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College celebrates outstanding engineering student organizations

2015 Student Organization Recognition & Awards eventOn February 24, the College of Engineering recognized six student organizations at the first Student Organization Recognition & Awards event. [photo: Cedric Sze]From inspiring the next generation of engineers to solving engineering challenges worldwide, more than 100 engineering and architecture student organizations at The Ohio State University make a big impact on campus and beyond. On February 24, the College of Engineering recognized six of those student organizations at the first Student Organization Recognition & Awards event. 

In addition to making an impact on the community, students who participate in a student project team, honor society, or other organization gain valuable leadership opportunities, hands-on engineering experience and networking skills.

“Being part of student organizations is a wonderful maturing experience for young men and women to develop their professional skills,” said David Tomasko, associate dean of undergraduate education and student services. “It complements the classroom and provides important experiential learning opportunities.”

The top honor, the Overall Outstanding Student Organization award and its $1,000 prize, went to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Through career, networking and outreach events, SWE proved its breadth in membership engagement, organized leadership and exhibited true passion for the goals of the organization. 

Students from the Society of Women Engineers accept the Overall Outstanding Student Organization award.Assoc. Dean David Tomasko presents the Overall Outstanding Student Organization award and its $1,000 prize to the Society of Women Engineers. [photo: Cedric Sze]Five other student organizations also were honored with awards recognizing industry partnerships, community service, diversity and outreach.

The electric motorcycle racing team, Buckeye Current, took home the award for Outstanding Partnership with Industry for their work in developing successful collaborations with 16 different companies.

Engineers for Community Service (ECOS) received the Outstanding Community or University Service award. ECOS promotes social responsibility through local and international service learning projects, such as building wheelchair ramps for Columbus residents and introducing aquaponics to villagers in Honduras.

Engineering Allies, an organization that strives to create an inclusive environment for all engineering students, earned the Diversity Enhancement award. The group’s past activities include hosting a Diversity in Engineering night with Battelle, participating in the Martin Luther King Day of Service with the multicultural center, volunteering with Stonewall Columbus for the Pride Parade and hosting Safe Zone training for students and staff.

OhioMOD earned the Spirit of Engineering award, honoring the organization that reflects most positively on the college. Focusing on development of nanotechnology for research, the biomolecular design team earned gold in an international competition and created a novel Batman spoof video that captures the fun side of engineering research. 

The EcoCAR Challenge Team, who brought the national championship of automotive engineering home to Ohio State, was awarded the Outstanding Outreach with K-12 honor, recognizing the most innovative or impactful activity to demonstrate engineering to younger students. The team displayed systematic K-12 outreach and had a documented impact on several hundred students via school visits, partnerships with teachers and participation in webinars. 

EcoCAR’s advisor, Shawn Midlam-Mohler, associate clinical professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, received the Award for Outstanding Advisor. His support, care and vast knowledge was a driving force behind the team’s first place finish in the three-year EcoCAR2: Plugging In to the Future competition.

The awards celebration was held during National Engineers Week, a year-long initiative to show how engineers make a difference worldwide. Other Ohio State Engineers Week events include WiE Dream, a career exploration day for female students in grades 10 and 11, and Engineer for a Day. Hosted by the National Society of Black Engineers Ohio State chapter, Engineer for a Day aims to get elementary and middle school students excited about STEM fields.

Last November, DiscoverE—along with co-chairing organizations, Shell Oil Company and American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers—held the Engineers Week 2015 kickoff webcast at Ohio State.

“Engineers Week celebrates students being engineers. It takes engineering out of the classroom and moves it into the community,” said Tomasko. “To me, the spirit of Engineers Week is to create a positive public image of the engineering profession. It’s the perfect time to celebrate the great work done by our student organizations.”