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Russ College student leaders network with alumni, bond over baseball on annual corporate trip

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Sep 25, 2017
Ambassador Corporate Trip
Photos by Misti Smith

Russ College student leaders network with alumni, bond over baseball on annual corporate trip

Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow | Sep 25, 2017

Photos by Misti Smith

Fifteen students in the Russ College’s Karol A. and Jo Ondick Engineering Ambassador Program traveled from Athens’ rolling hills to Pittsburgh Steelers turf, to tour prospective employers and connect with Russ College alumni Sept. 17-19.

Adviser Dale Masel said the annual visit gives the student leaders, who are selected from each academic program to serve as prospective student tour guides and hosts for distinguished alumni, an edge on their futures.

“Keeping with the mission of the ambassadors, our main goal is to meet with alumni,” Masel said. “For the students, it's a chance to learn more about what engineers do in the real world and see the facilities where they could be working.”

Not only did students gain insight from alumni into potential career paths, but their networking has the potential to lead them to jobs.

“For the alumni, it’s a chance to connect with students -- many are interested in hiring Russ College students,” Masel said. “So this is a chance to raise the profile of their company with the Ambassadors.”

The students toured FedEx, hosted by former Ambassador Kevin White, BSISE ’17; CSD Engineers, hosted by former Ambassador Amanda Langsdorf, BSEE ’05; and Covestro, hosted by Jack Reese, BSCHE ’91. They also got an insider’s look at south-end construction at the Steelers’ Heinz Field, thanks to alumnus John Mascaro, BSCE ’90. Mascaro not only detailed the recent improvements that his company, Mascaro Construction, handled. He also treated the Ambassadors to a hang in the locker room, but not before instructing them on protocol for the huge logo emblazoned on the floor: No one steps on the Steelers.

Senior electrical engineering major Andrew Videmsek participated in the corporate trip this year for a second time. He advised Russ College students to consider future internships, co-ops and employment opportunities outside of Ohio, given the global reach of Bobcats.

“In Athens, we can feel distanced from the rest of Ohio and the country because we don’t have a big city associated with us,” Videmsek said. “Keeping in touch with our alumni and other engineers and letting them know about the Russ College can bring about great opportunities.”

Cami Jones, a senior industrial and systems engineering major, was a first-timer. Though she had few expectations, Jones said she gained great insight.

“I didn’t know what to expect from the trip, but I was surprised at how many tours we got to go on and the amount of variety we saw,” Jones said. “All of our guides put a lot of thought into the details of what the company does, so we could see it in action.”

Touring the Fed-Ex distribution center -- a brand new automated facility -- was especially exciting for Jones, who interned last summer with the non-profit UPS foundation.

She added that networking with alumni isn’t an exclusive opportunity for leadership groups and encouraged other students to take advantage of available resources.

“Talk to the alumni liaisons in the Russ College to see where we have people are working,” Jones said. “We have a lot of great alumni all over the country, and especially all over Ohio, and it seems they love meeting Ohio University students.”

The Russ College’s Office of Professional Experiences can also make alumni connections and is linked to more than 550 employers in the Bobcat Careerlink database, which students can access freely.

The trip also included some fun and games, including a behind-the-scenes mechanical tour of the Duquesne Incline Tour that ended with a hill-top city view, and a visit to PNC Park to watch the Pittsburgh Pirates take on, and ultimately defeat, the Milwaukee Brewers.