Rochelle Woods, director of Ohio State’s Young Scholars Program, leads the university’s efforts to bring higher education within reach of first generation students across the state, as well as steering them to success through their undergraduate careers.
The Young Scholars Program, housed in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, has served more than 3,000 students from the nine largest urban public school districts in Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lorain, Toledo and Youngstown. The team provides college preparation for first-generation students with financial need in grades 8-12, followed by academic and social support during students’ time as undergraduates at Ohio State.
“On any given day, I could start by talking to a parent of an 8th grader, a high school teacher then an Ohio State professor. I’m able to discuss and learn about everything from physics to urban planning to high school counseling, all in a single day with people all across Ohio,” said Woods.
She values Ohio State’s tremendous commitment to college access, which is spearheaded by President Michael V. Drake’s 2020 Vision for the university. “President Drake’s focus is on access, affordability and excellence. Our work in the Young Scholars Program encompasses all three aspects of this mission. I love doing this work and it’s the perfect time to be doing it at Ohio State,” said Woods.
Woods also appreciates the university’s benefits and total rewards offered to employees. She lists Ohio State’s retirement options as the best she’s ever seen in the country. “I appreciate that and it’s been huge for me,” she said.
Above all, Woods is grateful for the opportunity to work with students in meaningful and truly impactful ways. “I’m with young students a lot, and I’m always so proud to tell them about the university and what it has to offer students. I’m proud to represent Ohio State, because I believe in this university.”