First Engineering Class a Highlight of Otterbein University’s Commencement Weekend

Posted Apr 24, 2019

Otterbein University will celebrate the graduation of 426 undergraduate students and 129 graduate students in the Class of 2019 this weekend, April 27-28.

Of the 426 undergraduate students, 21 represent the first cohort to earn an engineering degree from Otterbein.

The first-ever graduating class from Otterbein University’s Department of Engineering exceeds the national graduation rates for women in engineering at Commencement this spring.

According to the American Society of Engineering Education, the national average for females earning bachelor’s degrees in engineering is 19.9%. The average for minority students graduating with engineering degrees is just 7%. Amongst the 21 students graduating, 29% are female and 29% are minority students.

“My professors and fellow students have always treated me like an equal from the start,” said Reagan Nemec, a systems engineering major from the graduating class.

They are also the first class to study in The Point at Otterbein University, an experiential learning facility focused on collaboration with businesses, community makers and academics.

“The students in this class had their first engineering lab in a faculty member’s office because we didn’t have the space for them yet,” said Mike Hudoba, assistant professor of engineering. “Looking back on what they started with, it’s such a neat legacy they get to leave behind. They’re all hardworking students who entered into this new program with us.”

In its first year, the only available major was systems engineering. Since then, the department has experienced growth and integration across disciplines by offering degrees in mechanical engineering, computer science and environmental health and safety.

Students now have opportunities to pursue industry projects and on-site internships with some of the country’s largest and most respected businesses like JPMorgan Chase and Nestle. Students also have the option to work with locally-based companies, like Worthington Industries, Nikola Labs and edgeThingz.

Of the 21 graduating students, several are pursuing graduate studies at The Ohio State University and Santa Clara University, while others have already accepted full-time jobs at companies like Honda and Williams-Sonoma.

The future of the engineering program is bright. Since 2015, the Engineering Department enrollment has increased by 43%.

“I’m very optimistic about the future of this program,” said Hudoba. “It’s been a lot of hard work, but the experience has been rewarding beyond all our expectations.”