Grads to watch
On May 5, 2019, the college will welcome hundreds of new alumni into the Buckeye engineering family. Meet a few members of the class of 2019 who combined their passions with Ohio State’s offerings to engineer an extraordinary education.
Believing in herself on and off the court: Asia Doss
The best piece of advice Asia Doss ever received? Believe in yourself. Following that guidance has served her well as she worked to earn a bachelor’s in civil engineering, while also excelling as a point guard for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.
It’s rare to find a Division 1 basketball player who also wants to take on a difficult engineering curriculum, but the engineering program is what led Doss to become a Buckeye.
“Honestly it was the engineering program. I was either going to Illinois, Purdue or Ohio State and they all had pretty good engineering colleges, but I thought Ohio State had better connections, plus the basketball team,” she explained. “I knew I would have a better and more fun career here at Ohio State.”
And what a career it’s been. Doss helped the team win the Big Ten Tournament in 2018 and regular season championships in 2017 and 2018. She was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten Champion and in the top 20 in school history with over 400 assists.
She also shines off the court. The Buckeye engineer has maintained an above average GPA and completed three internships that confirmed her career choice.
“I was able to see what engineers do,” Doss said. “That helped me know, okay, this is what I want to do. I don’t want to change my mind.”
She was also introduced to surveying at her first internship. Doss enjoyed it so much that she added a surveying minor.
As she prepares to graduate on May 5, Doss notes that time management and prioritizing her long-term goals have been incredibly important during her time at Ohio State. She also credits Ohio State women’s basketball head coach Kevin McGuff and associate head coach Patrick Klein for their support.
“My coaches were really cool. I had two summer internships and they were fine with me rescheduling my workouts and things like that,” Doss said. “That made it way easier.”
Doss already scored a full-time job with American Structure Point in Columbus. She’s also continuing to play basketball.
“I’m on like a WBDA team. It’s not official yet … It’s only on the weekends, which is cool,” Doss said, laughing. “I have to do something or I’ll feel really lazy.”
Born to be a Buckeye: Michael Hines
Born and raised in Westerville, Ohio, chemical and biomolecular engineer Michael Hines said he and his family bleed scarlet and gray.
Hines chose to attend Ohio State not only because of the academic opportunities offered, but also to carry on a Buckeye family tradition. His great uncle was a former Ohio State University president and his grandfather was president of the alumni association.
On top of his course load as an undergraduate student, Hines became involved in pharmaceutical research, working with Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Assistant Professor Nick Brunelli. He studied how to improve a specific catalyst and chemical reaction that could be used as a part of the pathway of chemical reactions occurring in pain relievers. Although the specific reaction he studied isn’t currently in use, it could be one day.
“Mike has taken a research project from a mere suggestion to the point of publication in an area that bridges the research fields of chemistry and chemical engineering,” Brunelli said. “He took on a leadership role in advancing our mechanistic understanding of cobalt catalyzed hydrovinylation chemistry that has the potential to make pharmaceutical development more sustainable.”
The research earned Hines and partner Montgomery Gray, a chemistry major, first place in the 2019 Denman Forum’s science: statistical and mathematical modeling section. Presenting at the Denman also helped Hines hone his technical communication skills.
“Research has trained me in dealing with incredibly complex technical problems and trying to come up with creative solutions to solve the problems,” Hines said. “But I think the more important thing for me is that it [provides] practice communicating technical problems to a wide audience.”
After graduating, Hines plans to attend law school at either Ohio State or the University of Houston and pursue a career in patent law.
In the fast lane: Armani Hrobowski
Armani Hrobowski’s passion for the automotive industry started in middle school in Aurora, Illinois—a suburb of Chicago. He comes from a family of five, so when his high school advisor later told him about the financial aid opportunities Ohio State offered, he decided to give Ohio a try.
“I came here and I fell in love with it—just the Buckeye community and it being so big. They kept talking about all of the opportunities available and it sounded amazing,” the electrical and computer engineer said. “It was a good engineering program as well, so it was a win-win.”
He didn’t hesitate to take full advantage of those opportunities, either.
Hrobowski joined the National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) his freshman year, where he worked with the pre-college initiative chair and fell in love with STEM outreach in underserved communities.
At his high school, Hrobowski participated in a program that allowed him to learn in an auto shop environment while also taking Project Lead The Way courses. Through NSBE, he realized that not everyone had those opportunities and decided to be a role model who can bridge the gap between high school and college for kids in need.
As a sophomore he joined the Ohio State EcoCAR team and helped transform a combustion engine Camaro into a hybrid. A member of the electrical team, Hrobowski built harnesses to connect the batteries to various components.
That experience helped him during his internship with Tesla, where he did something similar on fully electric cars.
Hrobowski also interned with Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan, where he worked on the controls team, testing new software in cars that are years away from the sales floor. It’s also where he found a home, as he accepted a full time position with the company.
“I will be working at Ford Motor Company in their electrified powertrain group,” he said. “I’ll be in the Ford College Graduate program, where I’ll be rotating through different groups at Ford and learning different domains of engineering and beyond to make myself more well-rounded.”
Defying the odds: Taysa Markus
Soon-to-be mechanical engineering graduate Taysa Markus is many things—a non-traditional student, a loving single mother and a fighter.
Her story began in 1975 in war-torn Vietnam. As North Vietnam took over the country, Markus’ father, a naval major in the South Vietnamese army, spent 12 years in a labor camp. Her mother worked far away in Saigon most of the time, while her grandmother worked constantly to provide for the family.
Growing up, Markus had few educational resources—no books, internet or libraries—but her father believed strongly in the importance of education. He returned from the camp when Markus was 16. Three years later, the entire family immigrated to the United States via the Humanitarian Resettlement Program.
Encouraged by her father, Markus earned an associate’s degree in 1997 from Columbus State Community College. Years later, after a difficult marriage ended and the loss of her father, Markus decided to return to school to set an example for her two sons. She attended Ohio State like her father, who had earned a bachelor’s degree when he was nearly 60.
“I followed his footsteps to show my children that even if you are divorced or children of a single mom, it doesn’t mean that you can’t try to be your best,” she said. "You decide who you want to be and how high you want to reach.”
Pursuing an engineering degree as a nontraditional student wasn’t easy. Along with her studies, Markus worked hard to help her children succeed in school and maintain a loving household. Her days started at 2:00 a.m., when she did her classwork before getting her sons ready for the day. That was followed by attending classes, working part time and caring for her children.
Today, Markus feels well-prepared to be an engineer, thanks to Ohio State. She largely credits this success to her professors who worked with her and taught with a positive, welcoming attitude, and encouraged questions that opened her mind and increased her confidence in her abilities.
“Everyone is different, but you have to find your own way,” said Markus. “Learn from the past and move forward.” [Read more]
Balancing his passions: Joey Smith
As a gymnast, it’s not surprising that Columbus native Joey Smith has managed to successfully balance his interests in academics, undergraduate research and athletics. And he’s exceled in all three.
In addition to earning two bachelor’s degrees—in food, agricultural and biological engineering; and Mandarin Chinese—the honors student and Morrill Scholar is working toward a master’s in food, agricultural and biological engineering through the combined BS/MS program.
Smith is also actively involved with undergraduate research, working with Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering Professors Jay Martin and Ryan Winston. He’s helping with a project focused on improving water quality in a north Columbus neighborhood as part of Blueprint Columbus. He also received third place at the 2019 Denman Forum’s Evolutionary ecology and environmental science section for his work.
Currently, Smith examines water samples and how they vary season, but for his master’s degree he will study how installing green infrastructure such as rain gardens and permeable pavements will impact water quality.
As part of the Ohio State men’s varsity gymnastics team, Smith specialized in the high bar. His accolades include the Two-Time Ohio State Scholar Athlete award in 2017 and 2018, the 2018 Academic All-Big Ten award, the 2018 First Team All-American Scholar-Athlete award and the 2018 Big Ten Distinguished Honor award.
Balancing so many of passions was a fun challenge, Smith said, and because of that he was never bored during his time at Ohio State.
“It takes lots of planning, using my planner, and being a huge time manager is important,” he explained. “It’s been fun because I don’t like to be lazy. I like to always have something going on.”
After he finishes his master’s degree at Ohio State next year, Smith will go to China to pursue a master’s in Chinese. He hopes to use his engineering skills to help others abroad and plans to return to China to work, with an ultimate goal of becoming a professor.