Ohio State Newark Faculty to Take Seat in Ohio House
January seventh will be the dawn of a new era in the career of Mary Lightbody, Ph.D., senior lecturer of education at The Ohio State University at Newark. That is the day she will officially take her seat as the Representative of District 19 in Ohio’s House of Representatives. The district is one of ten Franklin County House districts and includes Westerville, New Albany, Gahanna and Minerva Park. On Nov. 6, Lightbody won the seat with 55.4 percent of the vote defeating opponent Tim Barhorst.
“I decided to run because I realized that I wanted to give back in a bigger arena,” she said. “The best part of the campaign was meeting with the people of my district. I knocked on over 12,000 doors.” Lightbody learned about issues facing people in her district through canvassing and attending community events. She intends to focus her time in the Ohio House on enacting bipartisan legislation on issues such as education, healthcare and jobs.
She was not the only one who learned from the campaign process. Thirty-two Ohio State students volunteered for her campaign.
“I learned a lot from Mary’s approach to campaigning, especially her dedication to listening and talking to every constituent. Through this campaign mindset, I gained skills in active listening, consensus building and grassroots campaigning,” said Liz Webb, public affairs major and campaign volunteer.
Matina Bliss, world politics major and campaign volunteer, said, “During the campaign, I learned that hard work and dedication truly pays off regardless of how small an action might seem. It was a wonderful life and learning experience.”
Lightbody also brought the skills of decision-making, goal-setting and advocacy that she strengthened throughout the campaign process into the classroom to help her students become the teachers of tomorrow.
“Dr. Lightbody was my student teaching supervisor during her campaign process. While remaining dedicated to her students, she set on this path with determination and passion to make a bigger difference in the community. She taught me to never give up and never to get too comfortable in one position: push yourself to be the best you can be.” said early childhood education major Kelsey White.
Lightbody joined the faculty of Ohio State Newark in 2007 teaching education majors how to teach science in early and middle childhood classrooms in Ohio, a media literacy course, and a supervision of student teachers course. She is one of the Ohio State Newark Carmen affiliates who help faculty with the design and use of Carmen, Ohio State’s online learning tool, for their courses. In addition, she is the Newark campus coordinator for TK20, a cloud storage system used by the College of Education and Human Ecology’s Department of Teaching and Learning for documentation and accreditation. Lightbody also works with students and faculty for assignments and licensure requirements that include significant technology-dependent tasks.
“Students in my classes saw my passion and advocacy throughout the campaign, and a number of them live in the district and decided to vote for me,” Lightbody said. She hopes to be able to continue to teach on a part-time basis at Ohio State Newark. “I’ve been extremely happy here. I’ve had great co-workers, students and experiences at Ohio State Newark,” she said.
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.