Tag Archives: Ambassador Activities

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.


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.

At the Future City National Finals

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – I LOVE being an Engineering Ambassador! Last week, another Ambassador and I got the chance to fly to Washington, D.C., to represent the Russ College as judges at the finals of the national Future City Competition and it was awesome!

Future City is a national project-based competition where middle schoolers imagine and design futuristic cities and present their visions through scale models, essays, presentations, and a SimCity software simulation. Their projects are then judged on everything from transportation systems to city self-sufficiency to presentation skills. There were so many incredible presentations this year!

Groups compete regionally, and if they win in their region they are invited to the national competition in Washington, D.C. Evan and I acted as general judges and as judges for a Special Award–Best Personal Transportation System–and we heard some very creative solutions! Many groups incorporated several different futuristic ideas, such as autonomous pods charged by a road made of photovoltaic cells or a moving sidewalk. Some ideas were very imaginative and it was great to see kids thinking about engineering principles at such a young age. Many of them were excited continue their engineering educations and admitted they were thinking of becoming engineers. Success!

My personal favorite part of the competition was judging the scale models that the kids made. They had to be constructed of recycled materials ans have certain features. I saw buildings made of everything from vacuum heads to old computer equipment to car parts, all spray painted or decorated to resemble futuristic cities. The creativity of these kids was incredible, and their pride in their work was very inspiring.

Meeting a Russ Prize Winner

Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 21 February 2014 – Yesterday, members of the Engineering Ambassadors and the Robe Leadership Institute had the opportunity to have a breakfast and discussion with Dr. James Wynne. Dr. Wynne is the 2013 winner of the Russ Prize for his work on developing the laser that would make LASIK and PRK procedures possible. The Russ Prize is the highest honor for bioengineering achievements that better the human condition and is awarded by Ohio University and the National Academy of Engineering.

The meeting over breakfast flowed like a conversation with friends with the topics developing from whatever came up. The food itself sparked conversation ranging from how your morning diet can affect your overall health to Dr. Wynne’s recent profitable investment in a coffee company. A large amount of what Dr. Wynne talked about was based around his family and his college experience. It was clear that his family plays a large role in is life. It was also possible to see that his life was widely defined by his college experience, the people he met, and the opportunities he was given while still in school. At one point the students provided their plans for the future with Dr. Wynne giving encouragement and advice on how to get the most out of their careers. The discussion never got around to Dr. Wynne’s award-winning achievement, though he did share his medal with the group, inciting a brief discussion about its composition.

The conversation flowed easily throughout the meal and would have continued on had the room not been reserved by another group. The Ambassadors had an excellent opportunity in getting to meet Dr. Wynne. He was very personable, and also had great advice to give to the senior engineers as they are about to graduate.

ME Senior Design Update

Scott Kostohryz

Scott Kostohryz,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 21 February 2014 – This semester has offered many great challenges and interesting experiences. I have been fortunate enough to meet with some distinguished guests. Just a few weeks ago, the Dean took the time to sit down with some students to get some feedback on the College. It was great to know the voice of the students was getting heard and changes that were made were for the better.

Yesterday, Dr. James Wynne, the 2013 Russ Price winner, ate breakfast with students. He was very interested in us, (Russ College juniors and seniors) doing what we want to do and are passionate about. Next week, one more distinguished guest–Alan Schaaf, founder of Imgur–is also taking the time out to talk with a group of Russ College students before giving a presentation to the university at-large with Alexis Ohanian.

From a technical standpoint, my senior design team is going as planned. We have formal approval from Atco and Passion Works to go ahead with our senior design team. Currently, We are in the process of purchasing our final pieces, welding our frame, and assembling our printing plate machine. It is exciting to see how an idea can quickly become a reality. Below is one of our earlier model of our design.

ME Senior Design

Climbing the Ladder at Ohio University

Colton Moran

Colton Moran,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 21 October 2013 – What better to do on a Saturday morning than climb up the side of a 3 story structure only using six inch pegs and then navigating an elevated obstacle course that is built for instability? Well to be honest with you when it’s all said and done not many things. But if you were looking at any of the engineers that were staring down the challenge course atop The Ridges here at Ohio University, that would not be your first thought.

High Ropes

The course from the ground up looks very intimidating and that was exciting for some of us (myself included) and terrifying for other (a close friend of mine). No matter how any of us felt we partnered up and tackled the course and it all started by climbing the “ladder” up. I have to admit the feeling of being 2 stories above people with small medal pegs as your ladder is a mix of exhilarating adrenaline with a healthy dose of terror. But with each little step it got easier and before you know it you were atop a platform with a two tiered challenge course staring you down.

The best part about this first step is almost every engineer that was there that day climbed up the tower, some having to overcome a severe fear of heights but they did it. To me that was the coolest part of the day seeing people who would never have seen themselves climbing the side of a wooden structure, stand on the top platform victorious.

Some people stopped after that achievement but myself and others kept going just to see how far we were willing to test our healthy respect for the dangers of heights (Even though we were securely fastened at all times [with training] to the course with ropes). My climbing partner (Even Boso) and I enjoyed the rush and tried to challenge ourselves even more as we went through obstacles by limiting the amount of support we would allow ourselves from the stability ropes provided or by running through the course at more than necessary speeds.

High Ropes

It definitely added an extra element of fear in some cases but for us it was what we were looking for and made the day all the more fun. Other people took on only a limited amount of the course but for them that was more than enough to get their blood pumping. No matter what part we were crossing we all encouraged one another, whether it be to just get across which in some cases seemed impossible to us, or if it was to cheer on an ambassador that wanted to do an obstacle in some “advanced” form.

High Ropes

In all it was a fun way to bond as a group and an awesome opportunity to push ourselves outside our comfort zone with the support of friends around us. Last, but far from least was the end of our day when we had to leave the course. The way up was the ladder but the way down was a slacked zip line. We all took our turn standing on an eagle platform and simply falling off, and when that feeling that you were just going to drop straight to the ground came over you and your grip tightened, the zip line slack tightened and you glided towards the ground safe and sound.

High Ropes

Some of us screamed, others threw their hands in the air but when we landed it was unanimous that we all had fun. So what I got from the high ropes course was never be scared to challenge yourself, especially when you have people around that will support you. Because who knows, you might find something you really enjoy.