Ohio State names first female dean at College of Engineering

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Throughout her life, Dr. Ayanna Howard has been fascinated with science.

“I was a total science fiction nut, so anything that flew, had robots or superheroes, I was there,” said Dr. Ayanna Howard, Dean of College of Engineering at Ohio State University.

Which made it only fitting that after graduating college, she got a job working at NASA within their Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

But her career, was just starting to take off.

In a field mostly dominated by men, Dr. Howard has risen through the ranks, working as a roboticist and entrepreneur, even starting her own company called Zyrobotics in 2013.

“My very first patent, was around designing a device, that could enable children with disabilities to interact with tablets,” said Dr. Howard.

However, she found herself beginning to develop a passion for teaching.

Which eventually led her into accepting a position at Ohio State University, as the new Dean of the College of Engineering.

Making her the first woman to ever hold that title in the university’s history.

“One of the things that I know is that when you’re first, that also is an opportunity to change minds and perspectives, and to lean into that,” said Dr. Howard.

Not only that, but she is also the college’s second African American dean.

And she’s hoping to not only diversify, but also teach and inspire the next generation of inventors, here at OSU.

“What my goal is, is so that others who come behind, it’s like they don’t have the same kind of barriers,” said Dr. Howard.

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