Ohio University

New organization aims to connect engineers, promote the profession via food

Two women standing in the Academic and Research Center. One woman is wearing a "Eats with engineers" shirt

The Russ College community has a delicious new organization – one that uses food as a catalyst for casual conversation about engineering.

Eats with Engineers aims to promote engineering through food and conversation, and show the creative side of engineers, by bringing them together to discuss cooking, cravings or the chemistry behind food.

“It’s not your traditional engineering outreach approach,” said Monica Burdick, associate professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and adviser for the group. “People really bond over food and conversation, so we’re trying to connect all different engineering fields, students thinking about engineering, and the public.”

Nicole Sova, second-year graduate biomedical student, conducts interviews with professionals, professors and students to create an interwoven community of engineers.

“The intent is to have a network that expands outside of OHIO so we can eventually use it as an outreach for students to get them interested in engineering through a casual platform,” Sova said.

Sova and Burdick have noticed one recurrent theme in their interviews – the revelation that being one’s true self as an engineer makes interviewees enjoy their work even more.

“I was surprised to see how many people in the field, whom I respect, thought they needed to behave or act a certain way an engineering faculty member,” Burdick said. “Engineers are real people too.”

Sova added that each interviewee shared a story about how their connection to their professional work increased after learning to let go of preconceived notions about what an engineer should be.

“Every person seemed to have a story of when they decided to become themselves and how being themselves changed their work for the better,” Sova said.

The first installment in the interview series, McCarty Mondays, features Owen McCarty, biomedical engineering chair at Oregon Health and Sciences University.

To keep up with the development of Eats with Engineers or to learn how to get involved, visit their website for more information. The group is also on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat (@eatswengineers) and Facebook.

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