarding individuals with disabilities...The scholarship I have received will help me to continue pursuing these academic goals. In fact, I plan on applying it to my courses this summer. This will allow more availability in my Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 schedules so that I can continue with my internship at The Schoenbaum Family Center. It is an opportunity that I discovered through the Disability Studies department and I am extremely grateful to be able to continue working there next school year.


Emily BrownEmily Brown wrote about anticipating how her Sexuality Studies coursework will lend context to her career as an audiologist, saying "the focus of many of my classes has been GLBT issues[;] I have applied those lessons to welcome people from all walks of life.  …[t]his program has helped me understand and embrace those individual qualities and differences that make us human. Our world is full of unique persons. I like to think that we are all united, due to the fact that we are all unique."

Caitlyn DennisonCaitlyn Dennison noted of her American Indian Studies minor that it "is a way of giving direction to my educational future. History, even North American history, is broad area of study. In choosing to study American Indians I can look at the big picture, but also be very knowledgeable about a small part of the whole...," before proceeding through her expectations of doing graduate research on some aspect of American Indian society.

Heather GoreHeather Gore, whose minor is in American Indian Studies, noted of her expectations: "furthering my knowledge will allow me to pass on information to my children and others around me.  I believe if others were aware of what pain and suffering the Indigenous people endured, many would want to take part in acknowledging the role the American Indian has in our society today.  They would want to teach others to ensure no race or ethnic culture would ever be persecuted for being 'different'."

Jill HenryJill Henry wrote about studying to become a teacher, and credited her experience with her Disability Studies minor for how her "critical thinking and application skills have grown exponentially," saying "I have the ability to academically critique writings, arguments and testimonies surrounding disability issues and provide alternate approaches in thinking and applying these different ideas. This is a skill that is going to extend far beyond the realm of disability studies and has been a beneficial skill to have for my other courses as well...  I believe that having the Disability Studies minor will allow me to become a well-rounded educator."

Tamar KodishTamar Kodish relayed an appreciation for her Disability Studies minor, recalling how "Beginning my academic career at Ohio State, I entered with this limited interpretation of disability[;]… After taking courses across several disciplines… it became progressively clearer to me that my rigid definition of disability was inaccurate and incomplete…  My experiences in [the program] have encouraged me to alter my misconceptions, work at the intersection of my interests including psychology, disability and multiculturalism, and explore new areas that enhance my career goals."

Chase LedinChase Ledin wrote about his Sexuality Studies major, saying "it, on the whole, has changed my conception of how I interact with people – not only my friends and family, but also those I indirectly impact and even those sources that impact me.  Being able to recognize social, political, and economic forces that engender trends and preconceived values enables me—as an intellectual, young social activist—to seek out ways to interact with my own communities in a productive and empathetic occupation. Furthermore, sexuality studies has given me the tools to be articulate and engaged in current debates about culture, politics, and human-social problems."

Rebecca MonteleoneRebecca Monteleone related, of her individualized major in Disability Studies and Society: "my involvement with the Disability Studies program has provided me with such a broad, comprehensive, and truly insightful perspective on disability.  Prior to incorporating disability studies into my curriculum, I knew that I wanted to be involved with the intellectually an developmentally disabled population (ID/DD), but I had no idea about the rich and complex history, civil rights movements, and advocacy that made up disability culture. These insights will be invaluable to me as public health professional, as they will give me the knowledge and perspective to serve the ID/DD population in the most effective, empathetic manner."

Andrew PhilipAndrew Philip recalled how "One of the reasons I actually came to Ohio State was that out of all the universities I applied to…, OSU was the only one with an Asian American Studies minor.  …As I continued to journey in my own ethnic identity however, I began to see the intersections between my experience as a member of South Asia's diaspora with others under the label Asian American, and then even from there to the larger systems in place affecting us people of color and other minority groups. Even outside of class, various acts of hate and racist incidents on our campus and around the nation sparked my desire to stand up for social justice; the faculty, students, and resources of DISCO proved to be the best allies in this struggle that our university could offer."

Rachel WeberRachel Weber wrote about how her experiences in Sexuality Studies enabled her to be more deeply involved in Student Life activism, authoring a guidebook to student housing staff which dealt with such issues as intersectionality, privilege and oppression, allyship, and others.  She recalled: "my coursework in sexuality studies helped me understand these various topics better and gave me the writing skills to communicate complex ideas simply… When I was a freshman I could not envision anything outside of a binary, but now I understand that binaries do not exist. I have embraced the beauty of gray areas…."

Christine WuChristine Wu wrote about her work in Asian American Studies and how it "has also provided a contextual framework for responding to incidences of anti-Asian racism on campus and in the news. Learning about the history of anti-Asian racism stemming from the first waves of immigration helped me better understand the stereotypes and forms of racism that continue to persist today; consequently, I have a stronger foundation for dialoguing with others who perceive these incidents of racism as harmless or innocuous. …My experiences as an AAS minor have ignited my love for learning and a passion for pursuing knowledge for its own sake. These are two of the core values in Ohio State's vision statement, and without this minor program, I would not have experienced these values."


Duna AlkhalailehDuna Alkhalaileh is an International Studies major with a minor is Disability Studies, currently finishing her second year at OSU.  Of the things the Disability Studies program has given her the opportunity to learn, she reports, "The term abnormal is laced with a negative connotation and does not accurately describe persons with disabilities, for they are every bit as normal as you and I—[…] the most important aspect I have been taught is to be able to make the distinction between what is considered 'normal' versus what is considered unique."


Molly BergenMolly Bergen, in her third year at OSU, is coupling a Latino/a Studies minor with a major in Social Work.  She says of her time in the Latino/a Studies program that "In addition to being more aware of the needs of Latinos and the barriers this group can face in America, I have been able to study the strengths of the Latino community… Understanding these various aspects of latinidad has helped me to be more culturally competent – a key not only to being a successful social worker, but to being an informed citizen of a changing US society."


Samuel DubinSamuel Dubin is a Neuroscience major, in his first year at OSU, with a minor in Sexuality Studies.  He explains, "I declared a minor in Sexuality Studies to fully realize the context of homosexuality within society and to be able to communicate this with others.  This academic background will let me clarify and move beyond my personal experiences; I can be unbiased and empathetic when providing others with a perspective to help them define too-often overwhelming and nebulous emotions."


Emilie FetheroffEmilie Fetheroff is in her second year at OSU coupling a Disability Studies minor with a Psychology major. Of her minor, she writes "…I have strived to work with Make-A-Wish to grant wishes that will bring the same joy to other children [that I saw it bring to my cousin]. A minor in Disability Studies will help me approach the delicate needs of the children expecting a wish. […]The Disability Studies minor is a gift to my education because it allows me to better serve others using my goal to make children's wishes an unforgettable experience."


Shelby KretzShelby Kretz is pursuing a minor in Sexuality Studies, along with her major in Psychology, and is finishing her third year at OSU.  She cites her work in Sexuality Studies as, in her words, having "allowed me the opportunity not only to take classes but to get even more involved in the field of sexuality through real world experience.  […]At a basic level, I have a deeper understanding of the issues that go along with sexuality, including what happened in the past, what is happening now, and what could happen in the future... But my experiences have gone beyond gaining facts and information.  I have learned to ask hard questions[;]  … the ability to critically evaluate the world around me is a skill that will be invaluable in all aspects of my life."


Juwon LeeJuwon Lee is pursuing an Asian American Studies minor along with his Comparative Studies major in what is his fourth year at OSU.  To the question of his experience in Asian American Studies, he recalls that "before entering higher education, I was a young queer who loathed being Korean[,]" but learned, in his minor coursework, "about different experiences and approaches in regards to intersecting identities; multiple parts of one's identity co-exist and they are organically interrelated.  The dichotomous understanding of race, nationality, and sexuality began to dissolve. […]Systematically engaging with analytical frameworks and theoretical thoughts was not only an original experience, but also an inspirational experience for me."


Heather WallingfordHeather Wallingford, now in her first year at OSU, is pursuing a minor in Disability Studies and a major in Psychology.  She credits the Disability Studies program, in her own words, for helping her "to understand disabilities for what they really are and not for what people make them out to be.  Disabilities are so much more than a label, bunching everyone into the same category."  She ultimately, as she explains, has come to value "the capability to see past the stereotypes."



Yuri DoolanYuri Doolan, Asian American Studies Minor


Alexander PaulchellAlexander Paulchell, Sexuality Studies Minor


No imageMadelyn Stevens, Sexuality Studies Minor


Andrew StockAndrew Stock, Sexuality Studies Minor


Christine TarrantChristine Tarrant, Sexuality Studies Minor


Anna WotowiecAnna Wotowiec, Disability Studies Minor