2022 University Outreach and Engagement Awards

2022 University Outreach and Engagement Awards

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!

Community Engaged Scholar Awards

The Community Engaged Scholar Award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated engaged scholarship that has 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 supporting communities.

Award amount: $1,000

College of Arts and Sciences/Anthropology

Dr. Cohen has created and leads Project Panchavati, a community engaged project that brings OSU's Department of Anthropology and College of Social Work together with the Bhutanese community of Central Ohio to reimagine the purpose of the social sciences. Working hand-in-hand with community leaders, the research team is developing new pathways to resolve pressing issues around the pandemic, access to education and challenges to well-being while promoting a just future. Founded in the project Bridging the Digital Divide: A Collaborative Exploration of the Bhutanese Community Response to Covid-19 and with support of the OSU Research Foundation, Dr. Cohen and his team used 2021 to develop and implement an innovative investigation of the challenges facing the Bhutanese community in Central Ohio. Their research bridges academic and applied concerns, mentors college-aged Bhutanese students, and is a foundation for innovative community programming that will support access to information for all concerned.

Bridging academic and applied concerns, their research on the digital divide and the goals of Project Panchavati are founded on the co-production of knowledge, or the creation of new pathways to problem solving through the dynamic engagement of experts who bring different ways of viewing and analyzing the world. Opening opportunities for new solutions to the challenges we face is energized by the presence and central role that research interns and members of the community play. Dr. Cohen and his team are able to introduce college-aged Bhutanese to research, mentor them through fieldwork and foster a sense of purpose as they mature as scholars, aid in project development and begin their careers as students.

The co-produced nature of Dr. Cohens project fosters innovation and supports access to information for the community as well. How can we or should we respond to crises like the pandemic? Working hand-in-hand with the BCCO (The Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio), Dr. Cohen and his team define new pathways to understanding the challenges the Bhutanese face and together they are creating solutions that will support real change. Critically, their work shows how the digital divide is manifest as more than limits on access to the internet and electronic information and is instead defined by clashes around cultural beliefs and social practices within the community. Furthermore, their work captures how the focus on the pandemic can limit the acknowledgement of other challenges facing the community, including crime, drug abuse, diabetes, and heart disease to name just a few.

Assistant Professor
College of Medicine

Dr. Kamilah Dixon-Shambley, MD, MA is an assistant professor of Ob-Gyn, Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and the Medical Director of Moms2B. In her roles, she works to ensure there is continued connection between the Ob-Gyn department and the Columbus community. Moms2B is an innovative community-based pregnancy and postpartum education and support program that serves participants who were historically underserved due to barriers to access to care and services. Through her direction, the program, which was previously in-person at 8 locations in Columbus, was able to transition to a virtual program during the COVID-19 pandemic to serve participants in Columbus and Dayton. Through zoom sessions and telephone case management, the program was able to serve 150-175 expectant and new moms monthly and enabled participants to connect to community resources and much needed donations during their time of need. The program also secured CAREs funding to ensure that participants could have access to Wifi-enabled iPads to ensure connectivity and access to group education sessions. Additionally, given the challenges of the COVID pandemic and widespread problem of medical misinformation, she hosted multiple Q+A information sessions for the participants regarding the benefits of vaccination and received training so she could administer COVID vaccines on the Community Care Coach during sessions.

She has also served as the lead physician for the womens health service line for the Community Care Coach which was started in March 2020. Service was resumed in August 2021 and has since been an avenue for patients to receive prenatal, postpartum and well woman care in their communities. She continues to work with and mentor medical students and undergraduate students and has introduced many to the concepts of compassionate community care.

Associate Professor
College of Arts and Sciences/History

Associate Professor Hasan Kwame Jeffries is the epitome of a public intellectual, combining stellar scholarship and award-winning teaching with a profound commitment to serving the Ohio State community and the broader community in Columbus, in Ohio, and in the United States at large.

THE FACULTY OF COLOR CAUCUS. In 2006-07, Professor Jeffries helped to found the Department of Historys Faculty of Color Caucus, which launched initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion in faculty and staff hiring and in graduate and undergraduate admissions. The caucus also encouraged honest conversations at faculty and staff meetings, and in meetings of the departments Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC), about fostering acceptance of difference of all kinds. In 2008, the FCC won the College of Arts and Sciences Diversity Enhancement Faculty Award.

COURSES. Professor Jeffries has created and regularly teaches a number of undergraduate History courses that celebrate African Americans' contributions to our country while training students to recognize racism and other forms of bias in American society and in their own lives. History 3085, "African American History Through Contemporary Film," for example, presents a wide array of films by and about Black Americans, from the silent movie era through today. Students of all backgrounds and identities are able to engage with the films while developing a critical sense of how they comment on our society.

MEDIA APPEARANCES. Professor Jeffries is a frequent guest on local, statewide, and national radio and television news and topical programs. In these venues, he discusses current events that have an impact of populations of color, as well as key episodes in African American history. For example, he has appeared numerous times on WOSU radio's daily talk program "All Sides with Ann Fisher." He has also been interviewed scores of times on nationally syndicated radio and television news programs. He has published op-ed pieces in the Columbus Dispatch and nationally prominent newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post; he has likewise been quoted in numerous articles in these papers. These activities raise public awareness of African American history and of episodes of social injustice. He has also participated in a number of documentary films as a featured on-camera scholar. These include the 2016 Emmy-nominated PBS documentary Black America since MLK: And Still I Rise, a four-hour tour de force conceived by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

PUBLIC HISTORY PROJECTS. Professor Jeffries has lent his expertise to numerous public history projects seeking to preserve the Black experience in the U.S. From 2010-14, for a prominent example, he served as lead historian and primary scriptwriter for the $27 million renovation of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, site of the 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

EDUCATIONAL CONSULTATION. To promote enlightened learning throughout Ohio, Professor Jeffries regularly consults with school districts on developing inclusive social studies curricula that help to combat racism. In connection with this work, he conducts professional development workshops for teachers and speaks to student assemblies.

Assistant Professor
College of Social Work

Dr. Arati Maleku's research program explores how sociostructural determinants of health influence immigrant and refugee well-being and inclusion outcomes. Transformative research practice, an orientation that mobilizes research participants at the community level to co-generate solutions that improve social conditions, is central to her aim of making engaged connections between academia and the real lives of communities.She employs multilevel participatory research approaches, using research as an intervention and leveraging community partnerships to build community capacity and promote community resilience, both outcomes that ultimately benefit the community. She co-designs research with immigrant and refugee communities, identifies funding for research that is responsive to community priorities, and uplifts community-generated solutions through engaged scholarship. She has continually emphasized the role of community-academic partnerships in reducing the gaps between research and practice, calling for a paradigm shift away from traditional practices where research is often driven by a pre-conceptualized agenda. Some research includes:

New Americans Project

Findings from the New Americans Project that assessed the human service landscape in the central Ohio region pertaining to immigrants and refugees have generated broad interest and discussion with the City Council of Columbus allocating resources based on their recommendations. The team participated in invited discussions and meetings across the region, including with former Governor John Kasich's office. Based on the project's two major findings - the gap in human services workers' capacity to provide culturally responsive services and the gap in collaboration and service coordination among human services organizations - they organized the 2019 Community Engagement and Action Conference, which brought together community leaders, community-based organizations, and stakeholders, including local funders, to address the needs of human services organizations with respect to immigrant and refugee populations in central Ohio.

Cultural Leadership Project

To address the persistent lack of culturally responsive interventions to improve the holistic well-being of immigrant youth, she developed a healing-centered engagement intervention model (HCE) that focuses on healing as a pathway to well-being. This model is based on the 12-month Cultural Leadership Project that engaged young Bhutanese women as cultural ambassadors to identify community assets and cultural resources, framing the idea of cultural leadership in family, community, and collective identity. Results showed that the project significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression and increased resilience, self-compassion, and leadership skills. The culmination of the community-based cultural leadership project with Bhutanese young women prompted the creation of a participant-led support group, Women of Knowledge and Empowerment (WOKE), and successfully secured a grant from the Womens Fund in Central Ohio. The participants have become strong advocates for women in the Bhutanese community and cultural ambassadors to the larger community. This project currently is in the second round of funding, for which she serves as a consultant and evaluator, and has become a key source of support and a cultural capital platform for young Bhutanese refugee women.

Bhutanese Response Assistance Volunteer Effort (BRAVE) Project

She has been engaged in the co-development of BRAVE; a multidimensional community-based initiative (CBI) that began in March 2020 to address the Bhutanese communitys immediate health needs exacerbated by COVID-19. BRAVE has now been replicated in 13 U.S. cities, engaging more than 270 Bhutanese youth volunteers as community leaders and directly benefitting approximately 3,600 Bhutanese refugees.

College of Arts and Sciences/Geography

Through his scholarship as Reusche Chair and Professor and leadership as Director of the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis (CURA), Prof. Miller has developed new partnerships and activities between the university and community stakeholders, spanning issues such as transportation, sustainability, social equity, public health, infant mortality and the opioid crisis. Over the past five years, these partners include the City of Columbus, the Mid-Ohio Planning Commission (MORPC), the Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA), Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the Central Ohio Trauma System (COTS), Franklin County Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board, Jobs Ohio and Action for Children. He also involves faculty and students from Arts and Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Public Health and the Wexner Medical Center and university entities such as the Sustainability Institute and the Translation Data Analytics Institute. This has reinvigorated the university environment for community-engaged scholarship on urban issues. These partnerships and activities are also changing the way the community is approaching its challenges.

Several projects and partnerships led by Prof. Miller exemplify his community and university impacts:

  • Franklin County Opioid Crisis Activity Level (FOCAL) Map project, Prof. Miller is leading a team of researchers in Arts and Sciences, Public Health and the Wexner Medical Center, the local opioid treatment community, first responders and local government to develop actionable, dynamic knowledge from data on the opioid crisis in Columbus.
  • The Regional Sustainability Agenda Dashboard, developed in partnership with MORPC, visualizes dynamic sustainability indicators for a region centered on Columbus, and makes the data available for download for researchers, educators and students. This project won the Collaborative Achievement in Sustainability Award at the Central Ohio Summit on Sustainability in November 2020.
  • Smart Columbus Impacts assesses the Smart Columbus project for the city and the U.S. Department of Transportation; this project involves faculty and students from Geography, City and Regional Planning, Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, the Sustainability Institute and the Environmental and Social Sustainability Lab.
  • An ongoing CURA-COTA research partnership focuses on discovering new strategic insights from community-wide, multimodal data to make the system more responsive and equitable.
  • Prof. Miller is leading an interdisciplinary team to establish an urban sustainability observatory to foster engagement and actions towards a more environmentally friendly, socially just and innovative community.

College of Education and Human Ecology

Among the signature programs that Professor Elaine Richardson has founded and developed in the area of community engaged scholarship and teaching is an afterschool performance - arts based social literacies club for middle school Black girls (2010-2015). She worked with girls to broaden their understandings of literacy by introducing them to their cultural legacies of literacy as social action, focused upon individual and collective empowerment. This work entailed critical interrogation of societal practices and myths, that produce vulnerable life conditions for Black women and girls. As in her own scholarship, Dr. Richardson worked with Black girls in the community as they developed their voices and counter-narrative creations that challenge disenfranchisement. This research and outreach were funded by grants from The Battelle Foundation, Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), OSU Service Learning, and the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board of Franklin County (ADAMH). Overlapping with this endeavor, Richardson founded the Ohio State University Hiphop Literacies Conference [OSU HHLC] (2011-present).

Additionally, in 2017, Richardson founded the non-profit Education Foundation for Freedom (EFF) and Columbus Women & Girls' Fest (CBUSWGFEST), which grew out of the girls' club, creating a wider platform for diverse women and girls' empowerment through arts and cultural experiences. Like the afterschool club, the mission of EFF is to promote leadership and collective empowerment for diverse women, girls, and gender expansive youth of color. One arm of CBUSWGFEST is Empowering Young Voices. Its goal is to push against economic and race-based gender barriers and interrupt vulnerability by creating opportunities for aspiring and diverse girl artists to be mentored by professional women artists and educators. The program emphasizes character-building, self-confidence, accountability, and skills needed for public presentation of art for social justice. Girls also gain leadership experience in programming. Past sponsors include College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE), Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme, African American Studies Extension Center, OSU Womens Place, Greater Columbus Arts Council, Ohio Arts Council, Columbus Foundation, City of Columbus, Black Girls Rising Inc, Eryn PiNK, Brown Girls Mentoring, Broad Street Presbyterian Church, Thiosanne Dance Institute, Maroon Arts Group, and Zoras House.

Community Engaged Champion Award

The Community Engaged Champion Award recognizes university leaders who have made significant impacts on communities across Ohio, the nation and the world. Community Engaged Champions have created an environment at the university to ensure that faculty, staff and students are engaged with the community in meaningful ways.

Award amount: $1,000

John Glenn College of Public Affairs

Dr. Trevor Brown conducts research and teaches on public management and leadership, governance, government contracting, public private partnerships, and democracy and democratic transitions.

Browns research focuses on public-private partnerships and how governments organize to deliver goods and services to citizens, and when governments elect to contract service delivery, how they manage the relationship with the vendor. The National Institute of Governmental Purchasing recognized him as the Scholar of the Year in 2013. The American Society of Public Administrations Section on Public Administration Research awarded his co-authored book, "Complex Contracting: Government Contracting in the Wake of the U.S. Coast Guards Deepwater Program" (Cambridge University Press), as the Book of the Year in 2014. He has published in a variety of journals including Public Administration Review, the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.

He teaches undergraduate, graduate professional, doctoral and executive education courses on managing and leading public sector organizations, public sector organizational strategy, organizational theory and democratic transition.

He has also worked with local, state, federal and foreign governments, as well as public organizations, to improve organizational and managerial performance. He has conducted applied research projects for the U.S. Department of the Navy, the IBM Center for the Business of Government, the Pew Center on the States, the City of Columbus, Ohio, the Eurasia Foundation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. His research on government contracting has been utilized by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

Community Partnership Award

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

Award amount: $1,000

College of Arts and Sciences

Guided by a commitment to equity and radical inclusion, the Ohio Prison Education Exchange Project (OPEEP) believes that quality education is a right regardless of ones background, identity, or status. The project emphasizes collaborative learning opportunities for incarcerated students alongside campus students in several of central Ohios prison facilities. Broadening experiences of learning in new and challenging contexts illustrates the rewards of engaging in intellectual projects through empathy and a shared commitment to recognize the dignity of all people.

OPEEPs efforts to expand prison-based education across OSUs multiple campuses include many activities underway and planned in the near future. They are working to expand the range of inside-out and prison-based curricular offerings across the Arts and Sciences. In May 2021, they offered an inside-out instructor training exclusively for OSU faculty and teaching staff. The project will enrich OSU student learning opportunities to include social justice-oriented courses. They also work with incarcerated students to support their higher education goals, and their plans include a regional collaboration with other central Ohio colleges and universities to expand programming and degree-completion for incarcerated students and returned citizens.

The project is also excited to offer guidance on aligning inside-out courses with the new General Education curriculum, especially for high impact and service-learning opportunities.

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.

Award amount: $1,000

Extension Educator
College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences/Extension/Ohio Sea Grant

Dr. Scott Hardy is an Extension Educator with Ohio Sea Grant and The Ohio State University. He helps to develop sustainable solutions for communities facing emerging water quality and quantity dilemmas in the Lake Erie watershed. He accomplishes this by contributing to community initiatives such as the Cleveland Climate Action Planning Committee, Cuyahoga River Area of Concern Advisory Committee, Cleveland Water Alliance Program Committee, and Cleveland Plastic Reduction Working Group. These partnerships have established the foundation for applied research and outreach over the past five years resulting in six peer-reviewed scientific journal articles, two Needs Assessments for local communities, two OSU Extension Fact Sheets, three online blog posts, and one Decision Support Tool and interactive web site for coastal marina owners. Being a practitioner-scholar helps Dr. Hardy to connect with stakeholders in the region that are vital to informing the type of engaged scholarship opportunities that are most impactful.

Much of Dr. Hardys work focuses on climate resilience and capacity building for communities vulnerable to coastal storms. In northeast Ohio, extreme precipitation events are causing flooding, riverine and coastal erosion, and stormwater runoff laden with bio-contaminants. Dr. Hardy received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) to study coastal storm vulnerability and resilience, resulting in the development of a storm hazards vulnerability assessment of communities located in the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District that are susceptible to the effects of climate change. This project can serve as a road map for the development and implementation of climate mitigation policies and practices in the coastal region of Lake Erie and floodplain of the Cuyahoga River.

His work with climate resilience has also led to an emphasis on green infrastructure (GI) as a strategy to offset harmful stormwater runoff. He is part of a project team including coastal marina owners and operators, environmental engineers, and stormwater specialists that used a grant from the Great Lakes Protection Fund to install GI at three marinas in Ohio, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The project resulted in a Decision Support Tool (DST) for marinas interested in implementing GI on their properties and provided guidance for an online stormwater management toolkit website. The DST and website educate marina owners and operators about the promise of GI and help inform decision-making about stormwater mitigation strategies at marinas and other coastal locations. Dr. Hardy has even taken groups of students on field trips to learn firsthand about ways coastal landowners can reduce stormwater runoff.

Director of Art & Resilience
Wexner Center for the Arts

An innovative thinker and true trailblazer, Tracie McCambridge has forged new partnerships across the university and the community as she works to advance health, well-being, and resilience through the arts. As Director of Art & Resilience at the Wexner Center for the Arts (Wex), McCambridge has an extraordinary track record working in the community to serve military veterans, recently incarcerated women, and women who have been trafficked, with plans to work with EMTs, people with gastrointestinal issues, and other demographics.

About a decade ago, McCambridge created a suite of resilience programs for the Wex (in consultation with the Wexner Medical Center), starting with Art on the Brain for participants in the post-acute stages of traumatic brain injury. Through weekly group sessions, participants and their caregivers (and social workers as needed) experience and discuss visual art and short performances by local contemporary dance or music groups. Through guided group conversation and occasional hands-on art activities, the program fosters critical thinking and social interaction, among other benefits. McCambridge encourages participants to unpack the stories artists are trying to tell, often leading them to tell their own stories.

This approach led to additional iterations: Vets at the Wex for miliary veterans who have experienced post-traumatic stress disorder, in collaboration with the Chalmers P. Wylie Ambulatory Care Center; Art Unlocked, for women transitioning out of incarceration, in collaboration with the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville; a program in partnership with Franklin Countys CATCH special court docket for survivors of human trafficking; and a new partnership with Sanctuary Night in Franklinton, also for women who have been trafficked or solicited. In addition, she is planning to pursue an iteration of her resilience program with EMTs and potentially other front-line workers.

LiFEsports Director of Operations
College of Social Work/Extension

Rebecca (Becky) Wade-Mdivanian, MSW, LISW-S, is the Director of Operations of the Learning in Fitness and Education through Sports (LiFEsports) Initiative, a partnership between the Department of Athletics, College of Social Work, Student Life, and Extension. LiFEsports is a nationally recognized model for sport-based positive youth development (PYD). This campus-wide initiative aims to impact the lives of youth by providing free and accessible sport opportunities in communities to address the broader social conditions young people face, especially those exposed to various social and economic vulnerabilities.

Since 2008, Becky has been integral to the growth, development, and sustainability of the initiative both locally and nationally. She is an expert in grant writing and fundraising, outreach and engagement, teaching and learning, curriculum development, and service. All of these activities support the OSUs commitment to community engagement and LiFEsports mission "to prepare youth for life and leadership through sport."

Becky's leadership over the last 14 years has increased internal and external funding to grow, develop, and implement the LiFEsports Initiative and namely fund the annual LiFEsports Summer Camp. She has led numerous fundraising and grant writing efforts to support annual operating costs, including the development and implementation of an annual giving campaign that has dramatically increased the reach of LiFEsports. As a result of her leadership, LiFEsports has an annual operating budget that has now grown to over $800,000. Through this work, she has helped to provide free and affordable sport-based PYD programming to over 8,000 youth across Ohio.

Becky also leads outreach and engagement efforts for the LiFEsports Initiative. She is central to the establishment of community partnerships that have led to expanding the reach of LiFEsports programming, including developing the first partnership and community-based site with Columbus Recreation and Parks. This partnership has resulted in the implementation of the LiFEsports program in three community-based sites in underserved urban communities (Linden, Beatty, and Springfield) all across Ohio. Through these community-university partnerships, LiFEsports has received honors and recognitions such as the 2012 Summer Learning NSLA Excellence Award, the 2020 W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award, and national recognition as a 2020 Aspen Institute Project Play Champion. Becky also co-led the process for LiFEsports to become nationally accredited by the American Camp Association.

High Impact Program Awards

The High Impact Program Award recognizes outstanding achievement by faculty, staff and/or student led programs/initiatives focused on community-university partnerships and impact.

Award amount: $1,000

OSU Newark/College of Arts and Sciences

In 2019, only 1/3 of Ohio high school graduates met the ACTs math/science college readiness benchmarks, despite 3/4 aspiring towards postsecondary education, while1/2 of Ohio districts had school report cards with an "F" in "preparing students for success." This lack of preparation has a cascading effect on their future academic success. Ultimately, 5% of high school students graduate with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) degrees. We are a nation whose success was built upon investing in the education of all citizens. This is the mechanism for social mobility that enables realizing the proverbial "American Dream."

However, our eroding national capacity for accepting unbiased scientific results is symptomatic of an overarching "STEM Syndrome," which methodically obstructs our ability to formulate and implement evidence-based policies with bipartisan support, thus impacting socioeconomics and geopolitics. How can we address such a palpably insidious national emergency? Systemic problems require systematic solutions.

The SciDome, which is a shared facility jointly operated by the OSU Newark Regional Campus (OSUN) and The Works: Ohio Center for History, Art & Technology, addresses the primary components: student readiness, professional development of educators, and scientific illiteracy - as outlined in Dr. Michael Stamatikos' 2019 invited TEDx talk ("Confronting the STEM Syndrome"). Our primary challenges include (1) scientific literacy in local under-served rural communities and underrepresented Appalachian populations, (2) access to informal science education for all ages, and (3) STEM success for students and educators, and (4) contributing to Citizen Science by utilizing local landmarks such as the Newark Earthworks and the John Glenn Astronomy Park (JGAP) for potential scientific discoveries.

Critical reasoning is a ubiquitous problem-solving skill and a crucial characteristic of an educated electorate, which is essential to a thriving democracy. The SciDome exemplifies the OSUN Vision of deepening community partnerships and OSUs strategic priority of promoting interdisciplinary collaboration.

Extension Franklin County/College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

The ambitious goal of The Buckeye ISA (Institution Supported Agriculture) is to lift up disadvantaged families, enhance the diets of vulnerable children and improve food security in its community. The project is supporting formation of a network of over 100 low-income households, particularly in communities of color, that grow and sell food to Ohio State and perhaps other institutions and businesses in the area. The ultimate goal is to increase household food security and self-reliance for fresh food, while creating new economic opportunities in neighborhoods that need them the most, through Ohio State's buying power.

The Buckeye ISA will aim to engage the network participants' families, neighbors, and particularly young children, in gardening and growing for home preparation and consumption and associated healthy diets and outdoor activities, in addition to production for the institutional market. The Buckeye ISA project is a unique program with unique challenges. How to teach families to grow their own food to provide for personal food security? Most participants have little prior knowledge of food production technique. The pathway to success would be to develop impactful programming tailored to each family, neighborhood, and situation. The initial action item was to meet individually with the community liaisons from each of the identified neighborhoods to develop a personalized needs assessment addressing challenges at the family level. These challenges included knowledge gaps, needed materials support and lack of access to tillable land. This proposal will address how leveraging existing partnerships, growing friendships, developing new resources, innovating programming, patience and the willingness to listen and learn have laid a foundation of success that can be a repeatable curriculum for other neighborhoods and families to use on their path to sustainability.

The Buckeye ISA project was funded by a $750,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to Project Director Casey Hoy, in his role as Kellogg Chair in Agricultural Ecosystems Management. The grant was in recognition of Agroecosystem Management Programs role in the grassroots formation of the Initiative for Food and AgriCultural Transformation (InFACT) at The Ohio State University, and the commitment that the University made in its sustainability goals.

Numerous university and community partners

The Ohio State University's West Campus Science and Sustainability Festival, WestFest, is an annual public engagement event that highlights STEM research, sustainability initiatives, and outreach programs in Central Ohio. WestFest brings together STEM units from across campus and select community partners to present engaging family-friendly activities and behind the scenes tours. The primary goals of WestFest are to provide accessible opportunities for STEM engagement to the Central Ohio community and raise public awareness about research and initiatives at Ohio State. WestFest is a catalyst for the development of novel outreach products to serve youth and families.

WestFest provides the Ohio State research community with a pre-planned opportunity to engage in large-scale outreach. The event is organized through the volunteer efforts of the STEM Impact Collaborative. The 2021 Planning Committee consisted of staff and faculty from the Arabidopsis Biological Resource Center, Arne Slettebak Planetarium, Buckeye Aha! Math Moments, Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center, Center for Applied Plant Sciences, College of Pharmacy, and the STEAM Factory. Previous (and future) year's committees included participation from the Office of Energy and Environment and the Sustainability Institute.

The first WestFest took place in May of 2017. Seven Ohio State units and two community organizations served as program partners for the inaugural event, attracting more than 400 attendees. WestFest has grown its pool of program partners each year. The first three years of WestFest featured a half-day, in-person event housed on Ohio States West Campus quad. The two most recent events were transitioned to an accessible virtual format, featuring six-days of interactive online programs for all ages. The virtual WestFest program provided partners with access to an audience that became significantly more difficult to reach with the cessation of in-person activities. Our virtual audience extended beyond the confines of Central Ohio, reaching across the globe.