Alumni and Donor News from the Arts and Sciences
The holidays are a time to come together across traditions and faiths to be reminded of what we are grateful for. In the College of Arts and Sciences, we celebrate the successes and support of our faculty, students, staff, alumni and friends — and offer to you our deepest appreciation and thanks.
In the past year alone, we welcomed Gretchen Ritter as Executive Dean and Vice Provost, launched new interdisciplinary majors and a certificate in diversity, equity and inclusion, celebrated research excellence and the election of our faculty as Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and piloted new programs through our Center for Career and Professional Success.
But we did not — and cannot — do this alone. We had plenty of help from our alumni and friends along the way.
In this spirit of gratitude, we have been awarded matching funds for gifts directed to the College of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean’s Innovation Fund, which allows us to meet increased demand for new programming.
What Ohio State does matters — and in today’s complex and ever-evolving global landscape, an arts and sciences education matters now more than ever.
Our very best wishes to you for a happy holiday season and joyous new year!
In this Issue
From tinkerer to scholar, Kyle DeBry’s journey to the quantum future
Kyle DeBry is a self-professed “tinkerer” — a trait that drives his passion for his engineering physics major. Raised by two biology professor parents in Cincinnati, Ohio, an academic pursuit of science is in his blood.
“My parents like to joke that I went over to the dark side, studying physics, but they’ve always supported and encouraged me,” he said.
One hallmark of Arts and Sciences students is their ability to blend the fine arts and hard sciences into an academic career, and DeBry is no different. Though he was a drum major, saxophonist and theatre enthusiast in high school, DeBry recognized at an early age that his professional pursuits would be science-based.
“I knew I wanted to get into physics in high school because I had a great teacher who helped me find an internship that allowed me to do experiments at the Fermi Lab in Chicago with a particle accelerator,” he said.
Those early experiences also helped solidify DeBry’s resolve to combine his interest in computer science with his indelible fascination with quantum mechanics. DeBry submitted his application to Ohio State alongside several scholarship applications to help defray the cost of his education.
“I knew that Ohio State was a big research school with a lot of resources in the sciences, which could help me access the tools I need learn more about quantum physics,” DeBry said.
Enter the highly regarded and competitive Angela Marie and Mary Francis Valentino Physics Academic Achievement Scholarship Award. The award fund was established in 2003 by the late Michael L. Valentino ’34. Valentino was an engineer, astronomer and physicist who consulted with NASA’s Project Mercury and Apollo space programs from 1959 to 1983.
Valentino established the fund — which provides full tuition, four-year scholarships to highly talented prospective or current undergraduate students — in 2003 in memory of his mother, Mary Francis, and his wife, Angela Marie.
Michael and Angela Marie Valentino circa 1945. Michael Valentino served in the 20th Armored Division of the Army Signal Corps and was deployed to France and Germany. Photo courtesy of the Department of Physics.
“The Valentino Scholarship allows us to attract the very best students to our undergraduate physics program,” said Department of Physics Chair Brian Winer. He notes that these students often go on to the top graduate programs around the country and compete for prominent national awards such as the Goldwater Scholarship, which DeBry received in 2018.
DeBry credits receiving the Valentino Scholarship as the catalyst for his academic career at Ohio State. He had offers from other schools and universities, but realized that with yearly tuition hovering around $35,000 to $40,000 per year, he would graduate more than $80,000 in debt. The Valentino Scholarship at Ohio State offered him the opportunity to graduate debt free.
During his time as a student, DeBry has flourished under the guidance of Professors Daniel Gauthier and Gregory Lafyatis. He credits them with being supportive and pushing him to try new things, reshape his research and think about his future career.
Currently, DeBry is working on a research project studying quantum key distribution and quantum machine learning. He has developed a way to fabricate superconducting coaxial cables for use in his laboratory’s cryostat to reduce the heat load on the coldest stage.
Kyle DeBry stands next to a disassembled low temperature cryostat for single-photon detectors. Located in the Physics Research Building, this is currently the main tool for his research. Photo courtesy of the Department of Physics.
DeBry is on track to graduate this spring and plans to get his PhD in physics. He would like to work in a university setting, or within companies and startups that intend to advance the field of quantum computing.
“There is a lot of interesting work to be done [in quantum computing] to make computers that are useful for real world problems, like simulating potential medical compounds for life-saving drugs, instead of having to test them in a lab one by one,” DeBry said.
DeBry considers the Valentino Scholarship to be pivotal to his academic career and takes every opportunity he can to pay it forward.
“Mr. Valentino’s generosity has altered my future, and so I’m interested in helping other people. I’ve recently used part of my scholarship for a course-based engineering trip to Ghana to help fix the water systems in rural towns.”
With a community of support around him both academically and philanthropically, the future is unlimited for Kyle DeBry.
2019 Arts and Sciences Scholarship Exhibition
Executive Dean and Vice Provost Gretchen Ritter welcomes attendees to the 2019 Arts and Sciences Scholarship Exhibition.
Communication students Wedly Cazy (left) and Lauren Taras (right) — both recipients of the Keith and Linda Monda International Experience Scholarship — served as the emcees for the Scholarship Exhibition.
Dean Ritter interviews psychology doctoral student Eunbin Stephanie Kim (center) and Ruchika Prakash (right), associate professor in the Department of Psychology and director of Ohio State's Center for Cognitive and Behavioral Brain Imaging (CCBBI).
Dean Ritter speaks to graduate student Sarah Jantuah-Agyeman (right). Jantuah-Agyeman received an award from the Crane Advanced Language Institute Fund to support her research in analyzing Chinese business culture.
Representatives from the School of Earth Sciences speak to Dean Ritter about the annual summer Geology Field Camp experience. Left to right: Dean Ritter, Earth sciences and geophysics student Samuel Schneider, Earth sciences alumna Julie Mansfield and Earth Sciences associate professor W. Ashley Griffith.
Attendees filled the Ideation Zone in Pomerene Hall.
Following the program, guests were treated to interactive drone demonstrations by the Ohio State Drone Club.
Attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about the hydrogeology learning lab. Audrey Sawyer, assistant professor in the School of Earth Sciences (front row, left) received funding from the National Science Foundation to study water table fluctuations and establish the lab in and near Mirror Lake.
Guests had the opportunity to engage in discussion with our talented students and faculty.
As the calendar year comes to a close, the college has the opportunity to receive funds which allow us to match gifts directed toward the College of Arts and Sciences Executive Dean’s Innovation Fund. With the pledged match, your donation will have twice the impact on our people and programs.
The deadline for charitable gifts to be eligible for tax deduction in the 2019 calendar year is Tuesday, December 31. Learn more about ways to give, or donate today.
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Get ready to ring in the “noon” year!
Dec. 31, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Longaberger Alumni House, 2200 Olentangy River Road
Robert Fieseler Reading
Jan. 10, 4 p.m.
311 Denney Hall, 164 Annie and John Glenn Avenue
SCIENCE SUNDAYS: Diagnosing Cancer with Molecular Imaging
Jan. 12, 3 to 5 p.m.
Ohio Union, U.S. Bank Conference Theater, 1739 N. High Street
Buckeye Smart — Stone Laboratory: a research and education destination like no other!
Jan. 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Fawcett Event Center, 2400 Olentangy River Road or Live stream
Food Security & Healthy Communities — Panel Discussion
Jan. 24, Noon to 1 p.m.
165 Thompson Library, 1858 Neil Avenue