Tag Archives: engineering classes

Rethinking Hydraulics Lab

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 26 February 2014 – This semester, my hydraulics lab has changed my thoughts about labs. Earlier lab classes that I have taken follow the same format: the professor writes the pre-lab and then we follow the steps without fully needing to understand what is going on.

This semester, our professor has changed the format of the lab so that we are able to design and conduct experiments. Each lab takes two weeks. The first week we are first introduced to the equipment and are able to ask the professor questions how this equipment works and what it is used to find. Then we take a week to research and write a pre-lab, which is is traded with another student who had written a pre-lab for a different experiment. Then in week two we conduct an experiment that was written by another student.

At first I did not like this new process, but after the first two weeks and getting a better clarification from our professor, this has to be one of my favorite labs. I like how we are able to create the lab by telling someone what readings to take and what those readings mean by going through a data analysis. It feels really cool to be the person telling someone what to do during an experiment for once.

This class is helpful because it is giving me a better understand of the equipment I am using by having to figure things out on my own. It is nice to have a piece of equipment and think to yourself “If I turn this knob, what effect it will have on the system?” It is neat being able to figure that out for myself instead of having a professor tell me.

Preparing for Finals Week

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 8 December 2013 – I can’t believe it’s finally here but another semester has flown by. Although it’s good news that the semester is done, and we will be on break soon, finals week is standing in our way. I have three in-class finals and two projects, so my schedule shouldn’t be too bad. However, I would rather do five projects and zero in-class exams, but that’s just my preference.

My favorite study spot during finals week is the ARC. The only problem is it is everyone else’s favorite as well. The key to getting a study room is getting there early, which few people are there to do.

One of my finals is for my CS capstone class and we actually built an app. How it worked was everyone received a real life client and they then built an application that would help them. My group built an app to teach kids to learn and practice fractions. We built it using Lua code, which is a cross-platform language, which means you can build it in both iOS and Android. Even though it took many late nights and all semester, I’m pretty happy with our outcome!

Lean Enterprise Methods

Eric Abboud

Eric Abboud,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 5 December 2013 – This fall semester I decided to take an elective within my major called “Lean Enterprise Methods.” The class curriculum revolved around the concept that a workplace can operate smoothly and more efficiently if all the waste is removed from the system. This waste is defined as anything within a system that doesn’t add value to the final product; it can be in the form of time, physical objects, transportation, over-processing, etc.

I know it sounds kind of dry, and it was at times, but it was one of the best classes I’ve ever taken. I really feel like I can go into my future job and add value to any process. This new-found confidence was largely in part due to the hands on group projects that were completed throughout the semester. Our first project was an in-class lab where we simply tried to improve the efficiency of a calzone production line. However, the other two labs actually required us to go out and find clients in Athens and remove waste from an actual work environment. One was in AutoZone and the other was Jackie O’s, a local brewery.

Jackie O's

The brewery was really cool! We had access to entire brewery and met with the owner and brew master on a weekly basis. They were unbelievably helpful and actually excited to work with us. By the end of the project my group had created a proper value stream map for the production of Mystic Mama, Jackie O’s famous IPA. The value stream map was merely one of the many documents that I will be adding to my portfolio!

Fall Unit Ops Lab

Nichole Lowe

Nichole Lowe,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 2 December 2013 – This Fall, my biggest project was in my senior unit ops lab. The project consisted of a pre-lab, completing the lab and finally a post-lab. We were separated into groups at the beginning of the semester and this was the first time our class has ever had to do this.

The senior Unit Ops Lab carries on into the second semester of our senior year so we knew they were preparing us for next semester. The pre-lab took longer than any of us expected. The pre-lab had to include the introduction, theory, a very detailed description of how we were going to do the lab and finally the results that we expected based on theoretical data.

The hardest part was the theory. We had to make sure that the theory flowed in a logical order that matched the way we were doing the experiment. Also the theory was hard because we were given a very basic description of the problem and had to put everything we have learned in college together on our own.

Prior to being able to complete the lab, we had to meet with our professor for a pre-lab meeting. Our professor had to make sure that we understood all the safety requirements while working in the lab and that we would record all necessary information to prevent us from needing to redo the lab. Every member of the group had to have an understanding of the project or else we would not have been allowed to go to lab. Performing the lab procedure was the easiest part of the project. All groups were scheduled for three hour time slots.

The final part of the project was the post lab. Writing the post lab was definitely easier compared to the pre-lab, but it did require a heavy amount of analyzing data. Overall despite its difficulty the project was definitely helpful. I believe it will help me in my future career in research & development, because of the similarities in tasks. It was a fun challenge for us to overcome.

Environmental Engineering Class

Evan Boso

Evan Boso,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 2 December 2013 – This semester, I’m taking an environmental engineering course as a civil engineering elective. Although, my focus is in structural I thought it was best to try to mix it up and try something new. The class itself included a wide range of topics that covered everything from basic definitions of sustainability to mapping air pollution.

One of the things we had to do within the class itself was to create a life-cycle assessment. The purpose of a life-cycle assessment is to evaluate all the energy, material, and overall impact a product has on the environment. Although this may seem straightforward, I assure you by the end it will leave you wallowing in your tears.

Ok, maybe not quite that far but, when even given a simple example one can see how much work goes into a life-cycle assessment. For example, a basic wooden pencil would have to be broken up into its basic components. This would include the wood, graphite, the eraser, the metal around the eraser, and the yellow paint.

Then from there you would need to find the components that make up each one of those. For instance, a modern day eraser is most likely made up of synthetic rubber, which is made up of a polymer, where polymers are derived from petroleum byproducts. Then the machining or processing of each component is also analyzed. This would include the energy or any other major inputs necessary to complete the processing or machining. The same would be done during the final assembly of the product. Finally, the actual use and disposal of the product would also be analyzed.

In summary, a life cycle assessment really goes as far as its creators care to push it. Meaning they can include anything they deem appropriate, such as energy for transportation, equipment used, or waste created from processing. Overall it really made me think about how much really goes into each product I use daily and how big of an impact those things have on the environment in total.

Project Management, Facilities, Econ, and Bio

Sarah Anderson

Sarah Anderson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 3 November 2013 – As my college career is culminating into my final year, each semester of classes is more interesting than the one before. One of my favorite aspects of my class schedule is its diversity. I am currently enrolled in three of my ‘major’ classes and three electives required by my degree.

My project management class gives me the chance to work in teams with new people to develop and present a potential project idea. It’s fun to witness the range of ideas that appear, from building a new bar uptown to building an island. Still it’s amazing to see the similarities in the decision-making process for the different scopes of projects.

My favorite class is about designing layouts for various facilities. We have to come up with the most effective arrangement of various departments in a given building considering a variety of factors. Even in designing the skeleton of the building itself, a number of systems (electrical, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) need to come together to create an optimal work environment.

I also get to stretch my legs and go across campus to study economics and human biology. Econ is a neat class, especially because taking a federal macroeconomics gives me a flip-side perspective to the small-scale microeconomics class I took freshman year. I like having the chance to see how society works, not just my personal engineering projects.

I am so excited to be able to finally take a biology class though, especially an anatomy class. Perhaps it’s the systems engineer in me, but I love seeing how the different systems in the body interact to create such a complex organism (my molecular biology roommate also likes that I now understand more than 40% of what she says). The class has also motivated me to want to work on designing harder and more complex systems that take into consideration a number of factors.

As I’m scheduling next semester, my classes are all in the engineering building, but I’ll be sure to schedule an extra, just to give me some perspective.

Interactive Computer Graphics

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 23 October 2013 – This year I am a senior majoring in computer science in the Russ College Of Engineering and Technology. For me, that means I have a harder course load than I have ever had but it also means that I get to take more interesting classes than I have ever had as well. So far, senior year is full of all the “fun” classes I have been looking forward to since I enrolled in the Russ College of Engineering. The computer science program here offers all kinds of cool classes once you get the basics of programming and math out of the way. These classes range from artificial intelligence, to networking and internet engineering, and one of my favorites; interactive computer graphics.

I am currently taking the interactive computer graphics class and it is the best class I have ever taken. Throughout the class I am learning about how your computer interacts with the graphics card to actually make things show up and move on the screen. We started with basic 2 dimensional graphics and then soon got into 3 dimensional graphics which is really awesome. We are learning about current practices in video games and how to make our 3D graphics more realistic. In a few weeks we get to choose our own final project and turn our design into a reality instead of taking a final exam.

Final projects can be a variety of things but one of the most common ideas is some type of game. So as my friends study for all their boring exams I get to brag about how I am working on a 3D game for a grade! I get more excited with each class I attend and I can’t wait to see what else is in store for this semester.