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2015 Innovator of the Year Awards recognize students, alumni and faculty

Recipients of the 2015 Innovator of the Year Awards. From left to right: Melissa Bailey, Sarah-Jane Baserman, Hayley Townsend, Phillip Newman, Stephanie Ritchie, Robert Lee (not in attendance: Megan Miller-Lloyd). Credit: Clayton Eberly / Lantern Reporter

Recipients of the 2015 Innovator of the Year Awards. From left to right: Melissa Bailey, Sarah-Jane Baserman, Hayley Townsend, Phillip Newman, Stephanie Ritchie, Robert Lee (not in attendance: Megan Miller-Lloyd). Credit: Clayton Eberly / Lantern Reporter

A team of five graduate nursing students won the student innovator award for developing an app called MobileYou at the 2015 Innovator of the Year Awards.

This year’s awards were held at the Ohio Union’s U.S. Bank Conference Theater on Thursday, after the Annual State of Research Address given by the Vice President for Research Caroline Whitacre.

“We are advocates for research, locally and nationally,” Whitacre said in her speech. “We communicate research stories and celebrate the research successes of faculty and students. We honor those who make extraordinary contributions to moving research forward.”

The student innovator award was given to Sarah-Jane Baserman, Megan Miller-Lloyd, Phillip Newman, Stephanie Ritchie and Hayley Townsend.

“We’re definitely very honored,” said Baserman, a second-year graduate student in nursing. “We were surprised to even be nominated — let alone win the award. It’s a privilege for sure.”

Baserman said the app is for the low-income population here in Columbus.

“It finds free resources around town for food, housing, transportation and other things like that,” she said.

The Innovator of the Year Awards began in 2010 and originally only consisted of two awards: the early career innovator and the innovator of the year, according to Beth Haas, director of communications and marketing for the Office of Research. The student innovator of the year award was added the following year in 2011.

The nominees are requested by the deans at the university and they can each select two recipients in each award category, Whitacre said.

“Colleges like engineering, medicine and agriculture tend to be where we see most of the nominations,” she said. “But this year, all the winners were health sciences. There was nursing, optometry and pharmacy.”

Whitacre said the university has earned prestigious recognition and that the university is lobbying for research funding in Washington and arguing against restrictive research regulations.

“We are currently ranked No. 16 among the nation’s best public universities according to U.S. News & World Report and we are first among Ohio publics in academics,” she said.

Whitacre said that OSU is doing well in several other rankings, too. The university is No. 12 in the nation for sought-after graduates, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is also No. 29 on Reuters Top 100: The World’s Most Innovative Universities.

Whitacre said it was very difficult to select a winner from all the nominees. Awards were chosen by people from inside and outside the university to help maintain objectivity in the decision-making process.

“The word impact was sort of the theme of this year’s presentation,” Whitacre said. “The awards are really about commercialization and the impact of taking research to the next step.”

Other award recipients included OSU’s Robert Lee, a professor in the College of Pharmacy, and Melissa Bailey, an associate professor in the College of Optometry.

The innovator of year award was given to Lee for his work in pharmaceutics and pharmaceutical chemistry and the early career innovator award was given to Bailey for her work in visual optics and myopia development.

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