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

rECOvery Organics

Zac Graber / Class of 2018

Wastefulness is a massive problem worldwide. In the United States alone, we only recycle about 35 percent of our waste stream, yet we currently have the technology to attain at least 70 percent. This waste sits in landfills while releasing harmful gases into the air, taking hundreds or thousands of years to decompose (if ever), and causes us to have to mine for new raw materials which is extremely energy intensive and harmful to the environment. Solving this problem requires both improved technology and changed consumer behavior. My project, rECOvery Organics, will extend the life of the Central Ohio landfill by dramatically increasing the organics recovery and improving the consumer experience toward waste. My research will focus on ways we can make the recycling process easier on consumers and economically feasible for both the public and private sector partners involved.


Getting Ready Opportunities to Work

Christian McGhee / Class of 2019

There may be as many as 1,500 homeless transitional age youth in Columbus alone. Getting Ready Opportunities to Work, or “Grow,” will create a home to provide youth who otherwise may be homeless with the resources and stability they need to be part of the vibrant community here. As a full-service transition center, Grow will strive to eliminate the many negative consequences that stem from being justice-involved youth on the streets. Many of these young people exit the justice system not knowing there are organizations out there to help them. We will help bring an end to that, and create a platform for lives to be transformed for the better. I am determined to be a voice for the voiceless. I will work as hard as I can to empower them to live a life they never thought they could have.

Read more about Christian and his project here.


Information about past winners is available here.

Key Dates

  • September 27, 2019

    Round Two applications due by 11:59 p.m.


The President's Prize application is open now. Please contact presidentsprize@osu.edu for additional information.