Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH 9 September 2014 –
It’s the third week of fall semester, and I’m still having a hard time coming to grips with the fact that this is my last year here at OU. I know I still have two whole semesters before graduation, but I just can’t believe how quickly time is flying by.
This past summer, I interned at Owens Corning Science & Technology Center in Granville, OH in a design role. I loved my time there and learned so much about myself and my abilities in the technical world, as well as the wealth of opportunities available to me after graduation. This looks awesome on paper, but it’s also a little overwhelming. I have to start thinking about what I want to do with the rest of my life, whether that be graduate school, starting my career in engineering, or doing something else entirely like full-time ministry. But, one of the greatest pieces of advice I received from a mentor at Owens Corning was to enjoy my college experience and to soak in every moment and opportunity while at OU. So, that’s exactly what I’m focused on doing this year.
These first few weeks back at school have been a whirlwind. I have been getting to know my Senior Design group and project, performing with the Marching 110, meeting with students to share with them the Good News about Jesus, getting inducted as an engineering ambassador (pictured below), and studying how osteoplast and osteoblast cells relate to the mechanics of bone fracture. My life may seem like a bit of a smorgasbord right now, but I’m loving every single minute!
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering
Athens, OH 7 September 2014 –
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to complete an internship with General Mills. I worked at their plant in Wellston, Ohio, where they make Totino’s pizzas and pizza rolls. For work, I commuted from Athens with another OU chemical engineering student.
I was an Engineering & Operations Intern, and my projects introduced me to both process engineering and daily operations of the pizza lines. I was very fortunate to work with an awesome group of interns from around the country.
Since I graduate in May 2015, I really wanted to use my last summer to work in a plant setting and see how I liked it. The General Mills plant definitely fit what I was looking for with 24-hour production schedules and 1200 employees! Overall, it was a great experience. I learned a lot about what type of work environment is best for me and what I should focus on when I start to apply for full-time jobs.
I also took two semesters off of school last year to complete two co-op terms in the automotive industry where I had a Quality role in a corporate setting. I am really glad that I spent my time during my undergrad to gain work experience and try multiple industries. The Russ College of Engineering & Technology provides students with so many opportunities to gain real engineering experience, whether it’s through a student organization, undergraduate research, or a co-op or internship. Get involved!
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management
Athens, OH 3 September 2014 –
As a Russ College student I’m surrounded by students who had worked in engineering co-ops and internships. After hearing them talk about all the new skills they learned and the great experiences they had, I decided that I wanted to do the same thing. As fall semester came to a close, I decided I should probably start my job search. Little to my knowledge, most companies had filled their internship slots long ago, so as spring semester went on, I thought I would not get to have a real world engineering experience.
Out of the blue one day, an opening popped up that caught my attention. This opening was with Ludowici Roof Tile, located in New Lexington, OH; just a half hour from my hometown of Lancaster, OH. After a brief interview and plant tour I was offered the job. Man, I was ecstatic!
During my internship I worked full-time under the supervision of a mechanical engineer. I did not have a truly standard day. Primarily, I was tasked with designing unique solutions to improve current production machines as well as designing new machines. Additionally, I was charged with seeing that the project went from the napkin drawing, to SolidWorks (did I mention I had to learn a new modeling software!?), to the machine shop, and lastly I had to assist in the implementation of the machine. Through this process I interacted with people from a variety of backgrounds which allowed me to see both what I was designing and life as a whole in a brand new light.
My internship with Ludowici was truly a growing experience and I could not imagine my summer without it. The skills I honed by working in the real world are just the start to the benefits I gained from my internship. I feel that the relationships I built were the real prize.
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH 31 August 2014 –
The end of this summer was bittersweet. While I am always happy to come back to Athens, this summer I had the awesome opportunity of being invited back for my third co-op with Honda R&D Americas Inc. I worked in the Steering and Handling test group (this summer and last summer) and my group was responsible for the way the vehicle responds when the steering wheel is turned both when the car is stationary and when it is moving at any speed.
I helped the engineers tune steering systems to fit the needs of the anticipated demographics for several types of Hondas. I was able to watch the new Acura TLX go from the early prototype stages to a full-blown automobile, and it was a fantastic learning experience. I was exposed to some of the other new models Honda is currently working on and I am very excited to see them as finished vehicles.
Probably some of the best experiences I had working with Honda were some of the higher speed testing trials that I was able to sit in on. Watching a highly trained engineer push a prototype vehicle up to the very highest limit of the car is a great experience, but sitting in the car while it is sliding sideways is another experience entirely. I learned how to control motion sickness very quickly, as collecting data using computers while someone drives is actually much more difficult than it sounds. I was able to work with some extremely talented and smart people and I will not soon forget the experiences I had there.
Junior, Electrical Engineering
Athens, OH 29 August 2014 –
Last year, I had the opportunity to co-op with L-3 Communications in Cincinnati, OH for two semesters. L-3 is known for its expertise in the areas of infrared detection and space & missile electronics. Due to a confidentiality agreement, I can’t tell you exactly what I did during my time at L-3, but the projects I worked on involved infrared detection.
The best part about having a co-op (aside from the money), is that you have the chance to apply the knowledge you gain from courses to the projects at hand. I felt like I had a better understanding of the material once I applied it to a real world problem. Another great thing about having a co-op is that you have the opportunity to learn new skills along the way. I was able to learn how to code in the programming language python, which will help me tremendously in the future.
The transition from the working world to back school life was strange at first, because I felt like my brain wanted to take an extended vacation–it wasn’t prepared for homework and exams again. But I moved back to Athens at the beginning of summer, once my co-op ended, and the only thing I can say is that it’s good to be back home.
Senior, Mechanical Engineering
Athens, OH dd Month 2014 – Thinking about graduation is becoming all more frequent and all more real. I can’t believe that it is just a few weeks away. My plan for after graduation is to continue onto graduate school and study Biomedical Engineering. Prior to starting graduate school, I have a summer internship in Maine working at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. I am very excited about both my internship and attending graduate school. The two fields are very different from one another, but I feel like they will both present me with a unique challenge and keep me very engaged, so I look forward to each of them!
Making a decision between getting a job right after graduating and going straight to graduate school as a very tough decision, and one that took me a very long time to make. I went to a job interview after being accepted to graduate school, and the benefits and stability seemed so enticing. But, after thinking it over and talking with a lot of different people all with conflicting opinions, I realized that what I ultimately want to do with my life is help people. The field of Biomedical Engineering is the best avenue I can think of to do that, and graduate school is the first step in doing so. After finally making this big decision, I am very happy to have the stress of not knowing what I will be doing next year off of my shoulders!
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!)