Although it is summer break, the Ohio State TEDx team is still very active. Various members of our team are spreading ideas in their own way, whether it’s on campus, back home, or somewhere around the world. As a result, we are launching a new series called “One Summer, Many Stories”. Over the next month, we will be highlighting a few members of the team each week, showcasing what they are doing this summer – in their own words!

To kick it off, Part I of the series features Karan Rai, Samantha Lechner, Brandon Mushchlitz, and Therese Rajasekera!

Karan Rai, a member on the Logistics Committee and a graduate student pursuing a Masters in Health Administration, is continuing his research on cancer!

“I’ve been working in the Division of Human Genetics for 3 years now and have studied factors related to genetic predisposition for uveal melanoma, breast cancer, and treatment and outcomes data for breast cancer patients. A couple years ago, our group found a new cancer predisposition syndrome gene called BAP1. My current project, recently accepted, elucidates the phenotype for the syndrome and recommends management guidelines so clinicians can better diagnose the syndrome and screen/follow patients so cancer can be prevented, or caught at an early stage to improve the prognosis. Another project I’m working on is looking at using familial uveal melanoma cases as a model for finding new genes and cancer syndromes. Lastly, we are working on investigating variants in a new gene that determines adverse responses to treatment for breast cancer patients.

In addition, I recently came across a cool certification course offered by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement that focuses on models for implementing healthcare management strategies that focus on patient safety and outcomes, and evidence based practice while improving operational efficiency in the healthcare setting.”

Samantha Lechner, a member on the Marketing Committee and a sophomore studying Public Affairs, is on campus doing her dream job as a Peer Leader!

“This summer, I have had the awesome opportunity of working as a Peer Leader for Ohio State, and it has already been such a transformational experience. Coming into such a large university is incredibly daunting for a lot of first year students, but what they don’t realize quite yet is that Ohio State is more than just a big school- it’s one giant family… But luckily, that’s where I come in! As a Peer Leader, my entire job is dedicated to helping first year buckeyes realize what an amazing decision they have made to attend the best damn university in the land! From sharing information about campus resources to spreading general student tips and perspectives on everyday college life, I talk about anything and everything OSU with them, as well as remain a resource to them throughout their entire first year at Ohio State. High school is pretty different from college, so I try to do my best to give my students helpful advice for when they come to campus in the fall! If I’m being honest though, when I came into this job, I never expected to make the impact that I do. But every session, I see more and more students’ eyes light up as I tell them about the endless possibilities that this outstanding university has to offer, and I couldn’t be more excited about the work that I do. It’s not even work to me anymore, it’s just fun, and I think that’s when you really know you’re a part of something great. Ohio State is my favorite place in the world, and being able to share and spread new ideas and buckeye spirit with first year students is a dream come true.”

Brandon Mushchlitz, our Director of Marketing and a junior majoring in Marketing with a minor in Graphic Design, is taking his passion for art one step further!

“This summer I started my own Art Blog ( Each week I focus on a different art form involving paper. I love doing origami and my passion for it started in middle school. This blog allows me to tackle some art projects I’ve been dying to do as well as branch out and try new art forms as well. My website also features a portfolio of my past works and helps me promote my Etsy business as well!”

Therese Rajasekera, our Director of Community Engagement and a junior majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish, is traveling overseas in Sri Lanka!

“My name is Therese, from the Community Engagement committee, and this summer my family will be spending some time in our native country of Sri Lanka, as we try to do every few years. My brother and I wanted to somehow document our experience there as on our past trips, we’ve always been so fascinated by encounters we had and things we saw. After some thinking and discussing with friends, we decided to create a blog modeling Humans of New York and StoryCorps through which we aim to catalog glimpses into the diverse lives of the Sri Lankan people. In doing so, we hope to aid the spread of their thoughts and ideas to a new audience which might not otherwise hear them. See their stories at!”

Part II is now out! Follow us on social media (@TEDxOhioStateU) for the latest updates!