Sparks Blazes Trail for Activism, Community Involvement When he graduates fromThe Ohio State University in 2021, Zach Sparks will have earned more than a degree: He can boast an invaluable college experience. In the three years he’s been attending The Ohio State University at Newark, Sparks, of Huntsville, Ohio, has honed his leadership skills through various organizations in which he has been both a participant and a founder. “I think Ohio State’s motto, ‘Education for citizenship’ is a great way to go,” he says. “You can make your education just about getting an education — get your piece of paper, be done with it. But it really can be so much more than that. It really can be about preparing you to be involved in the entire nation, in a sense, and the global community in general.” Opportunities for activism and involvement abound on campus, Sparks said, and they’ve provided experiences that will build on his portfolio as he enters the workforce with a psychology degree. He hopes to utilize the people skills he’s learned both in and outside the classroom as he enters the field of politics, and his time at Ohio State Newark has been the perfect starting point. “That shared sense of community that we all work toward, it really does create a lot of opportunities to connect with people,” Sparks says. He works as a resident manager in the Newark campus residence halls, where he has lived since his second year on campus. In that time, he’s been able to make special connections with fellow The Ohio State University at Newark November 2019 Continued on page 3 From judging science fairs in county schools to advocating for patients with polycystic kidney disease inWashington, D.C., pharmacist MaraWeber uses her education and experiences in health care to give back both locally and nationally. She was rewarded with The Ohio State University at Newark Distinguished Alumni Award at the annual alumni and student Homecoming celebration dinner on October 3. “I am very honored to have been selected to receive this award. The foundation that I received at Ohio State Newark was paramount to my success in my career and education path,” saidWeber, who received a Doctor of Pharmacy in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in radiologic science in 2007 fromOhio State and an associate degree in radiologic science technology from Central Ohio Technical College in 2005. She is currently an antimicrobial stewardship and medication safety pharmacist at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital. “I would not be where I am now and would not have been able to capitalize on opportunities had I not started at Newark.” While at Ohio State Newark,Weber was a LeFevre Fellow under the guidance of Assistant Professor Emeritus Robert Klingensmith, PhD. Fellowship recipients receive a scholarship for demonstrated academic success and participate in service learning. “Dr. Klingensmith was a very influential professor in my journey. How he cared about his community and spreading the message of service learning/outreach was extremely impactful,” saidWeber. “This program ignited a fire within me to help my community; I took this and got involved with the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney Foundation.” She served as the advocacy chair from 2009-2014 and the central Ohio chapter coordinator from 2014-2016 during which time she orchestrated the Central Ohio Polycystic Kidney DiseaseWalk and exceeded fundraising for the $500,000 goal. She also met with politicians at all levels, including four trips to the nation’s capital, to advocate for organ donation legislation, promote insurance coverage for medication and lobby for research funding. Weber is also active in education both within her profession and at the secondary level. Prior to becoming a clinical pharmacist, she worked as a radiographer. Integrating her two careers, she Mara Weber Named 2019 Distinguished Alumni Continued on page 3