With a long history of generously supporting students at The Ohio State University, Stan and Sharon Joehlin are among the most steadfast donors to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
By providing four endowment funds in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering (FABE), where Stan received his BS and MS in 1960, the couple has helped transform numerous lives over the years, and will continue to do so in perpetuity.
Many of these individuals can be seen on a bulletin board in the Joehlins’ utility room, where Sharon Joehlin hangs their photos.
“I believe in these kids,” she said. “I believe in what they want to do and where they want to go.”
It began with The Stanley W. Joehlin Award in Agricultural Engineering (#643454), established in 1983 for graduate students who were considering a career in teaching engineering. The first recipient of the scholarship was Scott Shearer, who, after earning his PhD at Ohio State, went on to become a professor and chair of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at the University of Kentucky before returning to his alma mater, where he is now FABE’s department chair.
“It meant so much that a fellow agricultural engineering graduate would invest in my education,” Shearer said. “That gift inspired me to work even harder in order to ‘always pay forward’ as Woody would say.”
Nearly 20 different graduate students have received that fund between 1983 and 2020, most recently Alysa Gauci, who finished her first year in FABE after completing her undergraduate work at Auburn University.
Gauci is planning her graduate research project, which will focus on investigating yield monitoring systems on small-scale versus large-scale farming operations in relation to corn yield. She also has been working with the college’s precision agriculture team and meeting people from Ohio State University Extension (CFAES’ outreach arm), and the industry.
“The passion for agriculture is unsurpassable within the group, and the teamwork aspect is promoted in every project, no matter how small or large, which makes me beyond proud to be on the team,” Gauci said.
Gauci, of southern Alabama, enrolled at Ohio State after meeting John Fulton, PhD, at that time an associate professor of research, extension, and training at FABE.
“We had a great meeting, and before I knew it, I was flying to Columbus for a campus visit,” Gauci said. “I instantly knew that Ohio State was going to be my next home, and I was beyond excited to start this journey.”
Now a full professor, Fulton came to CFAES through The Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering Professorship Fund (#662257), which was established in 2007 by Stan Joehlin and his late wife Dolores in order to attract and retain a professor accomplished in teaching, research, and public service to FABE.
“The reality is FABE would not have been able to recruit one of the top researchers in precision agriculture, Dr. John Fulton, without this generous endowment,” Shearer said.
Fulton believes the college has made great strides in precision agriculture research and science.
“That work, in turn, benefits farmers throughout our state and beyond, through e-fields and Extension education,” Fulton said. “Thus, the generous support from the entire Joehlin family has touched agriculture in every corner of our state.”
Dolores Joehlin told Stan that something needed to be done for younger FABE students with financial needs.
This led to the family’s third endowment project to support FABE, a need-based undergraduate scholarship. Stan’s father, Homer Joehlin, was a 1927 engineering graduate of Ohio State, and this scholarship is a memorial in his honor. The Homer W. Joehlin Memorial Scholarship Endowment in Food, Agricultural, And Biological Engineering (#643454) has had 23 different recipients since 2007. Among the most recent was Tristan White, from Aurora, Ohio, who graduated in May 2020 with a BS in Agricultural Engineering and a specialty in machinery systems.
White is thankful for the help he received, as it enabled him to contribute his time and resources to extracurriculars on campus. “Additionally, it will help me finish my objective of becoming an engineer,” he said.
White served as e-commerce chair for the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), which has helped him network with faculty and classmates within FABE. He also served as treasurer of the Quarter Scale Tractor Student Design Team.
In 2016, the Joehlins established a fourth fund for FABE, inspired by Sharon’s experiences living in Somalia for two years and her subsequent passion for FABE’s study abroad program.
The Dolores A. Joehlin Memorial Scholarship Fund in Food, Agricultural, and Biological Engineering (#663490) has assisted five undergraduate students with financial aid through study abroad scholarships.
Morgan Dent, of Barberton, Ohio, was the most recent fund recipient. Dent graduated in December 2019 with a BS in FABE, a minor in humanitarian engineering, and a specialty in soil and water.
During her time as an undergraduate, she was involved in the Society of Women Engineers, completed three internships, and traveled to Ghana for a service-learning study abroad program.
“After assessing the needs of the Akumadan villagers, my team researched, designed, prototyped, then implemented a manual hand pump and water storage system at their village’s water collection site during the time spent in the country,” Dent said.
She also participated in the Tanzania Water System Capstone Project in May 2019. The project focus was on the design and implementation of a water distribution system for the rural village of Marwa.
“Thank you so very much for your support of myself and students in the college!” said Dent, also a recipient of the Homer W. Joehlin Memorial Scholarship.
Stan repeatedly says that it is a blessing and a privilege to be able to offer scholarships to the college’s promising students.
“They are the building blocks to the future,” he said.