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Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering


CFAES & FABE 2021 Distinguished Seniors

April 22, 2021
CFAES Distinguished Seniors (L-R) Jacob Lesch, Clare Sollars, Chris Baird, Rachel Leitson

Earlier this semester, four FABE students were recognized with the CFAES Distinguished Senior Award. In addition, five FABE students were recognized at the department level with a FABE Distinguished Senior Award. The Distinguished Senior Award honors academic, disciplinary, and professional excellence in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES). It is the most prestigious undergraduate award in CFAES, recognizing our top graduating seniors each year from each of the academic units on the Columbus campus. The selected students’ accomplishments and activities have benefited their communities, their academic unit, the college, the university, and/or their future profession.

2020 CFAES & FABE Distinguished Seniors: 

Chris BairdChris Baird
Chris is a two-time Newcomb Scholar and Sesquicentennial Scholar, recognizing his commitment to academics and 4.0 GPA. While maintaining his commitment to academics, Chris has served in two leadership roles in the ASM club. He is also a member of the Crops and Soils Club and Ohio State honoraries Bucket and Dipper and Romophos. Chris has volunteered with several local organizations and as a part of a Buck-I-Serv experience. Still, he has also had time to participate in an education abroad trip, work as a student assistant at Waterman and complete two internships. 

Rachel LeitsonRachel Leitson
Though she came to Ohio State with the idea of being an engineer, Rachel found a community within the CSM program. She has served as a teaching assistant for electrical and lighting systems, helping many through the course material. She also served as secretary for the CSM Club, represented Ohio State at the 2019 Associated Schools of Construction Student Competition, and completed three internships. Rachel has also served as an advocate for women in construction through her participation in programs such as AWARES, NAWIC, and SWE. 

Jacob LeschJacob Lesch
During his time at Ohio State, Jacob has been an active face in the ASM program. He has served in many leadership positions in the ASM club, leading to his role as President for the organization where he worked to create a need-based student scholarship supported by the club and lead diversity and inclusion efforts within the club and major. He has also worked as a research assistant in the department for the past four years. When not on campus, Jacob could be found working back at the family operation or hard at work on his own cover crop business. 

Clare SollarsClare Sollars
From growing up on a grain farm in southern Ohio, Clare knew she wanted to pursue a career to impact the world’s food supply. She enrolled in FABE to pursue food engineering and started her first year in the CFAES learning community. She has held several leadership roles in the Ohio State ASABE club, participated in the AWARES program, and served as a mentor in the FABE Mentorship program. After taking a course in food packaging that led to a co-op experience with Abbott Nutrition, she has held four different positions at Abbott from summer internships to part time researcher roles.

2020 FABE Distinguished Seniors: 

Brent BallBrent Ball
In the words of his nominator, Phil Sutton, “Brent's attitude, work ethic, and drive are unsurpassed in this year's senior class.” Between his military experience and early entry into the construction industry before pursuing his degree, Brent was a natural mentor for his fellow students. He has served as a CFAES Peer Mentor and in leadership roles in both the CSM Club and FarmHouse. Brent has also participated in the Ohio State quarter scale tractor team, student construction competitions, and held three internships. 


Dana DosenDana Dosen
Dana’s passion for the environment led her to specialize in ecological engineering. She has been involved in several student and service organizations such as Buckeye Catholic, Crosswalk Outreach, and the Green Engineering Scholars. Combining her interests in humanitarian efforts and sustainable engineering, Dana participated in an engineering-service trip to Ghana. She also works as a student research assistant in the Kalcic Watershed Research Lab assisting in their work as a part of the Great Lakes Research Initiative. 


Alex KutzAlexander Kutz
Alex came to Ohio State with a minimal background in agriculture but with a determination to excel in the field. He certainly has, given his role as a research assistant with the Ohio State Digital Ag team, assisting with the completion of the 2018 and 2019 eFields reports. Alex has also served in leadership roles in the ASM Club and Ohio State ASABE Chapter. He has also been involved in the Ohio State quarter scale tractor team and volunteered with Ohio AgrAbility. 


Emily McDonelEmily McDonel
Emily has wanted to be an engineer from a young age. She has paved the way for fellow women in engineering through her multiple leadership roles in the Society of Women Engineers. Early in her academic career, she joined the Andre Palmer Artificial Blood Research Lab. Her hard work led to her publication as the lead author in ACS Applied Nano Materials. Recently, her research led to her receiving third place in the “Innovation in Medical Treatment” category at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.


Kaleb SenterKaleb Senter
Kaleb began his Ohio State career at Ohio State Newark where he knew he wanted to study construction systems management. After coming to main campus, Kaleb became heavily involved in the CSM program, including the CSM club, CSM Industry Advisory Council events and mentoring programs, and events with the national association of women in construction. Kaleb dedicates his honor to Don Schafer, a CSM instructor who passed away in early 2020. Kaleb credits Don for having a huge influence on his career and for welcoming him and encouraging him to get involved early on in the program.