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

Alina Sharafutdinova

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

Alina Sharafutdinova / Class of 2017

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the rate of drug overdose deaths has increased by 642 percent since 2015, surpassing the national average. On average this means eight people die every day in Ohio due to unintentional drug overdose.

Within Franklin County, five zip codes have been identified as high-risk communities for opiate overdose deaths. Within those areas, one high school and its surrounding community will be chosen to implement an in-school educational training curriculum and interactive drug prevention efforts.

The Ohio Opioid Action Plan will make strides in combating the opioid epidemic in Franklin County neighborhoods. The Plan’s goals are to empower children to make healthy life choices, reduce the number of fatal overdoses, and increase enrollment in drug rehabilitation programs. It will engage a diverse group of educators, law enforcement, local business partners, and volunteers to build a positive community response to this growing epidemic.


Anna Voelker

Access for People with Disabilities

Anna Voelker / Class of 2018

A 2015 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 22 percent of adults in the U.S. have a disability, and a 2015 study from the National Science Foundation shows that people with disabilities represent only 6 percent of employed astronomers and physicists.

From an underrepresentation of researchers with disabilities to a deficit of educational materials available for students with specialized needs, there are many science accessibility barriers that need to be acknowledged and addressed. AstroAccess, an astronomy and science outreach initiative, is specifically designed to do just that.

AstroAccess will help to address this accessibility issue. The project’s overarching goal is to make science more accessible for people with disabilities around the world through inclusive astronomy outreach initiatives. It will engage a global network of scientists and educators, including those in the local Columbus community, in science accessibility and education through a conference, student outreach and other initiatives.

Key Dates


The Round Two application is now open. Select applicants have been invited to submit applications for Round Two. The application deadline is Friday, September 28, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.