Eastern Campus Class of 2010 Honored
Ohio University’s Eastern Campus, friends and family honored graduates June 4 at the Honors and Recognition Convocation. Sixteen students earned associates degrees, while 72 were candidates for Ohio University bachelor’s degrees.
Student speaker, Cathy Cline of Woodsfield, addressed her fellow graduates followed by the keynote speaker, Beallsville native and deputy project manager of NASA’s LCROSS (Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite) Mission, John Marmie.
“This degree is a dream come true for me,” said Cline, a nontraditional student. “For years I regretted not having a degree. I felt if I had a degree I could have given my children a better life.”
“My children are grown and have moved out now, but I still feel this degree will open doors for me. Having worked hard and achieved this degree gives me more confidence in myself.”
Cline commuted from her home in Woodsfield to her job in Cambridge – about a 45 mile drive one-way. Two nights a week, she travelled from Cambridge to St. Clairsville to take evening classes – another 40 mile drive. After class, she drove about 35 miles home.
Even with a difficult commute, Cline’s advice to others thinking about going to college was simple. “Go for it! Yes, it is a lot of work and it is quite scary at first. But the end result is certainly worth it.”
Marmie helped lead the nation’s return to the moon and achieved its historic goal of confirming the presence of water in Oct. 2009. He graduated Beallsville High School in 1982, attended the Eastern Campus one year before relocating to Athens to finish his bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering and then earn his master’s degree in electrical engineering with a concentration in computational electromagnetics.
“After nearly two decades at NASA, I’ve been blessed to have worked on projects I could never have imagined when growing up in the rural foothills of the Ohio Valley,” said Marmie. “Higher education opened the doors of opportunity that guided my path.”
The LCROSS mission received world-wide attention, television coverage and has received numerous awards. During launch and impact night, Marmie provided national mission coverage on NASA TV and was interviewed by international and national news affiliates.
As an amateur song-writer, Marmie also wrote and performed the mission song, “Water on the Moon,” which played nationally on NASA TV and through the historic speakers of Kennedy Space Center after launch.
“Each person’s motivation is fueled in different ways…. My motivation was simple. Good jobs were hard to find in the Ohio Valley, mainly dominated by coal and steel. My choices consisted of working in the mines or aluminum plants, joining the military… or attending college.”
Marmie was the first in his family to attend college. He is the fourth of five children, but decided college was worth a try one day when he was cleaning the neighbor’s dairy barn. “That day, I paused and thought to myself, ‘There’s got to be something better!’”
Marmie is appreciative of his upbringing in the Ohio Valley and says that throughout life, you learn. “Farm life taught me common sense, a few engineering basics and much more,” said Marmie. “Curiosity was my playground, and I had all the farm toys and tools at my disposal. Engineering was second nature and in many cases, necessary. High school sports taught me discipline and teamwork. My family’s love of music brought out my artistic side, which to this day is my passion.”
Like Cline, Marmie says college gave him confidence. “College helped me understand why things were the way they were, taught me independence and gave me the courage and confidence to reach beyond my boundaries.”
Today, Marmie collaborates with the Lockheed-Martin Solar and Astrophysics Lab, Harvard and Stanford in Palo Alto, Ca. and serves as the assistant project manager for the Interface Region Imaging Spectograph (IRIS) Mission, set to launch out of Vandenberg, AF Base in 2010. It is a mission to understand how the solar atmosphere is energized.
Dr. Rich Greenlee, Eastern Campus dean, congratulated this year’s candidates on earning their Ohio University degrees. “Hopefully, we are sending the graduates out into the world inspired to make a difference and with more courage and confidence – just like Cathy and John -- than when they came through our doors a few years ago,” said Greenlee.