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December 15, 2019
 

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Ada grad has role in Otterbein governance

Meredith Marshall studies, works part-time, participates in student activities andmakes critical decisions for Otterbein University

By Barbara Lockard
A junior chemistry major, Meredith Marshall studies, works part-time, participates in student activities andmakes critical decisions for Otterbein University. 

Marshall, a 2017 Ada High School graduate, is one of two student representatives on Otterbein’s Board of Trustees.  After a rigorous interview process, she was selected and began her term on January 1, 2019.

“It’s wonderful.  It’s nice to have a voice,” said Marshall when asked about her board position.  “My vote carries the same weight as the other board members.”

One of Marshall’s professors encouraged her to apply for the board role when she decided she didn’t like spending so much time in the lab.  It was an opportunity to interact with students, faculty and staff and really become involved in setting a course for Otterbein.  Located in the Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Westerville, Otterbein has 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students.  

One of Marshall’s most memorable experiences as a board member was attending the October 15, 2019 Democratic National Debate, hosted by the university.  

“I had tickets and was able to attend the live debate,” she recalled.  Other students had the opportunity to work alongside national media staff and assist in organizing all of the activities taking place.  Security alone was a big issue and took days of planning.  

“Regardless of your political party, this was a real chance to be involved in planning and presenting a huge national event,” Marshall added.  

On the fast track
Although law school may seem an odd choice for a chemistry major, it fits perfectly with Marshall’s career plans.  She wants to become a patent attorney and her thesis topic focuses on the pharmaceutical industry.  

Since there is an additional bar exam for those aspiring to be patent attorneys, she’ll need a science background as well as legal knowledge.  She’ll take the LSATs in the spring of 2020 and mentioned Ohio State University and Capital University, Columbus, as two of her top choices for law schools.  

The daughter of Bryan and Colleen Marshall, Ada, Meredith is laser-focused on her academic and career goals. In addition to her board responsibilities, she serves as president of the student chapter of the American Chemical Society and works in Otterbein’s admissions office as a host, tour guide and receptionist.  

“As an officer in the American Chemical Society, I try to make chemistry enjoyable and even fun.  I baked a ‘periodic table’ of cupcakes for Otterbein’s Earth Day Celebration and the students really liked our displays and the cupcakes,” she laughed.  

Her board role is particularly satisfying as Otterbein has always had student representatives and values their input.  Marshall gave an example of students’ influence when a new campus center was proposed.

“The students wanted to be a part of the project and have their opinions heard,” Marshall added. “The other student representative and I did surveys, interviews and gathered information.  We were able to sit down with the other board members and present the students’ thoughts on the new campus center.  We were taken very seriously.”  

Inspired by Ada teachers
Marshall credits her Ada High School teachers with providing a great base of knowledge that’s enabled her to be successful in college.  She mentioned two who were particularly inspirational.

“Mr. (Jonathan) Lischak was our former band director,” she remembered.  “He made being involved in marching band so enjoyable.  He was going to law school and working on a doctorate in music and now practices law.”  Lischak’s work ethic made an impression on Marshall and she still calls him with questions about her future law classes.

Marshall’s former chemistry professor, David Lusk, helped her discover that chemistry was not just an interest she had, but a passion.  “Mr. Lusk would give up his lunch period or stay after school to help any student,” she recalled.  

At Otterbein, the aspiring patent attorney is definitely getting more than an academic education. Working hand-in-hand with a renowned university’s board of trustees is giving her confidence in her voice as a student and as the representative of 3,000 students campus wide.  

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