2nd Year in Review

Over the course of my second year at Ohio State, I was admitted into one of the most rigorous and competitive programs at OSU, Mechanical Engineering. Many of the highlights of the academic school year came from the satisfaction of successfully completing my academic projects to a very high level.

The most notable project was the Mechanical Engineering Design Arduino Prototype: LCD Display Car Backup Sensor System, in which I used electromechanical techniques to design and build complex circuitry and further create a SolidWorks assembly. I programmed Arduino code to have the components run together, intercommunicate to store, relay and send data.

The second project was to manufacturing and machining a compressed air motor component in ME 2900 introduction to design in ME. Although I began this project while school was in session, the lab was cut short due to the pandemic. I have been given the opportunity to complete it when we return to class in the fall, which I intend to do. I have worked with putting together to manufacture an assembly of a cylinder block, piston and mounting plate with precision to 0.001 inch. This project was fascinating since I was able to gain hands-on machine shop experience and follow industry standard safety protocol with precision measuring tools.

Lastly was the Finite Element Method (FEM) Project where I explored isotropic linear elastic stress concentration in a notched surface to study the effects of various loadings. I was able to study integrated stress and strain analysis quantitatively through experimental, analytical and numerical procedures (utilizing SolidWorks).

These projects all came together to strengthen my academic growth in engineering and provided an exciting insight into the opportunities Mechanical Engineering has for me in the future.

G.O.A.L.S. #3

Past Projects | Ohio State University Club Gymnastics

An aspect of the GOALS criteria for the honors and scholars center I have recently expanded upon has been the Leadership Development portion with my recent application to be the co-president of the OSU Club Gymnastics team. This allowed for a strong reflection of bringing together some of the most notable aspects of my past leadership experience and how it has translated into an intense desire to take initiative moving forward, pushing myself into future opportunities.

I have the incredibly strong portfolio of expertise that is required to lead our club gymnastics team. In a multidimensional fashion, I combine my countless experiences leadership positions in order to complete the objectives required of me and surpass expectations. I am proud to say that I continuously demonstrate leadership qualities, emphasize meaningful teamwork and promote commitment and grit. Academically, socially, and in the gym, I strive to be self-motivated to overcome challenges when necessary, and at the same time, excel when working with others. This stems from my desire to be inclusive to all, and not be afraid to ask for help or gather input from others.

Foundational principles to operating a successful club are to be responsible, consistent and clear. All of these are qualities of mine that are illuminated by my ability to be personable with anyone, and make sure everyone has a voice and feels comfortable. In and out of the gym, I have learned the importance of balancing both team and individual objectives. To illustrate this, I stepped into a leadership role when asked by our gym director to expand my depth and apply my knowledge of gymnastics as a coach for our younger gymnasts. I have always focused on being a role model to those I train with and coach.

On another note, as co-president of the Souhegan High School Ethics Forum, I coordinated our student-led leadership organization which was devoted to contributing to our local community through authentic learning. I organized and oversaw the annual Hosting Young Philosophy Enthusiasts “HYPE” conference with 1000+ students from all over the region.

Over the last several years with the club, I am grateful to have been a first-hand witness to the life changing experiences that we all get to be a part of together on this team. I believe I can elevate the club to a level that no one has ever seen, bring people together from all over the country, and make such a large community of buckeyes feel like close family on club gym; to do it For the Love of the Sport.


I am pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from The Ohio State University based on its wide scope of engineering applications and the focus that engineering has in developing a strong, grit-filled mindset of problem solving. From reading the newspaper sports page on the drive to elementary school, infusing my mind with numbers and stats, to excelling in classes that are goal-oriented and academically challenging, I want to expand the depth of my understanding of how things work. Reinforcing this motivation, I have seen my close friend’s parents, both with mechanical engineering degrees, succeed in the workforce in the field of engineering. This was inspiring to see how mechanical engineering advanced their success in future opportunities.

I envision myself working in an engineering technical field, applying my skillset in a position supporting the ever-growing market of new technology. I have found a recent interest in the automotive industry and am eager to further strengthen my passion and related skills as a Humanitarian Engineering Scholar to compliment my future endeavors. After completing several academic projects, including an Arduino prototype, a FEM analysis, and partaking in a precision machining lab, I have thoroughly enjoyed my latest academic engineering applications, and have an amplified ambition to pursue this kind of learning in the engineering industry.

1st Year in Review

The two foundational elements of my childhood came together in conjunction in the search for the right university. One of the aspects was rooted in the 10,000 hours that I had committed to gymnastics through the first 18 years of my life. I knew I must continue this adventure into and through college and Ohio State had the perfect fit for me with the Club Gymnastics Team. Using this as a platform for my future goals, I continued to utilize Club Gymnastics as a means to further my gymnastics goals to push my body to its absolute limit and achieve incredible physical feats.

The other element to my commitment to excellence was training my mind in challenging concepts of interest in the field of engineering. Athletics combined with engineering is a rare, yet impressive portfolio of accomplishments which continues to motivate my endeavors in the School of Engineering at Ohio State. With unlimited resources academically for success, this distinguished resume pursuit between engineering and gymnastics paved the ideal path for me to follow my dreams at Ohio State, and so far, I have only been able to flourish.

Spring semester of 2019, the most notable of my experiences was with the club gymnastics at Nationals in Daytona Beach, FL. Known as the most important competition in the NAIGC, nationals brings together the best of Club Gymnastics to meet and demonstrate each and everyone’s skills in an competition where individuals compete for their own titles as well as each individual score combining with the other to create a team competition at the same time. After a rough start on the pommel horse it knocked me out of contention for all around finals, despite completing the rest of the competition day 1 flawlessly. This transitioned my focus of day 2 into being for team 100%. After contributing on 5 of the 6 events in perfect style, it lead the Ohio State Mens Gymnastics Club Team to a National Championship in the community division. This was a meaningful reminder that even if not everything worked out individually, there was the team aspect that brought our team to form unbreakable bonds and win championships. I will continue my pursuit to gymnastics perfection at the next National competition, using my immeasurable experiences from last year to put my best performance forward in the individual and team competitions. Contributing as an effective and meaningful teammate has been one of the most prideful accomplishments to have focused on at my time at OSU.

G.O.A.L.S. #2

On Sunday, November 25th, including myself with a couple other members of Humanitarian Engineering Scholars, we went to Cazuelas Mexican Restaurant and Cantina for our second Columbus to-do list objective. It was located north of campus in an interesting location, near where I had found my haircut place to be. The setup inside Cazuelas was unique in the sense that it was built inside a house/large apartment that had been transformed into a restaurant with a kitchen in the back of the house. They had large tv’s setup throughout the restaurant and they optimized the space inside for lots of seating which worked out well for watching the football games and serving many people. Also, in the front side of the house, they had a patio, bar setup on the front yard with coverage above. It was fascinating to see the transformation from a house to a restaurant. Overall, the food tasted very good and the service was quick. I would recommend it to a friend and the price to food ratio was very generous so I would be inclined to go back as well.

Artifact #2

The 1st year, autumn semester, my life has been the most busy and constantly demanding as it has ever been. Yet, understanding the circumstances, I still chose to involve myself heavily in club gymnastics. Recently, I had traveled to Virginia Tech for the first time to compete in my first NAIGC gymnastics meet. Despite going into the competition with a relaxed attitude, once I got into my routines on each of the six men’s gymnastics events, adrenaline was firing and I was extremely motivated to put it all out there. My work had payed off, capitalizing on a 2nd place floor exercise finish as well as taking the gold on parallel bars. However, these strong accomplishments were not what I wanted to choose as my artifact/experience. I am choosing the 3rd place all around finish to model it. It celebrates my early successes in college club gymnastics but furthermore sparks a reignited flame for the future to continue to push myself mentally and physically for what the future has in store.



Since the beginning of Humanitarian Engineering Scholars and the introduction of the Columbus To Do list, I have been eagerly anticipating exploring outside of campus, seeing what else the city of Columbus has to offer. My first exposure to this was going to the Short North and exploring the first time around with my peer mentor and our small scholars group. The next adventure was the inevitable feat to finding the best place for a haircut near campus. A found the Mug and Brush to be rated as one of the top 10 barbers in Columbus. In addition to going out to dinner at the number 1 rated restaurant in Columbus while my father was visiting, I continued to carry on my adventures with my peer group for Humanitarian Engineering Scholars by going to Kafe Kerouac this past Tuesday. The section of Columbus was north of campus on high street in a part of Columbus called Old North Columbus, near where I had gotten my haircut previously.

The experience at Kafe Kerouac was very pleasant. Exploring the inside of the cafe, there were two main parts of the cafe, one with several table, a bar setup and lots and lots of books, magazines and other literature. The other room was filled with a small stage which I would imagine attracts ranges of attention when there are performers, as well as what several students were using at a quiet study and work space. It was a very nice atmosphere overall and the muffins were very good. I thought that it was interesting that the theme of the cafe was that of a couple decades ago. On future assignments, however, next time, as long as the group is available, it is highly recommended to finish and plan out the trip to where we decide to go as a group ahead of time. In terms of Kafe Kerouac as a whole, I would recommend the cafe to a friend and I would go back to try their hot chocolate as a friend got one when they went last time and explained how it is definitely worth it.


Artifact #1

As long as I can remember, gymnastics has been arguably the most prevalent aspect of my life consistently for years. Especially over the past few, it has contributed to many factors that I believe  have transformed me into the person I am today. This specific artifact I am highlighting is one of the most important skills taught and perfected by gymnasts throughout the rigorous training. The idea of a handstand can be translated to possess many different significant metaphors connected to my ideology. The literal blood, sweat and tears that have been put into the grit filled practices and competitions, working 24 hours a week in high school have truly built me, helping me across the board. Overall, in addition to the handstand, a difficult, goal-based feat, most definitely, I have applied the attributes I learned from my time at gymnastics in high school to foster my future success.

About Me


My name is Zachary Dancoes and I am a first year student at The Ohio State University pursuing a mechanical engineering degree and an economics minor. I am on the Club Gymnastics team and I have been training for 14 years and competing for 12 years. My ultimate gymnastics goal is to walk-on within the next couple years and make the NCAA Men’s Gymnastics Team at Ohio State and compete at least one event for the team at one of the competitions during the year. My passions stem outside the classroom but I also thoroughly enjoy learning compelling material inside the classroom. Not only does the topic of economics interest me, but engineering as a whole, embodies the idea of developing a certain type of mindset, an ideal model for generating success in the future. I uphold a engaged role with my commitment to the Humanitarian Engineering Scholars program and am eager to further advance my engineering education and my academic career at Ohio State and beyond. I am looking to become involved in engineering internship opportunities and co-ops to increase my exposure and experience in the field of engineering. I expect to maximize my productivity throughout my college career and potentially study abroad if I get the opportunity. I plan to keep my future options open and am trying to learn as much as I can through my college experience.

After taking the Strengths Finder Assessment, there were 5 strengths that were highlighted that best reflect myself, who I am and where I excel. My greatest strength was Achiever, followed by Analytical, Futuristic, Discipline and Competition. I am able to explicitly see and dissect how each of these strengths are evident in my life. As an achiever, I use this motive as a means to mark my progress and growth with the feats I complete. The lens I see through is with the eyes of motivation rooted in achievement and accomplishment. The next theme and strength of being analytical is derived from the way I think, especially as an engineer. Throughout my interactions with other people, I like when others (including myself) support their claims with substantial, convincing evidence. The following strength is how I value and apply the idea of being futuristic. This way of thinking stems from my dreams for living in the future and how I can be successful with all that I do. The strength of Discipline heavily resonates with me and how I conduct myself in the sense that it is one of the most powerful traits that can be positively implemented to help many people. I have found enacting this throughout my childhood and focus to continue to use it in the future. The last strength that was connected to my by means of the CliftonStrengths Assessment is competition. I have found that a lot of my life has been based around the idea of positive and supportive competition, catalyzing the pursuit of greater success constantly striving to better myself and support the people around me.