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Engineering technology and management student gets a piece of home during deployment

Yasmeen Ebada, Anna Hartenbach, Colleen Carow | Sep 17, 2018
Trevor Lang

Engineering technology and management student gets a piece of home during deployment

Yasmeen Ebada, Anna Hartenbach, Colleen Carow | Sep 17, 2018

After an Ohio University engineering technology and management (ETM) senior volunteered for a tour of duty in Afghanistan last year, his troop back at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology rallied to support him.

Army Sergeant Trevor Lang took a break from his studies for a nine-month tour from late spring 2017 to March 2018. Meanwhile, ETM faculty, staff and fellow students sent him a care package including an OHIO flag – and constructed him some hand-crafted wood products as part of their capstone course production runs so he’d remember them.

“Everything becomes stagnant in Afghanistan – it’s the same whether it’s Monday or Friday because you’re always doing the same things – so the flag was a great conversation piece,” said Lang, an Army National Guard member since high school. “Once I got the flag and took a picture with it, I sent it to my family and a couple of my friends, and it was exciting,” added Lang.

Waiting for him at home were a display case and portable desk organizer, products that ETM seniors typically make as part of their year-long senior design course.

Lang’s adviser, Associate Professor Yuqiu You, said the department worked with Lang so he could continue his education when he returned.

“We helped him find several online classes as substitutions so he could complete his degree within one semester,” she said. “I'm very glad he was able to continue his education after such a long time and difficult deployment,” she added.

Lang said the hardest part of his deployment was knowing he wouldn’t get to graduate with his classmates. His friend Stewart Vlcek, BSETM ’18 – who sent Lang the gift box – said he knew Lang was disappointed about not graduating with the people he’d been going to school with.

“He wanted to go and serve his country, which was probably a tough choice, but hopefully keeping him included in our work made his decision easier,” Vlcek said.

Lang -- whose mission was counter rocket artillery and motor, wherein his unit’s job was to warn the base of incoming indirect fire then intercept it -- chose to study ETM at OHIO because he knew the Russ College had a strong program.

“I specifically chose the ETM department because it’s a lot more hands-on than any other department,” Lang said. “Half of our time is spent in the lab. It puts you in the seat to actually make whatever you design, which enables you to see how things work together as compared to just knowing how to design something and sending it off,” he said.

Fellow student Seth Doudna, BSETM ’18, who is now pursuing a master’s in industrial and systems engineering at OHIO, said all that collaboration in the lab creates a sense of community.

“Trevor was part of an original group of three that I got to know right when I got here. He helped though some difficult classes and was one of my group members on the race track exhibit being manufactured for the Ohio Valley Museum of Discovery,” he said. “He made my Russ College experience better, because persevering is always a little more bearable if you're doing it with good friends.”

Lang will receive his degree in December.