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Jan 13
Student Spotlight: Laine Rumreich

Laine Rumreich is only a first-year, but that hasn't stopped her from confidently navigating the opportunities the university offers.

Rumreich is from Indianapolis, Indiana and enjoys science fiction books, golf and tennis, playing clarinet, and listening to jazz. However, not only does she have a talent for sports and music; she also enjoys working with computers. Even during high school, she programmed in her free time and has been involved with the National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT).

Given her interest in programming, majoring in Computer Science Engineering was an easy choice. Rumreich added a minor in math, which she describes as a close second when it comes to professional interests. She is a member of both the national and OSU chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and she hopes to have an internship with NASA in the future. Ultimately, she will search for a career that allows her to combine her interests in cybersecurity and environmentalism.

Rumreich is also a member of the Honors Program and is living in the south campus honors residence hall, Bradley Hall. She often tries to fit the dorm's events into her schedule and also enjoys attending events on the oval. Additionally, she was recently selected as one of the two Class of 2020 representatives for the Eminence Fellows. Though balancing meetings and events with school work has been the most challenging aspect of college so far, Rumreich notes that being in the honors program has meant being in a community of students who have similarly rigorous schedules. In fact, she has even made friends with people from the program who have similar interests and are taking similar classes; they are very supportive of each other. One of her favorite memories from the program so far was a field trip she took with other honors students in September, during which the students stayed in a cabin and were not supposed to have access to Wi-Fi. The chaperone, however, did not consider that they were dealing with a clever and resourceful group of students. "I found the router in a sitting room, turned it over, and the password was taped to the bottom," admits Rumreich. "I secretly used the Wi-Fi all weekend."

Rumreich also views her experiences in her major positively. Though she is a female in a still male-dominated STEM field, this does not intimidate her. The majority of the students in her engineering classes are male, but she says this creates a stronger bond among the females in the classes. However, this does not mean she does not bond with the rest of the class. "I've found the students in engineering to be very team-oriented; we all try to support each other because we are all trying to reach the same goal," she says. She adds that the faculty has been similarly supportive.  "I've seen my engineering professor, Dr. Freuler, take the time to sit and speak with students individually, providing advice and encouragement."

Though STEM fields require a lot of time and effort, Rumreich believes it is worth it if the student is passionate about their area of study. Her advice to high school students interested in STEM—especially women, who may sometimes feel excluded from these fields—is to get involved in STEM-related classes and clubs and learn what interests them the most. "Join the robotics team, take an AP computer science and AP calculus class, and check out the National Center for Women & Information Technology website for resources and award programs," she says.

As noted before, Rumreich is also interested in promoting environmental sustainability. For two years, she was one of ten teens from across the country to serve on the Keep America Beautiful (KAB) youth advisory council, which emphasizes service learning and leadership. Rumreich's project during her first year involved reducing litter and increasing volunteerism in her community. In her second year, she incorporated her technology experience to create a computer-based program that helps track littering behaviors. As a result of her achievements, she was asked to speak at KAB's annual Vision for America event in New York City, which serves as both an important fundraiser for the organization and a ceremony to honor a company that has demonstrated commitment to environmental sustainability.

Though the idea of speaking in front of many important business executives may sound terrifying to some college students, Rumreich was able to draw on her past experiences with public speaking in order to prepare. In fact, in high school she went to nationals for speech team and the topic she spoke on was reduction of littering, so this was not her first time talking to a crowd about environmental issues.  She also notes that KAB's leadership team was helpful in going over her drafts and helping create visuals to go along with the presentation.

 In a way, Rumreich's role was to be a liaison for her generation by explaining how the initiatives of adults and the companies they run can make an impact on the youth's commitment to sustainability. Her goal was to help them feel comfortable relating to millennials. She said, "I talked about finding a way to connect to your audience, the power of role models, and I used a metaphor about honey bees to demonstrate my views because that is another environmental topic I am passionate about."

Her recommendations for simple things homeowners can do to protect the environment include using non-chemical cleaners to clean the house and avoiding the use of pesticides outside. As for college students, she encourages recycling whenever possible and reducing unnecessary printing. Of course, she is also passionate about the simple but impactful goal of reducing litter.

Since the company being honored this year was Honeywell, Rumreich got a chance to talk to the CEO, David Cote, who noted when he got up to speak that her presentation was hard to follow. When the two conversed, they discussed Rumreich's involvement with the KAB advisory council and Cote mentioned a potential internship opportunity. It wasn't all business talk, though.

"Of course, after learning during my presentation that I was from Ohio State, he talked to me a little bit about football too," Rumreich recalls. "This event was held the Monday after the Wisconsin game and there happened to be many Wisconsin fans in the audience, so quite a few jokes were made."