Homecoming celebrates Honda-ISE’s enduring bond

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Honda and the Ohio State Integrated Systems Engineering Department have long shared a collaborative partnership – from scholarships to internships, mentorships and friendships. The relationship has launched countless careers and built long-standing alliances, so it only seemed natural for the Department to host a homecoming reunion to bring together ISE alumni who work at Honda, as well as current students and faculty members. 

ISE alumni and current Honda employees joined students and faculty for a homecoming reunion to share stories of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership
ISE alumni and current Honda employees joined students and faculty for a homecoming reunion at Baker Systems Nov. 3 touring the Spine Research Institute, the robotics lab and sharing stories of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership. 

Almost 40 attendees – all with connections to Honda – gathered at Baker Systems Nov. 3 for lunch, networking and story-sharing, along with tours of the Spine Research Institute (SRI) and the robotics lab – both of which have direct ties to Honda. The robotics lab has received two grants from Honda and SRI Director and ISE Professor William Marras is the Honda Chair in the ISE Department.  

ISE Department Chair and Professor Farhang Pourboghrat says, “The event is a testament to the success of the ISE program in educating amazing engineers employed by a company known for its innovation. The long history of the ISE faculty collaborating with Honda engineers has been based on supporting innovative ideas and finding solutions to complex problems. The ISE faculty and students look forward to their continued collaboration with Honda in the foreseeable future.” 

The idea for the event was the brainchild of Honda’s Shubho Bhattacharya, co-director of the Honda-Ohio State Partnership, an adjunct associate professor in the ISE Department and member of its External Advisory Board. He says it was a chance for former students and professors to reconnect as well as new relationships to develop. “ISE is one of the top three hiring majors at Honda,” he says. “It is a very important major because of the diversity of ISE roles and positions at automotive design and manufacturing companies like Honda. The ISE curriculum’s manufacturing track is crucial to Honda as well as the regional economy because of the huge supply chain based in Ohio.” 

Rachel Ratnasingham, ISE ’16, recalls her first meeting with Honda during the Fall 2015 Ohio State Engineering Career Fair. She began working at Honda full time soon after graduating. Now a project lead for Honda’s Supply Chain Management Business Unit, she says, “The homecoming event was an important way to reconnect with fellow Ohio State ISE alumni, as well as faculty members. I have enjoyed interacting with current ISE students and I am always impressed with the passion they demonstrate.” 

She says one of her favorite experiences at Honda has been the opportunity to give a talk to the ISE Freshman Engineering Survey class “and share how I use ISE skills in my day-to-day job. 

“I enjoy being able to demonstrate a real-world application of what I learned during my time at Ohio State. It is encouraging to see the excitement and curiosity in these young students as they prepare to start their journey within ISE. I remember how I felt in their same seats years ago, and I am really looking forward to seeing the exciting innovations this generation will bring.” 

Lathania Escobar Soto, ISE BS’25, ISE MS ’26, is one of the beneficiaries of these interactions with Honda. A two-time Honda Dreams Scholarship recipient, Soto job shadowed Ratnasingham at Honda’s Marysville Automobile Plant last spring. “Not only was I exposed to Rachel’s team, but I was able to explore many other possible areas where ISE skills could be applied,” says Soto. 

This summer, Soto will be taking part in a co-op term with Honda’s Supply Chain Management Packaging team, and says she is appreciative of the support she has received from Ratnasingham and Bhattacharya, and events like the homecoming. 

“As an ISE student, I was able to further connect with people who work at Honda,” Soto says. “It was interesting to hear about their roles at the company, their educational and professional backgrounds, and any other insights they had to offer. It also allowed them to see what Ohio State students and research labs had to offer.” 

Bhattacharya says the homecoming offered a chance to see collaborations between Honda and ISE that are currently taking place as well as a chance for Honda employees to continue mentoring students and to submit capstone projects. He hopes events like this one will continue to renew relationships and forge new ones. 

For Ratnasingham, it’s beneficial to see how her alma mater continues to innovate. “Since I graduated, it is exciting to see and learn about how the ISE Department at Ohio State has continued to grow and implement many new developments, including the Spine Research Institute,” she says. “This research outlines improvements for the user’s ergonomic work environment, which ties well with Honda’s value of promoting the associates’ wellbeing. Through events like this homecoming that foster connections and build relationships, I am eager to see how we can continue to develop this strong partnership between Honda and Ohio State.” 

 

Story by Nancy Richison

Categories: AlumniStudent