Category Archives: Engineering Ambassadors

Etiquette Dinner

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 30 January 2017

Last Wednesday, a group of Engineering Ambassadors gathered in Baker University Center along with other engineering students for dinner of professional etiquette training. As many students in the Russ College will have multiple opportunities to attend professional dinners, it is important to know how to conduct oneself.

There were about forty students in attendance, dressed in business professional attire. A three-course meal of soup and salad; chicken and pasta; and dessert was served.

During the dinner, a representative from the Career and Leadership Development Center helped students understand how to properly conduct themselves during each stage of the meal. As each course was served, she discussed some important things that should be kept in when dining under professional circumstances.

One of the things that was emphasized from the beginning of the night was the importance of continuing to converse with those at the table. Also, being sure to take cues from the host of the meal was another point of emphasis. Something that is often overlooked is the fact that certain foods can be particularly difficult to eat in a professional manner. Though these may be tempting to order, students were advised to stay away from ordering these foods when trying to make a good impression.

This event not only provided a nice three-course meal but also gave students an opportunity to learn important professional skills. Having a professional meal can often be intimidating. This event allowed Russ College students to gain confidence in their ability to stay professional in an environment where food is being served.

Meet the Ambassadors Event

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 November 2016

On Wednesday, November 9th, the Russ College Engineering Ambassadors hosted a “Meet the Ambassadors” event. The goal of this event was to receive feedback and concerns from the current students for different things around the Russ College such as facilities, courses, and extracurricular organizations. The students gave their feedback by writing the feedback on a Post-It note and putting it on the white board in the room.

Pizza and beverages were provided at the event in exchange for the feedback. This was a great and unique way for the ambassadors to find out about some issues around the Russ College from different students’ perspectives in all majors. This was also a great opportunity to explain to students who the Ambassadors are and what we do.

Meet the Ambassadors

Another added benefit to this event was that the Ambassadors now have great feedback to relay to Dean Irwin when we have lunch with him. Usually the feedback we give come from the Ambassadors’ perspectives but now we have suggestions from a lot of different students. Improving the Russ College experience for students is very important to the Ambassadors and this event was one step forward by receiving input from many students.

Freshman Welcome Dinner

Rob Parker

Rob Parker,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 2 September 2016

With the start of every new school year, all of the new faces within engineering are welcomed by the engineering community and this year was no different. The freshman welcome event held by the Russ College of Engineering is a fun and great way for the freshman to get to know one another and their professors.

This event allows for the hundreds of new engineering students to interact with upperclassmen who show off their current projects, competition teams, student organizations and so on. These student organizations and project teams at the event this year consisted of anything from concrete canoe to the rocket club to the human powered car. It just goes to show how much there is to do outside of the classroom and everyone can find something that interests them.

Rocket Club

Human-Powered Vehicle

Along with seeing how one can get involved outside the classroom, the event provided a tour of both Stocker Center and the Academic Research Center to the new students. It’s rather cool to me to have the opportunity to be one of the first interactions that a new student has with the engineering community at OU.

After the tour and interaction with the current students, we headed to Baker University Center to have dinner. At the dinner the tables were arranged by major and at every table sat an engineering ambassador and a faculty member from the major.

Dr. McAvoy

At this point, we (as engineering ambassadors) really got to bond and build relationships with the freshman and for most of us, this is the best part of the night. After dinner, the associate dean of academics Dr. McAvoy gave a presentation on what to expect in the next four to five years here at the Russ College of Engineering. The event is something unique to experience and I hope that everyone that attends feels the same way.

Engineering Ambassador Corporate Trip

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 22 October 2015

The Russ College provides a corporate trip for the Engineering Ambassadors each year. This year, we traveled to Charlotte, NC. The purpose of the trip is to enlighten the ambassadors about the opportunities available after college, develop professional connections, and reconnect with alumni.

On the second day of our trip, we toured a power plant. After taking several pictures of the plant, we made time to absorb the vast side of the factory and bond as a group. It was amazing to witness the energy being developed and then be told how much they actually produced for North Carolina.

For lunch, we visited with an alumnus that currently leads a large department in Home Depot. He presented on his career after Ohio University. He advised us to take positions in your career that nobody wanted; it shows management you’re up for the challenge. It could be the position that gets you to the position you desire. If you succeed, great, but if you fail, it still shows management your ambition to try.

He also advised us not to settle into a career; keep working for your dream career. Also, when it comes to salary discussions, have one. Do not just take the first offer. If the company is going to hire you, you are a valuable asset to their company. Ask for a small amount more, most likely you will get it. Since he is a manager and designates salaries quite often, we all took his advice seriously.

After lunch, we traveled to a company that creates manufacturing parts. A human resource manager gave us advice on understanding YOUR company culture.


  • Do you prefer a creative environment or more private and independent?
  • Do you prefer to be pushed at full capacity or a more relaxed setting?

This is important in understanding where you will fit. Your interests and the company’s must align if you are going to be satisfied in your job.

All in all, the knowledge I gained from these speakers will continue with me through my career. I will always research a company’s culture before I go to apply and if I am ever offered a position, I will be confident when discussing my salary.

Engineering Ambassador Workshop

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 30 September 2015

Last weekend, some of the Engineering Ambassadors, including myself, participated in an workshop specifically for Engineering Ambassadors. The event took place over the course of three days at Ohio University and students from West Virginia University, Ohio State, Eastern Michigan and Penn State were in attendance.

The goal of the event was to receive training in a public speaking with an emphasis on effective communication of science and engineering information to a broader audience. During the workshop, we collaborated with a partner to create an outreach presentation that could be given in a classroom and paired with a hands-on activity.

Engineering Ambassador Workshop

The first day, we learned about the elements that make an effective presentation. These elements included: content, passion and knowledge of your audience. The next day was focused on constructing our presentations, doing run-throughs with some of the other groups and receiving feedback from them. Finally, on the last day we gave our presentations to the entire group as if they were our target audience.

In addition to learning and implementing these presentation skills, we also got the opportunity to network with the ambassadors from the other schools. It was interesting to hear about what they do as ambassadors at their respective schools. Although OU’s engineering ambassadors program does not currently have a focus on outreach as some of the other schools do, I think it is something that could be implemented in the future. Educating young students about what engineering is is important because many of their perceptions of it are misinformed.

Engineering Ambassador Workshop

After attending this workshop, I believe I have the skills necessary to create and deliver an effective outreach presentation. I also have a greater confidence in my presentation skills as a whole which has already helped me on several occasions.

2015 National Future City Competition

Emily Blaha

Emily Blaha,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 February 2015

Last week, Pat Hanlon and I attended the 2015 National Future City Competition in Washington, D.C. to represent the Russ College. At the competition, middle school students from around the country displayed their vision of the future.

This year’s theme was Urban Agriculture, so each design needed to incorporate ideas about how to supply food for the population of their city. There were a lot of interesting and creative solutions to this problem, including aquaponics, vertical farming, and urban gardens. It was neat to see the students work together to produce a city that incorporated so many things that are vital for their residents.

Future City Award Presentation

Presenting the award for honorable mention [Picture from the Russ College Article]

The students’ enthusiasm for engineering and the well being of their city residents makes me extremely hopeful for our future engineers. In my opinion, Future City is a great competition, which is helping to develop extremely creative and conscientious students. Future City is a great event for Ohio University to sponsor and support!

Future City After Party

Students enjoying the after-party

The Future City event organizers did a great job congratulating all of the students participating at the national competition. Many students received awards and the celebration party was a lot of fun!

Breakfast with Russ Prize Winners

Erin Tracy

Erin Tracy,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 February 2015

Two of this year’s recipients of the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize are Ingeborg J. Hochmair-Desoyer and Erwin Hochmair. Erwin studied electrical engineering at TU Vienna and graduated in 1967. He began research on the cochlear implant in 1975 and was joined by his research assistant, Ingeborg, in 1976. The two continued their research and development for the next year and delivered the first microelectronic multichannel cochlear implant in 1977. They were later married, and Ingeborg is currently the CEO and CTO of the company she and her husband cofounded in 1989 called MED-EL.

One of the perks of being an engineering ambassador is having the opportunity to meet distinguished guests who visit the university. Yesterday, the ambassadors and Robe Leadership Institute students were invited to have breakfast with the Hochmair’s at the Ohio University Inn. The atmosphere was inviting, and the buffet-style menu included many options such as bacon, French toast, potatoes, and muffins.

Over breakfast, the students asked questions of the guests and facilitated an open discussion. We discussed topics such as the start-up of their company, research and testing methods, the number of people that have been helped by the technology, and how widespread the technology has become across the world. We also talked about the variety of backgrounds of the employees working for MED-EL. Of the 1,500 employees, many are engineers from disciplines such as mechanical, electrical, biomedical, and chemical. It was interesting and encouraging to hear how many fields of engineering are needed for even a focused technology like the cochlear implant.