Faculty Spotlight: Qudsia Tahmina
With her work at The Ohio State University Marion branch, Qudsia Tahmina not only sees her role as a teacher, but a voice in the community.
An assistant professor of practice in electrical engineering, Tahmina said her passion for mathematics and physics led her to engineering at a young age.
As a teacher, she hopes to guide students toward careers where they will succeed most. She currently teaches ENG 1181, which deals with engineering fundamentals and skill development to promote teamwork, values and communication.
It’s a role that fits well for Tahmina because she values helping students learn their potential and strengths in engineering as they move forward at Ohio State.
“I’m so fortunate to be able to lead them in their pathways,” she said.
At Marion, she said, students have a unique opportunity over their main campus counterparts.
“They have better opportunities because the class sizes are small and they can get more attention. I wouldn’t say one-on-one. It’s just easier to reach out to your instructor. I spend more time with my students,” she said.
Tahmina’s own career in engineering started much like her students, which began after understanding how engineering really has the potential to advance society as a whole.
“I was passionate about it since I was in high school. I wanted to do something good in the world, to benefit people, create some applications that would help. I was actually influenced by my brothers, who were engineers at that time. So, I wanted to become an engineer and follow in their path,” she said. “I was good at math, but I realized physics was a big part of it as well. That led me into engineering.”
Her goal soon focused on electrical engineering, so she could work in project development.
Throughout her studies, she often returned to the question, “How can I impact the world and try to do something better?”
Tahmina earned her MS degree in ECE at Purdue University in 2007, and later her Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2016, before joining Ohio State.
In the city of Marion, she said, teachers feel a strong purpose to help guide new students toward STEM careers, getting them focused on their future. It is a community still rebuilding after the national recession. As faculty from Ohio State, she is trying to do her part to help.
“Every drop helps. We think we are small in the world, but the impact we have adds up,” she said. “We are trying to work with the high schools and there are so many STEM and robotic programs we are trying to collaborate with, trying to encourage our students to be more productive and be mindful of what they are doing.”
Tahmina said there are also popular “Lunch and Learn” sessions, in which members of the Ohio State Marion campus go to the high schools and give presentations about different topics or university programs.
“So, the students get to know us before they even go to the campus. Some reach out to me about programs. Some of them are interested in engineering, but what kind of engineering? What careers are available in electrical and computer engineering?” she said. “I think it is important for them to know and we are facilitating that with the faculty members.”
Tahmina is also currently working to expand the Society of Women Engineers at Ohio State onto the Marion campus.
As a young researcher, Tahmina previously focused on advancing technology to improve the lives of the hearing impaired, developing cochlear implants to clarify how they detect speech in different scenarios - such as in loud crowds, or over the telephone.
“Cochlear implants are for when the inner cells have completely died. Electrodes are inserted into the ear. That enlightens the hair cells that are completely dead. The device itself is made up of a signal processor,” she said.
Tahmina also studied algorithms associated with echo and the reflection of sound and speech perception.
“This was really interesting for me,” she said. “It also gave me more experience working with people.”