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Syntero’s emphasis on being a catalyst for change in the lives of individuals, families and communities inspired the Catalyst for Positive Change Awards breakfast, which focuses on honoring high school juniors and seniors who  are making a difference in their schools and their communities. Since 1991, Syntero has honored more than 1,500 students for their exceptional character, service and community impact–for being Catalysts for Positive Change!

Syntero invited students from 50 Central Ohio high schools in Franklin, Delaware and Morrow Counties to nominate students for the 33rd Annual Catalyst for Positive Change Awards. This year we received 45 nominations from 24 schools.


Big Walnut High School

Bishop Watterson High School

Centennial High School

Columbus School for Girls

Dublin Coffman High School

Dublin Jerome High School

Dublin Scioto High School

East High School

Franklin Heights High School

Grandview Heights High School

Hilliard Darby High School

Hilliard Davidson High School

Mount Gilead High School

Northmor High School

Ohio Virtual Academy (OHVA)

Olentangy High School

Pickerington Central High School

Rutherford B. Hayes High School

St. Charles Preparatory School

Thomas Worthington High School

Upper Arlington High School

West High School

Westerville North High School

Support a  worthy cause

This event is a fundraiser for Syntero, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All proceeds from The Catalyst for Positive Change Awards will support Syntero’s innovative programming and critical services provided to central Ohioans from all walks of life, in every step of their individual journeys. In 2023, Syntero served 8,876 youth, adults and older adults in Franklin, Delaware, and Morrow Counties and beyond. There has been a continual increase in the need for behavioral health and wellness services, and the demand for Syntero's essential services has not wavered.

Click here to support the cause as a donor, then select "Catalyst Awards" from the dropdown menu. Donations of all sizes are welcome and appreciated.

If you would like to become a sponsor,  for 2025, please contact Kelly Galindo for more information.

Join The celebration

Keep an eye out for registration for the 2025 Catalyst for Positive Change

Presenting Sponsors


Frederic Bertley, Ph.D. President and CEO Center of Science and Industry (COSI) Dr. Bertley is a scientist, scholar, immunologist and educator. His passion for science and innovation brings the joy of discovery to people of all ages where they live, learn and lounge. His innovation has led to experiences including the COSI Science Festival, The Color of Science™ and EiPIC, as well as the COSI STEM kits. Under his leadership, COSI has been voted the nation’s #1 science museum for four consecutive years in the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards and been awarded the prestigious 2023 IMLS National Medal. After graduating from McGill University where he studied Physiology, Mathematics and the History of Science, and earned a Ph.D. in Immunology, Bertley worked internationally in preventative medicine and basic vaccines. He continued this focus in a research group at Harvard Medical School, focusing on the development of DNA vaccines for HIV/AIDS. Before COSI, Dr. Bertley served as SVP for science and education at The Franklin Institute. Bertley co-created and hosts the prime time television show QED with Dr. B, in partnership with PBS-WOSU Public Media. He also created the animated online series, Dr. B in 3. These science literacy creatives have won a combined six EMMY™ awards. He has presented at The United Nations, The White House, the National Academy of Sciences, NASA and in Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. Dr. Bertley has received honors including: the Spirit of Columbus Award, the George Washington Carver Award, Columbus CEO of the Year and blooloop 50 Museum Influencer (UK). He was also awarded honorary degrees from Otterbein University, Columbus State and the Presidential Medal of Service from The Ohio State University.

Keynote Speaker

Christine Nardecchia

Christine is an esteemed community leader, adovocate and supporter of Syntero. As Director of Outreach and Engagement for the City of Dublin, Nardecchia oversees city-wide volunteer engagement, numerous education and community outreach initiatives, and the city’s Aging in Place initiative known as Forever Dublin of which Syntero is a partner.

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Past Keynote Speakers (abbreviated list):

Ryan Miller, Co-founder of 2nd & 7 and m2 marketing, and former OSU lineman

Amy Acton, MD, MPH, Former Director of the Ohio Department of Health/RAPID5 President and CEO

Curtis J. Moody, FAIA, NOMA, NCARB, LEED AP, Founder/Chairman of the Board - Moody Nolan

Chris Spielman, Former OSU & Pro Football Player/Breast Cancer Prevention Advocate

Satch Sullinger, Basketball Coach and Author of “Winning with Purpose”

Alex Sheen, Founder of Non-Profit, “Because I Said I Would"

Ann Fisher, WOSU Radio- “All Sides with Ann Fisher”

David Brown, Founder and Director of the Harmony Project

Sarah Nerad, Founder of Heartland Recovery High School

Simon Fraser, DO. Doctor/Former OSU & Pro Football Player

Joe Blundo, Columbus Dispatch Columnist

Maddie Spielman, Breast Cancer Prevention Advocate/Former High School All Star Salute Honoree

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