Convocation 2018 — Class of 2022 Convocation Marks the Start of Autumn Semester While most professors inspire students to reach for the stars, Michael Stamatikos, Ph.D., told The Ohio State University at Newark’s freshman class that they are “literally star dust.” In his line of research, that is a very special thing.With humor akin toThe Big BangTheory, Stamatikos, assistant professor in the Department of Physics, Department of Astronomy and Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particles Physics, was one of many to welcome the new class to Ohio State and the Newark campus at Convocation on Aug. 20. “Humanity may be insignificant on the cosmic scale, but we are not meaningless.We can define that for ourselves and dream big. Don’t wait for the future to passively happen, actively help make the future you want for yourself,” he advised students. Keeping with his interstellar theme, Stamatikos added, “NASA currently plans on a manned mission to Mars by 2035. Since the average astronaut is age 34, this means that the first person to step on Mars could be in this room right now!” Though space travel was not on the agenda, students did trek across the campus grounds to participate in the second-annual bridge walk. This Ohio State Newark tradition is a symbolic representation of the journey from high school – or in some cases, previous careers or life in the military – to college. Robed faculty awaited on the other side of McConnell Point holding scarlet and gray tassels, a reminder of the end goal: graduation. “Ohio State Newark is a unique place where you have the atmosphere of a liberal arts college nested within a tier one research university, which I consider to be the best of both worlds,” said Stamatikos. “Furthermore the ability to do research as a freshman, experience career-aligned internships, participate in public outreach and engagement will all help galvanize your interests and either help reveal or focus your intrinsic passions.” On the first day of autumn semester, students filled the classrooms with this challenge to follow their passion. And they’re doing it in potentially record- breaking numbers. Unofficial estimates indicate this class is more than 1,500 students, the largest in Ohio State Newark’s history.We will know for sure if they capture the record in a few short weeks, but only time will tell what heights each of our shining stars will achieve. September 2018 The Ohio State University at Newark