Six student organizations receive 2020 college awards

Posted: May 12, 2020

The Ohio State University College of Engineering recognized six student organizations for excellence in leadership, outreach and service for its sixth annual Student Organization Recognition & Awards.

Students in these organizations are committed to improving communities on campus as well as around the globe. These organizations provide Buckeye engineers with the opportunity to practice the skills that they’ve learned throughout their academic careers in real-world situations.

SWE members pose in from of a WE Local banner.
Members of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at Ohio State at a SWE conference.
“The college values student involvement in student organizations as a form of experiential learning,” said David Tomasko, associate dean of undergraduate education and student services. “Although we couldn’t hold our traditional awards celebration this year due to the COVID-19 crisis, we’re extremely proud to recognize students’ efforts to serve the broader community and promote engineering.”

The highest honor, the 2020 Outstanding Student Organization Award and a $1,000 donation, was awarded to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and Engineers Without Borders (EWB) in recognition of their service and impact.

Emphasizing outreach and service, SWE hosted 21 outreach events in 2019, including holding introduction to engineering sessions with the Girl Scouts and College Mentors For Kids. They also fundraise for local causes and mentor members.

In addition to volunteering 150 hours per month with local nonprofits, EWB partnered with the village of Njau, Gambia, to design and install a solar-powered irrigation system in the community garden to extend their growing season and increase their self-sufficiency.

Students and their advisor pose with a Gambian man on the project site.
Engineers Without Borders travel team went to Njau, Gambia,in December 2019 to work on their irrigation project.

Both organizations each also received an honorable mention and $100 donation for the Outstanding Community Award. In addition, SWE received honorable mentions for the Outstanding Partnership with Industry, and Diversity and Inclusion Enhancement Awards.

In recognition of their extensive work to create inclusive communities, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) received the Diversity and Inclusion Enhancement Award. EWB’s local projects focus on impacting Ohio’s most disadvantaged groups by partnering with community organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and STEM education groups such as After-School All Stars. NSBE’s bi-weekly meetings tackle a number of issues, from maintaining grades to networking skills, and their mentorship program pairs first-year students with an upperclass student mentor with similar interests.

Three other organizations were honored for their efforts to better the Ohio community and beyond. Each of these awardees received a $400 donation in support of future endeavors.

Ohio State NSBE members
Ohio State NSBE chapter
The Outstanding Community or University Service Award went to Lambda Psi Minority Engineering Honorary for their continued STEM outreach efforts, including serving as FIRST Lego League Jr. coaches and mentors to the Northland High School Stem Club.

The OHI/O student organization won the Outstanding Partnership with Industry Award. Members recruited 34 industry sponsors to its premier 2019 events, HackOHI/O and MakeOHI/O, including several first-time sponsors. Participating sponsors provide critical financial support as well as serve as mentors and judges.

OHI/O also received the Publicity Excellence Award for reflecting the most positively on the College of Engineering through their events, redesigned website, social media channels, weekly email updates to thousands of subscribers and media features.

The 2020 K-12 Outreach Award went to FIRST Alumni and Robotics at Ohio State (FROS). In addition to mentoring local FIRST robotics teams, hosting workshops and volunteering at competitions and events, the organization partnered with SWE to host a First Lego League regional tournament attended by 300 students and parents.

Edwin Lee, program manager for diversity, outreach and inclusion, received the 2020 Outstanding Advisor Award for leadership and guidance of the National Society of Black Engineers.

There are more than 100 student organizations in the College of Engineering, including honoraries, project teams, diversity-related student organizations and eight graduate student organizations.