ONU Feature Stories
Miss America '14
Ohio Northern students make a difference in their new community on Ada Civic Engagement Day.
For the second year in a row, Ohio Northern University asked its incoming freshman class for a gesture of goodwill toward their new home, to give back to the community before receiving anything from it for themselves. And for the second year in a row, ONU students answered the call with enthusiasm and purpose and made the second annual Ada Civic Engagement (ACE) Day a success and the village of Ada an even more beautiful place.
Any time a community the size of Ada receives an influx of population with the traits of an ONU freshman class, it can’t help but be buoyed by their mere presence. ONU students are high achieving, hard working, intelligent and socially aware. Apply those traits to actions like those witnessed on ACE Day and you’ll see a transformative effect on a community that is hard to ignore.
And so it was on this first Saturday of these young college careers. From 10 a.m. to noon, groups of white T-shirted volunteers were seemingly everywhere —cleaning, trimming, painting, mending and just generally making things better.
“ACE Day is just a wonderful way for our new students to shake hands with the community of Ada and to become involved with a very important value at the University, which is service,” says ONU President Dan DiBiasio, himself an ACE Day volunteer.
More than 300 students, faculty and staff members volunteered at 25 ACE sites, which ranged from local businesses, to the public commons, to private residences. In fact, there were actually more volunteers than sites in Ada, so some students worked in the in nearby communities of Arlington, Alger and Bluffton. But clearly, the focus was on building a positive relationship between the students and their new home.
“It’s important for our students to understand that they are part of the greater Ada community in addition to being ONU students,” says Jennifer Lambdin, ONU’s director of student involvement and coordinator of the ACE event. “We want to establish a sense of partnership and responsibility in the community through this program. We want our students to understand that responsible citizenship and service to one’s community is critical. Service projects like this are mutually beneficial for all.”
While some projects were of the lend-a-hand variety, others were more ambitious. Perhaps none more so than the Puzzle Path at Ada War Memorial Park, where the president and First Lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio led a group of more than 50 students in the completion of the interactive walking path for children. The volunteers placed cement walking stones around the quarter-mile path connecting 10 clue stations that children will need to solve a different puzzle each week.
According to Megan Watson, BS ’09, volunteer coordinator for the village of Ada, the completion of the actual path is the second collaboration with ONU on the project and hopefully not the last.
“Some of the stones that the students are installing today were painted by students attending the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership (HOBY) conference at ONU this summer,” she says. “And after the path is complete, we hope to provide mentorship opportunities for ONU students to help local children develop future puzzles for the Puzzle Path.”
Main Street was busy on ACE Day, as many projects focused on the residents of Ada’s marquee boulevard. The Ada Fire Department looked brand new after a group of 15 students washed the four fire trucks and tended to the landscaping. Storefronts along the downtown had windows washed and sidewalks swept clean. Volunteers landscaped the Ada Railroad Depot Park and pruned the trees lining Main Street in front of campus.
Regardless of the job site students were assigned to, students were happy to help.
“I’ve always enjoyed helping out in my community back home. So when the opportunity came to help out in my new home of Ada, I kind of jumped at the opportunity,” says first-year pharmacy major Seth Wollenhaupt.
While ACE Day is scheduled as part of new student orientation and targeted at new students, it isn’t limited to just freshmen. Junior Jenalyn Fallott participated in the inaugural ACE Day last year and enjoyed the experience so much that she volunteered again this year as a student leader.
“I just wanted to do it again. Last year, I helped an elderly woman here in town. We cleaned out her garage and weeded her flowerbeds and helped her with things that she can’t really do anymore. She was lovely, and it was great to get to know her,” she says.
Though it is still early, ACE Day looks to become a highlight of move-in weekend in coming years. The new schedule implemented this year makes it easier for ACE Day to be successful because students now move in on Thursday and have a couple days to get used to life on campus before exploring the community beyond. Saturday also is the best day for the community members who may need ACE Day volunteers.
“I’m so thrilled to see such great turnout at this event, because it means that we get to introduce more students to a part of our community that they might not otherwise see,” says Burns-DiBiasio. “I’m willing to guess that very few of these students were aware that we had such a beautiful park here.”
A park and a community made even more beautiful by a simple gesture and a lot of hard work.
Move-in and new student orientation are behind us, and with all the events over the past few days it's hard to remember everything that happened. Scroll down for a brief recap of the week that was.
It all began with President DiBiasio's welcome address to faculty and staff on Wednesday, Aug. 21. (photo gallery)
The next morning, the new students arrived. (photo gallery)
Convocation officially welcomed the incoming class of new Polar Bears ... (photo gallery)
... who said goodbye to their parents after the Farewell Dinner.
On Thursday evening students learned what not to do at ONU ...
... and then they had fun at Playfair. (photo gallery)
Friday saw the world's largest "ONU" made out of human beings ... (video)
... and the price was definitely right at Friday evening's SPC event ...
... and so was the live music on the Tundra!!!
ACE Day volunteers woke up early on Saturday to make a great first impression on their new community ... (photo gallery)
... and then they cooled off at Greekapolooza ... (photo gallery)
... only to be amazed later that night by magician Daniel Martin.
On Sunday, Welcomefest was a chance to learn how to get inolved on campus ...
... and the Tundra proved to be the perfect place to relax and watch a movie under the stars.
We hope you enjoyed the weekend. Now, the real fun begins!
Eating Well Done
Dan Gedeon researched grilling … for credit! Now, his hard work can keep you healthy this summer.
Though summer is winding down, there are still a few weekends left on the calendar to enjoy a backyard barbecue or two. Ohio Northern University’s Healthwise wants everyone to know that staying healthy and eating well aren’t mutually exclusive.
Dan Gedeon spent countless hours in the lab this summer.
After exhaustive research and countless hours of experimentation in his charcoal laboratory, Dan Gedeon, a sixth-year pharmacy student from North Royalton, Ohio, successfully uncovered the secrets of the healthy summer cookout and shared them with the ONU community in the summer issue of the Healthwise newsletter. His goal: to help people get healthy while doing the things they like to do.
“It all comes down to making good decisions,” he says. “By its nature, grilling is a healthy food preparation technique in that it doesn’t require any extra oils or fats. But you still need to be smart about what you grill.”
Gedeon examined healthy-eating tips as part of his one-month rotation at Healthwise, ONU’s health and wellness program that provides educational opportunities, disease state and medication management, and one-on-one counseling with health care professionals to ONU faculty and staff members. In a way, his job was to grill.
“I might have done better research than I normally do,” he says.
When trying to understand overall human health and wellness, a person’s lifestyle cannot be overstated. Many diseases, including commonly occurring ones like diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, are directly related to diet and exercise. Therapeutic lifestyle changes can have a profound effect on the onset of a disease like diabetes or even eliminate a condition like high cholesterol entirely. But regardless of which disease a person might have, according to Gedeon, “having a healthy lifestyle is going to be beneficial for any disease state.”
When it comes to the cookout, Gedeon found that healthier choices can be made without sacrificing enjoyment or even flavor. He suggests replacing fatty hamburgers with lean substitutes like ground turkey or even bison. Go ahead and enjoy barbecue chicken, but take the skin off and realize that many barbecue sauces contain a lot of sugar and fat, so use a low-fat, low-calorie variety. Buns, which are an overlooked food associated with grilling, provide a wonderful opportunity to make a healthier choice when you switch to whole grain.
According to Gedeon, when people think of grilling, they tend to focus on meat. But marinated vegetables can be delicious and extremely healthy when grilled. And don’t forget all the side dishes and snacks we often consume over the course of an afternoon outside. There are healthy options for those as well, such as using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in dips, and putting sea salt and heart-healthy margarines on corn on the cob.
These small changes to a menu can go a long way to improving health, and they still taste great.
Some may sense a bit of irony in that an aspiring pharmacist is so enthusiastic about keeping people off of medication. After all, don’t pharmacists dispense medications?
“Yes, pharmacists primarily deal with medications,” says Gedeon. “But our main concern is always the patient. If a patient can control his or her disease with just diet and exercise, that is healthier for them than being on a bunch medications. We want the best for them. We want them to be as healthy as they can be.”
But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy doing it.
The Art of Play
Senior Emily Kennedy brightens up the ONU Child Development Center with a new mural.
For young children in school, recess is the time to take a break from the rigors of learning and just have fun with friends. But does that mean that there is no place for learning on the playground? The Ohio Northern University Child Development Center certainly doesn’t think so, and more to the point, they actually commissioned a mural for their playground to reinforce educational concepts to children while they play.
An artist-signed masterpiece.
“We believe that a child’s environment can also act as a teacher,” says June Zimmerman, director of the Child Development Center. “The mural is an interactive tool that we can use when we play games outside that address math, science, literacy and social studies objectives at the preschool level.”
The idea for a mural came from a desire to improve the center both aesthetically and functionally. Zimmerman wanted to “spruce up” the CDC and raise the profile of the facility in the community, and Dr. Sandy Calvert, director of ONU’s Center of Teacher Education, was looking for on-campus opportunities to engage education majors with high-impact, experiential learning.
“They were looking for an early education major with an interest in art,” says Emily Kennedy, a senior from Columbus, Ohio. “I am always doodling in class and going above and beyond in the art parts of projects, so I guess they saw that in me and recommended me to paint the mural.”
Kennedy had never painted a mural before. In fact, she had never painted anything other than paint-by-numbers. But when presented with the opportunity she didn’t hesitate, developing a plan for what she wanted to do right away.
“I knew I wanted to paint a happy picture filled with energy and life and early childhood education themes of shapes, numbers and primary colors. I wanted the mural to convey learning,” she says.
Kennedy began by making various sketches for Zimmerman to consider. Once the design was chosen, they determined a suitable color scheme, and Kennedy began painting in the late spring of last year. The mural became a family affair for the Kennedys as Emily’s mother, father, grandparents and boyfriend all lent a hand.
The mural is actually just one of the major changes to the Child Development Center this summer. The other is its recent Three-Star Step Up To Quality Award from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Bureau of Child Care and Development, the state agency responsible for licensing and promoting high standards among Ohio’s early care and education programs.
Step Up To Quality is Ohio’s rating system for early care and education programs. Participating programs can earn a one-, two- or three-star rating by meeting an extensive list of quality benchmarks. Projects like the playground mural are examples of how the center is constantly striving to improve its services to parents in need of childcare at the University and in the Ada community.
“We are working to build relationships across the campus communities because of the many possibilities and resources that are available that can enhance our preschool program,” says Zimmerman. “Working with Emily was one of what will hopefully be many opportunities to enhance our preschool environment, and we hope that she enjoyed the experience as much as we did!”
Kennedy will be the first to tell you that she did. In fact, painting the mural has encouraged her to set a new goal for herself — to one day write and illustrate a children’s book. And while that may be a few years away, one thing is certain to occur as soon as next fall when she begins her career as an elementary school teacher.
“I think it’s safe to say that I am going to have a very artistic classroom.”
Follow the progress of the new artificial turf field at Dial-Roberson Stadium.
Ohio Northern University’s Dial-Roberson Stadium and the infield of the track complex, located adjacent to the football facility, will both receive artificial turf for the upcoming 2013-14 season.
“The addition of turf at Ohio Northern University will help strengthen and add greater facility depth and flexibility to our athletic programs as well as provide more opportunities for all of our students,” said Daniel A. DiBiasio, president of Ohio Northern University. “Ohio Northern’s athletic programs are a regional and national power, and with this addition we will be able to enhance soccer, football, and track and field.”
Construction on the fields and resurfacing of the outdoor track are set to begin this month. Funding has come from a few key leadership contributions from Ohio Northern trustee and alumni donors. The installation of lights will be added in the future, which can lead to the possibility of hosting high school football playoff games and additional athletic and non-athletic events.
Pending construction schedules and weather conditions, Ohio Northern anticipates the new turf fields will be dedicated on Oct. 5, when the new field at Dial-Roberson Stadium will be named for William “Bill” Robinson, who is retiring after more than 50 years of service to ONU.
“We would like to thank the members of the ONU community who continue to deliver with their incredible financial support,” said John Bishop, ONU Board of Trustees chair. “These key gifts will help our athletic programs continue to thrive into the future. Ohio Northern would not be the great institution that it is today without the generous support of our donors.”
ONU will be one of a few schools in the region to have two fields that have turf. Ohio Northern will be the ninth school in the Ohio Athletic Conference to have a turf field.
“This is a huge step forward for our athletic programs,” said Tom Simmons, athletic director at Ohio Northern. “Having two turf fields will allow us to offer something that few schools can in the recruiting process.”
Both the men’s and women’s soccer teams will play on the turf field inside the track, with greater access to facilities located at Dial-Roberson Stadium. Until completion, the soccer teams will continue to play at the ONU Soccer Field.
Due to construction on the field, Ohio Northern’s opening football game on Sept. 7 against Alfred State (N.Y.) will be moved to War Memorial Stadium at Ada Park, with kickoff scheduled for 1 p.m. The Polar Bears will then return to campus to host top-ranked Mount Union on Oct. 5 at 1:30 p.m.
ONU pharmacy professor Dr. David Kinder looks to the past to teach the pharmacists of the future.
Experiential learning is a hallmark of an Ohio Northern University education. Our students learn best by doing, by being hands-on. Their courses take them into the real world, where they apply the concepts and methods they learn in the classroom to real problems in need of solving.
Turns out, this is true of our faculty as well, even if the experience seems well outside the realm of relevancy.
Most days, Dr. David Kinder wears the white coat of a pharmacy professional and professor of medicinal chemistry in ONU’s Raabe College of Pharmacy. But a few times a year, he trades his white coat for the blue jacket of a Civil War Union Army soldier and participates in historical re-enactments of famous battles with his son Brendan, BA ’12. Earlier this month, the pair joined 11,000 fellow enthusiasts in Gettysburg, Pa., to celebrate the sesquicentennial of the famous Battle of Gettysburg.
Photo courtesy of Ricky Hussey (Scroll for more)
4th Ohio Volunteer Federal Infantry Regiment Company B Flag commemorating battles fought during Civil War in Gettysburg on July 3, 2013.
2nd Battalion lined up at Gettysburg.
Brendan Kinder as Sargent Major at attention during parade.
Dr. David Kinder on the march.
Living History actor encouraging the troops into action to free slaves.
Sgt Major Brendan Kinder leads the Second Battalion into battle.
The battle lines at Gettysburg.
Muzzle flash in the midst of battle.
The view of the battle from afar.
The fortunate survivors resting after the hard fought Union victory at Gettysburg.
For a professor of history, this kind of thing might even be considered research, but one might wonder how spending four days on a battlefield recreating the events of 1863 might relate to a field like pharmacy, the modern form of which was in its absolute infancy at the time.
Therein lies the connection.
In addition to teaching modern medicinal chemistry, Kinder also is an expert on historical methods of healing, including herbal remedies and early pharmaceutical compounds. He teaches courses on these areas to pharmacy students at ONU and sees his involvement in Civil War re-enactments as a way to relate his knowledge of the era’s science to its application in the society of the time.
“I use the Civil War as a tipping point for medicine that I teach today,” says Kinder. “There are several pivotal points in medicine that coincide with a war. In many ways, the two go hand-in-hand. In World War II, penicillin allowed more soldiers to survive otherwise non-fatal wounds by eliminating infection. Today, new medications and medical techniques allow modern soldiers to survive wounds that would have proved fatal in the past. The Civil War was another of these pivotal points.”
At the time of the Civil War, there were only four pharmacy schools in the United States. The pharmacists that did exist mainly supplied medicines to physicians who dispensed medication to patients. Physicians at that time were not required to graduate or even attend a medical college — only apprentice with a physician —in order to practice medicine, so there was great variation between the skill levels of physicians and an increasing dependence on medicines, both manufactured and natural.
Few medicines were manufactured at the time. Mercury salts and quinine were two of the most common, the former being used as a laxative and the latter for everything from fever to pain, although it is most associated with treating malaria today. Most herbal preparations of the time treated symptoms of a disease, such as fever, but weren’t actual cures.
“Heart failure was a common problem of the day, so foxglove was a commonly used plant for treating the dropsy, or edema, that resulted. Pain management from battle wounds was usually with laudanum or tincture of opium. Other medications were typically plant-based, such as senna, which was used as a laxative,” says Kinder. “I find that teaching how little was available is probably as instructive as what was.”
Many of the medicines and treatments used during the Civil War were precursors to more effective drugs discovered around the turn of the 20th century. For instance, aspirin was introduced in 1898 to treat pain, while willow bark was used for that purpose during the Civil War era.
“Willow has several analgesic compounds present, including salicin, which is converted to salicylic acid by your body. Aspirin, which is not present in willow, is also converted to salicylic acid, which gives it its analgesic activity,” says Kinder.
Not surprisingly, many of the treatments administered to soldiers dealt with pain management. The battlefield was a painful place, to say the least, but a soldier’s life was generally miserable even when they weren’t fighting.
“Marching for miles, then fighting for your life — I have not done that yet, and don’t want to. But even what we do, albeit for fun, is strenuous. The experiences of those young men in the Civil War must have been terrible,” says Kinder.
For re-enactors, it’s only marginally better.
“Who in their right mind would put on wool trousers, wool socks, Brogans (shoes) that are uncomfortable, a long sleeve shirt (typically wool or cotton) and a wool jacket, then strap on leather belts holding cartridges, a bayonet, canteen, haversack and rucksack, then march out into a field to fire off rounds at an ‘enemy’ in temperatures approaching 90 degrees?” asks Kinder.
It’s a fair question, especially when there are so many books and films devoted to the subject. Re-enacting is not a casual hobby. It’s not easy to do, nor inexpensive to participate in, but for Kinder, the experience itself and the insight it provides makes it all worthwhile.
“I get a feeling of satisfaction at learning, then sharing what I have learned with others,” he says. “I would not have learned about the Civil War in the way I have learned it now had I not gotten involved with re-enacting. There are details that one can learn intellectually, but experiencing it even as an approximation of what happened to these young men 150 years ago makes it far more relevant.
And besides, reenacting with my son is fun, and it allows us to spend time together and share a very unique hobby.”
Ohio Northern ranks third in return on investment among schools in Ohio
Ohio Northern University is ranked third among the top schools in the state of Ohio for its students’ greatest lifetime return on investment (ROI) according to “Affordable College Online: Highest Return on Investment Colleges in Ohio” ranking. ROI is a function of two things: how much students spend to earn a degree, and how much graduates earn.
This high ROI means that ONU graduates earn high starting salaries and are able to pay back student loan debt. With its top three showing, ONU ranked in the top tier among the 389 schools statewide that were part of the AC Online rankings. Graduates from the top ranked schools enjoy the largest earnings gap between non-degree holders, over a 30-year span.
“National rankings like this are measures of quality, value and position,” said Lawrence Lesick, vice president of enrollment management. “Many talented students find the rankings helpful in making choices about where to attend, and outstanding faculty often look to these institutions as desirable places to teach.”
The AC Online study ranked colleges based on several criteria including net tuition prices (provided by IPEDS/NCES), a graduate's average starting salaries and ROI calculation (provided by Payscale) and fully accredited, four-year, not-for-profit institutions (provided by the Carnegie Foundation).
AffordableCollegesOnline.org provides prospective college students and their parents with information and resources to help them manage the cost of obtaining an education. It’s the first website to offer comprehensive lists of “Most Affordable Colleges” in different categories.
Wednesday, June 19
Well, today is the day that seemed so distant when we first started rehearsals in January. We woke up and worked with the choral director from the University of Kentucky at the OCDA conference. What an absolutely amazing experience that was!
Then, our driver Klondike drove us back to Ada. There was much work to do, but it was wonderful to be able to spend a little time together before we have our final concert. After we unloaded the bus, we took one final group picture in front of the bus then said a final goodbye to our captain while presenting him with a poster signed by all of us. We sang The Lord Bless You and Keep You and that’s when a lot of the tears started. John has truly become part of the family, and the fact that he insisted on finishing the tour with us really meant so much to all of us. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to attend the concert even though he really wanted to, so we decided to dedicate the concert to him. Personally, I dedicated this performance not only to John, but to the seniors, this group, and everyone who has helped us along the way.
This trip has given
me so much experience
as a singer and some of
the best friends anyone
could ever dream of.
That was the last time this group would be together, so it deserved to be one incredible concert to show our friends and family how we’ve grown as singers and as people. We’ve met so many amazing people, seen some really incredible sights, and made wonderful relationships and connections. I can say without a single doubt that all the late nights and early mornings have definitely been worth it.
Before the concert tonight, we had a dinner at The Inn where we sat amongst our choir family for a final time and gave out superlatives (I personally won Tour Mom). After that, we went around the room and said our favorite memory from tour. They all had to be different, but you could give an honorable mention if someone took yours before. Oh, the waterworks. When I first heard about the tour, I knew I needed to go. I mean, I got to see 26 (which ended up 25 because of our bus, but that’s okay) states and experience things in 38 days many people won’t in their entire life. I seriously had no idea that it was so much more than sight seeing. The friendships, inside jokes, tour hugs, tour awards, and just every single second on this journey has been indescribable. There is no doubt in my mind that I would do this again in a heart beat. I thank Dr. Ayling, the university, and our hosts along the way for even making this possible.
Photo Gallery (Scroll for more photos)
This trip has given me so much experience as a singer and some of the best friends anyone could ever dream of. When I look across the circle during The Benediction, my heart just swells because all 40 of these singers mean so much to me. I surprisingly made it through the entire song, but as soon as we cut off and I lowered my head, I was sobbing.
I’m glad to be home where I don’t have to worry about asking to do laundry or for the password to the wireless internet, but I think I’m also going to be counting down the days until I can go back to campus again to see everyone. Tonight, a verse from River in Judea particularly got to me, so I thought I would end with that. Thank you to all who have been following this blog, and may God be with you ‘til we meet again.
“May the time not be too distant when we meet by the river shore. ‘Til then dream of that wonderful day as we sing once more.”
Public Relations Major
Scroll down for more photos from Alumni Weekend.
Internship puts ONU senior Tyler Burnett behind the scenes at the Indy 500.
When race fans tune in to watch the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, they will be joining a celebration of automobile racing in America at the place where so much of it began.
Indianapolis has been home to motorsports since the first race at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on August 19, 1909. Two years later, the first Indianapolis 500 was run, and on Sunday a winner will cross the finish line at the Brickyard for the 96th time.
An example of Tyler Burnett's graphic design work for USAC.
Indianapolis is also home to the United States Automobile Club (USAC). Until 1955, the American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioned the Indianapolis 500, but a tragic accident in LeMans, France, spurred the group to abandon auto racing. In its place, USAC formed in 1956 and went on to sanction the Indianapolis 500 until 1997. Today, it still sanctions six divisions of open-wheel racing, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series and National Midget Series.
Ohio Northern University senior sport management major Tyler Burnett is interning this summer with USAC as a public address announcer during sprint and midget car races, and as a marketing intern at the USAC headquarters during the week. His position promoting USAC racing is taking him behind the scenes at the 500.
“This is our busiest week,” says Burnett. “In a week and a half, I’ve been over to IMS four times already.”
One of the four visits to IMS was to have lunch with the legendary motorsports broadcaster Bob Jenkins. Now retired from television, Jenkins was an original ESPN personality and called races for ESPN, ABC and NBC for more than 30 years. Jenkins still announces live races, including the USAC Silver Crown Series, the highest of USAC’s six divisions.
"Ohio Northern gives you
the knowledge you need to be
successful in whatever it is you
are passionate about."
Though technically an intern, Burnett is Jenkins’s counterpart for sprint and midget car racing, and the two often share a press box on race day. For Burnett, it is a huge honor.
“Bob Jenkins is an idol for anyone who wants to go into broadcasting motorsports. I tell people I get to announce with Bob Jenkins and they are like, ‘Wow!’ He really is a living legend,” he says.
Burnett began announcing online racing simulations for the SimPro Racing League. Last summer, he began announcing for live races at Waynesfield Raceway Park in Waynesfield, Ohio. It was here that he was discovered by USAC. They liked him as an announcer but needed someone who could also help out in the marketing office. Fortunately, Burnett had all the necessary skills because of ONU. As a sport management major, he took courses in public relations and video production. He refined his communication skills as studio host of a weekly sports interview show on WONB-FM. He even learned graphic design from his work-study job in ONU’s Office of Communications and Marketing.
Burnett (in red) announcing live racing for USAC.
“Ohio Northern gives you the knowledge you need to be successful in whatever it is you are passionate about,” says Burnett. “I’ve always known that I want to work in motorsports, but sport management is such a broad field that I could do almost anything – from ticket sales, to facilities management, to becoming an athletic director at a university like Northern.”
To be sure, Burnett’s internship is a perfect fit and a rare opportunity. For him, it straddles the line between too-good-to-be-true and expected. While he is thrilled to work with idols like Jenkins and be around motorsports at the highest level, he also sees it as the next logical step in his plan use his degree from Northern to establish a career in motorsports.
Burnett will intern through the summer and will continue to announce races for USAC throughout the fall, traveling as far as California and Arizona for races in October. And, while he’s excited for those, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500, awaits.
Sights and Sound
ONU’s University Singers embark on a whirlwind 38-day national summer choir tour.
For many Ohio Northern University students, summer is a time of rest and relaxation. For others, it’s the time to gain real-world experience in their fields through rewarding internship opportunities. Some even choose to forego any notion of downtime by enrolling in summer classes or studying abroad.
Photo Gallery (Scroll for more photos)
First stop: Cincinnati, Ohio
The city from aboard a riverboat on the mighty Mississippi.
A real, honest-to-goodness chuck wagon breakfast.
Ozona, Texas is Ada's sister city.
Remember the Alamo-n-u!.
The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.
The Grand Canyon!
Yes, a KISS museum actually exists.
THE Magic Kingdom!
Making new friends
A special visit from ONU president Dan DiBiasio and First Lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio in Los Angeles.
There is more than just good coffee in Seattle!
A special visit from former ONU president Ken Baker and First Lady Toby Baker in Colorado.
But rarely do students have the summer experience awaiting the members the University Singers on the ONU National Choir Tour 2013.
The numbers alone are staggering: Almost 8,000 miles. 38 students. 38 days. 31 performances. 26 states. For five weeks, a collection of ONU’s most talented students is traveling the highways and byways of America, performing choral concerts at churches and schools and introducing people along the way to Ohio Northern University.
“Wherever we go, people are going to hear fabulous music by some really special students who are going to represent our University in a wonderful way,” says Dr. Ben Ayling, choral director and assistant professor of music.
Touring in itself is nothing new for the University Singers. Last March, they toured New Zealand, and they have performed overseas a combined 11 times. However, those tours were seven- to 10-day tours, not 38. This tour is, by far, the most ambitious to date for Ohio Northern.
It’s also a bit of a passion project for Ayling, who went on a national summer tour in 1977 as a college sophomore and, to this day, considers it one the highlights of his life.
“For me, it just gave me a wanderlust for traveling both internationally and here in the United States. Over these five weeks, these students will see more of our country than they will likely see over the rest of their lives. It’s truly a life-changing experience, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with my students,” he says.
Follow the tour on Twitter! #onuchoirtour
Chris and I were delighted to hear the University Singers perform last night in LA as part of their National Tour; they were fantastic!!!— Dan DiBiasio (@DanDiBiasio) May 27, 2013
Crossing the mighty Mississippi! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 18, 2013
Remember The Alamo! Driving into San Antonio now! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 19, 2013
Ozona, Texas is the sister city of Ada, Ohio. It's small, they have nothing to do, and there is nothing else around it! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 20, 2013
Just passed into Arizona! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 22, 2013
Made it to Phoenix! At the mall right now and about to go to a pool party soon. #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 23, 2013
Jersey Boys was amazing! Now off to the buffet! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 26, 2013
It's way easier to wake up for Disneyland than for an 8 am class! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 27, 2013
Venice Beach here i come! #ONUchoirtour— Libby Druesedow (@LDruesedow) May 27, 2013
Our host mom is THE BOMB! She is so HILARIOUS and gave us new toothbrushes! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 30, 2013
I'm on the Golden Gate Bridge!!!! #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) May 30, 2013
Dr. A just announced we passed our 5,000 mile mark #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) May 30, 2013
Off to Oregon this morning!! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 31, 2013
No big deal just saw a huge waterfall and a huge snow-covered mountain within a half hour #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 31, 2013
The 5:45 call will be worth it when we get to see Yellowstone National Park tomorrow! #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) June 8, 2013
Welcome to colorful Colorado! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 12, 2013
Red Rocks National Park! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 13, 2013
Free day in Iowa today! Bowling and talent show tonight :) #onuchoirtour— Taylor Miller (@TaylorM3358) June 15, 2013
Just crossed the Mississippi River for the second time! #onuchoirtour— C.J. Brincefield (@CJBrincefield) June 16, 2013
Watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off is a must when driving through Chicago #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) June 17, 2013
Back in Ohio! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 18, 2013
So happy. I love Ada so much! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 19, 2013
Check back for more updates
The tour itinerary looks more like a AAA TripTik than a concert schedule, with stops at Mammoth Cave National Park; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans, La.; Roswell, N.M.; Carlsbad Cavern; The Grand Canyon, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; Puget Sound; Yellowstone National Park; Mt. Rushmore; to name but a few. The tour will also have free days in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for students to take in the sights.
“It sounds kind of corny, but I am really looking forward to going to Disneyland,” says Alexa Lammers, a freshman public relations and musical theatre major from Tipp City, Ohio. “I asked for a ticket for my birthday this year, so I’m going on our day off with a few friends.”
Lammers is also looking forward to the trip itself, even if it does mean 38 days on a bus with 40 other people.
“You know those road trips you took as a kid, and how you and your friends all sat in the back seat, and you just have these great inside jokes from being on the road?” she says. “Well, we get to do that for 38 days, so just imagine all the memories we are going to make.”
Ohio Northern University prides itself on many things, but two of the most important are its passion for providing students with opportunities for experiential learning and its reputation for producing well-rounded students. The choir tour is a good example of those two pieces in perfect harmony.
The University Singers aren’t just music majors. There are majors from all four of ONU’s undergraduate colleges on this tour. At Northern, students can major in a challenging academic field and still pursue their passions. They can even spend five weeks in the summer pursuing them all across the country.
The tour will be a learning experience as well. Apart from all they will learn about America, the tour will also turn them into better singers. They will be singing six days a week, including performances and rehearsals, a heavy workload for any choir. According to Ayling, it will drastically change the way his students sing.
“It’s going to raise the bar,” he says. “By the time we get even one third of the way through this trip, they are going to be a better singing choir than probably any choir they’ve ever been in. And by the time we are finished, they will have transcended most choirs anywhere, period.”
As a pure exercise in singing, Ayling says there is no way to replicate what this tour will do for the University Singers, and he is already excited for the fall when the students return after having this experience.
“Every one of them will want to have that same performance level, and they’ll work hard for it,” he says. “They’ll push themselves. They’ll push each other to get back there.”
But first things first. There are still a few dozen states to go.
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