Learn more about Charlene Brenner

January Staff Spotlight Winner - Charlene Brenner

What is your official job title at Ohio State?I am the Program Director for the STEAM Factory.

What department / college / unit do you work in?STEAM is seated within the Office of Knowledge Enterprise under ERIK (Enterprise for Research, Innovation and Knowledge.

How long have you worked at OSU?It will be 10 years in June that I’ve worked at Ohio State. I’ve been with STEAM the entire time. 😊

In your own words, describe your job here at Ohio State. We at STEAM are a small but mighty organization that runs on the efforts of our two full-time staff (myself and Michael Smoley) combined with the contributions and labors of our incredible faculty and staff membership. We’ve always been a lean operation so I like to affectionately describe my role here at STEAM as the following:

  • I am a matchmaker among and across diverse academics and the greater Columbus community.
  • I am a master circus plate spinner. 😊
  • I am a doer-of-what-needs-to-be-done.
  • And I am an expert herder of cats.

 What do you love most about Ohio State? Easily the aspect I love most about Ohio State is the people that I work with across the university, the faculty, staff and students that make up of this dynamic and impactful institution. Every single day, even the difficult ones, I have been and continue to be absolutely blown away by the caliber of character, expertise, intellect, creativity, drive, and passion of the folks I’ve met and worked with across this institution.

What is your favorite memory as a staff member at Ohio State? I have been thinking and thinking about this question and honestly, it’s impossible for me to choose. In the past decade, I’ve hosted and been a participant in countless programs, research and education efforts, trainings, workshops, and more. And I’ve had the privilege of getting to connect with and learn about the work of hundreds and hundreds of faculty and staff across the university. I love learning, growing and constantly having my mind blown at least a little bit every day. I love being able to use my diverse skills in a wide variety of ways on a daily basis. I’ve always said that for me, boredom is the kiss of death. And honestly, before coming to STEAM, I’ve had “good” jobs that just weren’t able to keep me engaged. And since day one at Ohio State, that’s never been the case. Because of my role with STEAM, I continue to learn new things every day.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?Outside of work, I love spending time at home cooking, gardening and enjoying life with my super-talented wife, April, and our entire critter crew that currently consists of one dog, four indoor spoiled cat comedians, two outdoor porch ferals who have heated winter homes. We also feed the birds and neighborhood squirrels. I love taking the opportunity to get outside for my daily sanity walks around my home and work neighborhoods and I do this in any/all kinds of Columbus weather. I’ve lived in Columbus since grad school and even after all these years, I love to continue to explore this city for all the reasons: restaurants, arts and culture, nature and much, much more. I also love, love, love to travel. I’m a wanderer at heart. Not that I’m keeping count, but I’ve been to 47 states and over 30 countries and still counting. And still feels like just a drop in the bucket and that there is always so much more to do and explore ...  

What is something that most people don’t know about you?I think of myself as somewhat of an open book but I don’t think most people know about probably my least favorite job. I worked third shift (11pm to 7am) at White Castle in Cleveland between my senior year of high school and my freshman year of college. Let’s just say that I saw a lot and it was quite the experience. 😉

What is your favorite quote, TV show, movie, or book?This is a tough question because my tastes on books, shows, and movies is so constantly diverse and shifting. With all that’s happening constantly in our world and our neighborhoods, I’m finding incredibly challenging to pay attention, stay informed, watching news, etc. It just constantly feels like a barrage of bad news for so many serious and important things. So for the past few years, I’ve been finding some solace and enjoyment in watching (and sometimes re-watching) shows whose characters I find comforting and connected, safe and familiar. I need a daily dose of happy and find myself choosing shows depicting the light-hearted joys and struggles of being alive. Newer favorites include series like Grace and Frankie, Schitt’s Creek, Ted Lasso and Modern Family and older faves include Golden Girls and Frazier.  

Preferred pronouns:She/her