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Columbus State is often called the “front door to Ohio State University,” and the school is really rolling out the welcome mat to students in math and science.
Lance Smith, a 20-year-old from Centerburg, is one of the first students coming through a program called Future Scientists of Ohio. The program helps students in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields with additional tutoring, resources and scholarships. The idea is to help them transfer to Ohio State to finish their bachelor’s degree and, hopefully, stay in Ohio to help rebuild the state’s economy.
“There’s been a lot of one-on-one time to help move us along,” Smith says.
In addition to the extra tutoring, students in the program have taken several good trips, such as to the Wilds nature preserve near Zanesville and the nuclear reactor at Ohio State. As an aspiring electrical engineer, the nuclear reactor was a special treat for Smith.
“I’ve been kind of a nerd since I was a kid, so it helps keep me interested,” Smith says. “I just love wrapping my mind around things.”
At Columbus State, Smith is pursuing an Associate of Science degree, a general-purpose degree that fulfills the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. Smith’s associate degree is loaded up with Calculus, Physics and Chemistry courses, as well as general English and Humanities courses. About 30 percent of Columbus State students are taking the general associate transfer degree.
It’s pretty advanced stuff for a college that many still think of as a technical college – although Columbus State offers the technical classes, also. In addition to the general transfer degree, Columbus State offers two-year technical degrees in 55 technical areas such as Surveying, Business and Automotive Tech.
Smith plans to finish up his associate degree in the fall, then go on to Ohio State. And, true to the Future Scientists mission, he’s planning to stay in Ohio. Right now, his dream job is at Battelle Memorial Institute, a Columbus-based independent research agency.