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ONU Feature Stories
Internship puts ONU senior Tyler Burnett behind the scenes at the Indy 500.
When race fans tune in to watch the Indianapolis 500 this Sunday, they will be joining a celebration of automobile racing in America at the place where so much of it began.
Indianapolis has been home to motorsports since the first race at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) on August 19, 1909. Two years later, the first Indianapolis 500 was run, and on Sunday a winner will cross the finish line at the Brickyard for the 96th time.
An example of Tyler Burnett's graphic design work for USAC.
Indianapolis is also home to the United States Automobile Club (USAC). Until 1955, the American Automobile Association (AAA) sanctioned the Indianapolis 500, but a tragic accident in LeMans, France, spurred the group to abandon auto racing. In its place, USAC formed in 1956 and went on to sanction the Indianapolis 500 until 1997. Today, it still sanctions six divisions of open-wheel racing, including the Silver Crown Series, National Sprint Car Series and National Midget Series.
Ohio Northern University senior sport management major Tyler Burnett is interning this summer with USAC as a public address announcer during sprint and midget car races, and as a marketing intern at the USAC headquarters during the week. His position promoting USAC racing is taking him behind the scenes at the 500.
“This is our busiest week,” says Burnett. “In a week and a half, I’ve been over to IMS four times already.”
One of the four visits to IMS was to have lunch with the legendary motorsports broadcaster Bob Jenkins. Now retired from television, Jenkins was an original ESPN personality and called races for ESPN, ABC and NBC for more than 30 years. Jenkins still announces live races, including the USAC Silver Crown Series, the highest of USAC’s six divisions.
"Ohio Northern gives you
the knowledge you need to be
successful in whatever it is you
are passionate about."
Though technically an intern, Burnett is Jenkins’s counterpart for sprint and midget car racing, and the two often share a press box on race day. For Burnett, it is a huge honor.
“Bob Jenkins is an idol for anyone who wants to go into broadcasting motorsports. I tell people I get to announce with Bob Jenkins and they are like, ‘Wow!’ He really is a living legend,” he says.
Burnett began announcing online racing simulations for the SimPro Racing League. Last summer, he began announcing for live races at Waynesfield Raceway Park in Waynesfield, Ohio. It was here that he was discovered by USAC. They liked him as an announcer but needed someone who could also help out in the marketing office. Fortunately, Burnett had all the necessary skills because of ONU. As a sport management major, he took courses in public relations and video production. He refined his communication skills as studio host of a weekly sports interview show on WONB-FM. He even learned graphic design from his work-study job in ONU’s Office of Communications and Marketing.
Burnett (in red) announcing live racing for USAC.
“Ohio Northern gives you the knowledge you need to be successful in whatever it is you are passionate about,” says Burnett. “I’ve always known that I want to work in motorsports, but sport management is such a broad field that I could do almost anything – from ticket sales, to facilities management, to becoming an athletic director at a university like Northern.”
To be sure, Burnett’s internship is a perfect fit and a rare opportunity. For him, it straddles the line between too-good-to-be-true and expected. While he is thrilled to work with idols like Jenkins and be around motorsports at the highest level, he also sees it as the next logical step in his plan use his degree from Northern to establish a career in motorsports.
Burnett will intern through the summer and will continue to announce races for USAC throughout the fall, traveling as far as California and Arizona for races in October. And, while he’s excited for those, “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” the Indianapolis 500, awaits.
Sights and Sound
ONU’s University Singers embark on a whirlwind 38-day national summer choir tour.
For many Ohio Northern University students, summer is a time of rest and relaxation. For others, it’s the time to gain real-world experience in their fields through rewarding internship opportunities. Some even choose to forego any notion of downtime by enrolling in summer classes or studying abroad.
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First stop: Cincinnati, Ohio
The city from aboard a riverboat on the mighty Mississippi.
A real, honest-to-goodness chuck wagon breakfast.
Ozona, Texas is Ada's sister city.
Remember the Alamo-n-u!.
The Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas.
The Grand Canyon!
Yes, a KISS museum actually exists.
THE Magic Kingdom!
Making new friends
A special visit from ONU president Dan DiBiasio and First Lady Chris Burns-DiBiasio in Los Angeles.
There is more than just good coffee in Seattle!
A special visit from former ONU president Ken Baker and First Lady Toby Baker in Colorado.
But rarely do students have the summer experience awaiting the members the University Singers on the ONU National Choir Tour 2013.
The numbers alone are staggering: Almost 8,000 miles. 38 students. 38 days. 31 performances. 26 states. For five weeks, a collection of ONU’s most talented students is traveling the highways and byways of America, performing choral concerts at churches and schools and introducing people along the way to Ohio Northern University.
“Wherever we go, people are going to hear fabulous music by some really special students who are going to represent our University in a wonderful way,” says Dr. Ben Ayling, choral director and assistant professor of music.
Touring in itself is nothing new for the University Singers. Last March, they toured New Zealand, and they have performed overseas a combined 11 times. However, those tours were seven- to 10-day tours, not 38. This tour is, by far, the most ambitious to date for Ohio Northern.
It’s also a bit of a passion project for Ayling, who went on a national summer tour in 1977 as a college sophomore and, to this day, considers it one the highlights of his life.
“For me, it just gave me a wanderlust for traveling both internationally and here in the United States. Over these five weeks, these students will see more of our country than they will likely see over the rest of their lives. It’s truly a life-changing experience, and I’m thrilled to get to share it with my students,” he says.
Follow the tour on Twitter! #onuchoirtour
Chris and I were delighted to hear the University Singers perform last night in LA as part of their National Tour; they were fantastic!!!— Dan DiBiasio (@DanDiBiasio) May 27, 2013
Crossing the mighty Mississippi! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 18, 2013
Remember The Alamo! Driving into San Antonio now! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 19, 2013
Ozona, Texas is the sister city of Ada, Ohio. It's small, they have nothing to do, and there is nothing else around it! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 20, 2013
Just passed into Arizona! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 22, 2013
Made it to Phoenix! At the mall right now and about to go to a pool party soon. #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 23, 2013
Jersey Boys was amazing! Now off to the buffet! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 26, 2013
It's way easier to wake up for Disneyland than for an 8 am class! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 27, 2013
Venice Beach here i come! #ONUchoirtour— Libby Druesedow (@LDruesedow) May 27, 2013
Our host mom is THE BOMB! She is so HILARIOUS and gave us new toothbrushes! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 30, 2013
I'm on the Golden Gate Bridge!!!! #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) May 30, 2013
Dr. A just announced we passed our 5,000 mile mark #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) May 30, 2013
Off to Oregon this morning!! #ONUChoirTour— C.J. Brincefield(@CJBrincefield) May 31, 2013
No big deal just saw a huge waterfall and a huge snow-covered mountain within a half hour #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) May 31, 2013
The 5:45 call will be worth it when we get to see Yellowstone National Park tomorrow! #onuchoirtour— Alexa Lammers (@ACLBellatrix) June 8, 2013
Welcome to colorful Colorado! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 12, 2013
Red Rocks National Park! #onuchoirtour— Rebecca Wilden (@RebeccaWilden) June 13, 2013
Free day in Iowa today! Bowling and talent show tonight :) #onuchoirtour— Taylor Miller (@TaylorM3358) June 15, 2013
Just crossed the Mississippi River for the second time! #onuchoirtour— C.J. Brincefield (@CJBrincefield) June 16, 2013
Check back for more updates
The tour itinerary looks more like a AAA TripTik than a concert schedule, with stops at Mammoth Cave National Park; Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans, La.; Roswell, N.M.; Carlsbad Cavern; The Grand Canyon, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park; Puget Sound; Yellowstone National Park; Mt. Rushmore; to name but a few. The tour will also have free days in Los Angeles and Las Vegas for students to take in the sights.
“It sounds kind of corny, but I am really looking forward to going to Disneyland,” says Alexa Lammers, a freshman public relations and musical theatre major from Tipp City, Ohio. “I asked for a ticket for my birthday this year, so I’m going on our day off with a few friends.”
Lammers is also looking forward to the trip itself, even if it does mean 38 days on a bus with 40 other people.
“You know those road trips you took as a kid, and how you and your friends all sat in the back seat, and you just have these great inside jokes from being on the road?” she says. “Well, we get to do that for 38 days, so just imagine all the memories we are going to make.”
Ohio Northern University prides itself on many things, but two of the most important are its passion for providing students with opportunities for experiential learning and its reputation for producing well-rounded students. The choir tour is a good example of those two pieces in perfect harmony.
The University Singers aren’t just music majors. There are majors from all four of ONU’s undergraduate colleges on this tour. At Northern, students can major in a challenging academic field and still pursue their passions. They can even spend five weeks in the summer pursuing them all across the country.
The tour will be a learning experience as well. Apart from all they will learn about America, the tour will also turn them into better singers. They will be singing six days a week, including performances and rehearsals, a heavy workload for any choir. According to Ayling, it will drastically change the way his students sing.
“It’s going to raise the bar,” he says. “By the time we get even one third of the way through this trip, they are going to be a better singing choir than probably any choir they’ve ever been in. And by the time we are finished, they will have transcended most choirs anywhere, period.”
As a pure exercise in singing, Ayling says there is no way to replicate what this tour will do for the University Singers, and he is already excited for the fall when the students return after having this experience.
“Every one of them will want to have that same performance level, and they’ll work hard for it,” he says. “They’ll push themselves. They’ll push each other to get back there.”
But first things first. There are still a few dozen states to go.
In addition to Twitter, follow the choir tour on Tumblr at http://alexalammers.tumblr.com/ for daily updates.
ONU engineering students seek a simple solution to a very complex problem.
Right now there are more than three quarters of a billion people on the planet without daily access to clean water. 1 While it may not seem like it, this is an engineering problem. Engineers will have to solve it.
There won’t be one solution to a problem this large. There will be many. These solutions, be they new methods, devices or discoveries, will chip away at the problem one family or community at a time until clean water is widely available.
Senior civil engineering majors Sarah Thompson and Mary Purvis researched the viability
of using electricity to purify water as part of the ONU Honors Program.
All ideas are on the table.
The table is where Ohio Northern University senior civil engineering majors Sarah Thompson and Mary Purvis found themselves at this year. Under the guidance of Dr. Bryan Boulanger, associate professor of civil engineering, the pair worked on research looking to see if electroporation, the process by which electricity is used to puncture a cell membrane, could be an effective means to purify water.
Boulanger has long been interested in a finding an inexpensive, effective water treatment system that can fit into a backpack and be delivered anywhere in the world. An ambitious goal to be sure, but Thompson and Purvis were willing to try.
Normally, electroporation is used to introduce a substance into a cell, and the thought is that if the process was severe enough it might damage a cell sufficiently to kill it. Since many of the disease-causing microbes routinely found in contaminated water are single-cell organisms like cryptosporidium, giardia lamblia or choliform bacteria, Thompson and Purvis believed it had a chance for success.
Like all research, theirs did not exist in a vacuum. It was actually an extension of research done by some of Boulanger’s graduate students at Texas A&M University, where he taught before joining ONU this fall. His students successfully killed microbes in water by running it through electrically charged silver-impregnated fabric.
“[Those students] didn’t look at the causative effect of why they were having positive outcomes. They were just running their experiment, and it was working, but they didn’t know why,” says Boulanger. “Mary and Sarah’s research tries to explain why this process yielded the results that it did.”
Specifically, Thompson and Purvis looked at the electricity component of the experiment. They wanted to know whether current or voltage was responsible for killing the microbes. While current and voltage are both properties of electricity, the current is the flow of electrons or ions, and the voltage represents the power behind the flow. According to Purvis, she got the idea from power company warnings that current, not voltage, is what causes electrocution. It seemed reasonable to her that, if current can kill a person, perhaps the same could be true of individual microbes.
"The beauty of engineering is that you can help in so many different ways. It may take you a really long time ..., but you can."
The students built a small reactor in the civil engineering environmental lab in the Biggs Engineering Building that used the same conductive fabric that the Texas A&M students used, a product called ArgenMesh™ that is 55 percent silver and 45 percent nylon. It is marketed primarily as a means to block radio waves, but its conductivity, low cost and availability met the criteria for developing a system that could fit into a backpack.
They fed the fabric into a plastic tube and connected a power source to either end. As electricity is applied to the fabric and completes a circuit, water collected from one of ONU’s campus ponds is poured into the reactor and left to sit. Then the water is piped out one milliliter at a time and placed onto reactive plates that grow bacteria into colonies large enough to see with the naked eye.
Thompson and Purvis varied the experiment for voltage and contact time with the silver mesh over the span of several weeks in October and November. Due to inconclusive results, they continued the research into the spring semester, this time looking closer at current.
“It started out just looking at voltage. Then we found out that our current was really small because we were using way too much resistance, so we started to look at that. Then we found out that the fabric itself has properties that might be killing the microbes, so we thought about contact time,” says Thompson. “So, just looking at those things forced us to adapt our research. You don’t really realize all the different variables that come into play until you are in the middle of it.”
As often happens in research, the results Thompson and Purvis recorded didn’t match their expectations. They could find no discernable correlation between variations in voltage or current and the number of microbes in water. They did, however, see fewer microbes in the water they ran through their reactor than in the control samples, leading them to believe that the silver in the fabric can kill microbes by itself. Were they not graduating, both students would like to do more experiments to answer newfound questions.
“Now, it’s back to the drawing board,” says Purvis. “There are things we could change in this experiment. For instance, we could use more of the fabric and run tests to see if it is really what’s making a difference here. Also, we could see how long we could make that fabric work.”
Boulanger is pleased with his students’ research even though they themselves were a bit disappointed. He sees undergraduate research as part of the educational process and not necessarily as something that always has to work perfectly, because that just doesn’t happen.
From left: Dr. Bryan Boulanger, Mary Purvis and Sarah Thompson in their laboratory.
“When undergraduate research is doing what it should, we are utilizing it for education,” he says. “Mary and Sarah did a lot of work. They had to go look up all the literature on the research that had come before. They sourced materials from vendors and figured out what equipment they needed. When problems arose, they reached out to me or one of the electrical engineering professors or students. They did more statistical work than my grad students did, and they did more individual experiments as well. It’s a process, and that’s where the educational value comes in.”
If the science is a process, than the motivation for doing it is something else entirely. For Purvis, her motivation came from her love of engineering and what she feels is its inherent capacity for good.
“The beauty of engineering is that you can help in so many different ways. This project could really help people, but it has an environmental application as well,” she says. “It may take you a really long time to make a difference, but you can. And that’s the reason I wanted to do this.”
Boulanger weighs the motivation behind any research or engineering project heavily. He has done research all over the world and knows that engineering can change lives for the better when done correctly, and that it can ultimately harm people if done poorly or with the wrong motivation. He is critical of projects that don’t ask questions beyond the science and neglect the people that the project is intended to help. Here at Northern, he has found a college that shares those values.
“I think our engineering students are more motivated by knowing they can make a difference in the world than by the economics of being an engineer, or the long hours of being an engineer, or the recognition that may or may never come from a project that you worked on,” he says.
The partnership between Thompson and Purvis doesn’t end with commencement. This summer, both begin careers at Marathon Petroleum in Findlay, Ohio, where they will apply what they’ve learned over the past four years as project managers. They are excited for this new chapter of their lives to begin and, particularly, that their jobs will vary so much from project to project, just the thing for a couple well-rounded engineers who are always up for a challenge.
1. Estimated with data from WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water Supply and Sanitation. (2012). Progress on Sanitation and Drinking-Water, 2012 Update.
Innovative extradisciplinary seminar course asks students to study through song.
By their very nature, Ohio Northern University’s Extradisciplinary Seminar (EXDS) courses push students beyond their academic comfort zone, forcing them outside their major and placing emphasis on the process by which they learn, rather than the content they are being taught. Because they are required to enroll in these courses, students have their critical-thinking skills challenged and, perhaps, even learn a new way of learning.
No EXDS course takes this concept more to heart than “Beyond Les Misérables: Global Issues in the Modern French Musical.” Apart from the novel approach of using musical theatre to study global issues like poverty, immigration and oppression, this course asks that students share their newfound knowledge with classmates through song.
Kayla Burress shares her sung defense experience.
As in singing.
In front of everyone.
Dr. Thomas Finn, professor of French and Spanish, incorporates what he calls “sung defenses” into his course to combine students’ analytical and creative talents. He asks students to rewrite the lyrics to a song from a musical they are studying to provide a justification or defense of a particular character’s actions or as commentary on any of the musical’s core themes. They then perform the piece in class a cappella to the tune of the song.
“I want the students to be active participants rather than passive observers,” says Finn. “The sung defenses really do that in a fun and interesting way.”
This semester, the course was structured around four French musicals: “Les Miserablés,” “Notre Dame de Paris,” “Ali Baba” and “The Ten Commandments.” Students were required to perform sung defenses for each show. Students also had exams, an oral presentation and a final research paper. Finn credits the sung defenses with jumpstarting the students’ interest in the subject matter.
“The sung defenses are the beginning of the analysis for students to start looking at these shows. Then it just blossoms out into the oral presentations and final papers,” he says.
"I’d never sung much before, and I’d never researched the meaning of French musicals. It was a very different experience and a very cool one. It was the class I looked forward to each week."
From a teaching perspective, the sung defense proved to be an effective learning method. But that didn’t automatically make it a popular one with students.
“Most of them have taken to it very, very well — even the ones who were afraid of it at first. They seem to appreciate the creative part, and they’ve done very creative things. They seem to like it,” says Finn.
“It was horrible ... no, not really. It was nerve-wracking, but it was also fun,” says pharmacy major Ashley Dodge, who had the unenviable task of being first. “My secret was to incorporate humor into my song so that people laughed with me instead of at me.”
The class quickly discovered that many of their fears of ridicule were unfounded. After all, they were all in the same proverbial boat. But many, if not all, of the students expressed some level of fear or apprehension, whether it be singing or expressing their ideas through their lyrics.
“I was worried people were going to judge the way I interpreted my character. It was interesting to see how other people interpreted the same ones. There are aspects to characters that I didn’t realize until I heard other students’ songs,” says pharmacy major Allie Dolan.
Jason Luthman, a mechanical engineering major, describes the supportive nature of the class as almost a band-of-brothers/sisters-type scenario where the students supported one another because they knew they were going to need support in return. Like Dodge, Luthman relied on humor to make his first sung defense easier.
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“I actually sang my first song as Cosette, the 12-year-old girl from Les Miserablés. It broke the ice and made it a little less intimidating for me to be a little girl for a day, I suppose,” he says.
Even with light-hearted, humorous lyrics, Luthman still provided an insightful defense of the character of Cosette. He used his sung defense to ask aloud why Cosette has such a small role in the musical when she is literally the face of the musical and instrumental to the plot.
Other students looked at archetypal characters, such as heroes and villains, and sought to provide a deeper understanding of them than is offered in the limited span of a musical production.
“I tend to do my character defenses on the less popular characters in the musical, because I think they are more interesting,” says Brittany Holland, a communication arts/public relations double major. “It’s clear we aren’t supposed to like them, but I like to explore why we shouldn’t like them.”
Of all the aspects of this class the students enjoyed, many feel that the best part is that the course stayed true to the idea behind the extradisciplinary seminar courses, namely that students are taught something they aren’t already familiar with in a way that stimulates them to think critically about what they are learning.
“I like that the University has EXDS courses, but the emphasis needs to be placed on the creativity of students like this one does. I learned something new in this class. I’d never sung much before, and I’d never researched the meaning of French musicals. It was a very different experience and a very cool one. It was the class I looked forward to each week,” says Luthman.
To be sure, the sung defenses are a big reason why many students felt that this course was so effective. In comparing it to other, more traditional assignments in the course, the sung defenses stood out.
Jason Luthman's sung defense for "The Ten Commandments"
Where were the plagues?
Sweet Jesus, where were the plagues?
The water turning to blood
Appeared just as it should!
But the frogs that ran free
Were very difficult to see
Oh, and what of the lice and the locusts and flies?
There were none to be found in the very dark skies!
Here where we should see the Egyptians’ growing fears?
There should have been suffering
And there should have been pain
There should have been no chance to stay or retain
A life riddled with such a horrible pain
When the lightning thunder rolled in
And the hail avenged Egypt’s sin.
Yet why did they stage the plagues this way?
Was it to make the show okay
For the children and the faint of heart?
They should have shown more
Than just pictures and lights
The plagues were more than just a show
They were a fight
Against a cruel and unjust reign
Meant to bar Israel from new life.
What of incurable boils?
And of darkness so deep,
That you cannot go outside
Nor can you see your feet?
One cow with disease and I’d retract
All that I’ve said to counteract
The sad attempt at showing suffering
Put to use in this religious musical.
They didn’t even show a child
Dying as the first-born
What may have possessed them to do so?
To be honest, I really do not know.
“Even today, I think people were kind of zoning out during the oral presentations because everyone talks about the same thing,” says Dodge. “But the sung defenses are just so interesting, that you really want to hear what everyone does. They are quick and to-the-point and give you the opportunity to say what you want to say in a cool way that people actually pay attention to.”
Finn understands that attempting something like the sung defenses as a mandatory class assignment is asking a lot of his students, and he wouldn’t have done it had he not believed they were willing and able to do it.
“I think Northern attracts students who are multitalented and open to new ideas. I’ve got some pharmacy students and mechanical engineering students who have really had some good tunes. It says a lot for the students. Their willingness to get up there for one, because that is not easy to do,” he says.
And he would know. Not one to ask his students to do something he himself would not, Finn performed the first sung defense to show them what he expected. He did the last one, too, as a thank you to the students who made this class the one he looked forward to each week as well.
ONU’s annual Student Research Colloquium showcases student work.
If, by chance, you were just dying to learn about the “cationic polymerization of beta-pinene via methyl stearate and trityl borate addition” last Friday, boy, were you in luck.
That particular research project, along with 91 others representing Ohio Northern University’s four undergraduate colleges, were on display at the Student Research Colloquium held in McIntosh Center on Friday, April 26. The annual event, which kicks off Honors weekend, is a celebration of student excellence and a showcase for new ideas.
2013 Goldwater Scholar Courtney Olson answers questions about her research.
The colloquium is open to all ONU students with no restrictions due to age or subject. This year’s event was the largest yet with more than 195 researchers (students and faculty) presenting research that spanned ONU’s academic disciplines. But that is not the only indicator the colloquium is gaining in popularity.
“I would say the biggest growth has actually been in the audience,” says Mary Drzycimski-Finn, Student Research Colloquium coordinator. “More students are coming out to support their friends and to learn about research opportunities. It’s been wonderful to see.”
Ohio Northern has always valued student research, and many students who go on to graduate school report that the research experiences they had at ONU prepared them well, even giving them a leg up on their fellow students. ONU’s reputation for undergraduate research is known nationally as well. During the past nine years, ten ONU students have been named a Goldwater Scholar, the premier award for undergraduate researchers.
Both of ONU’s 2013 Goldwater Scholars presented posters at the colloquium this year, as did Zachary Dunn, Northern’s recipient in 2012. Morgan Hammer, a senior chemistry and mathematics double major, presented two posters, while Courtney Olson, a junior ACS chemistry major, presented at the colloquium for the first time.
“An event like this makes you feel important. You aren’t just in the lab working; people can see what you’ve done,” says Olson. “It’s also really helpful because you get to talk to professors from different disciplines who give you insight into your research that you may never thought of.”
Olson also credits the colloquium with giving valuable experience and confidence she’ll take with her when she presents her research at the national American Chemical Society (ACS) conference in Indianapolis next year.
Thomas Steinberger's research could one day change they way iPhones are made.
Thomas Steinberger, an applied physics and mathematics double major, presented at other conferences before participating in the colloquium this year.
“There is a greater sense of curiosity here,” he says. “For instance, at a physics conference, people are only interested in their particular area within physics. Here, students are asking me all sorts of questions about my research and how it could be applied.”
According to Drzycimski-Finn, one of the goals of the colloquium is to encourage younger students to attend and see first-hand “the scholarly expectations of students at Ohio Northern.” Steinberger noted that many younger students asked him for advice on how to get involved with undergraduate research. His answer is simple: get to know your professor.
“I’ve never heard of a professor turning down a student who wanted to do research with them,” he says.
Dr. Terry Sheridan didn’t. Steinberger asked the associate professor of physics if he could work with him. Their collaboration resulted in experimentation using dust to measure the thickness of the plasma sheath, research that could potentially be applied to the design and manufacture of iPhones or other electronic devices.
It’s the type of quality partnership that would make beta-pinene, methyl stearate and trityl borate proud.
Undergraduate commencement information and schedule of events
Ohio Northern University will celebrate its 2013 undergraduate commencement ceremony in the ONU Sports Center on Sunday, May 12, 2013, at 2 p.m.
The Ohio Northern University community — students, faculty, staff, and trustees — extends congratulations and best wishes to the 2013 graduates. We hope the commencement activities and ceremonies will be a prominent part of the celebration of your accomplishments in this very important part of your life. We want to do all that we can to make the commencement weekend an enjoyable and memorable one for you. We welcome to the campus the families and friends who will share this significant occasion with you.
Schedule of Events
SATURDAY, MAY 11
- 1-3 p.m. Commencement Rehearsal for graduating students and others who will participate in commencement. Class picture following rehearsal. Sports Center
- 5:30 p.m. Graduation Dinner for graduating students, their families, and friends. Advance reservations and tickets required. Dining Room
- 7:30 p.m. Worship Service for graduating students, their families and friends. English Chapel
SUNDAY, MAY 12
- 7:30-9 a.m. Continental Breakfast McIntosh Center Dining Room
- 8-9:15 a.m. Honors Program Breakfast McIntosh Center Ballroom
- 10-11 a.m. College of Pharmacy Hooding Ceremony Sports Center, Field House
- 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Commencement Buffet. Tickets are required for graduating students, their families, and friends and may be purchased at the door. Dining Room, Mclntosh Center
- 12:30 p.m. Sports Center Open. Guests should arrive by 1 p.m. and be seated by 1:30 p.m. Ticket required. Sports Center
- 1 p.m. Processional Assembly. Graduating students and faculty assemble. Gymnasium, Sports Center (Streaming Video)
- 1:30 p.m. Musical Prelude. Field House, Sports Center
- 1:35 p.m. Academic Processional. Field House, Sports Center
- 2-4 p.m. Commencement. Field House, Sports Center
- 4 p.m. Recessional. Field House, Sports Center
Receptions After Graduation
Receptions for graduates and their guests will begin in each college about fifteen minutes after the Commencement Recessional. Locations of the receptions are:
- Arts and Sciences Middle Gym, King-Horn
- Business Administration Dicke Hall
- Engineering Biggs Engineering Building
- Pharmacy Robertson-Evans Pharmacy Building
Robert Manning, Mars Exploration Program chief engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., will be the guest speaker at ONU’s undergraduate commencement ceremony. Since 2004, Manning has been responsible for ensuring the success of current and future missions to Mars. In early 2008, he was named the chief engineer for the Mars Science Laboratory mission that successfully landed the rover Curiosity on the Martian surface in August 2012. Prior to these roles, Manning led the spacecraft systems engineering team for the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) project, which landed the twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity on the surface of Mars in early 2004.
Senior electrical engineering major Courtney Hetrick will be the student speaker.
Along with Manning, ONU will award honorary degrees at the ceremony to Oscar J. and Judith D. (Jacobs) Mifsud. Together, the Mifsuds established the Mifsud Family Foundation, which provides a focus on health, education and welfare of children and families. The two also established the Oscar J. and Judith D. Mifsud Endowment at Ohio Northern University, ONU’s Pay It Forward program, and the Ohio Northern Senior Send Off program.
Request to Guests
Commencement is a ceremonial occasion to honor graduates for their accomplishments. Guests are requested to refrain from any action that will detract from the dignity and pleasure of the occasion for all who attend.
Guests should be at the convocation center by 1 p.m. and in their seats by 1:30 p.m. They are requested to remain in their seats throughout the ceremony except when photographs are taken of a graduating student. Those with impairments or those who may not be able to remain in their seats throughout the ceremony should contact an usher for special seating upon entering the Field House.
As the student receives his or her diploma, a photograph will be taken by a professional photographer and mailed to the graduate by the University. For those wishing to do so, there will be a reserved and marked area to the left of the stage to take photographs during the ceremony. Photographers are requested to use this area only, to come to the area about 20 names before the graduating student they wish to photograph, and to return to their seats immediately after the photograph is taken. Photographs may be taken on the platform following the convocation for those wishing to do so.
- The Inn at Ohio Northern University
Overnight accommodations for guests of graduating students are available at The Inn at Ohio Northern University. The Inn is situated at the heart of the campus with easy access to McIntosh Center and the Sports Center. There are more than 70 deluxe guestrooms featuring one king-size or two queen-size beds. Reservations for commencement weekend can be made by calling The Inn directly at its toll-free number: 866-713-4513.
- On Campus
Housing for guests of graduating students will be provided on campus in University residence halls. Some students will remain in the residence halls through commencement. Accommodations will be available beginning at noon, Friday, May 10. Room costs will be $30 per person each night.
On-campus housing is being offered as a convenience to families and to provide accommodations at a lower cost than is commercially available in most cases. The rooms will have been recently vacated by students. They have two single beds that are comfortable and convenient. Occupants share a common bath.
Guests desiring to stay in campus housing should return a reservation form to the Commencement Office, with payment for the accommodations requested. Special arrangements for housing needs can be made by writing to the Director of Residence Life or calling 419-772-2430 or 419-772-2431.
McIntosh Center Hours
Friday, May 10 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday, May 10 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 11 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 12 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Meals on Campus
- Northern on Main (Main Street adjacent to campus)
Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- McIntosh Center Dining Room
Graduation Dinner 5:30 p.m.
Child, 10 & under $8
Continental Breakfast $7 7:30-9 a.m.
Child, 10 & under $3.50
Brunch Buffet 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Child, 10 & under $7.50 (Children 3 & under free)
The dining room will be open Friday for regular meal hours. Graduating students may take their meals at the dining room without charge, as guests of the University, during commencement weekend. Students with meal contracts may use their l.D. cards. Students without meal contracts may sign in the Dining Room for their meals.
Reservations for the Graduation Banquet should be made in advance. Tickets are required and should be obtained beforehand from the Commencement Office, telephone 419-772-2030.
Tickets for parents and others for the Brunch Buffet will be on sale at the door of the Dining Room beginning at 10 a.m., Sunday, May 12.
All prices include Ohio Sales Tax.
Accommodations for Those With Special Needs
Parking for persons with special needs will be provided on the north side of the Sports Center. Special seating will be provided for those with physical impairments. Please contact an usher for assistance if needed.
Nursing Care for Commencement
A nurse will be available on Sunday, May 12, from 12:30-4:30 p.m., in the training room of the Sports Center. Ushers are available for assistance.
Parking for Commencement
Parking will be available in lots on the north side of the Sports Center and to the north of Meyer Hall as well as in perimeter parking lots. These areas may be reached by West Lincoln Avenue. Security personnel will be available for assistance.
Courtesy vans will provide transportation from McIntosh Center and perimeter parking lots to the Sports Center beginning at noon on Sunday, May 12.
Babysitting for Commencement
Babysitting and nursery services for pre-school children of guests will be provided from 12:30-4:30 p.m., May 12, in the Sports Center.
Inclement Weather Schedule
In case of inclement weather, all activities will take place as scheduled.
ONU student fitness group helping build a healthier campus with popular workout program.
Sometimes a traditional push up just won’t do. Especially when you can stand on your hands and do one that’s far more difficult.
For a new breed of health-conscious Ohio Northern University students, traditional exercise in general just won’t do. These students, members of the new ONU student organization PolarFit, take fitness to a whole new level with exercise regimes modeled after the immensely popular CrossFit® craze that is popping up in gyms all over the country.
The Kinghorn Classic
On Sunday, April 7, PolarFit and ONU hosted the first annual Kinghorn Classic fitness competition. The event attracted 25 participants —students and nonstudents alike — from as far away as Michigan. The competition featured three events: Olympic lifting, skill work and a metabolic challenge.
Scroll down for photos from the event
While CrossFit® is a brand name, it has become synonymous with the style of fitness training that is characterized by a diverse array of high intensity, high repetition exercises with short rest periods in between. These workouts push athletes to perform at long periods of maximum physical exertion. It has become the preferred regimen of the United States Marine Corps, and many police and fire fighters.
PolarFit co-founders Nick Pataro, a junior exercise physiology major from Saline, Mich., and Cory Martin, a senior exercise physiology major from Akron, Ohio, are firm believers in this new kind of exercise, and formed the club to introduce it to ONU students. The club has grown in membership throughout the year to 50 dues-paying members, and Martin and Pataro both see it growing even more.
“There are plenty of people that work out here, but not many really know what it is like to do a high-intensity workout. It’s addictive. When you do it once, you are going want to come back and do it again,” says Martin.
Pataro has always been active. An athlete all his life, he ran and lifted weights as prescribed by a traditional exercise routine. He began crossfit training about a year ago and quickly noticed a difference.
“You move better in every way. You feel better in every way. You start to feel really, really good after only a month or so of doing it,” he says.
Pataro also credits this new training with completely healing a knee ligament tear he suffered his freshman year. Before his knee had been consistently achy and sore. After his first month of training, the pain was gone and he had increased strength and range of motion.
“It’s rehabbed my knee without me having to rehab it,” he says.
Some of the exercises used at the Kinghorn Classic.
If PolarFit seems too good to be true, rest assured there is science behind it. Sara Terrell, Assistant Professor of Exercise Physiology and PolarFit faculty adviser explains:
“What happens in a workout session is incredibly functional for all walks of life and is exactly what I would preach in my kinesiology classes, such as loading the body through the ground, working in multiple planes of motion and incorporating whole body movement patterns," she says. "Just watch a workout and you will see people working on muscle strength, muscle endurance, power, agility, coordination, balance, pushing, pulling, squatting, at an intensity that really pushes anaerobic conditioning, which also improves your aerobic conditioning. These workouts crank up EPOC, or excess post oxygen consumption. Basically, because you have worked all these areas at a higher intensity your body burns an incredible amount of calories long after the workout is over. “
Actual PolarFit workouts can vary greatly in both the type of exercise and intensity. As instructors, Pataro and Martin apply their education in exercise physiology to ensure students are safe and receiving proper instruction.
A healthier campus
PolarFit is the latest initiative at Ohio Northern to improve health and wellness on campus.
For employees of the University, ONU HealthWise provides access to knowledge about their health, which empowers them to make better choices.
Benefits of the ONU HealthWise program include:
• One-on-one coaching with health care professionals
• Improved knowledge about health and wellness
• Disease state and medication management
Traffic Light Plus
This new vending machine labeling initiative encourages healthier eating habits on campus by providing students, faculty and staff with food for thought before buying that favorite snack.
“We bring the knowledge to make sure they are using correct form — we’re never going to have someone do incorrect form, especially for a workout like this — and we know how to progress or regress an exercise to meet the ability of the student,” says Martin.
Terrell is proud that her students started PolarFit to be more than just an exercise club. Martin and Pataro want it to be a vehicle for junior- and senior-level exercise physiology and athletic training majors gain leadership experience while expanding the scope of the club to include more forms of exercise. For instance, if a student is involved in yoga and has mastered proper form and technique, her or she could teach a yoga class under the PolarFit name.
“The part that I like most is that these guys saw a need in the student community and responded to it, not to mention, they are teaching and instructing and learning how to take these workouts and apply them to all skill sets. That’s where the industry can go wrong sometimes is that you have people in the exercise field who can’t adapt concepts to meet the needs of a variety of abilities which is problematic for our profession. Nick and Cory see the concept, make changes as needed to meet the variety of skills of the participants, all while creating this incredibly supportive environment that encourages and facilitates campus camaraderie,” says Terrell.
This supportive environment is certainly a factor in the explosive growth of the club. As word spread around campus throughout the fall more and more students would show up for classes. Before PolarFit, Martin says that he’d see maybe one female student in the Kinghorn weight room in a week. Now he’s is bringing in PolarFit classes with 10 to 15 female students, introducing them to weights and exposing them to free weight exercises they hadn’t experienced before.
If a sense of camaraderie brings a student to a PolarFit workout, the results keep them coming back. Busy college students are finding that they can get the same or better results from a 20-minute PolarFit workout than they can from 45 minutes running on a treadmill. Martin says that students are reporting less soreness after workouts than when they workout on their own, which is the result of being instructed on using proper form.
Pataro and Martin dedicated much of their lives this year to PolarFit this year. They run three to four classes a day, and as the club has grown they find themselves running out of time and space. Yet they still want to spread the word and get more students involved because they know how good it is for them. PolarFit is improving health and wellness on campus and quite literally, building better students. It might seem overwhelming if it wasn’t so much fun.
I absolutely love it, I absolutely love teaching people how to do this stuff. And I love doing it myself.” says Pataro. “If it was up to me I would probably hang out there all day.”
Learn about OT
April is occupational therapy month. Grace Weybrecht, BS ’09, talks about her bid to become Dr. Weybrecht.
Of the many preprofessional programs offered at Ohio Northern University, preoccupational therapy is perhaps the least understood. Judging by its name, one might suspect that it involves work-place safety or job counseling.
In truth, the “occupation” in occupational therapy applies the broadest definition: that which chiefly engages one’s time. Occupational therapists rehabilitate people who are injured or otherwise impaired so that they are able to participate in any activity that has meaning and purpose in their lives. From adults who want to drive a car, dress themselves or prepare a meal, to children who need help holding a pencil or playing with other kids, occupational therapists need to be able to do it all.
Grace Weybrecht, BS '09 will graduate with her
doctorate in occupational therapy in May.
ONU offers a preprofessional program in occupational therapy through the Department of Biological and Allied Health Sciences. It prepares students for entry into post-baccalaureate programs in physical occupational therapy and boasts a 100 percent acceptance rate into graduate programs since 1998.
Grace Weybrecht, BS ’09, is pursuing her doctorate in occupational therapy at the University of Toledo, where ONU has an early acceptance agreement. She knew from her sophomore year of high school that she wanted to be an occupational therapist and decided that the undergraduate education from Ohio Northern was vital to achieving her goal.
“I liked the comprehensiveness of Ohio Northern. I remember my tour of campus and meeting with faculty and seeing the lab spaces,” she says. “I could see that everything was in place to provide me with a good science base.”
As she prepares to graduate this spring, Weybrecht looks forward to practicing and the specialization into one of two areas that this will involve. Though she appreciates how broad her field is in its ability to help those in need, she also considers this sheer breadth to be the greatest challenge for OT students. It is common for practicing OTs to specialize into a narrow area, such as hand injuries, driving rehabilitation or pediatrics, to name just a few.
“I would like to work with adults who have experienced neurological trauma either through car accidents, stroke or other trauma,” says Weybrecht.
rehabilitate people who
are injured or otherwise
impaired so that they are
able to participate in any
activity that has meaning
and purpose in their lives.
She is particularly interested in working with military veterans and has completed a six-month clinical residency at the VA hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., and a skilled nursing facility in Holland, Ohio. Her graduate research is a meta-analysis comparing occupationally embedded movement to rote movement in terms of motor performance outcomes. She is currently completing her capstone semester, a 16-week independent study in which she is advocating within an international Christian organization for local churches to increase both environmental and programming accessibility for older adults.
“Occupational therapists often help older adults be successful and safe in their home environments. I am taking it a step further by helping older adults be successful and safe in their church environments, which I hope will increase their religious and community participation and, by extension, their quality of life.” she says.
Occupational therapy is often confused with physical therapy. The two fields are similar in that they both work with people to improve some aspect of their lives. The key difference is the scope of this improvement. Whereas physical therapists rehabilitate the underlying motor skills (strength, balance, coordination) required to physically complete a task, an occupational therapist works to match the person to his or her environment so that he or she can function in daily life and regain independence.
“I remember one gentleman I worked with who had suffered a middle cerebral artery stroke and, as a result, had some shakiness in his hands. His nurses were afraid to allow him to shave himself, but he really wanted to do that basic task on his own,” says Weybrecht. “I assessed him on his different skill levels, and I knew that he had the ability to do it. So I worked with him on it, and he was just ecstatic that he was able to shave himself.”
Grace (right) and fellow OTD student Reggie Kehoe demonstrate a rocker
knife, one of the adaptive technologies used by occupational therapists.
Occupational therapists have two basic approaches to helping their clients/patients — change the person or change the environment. Sometimes a person needs to get stronger to complete a task, or change his or her perspective on what constitutes success. In other cases, an amputation for example, an occupational therapist must change the environment to make up for the patient’s loss of a limb. Occupational therapists will often employ a combination of the two, relying on their expertise to develop a suitable plan of care.
“If you want to do OT correctly, you have to empathize with your client and try to understand what they are going through,” says Weybrecht. “Whether it’s a new injury or a developmental disability they’ve had since birth, you have to be able to put yourself in their shoes in order to make recommendations and develop a course of therapy that will be meaningful to them.
When Henry Solomon Lehr founded Ohio Northern University, he did so with a vision of blending professional and liberal arts education. He wanted to train students in their particular vocations while educating them in the humanities so they could better apply the skills they had obtained. For more than 140 years, Northern’s graduates have entered the work force well rounded and primed for successful careers.
In a way, the same is true of occupational therapy. It is an incredibly broad field that brings together scientific understanding with a humanity all its own.
This story and more are available in the Spring 2013 issue of SmullTalk, a magazine for friends of the T.J. Smull College of Engineering
An international outlook enriches the Smull College of Engineering. While the college’s international students, professors and alumni may be small in number, they make a big impact.
No one has championed the importance of cultural diversity on campus more than Dr. Bruce Burton, ACIT ’94, Hon. D. ’08.
He’s worked tirelessly for several decades to recruit international students to ONU and make the campus an inviting place for students from all cultures.
Burton spent 40 years in the College of Engineering. He started as an instructor in mechanical engineering in 1958, chaired the Department of Mechanical Engineering for 20 years, and became college dean in 1985, a position he held for nine years before stepping down for health reasons. He then taught five more years and retired in 1999.
As dean, Burton led efforts to increase the number of international students in the College of Engineering. He believes a well-rounded education requires exposure to different cultures and that students who learn how to relate to people from other countries are better prepared to work in an increasingly connected world.
ONU may not have a large population of international students, but the University works hard to integrate the students into their majors and campus life, according to Burton. International students live, study and play right alongside their American counterparts.
“Often, students have misconceptions about a certain culture,” explains Burton. “But when they get to know someone from that culture through daily interaction, those barriers begin to break down.”
In 1987, when Burton was dean, he spearheaded an initiative that brought engineering students from Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic to ONU to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The Singapore program – the first of its kind at ONU – continued for several years. Around 30 Singaporean students received engineering degrees from ONU through the program. After he retired in 1999, Burton began working part-time in International Admissions, where he has recruited hundreds of students from different countries. A worldwide traveler, he has visited Russia, China, Kenya, Europe, Egypt, Israel and Vietnam in the role of ONU ambassador.
Burton also brought the Sakae Institute of Study Abroad to ONU. This summer institute prepares approximately 25 Japanese students for study in America. Each year, several Sakae students decide to stay at Northern. Burton also helped to design a program for ONU’s Saudi Arabian students who need to learn English and adjust to American culture before they begin their studies.
With no imminent plans to retire for a second time, Burton says he’ll champion diversity for as long as he’s able. “It’s been gratifying to meet so many outstanding international students,” he adds.
A technology entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Keng-Siang Lim, BSCE ’89, got his start at ONU.
Lim was one of the first three students to attend ONU through the Singapore program started by Dr. Bruce Burton in 1987.
Today, he’s a successful entrepreneur in the fast-paced world of technology, building five reputable Internet and software companies and holding 30 approved and pending patents. He’s currently the founder, chairman and CEO of NextLabs Inc., a leading provider of risk management software for large enterprises.
Born in Malaysia, the second of six boys in his family, Lim became an entrepreneur at age 13, starting his own tutoring business. With dreams of building “magnificent structures,” he attended Singapore Polytechnic and uncovered a new passion - computer software.
Lim came to ONU because British universities wouldn’t let him major in both civil engineering and computer science. “Dr. Burton completely changed my perspective when he told me, ‘You can study anything you want at ONU!’ With those few magic words, he changed my life forever. And I am very thankful.”
Lim’s intelligence and motivation made him a standout student at ONU. He looks back on his student days with fondness, remembering his first experience with snow, the kindly gift of a bicycle to help him traverse campus and town, and Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations with Burton and professor Clyde Dornbusch and their families. Lim even nurtured his entrepreneurial streak at ONU by helping to open Ada’s first Chinese restaurant!
“ONU is the birthplace of my life in America,” he says. “I met so many great people and felt humbled by the unconditional help and open arms of so many friends and families. Most of what I know about American culture and values I learned at ONU, including my true understanding and embracement of creativity and freedom of thinking.”
Lim says his early exposure to global cultures, languages and religions shaped him into a global citizen and leader. He feels a responsibility to give back to society, thankful to the many mentors who positively influenced his life.
Passionate about education, global citizenship and entrepreneurism, Lim reaches out to young people in high school and college. He promotes outreach programs for cultural diversity and helps budding entrepreneurs learn how to successfully bring their innovations to market.
Dr. Kanti Shah earned icon status for his dedicated service to his students and the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).
A professor of civil engineering at ONU for 31 years, Shah oversaw hundreds of student projects – some with an international twist – in his classes and for ONU’s ASCE student chapter.
Born and raised in India, Shah visited the U.S. as a young man and decided to stay and continue his education. He received his master’s degree from the University of Kansas and his doctorate from the University of Oklahoma. He came to ONU in 1971 after working as a civil engineer in India, Kansas and Pennsylvania.
Specializing in environmental and water resource engineering, Shah was a leading expert in his field. He wrote a textbook still used in college courses today. He helped develop the environmental option in ONU’s engineering curriculum and a freshman course that taught analytical and creative thinking.
Shah often engaged his students in hands-on projects to teach them how to think outside the box. Whenever possible, he incorporated an international twist to his lessons. For example, one of his freshman projects required students to develop a series of sketches for tourists to help them overcome the language barrier.
He also tried to open his students’ eyes to the hardships facing people in developing nations. “The average American uses more than 100 gallons of water per day, while the average Indian uses just 25 gallons,” he says. “I would try to point these things out. I would let my students know they were lucky.”
As the advisor for ONU’s ASCE student chapter, Shah helped student members tackle projects for area municipalities, such as designing bridges and sewer systems. During his tenure as advisor, ONU’s ASCE chapter consistently ranked as one of the top five in the country. Alumni and students honored Shah’s commitment to excellence and lengthy service by naming the ONU student chapter of ASCE the “Kanti L. Shah Student Chapter” after Shah’s retirement in 2001.
Dr. Khalid Al-Olimat is a leading voice on campus for religious tolerance.
A professor of electrical and computer engineering and chair of the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science, Al-Olimat cultivates a greater understanding of Islamic and Middle Eastern cultures on campus and in the Ada and Lima communities.
Hailing from Jordan, Al-Olimat received his master’s degree from Bradley University in Illinois and his doctorate from the University of Toledo. He joined ONU’s faculty in 1999, establishing himself as an exceptional instructor and researcher in the fields of power engineering and control systems. In the past 14 years, he’s garnered numerous teaching awards and research grants.
Al-Olimat values the close-knit community found at ONU. “I really like a small institution,” he says. “ONU recruits top-quality students, and it’s a pleasure to build relationships with them and share my knowledge.”
He believes diversity is important in higher education because it leads to personal growth. “When students are exposed to different cultures, it improves and sharpens their self-knowledge and insight. When they experience multiple viewpoints, it promotes creative thinking,” he says.
A devout Muslim, Al-Olimat willingly shares information about his religion with ONU students and the wider community. He challenges misconceptions and points out the shared values between Islam and other major world religions. After Sept. 11, 2001, he played a vital role in calming fears and promoting peace and religious tolerance on campus.
Describing himself as the “elected Muslim community leader,” Al-Olimat serves as the advisor to ONU’s Muslim Student Association. He, along with other ONU Muslim faculty members, founded the Islamic Society of Ada, a nonprofit entity recently approved by the state of Ohio. These groups bring together area Muslims for shared worship and religious observations and host numerous social and educational events throughout the year for people of all faiths.
Al-Olimat says his goal is to raise funds to build a small mosque in Ada. “My dream is to have an actual mosque in Ada where Muslims can pray daily in congregation,” he says. “The mosque will also allow Muslims to be more involved with the local community and strengthen the relationship between different faith groups.”
Fabio Jacob wants to harness American knowledge and technology and bring it back to Brazil.
He’s spending one year at ONU studying electrical engineering through the Brazil Scientific Mobility program, a study-abroad initiative funded by the Brazilian government.
The contrast between Jacob’s hometown, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Ada, Ohio, couldn’t be starker. The temperature in Sao Paulo rarely dips below 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and Sao Paulo ranks as the eighth largest city in the world.
Yet Jacob quickly adjusted to his strange new surroundings. The weather may be cold, he says, but the people are warm. “I’m used to living in a big city, but I like that ONU is a small school because people are really interested in getting to know you. I’ve been impressed by how friendly and helpful everyone has been.”
Determined to make the most of his experience, Jacob signed up for as many classes as he could. He also joined the men’s swimming team and a senior design team that is designing and building an automated lawnmower for commercial use.
Many of Jacob’s engineering classmates have never traveled outside of the U.S., and they are curious about his culture. “I teach them about Brazil and how it compares to the United States. I give them a firsthand account that they can’t get on the Internet,” he says.
Meanwhile, Jacob is soaking up new knowledge and insights every day. “You are used to how something is done in your country, and you think that is just how it is,” he explains. “But when you live somewhere else, you see different ways of doing things. It broadens your mind to new possibilities and new solutions. You adapt, and you are not the same person. The experience changes you, and that change is for the better.”
Jacob plans a summer internship in the U.S. with a multinational company before returning to Brazil. He will never forget his ONU friends and experiences, he says. “I will carry them with me for life.”
New alumni-funded scholarship helps students pursue their dreams in pricey Washington, D.C.
As the epicenter of the political world, Washington, D.C., has culture and beauty and many educational and professional opportunities. It is a town rich in many things. College students, however, are often not, at least in the monetary sense. And while it is worth the price of admission, our nation’s capital is very expensive. Two Ohio Northern University criminal justice majors, LeAnne Clark and Haley Wershbale, didn’t let that stop them from pursuing their dreams of a summer internship among the cherry blossoms. They didn’t need to.
Thanks to the generosity of ONU alumni Cheryl McCain Mason, BA ’86, ACIT ’10, and Brett Mason, BSEE ’86, ONU students who are accepted into internship programs in the Washington, D.C., area no longer need to worry about how they are going to survive while there. The Capital Leadership Award they created assists students in the colleges of Arts & Sciences and Engineering with a $1,000 scholarship to help with accrued expenses during internship and co-operative experiences.
Clark and Wershbale are the first recipients of The Capital Leadership Award, and both held internships facilitated by The Washington Center. Clark interned at the Metropolitan Police Department in the Forensic Science Service Division for 12 weeks, where she completed more than 300 hours with Metro PD. Wershbale also accepted her placement with Metro PD, working in the Human Resources Division at central command.
“One of the reasons I chose ONU was because of the good relationship the school has with The Washington Center,” says Wershbale. “I wanted to go to D.C. for my internship because I love the city, and I knew I wanted to intern at the Metropolitan Police Department.
Clark hopes to use her daily experience working with crime scene technicians to further her graduate studies in forensic psychology.
From left: ONU students LeAnn Clark, Lisa Bradley and Haley Wershbale
take in the sights during time off from their summer internships in
Washington D.C. last summer.
“My internship gave me experience that I can use in the future. If I have to analyze crime scene photos, I’ll know what to look for because I got to see the real thing,” says Clark.
Over the course of her internship, Clark and other ONU students with The Washington Center joined the Masons at their home for an ONU alumni picnic, where the students networked with ONU alumni in D.C. and northern Virginia. The ONU alumni network is prominent all over the U.S. but is growing particularly fast in the greater D.C. area, jokingly known as “Potomac Fever” according to Dr. Rob Alexander, chair of the Department of History, Politics and Justice, and liaison to The Washington Center.
While her time in D.C. was rewarding, Clark encountered the high cost of living as an ever-present factor of her daily life in the capital. Her biggest expense? Transportation. With a daily commute to work and without a personal car, public transportation fees added up quickly over the 12-week period.
“Sometimes, I had to take cab rides to my place of work, which would be $15-$20 a day,” she says.
It’s certainly understandable that many students would be unable to have an internship in D.C. — and thereby miss out on potential opportunities — without financial support.
“I think I knew that I was going to need more money than I had budgeted out, but when you get down there, it’s a shock. Because you know it’s going to be expensive; you’re in a city. Food is not that cheap, and transportation is all on your own,” says Clark.
As their time at Northern winds down, the experiences and opportunities that Wershbale and Clark received during their respective internships in Washington, D.C., cannot be understated as driving factors in their futures.
Wershbale is currently applying to become a police officer with the very police department she interned with, the Metro P.D.
"Without my internship opportunity and the financial assistance I received from the Capital Leadership Award, I would not have gotten all the valuable information and connections that helped shape my decision to apply to MPD,” she says.
As for Clark, her internship taught her much about her chose field of forensic psychology, but it also taught her about the power and importance of giving back.
“Knowing that ONU alums gave me this opportunity, it definitely makes me want to give back once I get established. Just to have that real relationship with alumni is great because when you enter college, you always hear about how alumni provide financial support or will help you network,” she says. “But it’s not until you are actually touched by them, that you actually see it in person, do you realize that ONU’s alumni relationship with the students is actually stronger than what you thought it was.
“Our alumni are pretty awesome.”
Senior, history major
ONU 49 - ND 37
ONU rolls to victory in game for the ages.
Congratulations to the Ohio Northern University Robotic Football team for its 49-37 victory over the University of Notre Dame this past Saturday at the Brian Hederman Memorial Robotic Competition.
The Polar Bots relied on a power running game and stifling defense to thwart the heavily favored Fighting Irish. Led by running back Dougie's six touchdowns — including the game sealer with four seconds left after Notre Dame had closed the gap to six points — the victory proved once again that running the football is the winning formula for both man and machine.
This is ONU's first victory over Notre Dame in football (robotic or human) in five tries, and avenges a painful 87-0 loss the Polar Bears suffered back in 1913.
The ONU team is made up of Michael Horth, a senior mechanical engineering major from Akron, Ohio; Hunter Turner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Tipp City, Ohio; Loren Camp, a senior mechanical engineering major from Zanesville, Ohio; Shawn Pavel, a senior computer engineering major from Delphos, Ohio; Peter Kleysteuber, a senior electrical engineering major from Fairborn, Ohio; Taylor Zank, a senior electrical engineering major from Angola, Ind.; Noah Orr, a junior computer science major from Centerburg, Ohio; Paul Sorensen, a sophomore computer engineering major from Ada, Ohio; Jared R. Schatzinger, a junior mechanical engineering major from Shelby, Ohio; Michael Limbird, a senior computer engineering major from Attica, Ohio; Tyler Germann, a freshman electrical engineering major from New Haven, Ind.; and Joshua Gedert, a freshman computer engineering major from Toledo, Ohio. The students are advised by ONU faculty members John-David Yoder, professor and chair of mechanical engineering, and Sami Khorbotly, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.
Your MVB (most valuable bot), Dougie. twitter.com/ohionorthern/s…— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
Do you believe miracles???? YES!!!!!!!!ONU 49 Notre Dame 37 twitter.com/ohionorthern/s…— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
Is there a robot Heisman? Dougie again. Untouched for six. 43-23 ONU.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
And the DEFENSE! DEFENSE! Chant begins by the great crowd here. ONU holds on fourth down.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
Another complete pass by @notredame 37-23 ONU.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
37-16. Touchdown and conversion by who else? #Dougie35 3 minutes left.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
Big run by Dougie and a bigger hit on the sideline. 4th down.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
Ouch! Two completed passes from ND for 14 points. 29-16 ONU. In robot football a completed pass is worth 7.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
This time quarterback and ONU.edu website coverbot, Barry Aggressive with the score and conversion. 29-2 ONU.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
ONU coach Hunter Turner on second half strategy, "We're going to run Dougie." #onlyhopetocontainhim— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 7, 2013
End of the first half. 21-2 ONU. 10 minute halftime and then the second half.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Dougie is on fire!!! On fourth down ONU goes for it and Dougie goes untouched for six. 21-2 ONU.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Another ONU delay of game. 15-2 ONU. Still plenty of time to get over to Kinghorn Polar Bears! #dontmissthis— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Our first controversial call. ND with a point for an ONU delay of game ON AN "INJURED" player. 15-1 ONU.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
That's two for Dougie!! Touchdown ONU! ...and the 2-point conversion. 15-0 ONU!— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Touchdown!!!!!! Polar Bears! 7-0 twitter.com/ohionorthern/s…— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
4th down. The Polar Bear defense holds!!!! #turnoverondowns— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Great crowd at Kinghorn for ONU v Notre Dame robotic football game! twitter.com/ohionorthern/s…— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Starting lineup continued: Chaser, Grike, TKO, WALL.E #onu-nd— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
ONU starting lineup: DJ Roomba, The Claw, Barry Aggressive, Master Chief, Wrangler, The Punisher, Dougie ... twitter.com/ohionorthern/s…— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
Thanks to Vince Koza and @931thefan for calling the robot football game between ONU and Notre Dame.— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
10 minutes to kickoff! Still time to get to Kinghorn. #onu-nd— Ohio Northern Univ. (@ohionorthern) April 6, 2013
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