Scholarships help students engineer bright futures

Posted: April 12, 2023

Receiving an award and scholarship during her sophomore year at The Ohio State University enabled architecture major Dervette Henderson to fully focus on her studies, instead of working to avoid debt.

Dervette Henderson speaks on stage during the Scholarship Luncheon
Architecture major Dervette Henderson shared the impact of receiving the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Scholarship.

“It sparked a confidence in me that I was able to design good architecture and it didn't look like everyone else's,” she said. “I decided to take my junior year very seriously and was actively working to get a scholarship because I realized that I was able to do so. At the time I was working two jobs to pay for tuition.”

Henderson is one of four College of Engineering students who shared how scholarships help them engineer bright futures during the 22nd Annual College of Engineering Scholarship Luncheon. Dean Ayanna Howard gave closing remarks at the annual celebration and Patrick Sours ’17, '19, lecturer and PhD candidate in food, agricultural and biological engineering, was the emcee.

Refocusing on her studies paid off. Henderson earned a second studio award and the Suzanne Kolarik Underwood Scholarship this spring as a junior.

“This has helped me with tuition and also preparation for going to grad school,” she said. “I'm grateful for the opportunities that Knowlton [School] has provided me in exploring architecture and developing my confidence in my designs.”

Receiving the Adam Doleh Memorial Scholarship gave chemical and biomolecular engineering major Allison Falls the freedom to explore different hands-on learning opportunities available at Ohio State.

She was an undergraduate teaching assistant, conducted artificial blood research in Professor Andre Palmer’s lab, participated in student organizations and interned at Avery Dennison Graphics Solutions. These diverse experiences not only confirmed that chemical engineering was the right fit, but also helped Falls choose a career path.

“Being given a scholarship by the College of Engineering has helped me embrace the unpredictability and be involved,” she said. “I'm planning on pursuing industry after I graduate and I'm hoping to work within the field of biopharmaceuticals.”

After feeling ostracized by academics growing up, engineering physics major Frank Portman didn’t plan to attend college. His outlook changed after he discovered a supportive learning environment and diverse teaching styles at Ohio State.

“I thought academics just weren't going to be for me,” said Portman, who is neurodivergent. “Coming here and being an Ohio State student has been a really incredible experience.”

Receiving the Swagelok Scholarship enabled Portman to get involved with Buckeyes for Accessibility, a student organization that works to support students with disabilities and make campus more accessible and inclusive.

Buckeyes for Accessibility is evaluating and collecting data on walking paths, noise levels, doorway access and more to help students who use mobility aids like wheelchairs navigate campus safely and effectively. The group plans to share any issues they uncover with university leadership and create a resource to help students with impairments.

“Engaging with the population of disabled students here at Ohio State, I've learned just as much about the possibilities for my STEM career as I have through classes,” he said. “Given that I have this opportunity to become this highly educated, I wanted to use it as a way to benefit the people around me. It's what motivated me to want to go into rehabilitation engineering.”

Scholarship and university support enabled aerospace engineering major Jack Murray to become a student leader and entrepreneur.

“The wealth of resources and opportunities offered by Ohio State empower students to pursue their passions and develop the skills that they need to become successful leaders in their fields,” he said. “Through philanthropic support and investment in students’ academic and professional journeys, Ohio State leaves a lasting impact on their lives.”

During his university career Murray has been president of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Ohio State student chapter and an intern at two central Ohio startups and NASA.

Seven smiling scholarship recipients stand with donors.
Jack Murray (sixth from left) with fellow recipients and the donors of the Doug Ball Endowed Aerospace Scholarship Fund.

Even more impressive, Murray teamed with fellow student Adithya Ramaswami to launch ParaWave. The startup is developing drone technology for first responders that captures thermal imaging and 360-degree aerial views to quickly relay information during emergencies. The duo was part of the inaugural President’s Buckeye Accelerator cohort last fall, which provides $50,000 in funding as well as mentorship, community and skill-building to fuel student innovation.

Set to graduate in May, Murray plans to pursue a PhD in aerospace engineering at Ohio State while leading his new company. He thanked Dean Ayanna Howard, the College of Engineering and scholarship donors for their support in making students’ dreams a reality.

“I never thought that I would find myself presented with the opportunity to take my passion for drones and transform it from just a mere idea into a fully fleshed-out business,” he said. “This incredible generosity and philanthropy will catalyze many more Buckeyes in the future to pursue their dreams as well.”

During her closing remarks at the luncheon, Dean Howard thanked donors for their generosity in establishing $6 million in new endowed scholarships as part of Ohio State’s Scarlet and Gray Advantage program. Combined with university matching funds, those donations will result in $12 million for College of Engineering students.

“When the pledges are completed, it will allow us to offer an additional half a million in scholarships annually to our students,” Dean Howard said. “When you invest in and feed into this next generation, they have opportunities and will be inspired to feed into the next generation, and the next, and the next. I think that's the only way we can solve the hard problems of the world.”

by Candi Clevenger, College of Engineering Communications,

Categories: GivingStudents