Building a program: OSUM adds second year of engineering

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Written by Tabitha Clark, The Marion Star

Ohio State Marion Prof. Gary Maul, left, watches with students Chris Braumiller, Jake Waterman and Dillon Steinhilber as marbles fall into the target area. Students in Maul's Engineering 1181 class worked in teams of four to engineer a delivery system that would move 10 marbles to a target. Braumiller, Waterman and Steinhilber were on one of the teams with Jon Young. / Bill Sinden/The Marion Star

MARION - Simple is better.

That was the sentiment of four young men as they constructed a ramp and track to move ten marbles down the length of a table.

The project was part of the "Fundamentals of Engineering," a first-year class at The Ohio State University at Marion.

Chris Braumiller, 20, of Marion, who was part of that group, said he decided on the engineering major because he's always been interested in figuring out how things work.

"I want to help companies improve their production," he said.

This is the second year Ohio State Marion has offered engineering classes on the regional campus, and it keeps growing.

"Marion has a strong manufacturing history," Gary Maul, professor of engineering, said. "With a lot of local companies like RobotWorx, Yutaka and Whirlpool in the area, there's a real interest in manufacturing."

Marion is the only Ohio State regional campus that has authorization to teach second-year engineering classes.

"We've got 36 new freshman this year, and we'll get 36 new students in the next semester," Maul said.

Only 24 students were admitted to last year's program.

Of those who started as freshman engineering majors last year, twelve have stayed at the OSUM campus for the second-year classes.

The hope is that next year, the program will grow to accept 72 students in fall and another 36 in the spring semester, to improve retention rates.

"This program has far exceeded our expectations," said Penny Eyster, academic adviser for engineering at Ohio State Marion.

"It has really caught fire. We're getting transfer students from community colleges and colleges like Bowling Green and Ohio Northern."

Eyster said the benefits of going to a regional campus are more individualized attention and affordability.

The university is looking to add more classes to the mix next year. That could give students the option to stay on a regional campus for three years before making the move to Ohio State's Columbus campus.

So, why engineering?

"Kids like to build things," Maul said. "There is always something to build. You have to think about how to build it and then build it. If it doesn't work, you have to figure out what went wrong, and do it again."

"It is all about problem solving. If there were no problems, we probably wouldn't exist."
Twitter: @TabithaLClark