Over 71,000 Ohio State engineering and architecture alumni live, work and volunteer in communities around the world. Buckeye engineers and architects are everywhere! Meet some of our notable alumni.
Award-winning alumna inspires kids to pursue STEM careers
Alumna Anita F. Debarlaben is more than an educator—she’s a coach who uses her engineering background, personal experience and enthusiasm to encourage middle and high school students to pursue and excel in STEM careers.
After earning her electrical engineering degree from The Ohio State University in 1985, Debarlaben spent more than 18 years developing software for companies such as General Electric, Northrop Grumman and Lucent Technology.
She also served as a tutor and Girl Scout leader for many years and discovered a knack for helping students understand math and science. Eventually Debarlaben decided to switch career paths and become a teacher to combine her passion for helping others learn with her expertise in engineering. Read more...
Successful alumnus believes in putting others first
Chemical engineer Bob Patel ’88 is passionate about making a difference. Through his visionary leadership as CEO of one of the world’s largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies, and his philanthropic efforts, Patel is a champion for helping people realize their potential.
The secret to his success, Patel said, stems from the values he learned as a child. Things like treating others as you want to be treated, helping people and having a strong work ethic. Those lessons were instilled by his mom, who immigrated to the U.S. from India to give Patel and his older brother a better life, and his uncle, who helped bring the family to Cleveland, Ohio. Read more...
Father-son alumni duo embrace entrepreneurial spirit
One of Curtis Moody’s mottos is, “Do what you can, when you can, with what you got, while you've got it.”
It’s a philosophy that has benefitted the Ohio State alumnus, renowned architect and founder of Moody Nolan—the AIA 2021 Architecture Firm of the Year. It’s also a belief embraced by his son, David, a fellow alumnus and entrepreneur who launched civil engineering firm Moody Engineering in 2014.
David credits his father’s example with being a major influence on his decision to become an entrepreneur and said it’s a path he hopes more Buckeyes will take. “I wish more Ohio State grads in particular would consider entrepreneurship and take a bit more risk,” he said. Read more...
Alumna is an engineer pioneer in Cameroon
Mbu Waindim has always forged her own path to success. And she wants to help others do the same.
At just 17, she moved to the U.S. to study aerospace engineering, a field that isn’t widely talked about in her native Cameroon. After graduating with her bachelor’s from the Florida Institute of Technology, Waindim enrolled at The Ohio State University to earn her doctorate. In 2017 she became the first Cameroonian to hold a PhD in aerospace engineering.
“I wanted to go into aerospace engineering because I’m fascinated by flight and for the intellectual stimulation,” she said. “Aerospace engineering answers questions that are not obvious, such as explaining how an aircraft—a huge chunk of metal—can float in air. I wanted to learn how it worked and figure out how I could contribute to that space.” Read more...
Enjoying the ride
Before joining Virgin Hyperloop in 2015, alumna Kristen Hammer never imagined she would be part of the team working to invent the first new mode of mass transportation in more than a century.
After graduation, Hammer worked in the aerospace industry for a few years before hearing that the startup now known as Virgin Hyperloop was looking for welding engineers.
“I went in and interviewed, and they definitely needed a welding engineer. I said, ‘Okay, it's a startup and there's risk involved in that. Startups don't always succeed,” she recalled. “But also, how often does a welding engineer get to work at a startup? It was an opportunity that I couldn't pass up.” Read more...
Alumna lands her dream job leading Engineers Without Borders
Taking on a new leadership role at Engineers Without Borders (EWB) USA during a global pandemic might be daunting for some people, but not Jackie O’Brien, who was named the organization’s CEO last summer.
After 30 years of experience in the corporate world starting as an environmental engineer with stretches at Vigor, Arconic, and Alcoa, O’Brien is already applying her wide-ranging experience to EWB-USA. Having grown up in Lima, Peru, and lived in Madrid, New York City, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, she has a deep appreciation for cross cultural exchanges, meaningful volunteerism and global thinking. Watch a Q&A with O'Brien...
Sandia National Laboratories' Jacqueline Chen excels in the world of engineering
When Jacqueline Chen—one of the few women in the mechanical engineering program—walked into Ohio State’s placement office in the early 1980s she received an offer that would forever change her life. Sandia National Laboratories gave Chen the opportunity to apply for its graduate One-Year-on-Campus Program for women and minorities, which included a summer internship prior to starting the master’s program.
Chen did just that, completing a summer internship at Sandia’s Albuquerque, New Mexico, lab, and earning her master’s from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982. Nearly 40 years later, Chen is a senior scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, leading a computational combustion research group. She is also the principal investigator of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Exascale Computing Project on turbulent combustion. Read more...
Alum uses technology to help disabled Ohioans
When Ali Rahimi ’14 and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Iran for a better life, he never dreamed he’d one day return the favor for Ohioans with disabilities. The computer science engineer’s plan to pursue a career in animation and game development changed after he met Patti Ruble, a social worker disabled at age 12 by polio, for a social science assignment.
When Ruble’s in-home health care agency changed, Rahimi saw how staff and scheduling problems negatively impacted his friend’s life. In 2011, he launched home health agency Ohio At Home to help her. Four years later, he launched Medforall, an assistive technology company. It provides care coordination software for agencies, plus remote support and assistive technologies to help individuals with disabilities be independent. Read more...
In the driver’s seat
After earning an aeronautical engineering degree from Ohio State, Lara Harrington ’90 found her calling—developing fuel-efficient, aerodynamic vehicles at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Raymond, Ohio.
She became Honda’s first female chief engineer in North America and most recently led the development of the all-new 2019 Honda Passport. Harrington is proud of her trailblazer status at the company and hopes it shows other women—especially girls—that they too can have a successful, rewarding career as an automotive engineer. Read more…
Buckeye architect makes his mark on campus
While studying architecture at Ohio State in the 1960s, George Acock never dreamed he’d have a significant and lasting impact on its physical landscape. Today, his work can be seen across the university’s Columbus campus, from the renovation of Thompson Library to the creation of the North Residential District. In May, Acock received a University Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his exceptional service to his alma mater.
“The Ohio State University’s Columbus campus bears the inimitable mark of your creative genius. From Thompson Library to Pomerene Hall, you’ve preserved beauty, transformed function and ensured longevity for several of the university’s most iconic landmarks,” said Ohio State Trustee Clark Kellogg during the award presentation at spring commencement. Read more...
Growing up in the rural South African village of Kopela, alumna Margaret Mkhosi never imagined that she’d become an engineer—let alone the first female nuclear engineer in her homeland. Today she leads the National Nuclear Regulator’s Center for Nuclear Safety and Security in South Africa and mentors other women so they too can be successful in STEM.
Kopela was so remote, the schools lacked critical resources like computers and labs. But thanks to a supportive family and mentors, Mkhosi later became the third woman to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering at Ohio State.
Inspired by the difficulties she overcame, she vowed to help other women also succeed in STEM careers. She mentors women of all ages, including many girls from Kopela. Read more...
Making Disney magic from the ground up
Alumnus Jeff Morosky makes Disney magic happen at theme parks and resorts worldwide. As Disney Imagineering’s Landscape Architecture Design Studio Executive, he specializes in telling stories through nature.
Since 1997, Morosky (’81, landscape architecture) has led the Landscape Architectural Studio responsible for Disney Theme Parks and Resorts worldwide, including retail, dining and entertainment districts. He directed the design and development of numerous notable and award-winning projects, including Anaheim’s Downtown Disney, Hawaii’s Aulani and Hong Kong Disneyland.
Creating highly immersive attractions and experiences that transport guests to a world of fantasy begins with storytelling, Morosky said, which is interwoven into every facet of the experience. Read a Q&A with Jeff.
Tech trailblazer engineers success
With more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles at industry giants like Microsoft, Motorola and AT&T, alumna Maria Martinez knows what it takes to succeed in the high-tech business world. As Salesforce’s president of Global Customer Success and Latin America, this Buckeye engineer is passionate about helping the company’s customers and her team define and realize their own ambitions.
Martinez (MS ’81, computer engineering) was attracted to the field of engineering because it was relatively uncharted territory back then for women, not to mention her love of “how engineering drives innovation and sets the pace for change.” Named one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in corporate America in 2017, Martinez is most inspired by helping future generations, especially women and other underrepresented groups, find their own path to success. Read a Q&A with Maria.
Alumni lead out-of-this-world 3-D printing efforts
Since its origin in the early 1980s, 3-D printing has evolved into a tool with limitless possibilities. Now, two enterprising Buckeye engineering alumni are leading efforts to make 3-D printing commonplace in two places you might not expect: the final frontier and your favorite pizzeria.
As chief engineer and co-founder of Made in Space—the startup that designed and built the first 3-D printer ever to operate off-Earth—Michael Snyder (pictured on left) is realizing a lifelong ambition. Meanwhile, Anjan Contactor (pictured on right) used his experience as co-inventor of NASA’s 3-D food printer for deep space missions to co-launch Beehex, which designs and builds commercial 3-D food printers controlled by their proprietary software and mobile app. Read more…
Tackling STEM advocacy head on
William White’s ('92) football career was the stuff of dreams—four years as a starting Buckeyes’ cornerback, followed by 11 seasons playing in the NFL. Yet, the accomplishment he values most is becoming an engineer.
And as he tells kids and future football hopefuls alike, anyone willing to work hard enough can follow in his footsteps and have a successful career—in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math and medicine).
White spreads his passion for STEM as midwest region vice president for Project Lead The Way. The non-profit aims to engage K-12 students and teachers in STEM by providing hands-on, project and problem-based curricula for students and training for teachers. Read more...
Leading a private liberal arts college might not seem like the perfect fit for an industrial engineer, but the engineering education she gained at Ohio State helped alumna Colette Pierce Burnette feel well-prepared for the role. In 2015, she became the sixth president and chief executive officer of Huston-Tillotson University, a historically black institution in Austin, Texas. She’s the first female president of the merged institution and only the second female leader in the university's 140-year history.
Now she hopes her story—of an inner city child who became an engineer and a college president—will inspire Huston-Tillotson students to find their own passion and purpose. Read more...
Succeeding in uncharted waters
At just 28 years old, alumna and current MIT PhD student Sampriti Bhattacharyya launched startup Hydroswarm in the Boston area to commercialize the football-sized autonomous underwater drones she helped develop. These egg-shaped robots can work alone or in tandem to map the ocean floor, inspect underwater nuclear reactors, search for lost planes and complete virtually any other underwater surveillance task. The startup has captured worldwide attention with its innovative, relatively inexpensive robot design.
Bhattacharyya was named to Forbes 30 under 30 Class of 2016 for Manufacturing/Industry, an honor that recognizes bright, young change agents. And in her spare time, she co-founded an international non-profit. Read more...
Engineering a safer nation
From conducting the first satellite television transmission in the 1960s to more recent advances in airborne collision avoidance systems and space surveillance, MIT Lincoln Laboratory has remained on the forefront of developing technology for national security for the past 64 years. Buckeye engineer Eric Evans has been at the helm of the historic research laboratory since 2006, guiding its strategic direction as well as the overall technical and administrative operations.
A three-time electrical engineering alumnus (’83, ’85 MS, ’88 PhD) and National Academy of Engineering member, Evans’ radar work has received wide acclaim. Read more...
Ernest Levert: Dreams at work
Once called a foolish dreamer by his junior high school classmates, Ernest Levert has proven that with determination and talent, dreams do come true. Even as a child, Levert (pictured on left) wanted to make an impact on the world. During his 28-year career at Lockheed Martin, the welding engineering alumnus (’82) has done just that, pioneering new welding innovations that impacted programs ranging from the ground to the seas, and even to outer space.
As a Lockheed Martin Fellow at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Dallas, Levert applies his welding engineering expertise to solve technical challenges across the corporation, leads training for production operations and conducts research for new projects. Read more...
Engineering an NFL Career: Jake McQuaide
Alum Jake McQuaide has one of the world’s most unique occupations. As the starting long-snapper for the NFL’s St. Louis Rams, he’s on the field for every punt, field goal and extra point. Since NFL teams only have one long-snapper on the active roster, he’s one of just 32 people in the U.S. who can claim that job title.
What makes McQuaide '11 even more unique is that he is a proud alumnus of Ohio State’s aeronautical and astronautical engineering program. It’s probably safe to say he’s the only NFL long-snapper who can run a transonic wind tunnel research project to test dynamic stall on a Blackhawk rotor blade.
Now in his fourth season with the Rams, the College of Engineering’s favorite NFL player fondly recalls his days as a Buckeye engineer and as a player wearing the scarlet and gray in the Rose Bowl. And while he’s vibrantly living his dream of playing football for a living, his idea of a dream job after he hangs up his cleats may surprise you. Get to know Jake...
Pulling the pieces together: Nancy Dawes
What do Pringles potato chips, Duncan Hines Cookies and Olay Total Effects have in common? They’re three Procter & Gamble product lines that have benefited from the talents of skilled innovator and Buckeye chemical engineer Nancy Dawes.
Described as one of the country’s foremost experts in the development of advanced skincare products, Dawes (’81, chemical engineering) has spent her entire 33-year career working in several P&G branches, from food product development to global beauty.
While a love of chemistry led her to major in chemical engineering at Ohio State, it was the challenging curriculum that kept Dawes’ interest. She credits the university with preparing her well and instilling a skill critical to having a successful engineering career. Read more...
Alum tackles water crisis one pump at a time
Greg Bixler never set out to build a groundbreaking water pump or start a humanitarian engineering organization. But once the mechanical engineering alum heard about the life-threatening water issues the world’s poorest inhabitants face, he couldn’t turn away.
Bixler (left, wearing hat) is co-founder and CEO of Design Outreach, the volunteer-powered humanitarian engineering organization that invented the LifePump. Unlike traditional hand pumps that tap out at 162 feet, the LifePump can pump water from more than 500 feet deep. The three-time Buckeye grad aims to inspire students to go out into the workforce and come up with solutions for the world’s poorest people. Read more...
Forging a new path
When it comes to welding, explained Bill Forquer, you have to burn to learn. As CEO of RealWeld Systems, the computer science and engineering alumnus leads a team of talented Buckeye engineers who aim to transform welding education by making sure that burn time is as instructive as possible.
RealWeld Systems is the startup behind the RealWeld Trainer, the first and only welding trainer on the market designed for use in the welding booth under real-world conditions. Using motion capture technology, the system monitors and measures a welder’s performance and provides immediate feedback on motions, adherence to welding-parameters and whether bonds are being made in a metal’s sweet spot. Read more...
Driven to succeed
Jackie Marshall DiMarco, chief engineer for the longtime best-selling Ford F-150 pickup, downplays being the first woman to hold the position in the truck’s 60-plus years of production. Women fill about 20 percent of engineering jobs at major automotive companies. That figure has remained steady in recent years, she said, noting that the percentages are lower for women at the management level of the firms.
DiMarco studied mechanical engineering at Ohio State, with an eye to working in the biomedical or construction industries. But it was her involvement with the university’s Center for Automotive Research during her junior year that defined her future. Read more....