Otterbein students are pushing toward establishing a state microbe for Ohio. If successful, Ohio could become just one of the few states to have an official microbe

A microbe is an organism that is invisible to the naked eye. Examples include bacteria, fungi, and algae. 

Beginning as a service-learning project for associate professor Jennifer Bennett and her microbiology class, the project, known as micrOhio, involves several student organizations and a team of interdisciplinary students and faculty.

“I think it’s really important to inform the public of microbes since they are so prevalent in your life,” said biochemistry major and president of Otterbein’s student chapter of the American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Bridget Bowman. “You’re more microbe than you are human. Even if it’s just a state microbe, it’ll still get you to start thinking about them.”


Students first had to write a persuasive paper about which microbe would best represent Ohio, focusing on microbes found or discovered in Ohio. The students then narrowed their choices to six different candidates.

Candidates were revealed on social media, and the public was encouraged to vote in the “Microbe-term” election.

Once a winner has been chosen, the project will be passed on to a team of political science students that will write the legislation for the microbe to be passed. 


Bennett said they're unsure of how long it will take for the legislation to officially be approved, but said the current timeline is ambitious.