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Alumni Society president's message

How one mentor brought about unintended lessons and a return on investment

I am proud to say that I was Professor Emerita Diane Sainato’s first doctoral student at The Ohio State University. She taught me many lessons that took place outside of formal coursework.

The return on the investment that I received from these lessons continues to pay dividends 25 years later.

She said regularly, “Work on what matters.” In my position as the superintendent of an Ohio educational service center, what matters is having the resources to impact school improvement.

One of the most valuable lessons Diane taught me was how to write grants proposals. My lessons started with a federal grant to fund graduate students pursuing master’s degrees in early childhood special education.

Learning to write grants was tedious, frustrating and exhausting, but I knew the work did matter. And the rush when you get that letter or email announcing an award is exhilarating.

To date, I have been fortunate to have more than 90 percent of the grants funded that I have written. The valuable lessons I learned in EHE have helped leverage more than $25 million, which in turn have impacted the lives of more than 50,000 students across central Ohio.

The time and patience Diane invested in me has resulted in an immeasurable return that benefits many others.

What has your return on investment brought to the world?