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Honda Associates Back to Class, But This Time to Teach

Shubho Bhattacharya, associate chief engineer at Honda North America and co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, is at home at the front of a classroom.

An adjunct associate professor in the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University, he frequently gives guest lectures in mechanical, electrical, industrial and chemical engineering classes. In fact, recently Bhattacharya gave the chemical engineering seniors a look at how their studies can be applied in the auto industry.

“Guest lectures from the industry reinforce the broader learning outcomes associated with being successful practicing engineers,” said Dr. David Tomasko, associate dean for Undergraduate Education in the College of Engineering at Ohio State.  “Mr. Bhattacharya does an excellent job to engage the students in making connections between their coursework and industrial practice.”

Bhattacharya lectured a class last year attended by Drew Hickman, back when the Honda associate was an Ohio State senior in welding engineering. Now an associate engineer at Honda Engineering North America (EGA), Hickman said the experience inspired him.

“Mr. Bhattacharya’s guest lecture on manufacturing processes at Ohio State greatly connected classroom topics to real-world applications,” Hickman said. “It’s one thing to see definitions and equations on slides during a typical lecture day; it’s another to see and hear those fundamental processes in action. The guest lecture is one of the most memorable from my time at Ohio State and one I will think back to often in my career as a Honda associate. It was an overall insightful learning experience and also an inspiring example to learn from.”

Samantha Thobe, engineering staff in the Marysville Auto Plant’s (MAP) Paint Department, returned to the Ohio State campus and gave a talk to the chemical engineering class she was part of just last year. Through the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, several Honda associates have gone back to the classroom, sharing their knowledge and experience with Ohio State students to educate them and draw some of them to Honda. For example, Nichole Verwys, principal engineer in the Materials Research Division at Honda R&D Americas, has given talks to Ohio State engineering freshmen about the vehicle design and verification process in their Advanced Energy Vehicle design class. Several Ohio State alumni at Honda also have given talks and include Rachel Ratnasingham, engineering coordinator in Honda of American Mfg.’s (HAM) Packaging Department; Sally Yi, engineering staff in HAM’s Facilities Department; Kristen Vilt, engineering coordinator in HAM’s Virtual Maturation Department; and Drew Paroz, technical administrative coordinator in HAM’s NA Supply Chain Department.

“As an alumnus, it brings me great joy to collaborate with curious students,” Paroz said. “Honda-Ohio State engagements set students up to succeed wherever their careers might take them and accelerate learning cycles for Honda.”

Outside of regular classes, several Ohio State alumni at Honda including Paige Domicone, EGA Die & Mold Division engineering coordinator; Steve Kieffer, EGA NA Engineering Technical Services staff engineer; and Ryan Gaerke, Honda Transmission Mfg. of America engineering staff, have given tech talks to Ohio State student chapters of professional engineering societies. Beyond that, Ohio State students get to apply their classroom learnings to real-world problems at Honda through capstone projects.

In fact, three teams of students from the chemical engineering class Bhattacharya and Thobe recently addressed are working on capstone projects in MAP’s Paint Department. The discussion certainly gave the students another look into the industry which will help them on their projects and in their future careers.

Originally published on the Honda-Ohio State Partnership website.