Students play critical role in recruiting future Buckeye engineers
Each year the College of Engineering’s recruitment team hosts thousands of prospective students and families at more than 100 events and visits as they work to attract nearly 1,600 new engineering students. Add in the hundreds of emails and phone calls, and it’s far more than a three-person team can manage alone.
Luckily, the college has a team of 57 committed students who serve as Engineering Ambassadors and contribute their time to the cause.
“We are grateful to our dedicated and talented student ambassadors volunteering their time to recruit the next class of Buckeye engineers,” said Jen Robb, director of undergraduate recruitment for the college.
“From engaging in panel discussions at large campus events with 300-plus guests, to leading small group engineering facility tours, to engaging in phone calls with families, ambassadors share their student journey and love of Ohio State. Families commend their relatability, experiences, insights and outcomes.”
While a handful of ambassadors are hired as student assistants to work weekly in the recruitment office, the majority are volunteers. Prior to the pandemic hitting in mid-March, the ambassadors collectively volunteered 235 hours to help with recruiting efforts in spring semester alone.
In addition to hosting tours and participating in events, the ambassadors assist with mailing campaigns, attend social receptions and even appear in photo shoots.
But perhaps the ambassadors’ most critical role is sharing their stories said Program Manager Maria Sanchez.
“It’s invaluable,” said Sanchez, who also advises the ambassadors. “Who better to tell you what engineering is like than students who are living it day-to-day?”
Engineering Ambassadors Past President Courtney Campbell ’20 agrees. The recent computer science and engineering grad said hearing previous ambassadors’ stories about the support provided by the Minority Engineering Program and other resources, had a major impact on her college choice.
“If it wasn’t for hearing a student perspective, I probably would have not gone to Ohio State, which I think in turn helped me be a better ambassador,” Campbell said. “Those student stories really helped me a lot.”
As a registered student organization at Ohio State, Engineering Ambassadors elect a leadership team each year. They direct the organization’s professional development program, which is sponsored by Marathon Petroleum Company, and other activities.
In her role as president, Campbell also served as a resource for her fellow ambassadors.
“In general, you oversee everyone’s role. I got to work with each person individually a little more—vice president, treasurer, secretary—and also help recruit new ambassadors to take the place of people graduating.”
The organization welcomes interested engineering students from all majors to apply during two recruiting periods annually.
Materials science and engineering major Jason Hwang, who grew up in Fairfax, Virginia, applied to be an ambassador because he missed meeting new people, something he often experienced during high school while working at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
Being an ambassador also has other benefits, Hwang said.
“It makes me a lot more comfortable talking to people I don't know. I've carried those skills over to, for example, when I'm doing an internship and I need to give a presentation to a bunch of people,” he explained.
During the pandemic, the undergraduate recruiting team has shifted to virtual events and overview sessions, in which the ambassadors continue to play a critical role.
“I still felt the Buckeye spirit, as cheesy as it sounds, in those virtual sessions. The energy to come to Ohio State was still there,” Campbell said. “The ambassadors that joined in are people who, even during a pandemic, want to talk about their experience at Ohio State, so I think they made a huge difference.”
Whether meeting with prospective students in-person or online, the Engineering Ambassadors are proud of the impact they make.
“I think back to when I was applying to colleges and how stressed and how uncertain I was,” Hwang said. “It's a privilege to help these kids make this decision. It's probably one of the biggest decisions that people make in their lives when they're 18 or 19.”
Contact the Undergraduate Recruitment Team at email@example.com to learn more about participating in the Engineering Ambassadors program as a current student or for prospective students who wish to connect with our ambassadors.
by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org