COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As the first Black woman to lead Ohio State University’s College of Engineering, Dr. Ayanna Howard is paving the way for more women of color in her field.

It’s been nearly a year since she became the dean at OSU’s College of Engineering, but she said that accomplishment alone isn’t enough, and wants to see more women of color in engineering.

“I see it as an opportunity, and one of the things, I take it as a challenge, is I lean into that,” Howard said.

Throughout her life, Howard has gone from working at NASA, to leading robotics programs at Georgia Tech, and even founding her own robotics company.

Her passion now lies in teaching and inspiring young girls and underrepresented minorities in Columbus.

“If you are underrepresented, especially Black female intersectionality, you might have straight A’s in math and science, but you do not see yourself as an engineer or computer science,” Howard said.

Howard added that this is why she is working to change through the school’s Bachelor Science and Engineering Technology program.

OSU’s undergraduate enrollment featured nearly 23 percent female engineering students, with nearly 10 percent being underrepresented minorities.

Howard said that’s just the beginning and wants to see those numbers increase during her tenure.

“One of the nice things is that the faculty, staff, and students and alums are excited about this new growth and all the things that are coming in the future,” she said.

While Howard may be a first of Ohio State University, she is far from alone. There are more than 80 women leading engineering colleges, schools, or programs across the United States.