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What I Did This Summer

August 27, 2012

From helping orphans in Ghana to going behind the scenes at ESPN and Disney, Ohio State students made the most of their summer break. Here, Buckeyes share their stories of service, studying, career-building, and sightseeing.


David Bethel - Research in Senegal
David Bethel - Research in Senegal
Hannah Bonacci - Volunteered at an orphanage in Ghana
Hannah Bonacci - Volunteered at an orphanage in Ghana
Hannah Bonacci - Volunteered at an orphanage in Ghana
Mike Bufano - Studied higher education structure in central China with six other graduate students
Mike Bufano - Studied higher education structure in central China with six other graduate students
Mike Bufano - Studied higher education structure in central China with six other graduate students
Mike Bufano - Studied higher education structure in central China with six other graduate students
Mike Bufano - Studied higher education structure in central China with six other graduate students
Marisa Contipelli - Interned with ESPN in Los Angeles
Marisa Contipelli - Interned with ESPN in Los Angeles
Marisa Contipelli - Interned with ESPN in Los Angeles
Marisa Contipelli - Interned with ESPN in Los Angeles
Donniecia Cummings - Interned at ServiceNation in Washington, D.C.
Spencer Debenport - Attended a month-long workshop in Senegal
Spencer Debenport - Attended a month-long workshop in Senegal
Michelle Eckley - Interned at Cooper Power Systems in Milwauke
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Kim Gombita - Interned at Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Peter Marzalik - Studied language in Russia
Caroline Weihl - Interned at Trupointe Cooperative, Inc


David Bethel

Major: Environmental Science (Soil Option)

David Bethel

“My summer has been spent in the West African country of Senegal. I participated in a National Science Foundation project that is researching the interactions of two native shrub species with crops in agricultural systems. I lived at a university in the Senegalese city of Thiès, where I was able to interact with other college students (some of whom speak English!). All in all, it’s been a fantastic experience!”


Hannah Bonacci

Major: Social Work

Hannah Bonacci

“I served as a group leader organizing 16 volunteers to work through International Volunteer HQ in an orphanage in Ghana. Our placement was in Somanya, a beautiful town surrounded by mountains. We worked with 40 kids and lived with the family of the founders of the Bright Future Orphanage. While there, we painted and built cubbies. With everything we gave the kids, our group received so much more in return and every volunteer took home their own lessons from the experience. I plan to organize another trip for this coming summer.”


Mike Bufano

Major: Higher Education and Student Affairs (Master’s Program)

Mike Bufano

“I traveled to Wuhan University in central China with six other graduate students to study the structure of higher education at Chinese universities. Although my time in Wuhan was focused on meeting administrators and students, I relished the 'in between' experiences offering some once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. From hiking the Wudang Mountains to being honored guests at customary Chinese banquets to meeting students from across the globe, our group was afforded true immersion in Chinese culture and traditions. My adventures gave me memories that will last a lifetime and keener insight into how to serve international populations as a student affairs practitioner.”


Marisa Contipelli

Major: Strategic Communications

Marisa Contipelli

“This summer I had the opportunity to intern with ESPN at their Los Angeles studio. I worked with the Production Operations team on SportsCenter and the Spanish version of SportsNation. My time in L.A. was primarily spent working in the studio operating cameras and helping with set changes. Throughout the summer I had the privilege to work with X Games and the ESPYS. Even though I worked in production, my supervisor allowed me to shadow other areas, including the control room, editing, audio, and media. I also was able to learn from our two anchors, Neil Everett and Stan Verrett, who gave me great insight into the sports reporting field! I had an incredible experience working for ESPN, and it is one that will truly last a lifetime!”


Donniecia Cummings

Major: Social Work

Donniecia Cummings

“In Washington, D.C., I interned at ServiceNation, an organization that promotes national service initiatives as well as veteran affairs issues. I learned about how grassroots advocacy operates as well as grass top initiatives. I look forward to applying my new research skills and policy knowledge to my education and a career in social policy. I plan to attend graduate school where I can study social work with a concentration on social policy and community development.”


Spencer Debenport

Major: Plant Pathology

Spencer Debenport

“I attended a month-long workshop in Dakar, Senegal, on tropical microbial ecology. There were graduate students and postdocs from the United States and around Africa attending, and we were able to learn from scientists from around the world. We learned how to conduct research in this sub-Saharan environment and how our research can connect to real world issues such as food security. We worked with local farmers and conducted mini-projects with them regarding soil health in this region. On top of this, we had fun visiting the pink lake here and doing a high-ropes course through baobab trees!”


Michelle Eckley

Major: Business (Human Resources)

Michelle Eckley

“This summer I interned in human resources at Cooper Power Systems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In this experience I grew both professionally and personally. My main responsibilities included supporting 350 employees of a heavy manufacturing plant. Some of my tasks included hourly recruiting, employee appreciation events, payroll adjustments, new hire orientations, and terminations. Some of my strategic projects included an organizational chart analysis, a training audit, and looking at causes of turnover. I also had the chance to explore Milwaukee. Some of my adventures included Miller Brewery, the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Basilica, and the beaches of Lake Michigan.”


Kim Gombita

Major: Visual Communication Design

Kim Gombita

“I had the amazing opportunity to work this summer as a graphics intern for Walt Disney Imagineering in Orlando, Florida! The graphics department handles all of the graphic art needs for each park and resort in the area. This could include menu designs, attraction logos, and any type of signage. I got to work on quite a few projects and my favorites were developing the new logo for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and redesigning a menu for Beaches and Cream Ice Cream Parlor.”


Justin Manning

Major: Optometry

Justin Manning

“I led a team of 17 optometry students and four optometrists from the Student Volunteer Optometric Services to Humanity (SVOSH) organization at Ohio State to the remote towns of Llica and Uyuni in Bolivia, becoming the first team ever to provide eye care to those in these towns with little or no access to such care. In Llica, located in the southern part of the country, we served close to 300 patients giving free eye exams; dispensing donated glasses for distance and reading; and giving away sunglasses, hats, and any necessary ophthalmic medications. We served close to 400 patients in Uyuni, a larger town located on the east side of the salt flats, for a grand total of four days of free clinics.”


Peter Mazalik

Majors: Security & Intelligence and Russian

Peter Mazalik

“This summer I received a Critical Language Scholarship from the Department of State with the specific purpose of studying the Russian language. I lived with a host family for two months in a city called Ufa and completed 160 hours of schoolwork at Bashkir State Pedagogical University. In addition to classes, I participated in eight excursions to various destinations including multiple museums, a tiny village in the Ural Mountains, and the 'third capital' of Russia, Kazan. Though quite challenging, this experience was immensely rewarding. Ultimately, it was the memorable interactions with both my American and Russian peers that most strongly impacted my view of the world.”


Austin Mudd

Major: Molecular Genetics

Minor: Neuroscience and General Business

Austin Mudd

“I spent this summer working with children in the LiFE Sports Camp. It is important to me to help underprivileged children learn water safety and essential skills to keep them safe while in the water. This experience was challenging yet rewarding and certainly kept me busy this summer.”


Evelyne Ntam

Major: Doctor of Pharmacy/PharmD

Evelyne Ntam

“I was part of an interdisciplinary student team from Ohio State that traveled to Gisenyi, Rwanda. We provided health services to underserved populations. With only 300 pharmacists in all of Rwanda, I saw an opportunity for the country to increase awareness of how pharmacy can help in areas such as HIV/AIDS, infectious diseases, and chronic disease. I was able to bring my proficiency in pharmacy, and the other students in physical therapy, occupational therapy, and medicine were all able to bring a variety of skills and knowledge to the people. The experience made me more appreciative of what these professions do to improve the lives of patients.”


Allie Riley

Major: Social Work

Allie Riley

“This summer, I collected dissertation data at Ohio State’s LiFE Sports Camp. The study explored staff practices and youth outcomes in a sport-based youth development program. I worked with a team of six Ohio State students to conduct systematic observations of staff practices. Over the course of 15 days, we observed 24 different program groups on three occasions. During the hour-long observations, we took objective notes and completed two measurement tools on iPads. The research team agrees that this was a challenging but rewarding experience!”

Andi Smith

Major: Accounting and Finance

Andi Smith

“I worked in Michigan at the Ford Motor Company this summer in product development-finance. It has been an exciting experience for me. I got to see new cars coming to market, cars that have not even been announced yet! While I can’t share what they look like, I can tell you to look forward to some really exciting new cars coming soon. I drove many Ford vehicles on a test track (unfortunately my speed was limited to 80 mph) and even met the CEO, Alan Mulally. I represented Ohio State every day, especially being in foreign territory. O-H!”


Caroline Weihl

Major: Agricultural Communication

Caroline Weihl

“This summer, I took an active role in my academic area of interest during an internship position at Trupointe Cooperative, Inc., an agricultural cooperative that serves over 30 different counties in Ohio and Indiana. My role was to act as a member of the marketing services department, utilizing my skills in writing, photography, graphic design, and strategizing. Not only was I able to meet with and interview over 40 employees, but I composed their professional biographies for company use. In addition, I designed some marketing pieces, assisted in event planning, and took photographs of employee/customer interaction, locations, and crops. I encourage everyone to attain an internship.”


Melissa Yetmar

Majors: Human Nutrition

M. Yetmar

“This summer I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of Nourish International’s summer project in Uganda for six weeks. We partnered with Global Health Network (Uganda) to work on a sustainable development project within impoverished rural communities in Northern Uganda. We built five latrines and provided HIV testing and education on health-related topics such as sanitation, hygiene, malaria, pregnancy, etc. The most rewarding part of my experience came at the end, when the communities acted out a play in an effort to show us the impact we had already made in such a short time span. Being a part of this experience was the best way I could have spent my summer. Go Bucks!”