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Student Spotlight: Jane Voinovich

Introduce Yourself 

My name is Jane Voinovich. I'm from the Cleveland area and I'm a third-year student at Ohio University. I'm a double major in interior architecture and urban planning and sustainability and I'm also pursuing a certificate in entrepreneurship. 

Tell us about your research or project work you’ve been engaged with as a Voinovich Scholar. 

Jane Voinovich

Since I've been working with the Voinovich School, I've mainly helped with two projects: My Backyard Stream and the Appalachian STEM Enrichment Academy.

My Backyard Stream is a water quality testing initiative where we engage with community members and encourage them to test their own waterways. For that project, I worked with my supervisor and a couple of other Voinovich scholars, and we put together toolkits with water quality testing equipment to share with local families, teachers, and students for them to take the data that they collect and upload it to an online database to contribute to the growing citizen science data on Ohio streams. What's really cool is that we have 17 partners helping us with this project across the state. So, the initiative is very collaborative and reaching so many people throughout Ohio.  

The STEM Academy’s mission is to teach K-12 students more about their surroundings and provide hands-on learning opportunities to promote interest in STEM careers. This program offers six tracks in water, energy, engineering, technology, remediation, and sustainability, and all of them relate to the environment in some way and help people get more involved with their community.  

Why do you feel it's important for OHIO students to participate in public service? 

I think it's important to engage with any community that you are a part of. There is a lot to experience in Athens county outside of our small college town, and engaging with the people who are native here and learning their history with the area and the history of Southeast Ohio itself beyond the campus community is important. Even if it's only for the time you're at Ohio University, you can only hope to be able to make a difference here and in all the places you live. 

For me, it feels really good to be engaged in public service here and continue the family legacy of giving back to the community. It was something that was important to my grandpa, an Ohio University graduate, former Cleveland Mayor, US Senator and Governor of Ohio. I remember campaigning with him when I was younger, so getting to do my own community-focused work through the school named in his honor and being able to center my work on environmental initiatives here, I am very proud of it. It's great to be here and get to embrace what my family has worked so hard for. 

How has the Voinovich Scholars program supported your personal and professional growth? 

I’ve been able to spend time working with people who genuinely care about my success and development, and their constructive criticism and feedback really helped me. I also got a lot of experience interacting with our partners across the state for My Backyard Stream, which was great to learn how to collaborate with other organizations. 

Neither of my majors are particularly STEM-related and the Voinovich School has allowed me to delve deeper into environmental science. The things that I have learned through my work here have applied to my studies for interior architecture and urban planning. It is all interconnected.  

What are your future plans or goals after graduation? 

I'm probably going to pursue more education in the environmental science field. I think it would be very cool to get my master's in architecture too. I feel I’d like to continue to gain more understanding of environmental science because my end career goal is to have an environmental consultancy firm. I hope to have knowledge in every discipline and apply environmental elements and techniques to those different disciplines to progress the world.