Faculty-Student Wiffle Ball

Scott Kostohryz

Scott Kostohryz,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 9 April 2014 – As the year comes to a close, it was a sight to see our Department Chair, Dr. Kremer, sliding into home off a hit into left field. With the faculty out of their element today and on the field, the Mechanical Engineering professors and some students had an exciting game of Wiffle ball outside of the Convocation Center. Outside of the research, papers and assignments, the professors and students enjoyed an exciting Second Annual Mechanical Engineering Student Advisory Board Student/Faculty Wiffle Ball Game.

Through all of the bumps and bruises, it was great to see us all “out of our element” and strengthening the bond outside of the classroom. This isn’t the first thing the faculty has done with the Mechanical Engineering students but it will be a highlight for me. I don’t know of a campus where you can have this kind of interaction with professors. It was quite a thrill.

Wiffle Ball

Today was also a great day for our Senior Design team. We delivered our project to ATCO for a test run with the clients. It was excellent to see the smiles it brought to the advisors’ faces and how excited the clients were to use it. This new metal cleaning machine will replace removing ink by hand, pressure washing, and will now allow those with disabilities to be part of the cleaning. All while improving the cleaning process and allowing ATCO to clean year-round. All the hard work and energy was worth it to see one of the clients, Eathan, light up and excited to use our new machine.

ME Senior Design

Caving Trip

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 9 April 2014 – I’m sure many people wouldn’t typically associate the terms “engineer” and “outdoorsman” with one another. And in my case, many people would be spot on with that assumption; I am an engineer, but by no means am I an outdoorsman. Sure, I love being outside on a nice day or playing a little sand volleyball in the summer months, but you certainly won’t find me running a 5k or hiking up a mountainside.

As my career at Ohio University is winding down, I thought that I needed to go outside of my comfort zone a little bit. One of my roommates is an outdoor recreation major and at the end of last semester he suggested that I enroll in a caving class for the current spring semester. He had gone on one of the trips before and said that it was quite an experience, so I decided to pull the trigger and sign up.

After a quick two weeks of classes in late February to early March, myself, eight other students (my roommate included), our teaching assistant (TA) Hunter, and our professor Matt (a super cool PhD student) were in a van driving to Radford, Virginia to face a weekend worth of camping and caving. After setting up camp and spending the night on Friday, we woke up early Saturday morning and drove to our first cave, Starnes.

Starnes is a cave deep in a hillside that is located on a farmer’s property just outside of Radford. We hiked about a half-mile through the farmer’s property and then rappelled down into the cave (after first obtaining the farmer’s permission, of course). The moment I entered the cave and got out of the sunlight, I could feel the presence of the cave’s immense darkness set in. Once you get a few hundred feet into the cave, climbing over rocks and through crevices, there is absolutely zero light and only darkness.

We all wore headlamps and carried two forms of backup light as a precaution, along with lunch, water, extra batteries, extra clothes, and empty bottles in case a bathroom transaction needed to be made (you can’t just go anywhere in a cave).

The experience of climbing through these caves with this group of students I barely knew was exciting and truly enjoyable. The instructor Matt did a great job making sure that we were all comfortable and led the group so that we not only were able to explore the caves ourselves and make our own decisions about where to explore, but also so we were able to get to know one another along the way and trust one another to have each other’s backs when we needed help.

The caves were extremely wet and the terrain was a constant struggle. You had to be very conscious of every step you took. Also, there were some areas, called “squeezes,” which were extremely narrow areas where you had to crawl army-style to get to the next open area (talk about claustrophobia). There was one particular squeeze that was so tight that you had to put one arm in front of you and one arm to your side and essentially nudge your way inch-by-inch through a 15-foot passageway into the next room. If I learned anything about myself on this trip, it was that I am not claustrophobic like I thought I was!

Caving truly was an incredible experience and I am glad I was able to take on the challenge with my roommate and other students from Ohio University. I will always remember that weekend in Radford, Virginia.

Benefits of Theta Tau

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2014 – By the end of my freshman year, I had close friends I had been in class with all year. Some of them had joined an engineering fraternity and somehow convinced me to try it. Theta Tau turned out to be one of the best things I could have gotten involved in at Ohio University and Russ College.

Theta Tau is a professional engineering co-ed fraternity founded in 1904 with the Ohio University, Rho Beta chapter being established in 1988. All different majors in Russ College can join the organization and it’s a great way for different majors to meet each other and learn about different disciplines. The current exec board is composed of Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Computer Science majors.

Theta Tau

It’s also a great organization to learn from older students and seniors in Russ College. Learning leadership skills and gaining experience in organizing and communicating with others are benefits from involvement in Theta Tau. The professional fraternity is involved in community service in the Athens community, professional development activities on campus and also intramural sports.

I’m currently the chair for community service and this year we have helped at the Pawpaw Festival, supported a Good Works Friday Night Life dinner, and will be participating in the Athens B-day.

  • The Pawpaw Festival is a community event held at Lake Snowden in honor of Ohio’s state fruit, the pawpaw. Animals are not allowed to be taken in to the festival so the local Friends of the Dog Shelter dog-sit while their owners are able to walk around. We volunteered as a group, watching over and playing with the dogs.
  • Good Works puts on a Friday Night Life dinner sponsored by a different group every week. One week this winter, we cooked a chili dinner for 150 community members at Friday Night Life.
  • Athens Beatification Day is a large volunteer event organized by OU’s Student Senate which involves over 2,000 students giving back to the Athens community. Theta Tau has participated as a group the past couple of years.

Joining Theta Tau my sophomore year has given me the chance to become close friends with engineers in other disciplines, to learn from seniors in Chemical Engineering and develop some friendships I’m sure will last much longer than our time here at OU.

Theta Tau

Graduate School for Biomedical Engineering

Talli Topp

Talli Topp,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH dd Month 2014 – Thinking about graduation is becoming all more frequent and all more real. I can’t believe that it is just a few weeks away. My plan for after graduation is to continue onto graduate school and study Biomedical Engineering. Prior to starting graduate school, I have a summer internship in Maine working at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I am very excited about both my internship and attending graduate school. The two fields are very different from one another, but I feel like they will both present me with a unique challenge and keep me very engaged, so I look forward to each of them!

Making a decision between getting a job right after graduating and going straight to graduate school as a very tough decision, and one that took me a very long time to make. I went to a job interview after being accepted to graduate school, and the benefits and stability seemed so enticing. But, after thinking it over and talking with a lot of different people all with conflicting opinions, I realized that what I ultimately want to do with my life is help people. The field of Biomedical Engineering is the best avenue I can think of to do that, and graduate school is the first step in doing so. After finally making this big decision, I am very happy to have the stress of not knowing what I will be doing next year off of my shoulders!

Preparing for Summer Co-op

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 30 March 2014 – As summer gets closer and the semester comes to an end, the stress of finals and final projects builds up. At times it can seem overwhelming but by the grace of God I seem to be keeping my head above the immense pile of work I have. One of the things that helps keep me motivated is looking at the bigger picture. If I focus on the amount of work I have and the little time I have to do it I can become discouraged, but if I look past the terror of finals week I start to see the purpose behind my efforts I am much more relaxed and productive. For me, one of the lights at the end of the tunnel is my upcoming co-op.

A co-op is kind of like an internship that focuses more on hands-on experience and training in your field. They are typically longer than an internship and are always paid. This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to co-op at a company called Ariel Corporation. Ariel is the world’s largest manufacturer of separable reciprocating gas compressors. Although gas compressors are mostly dealt with by mechanical engineers, the nice thing about a computer science degree is that you are needed anywhere and everywhere. Ariel has some web services that I will be working with and possibly other areas as well. I am not entirely sure what all I will be doing, but I know that whatever I end up doing I will gain a lot of great experience and have a lot of fun doing it. (Not to mention getting paid to do it too!)

2014 Women in Aviation International Conference

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 25 March 2014 – The Ohio University chapter of Women in Aviation, International (WAI) recently returned from our trip to the annual WAI Conference. This year it was held in Orlando, Florida at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort, which was beautiful! The conference offers the opportunity to connect with professionals in the aviation industry, to attend educational sessions, and to get interviewed by companies such as major airlines and corporate flight departments. Every aviation discipline was represented, from maintenance to flight schools to research to the Federal Aviation Administration. The students who attended this year explored job options after graduation and networked with people who can mentor them and help them further their career. We met many inspiring people!

Personally, the conference offered me the chance to reconnect with pilots and recruiters who I have met at past conferences, and I made many new friends and mentors who gave me great professional advice as I prepare to graduate and begin my career. I also got several job offers through networking and by talking to the right people. We also had the chance to train in a high altitude chamber and feel the true effects of hypoxia, which is valuable training for pilots. The conference was a very rewarding and beneficial experience this year!

ASCE Ohio Valley Student Conference

Joe Cook

Joe Cook,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 March 2014 – This weekend is the Ohio Valley Student Conference, a conference where schools like Ohio State, Youngstown State, Pitt, and Ohio University compete in civil engineering based competitions.

You may have heard of the concrete canoe and steel bridge, but I’m part of a smaller regional environmental competition. Every year teams are challenged to treat a polluted sample of water that is relevant to current environmental policy issues. Competitions have included treating drinking water contaminated with manganese, hydraulic fracturing flow back water contaminated with toxic metals, and simulated storm water runoff with high levels of orthophosphate.

This year, we have been challenged to create a treatment system from materials available at any local hardware store to treat simulated flue gas desulfurization (FGD) water. The water is not actual process water, because high levels of toxic hydrogen sulfide and toxic metals are present. The goal of the treatment process is to reduce the level of calcium present in the water and, if possible, reduce conductivity of the water while maintaining an acceptable pH.

The challenge is difficult, but necessary, as the EPA may begin to impose stricter outfall permits on FGD landfills. These landfills are part of all modern coal-burning power plants and are necessary to reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide released during the combustion of coal. Chances are an environmental engineer working in the Ohio Valley region, known for its coal deposits, will work with FGD in their career. I’m excited to see all the different methods for treating this contaminant.