Spending Time at the Dog Park

Justin Lumbard

Justin Lumbard,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 November 2014

As busy as engineering can be, it is important to make sure to enjoy the little parts about college that really make it the experience that it should be. At the end of last year, I adopted a puppy (Cookie) because I enjoy the company and attention a canine friend gives you at the end of the long days studying.


Recently, I discovered a really nice dog park right on campus that I often take Cookie to. She is the kind of dog that never actually gets tired and can outrun almost any other dog that she has ever come across. Fortunately for me, there are almost always several other dogs at the park that will attempt to wear her out, and when there are not, Cookie and I have been trying to learn the obstacle course as a sort of game for her.


It is always good to have a nice sunny day to remind engineers what the outside world is actually like this late in the semester. Having a dog while in college can be stressful, but the company is absolutely worth it in the end.


This time at the dog park, the dogs were in prime form. I hadn’t seen them run so much in such a small amount of time. Being the engineer that I am, one of these days I will rig up a GPS to Cookie’s collar to see how far they actually run while they are there.

Preparing for the International Space University

Josh D'Urso

Josh D’Urso,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 22 November 2014

This week at Ohio University, some distinguished professors from the International Space University (ISU) visited to get their curriculum finalized for next summer. That’s when Ohio University will be hosting the ISU Space Studies Program.

I didn’t realize how big of a deal this was until I did a little research and saw that last year’s ISU was held in Montreal, Canada. Countries from around the world bid on this program and try and have it held in their country, state, or university and Ohio University won the 2015 bid. The program will be held on campus from June 8th to August 7th. Students from around the world apply to this program. Last year’s program attracted 122 participants representing 32 countries.

When I met some of the professors this week they were from all over the world including Germany, France, Canada, India and more. One of the members from the ISU team that I met was named John Connolly. John was a great individual with an even better background. He has 28 years of experience with NASA and he has been a member of ISU for 22 years leading the ISU’s Space Studies Program. John’s specialties include human and robotic space mission design, human spacecraft design, and space systems engineering.

I did not find out about the Space Studies Program being held at OU until this week and it has been in the works for two years now. I am so proud of my University and of the all the people who put in so much time and dedication into bringing such a big program to my school. This is great publicity for the University and I think its going to be a great experience for our school and faculty to work side by side with distinguished individuals from around the world.

ASCE Steel Bridge Competition

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 19 November 2014

Every year the members involved in American Society of Civil Engineers participate in multiple competitions such as steel bridge, concrete canoe, environmental, and more. The competitions aren’t until March; however, we have to begin working now so that our teams will be ready for competition.

This year I am captain of our steel bridge team. For the steel bridge competition we have to design a 1/10 scale model of a steel bridge and every year the criteria are changed. This year we have to design a bridge that has an 18-foot clear span which means that the supports are only on the ends of the span. During the competition we are challenged to subject our bridge to various forms of loading.

To begin design we have to carefully read the rules. As a group we all suggest different ideas and begin to build off of them. This year we decided to go with a beam bridge design. As a group we are planning that we will use a built up T-member made from two L-members for the bridge decking. Our biggest challenge so far is to design the way to brace the bridge laterally. Lateral bracing is used to prevent side sway. After we decide what we would like to do for bracing our next step will be to make all shop drawings and then next semester we will begin fabrication.

Ultimate Frisbee

Gavin Whitehead

Gavin Whitehead,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 18 November 2014

Having a break from classes and studying is necessary to keep my sanity. Of course classes are important, but having those moments when you forget about that exam coming up keeps me going.

One of my favorite things to do anytime of the week is ultimate Frisbee. I started playing at Adams Hall at the end of last summer and have been going almost every week since. I love competition, and ultimate is a way for me to take any stress that I have and channel that toward scoring touchdowns! Almost every week is a good turn out and I meet someone new. The atmosphere is relaxed and it is a great way to spend the evening.

Ultimate is not the only thing out there to partake in. There are plenty of other activities and other sports to play, have fun, meet people, and feed the competitive side. Last fall I was on a sand volleyball team that I enjoyed a lot. When I was out there, college soaked in a little more. Getting out of class, then casually playing some volleyball on south beach–it was great. Sign ups are pretty often for the different sessions and only takes a few clicks by going to the intramural sports website and creating an account on imleauges.

It is starting to get cold outside and snow is starting to fall. Ultimate Frisbee season is dying down–Wrong! The coordinator of Adams Hall was able to set up a designated time in the new Walter Field House for us to continue to play throughout the winter. Last Sunday was my first time using the facility and it was pretty cool. We had the whole field to ourselves and played for a few hours. They also have a track on the perimeter of the field and I think I am going to start using the Field house more often. I can’t wait to play next Sunday night!

Free Time for Engineers

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 November 2014

A very popular question from students thinking about going into engineering is “How much free time do you actually have?” Of course any engineering student will answer this a little differently because it varies for everyone. This question also goes along with the college myth of sufficient sleep, good grades, or social life: you can only pick two of the three.

Any college student is going to have to learn a little time management to balance classes, social life and taking care of yourself. But it’s certainly possible to have all three and some free time also. Free time is different for any student as to how they are involved on campus or in hobbies. It’s sometimes easy to get over-committed with a lot of organizations, but if it’s for clubs you really enjoy then it will be worth it.

I normally have about 3 to 4 hours of meetings every week for organizations, but obviously some students have more and some less. Outside of this I still find free time during the week to relax and have fun doing my own hobbies. It’s not impossible for college students, and even engineering students, to be involved, study hard, and have fun too!

Road Trip with Theta Tau

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 17 November 2014

For those of you who have not read my bio (which would be about everyone except my mom), I am a member of Theta Tau, the professional engineering fraternity on campus. This past weekend my fraternity took a road trip to visit the chapter at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. While a six-hour drive is not always the most fun thing to do on the weekend, this was a worthwhile trip. Meeting engineers from other places and from different cultures is always an exciting event.

While many things about the campus in Baltimore and Athens vary, the kids are very much the same. They enjoy hanging out with friends as well as touring the surrounding areas and finding those hole-in-the-wall spots to eat and drink. The trip included a tour of the inner harbor of Baltimore which has many fine restaurants/stores in addition to some interesting street entertainers as every big city does. We had a potluck dinner put on by the members of the JHU chapter and really got to know some of the people that went to school there what they liked/disliked about school and things of that nature.

Meeting engineering students from across the country you find out about some great up and coming things people plan on doing for example the “Hackathon” that my host was a part of. This consists of teams of students/companies that have 36 hours to write an application to perform a specific function. He had told me of many recruiters and companies that hire directly from this type of competition.

Overall the theme of Johns Hopkins was just the same as life here at Ohio University: get a great education and make a bunch of friends while doing it. I can honestly say that engineering has led me to make the friends I always envisioned having and I can even validate this by all the friends I met from a school I visited across the country.

Family Ties

Erin Tracy

Erin Tracy,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 November 2014

It’s my favorite time of year again: time for the holidays and family gatherings. Every year after the first week of November, my mom’s siblings and their families get together at my Aunt Kim’s house in Parkersburg, WV for Thanksgiving. Since my Papa, my mom’s dad, passed away thirteen years ago in early November, we have made it a priority each year to get together and re-strengthen the family ties. I have been looking forward to this weekend since the end of summer, especially because this year was at our house in central Ohio.


I was able to spend time with some of my favorite people during this reunion, and it was a much needed break from the chaos of senior year. I talked to my aunts Becki and Sherii about my future plans of mission work in South Asia and coddled my four month old cousin for as long as her mom could stand to give her up. We also celebrated my older brother Josh’s recent engagement!


Family is super important to me, and this time of Thanksgiving giving way into Christmas and New Year’s is all about family. I can’t wait to be home for Thanksgiving break and hopefully have my brothers who live in southern Ohio and North Dakota home as well. Then the day after Thanksgiving, it will finally be socially acceptable to put up Christmas decorations and listen to Christmas music non-stop. The time is so near, friends!