Former Student Wedly Cazy Found the Empowerment He Needed to Succeed at Ohio State Newark
From campus atmosphere to academic resources to faculty and diversity initiatives, Wedly Cazy, senior strategic communications major, found everything he needed to get on a path to success during his two years at The Ohio State University at Newark.
Cazy participated in two of Ohio State Newark’s most impactful programs, the Buckeye Generation Learning Community (BGLC) and freshIMAGE. Preparing first-generation students for success in the unfamiliar world of college is the BGLC’s goal. Students in the learning community take classes together in a cohort model, participate in weekly skill-building labs and campus-wide social and cultural events, receive support from academic peer coaches, get a book stipend and more.
“BGLC supported me as a first-generation student by providing access, information and education to me,” said Cazy. “With their support, I was able to reach my fullest potential. They equipped me with the skills and resources necessary to eliminate any barriers to my success.”
Jamie White, director of retention and student success initiatives and associate faculty member, said, “Wedly was very engaged in the BGLC and often attended social and cultural events we held. He joined BGLC because he wanted to surround himself with others who were working toward the same goals so that he could be successful. I always enjoyed his fun, outgoing personality and the way he brought people together.”
FreshIMAGE is a two-day program for new African-American students that is designed to introduce them to support and resources to help them reach their collegiate goals. It promotes diversity, encourages leadership and encourages members to work for equal justice.
“Being a member and now freshIMAGE ambassador has made huge impact on my life. It taught me how to use my strengths and points of view to contribute to a diverse working environment,” he said.
Not only did these two programs help Cazy, but academic resources such as the Center for Student Success and personal attention from faculty members also made a real difference for him. The Center for Student Success offers free academic support services, including the Learning Specialist, Math Learning Center, Testing Center, Tutoring Services and the Writer’s Studio.
During his two years at Ohio State Newark, Cazy noted that he could most frequently be found at the Writer’s Studio, Math Learning Center or Tutoring Services getting help with everything from a written paper to difficult math equations to chemistry and physics. “Tutoring helped strengthen my comprehension, build important learning skills and boosted my confidence,” he said.
Small class sizes and caring professors were also pivotal to his academic success. Being in a classroom of fewer than 30 students allowed Cazy to participate in discussion, receive feedback from both his faculty and peers, and engage in hands-on learning. He noted that faculty members Bradley Okdie, associate professor of psychology; Angelica Hrinca-Diaconsecu, math lecturer; and Julie Newhouse, communications lecturer, were just a few of those who made an impact on him.
“Whatever I needed help with to excel, these life-changing professors were there for me,” Cazy said. “They made learning fun with stimulating and engaging lessons which really kept my attention and challenged me.”
The three faculty members were unanimous in their praise of Cazy. “He always chose to sit up front and was always interested in my class and activities,” said Newhouse. Okdie added, “Wedly is someone whose personality is infectious, and you just want to be around him.” Hrinca-Diaconsecu said, “He actively participated in the learning process with a great attitude toward his classmates and instructor.”
Cazy shared that the most important skill he learned from his time at Ohio State Newark is the ability to work in a team environment — including learning to adapt to different personalities and diverse perspectives. The most unexpected lesson he learned is to take college seriously right at the beginning because he had to put in a lot of extra work to bring up low grades from his first semester at Ohio State Newark.
Cazy smoothly transitioned to the Columbus campus after his sophomore year and has embraced opportunities to engage. He is on the executive board of six organizations including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People-OSU and the Public Relations Student Society of America.
For the remainder of his time at Ohio State, he wants to be a role model for others.
“I want to be a great example of anything is possible and that the color of your skin, background, sexuality should not stop you from going for what you want. As a first-generation Black student who started at a regional campus and transitioned to the Columbus campus where I am in executive roles in student organizations, have studied abroad, have interned in several organizations, and has plans to go to grad school, I know that the sky is the limit, so GO FOR IT,” said Cazy.
He is on track to graduate with his Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2021.
The Ohio State University at Newark offers an academic environment that is inclusive of diversity, challenging but supportive with world-renowned professors and access to Ohio State’s more than 200 majors. It’s where learning comes to life. Research, study abroad and service-learning opportunities prepare students for their careers in ways they never expected.