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Student trustee hopes to lift others with him as he climbs, specifically his Appalachian hometown

Student trustee hopes to bring his Appalachian background and perspective to his role as the second student trustee with voting privileges.

Ask any college-aged man what his phone screen background is and the answers will most likely range from sports, stadiums, logos, friends, family and significant others. This spring, however, Jordan Moseley’s was a screenshot of interview questions he took during a months-long interview process.

Why? Because the third-year in public management, leadership and policy with a specialization in education policy wanted to keep his mind on what he was working toward: being the second student Board of Trustees member with voting privileges in Ohio State’s history.

If you were to look at Moseley now in pictures at Board meetings, he’d look quite different than “Mose,” known by friends as the guy who wears fake glasses and an attached mustache during “stupid late hours,” said his best friend Callum Henderson, a third-year in actuarial science and economics.

Moseley has a cheeky smile and humility that seems almost too cliche. It’s cliche in the way that being humble seems to go along with any successful student’s online biography, but it’s evident his humility is genuine.

After an hour-long interview, his accomplishments and accolades were not laid out one-by-one in rehearsed lines or summaries. They were found out from friends and mentors.

I bring a background and perspective from a part of the state that Ohio State doesn’t have a huge presence in, but I definitely think there is a potential to increase that presence. —Jordan Moseley

Moseley has been involved in the Buckeye Leadership Fellows program, the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, the Mount Leadership Society Scholars program, Kipp Columbus and was given one of the five Outstanding First Year Advocate awards in 2016.

And, as odd as it might seem, the young man in the suit and tie surrounded by Ohio State’s decision-makers at a long, rectangular table in a room with high ceilings and crystal chandeliers every few months doesn’t like to boast about himself or his role on the Board. In fact, he talks about it in a way that is cautious not to offend those around him. Because to Moseley, it seems making others comfortable and center-staged is how all conversations should go.

He’ll shake your hand and ask you everything except what your major is — he said he thinks college students too often get caught up in what their future professional careers and paths could be. He wants to know if you have a best friend, why they’re your best friend, where you grew up, how it shaped you and what your story is.

If you aren’t comfortable telling your story first, he’ll tell his.

“He helped me come out of my shell and be comfortable opening up to people,” Henderson said. “He doesn’t pressure you to talk about anything, but I think he carries a natural presence where you feel very comfortable around him.”

Moseley comes from Albany Village, an Appalachian area in southeast Ohio with a population of around 900 and one K-12 school. Eighteen percent of those living in Appalachia — regions that follow the spine of the Appalachian mountains with poverty rates 1.5 times the U.S. average — have a college degree, according to the Appalachian Regional Commission.

The hallways of the school don’t have pods devoted to entire subjects and its gymnasium doesn’t have wrap-around bleachers like many do in the suburbs.

His home has an old basketball hoop, a garden with about 30 blueberry bushes and a hill he used to sled down as a child.

He didn’t have Wi-Fi until he was a sophomore in high school, which might seem odd to some, but he was the first of his friends back home to get it.

Moseley spent his time playing basketball, going to Friday night football games and hanging out with friends. He went to camp every summer starting before his sophomore year of high school.

But this camp was specifically targeted to Appalachian youths in an effort to give kids the skills necessary for higher education.

The camp, through the iBelieve foundation, is a weeklong experiential learning program, started by Ohio State’s women’s basketball associate head coach, Patrick Klein. Klein became Moseley’s mentor after his first time at camp; Moseley spoke at Klein’s benefit dinner for the program and the two speak almost every day, Moseley said.

The camp wasn’t just a high-school thing. It became Moseley’s inspiration. The concept of giving back to Appalachian youth, giving back to the community he grew up in and helping the community thrive is what he’s working toward. It’s why he wanted to be on the Board.

“A lot of people might think Appalachian and rural means country and back roads, uneducated and those stereotypes sometimes hold true, but it also means community-oriented, hard-working, down-to-earth people,” Moseley said. “[iBelieve] has given me the ability and mindset of coming back, which not a lot of people do. So reaching my hand back and lifting people with me as I climb.”

Moseley said his perspective might play a role into why he was appointed to be a Board member.

“I bring a background and perspective from a part of the state that Ohio State doesn’t have a huge presence in, but I definitely think there is a potential to increase that presence,” he said. “That perspective is just part of who I am. It’s intertwined with how I think and part of how I perceive issues and operations.”

That thought process is what makes Moseley so extraordinary, Klein said. “He continues to give back to his family and his community.”

Moseley is currently working to support a school levy for Albany which would provide additional funding for electives. Currently, Klein said the school has three electives total; band, art and choir.

Klein said the school is struggling to maintain its upkeep, update the building and buy new books, so Moseley is working with the superintendent and principal to form a strategic plan on the matter, as well as educate residents on why the levy must be passed.

“A lot of people that do leave, they don’t come back and impact that community anymore. Students leave the region and never come back,” Klein said. “But for him to come back and impact [Albany] this way and really create a force and a strategic plan, it really will help them.”

As he sits with the CEOs, the Wexner’s and the administrator’s of Ohio State, his upbringing will be at the back of his mind, he said, especially when making decisions or giving input on possible university initiatives.

“I’ve gotten my feet set,” Moseley said. “I’m really ready to continue pushing this university in the direction it should go.”

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