Michaela Hahn Burris: 2023 Hall of Fame Athlete, Class of 2004

An “All American” athlete, Michaela Hahn Burris, Class of 2004, was a champion swimmer, the first swimmer in Riverside history to qualify for the state competition. Captain her junior and senior years, she was also a three-time MVP. She never lost a race to a conference opponent, leading her team to 3 PAC championships, or an individual race in the Sectional Meet. Michaela held 11 school records in every swimming event (*200 medley relay, 200 free, *200 IM, 50 free, *100 fly, 100 free, 500 free, 200 free relay, 100 back, *100 breast, *400 free relay). (*denotes the records she still holds)

Michaela qualified for the 2003 state swim meet in the 200 IM, where she received All Ohio honors, and 100 breast. She qualified for the state swim meet again in 2004 in the 200 IM and 100 breast, where she received All Ohio honors in both events. In 2004 she was designated an “All American” in the 200 IM and named a News-Herald “All Star”. She was a USA Swimming Senior Nationals qualifier the summer of 2004.

Michaela received a full athletic scholarship to Ohio University, where she was an Academic All-American Team MVP (2005) and Most Improved two-time Academic All MAC (2005), three-time 1st Team All MAC, one-time 2nd Team All MAC and all-time top ten-time holder in the program’s history in multiple events, including holding a program record upon graduation. She was a MAC Champion on several relays and helped lead her team to a Mid-American Conference Championship in 2008.

Since graduating from OU, Michaela earned her Juris Doctorate from Capital University Law School and is a member in good standing of the Ohio Bar. She is currently a Legislative Aide for State Representative Lauren McNally, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives serving District 59 (Youngstown). In addition, Michaela is completing her final months of service in her first and only term (choosing not to seek re-election) on Upper Arlington City Council, where she is the youngest woman ever elected in the city’s history.

A well-respected professional in politics and government, Michaela has made several television appearances, including a Face the State segment. She has been nominated for the Council of State Governments 2023 CSG 20 Under 40 Leadership Award. Michaela was a 2022 Sloopy’s Award Finalist for Best House Democratic Staffer. She received the League of Women Voters of Ohio 2023 Judge Florence E. Allen Outstanding Public Service Trailblazer Award, an honor she shares with former Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor.

Her career in public service is motivated in part by a responsibility to “pay it forward” after Michaela’s family struggled during her years at Riverside. She credits swimming, self-determination, support from her coaches, and kindness from members of the Riverside community, with her ability to identify and take advantage of a “’pathway out of poverty.” These experiences make her the person she is today—a fighter for the little guy and a voice for the voiceless. It is also a powerful reminder of the impact a community can have on the life of one of its members.

Michaela lives in Upper Arlington with husband Patrick, and their two-year old daughter, Sascha.


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