The Ohio State University at Newark

Former Student Returns as Employee to Help New Students Succeed

July 18, 2018

Coryn Coleman’s path has come full-circle. She started out as an unsure, cautious student whose acceptance into The Ohio State University at Newark’s Buckeye Generation Learning Community (BGLC) helped her become what she is today, an academic success coach in the Ohio State Newark Office of Retention.

The office of retention works to help students stay on track to achieve their educational goals. This office organizes learning communities like the BGLC to help students succeed through specialized support such as academic peer coaches, cohort model classes and workshops, social and cultural events to create a sense of belonging and much more.

During her first semester, Coleman admittedly struggled but her BGLC academic peer coach, Steven Foley, noticed. As a first-generation college student, she didn’t know what to expect or how to navigate the world of college.

“Steven pushed me to join the honors program trip to New Orleans, and that is when my eyes opened up to the world outside of Ohio,” said Coleman. “He became my best friend and helped me build a group of friends in the BGLC that really supported me.”

Coleman has a long list of people at Ohio State Newark who she notes as significant influences including Associate Professor of Psychology Julie Hupp and Retention Coordinator Jamie White. Both Hupp and White went above and beyond to help Coleman do her best.

“Dr. Hupp picked me out of the crowd and got me involved,” she said. “She really shaped my last two years and got me out of my comfort zone.” Coleman completed and presented two psychology based research projects that she noted helped her with critical thinking, leadership and public speaking. Her second project done in collaboration with White and fellow BGLC alum Khadijah Mbai focused on how to work with ESL immigrant students to ensure their success.

White also came to Coleman’s rescue when a flat tire threatened to set her behind in some of her classes. She helped her get her car in for repairs and ensure that she stay caught up in her classes.

Because of Foley’s guidance and White’s influence, she chose to become an academic peer coach for incoming BGLC students. This student employment opportunity further clarified her career path. As an academic peer coach, she learned how to guide students to resources they needed, how to identify students in need and how to reach out to them.

Coleman was honored with the chance to speak at a pre-commencement luncheon featuring guests like Ohio State President Michael V. Drake and Rob Portman about her experiences in the BGLC and the monetary aid she received that helped her get her degree in psychology with less of a financial burden after graduation. She walked across the stage to receive her degree in December 2017 and started as an academic success coach in June 2018.

She wants to use her own experiences to help further develop the learning communities expanding their reach to more students. Coleman also wants to use her skills to ensure more students know what resources are available and how to take advantage of them.

“My biggest tips for students, whether they are just starting or finishing up their educational journey, are to use your resources and make connections." Coryn Coleman