What does Ohio State mean to students like Jason Marion?
A chorus of excited chatter and nervous giggles ripples through the 30 pre-teens clustered at the water’s edge for a workshop. “I’m not scared, I’m not scared,” one boy declares as the kids crowd around a basin of water collected from the lake, which is squirming with insects and other aquatic life. “Look at those little red things,” exclaims a girl, fascinated. “What are those red things?”
Workshop leader and doctoral student, Jason Marion, knows from experience that nature’s laboratory--the outdoors--is the best way to spark a student’s interest in science. The son of a dam operator in the small village of Batavia, Ohio, Jason spent much of his childhood around water and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rangers. As a Junior Ranger, he knew water was his passion.
This interest drew Jason to Ohio State’s College of Public Health to pursue his PhD. There, he received a fellowship that allowed him to research his first love: Ohio’s lakes and bodies of water--a love Jason was happy to share in a summer science workshop for urban public school students. “Some people are really responsive to hands-on learning--students who, historically, might not be interested if it was on a paper in front of them.”
As a recipient of scholarships and grants that have allowed Jason to not only attend college but to thrive in a field he loves, he’s happy to help others find their paths, too. “If I can help three or four of those students learn to love science, then that’s pretty good. People helped me out. Why shouldn’t I help these kids?”