Meet the students: Robert Breetz sheds light at home and abroad

Posted: January 17, 2013

Electrical and computer engineering student Robert Breetz is making a difference, even while he finishes his education.  

As president of Solar Education & Outreach, a student-led engineering project team, Breetz works with his peers to bring solar-powered light where it is needed, from the city of Columbus to Haiti.

In 2012, for the second year in a row, a team of Solar Education & Outreach engineering students traveled Haiti to install solar panels and lights for a school. The group’s goal was to help provide a safe learning environment for students, even at night.

“We went down to a school in Croix-des-Bouquets, Haiti, where we installed four 240-watt panels, seven lights and two power outlets, for a school that previously had no access to electricity,” says Breetz. “What we’re aiming to do, is to provide a safe learning environment, kind of like a community center, that anybody can go to at night.”

Solar Education & Outreach also works to bring light closer to home by installing motion-activated solar lights off-campus and conducts an outreach program to introduce local school children to engineering.

Breetz is also a teaching assistant for the First-Year Engineering Program. In this role he works with first-year engineering students to help them adjust to college, the engineering program, and thinking like an engineer.

“Something Ohio State has to offer, which many other schools do not, is an impeccable First-Year Engineering program. The program is two semesters worth of classes with an end of the year design project of building either an advanced energy vehicle or a robot, depending on which program you choose,” he says. “It is rare for schools to offer a project of this caliber at all, let alone freshman year.”

Breetz’s advice to new Ohio State students is simple: Get involved!

“The College of Engineering has 30 different project teams ranging from solar to concrete canoe to EcoCAR to Baja,” says Breetz. “Employers look at these, and say “Hey, this person is interested in engineering both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, really passionate about it.’ And they definitely take that to note when looking for new interns or co-ops or even new hires. Because you are, you’re getting that hands-on engineering experience that makes you a well-rounded person. Also it’s a lot of fun!”

View ECE’s latest student video to find out more about Breetz.

For more information about Solar Education & Outreach at Ohio State, and how to get involved, visit
Category: Students