At the Ohio State University Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE) students are offered incredible resources through their coursework, research, and collaboration with other professors that sets them up for success during their undergraduate career and beyond. Senior FABE major Madison Kacica, specializing in Ecological Engineering, has taken advantage of these opportunities and it has inspired her to continue her career with Ohio State after her graduation in May.
Originally from Burton, Ohio, Madison did not begin her career in the department, but once she found her home in FABE, she knew that this was the best place for her.
"I started in environmental engineering, but I decided that I wanted to work more with the natural environment and for the natural environment," said Madison. "I started digging around and eventually found my advisor, Jay Martin, and I started working in his lab and really liked it."
During her time with the department, Madison has participated in several amazing experiences, such as going on multiple Buck-I-SERV trips and even leading as a trip leader, something that she would like to continue doing as a trip advisor as a grad student. She also helped re-establish the Ecological Engineering Society chapter at Ohio State and served as co-president, participating in potlucks, field trips, professional panels, and hiking excursions.
"I came aboard about two months after two graduate students re-established it after going to the American Ecological Engineering Society Conference last summer in Baltimore," said Madison. "It's been really rewarding, a little difficult, but we've made a lot of progress in the last year and are working on our first community project: building a rainwater harvesting model for a local garden in Columbus."
Throughout her time at the department, Madison credits some especially impactful courses and professors that enriched her love of ecological engineering and inspired her to pursue graduate school.
"The first one that comes to mind is Dr. Chris Radcliffe, who teaches FABE 3200S, which is Engineering for Community Development. It focuses on the humanitarian aspect of engineering but brings it closer to home here in Columbus," said Madison. "I'm currently taking Environmental Biophysics with Dr. Darren Drewry, and am really enjoying that. It's very challenging, but it's cool to see how all the different factors go into producing crops and plant canopies."
Outside of the classroom, Madison enjoys cooking, hanging out with her cat, decorating her apartment, and trying new restaurants around Columbus.
As a late-generation transfer student to the university, Madison has a unique perspective on the college experience and offers some valuable advice to undergraduates.
"I started college a bit later than what's typically seen," said Madison. "My advice would be to not be afraid of big changes because you're definitely capable of it. Ohio State has a great support system everywhere you look, and I've really found that here in this department."
After graduation, Madison will continue her work in the department in grad school with Dr. Jay Martin in the sustainable agriculture field.
Congratulations to Madison for a great undergraduate career with the department, and we can't wait to see what you will do in grad school and beyond!