July 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

Analyze This: No Problem, Says Legislative Fellow

From left: Vice President for Research Joseph Shields, OHIO alum Tynita White, and President Roderick McDavis.

From left: LSC Division Chief and OHIO alum Nelson Fox, OHIO alum Tynita White, and President Roderick McDavis.

Ohio University alum Tynita M. White’s name sits atop the fiscal analysis of Ohio H.B. 557—a bill that designates June 20, 2014, as “Freedom Summer Day.”

White is an Ohio Legislative Service Commission Fellow, working in Columbus through December. At OHIO, she majored in Political Science and minored in African American Studies, graduating in 2011. In 2013, she earned a Master of Public Administration.

She was recently assigned to write a fiscal analysis of a vague bill concerning Freedom Summer.

“It was because of my African American Studies and Political Science classes that I knew of the bill’s historical importance concerning voting rights in the 1960s, and particularly Freedom Summer in Oxford, Ohio,” she said.

In June of 1964 a campaign was waged to register African American voters in Mississippi. Many volunteers who participated in the campaign attended volunteer orientation sessions that were held in Oxford.

Monthly Meetings with President McDavis

White’s interest in leadership and government flourished at Ohio University.

“Graduate Student Senate had, by far, the biggest influence on my experience at OHIO. It changed how I looked at the University. I was exposed to how things really worked. I sat on Budget Planning Council, I was instrumental in the hiring of the Assistant Dean of the Graduate College, I had monthly one-on-one meetings with President Roderick McDavis, etc.,” she says.

“During my last year of grad school, I served as president of GSS. In that position, I was exposed to the joys and pains that other graduate students were experiencing at OHIO.”

She also was a member of SHADES, a multicultural LGBT organization at OHIO.

“Being a member of SHADES helped me to become a more open-minded individual, and it really helped me grow as a person,” White says.

White also took advantage of several internship opportunities. She interned with the Ohio Treasurer of State’s office in 2010, with the Promise Neighborhood Trimble in 2012, and with Rama Consulting Group Inc. from 2012-13.

White’s legacy at Ohio University was recognized when Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi recognized her with the 2013 Outstanding Graduate Student Leader Award. As president of Graduate Student Senate that year, White was credited with empowering her constituents to affect positive change for graduate and professional students on campus.

From Civil Engineering to Public Service

White didn’t enter Ohio University with a roadmap drawn in indelible ink, but she left with a clear direction for her future.

“I began my studies as a civil engineering major in the fall of 2007,” she says. “It was after my first AAS class, History of Injustice in the U.S., that I realized I wanted to take a different path. The Intro to Public Administration course I subsequently took in the fall of 2008 solidified my decision that Political Science was the major for me. All of the POLS and AAS courses during my undergraduate studies provided me with insight into history, social injustices, politics, and race relations that helped to guide my career path.”

After finishing her graduate degree in public administration, White became a fiscal analyst fellow with the Ohio Legislative Service Commission.

“My undergraduate studies gave me the necessary foundation to pursue a career in public service. In my current position, I am able to put what I learned during those four years of undergraduate studies to work,” she says.

After the fellowship ends in December 2014, she plans to continue working in state government, during that time she will pursue a Ph.D. in Public Policy. Her ultimate goal is to become a college professor.

One Thing She Would Change

White says advising helped shape her career at Ohio University, and she has some good advice to pass along to students.

“I don’t usually talk about regrets, but if I could change one thing about my experience or offer advice to future and current students, I would tell them to get involved in the community early. Do not wait until the end, like I did, to become an active member of the OHIO community,” she says.

“You will meet some of your best friends, make some important connections, and find a new home at OHIO. Live every moment. There are clubs and organizations for just about everything; join them. If there is not one for what you’re interested in, start it. Make the best of the experience!”

One of her best memories, she says, was getting to meet meeting Dr. Angela Davis in November of 2009.

White continues her relationships with her faculty mentors, Dr. Dlysa Burnier, who was her graduate school adviser, and Dr. Robin Muhammad, Professor and Chair of African American Studies.

“Dr. Burnier is one of the main reasons I changed my major to Political Science and the main reason I attended the Voinovich School for my MPA. From her, I learned the importance of being a woman in the field of political science and public administration.

“Dr. Muhammad made me want to learn more and more about African American Studies. I admire her teaching style and her connection with students,” she says. White’s favorite class was AAS 254 History of Injustice in the United States.

“Both of these women encouraged me through undergrad and grad school. They also wrote my letters of recommendation for my fellowship. They helped me during my time at OU and they continue to influence me in my career.”

White is from Columbus and attended Columbus Alternative High School. She received a King/Chavez/Parks Award, a George Womack Grant, the I Know I Can Scholarship, and an OHIO Bobcat Grant. During graduate school, she was a Graduate Assistant at the Voinovich School and earned a Graduate Student Service Scholarship.

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