2016/12/02 – Ohio State staff member helps students overcome barriers - Human Resources at Ohio State

Ohio State staff member helps students overcome barriers

Balancing the complexities of earning a college degree and raising a family can be a challenging process, particularly for low-income, single parent students. Traci Lewis, program director of Ohio State’s ACCESS Collaborative, works each and every day to help these students overcome barriers to college access and success.

A 27-year Ohio State employee and alumna, Traci’s staff journey began as a recruiter for the College of Social Work. She served the college for 17 years as an Academic Counselor before leading the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s ACCESS Collaborative.

The ACCESS Collaborative, established in 1989, is an academic and social support program to assist low-income, single parent students who are pursuing an Ohio State education.

Full-time undergraduate students who have custody of their children and meet minimum GPA requirements are eligible for the program, which provides services for parenting and life skills, child development and financial planning. Students also receive priority class registration to help balance school and family needs, as well as a peer network of students who are also parents.

“Social workers often see a lot of pain and negativity, but this is so rewarding,” Traci said. “I get up every day and love going to work!”

She enjoys the opportunity to support students who may be experiencing an extremely vulnerable moment in their lives: maneuvering both a college education and parenthood. Traci’s greatest joy is seeing her students walk across the commencement stage to receive their Ohio State degrees.


Townhome apartments in downtown Columbus, part of the Columbus Scholar House community

“I couldn’t ask for a better job,” she said. Ohio State recognized Traci for her tremendous contributions with a 2016 Distinguished Staff Award.

Looking ahead, she is most excited about new ACCESS Collaborative initiatives in affordable housing. ACCESS partnered with Community Properties of Ohio and the YMCA to provide affordable family housing and onsite child care services to ACCESS Collaborative students. The community, called Columbus Scholar House, is the only such program in Ohio. It’s located in downtown Columbus’s King Lincoln District and offers two- and three-bedroom apartment homes to low-income, full-time students with families.

“We know we’ve done our job when we’ve helped a student break the cycle of poverty by supporting them as they earned their college degree,” Traci said. “It has a huge impact not only on them, but also their children and their future generations.”

Share this page

  • Facebook logo
  • Twitter logo
  • LinkedIn logo
  • Yammer logo
  • Google+ logo
  • Reddit logo
  • RSS logo
Search

HR FOCUS

OHR Customer Service to begin summer hours May 7

Starting on Monday, May 7, the Office of Human Resources Customer Service Center will begin summer walk-in and phone hours of 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

USAC Conversation with Susan Basso May 10

Susan Basso, Senior Vice President for Talent, Culture and Human Resources, will talk about the Human Resources’ Strategic Plan, staff engagement and general university themes.

Enrollment open for summer term dependent tuition assistance

The dependent tuition assistance enrollment window for summer semester 2018 is open March 12 through June 15. Dependent tuition assistance applications must be submitted each term.

Bucks for Charity raises more than $1.2 million for central Ohio community

Ohio State faculty, staff and retirees are making a difference in the community and, this year, contributed $1,235,882 to help support local organizations.

Ohio State named Champion of Opportunity

Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD) has recognized The Ohio State University as an inclusive workplace and acknowledge the university’s innovative recruitment and retention of individuals with disabilities.

RECENT ARTICLES

Flexible Work Policy reminder

Flexible Work Policy 6.12 helps the university achieve a reliable and productive work environment that enables staff to balance work and personal needs. If you are interested in establishing a flexible work arrangement, work with your supervisor and review the policy for specific instructions.

Distinguished Staff Awards honor outstanding Ohio State staff

The Distinguished Staff Award, the university’s highest staff recognition, annually honors 12 outstanding staff members who have made a significant impact at The Ohio State University. Recipients are recognized for their exceptional leadership, accomplishments and service to Ohio State.

Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Awards celebrate and recognize exceptional faculty, staff and students

In recognition of their exceptional diversity and inclusion work, five honorees have received the Ohio State Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award.

2018 University Engagement Recognition Awards

Ohio State’s University Engagement Recognition Awards honor faculty, staff, students and community partners for outstanding achievement in meaningful partnerships that produce engaged scholarship and community impact.

Going above and beyond: Donna Hight is dedicated to student success

Donna Hight wears many hats in her role as chief student life and retention officer at The Ohio State University at Mansfield. Everything she does is driven by one goal: to help students succeed.
News Home