The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Special Report But for Ohio State Campaign

Realizing a father’s vision

‘Every class I’ve taken at Ohio State has been so rewarding.’ — Senior Mary Scherer

Mary Scherer

Mary Scherer has known Ohio State’s Columbus campus her whole life. Some people, it seems, are just born to be Buckeyes, and count Scherer among those lucky souls.

As a baby, Scherer was toted to Ohio Stadium more than two decades ago to see her oldest brother graduate. It is her turn this May, when her family will see her cross the finish line on a course her late father laid out for all five of his kids. All are Ohio State graduates, and four graduated in electrical engineering as he wished.

“My father said we could do whatever we wanted in life … just as long as we got a degree in electrical engineering from Ohio State,” she said, laughing.

“With a background in electrical engineering, he figured we could do whatever we wanted, and it wouldn’t hurt to have that in our back pocket.”

Scherer credits her older siblings for helping ease her transition at Ohio State. For instance, it’s less daunting to be one of the few women in an engineering class when your older sister has been there, done that.

“It was definitely huge having a support system when you are a minority in the classroom,” Scherer said. “I think it was actually harder for my sister because she didn’t have a sister to lean on.”

While Scherer has followed the family path, she has made the journey uniquely hers through a mix of experiences outside the classroom. She is heavily involved in Engineers for Community Service, a student group that builds wheelchair ramps for those in need, and several other extracurricular activities related to engineering. Scherer is proud that all 18 home ramps the group has built in the past 11 years are still functioning. “It is definitely rewarding to know that all of the structures are still being used,” she said.

One of the top students in electrical engineering, Scherer has earned several scholarships — enough to graduate debt-free — including one from the Raymond Q. Armington Fund, established in 2014.

At this point, she isn’t sure whether she will accept a recent job offer or go to graduate school. What she does know is that she’ll be thinking about her father when she accepts her diploma. He died of cancer before she embarked on her Ohio State experience.