March 14, 2005

Leadership award winners overcome obstacles and succeed

Sophanit Metaferia, an Ethiopian immigrant who arrived in the United States on Christmas Day 2002 with her parents and two siblings, has managed to excel in her Associate of Science studies at Columbus State, using not her first or even second language, but her third languag–English.

Sophie was one of eight students given the Outstanding Woman Student Leadership Award March 1 in conjunction with the Women's History Month program. Sophie, who will graduate this spring, has a 3.7 GPA and plans to pursue an M.D. She hopes to return to Ethiopia some day to practice medicine.

Since enrolling at Columbus State in 2003, Sophie has immersed herself in American culture by working as a lab assistant in the computer labs, becoming a Student Ambassador, joining the honor society Phi Theta Kappa and serving as treasurer, becoming involved in her church, tutoring in math and science, and even working as a program technician and radio announcer on WRFD Ohio Farm Radio.

As a future medical student, Sophie has taken great interest in performing community service for various medical research charities, including the American Cancer Society. While volunteering on the Relay for Life last year, Sophie celebrated with cancer survivors while helping raise money for research. "Because I come from a country where cancer is not well known, I was not familiar with the disease," said Sophie. "The survivors' courageous testimonies inspired me to believe that bad things in this world can be changed if people remain hopeful and persistent. It was inspiring for me to participate."

Other 2005 Women Student Leadership Award Winners:

Bettina Batts overcame alcoholism to turn her life around. She moved from Los Angeles and enrolled in the Health Information Management Technology at Columbus State, where she maintains a 3.0 grade point average. She has regained custody of her children and found employment at the college–taking command of her own future.

Jessica Dotters, a mother of three children under the age of eight, juggles her family, a full-time college schedule, working on the Cougar News student newspaper, and serving as a Student Ambassador. She has earned certificates in Non-Profit Business Management and Animal Assisted Therapy, and she is currently working on her degree in Interactive Multimedia Technology.

Leslie Fisher
left corporate America to return to college, working four part-time jobs to make ends meet. A 4.0 student in Massage Therapy, she helps her fellow classmates by hosting tutoring sessions at her home and helping provide transportation to classmates who are without a car.

Janet Reiss is a high achiever in the classroom with a 3.7 GPA, a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and a Student Ambassador, as well as being involved in TRIO Student Support Services, her children's school, her church and the Ohio Historical Society.


Dana Sherfield
was paralyzed in an accident in 1999 but maintains an active lifestyle that includes taking care of her toddler, planning to open a daycare center, and serving as a leader in the classroom. Dana volunteers for the national DARE program as well as the PSI Sexual Education Program.

Leslie Washington was a young, unemployed mother before she came to Columbus State to change her life. Leslie was hired as a work-study student in the Health Records Office, where she impressed her supervisors with her positive attitude, and was hired part time. As a student in the Dental Hygiene program, Leslie is working hard to plan community service projects related to her area of study.  

Tianna Williams
is well known for sharing her knowledge of campus resources with new Columbus State students.   Described by her nominator as "a model student," Tianna is often found in the Early Childhood Development labs helping her classmates complete assignments and sharing her creative ideas. She helped develop a "circle of friends" that support each other by picking up each other's children from daycare, preparing meals, and providing babysitting for each other to help balance their busy lives.

Panelists from the March 1 Women's History Month program join recipients of the Leadership Awards, from left: Saundra Schuster, Ohio Assistant Attorney General; President Moeller; Sophie Metaferia; Valerie Still, professional basketball player; Dana Sherfield's mother, Linda, accepting on her behalf; Leslie Fisher and Janet Reis.


Winter Quarter graduation
March 18

The Winter Quarter Commencement Ceremonies will be held Friday, March 18, at 10 a.m. in Franklin County Veterans Memorial, 300 West Broad Street. This quarter's 353 graduates will be addressed by guest speaker Thomas Katzenmeyer, Senior Vice President of Investor, Media and Community Relations of Limited Brands, Inc.   Everyone is welcome to attend.



Don't forget the interpreter

All campus events that are open to the campus community should have interpreting available for those who may need this accommodation to enjoy and benefit from the event. When planning a program or event on campus, please don't forget to make a request for interpreting services.  

To request interpreting services, please contact Tiffany Druckenmiller, Coordinator of Interpreting Services, ext. 3973, at least 2-3 weeks before the event. It is not always possible to schedule interpreters at the last minute or the day before the event.