Alumni group excellence earns university awards

Posted: November 23, 2021

From their engagement with students to their generous support of new infrastructure and programs, College of Engineering alumni are extraordinary. Recently, two alumni societies received awards from The Ohio State University Alumni Association to prove it.

The Knowlton School Alumni Society received Society of the Year honors, while the Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Alumni Society earned an Innovative Program of the Year award. Ohio State is fortunate to have more than 50 alumni societies and 120 alumni clubs around the world.

Knowlton Alumni Society picnic
Knowlton School Alumni Society leaders at a recent picnic

Alumni Association President Molly Ranz-Calhoun notified Knowlton School Alumni Society board members of their award in a letter, noting that it “is given to one society who exemplifies the mission of The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc. and the university as a whole, with volunteer efforts that exceed expectations and excel in all areas.”

The Knowlton School Alumni Society was recognized in particular for its exceptional efforts to engage alumni through:

  • the creation of a new, multi-tiered membership model;
  • new programming meant to congratulate and connect with the school’s 2020 and 2021 graduating classes;
  • enhanced student mentoring and career services initiatives that leveraged Alumni Association resources that support online events and services;
  • a diversity initiative that included a new diversity statement, scholarships for K-12 Camp Architecture 2021 attendees, a lecture series and webinars; and
  • integration of the Alumni Society’s social media platforms.

The Ohio State Alumni Association’s Innovative Program of the Year award celebrates new and unique programming initiatives and includes a $600 prize to support future initiatives. The ECE Alumni Society’s Virtual STEM Outreach program is an excellent example of a group using their networks to create an exclusive and special event for alumni families.

Betty Lise Anderson helping a child build a speaker
Prof. Anderson helps a child build a speaker during a 2019 STEM outreach event

Despite event cancellations and closures during a pandemic, the longstanding STEM outreach efforts of ECE Professor Betty Lise Anderson and her hands-on projects continued as virtual learning opportunities for children across the country.

The ECE Alumni Society had supported this initiative in the past with volunteer activities in central Ohio, but during the pandemic, they hatched the idea of creating a virtual offering to children of alums.

With promotion help from the Alumni Association, and materials and instruction assistance from Anderson, the society offered two free projects to children of United States-based alumni on February 21, 2021. After receiving 24 RSVPs, they shipped out materials two weeks prior to the event, and held three different Zoom sessions to allow for manageable group sizes. The focus of the projects, including the construction of an audio speaker, was to teach and demonstrate the basic principles of electromagnetism. Overall, 37 children participated, with five alum volunteers and Anderson leading the sessions.

The society held an encore Zoom in August that entertained and educated 24 more children of ECE alums. Society leadership has plans to grow the virtual offerings in the future.

Categories: AlumniOutreach