Our Selection Process


Each year, two graduating seniors will be selected as President’s Prize scholars – the highest recognition Ohio State bestows on exceptional students committed to social change. Recipients are selected for the boldness of their ideas, their capacity to champion change and their commitment to the global community.


The recipients receive a $50,000 living stipend and up to $50,000 in funding to implement an innovative project to positively impact a local, national or global community. They will also be able to access an exclusive network of agents for change, expert mentors and the opportunity to share their ideas with Buckeyes around the world.


This Year's Winners

Fighting Columbus Food Deserts

Margaret Griffin / Class of 2017

Nearly 29 million Americans live in food deserts, areas with little access to the fresh produce needed for proper nutrition and development. The data for Ohio show that between 16 percent and 20 percent of the state’s population lives in a food desert.

The Unity Fridge Program is a food-sharing system that will place refrigerators within the local community, preferably around schools, and connect to community gardens and restaurants to fill each fridge with fresh, locally-grown produce. By placing the fridges in schools, children leaving school for the day will have immediate access to nutritious produce to bring home.

Additionally, the program will create an on-campus garden managed by Ohio State students and faculty. A student organization will help with planting, garden upkeep and produce delivery. The Unity Fridge Program will change lives and strengthen students’ commitment to bettering the lives of others.


Taking the Steps to Success

KayMesha Knox / Class of 2017

Steps to Success – a targeted, in-person mentorship program at East High School in Columbus – will provide underserved students with the research-based resources needed to enroll in postsecondary education and complete their selected program. Mentors will help with ACT prep, college applications and homework, as well as scholarship and grant application guidance, one-on-one mentorship, financial training, FAFSA workshops and parental meetings.

This program will address the three main reasons why underserved students don’t apply to or attend a postsecondary institution: financial burden, lack of guidance navigating the financial aid process and insufficient support once enrolled.

Steps to Success will also provide a laptop and wireless Internet to every student involved. This enables them to have more availability to work on college and scholarship applications, and allows their parents easier access to complete their portions of these applications.

Key Dates


The round one application deadline has passed. Round two applicants should use the "apply here" button to submit their materials by the deadline: October 6, 2017 at 11:59 p.m.