Now in its third year, read below for information about past winners of the President's Prize. For more information or to connect with these past recipients, please contact


2018 President's Prize Recipients

Alina Sharafutdinova / Class of 2017
Fighting the Opioid Epidemic

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 / Class of 2018
STEM Access for People with Disabilities

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.


2017 President's Prize Inaugural Recipient

Maggie Griffiths / Class of 2017
Fighting Columbus Food Deserts

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.

Key Dates

  • September 27, 2019

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


The President's Prize application is open now. Please contact for additional information.