Second-year Transformational Experience Program

STEP — short for Second-year Transformational Experience Program — offers you a way to turn your second year at Ohio State Newark into a launchpad to personal, professional and educational achievement.

STEP is a fellowship program with the goal of getting students engaged in exciting outside-the-classroom activities. As a STEP student, you will attend a weekly meeting in the autumn semester with a faculty mentor and other STEP students. The goal is to explore your interests and make connections with other students and a faculty mentor who can guide you. 

Your STEP class might design a pumpkin, take a personality test, practice meditation or discuss your career dreams. It’s all about forming bonds with your mentor and your peers and learning about academic enrichment opportunities — study abroad, research, internships and more. STEP is aimed at helping you make connections in your second year, as you make important decisions like choosing a major or getting involved in research. We want to bring support and a community to your college experience in a fun and transformational way!

Now here’s the really exciting part: If you participate in the fall classes and complete some other requirements, you are eligible for up to $2,000 to put toward one of those activities. The project that you decide to do with your $2,000 does not have to be related to your major. You can do just about any project that interests you, as long as it is professionally led.

Although you meet weekly, STEP meetings are not classes no grades, no homework! If you stop attending, that’s ok. But stick around so you can earn the $2,000 fellowship.

If you are starting your second year at Ohio State in the fall and are interested in participating in STEP on any campus, please fill out this short survey.

Students sit in the SciDome planetarium.
Students stand side-by-side posing for a photo.
Students stand in front of trees lit for Christmas at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium.

​​Benefits of STEP

1 Cohort meetings

During the autumn semester, you meet weekly with the Faculty Mentor to focus on personal development, career exploration, personal reflection, wellness, and community building.

2 Professional development co-curriculars (PDCs)

A cornerstone of STEP is connecting second-year students with meaningful co-curricular experiences on campus that support their development, encourage skill development, and provide opportunities for personal reflection. Therefore you are expected to attend two events on campus over the academic year. This might be a film followed by a lecture, a workshop on writing personal essays, or a guest speaker. There are lots of options each semester, and you can choose based on your interests.

3 STEP Signature Project

While you do not have weekly meetings in the spring semester, you will work with your mentor to develop your STEP signature project proposal.

4 STEP Expo

At the STEP Expo, you will have the opportunity to interact with past STEP participants about their STEP Signature Projects. You are expected to attend the Expo (but Newark students may join virtually).

5 Faculty mentor

Faculty members will guide you through an exploration of education-enhancing experiences and provide advice and mentoring outside the classroom.

6 Fellowship

After you submit your proposal in the spring, you will have 15 months to complete your STEP signature project.

Four step student show off pumpkins they decorated.
Students sit in a classroom with a professor on a computer.

What’s Expected of STEP Students?

As a STEP student, you will meet weekly in the autumn with a faculty mentor and a group of peers to explore personal and professional interests. Every cohort is different, so what exactly you do each week will be up to your mentor and you! To be eligible for the fellowship at year’s end, you are also required to attend two on-campus activities (called professional development co-curriculars) and a STEP Expo.

In the spring, if you have attended most of the fall classes and fulfilled the other requirements, submit an application for up to $2,000 in funds to pay for a project in one of these categories:

  • Creative and Artistic Endeavors
  • Education Abroad
  • Internship
  • Leadership
  • Service-Learning and Community Service
  • Undergraduate Research

Transitioning to Columbus?

If you are transitioning to Columbus for your second year, you can join STEP by checking the "I'm interested" box on your housing renewal form (sent out in February). You may also indicate your interest by filling out the survey below or emailing Find out more about STEP university-wide at