Category Archives: Industrial and Systems Engineering

Finally It’s Fall!

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 19 October 2014

My favorite season of the year seems to finally be here. Fall at Ohio University is a pretty special time. Not only are classes well underway, but also so is college football season.

The last couple of weekends I’ve been able to take a break from my coursework to enjoy some of my favorite fall activities. Last weekend I was able to participate in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology homecoming tailgate. It was a great opportunity to talk with engineering alumni and really get excited for the game. It also doesn’t hurt that students get into the home games for free.

Aside from the beautiful scenery in Southeast Ohio, fall also brings about my favorite holiday of the year: Halloween! Ohio University students really get in the spirit, and every year we have a great celebration with some really unique costumes. Last year I went as Han Solo from Star Wars and met some very interesting people.

I also enjoy carving pumpkins, so this weekend I went to a nearby pumpkin patch with a friend to pick a pumpkin.

Engineer in a Pumpkin Patch

We found an amazing place not too far from Athens, and I think this year I’m going to have an Ohio University or engineering themed carving. I’ve come to find that there are a lot of great places to visit off campus, and as I head into my last year of college I’m really coming to appreciate not just the university, but also what the surrounding area has to offer.

Taking Advantage of Opportunities for Self-Betterment

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 October 2014

I was born the youngest child with a brother that always outweighed me by over 80 lbs. As a freshman in high school, I weighed a mere 120 pounds. I figured it was time to do something about it, considering I had been “skinny as a bean pole” if you will, my whole life.

I started with some friends going to work out and lift a few times a week. With an ectomorph body type, adding weight would be nearly impossible without eating everything in sight, in addition to weight training. So, in an effort to actually be effective, that is exactly what I did. I ate everything, and anything high in protein and, well, actually anything. I can say from personal experience there is no better feeling than feeling your body getting stronger. And, of course, seeing your muscles grow is always a plus.

By the time I entered Ohio University I had gained 50 pounds of muscle and had been satisfied with my accomplishments. However, I was not done trying to improve myself–as anyone who lifts can tell you, it can be addicting (in a good way).

With Ohio University having a multi-floor weight room, it was perfect for me to have the space and equipment to allow me to reach peak physical condition. With rooms for different classes such as yoga, jazzercise, and MMA club there are many opportunities for people with all different types of interests to find something that they would enjoy.

There is brand new equipment for the 2014-2015 year including a revamped room with a Crossfit space. It has many squat racks and bars for all the Olympic lifts that you would perform in a Crossfit environment (that I thoroughly enjoy). I also enjoy playing pickup basketball, which occurs during many of the operating hours every single day. With about 4-1/2 full courts, there is usually never a wait for more than 1 game.

There are so many athletic facilities available for students at Ohio University that allow them to improve their health, relieve stress from class, and bond with other students. The ones mentioned above are just a small sample size. There are many other facilities including the Aquatic Center, the golf course, tennis courts, Frisbee golf course, a bike/running path that goes around the entire outer campus, and even Bird Arena, our hockey rink.

The moral of the story is that there is an abundance of fun, self-improving facilities/activities that are available to all students. I have gained ten more pounds of muscle during my time here, achieving my weight goal of 180 pounds. I hope that many others that read this know the great quality of athletic facilities there are here at our school.

Getting Involved in Engineering Organizations

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 10 September 2014

As a Russ College student, you have big shoes to fill. There have been many prominent professionals that all started where we did, perhaps in a big lecture in Stocker 103. However, I can say that none of those individuals went through life thinking, I am just here to go to school get a degree and make a bunch of money. They became involved, interacted with the faculty and the community around them.

Fortunately we have some of the best staff in the world in the Russ College and a long list of programs that can include everyone to somehow find a group that you belong to. I am involved in a couple that I will discuss briefly.

Theta Tau is the oldest professional engineering fraternity in the nation, started in 1904 at the University of Minnesota. Joining Theta Tau has been easily the best decision I could have made for myself while at Oho University. I am currently living with five other engineers also involved in Theta Tau, creating professional relationships as well as life-long friendships how could it not be a good decision for anyone?

The other group I have joined is the Institute of Industrial Engineers, or IIE. It is a group of Industrial Engineering students (though, not required to be an IE) that take tours of facilities that IE is applied including Kenworth Truck Company in Chillicothe and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. Overall this experience has led me to see what life will be like once I make the next step from Russ College student to business professional. I can only foresee good things due to my education here at Ohio University.

Reflecting on Becoming an Engineer

Eric May

Eric May,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 6 September 2014

Ah! At last, it’s finally here. I’m a senior, and what a trip it’s been.

As I look back on the last few years I can’t believe how much I’ve grown in every aspect of my life. If you’re an incoming freshman or thinking about coming to Ohio University and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology you’ve probably heard a lot recently about the cost of college tuition, which degrees will get you jobs, or perhaps even that college isn’t really worth it.

But most of those people miss the point of coming to study at college. It’s not just about the degree you get, but also about how you grow as a young person. College is an opportunity for you to explore your interests, or become part of a community, but live an independent life too.

Besides “getting a piece of paper”, being an engineering student teaches you a few things about yourself. You learn that there are a lot of people just as smart or smarter than you; you learn that you’re not invincible and that you will make mistakes. For me personally, the most important thing I learned was that despite how difficult engineering is, if you want badly enough to be an engineer you can do it.

This experience has helped me build a strong foundation for my future, not necessarily a job, or money, but to be a good person and one that can help leave the world a better place than I found it. I’m excited to be getting my last year of college underway, and I know that my learning experience here has given me a strong platform from which to begin my professional career.

ISE Senior Capstone

Connor Mitchell

Connor Mitchell,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 17 April 2014 – Every year senior students in the Russ College are required to complete a senior capstone project as part of their course requirements. The senior capstone project allows students to use the skills they have learned throughout their career and apply them to a real world situation. Normally the group is overseen by an adviser, but the team is responsible for coming up with their own ideas and possible ways to analyze and fix the problem. In most majors and in my case, teams are formed and then an outside client is determined. The client then gives the team the problem and the project begins.

I’m a senior in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Industrial Engineers try to make processes and systems more efficient, which in the end, saves money for the company. This year my team was selected to help out Ohio University’s Environmental Health and Safety Department. The team was assigned to study the variability behind exterior handicapped actuators as well as card swipes that will replace most exterior keys that all students use.

To give an idea of how long these projects last, Industrial and Systems Engineering projects begin in November and end right before spring finals in May. First we met with our client and he assigned us our project. Then we defined the problem and set out to accomplish our task. Next we collected our data, which consisted of measuring heights and positions of actuators and card swipes around campus. After that, we conducted an experiment to determine the optimal height and position of the actuator and card swipe. After analyzing the data, we made suggestions and a proposed plan to our client.

I summarized this entire project in a few sentences within this blog; however, this project took many months of hard work and team cooperation. I was able to apply my engineering knowledge and skills that I learned during my four years as an engineering student to a real life project.

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.

Visiting TTX

Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 12 March 2014 – Earlier this week, the Engineering Ambassadors went on our annual professional development corporate trip. This year, we went to Chicago for a couple of days and visited different companies and met several OU alumni. The companies ranged from a fry grease regeneration and processing facility to a civil engineering firm that inspected the structure of some of the city’s iconic skyscrapers.

One of the places we visited was TTX, a railcar pooling company. This company fills a unique niche in that it rents its iconic yellow railcars to the major railways for as long as they are needed, and then the cars are transported short distances to the location to where they can be used next, similar to a rental car company.

TTX

This was one of the most interesting companies because it appealed to the broad range of engineers present, and we were all able to see real-life applications of our own discipline as well as the other engineering disciplines. The mechanical engineers were able to see how the cars themselves were designed and retrofitted to meet the changing demands. The aviation majors drew parallels between the railcars and airplanes in the amount of time the vehicle could stay in use as well as required inspections. As an industrial engineer, I was interested to learn about the logistics of the railcar movements as well as the way this method was more efficient than the individual railways buying their own cars. We all benefitted from seeing the business side of engineering required in finding what the market requires and negotiating with clients.

All of the employees we talked to at TTX were very hospitable and more than willing to answer all the questions that we had. All the engineers who went enjoyed the trip; it was enlightening, showing us how much more applications there are in the engineering field than anyone realizes. It was encouraging to get outside the classroom and see real-life applications, especially seeing the work that OU graduates were doing in the years after leaving Athens.