In a Nutshell: Buckeye Engineering briefs

Posted: July 16, 2022

Buckeye Engineering issue 38 news briefs

Recent grad receives national honor

Trecia Cintron portrait

Recent landscape architecture graduate Trecia Cintrón ’22 was named the undergraduate 2022 National Olmsted Scholar by the Landscape Architecture Foundation and received $15,000 in prize money. 

The Olmsted Scholars Program is the premier leadership recognition program for landscape architecture students. The LAF awards just two winners—one graduate and one undergraduate—each year. 

Cintrón has been engaged with efforts for social and racial justice since she was 14 years old. Participation in landscape architecture studios cemented her understanding of the link between public health and environment, particularly as they relate to race and systemic negligence. She plans to use the award to further her current research, which involves gathering health histories from families in Black and Hispanic communities that live adjacent to landfills and other contaminated sites along the Mississippi River to create an Environmental Injustice Atlas of the Midwest. Read the full story.

Engaging kids in STEM

Three students at Rosemore Middle School build an underwater robot as an Ohio State student looks on.
Rosemore Middle School students working on their underwater robot.

As a kid, it was pretty easy for computer science and engineering major Parth Parekh to dip his toe in the waters of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). He enjoyed a variety of opportunities in class, after school and in the summer to have fun while learning about coding, robotics and engineering.

But that’s not the case for many kids. So Parekh and his Underwater Robotics teammates at The Ohio State University chose to do something about it. The team developed build-your-own underwater robot kits as inexpensively as possible—about $2,500 for a class of 25 students working in small teams. Cost containment was important, Parekh said, because corporate sponsorship is central to the program’s sustainability and expansion.

The team piloted an after-school program from late January until early March with sixth through eighth graders at Rosemore Middle School, which is located about 15 miles east of Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Underwater Robotics Team members visited the school five times to help students build and code a real underwater robot from scratch. Thanks to a donation from ExxonMobil and an Ohio State Outreach and Engagement grant, the program was free to the school. Read the full story.

University honors five

Five 2022 university awardees
(top row, from left): William S. Marras, Bhavik Bakshi, Asimina Kiourti; (bottom row, from left): Manoj Srinivasan, Barry Tolchin

Five College of Engineering faculty and staff received 2022 awards from The Ohio State University in recognition of their outstanding scholarship, teaching and achievements. Read the full story.

  • William S. Marras, an internationally acclaimed researcher of biomechanics in the prevention, evaluation and treatment of spine disorders, received Ohio State’s highest faculty honor—the title of Distinguished University Professor.
  • Bhavik Bakshi, Richard M. Morrow Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, earned a 2022 Distinguished Scholar Award in recognition of his decades of research leadership.
  • Electrical and Computer Engineering Assistant Professor Asimina Kiourti received a 2022 Early Career Distinguished Scholar Award, which honors faculty who show promise of making significant contributions to Ohio State and their field for years to come.
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Associate Professor Manoj Srinivasan received a 2022 Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching, which recognizes faculty for superior teaching.
  • Barry Tolchin, manager of academic advising for the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering, received a 2022 Distinguished Staff Award, the university’s highest staff recognition.

Dean Howard tapped for national AI committee

Ayanna Howard portrait in library
Dean Howard

College of Engineering Dean Ayanna Howard is one of 27 experts appointed to the National Artificial Intelligence Advisory Committee (NAIAC), which will advise the President and the National AI Initiative Office on a range of issues related to artificial intelligence (AI). 

Announced by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the appointments are the first for the recently established committee, created in response to the National AI Initiative Act of 2020. The initiative directs the NAIAC to provide recommendations on topics including the current state of U.S. AI competitiveness, the state of science around AI, and AI workforce issues. The committee also is responsible for advice regarding the management and coordination of the initiative itself, including its balance of activities and funding. The committee members were nominated by the public as expert leaders from a broad and interdisciplinary range of AI-relevant disciplines from across academia, industry, non-profits and civil society.

“I welcome the opportunity to collaborate with peers from industry and academia to help navigate our nation’s AI future,” said Howard. “The great promise of AI should be tethered to great responsibility among its designers. Much of my robotics research focuses on understanding, addressing and mitigating bias in AI algorithms, therefore I am encouraged by this committee’s conscientious effort to include a diverse range of voices, backgrounds and acumen in the conversation.” Read the full story.