Senior, Electrical Engineering
Athens, OH 06 March 2014 – To escape the stress of our engineering coursework, many students in the Russ College (including myself) have hobbies and other activities that we partake in outside of the classroom. For me, I am practicing musician and recording artist. For the past nine years, I have been actively involved in a Columbus-based rock band called Playing To Vapors. Consisting of my best high school friends, we fall into the alternative/progressive rock genre akin to the likes of Radiohead, Minus the Bear, and My Morning Jacket. From live performances to studio recording, we immerse ourselves in every part of the music making experience—-writing, recording and performing all original material.
As a student of both electrical engineering and audio production I am frequently asked how audio/music and electrical engineering are related. It may seem that the two are polar opposites; however, recording a professional sounding record requires a deep technical knowledge of acoustics, recording equipment and analog and digital signal processing.
A true recording engineer not only understands the qualities that make a great song but must fully understand signal-processing equipment such as equalizers and compressors to properly manage frequency balance and transient content in a recording. Many of concepts which are developed through electrical engineering courses are also important in the audio world, including gain, frequency response, sampling, bit depth, feedback, filtering, signal-to-noise ratio, and many, many more. What electrical engineering has brought to my audio background is a greater knowledge of these concepts and the ability to apply my technical know-how directly to my work as a recording artist and musician.
Junior, Civil Engineering
Athens, OH 26 February 2014 – This semester, my hydraulics lab has changed my thoughts about labs. Earlier lab classes that I have taken follow the same format: the professor writes the pre-lab and then we follow the steps without fully needing to understand what is going on.
This semester, our professor has changed the format of the lab so that we are able to design and conduct experiments. Each lab takes two weeks. The first week we are first introduced to the equipment and are able to ask the professor questions how this equipment works and what it is used to find. Then we take a week to research and write a pre-lab, which is is traded with another student who had written a pre-lab for a different experiment. Then in week two we conduct an experiment that was written by another student.
At first I did not like this new process, but after the first two weeks and getting a better clarification from our professor, this has to be one of my favorite labs. I like how we are able to create the lab by telling someone what readings to take and what those readings mean by going through a data analysis. It feels really cool to be the person telling someone what to do during an experiment for once.
This class is helpful because it is giving me a better understand of the equipment I am using by having to figure things out on my own. It is nice to have a piece of equipment and think to yourself “If I turn this knob, what effect it will have on the system?” It is neat being able to figure that out for myself instead of having a professor tell me.
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Athens, OH 25 February 2014 – Ohio University, specifically Russ College, has allowed me to reach my goals. When I graduate, I will be working for Procter & Gamble Research and Development for their Beauty department. Since my freshman year, I have always known that P&G was my dream company. The education here at OU prepared me to be successful in two internships for P&G which led to my full-time job offer.
There is also a lot of assistance here beyond the academics. I had my resumé looked at by the Russ College co-op office and even did a mock interview to prepare myself. Another important resource on OU’s campus that I used sophomore year for my job interview was the quiet rooms provided at Baker for phone and Skype interviews. This was very useful because I did not have to worry about anyone interrupting my interview or having a lot of background noise.
Now that I have already accepted my full time job offer, I am currently in the process of preparing my new apartment. This has truly been an exciting time for me. Despite living in apartments here at OU for two years, getting an apartment for my job feels more official. This process has made me realize that I am truly entering into the real world. Furniture and apartment shopping has been the highlight of the post-graduation plans.
It’s exciting to already know what I will be doing when I graduate and to reflect on the four great years I’ve had as an Ohio university student. I look forward to graduation day and receiving my diploma so I can officially call myself an Ohio University Alum.
Senior, Electrical Engineering
Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – With spring semester in full swing, our senior design group has been hard at work with our project. Our project was inspired by the increased use of hydraulic fracturing to obtain natural gas and fossil fuels in the Appalachian region of the United States. Opponents of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” believe that the process can and will lead to the contamination of groundwater.
My team was assigned with the task of designing a Remote Water Quality Monitoring Device (RWQMD). The purpose of the device is to be placed in a remote ground water well near a fracking site where it will measure a number of water quality metrics including pH, temperature and conductivity of the source. The constraints of the system are that it must generate its own self-sustaining power, collect water quality measurements and transmit that data to an offsite location. To achieve this, my team is developing a solar powered unit controlled by a central micro-controller. The device will take measurements using three connected sensors and will transmit the data using a GSM cellular communications network.
So far we have acquired our sensors, central controller unit and communications module and are currently in the software development and bench-testing phase of the project. Following spring break, we will begin working on our power system and will start assembling the device in its final packaging. The included photos show the current bench model and CAD drawings of what the final device will look like.
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – So you spend 4 years slugging it out with core classes, trying to find the best general education courses, that you’re interested in, that hopefully won’t be too demanding if your schedule is already looking rough, and getting involved with your academic community. After all this time, after the good the bad and the ugly you come up to a point where you have to make one of the biggest decisions of your life. That is where I stand this day, deciding (after 4 year of hard work) whether to get a job or go to graduate school. It seems like just a few months ago I was a freshman looking at the beginning of my collegiate career and here I am sliding down the tail end.
Many of my friends have decided to go into industry but I don’t think I’m quite done with the “good ole years”. I have my eyes set on graduate school and let me tell you, it can be an exciting and overwhelming task to find the perfect school. First I had to take those 4 years previously mentioned and wrap them up, polish them and present them on 1 piece of paper (my resumé). Then I had to search for the schools that are at the top of the field of energy engineering. Once I found the schools I narrowed them down by looking at their current research and active professors. All the while I spent studying for the GRE which is always a pleasure (Not too bad for us engineers!!). Then the biggest moment of them all comes, submitting the accumulation of your life to the schools of your choice. I sent in resumés, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and a multitude of essays. Then the waiting game begins.
Luckily for me I got into the three schools I applied to and I am currently set up to visit them. I still have Ohio University on my list of schools as well. This exploration and decision will be in chapter 2 of (What to do after my undergraduate degree).
Senior, Computer Science
Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – One of the things I love about the computer science field is that the opportunities for careers seem almost endless. In recent years, the need for computer science majors has skyrocketed. This is very good news for anyone seeking a degree in CS (and many other engineering majors) because lots of need means lots of jobs.
Although it is very nice to not have to struggle with the thought of “am I even going to get a job after I graduate,” I still have the question of “how do I make sure I don’t hate my job?” Even if you love computer science you could potentially get a job you don’t like. If your interest is in developing new software then you don’t want to get stuck as a database administrator, and if your interest is in operating systems then you may not want to get stuck developing websites. So, how do you make sure you get the job you want?
The answer to that question is a two-part answer: you need to make yourself stand out and you need to pursue your interests. Luckily Ohio University and the Russ College are dedicated to partnering with students to help make these happen.
First, OU offers free (and paid) tutoring, and extra help sessions for difficult classes to make sure you have the resources to do well in your classes. This is crucial because one great way to make yourself stand out is to have a high GPA. However, although a good GPA is almost essential, what really makes you stand out from other students is experience. That means co-ops, internships, and/or undergraduate research.
Not only do these get you experience, they also help you pursue different interests without making long term commitments. This is where the Russ College offers a lot of assistance. They get companies to visit for career fairs specific to the college of engineering and they have staff members who are devoted to helping you get the co-op or internship that you desire. Then with your high GPA and your loads of experience, you will be a shoo-in for whatever job you desire.
Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – I LOVE being an Engineering Ambassador! Last week, another Ambassador and I got the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to represent the Russ College as judges at the finals of the national Future City Competition and it was awesome!
Future City is a national project-based competition where middle schoolers imagine and design futuristic cities and present their visions through scale models, essays, presentations, and a SimCity software simulation. Their projects are then judged on everything from transportation systems to city self-sufficiency to presentation skills. There were so many incredible presentations this year!
Groups compete regionally, and if they win in their region they are invited to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Evan and I acted as general judges and as judges for a Special Award–Best Personal Transportation System–and we heard some very creative solutions! Many groups incorporated several different futuristic ideas, such as autonomous pods charged by a road made of photovoltaic cells or a moving sidewalk. Some ideas were very imaginative and it was great to see kids thinking about engineering principles at such a young age. Many of them were excited continue their engineering educations and admitted they were thinking of becoming engineers. Success!
My personal favorite part of the competition was judging the scale models that the kids made. They had to be constructed of recycled materials ans have certain features. I saw buildings made of everything from vacuum heads to old computer equipment to car parts, all spray painted or decorated to resemble futuristic cities. The creativity of these kids was incredible, and their pride in their work was very inspiring.