Category Archives: Civil Engineering

Enjoying a Fall Getaway

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 20 October 2014

A question I wrestled with when choosing to major in engineering was “If I study engineering, will I have a life outside of homework and exams?” After spending two-and-a-half years in Civil Engineering, I can confidently answer that question with, “Yes it is possible to have a life outside of engineering work.”

This past weekend was a clear example of leaving the real world of work and just enjoying life. Saturday I went to the Circleville Pumpkin show with a group of friends. The pumpkin show is an annual gathering of pumpkin fanatics in a festival-like atmosphere about an hour from Athens. There are rides, food, games, and tons of pumpkin goodness. That includes the World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie, 6 feet in diameter.

World's Largest Pumpkin Pie

Anything you can think of, they’ve made it pumpkin-flavored and I had the opportunity to taste some of it! After sampling through pumpkin chili, elephant ears, coffee, pie, funnel cake, ice cream, and fudge I decided my favorite pumpkin-flavored food was the pumpkin donut from a local bakery named Lindsey’s. The donuts were one-of-a-kind and truly satisfied my taste buds.

After the pumpkin show we camped out at the house of one of my friends. this camping out involved marshmallows, hot dogs, guitar playing, and an overall good time. To top off the night, we all slept in hammocks.

Hammock Camping

After weekends like these, I appreciate the ability to have some free time to get away from engineering and just enjoy the opportunities going to school in this area offers

ASCE Tour of On-Campus Construction

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 September 2014 -

Being president of two separate student organizations I am in the process of getting activities organized that will be fun for all. As a civil engineering student there are quite a few projects that are going on around campus that are great real-life learning tools. The biggest project going on right now is the South Green Dorms. For the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) we scheduled a tour. The project engineer took us around the grounds and inside two of the four buildings.

ASCE Tour

As a senior I will not a get a chance to live in these new dorms or go inside but, seeing the structure and all the inner workings was a great learning tool.

ASCE Tour

The new dorms are using a building method that has never been done before on campus. The entire building is made out of precast concrete. A precast building comes in sections that are made off site and transported to the job site. This means that the building can go up in the matter of weeks instead of months.

ASCE Tour

These new dorms are also going to have office spaces and there are rooms set aside for student use like workout room, study room, and can be a classroom if needed.

ASCE Tour

As a civil engineer it is cool to get out to a job site and see how what we are learning in class can be used in a structure.

Getting Involved in Student Organizations

Lance Jackson

Lance Jackson,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 21 September 2014

When in a field such as engineering it is important to find a balance between school work and recreational activities. Ohio University offer a plethora of clubs and organizations that students are able to join. From intramural sports all the way down to the hula-hooping club, it would be tough not to find at least one club that interested you. Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the anti-derivatives and go for a nice Sunday run with the running club (my personal club of choice).

From my personal experience, being able to take a step back and not think about schoolwork for a while actually helps me focus on my work once I decide to get back to it. During my time at Ohio University I’ve tried to join a different club each year. During my freshman year I joined an intramural flag football team and my sophomore year I was very active in the running club. My junior year, I would go to weekly bible sessions with Divine Covering.

Joining clubs is a great way to make new friends and relieve stress. Although it takes good time management skills to juggle the demands of a rigorous engineering course-load while still remaining active outside of Russ College, I think it is well worth the sacrifice.

Being a Part of Cru at OU

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 3 September 2014

The start of a new semester is always quite exciting thinking about the new obstacles that lie ahead. It feels like I just finished overcoming classes and projects from last semester, but I am ready to face the new ones.

One thing here at Ohio University that has helped me in my endeavors to receive a diploma has been my involvement with a student organization called Cru. Cru stands for Campus Crusade for Christ and is a ministry here on campus. Through this organization I have met some of my closest friends. These are friends who have encouraged me through difficult times and challenged me when it seemed to be easier than it should be.

This past summer I had the opportunity to go on a six-week mission trip with Cru to a little country called Slovenia. Slovenia is an absolutely beautiful place and is filled with so much to discover. While in Slovenia, our mission was to connect with students attending The University of Ljubljana and learn about their perspectives on life while sharing with them the opportunity they had with the Cru organization there. In Slovenia, this partnership is connected to the same Cru here at Ohio University, but it is for the Slovene students. It’s an organization where students are welcome to come and ask questions and find answers about who God is and what it means to have a relationship with Him.

The six weeks I spent in Slovenia were life-changing and one of the greatest things I have done in my life. I am thankful that Ohio University offers such intimate student organizations where you can truly find who you are and what you are most passionate about.

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.

Rethinking Hydraulics Lab

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
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.

Getting Started on the Job Search

Joe Cook

Joe Cook,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 10 February 2014 – This semester is unfortunately my last semester at Ohio University. The great thing about graduating college is the prospect of starting my career.

Over the past few weeks I’ve sent my resume to several engineering design firms and started scheduling interviews. The hiring process is equally exciting and terrifying. Fortunately, Russ College has helped me along the way, with my two internships and numerous leadership positions I have no shortage of talking points during my interviews. My experiences, coupled with course work, have prepared me to hold and excel in conversations with professional engineers.

It’s great to meet OU alumni in the “real world”; guys just like me that have excelled and become hiring managers and principal engineers at various companies. I’m hoping to have some luck at the Russ College Career Fair next week as well.

The past four years in Athens have forced me to grow and develop as a professional and I feel confident in my ability to grow as a professional in the water resources and environmental engineering field.