Ohio State Staff Member to Grow Learning Communities’ Value and Impact
Like many first-year students, Coryn Gonzales found herself struggling to navigate college when she started in 2013. Gonzales now works as an academic success coach in The Ohio State University at Newark Office of Retention ensuring students have the tools to stay enrolled and graduate. As the recipient of the 2019 American Council on Education (ACE) Women’s Network - Ohio Professional Development Scholarship award, she now has more resources to help students reach their full potential for years to come.
Gonzales graduated from Ohio State with her bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2017. She admittedly faced challenges her first semester, especially as a first-generation student. A student is considered first-generation if neither parent has received a bachelor’s degree. They often lack college readiness, family support and financial stability. Being accepted into Ohio State Newark’s Buckeye Generation Learning Community (BGLC) allowed Gonzales to surround herself with other first-generation students who where also learning “how to college.” Before gradauting, she spent three years working as an academic peer coach for the BGLC, a position that gives students the opportunity to serve as a mentor for incoming first-generation students making their transition to college.
“I felt more connected to campus,” says Gonzales on being a member of the BGLC. “I felt more connected to people. Ohio State Newark felt like home. I really enjoyed the sense of community and family here that I found in the learning community.”
After graduation, she spent eight months working as a scheduler at a medical center and knew she wasn’t in the right field. When the opportunity arose in 2018 to return to Ohio State Newark as an academic success coach, a position similar to her undergraduate role, she was thrilled. Academic success coaches ensure students have the necessary support, both inside and outside of the classroom, to realize their full academic and personal potential. The position seemed to be the perfect fit for a once-struggling former student; she could relate to the students she coached.
Gonzales had been looking for ways to attend a conference where she could learn new strategies to advance the academic probation workshops and learning communities here on campus when she found the ACE Women’s Network - Ohio and immediately applied for the scholarship. On November 1, Gonzales attended the ACE Women’s Network - Ohio annual conference and was one of three to win their Professional Development Scholarship award. With her winnings, she will attend the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) annual conference in Austin, Texas, from March 28-April 1. The conference is a global gathering of student affairs educators who are passionate about critical higher education issues. Gonzales will be able to learn strategies implemented at other universities to keep students on track to graduate with a degree.
“I want students to do well,” says Gonzales on what this scholarship will allow her to do. “Our learning communities are constantly expanding. I want to grow our programs to become more valuable and have more impact on our students. Our goal is to keep students coming to college and achieving their goals.”
Ohio State Newark also has four other unique learning communities in addition to the BGLC to bring together students with common attributes or academic goals:
• The Education Teaching and Learning Community for early and middle childhood education majors
• The Engineering Learning Community for engineering and pre-engineering majors
• The Global Citizens Learning Community for students who want to actively engage with the world community.
• The Scarlet and Gray Excellence Learning Community for students of color
For more information on Ohio State Newark learning communities, please visit go.osu.edu/newarklc. Applications for the 2020-21 academic year are being accepted until April 1 (Education Teaching and Learning Community application deadline is June 15).
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.