O-H, the places they’ll go!

Posted: May 6, 2022

On May 8, 2022, the college will welcome approximately 1,700 new alumni into the Buckeye engineering family. Meet six members of the class of 2022 who combined their passions with The Ohio State University’s offerings to engineer a transformative education.

Kamila Thompson

Kamila Thompson
Kamila Thompson is an undergraduate research assistant in Prof. Leonard Brillson's lab, where she completed her research distinction project.

At Ohio State, Kamila Thompson found the opportunities and the support she needed to pursue her dream of becoming an engineering professor.

Getting involved with a research project to build a bio-inspired underwater autonomous robot for efficient marine exploration during her first year inspired Thompson to major in electrical and computer engineering, with a minor in biomedical engineering.

“I had a lot of responsibilities with the circuit and integrating components like the microcontroller,” she said. “Learning how to do that was so interesting, hands-on and fun.”

Thompson, who is from Pickerington, Ohio, has continued to participate in research throughout her undergraduate career and completed summer research experiences at Stanford University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign last year. As an undergraduate research assistant in Professor Leonard Brillson’s lab, she did an undergraduate thesis investigating how defects in zinc oxide nanowires affect piezoelectric voltage output to improve the efficiency of self-sustaining biomedical nanogenerators.

“It was the first time this has actually been investigated, so it was cool to have the opportunity to develop the project, write a proposal and complete it over this past year,” said Thompson who will graduate with a research distinction. “It really helped prepare me for graduate school.”

Thomson served as a teaching assistant for several Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) courses and was a course development assistant for a new antiracist technology course led by Professor Kevin Passino. She also coordinated student events and led programs for the Workshop on Technology for Social Justice.

Active in Ohio State’s National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) since she arrived, Thompson served as its president from spring 2020 to 2021. She is also one of the founding members and membership chair of the Black and Brown Women in Engineering, Sciences, and Technology Sisterhood at Ohio State.

“The fact that we came together as women of color in STEM is something really special and unique that the Ohio State campus needed,” she said.

Thompson will start an electrical engineering PhD program at Stanford University this fall.

“The main reason why I have been able to accomplish a lot of the things I have is due to the support I have had from people that came before me and helped me. It's easy to get a bad grade in engineering and think you're not capable of completing the degree and being an engineer in the real world, but that is not true at all,” she said. “I definitely didn’t do it by myself and that's why I'm always eager to help and mentor people behind me.”

Zoe Karabinus

Zoe Karabinus and Chris Johnson with President Johnson and Lt. Gov. Husted
(from left) Zoe Karabinus with Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted and Chris Johnson at the 2022 Ohio Air Mobility Symposium.

Cleveland native Zoe Karabinus became interested in pursuing an engineering career thanks to a high school engineering course and her experiences shadowing a woman engineer at nearby NASA Glenn Research Center.

“I really enjoyed [engineering] and thought that it would be fun to pursue, and my parents certainly encouraged me to do so,” Karabinus said. “Then I came here and the more classes I took, the more I got involved, the more I fell in love with it.”

The aerospace engineering major decided to also major in aviation after her advisor told her she could earn dual degrees. After graduation she’ll utilize both skillsets as a test flight engineer with Collins Aerospace in northern Virginia, where she completed an internship last summer.

“It’s given me a different perspective on both [disciplines]. Aerospace engineering is a very technical approach to things and aviation is a much more well-rounded approach to it,” she explained. “I think having both of those has certainly opened me up to different opportunities and perspectives that I might not have had otherwise.”

The 2022 Ohio Air Mobility Symposium in April was one of those opportunities. As program coordinator, Karabinus led the planning of all aspects of the two-day event, where more than 150 attendees from industry, academia and public policy discussed how Ohio can position itself as an advanced air mobility research, testing and manufacturing hub. Ohio State President Kristina M. Johnson, Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted and retired Colonel Joseph E. Zeis, Jr. were among an impressive slate of speakers and panelists.

“I am absolutely elated with how it went,” said Karabinus, who spent nearly two years planning the 2022 symposium together with two other students. “The success of this event just goes to show how ready Ohio is to step into a leadership role in the advanced air mobility industry.”

During her time at Ohio State, Karabinus has served as a student ambassador for the Center for Aviation Studies, an undergraduate teaching assistant, and the executive board secretary for Sigma Gamma Tau, Ohio State’s Aerospace Honorary Society. She is also a certified private pilot and certified remote pilot.

“It didn't feel like it at the time, but now that it's over, [my time at Ohio State] went by really quickly and I don't think there are many things that I would have done differently,” Karabinus said. “I'm very proud of all that I've accomplished, and lucky for all the resources that were made available to me and all the support that I received along the way.”

Matt Parsons

Matt Parsons
Matt Parsons' research focuses on the refinement of water treatment systems for rural communities.

Since coming to Ohio State to study chemical engineering, Matt Parsons discovered a passion for teaching and humanitarian engineering that has led him to pursue a new career path.

As someone who considers himself a teacher first and foremost, Parsons has enjoyed being an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Fundamentals of Engineering program for the past five semesters.

“I love being a teaching assistant,” said Parsons, who is from Painesville in northeast Ohio. “Being not just a teacher, but a role model for the first-year students is something I’m very proud of.”

He’s also discovered his love of working with communities to help enhance their social, environmental and economic sustainability. While serving on Humanitarian Engineering Scholars program's leadership council, he led a volunteer trip to Lafayette, Louisiana, to work with Habit for Humanity and was a peer mentor to first-year scholars.

Parsons joined Ohio State’s Engineers Without Borders chapter, which aims to bring sustainable solutions to communities in need, as a first-year student. He has since served in several leadership roles for the organization, including as president for the past year. During his tenure, the student organization has experienced record growth.

“We have quadrupled the size of the club, tripled the amount of projects that we have, as well as tripled our fundraising,” he said. “I'm very proud of the community that we have and how much time people are able to spend together, while enjoying each other and doing meaningful work.”

An active undergraduate researcher, Parsons has focused on the refinement of water treatment systems for rural communities. His work is done in partnership with nonprofit AguaClara Reach to deliver a safe and reliable source of drinking water to rural communities in Tanzania and Honduras. He also assisted with the College of Engineering’s Maji Marwa project under the guidance of Associate Dean Michael Hagenberger and Senior Lecturer Patrick Sours.

Parsons has been instrumental in establishing the Global Engineering Lab in Smith Laboratory, which provides a research space where undergraduates can work on their global engineering projects.

“Seeing that lab grow from an empty room in Smith Lab when we started in autumn 2020 to become a full, operational lab that serves over 25 different projects and over 100 students at Ohio State is something I’m incredibly proud of,” he said.

The honors student will also graduate with an honors research distinction and a global option in engineering.

With the ultimate goal of becoming a teacher at the university level, this fall Parsons will join the Colorado School of Mines Humanitarian Engineering and Science (HES) graduate program, where he was awarded the Shultz Fellowship and HES Ambassador Scholarship.

“Coming here was initially a very logical decision for me, because of the combination of affordability and quality,” Parsons explained. “Now leaving Ohio State, it is very emotional. I’m proud of my time here and I very much love the school and everything about it.”

Sophie Jaques

Sophie Jaques holds the NCAA National Champion trophy while on the ice.
Award-winning defenseman Sophie Jaques celebrates after the Ohio State women’s hockey team won its first NCAA championship.

After one campus visit, Canadian and ice hockey defenseman Sophie Jaques knew she wanted to be a Buckeye.

“It was the culture and the people—I fell in love with the school and everything about it,” said Jaques who is from Toronto, Ontario. “Knowing the school was great for both academics and athletics made me want to come here even more.”

The talented student-athlete excels as both a defenseman on the Ohio State women’s hockey team and as a civil engineering major. She is the 2022 Arthur Ashe Jr. Female Sports Scholar of the year, which honors young, outstanding minority men and women who have distinguished themselves in their academic and athletic pursuits. Chosen from over 1,000 nominations, Jaques is Ohio State’s first winner of the overall award and earned the individual Sport Scholar award for women’s hockey.

Jaques had a recording-breaking senior season for the Ohio State women’s hockey team, which won its first NCAA championship this year. She earned a Buckeye defenseman single-season record 59 points and led the team with 38 assists. Among her litany of awards, Jaques was named the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year and became Ohio State’s first top-three finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award, presented annually to the top player in NCAA Division I women’s ice hockey.

She also serves as the co-vice president for the registered student-athlete organization SHEROS, which focuses on women within the BIPOC Buckeye student-athlete community. 

Jaques is equally dedicated to her academic endeavors. She has been an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering for the past two years and was an engineering intern at American Electric Power. She is also a research assistant in the Campus Transit Lab, where she analyzes bus and traffic data. That experience piqued her interest in furthering her civil engineering studies.

“The research we're doing is really cool and it's been really interesting to see the real-world application,” said Jaques, who earned a fellowship for graduate studies at Ohio State. “I'm planning to further it with my graduate studies, so I think it's been really helpful for my future.”

Jaques is equally proud of her accomplishments on and off the ice.

“Athletically, winning the national championship had been the goal for four years and to accomplish that was something I'll never forget,” she explained. “Academically, getting the degree and having that background to set me up for the future is what I'm most proud of.”

While pursuing her master’s in civil engineering, Jaques will also return to the rink next year to play her final year of eligibility as a Buckeye. Ultimately, she plans to become a certified professional engineer and work in the transportation industry, though she hasn’t ruled out pursuing a pro hockey career.

Jad Hussein

Jad Hussein
Jad Hussein works in Prof. Natalia Higuita-Castro’s lab, investigating the use of nano-engineered extracellular vesicles for gene delivery.

Jad Hussein chose Ohio State because he wanted to attend a large, academically challenging university with ample resources. The Kentucky native found all that and more as a Buckeye.

Hussein decided to study biomedical engineering because it equips practitioners to create solutions to widespread problems, although his ultimate career goal is to complete an MD-PhD program and become a research physician.

“The biomedical engineering major seems the quintessential calling for me,” he said. “Not just being able to treat patients and pathologies, but also improving the way we practice medicine and the way I treat my patients appealed to me strongly.”

Hussein joined the Biomedical Engineering Society at Ohio State as a freshman and has served as its outreach chair since 2020. In that role, he organizes community outreach events to introduce students in underserved Columbus schools to engineering and runs a tutoring program for Metro High School.

“I found that it is very satisfying going out to communities and exposing younger kids to the world of biomedical engineering and what we do at the university,” he said.

As part of student organization ENCompass, Hussein also volunteers at the student-run La Clinica Latina, where he connects Columbus residents with a variety of needed resources, from food pantries to dental services.

“It gave me the opportunity to gain a lot of exposure in the clinic … I definitely learned a lot from it,” he explained. “Every day you get the feeling that ‘Oh, I may have actually helped this person get by for the next few weeks.’”

Hussein has also been an active student researcher and will graduate with a research distinction. He was a student research assistant in a molecular genetics lab for his first two years at the university. This academic year, he has worked in Professor Natalia Higuita-Castro’s lab, where he is completing an undergraduate thesis investigating the use of nano-engineered extracellular vesicles for gene delivery.

During his time at Ohio State, Hussein also added a second major in Spanish and studied abroad in Bolivia and Spain. After graduation, he’ll be a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant at a university in Colombia before returning to pursue an MD-PhD degree.

Hussein said his Ohio State professors and mentors inspire him to continue to pay forward.

“I'm forever indebted to the professors and mentors I've had here at Ohio State. The wisdom and the time they've imparted on me is probably the most impactful thing I'll carry with me for the rest of my life” he said. “It’s a very strong drive for me to give back to the community what has been given to me throughout my time as a student.”

Tatum Wilmes

Tatum Wilmes stands on a platform overlooking a refinery.
Tatum Wilmes' co-op at Marathon Petroleum gave her valuable hands-on experience and helped her find the right career path.

Tatum Wilmes, from Cincinnati, was drawn to Ohio State because of its Humanitarian Engineering Scholars program and the opportunity to use her problem-solving skills to help others.

Wilmes spent her spring break freshman year installing an aquaponics system in Honduras as part of a service-learning trip. That experience inspired the chemical engineering major to add a minor in humanitarian engineering.

“That was my first exposure to a full-scale engineering project,” Wilmes said. “It was also the first time I got to do something hands-on to have an impact on people and ever since then I fell in love with it.”

She also worked with her classmates to design a mobile food storage unit to transport fresh produce at a low price and to provide STEM resources to a local community summer camp for kids. This year Wilmes and some fellow students designed a device to enable the homeless to safely store and protect important documents, like IDs and social security cards.

As a first-year student, Wilmes joined Engineers’ Council, which serves as a liaison between student organizations and college leadership. She became the ArchE Week coordinator, responsible for a week of fun student events held at the beginning of spring semester. Elected E-Council president as a sophomore, she’s spent her three-year tenure working to expand E-Council’s leadership opportunities and offerings to benefit the college’s entire student body. The council has added committees focused on mental health, equality and inclusion, publicity and events, and worked to offer more events that impact students.

“Since I was in the president role really early, it allowed for the organization to expand and flourish,” she explained. “Our main goal is to become a council for all of the general student body and not just student organizations.”

Wilmes has also been involved with the Society of Women Engineers and Greek life, and completed an internship at Frito Lay and a co-op at Marathon Petroleum. Those opportunities not only gave her valuable hands-on experience, they helped her find the right career path.

“Being in so many organizations in different areas really made my experience whole,” she said. “I feel really connected on campus and have a lot of resources that I can go to. That helped me secure my co-op and internship because I've had a lot of different experiences to touch on.”

After graduation Wilmes will work as a refining engineer with Marathon Petroleum in Garyville, Louisiana.

The students featured in this article were nominated by college leaders and advisors.

by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications, clevenger.87@osu.edu

Category: Students