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Engineering Ambassador student leaders network across Cleveland on corporate visit

Baylee Demuth | Sep 23, 2019
2019 Ambassador Trip
Photos provided by Dale Masel and Misti Smith

Engineering Ambassador student leaders network across Cleveland on corporate visit

Baylee Demuth | Sep 23, 2019

Photos provided by Dale Masel and Misti Smith

Student leaders at Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology met with alumni, witnessed space research firsthand, and whipped down a software company’s slide or two during their annual corporate learning trip to Cleveland last week.

The Karol A. and Jo Ondick Engineering Ambassadors are a group of 20 outstanding students who serve as “the face” of the college. They meet with important university guests, interact with alumni, and assist with prospective student tours and information sessions.

Sponsored, coordinated and led by the Russ College Office of Development, the trip’s purpose is to connect students with alumni and visit engineering and technology employers, and to learn where their degrees may take them.

“It really gave the students a chance to hear different perspectives on life after college, get good advice on the job search and talk to the people who have been through it before them,” said Dale Masel, group adviser and chair of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

The ambassadors kicked off their workplace visits at NASA Glenn Research Center on Monday. Alumna Cynthia Calhoun, BSEE ’88, showed off the zero-gravity center, as well as NASA’s Graphics and Visualization Lab, where the ambassadors took turns trying on virtual reality headsets.

Charlotte Kapral, a senior studying chemical engineering, was engaged by a real-time screen where astronauts keep track of their sleep, exercise and research.

“A lot of kids who grow up wanting to become engineers dream of working for NASA,” Kapral said. “It was really cool to get up close and see what they’re doing.”

The Ambassadors also visited alumnus Gyasi Calhoun, BSCS ’18, at Hyland Software to take in the many employee amenities, including a barber shop, salon, masseuse and daycare; as well as slides and bikes they can use to get from one building to another.

Of the companies and work cultures that computer science senior Jason Wherry experienced during the trip to Cleveland, he said Hyland’s stood out against the rest.

“Hyland Software blew me away in that regard, due to their friendly and open atmosphere, which Hyland employees seem to treasure,” Wherry said.

Additional stops included employers Akron/Canton Airport, Chemstress Consultant Company, Parker Hannifin Parflex Division, RoviSYS, and Swagelok.

Networking dinners enabled Bobcat connections with alumni including Mark Allman, BSCS ’95, MSEE ’97; Jeremy Greathouse, BSETM ‘06, BSETM ‘08; Betty Ivory, BSME ’92; Paul Penko, BSME ’67; and Ron Raleigh, BSCHE ’01; and also Sheel Agarwal, BSCHE ’96; Gyasi Calhoun; Steve Duricky, BSME ’89; Todd Ebert, BSEE ’92; Frank Jankowski, BSME ’69; Jana Lazarus, BSIT ’05; Joe Meyer, BSEE ’18; Dave Schwan, BSIT ’60, BSCOM ’60, MBA ’64; David Stewart, BSCHE ’00; Suzie Vargo, BSCHE’02; and Mollie Whitacre, BSCS ’18.

Masel said alumni dinners are a favorite part of the corporate trips.

“Just seeing the students and the alumni – all these conversations going on across the room – it’s a great back and forth,” Masel shared.

To engineering technology and management senior Allie Gabbard, this year’s corporate trip was one of the most memorable experiences she has had at OHIO precisely because of those great conversations.

“This experience enabled me to connect with not only my peers but with more than 30 alumni and see such a wide variety of companies,” Gabbard said. “This trip has opened my eyes and has pushed me to seek new challenges as I continue my career search.”

Interested in hosting or sponsoring future Engineering Ambassador trips or visits? Contact Development Coordinator Misti Smith at or 740.593.9487.