OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

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Standing above in the classroom

Published Date: 
Monday, March 17, 2014

Ruth Hamblin is often the tallest one in a crowd. At 6-foot-6, the Oregon State University sophomore from Houston, British Columbia, and center for the women’s basketball team is tall even for a player.

But more than physical stature, Hamblin stands above in the classroom. The pre-mechanical engineering student knows what it takes to meet the demands of one of the more challenging disciplines on campus and a grueling practice schedule. She knows what it’s like to squeeze in homework between away games and weekend stays in hotels.

Teammates credit her maturity and coaches laud her dedication. “Her work ethic is second to none,” Head Coach Scott Rueck said in a recent article in Fullcourt.com “She is in the gym every day; she's an incredibly driven and motivated individual."

Hamblin is equally serious about her choices off the court. She wanted a degree that brought together science and innovation.

“I’ve always liked the sciences and creativity at the same time,” she said. “Once I found out about engineering, I thought that it could be a way to combine the two.”

Hamblin admits that she’s had to educate people about what engineering is all about. 

“One person thought I was going to be a train driver,” she said. “I think people can see engineering as some mythical profession. But engineering is everywhere. Basically all the things we use in everyday life have been engineered.”

Although she’s only two years into the program, Hamblin has gained exposure to the engineering profession with courses such as Statics and Strength of Materials. By scheduling her time well (even down to half-hour increments) and staying motivated and focused on her coursework, she’s proven to be an outstanding student.

“Ruth is one of the top performers in the class,” said Rawley Greene, Hamblin’s Strength of Materials instructor. “She completes assignments on time, stays on track, and demonstrates interest and understanding of structural materials behavior.”

Hamblin says part of her success comes from hard work, something she’s very used to. She grew up on a ranch, where she raised cattle, rode horses, and showed animals for 4-H. She was often up by 5 a.m. helping with ranch chores. Likewise with school, Hamblin isn’t afraid of putting in long hours.  

“I’m one of the hard workers. I take the time to read about something and then think a lot about it. That’s probably what has led to my success,” she said.

With the team rounding out one of the best records in program history (23-10) and their recent selection into the NCAA Tournament, Hamblin will stay busy this spring. She’s also looking forward to her next two years at Oregon State and beyond. Getting into professional school and landing an engineering job in agriculture or a cutting-edge field such as nanotechnology are two of her goals.

For Hamblin, Oregon State has become a home away from home — a place where she’s grown as an athlete and student.

“I love Oregon State. The students and faculty are such a community,” she said. “A lot of my classmates don’t even know I’m an athlete, so I get the feeling of what it’s like to just be an Oregon State student. If I had to go back in time, I would pick Oregon State still. It’s home here.”

— Abby P. Metzger