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Leading by example
Buckeye engineers were honored during the 2020 Student Life Leadership Awards, which celebrates members of the Ohio State community who are growing as leaders and creating an extraordinary student experience.
Over the past 60 years, The Ohio State University has recognized hundreds of students, advisors and organizations who demonstrate leadership, collaboration and a commitment to the Ohio State community. Due to university policies regarding non-essential events, this year’s celebration was held virtually.
Individual Leadership Award Winners
Civil engineering major Trace Eberhardt received the Scarlet, Gray and Green Student Leadership Award for his involvement with major sustainability efforts on Ohio State’s campus. For two years Eberhardt has served as chair for the annual Dump and Run event, which allows Ohio State residential students to donate unwanted items during move out that will later be sold to students moving into residence halls the following semester. His efforts resulted in more than 20,000 pounds of clothing being diverted from landfills and achieving a waste diversion rate of 71%, more than doubling the university's diversion rate of 35%.
Agricultural engineering student Matthew Klopfenstein was recognized with the Outstanding Senior Award, a distinction given to less than 1% of Ohio State’s graduating seniors. Klopfenstein is a member of the Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Team, a group of undergraduate students that design, build, test, market and compete with custom-built tractors on an international level. He has been involved with the team since his freshman year and has served in a variety of leadership roles in which he has emphasized the importance of scholarship, teamwork and perseverance. Following graduation, Klopfenstein plans on working for CNH Industrial in Burr Ridge, Illinois, as a hydraulic engineer.
A third year city and regional planning major, Roaya Higazi was this year’s Kaplan Humanitarian Award winner. Higazi has been an instrumental member of Ohio State’s North and South Sudanese Association. As this year’s outreach chair, she planned several impactful programs, including the second annual Sudanese Cultural Night which informed the Ohio State community about Sudanese traditions while also raising money for the Buckeye Clinic in South Sudan. Higazi recently was elected president of Undergraduate Student Government, after serving this year as vice chair of diversity and inclusion.
Organization Leadership Award Winners
ACM-W was a recipient of this year’s Outstanding Overall Student Organization award. The chapter’s current executive leadership team includes computer science and engineering (CSE) majors: Amy Book, president; Vicki Sandoval, secretary; and Jenni Silverstein, treasurer. Faculty advisors include CSE Senior Lecturer Bettina Bair and Associate Professor Chris Stewart.
ACM-W’s mission is to engage students in activities that improve the working and learning environments for women in technology through mentoring, volunteering and raising visibility of women in STEM. ACM-W engages with the Ohio State community through frequent collaborations with other STEM organizations, and with the broader Columbus community through their K-12 outreach program to get girls excited to study technology fields.
The Student Organization Excellence in Community Engagement award went to FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Alumni and Robotics. Leaders include: Derek Ho, electrical and computer engineering; Lily McGee, civil engineering; and Eilidh Cowan, food, agricultural and biological engineering. The group’s advisor is Winnie Sampson, executive assistant in the College of Engineering’s Office of Undergraduate Education and Student Services.
FIRST is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire K-12 students to be engaged in STEM through its mentoring program. FIRST Alumni and Robotics at Ohio State provides mentorship to local FIRST teams of all levels, hosts and volunteers at official and off-season events related to FIRST, and participates as a project team in the FIRST Alumni Collegiate Competition. FIRST also completed the Student Organization 150-Hour Service Challenge with projects that supported STEM education.
Congratulations to all of this year’s winners. For a complete list of awardees, visit the Office of Student Life’s website.