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Service to others powers legacy Buckeye

Mary Scherer speaks to Power and Energy Society members

Keeping the lights on is a mission for Mary Scherer, and a record-breaking fundraising campaign is helping charge up her efforts.

Scherer grew up in Elyria, Ohio. Her decision to head to The Ohio State University wasn’t much of a decision at all. She’s the youngest of five Buckeyes.

“I knew when I was born that I was going to be at Ohio State following in the footsteps of my brothers and sisters,” Scherer said. “It’s definitely a family legacy. We bleed scarlet and grey.”

The fourth-year student is majoring in electrical and computer engineering. Her education has been anything but academic – in the theoretical sense of the word.

As a member of Engineers for Community Service, Scherer was part of a team that created a wheelchair accessible bike for a girl in Honduras. Scherer also spent a summer in Guatemala to help with a pre-school program sponsored by the Mayan Families Organization.

She has also worked at local food banks and has helped build wheelchair ramps for those in need.

Scherer says her volunteer work balances the ups and downs in the classroom.

“I always felt like even if I wasn’t excelling at one specific topic in class, I could still excel as an engineer who is helping the community,” she said.

Scherer’s education has been powered in part by the But for Ohio State campaign. The seven-year fundraising effort raised more than $3 billion – including $520 million for scholarships.

“A lot of them have been smaller scholarships that add up to something really, really significant,” she said. They have helped her balance her course load with the volunteer work she does.

Scherer has already worked with American Electric Power in both Gahanna and Texas. She’s planning a career in the power industry but wants to continue the work of improving lives.

“I think there is such a clear connection between keeping the lights on and helping families do what they need to do in their daily lives. That’s the industry that I want to get into after I graduate.”