Category Archives: Archive – February 2012

STEMFest 2012

Abby Frankart

Abby Frankart, Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 29 February 2012 – This past weekend I traveled to Newark, Ohio with several other senior engineering students to participate in STEMFest. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. STEMFest is a series of competitive events in which middle and high school students compete. I participated by judging for the airfoil competition.
The competition was sponsored by Boeing and Goodrich. They made a wind tunnel with speeds ranging from 10 to 15 mph. The competition was based on the performance of the airfoil (greatest lift/drag ratio) and presentation skills. Each competitor had a PowerPoint presentation of their design process and anticipated results.

It was a really great experience to talk with these students and watch their design process. Other competitions included a water filtration competition and a toothpick bridge competition. All of the students really impressed me with their designs.

End-of-Quarter Time Management

Bradley Lang

Bradley Lang, Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 29 February 2012 – It is two weeks before finals and the most important part about engineering is time management. All the time the last couple of weeks before finals the teacher gives everybody a final project that ties everything that was learned over the quarter and puts it all together to see if you have learned anything. In my classes I have two huge projects that I am currently working on. One is dimensional metrology using all of the calculations that we have learned over the quarter. In another class my group is putting together a prototype of our nightstand that we have designed in my senior design class. We are checking our design concepts to see if this product is actually able to make in production run. So we are actually having to look forward into the future and try to predict what will make our production run smoother and achievable next quarter.

Finding Time for Video Games

David Parisi

David Parisi, Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 February 2012 – Video games and engineering seem to go hand in hand, however the engineering workload can be very time consuming. Last week I had three midterms and the week before I had another one. All of the studying can take away from playing time intensive video games such as Skyrim. I was forced to set down my controller and take some time to study. It was worth it because I have done well on the ones that I’ve gotten back. I have rewarded myself already with a few hours of Skyrim and almost making it to level 70.

Even though engineering can be a difficult major, many of the engineers that I know make time to play a good amount of video games, ranging from first person shooters (Call of Duty and Battlefield 3) to MMORPGs. First person shooters usually win out because they do not take as much time to play as other video games do. I have always been more of a fan of any kind of RPG and still do my best to keep playing them in the few weeks of school that have a lighter workload. Being an engineer doesn’t mean that you have to stop playing video games, you just need to improve your time management skills.

Wish me luck on hitting the level cap.

End-of-Quarter Crunch Time

Leesha Blake

Leesha Blake, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 27 February 2012 – The end of the quarter is getting closer, so now things are getting into crunch time in engineering. I’m going to have a busy two weeks, but I’m hoping to have some fun as well. I have a few reports to finish up for various classes, like unit operations and design. Luckily, a couple of my reports should be fairly easy to write.

One of the reports that I will be writing is actually pretty interesting. In my unit operations class, we perform 4 different experiments, and use the data that we collect to develop relationships and equations that define the systems that we worked with. Then, for the final report for the class, each person in a unit ops group focuses on a different lab that was done during the quarter and uses the equations and relationships that were developed to design an industrial size system. This sounds pretty intimidating at first, and I’ll admit it can get frustrating at times, but overall it’s actually pretty fun because at the end you have this system that you designed yourself. It really gives a sense of accomplishment to look at what you were able to design by bringing together what you have learned in various engineering classes. The professors are also very helpful if you run into problems while you are trying to design your system. They want you to succeed, so they do everything they can to help you understand your system and find the best way to design it (short of writing the report for you anyway).

Awesomeness of CS Projects

Annye Driscoll

Annye Driscoll,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 26 February 2012 – It seems to me that the further I get into earning my degree, the more awesome the lessons get and, particularly, the more awesome the projects get. We started out with simple input/output projects, with simple calculations: a calculator, a “find your magic number!” quiz, etc. We moved on to code which was more difficult to write but was still composed of simple conceptions: a two player checkers game, a snow plowing simulation, a really basic GUI (graphical user interface – an interface that allows a user to interact with buttons instead of just text), a simple string parser (our parsers separated sentences into words, and then generated a grammar from those words). The code was difficult, but the ideas were easy to visualize.

Recently, though, my programs have become both conceptually deep and difficult to code…as well as really, really awesome. Most recently, we were assigned to create our own command shell. (If you don’t know that a command shell is, think Jurassic Park. A shell provides a command line interface with the computer, and a user uses an input to give commands to the computer, including running programs and manipulating files.) This is particularly cool, because we’ve spent our entire times here using the shell to run our programs…and now we were writing a program to create a shell, and then running that shell inside of another shell!

Anyway, this may not sound as awesome to you as it is to me, but believe me—the stuff we do as computer science upperclassmen is awesome.

Dinner with Dr. Leroy Hood

Lingchong Mai

Lingchong Mai, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2012 – Last night, I was one of 10 Engineering Ambassadors who had a wonderful chance to have dinner with Dr. Hood Leroy, the Russ Prize winner of 2011.

Dr. Hood’s research areas include molecular biotechnology, immunology, genomics, DNA sequencing, where he developed a systems approach to studying these topics. He got his PHD from Caltech, and MD from John-Hopkins. He is one of only 10 people in the world to be elected to National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine. In addition to being an amazing scientist, he is also talented in business. He has helped to establish 14 famous biotechnology companies including Institute of System Biology, Amgen, Applied Biosystems.

Dr. Hood was very nice and pleasant to talk with. During the whole night he shared a lot of his early experience as a student in Caltech, his interests and opinion towards the research topics, and his attitude towards the career. I still remember that when he talked about his idea of commercializing the DNA sequencing was rejected by the president of Caltech, he did not give up. He said, if you think an idea is right, you should stick to it, and do your best to carry it out. Then he tried to persuade the instrument manufacturing companies to actually make DNA sequencing instruments. He got approval from the president of a company and got funding for the project. However, the guy who actually was in charge of the project disliked Dr. Hood and he directly talked to the top manager without letting Dr. Hood in, and showed a negative attitude and refused to cooperate, which finally led to the failure of the project. Dr. Hood said: “From the case, I learned a lession that if you really want to bring an idea into business, you have to persuade the top guy, but on the other hand, don’t just leave out the mid-level manager.”

Dr. Hood also shared his funny story of meeting and travelling with Bill Gates; his opinion to the president election and political issues; and his early experience of learning foreign languages. He also discussed with us about our future career and the impression of our majors, the Russ College, and Ohio University. This was a very enjoyable, impressive, and wonderful night.

ME Senior Design: E Coli testing

Bill Kandel

Bill Kandel, Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 February 2012 – Probably the most exciting part about engineering is that every day is different and many days hold unexpected turns. Unlike other majors where you always have a pretty good idea what the day ahead might hold engineering always leaves you guessing.

The most recent surprise was in my senior design project. The project we selected is with a non-profit organization called 1000JobsHaiti. The project is to design a water purification system and manufacturing process that can be created in Haiti using other Haitian materials with the goal of creating jobs around it. Well the other day I found myself in a microbiology lab doing E. Coli testing on filter water, something I would have never thought I would find myself doing as a Mechanical Engineer, but I can’t say it wasn’t interesting.
This element of surprise is certainly something that stretches well beyond the academic arches as well. In the field there is always some process that is broken, needs improvement, or redesigned. As a person who becomes bored very easily, I am glad I chose to become an engineer.