Dedicated to Research: Dominic Labanowski
More than 100 electrical and computer engineering undergraduate students will be among the 10,400 who will earn degrees – the largest spring quarter graduating class ever – during the final quarter commencement exercises at Ohio State on Sunday, June 10, 2012. Some ECE graduates will continue their education, while others will enter the workforce. Each of these students has a unique story; join us as we highlight a few of them over the next week.
By any measure, ECE undergraduate Dominic Labanowski is a stellar student and researcher. Since the end of his freshman year, Labanowski has been conducting research with Chris Hammel, professor of physics, in the field of spintronics. He placed first in the math and physical sciences category of the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum in 2010 and was named a 2011 Goldwater Scholar, the most prestigious national award for undergraduate researchers in science, math and engineering. He also had a paper published in the Journal of Applied Physics.
“I learned more in the lab than I ever could have in the classroom, and I think my time doing research at Ohio State has prepared me for graduate school and a future in research beyond that,” says Labanowski.
His challenge wasn’t deciding to become an engineer, but rather which engineering specialty to choose.
“I knew I wanted to be an engineer from an early age – tinkering with all sorts of devices has been a pastime of mine for as long as I remember,” he explains. “When it came time to choose an engineering specialty coming into college, I had a relatively difficult time finally settling on a specific type. In the end, I chose electrical engineering as it offered me the most options in terms of specializing within the degree and what I could do after graduation.”
What makes his success even more amazing, is that Labanowski finished his degree requirements on time, including his research thesis, all while undergoing chemo during the past two quarters.
“Essentially, thanks to some very flexible and understanding professors, and my previously made plans to keep a very light senior spring, chemo did not affect me academically as much as it would have during any other point in my academic career, and as a result I was able to finish everything and graduate on time,” he says.
Following graduation, Labanowski plans to go to the University of California, Berkeley to obtain a PhD in electrical engineering, specializing in solid state devices and semiconductor physics. Long term, he hopes to work in industry before eventually becoming a professor.