Alumni and Friends

'In it together': Russ alumni find professional camaraderie

The question of what happens after graduation is a stress for many students. While some are able to find employment before the end of their senior year, for others the task of finding a job can be both stressful and hopeful. Graduation means leaving OHIO’s beloved campus for new beginnings. Often, the path one takes after graduation is surprising. It was no different for Brandon O’Hara, a 2017 graduate of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology

After graduating as a mechanical engineering major, O’Hara now works as a project engineer for RoviSys in the company’s Chicago location. He began working for the company in 2018 after spending nearly two years gaining experience with another employer. Soon afterwards, O’Hara met Matt Mikolajczak, another Russ college alumnus. Mikolajczak also graduated from Russ College in 2017 with a degree in chemical engineering. While the two graduated from the same college in the same year, coincidentally they never met until they were connected by RoviSys. 

RoviSys, which is an automation and information solutions company, employs many OHIO alumni. O’Hara said that Ohio University is one of their top schools for recruiting purposes. 

“We actually put on events sometimes that are kind of Homecoming-inspired or alumni-inspired, where you team up with fellow alumni from whatever school you went to,” O’Hara said. “Ohio University has a pretty large showing for those and always seems to do well, particularly on the physical activities part of that.” 

RoviSys began as a small company in Cleveland and has since grown globally. Both O’Hara and Mikolajczak agreed that the culture at RoviSys feels similar to OHIO’s. 

“It’s been one of the leading reasons for why a lot of our fellow OU Bobcat graduates have succeeded at RoviSys,” Mikolajczak said. “…You know, in Athens, everybody there feels like they’re in it together.” 

Besides fostering what Mikolajczak calls a “work hard, play hard” outlook, OHIO also prepared them both for their careers as engineers. They both said their time in the Russ College taught them to take on different challenges and think through them. 

“When you’re going to school for engineering…you’re not going so that you can become a mechanical engineer or a chemical engineer. You’re going so you can be an engineer. So you can see problems and think critically about them and try to come up with the best solution,” O’Hara said.  

O’Hara advised current students to “cherish” their time at OHIO. He said that it is easy to get caught up worrying about what will come after college, but he encourages students to take advantage of the college environment. 

Outside of academics, both Mikolajczak and O’Hara were involved in clubs and organizations during their time at OHIO. Mikolajczak played for the varsity baseball team. O’Hara started out in Air Force ROTC, then eventually became involved with The Singing Men of Ohio and an acapella group called Ohio University Leading Tones. 

Ohio University is a place for both learning and connection, inside and outside of academics. Even when school becomes difficult, there is always support to be found. 

“Fight through the tough points,” Mikolajczak said. “Because at the end it’s all going to work out and you know that first job out of college [will] help pay off all the hard work you put in over your four or five years at OU.” 

Russ College helped to prepare both Mikolajczak and O’Hara for their careers as engineers and their time at RoviSys. Together, they are working to help grow the company and share their experience as Ohio University alumni. 

April 25, 2024
Acadia Hansen, '26