Communications specialist Ryan Horns was recognized by the College of Engineering for his effort to help shine a spotlight on students and faculty research achievements, while spreading engineering education and knowledge to the public at large.
The Engineering Staff Advisory Committee awarded Horns the Outstanding Service “Above and Beyond Award” during its annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon on April 26.
Horns is in charge of the flow of research news, award coverage, and faculty and student spotlights within the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). He helps his department and the college explain innovative work to the greater Ohio State community, and beyond, with each story, photo, video and visual design he produces. Additionally, Horns holds a dual role as the communications specialist for the Institute for Materials Research at The Ohio State University.
“I have worked in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering for over 20 years and have seen my share of staff come and go,” one colleague wrote of Horns in an award recommendation letter. “With Ryan’s contributions, he is elevating the College of Engineering as a whole by making the department more accessible and interesting than ever before to students, the community, and alums and colleagues near and far.”
Horns is a seasoned storyteller with accolades that include Ohio Associated Press awards for investigative reporting, business and column writing, as well as best breaking news photography, and community service. He joined ECE in 2014 after spending more than 16 years as journalist in Ohio. In 2013, just before coming to Ohio State, Horns complemented his bachelor’s degree in English, earned at Ohio State in 2000, with an M.A. in Mass Communications and Public Relations from Kent State University.
With the award, Horns receives praise for not only his above-and-beyond effort producing engaging stories for the department and its allied centers, but for the strategic approach he takes disseminating those stories through various outlets.
He champions the work and research of his department, and collaborating departments and groups, like the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Center for Automotive Research, the ElectroScience Laboratory, the High Voltage and Power Electronics Laboratory and the Electronics Club. Horns tell stories with attention to technical accuracy and an acuteness to each topic’s human-interest aspect. He works with external news media outlets, keeping near-constant streams of content flowing on ECE social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.
“The difference in communication formats coming out of the department has been startling,” an alumnus of the College of Engineering wrote for Horns’ letter of recognition. “Not only is it leveraging every communication means possible and establishing the weekly newsletters, his use of video interviews/profiles, and how fine they are produced, adds an excellent touch. It is so refreshing to be able to collaborate with someone like Ryan when figuring out the best approaches to reach alumni.”
On top of devoting attention to ECE alumni outreach, Horns highlights the accomplishments of the department’s undergraduate students through profile stories and awards or event coverage.
Horns’ ECE communication team includes Student Public Relations Writer Lydia Freudenberg, who is set to graduate this Spring with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism.
“Ryan has a wonderful skill of taking very complex topics and making them understandable to any reader, whether they’re a first-year in ECE or a professor,” she said. “His abilities range further than writing skills though, his multimedia creations are concise and entertaining. He is always making sure every aspect of the story is included; so the reader doesn’t only enjoy his very humanistic leads and quotes, but the images that help everything tie together in a nice bow.”
Freudenberg was not surprised Horns was recognized. She has worked closely with Horns for a little more than a year now, learning from him and watching his eagerness and excitement to continually learn and tell stories about his department be only eclipsed by his unremitting work ethic.
The Engineering Staff Advisory Committee also awarded Mark Andrews, a research associate engineer at the ElectroScience Laboratory, the “Exemplary Support or Advancement of Research” Above and Beyond Award during its annual Staff Appreciation Luncheon on April 26. for his commitment to radar and radiometry research.
“Mark supports large experiments, lasting several weeks, where he must travel and manage research efforts on-site. Most recently, he spent several weeks in desolate areas of northern Canada and Greenland,” a fellow colleague wrote in his nomination letter. “This required personal commitment, and he was solely in charge of making these experiments successful, which shows both professionalism and leadership. In preparation for these experiments, Mark dedicated himself and his time to making sure everything was read, and he worked above and beyond normal job expectation to make this a success.”
Learn more about Andrews’ research efforts in this previous ECE coverage, “Measuring global ice sheets from the sky.”
The Institute for Materials Research is an interdisciplinary institute that works across colleges and departments at The Ohio State University to facilitate, promote and coordinate research and infrastructure related to the science and engineering of materials.
Story by Mike Huson, IMR Public Relations Coordinator