Young Engineer Helps Establish Ohio State Student Chapter
NSPE student chapters at colleges and universities throughout the US number at least 60. But without the work of the Franklin County chapter of the Ohio Society of Professional Engineers and one young engineer, there wouldn’t be a student chapter at one of the largest universities in the country, Ohio State University.
Kevin Monroe, P.E., a transportation engineer for HNTB Corp., says he felt it was vital to establish a student chapter at the largest public university in the state to educate and promote the standards set by NSPE, OSPE, and the Franklin County chapter.
“Engineering at Ohio State has seen its undergraduate population double in the past 10 years up to approximately 10,000 students,” says Monroe, “with nearly a thousand more students in graduate school. We wanted to find a niche, not to compete with other technical societies and clubs but to complement them.”
In the summer of 2016, then Franklin County chapter President Kevin Ernst, P.E., formed a committee of six members, including Monroe as chapter liaison, to create the student chapter. After meeting with Halil Sezen, P.E., a structural engineering professor at OSU who serves as the faculty sponsor, and James Gonya, E.I., the University of Toledo’s student chapter founder and president, the committee began to plan how to attract students to join the Ohio State society using resources provided by NSPE.
“We wanted to teach students what NSPE represents: defining and protecting the value of a professional license—not just a license but also the engineering degree—all while teaching professionalism and the importance of networking, and providing the students access to experienced professional engineers,” says Monroe.
Following an initial on-campus information meeting hosted by Monroe and Sezen, students who joined the society—a free membership—were invited to Franklin County chapter meetings, continuing professional development sessions, and conferences.
Student members could also access OSPE’s FE exam preparation materials as well as take part in activities such as local MATHCOUNTS competitions, Ohio’s Imagine Engineering Program and Coloring Contest, and Engineers Week. In addition, they could attend tours and listen to guest speakers. The student chapter now has more than 20 members, including a six-person leadership team that meets regularly, plans for growing membership, and hosts social and educational events for engineers on campus.
For his work, Monroe was named the Ohio Society’s Young Engineer of the Year prior to moving from his native Ohio to Seattle, to continue his professional engineering career.
“Although the membership started small, there is outstanding potential for the society at Ohio State,” Monroe says. “Even though I’m not there anymore, I know OSUSPE student leadership is in good hands and will be a great resource and outlet for young engineers to learn and share experiences.”