Student explores all BGSU has to offer

Alumni Laureate Scholar Profile

Student explores all BGSU has to offer

By Megan Schmidt

Friends may come and go, but family is forever — and always there when you need a little help with your laundry.

At least, that’s the case for freshman Lydia Emch, who says her grandmother has been a lifesaver in times of stress during her first busy year at BGSU.  

“I pretty much knew within my first 20 minutes of being on campus that I wanted to go here.”“My grandma takes me out to lunch on Thursdays and sometimes she does laundry for me,” Emch said. “I always know that if I’m really tired or have been sick, I can head over to my grandma’s house for a home-cooked meal.”

Aside from her parents, who live just outside of Columbus in Hilliard, Ohio, many of Emch’s extended family lives in northwest Ohio, including her grandparents.

That’s not the only reason Emch decided to attend BGSU, but it’s part of it, she said.

“I had spent a lot of holidays and vacations up in northwest Ohio visiting family, but I never saw BGSU in person until my junior year of high school,” she said. “I pretty much knew within my first 20 minutes of being on campus that I wanted to go here.”

“My family were like, ‘Oh, you’re just excited about BG because you’re excited about college in general,” Emch remembers. “But I visited seven or eight other schools and I never really even considered them.”

Her acceptance into the Alumni Laureate Scholarship program sealed the deal. Now, Emch is one of two current Alumni Laureate Scholars who come from the small city of Hilliard — a pretty unlikely scenario, since there are only 20 Alumni Laureate Scholars in all and they come from all over the U.S. (The other Hilliard Alumni Laureate Scholar is junior Joey Seipel.)

Emch entered BGSU last fall planning to study early childhood education, but, as many freshmen do, she has since declared her major “undecided.” She is now considering majoring in interior design, she said.

“I love children, which was the main reason I wanted to go into education. I also love art, so I was thinking about majoring in art education,” Emch said. “Getting to BG and seeing such a wide variety of classes that seem interesting to me, I thought I’d try some other things out and see how I like them.”

During her first semester on campus, Emch became involved with the campus church organization H2O and Educators in Context & Community (ECCO).

“ECCO allowed me to spend one day a week in an art classroom in the Toledo Public school system and I got to talk with students about their art projects, help them mount their work and prepare for an art show,” she said. “It was time-consuming but very worthwhile.”

Emch also enjoys volunteering with Serving Our Neighbors (SON) Ministries, a Hilliard-based nonprofit organization that provides services for poverty-stricken families. She has been working with the organization since 2007.

Some of the most vital services SON Ministries provides are its English as a Second Language ESL program for adults and literacy program for children, Emch said.

“Many immigrants who have come to the Columbus, Ohio, area in recent years come from the Middle East and speak Arabic,” she said. “Some of them come here as refugees and they can’t find a job because they don’t know the language. We partner with a local community college to provide free English classes, so they can hopefully learn the language and create better lives for themselves and their families.”