Preparing for Summer Co-op

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 30 March 2014 – As summer gets closer and the semester comes to an end, the stress of finals and final projects builds up. At times it can seem overwhelming but by the grace of God I seem to be keeping my head above the immense pile of work I have. One of the things that helps keep me motivated is looking at the bigger picture. If I focus on the amount of work I have and the little time I have to do it I can become discouraged, but if I look past the terror of finals week I start to see the purpose behind my efforts I am much more relaxed and productive. For me, one of the lights at the end of the tunnel is my upcoming co-op.

A co-op is kind of like an internship that focuses more on hands-on experience and training in your field. They are typically longer than an internship and are always paid. This summer I have been blessed with the opportunity to co-op at a company called Ariel Corporation. Ariel is the world’s largest manufacturer of separable reciprocating gas compressors. Although gas compressors are mostly dealt with by mechanical engineers, the nice thing about a computer science degree is that you are needed anywhere and everywhere. Ariel has some web services that I will be working with and possibly other areas as well. I am not entirely sure what all I will be doing, but I know that whatever I end up doing I will gain a lot of great experience and have a lot of fun doing it. (Not to mention getting paid to do it too!)

2014 Women in Aviation International Conference

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 25 March 2014 – The Ohio University chapter of Women in Aviation, International (WAI) recently returned from our trip to the annual WAI Conference. This year it was held in Orlando, Florida at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort, which was beautiful! The conference offers the opportunity to connect with professionals in the aviation industry, to attend educational sessions, and to get interviewed by companies such as major airlines and corporate flight departments. Every aviation discipline was represented, from maintenance to flight schools to research to the Federal Aviation Administration. The students who attended this year explored job options after graduation and networked with people who can mentor them and help them further their career. We met many inspiring people!

Personally, the conference offered me the chance to reconnect with pilots and recruiters who I have met at past conferences, and I made many new friends and mentors who gave me great professional advice as I prepare to graduate and begin my career. I also got several job offers through networking and by talking to the right people. We also had the chance to train in a high altitude chamber and feel the true effects of hypoxia, which is valuable training for pilots. The conference was a very rewarding and beneficial experience this year!

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.

Senior Year Coming to a Close

Marissa Singley

Marissa Singley,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 March 2014 – As my senior year comes to a close, with only 5 weeks left in the semester, I realize that choosing Ohio University was the best decision I have ever made. I admit, it was one of the hardest, but it was definitely the right one. Leaving home is never as easy as we all pretend it will be, but this school has granted me with so many opportunities to shine and grow into the person I wanted to be; the person I have become. It is where I call home, and now we all are leaving home again.

Not only is it one of the most beautiful places (Just look at that engineering building!), but there is no doubt in my mind that I have met some of the most fantastic people here in Athens.

Stocker Center

This includes my roommates, my neighbors, my mechanical engineering friends, coworkers, and even my professors. I have been able to make lifelong friendships and connections here that have truly been astonishing.

As I look back on the memories I have made from freshman year until now, I really can’t believe that I am graduating. There is so much to be thankful for as I look forward to a new adventure in my life. Without the support of my OU family, I would not have been able to accomplish all that I have. I am grateful to all those who have come into my life in the past 4 years.

Crazy to think how such a small town can have such a large impact on an individual’s life. Believe me when I tell you, coming to OU was the best decision I have ever made and I have all the success stories in the world to prove it.

Spring Break Skiing

Grant Rhue

Grant Rhue,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 14 March 2014 – One of my favorite times of the year as a college student is Spring Break. Whenever this time comes around, I can’t wait to go to Breckenridge, Colorado, with my family for some downhill skiing and time together. It takes a little time to get used to the elevation change–9,000 at Breckenridge compared to Ohio’s average of 800 feet, but I usually adjust quickly.

Breckenridge

Breckenridge actually reminds me quite a bit of Athens, with its main street lined with small businesses and restaurants. There are also many unique venues to explore while trying to recover after a long day of boarding or skiing. Each year when we visit, we have a family tradition of walking down Main Street after dinner to the small outdoor Crepe A La Cart, where we all get our favorite variety of dessert.

When I began skiing during my junior year of high school, I found that many skiing skills were transferable from my years of playing hockey. It helped me to develop some decent skiing skill on downhill trails. After taking some lessons, I progressed from green trails up to the lower level black diamond courses.

Now, I can take on the steeper, upper altitude bowls and peaks that can range from 10,000 to 13,000 feet. This year, I covered more terrain than I had ever before–skiing from one mountain boundary all the way to the other side, covering 5 different peaks and a variety of runs along the way. Skiing is a great way to enjoy the mountains and to get away from the demands of school.

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.

Spring Break in San Diego

Steven Crane

Steven Crane,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 12 March 2014 – Good moooooooorning students! Have I got some updates for you! I’ll just let you in on a few of them.

The trip that I wrote about in my last blog post was absolutely amazing! It started with another Robe Leadership Institute member (Josh who is a Chemical Engineering student) and I being stuck in Dallas, TX for 30 hours because our flight to San Diego was canceled. The dreaded ice storm caused the havoc there, but I’d rather be on the safe side of flying.

We did find heaven at the Dallas Airport!

We did find heaven at the Dallas Airport!

Once we arrived in San Diego, Josh and I had 40 minutes to get ready for the first meeting. We made it, and we were so glad we didn’t miss it. We listened to a SWAT Team Captain tell us about his leadership experiences (and some of his stories as well)! He had a completely different perspective, because his leadership skills involved other people’s lives, which has no room for mistakes.

The next day we began our visits with 5 different CEO’s over the next two days. To say it wasn’t exhausting would be an understatement; but it was totally worth it. I learned so much and found it awesome that these CEOs would sit down and have an interactive meeting with us (a bunch of college students).

As engineers, we couldn’t help but make a pit-stop at Legoland!

As engineers, we couldn’t help but make a pit-stop at Legoland!

They shared with us their successes, failures, and the ins and outs of their companies today. My biggest “holy crap” moment was when we took a tour of iTech, who manufactures batteries. They told us that they have a warranty return rate that’s practically zero! The fact that they were so efficient and so effective at something so complex was amazing.

In the middle is Rob Bolton, President of iTech

In the middle is Rob Bolton, President of iTech

iTech is manufacturing in San Diego, CA, and they’re competing against companies in China (and they’re doing a fantastic job at it)! The companies in China have wages of $0.80/hour and little/no regulations vs. our wages of more than $10.00/hour and regulations through the EPA. This was really encouraging to me, as someone who is studying manufacturing, which we can compete with China and do it much better.

I feel blessed to be a part of the Robe Leadership Institute at Ohio University for the school year of 2013-14! I know this is an experience that I wouldn’t have been able to participate in at any other school. And this is why I go to THE Ohio University!

I miss San Diego!

And yes, that is a banana tree in someone’s front yard…I miss San Diego!