Tag Archives: hobbies

Taking Advantage of Opportunities for Self-Betterment

Casey Davis

Casey Davis,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 October 2014

I was born the youngest child with a brother that always outweighed me by over 80 lbs. As a freshman in high school, I weighed a mere 120 pounds. I figured it was time to do something about it, considering I had been “skinny as a bean pole” if you will, my whole life.

I started with some friends going to work out and lift a few times a week. With an ectomorph body type, adding weight would be nearly impossible without eating everything in sight, in addition to weight training. So, in an effort to actually be effective, that is exactly what I did. I ate everything, and anything high in protein and, well, actually anything. I can say from personal experience there is no better feeling than feeling your body getting stronger. And, of course, seeing your muscles grow is always a plus.

By the time I entered Ohio University I had gained 50 pounds of muscle and had been satisfied with my accomplishments. However, I was not done trying to improve myself–as anyone who lifts can tell you, it can be addicting (in a good way).

With Ohio University having a multi-floor weight room, it was perfect for me to have the space and equipment to allow me to reach peak physical condition. With rooms for different classes such as yoga, jazzercise, and MMA club there are many opportunities for people with all different types of interests to find something that they would enjoy.

There is brand new equipment for the 2014-2015 year including a revamped room with a Crossfit space. It has many squat racks and bars for all the Olympic lifts that you would perform in a Crossfit environment (that I thoroughly enjoy). I also enjoy playing pickup basketball, which occurs during many of the operating hours every single day. With about 4-1/2 full courts, there is usually never a wait for more than 1 game.

There are so many athletic facilities available for students at Ohio University that allow them to improve their health, relieve stress from class, and bond with other students. The ones mentioned above are just a small sample size. There are many other facilities including the Aquatic Center, the golf course, tennis courts, Frisbee golf course, a bike/running path that goes around the entire outer campus, and even Bird Arena, our hockey rink.

The moral of the story is that there is an abundance of fun, self-improving facilities/activities that are available to all students. I have gained ten more pounds of muscle during my time here, achieving my weight goal of 180 pounds. I hope that many others that read this know the great quality of athletic facilities there are here at our school.

My “Brand-New” 1970 GMC K2500

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 30 September 2014

Besides being a college student, one of my hobbies includes restoring antique farm equipment and trucks. This past summer, although I was very busy with my full-time internship, I found time to bring a 1970 GMC K2500 pickup back to life. (I didn’t sleep.) It is 1 of about 6000 made and 1 of few that have survived 44 years of abuse.

1970 GMC K2500

My treasure came from Sisseton, South Dakota, complete with the original dealership decal and 80,000 miles. After contacting the original owner I discovered that it had spent its life as a ranch truck, hauling hogs to market and daughters to school.

After spending countless hours in the shop, all rust was repaired (while maintaining most of the original paint), a completely new suspension and steering system was installed, the complete brake system was upgraded and countless other repairs and upgrades were performed.

1970 GMC K2500

Although the truck has been a large investment of both time and money, it has also been a great source of pride and satisfaction for this engineer-in-training. It seems as though I cannot drive it anywhere without getting a smile on my face or attracting the attention of passers-by.

Taking Time to Play with my Band

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 06 March 2014 – To escape the stress of our engineering coursework, many students in the Russ College (including myself) have hobbies and other activities that we partake in outside of the classroom. For me, I am practicing musician and recording artist. For the past nine years, I have been actively involved in a Columbus-based rock band called Playing To Vapors. Consisting of my best high school friends, we fall into the alternative/progressive rock genre akin to the likes of Radiohead, Minus the Bear, and My Morning Jacket. From live performances to studio recording, we immerse ourselves in every part of the music making experience—-writing, recording and performing all original material.

Playing to Vapors Live

As a student of both electrical engineering and audio production I am frequently asked how audio/music and electrical engineering are related. It may seem that the two are polar opposites; however, recording a professional sounding record requires a deep technical knowledge of acoustics, recording equipment and analog and digital signal processing.

A true recording engineer not only understands the qualities that make a great song but must fully understand signal-processing equipment such as equalizers and compressors to properly manage frequency balance and transient content in a recording. Many of concepts which are developed through electrical engineering courses are also important in the audio world, including gain, frequency response, sampling, bit depth, feedback, filtering, signal-to-noise ratio, and many, many more. What electrical engineering has brought to my audio background is a greater knowledge of these concepts and the ability to apply my technical know-how directly to my work as a recording artist and musician.

Playing to Vapors in the Studio

Playing to Vapors in the Studio

Rockin’ Out With the Roomies

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 February 2014 – I’m sure the vast majority of non-engineers would perceive the common undergraduate engineering student as one who is left-brained, analytical, meticulous, and, ultimately, quite boring. Without a doubt these types of engineers exist: those that always have their nose in a textbook or are preparing for their next academic deadline or project. These types of individuals almost always excel in the classroom and are shoo-ins for technical, well-paying jobs after graduation.

But for every bookworm in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, there is a student who falls somewhere in the middle of the left-brain/right-brain spectrum; these students are creative, think outside-of-the-box, and most likely have a very different perspective on their engineering discipline that does his or her analytical counterpart. I’d like to briefly talk about my experience playing the drums (what I like to tout as my “right-brained” activity).

I started playing the drums in seventh grade after my dad bought me a beat-up kit for about $200. I took lessons for a year and have been teaching myself ever since. I am in a three-piece rock band back home (Brunswick, OH, just south of Cleveland); over the summer we practice quite a bit and try to write original material whenever we get the chance.

When I’m here at school, however, my musical urges are satisfied in a different way. Two of my roommates play guitar and bass respectively; the bass player is the bassist in my band from back home (we’re called Twelve On The High if you want to check us out). Rather than sitting down and writing discrete songs, we prefer to improvise and “jam” with one another. My roommate Brian, the guitarist, will present a riff to Nick and I and we will work off of that riff in an attempt to turn it into something great.

I would not be the person I am today without the influence that playing the drums has had on my life, but I would also not be the same from an academic and professional standpoint as well. To have the outlet of playing music is truly a blessing because it allows me to step back from my work as an engineer and use different parts of my brain that require me to think in different ways. I think playing the drums definitely improves my creativity and provides me with a fun and effective way to relieve stress.

To any student who is thinking about entering college as an engineer, I strongly recommend having some sort of “right-brained” activity that you enjoy doing to balance out the monotony of academic endeavors. Work-life balance is important to everyone, but, it is especially important to young students who are starting their careers.

Board Games

Annye Driscoll

Annye Driscoll,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 23 January 2012 – My group of friends and I have found an incredibly awesome and nerdy way to spend our weekends (and our money)–board games. And no, I’m not talking about Monopoly or Sorry. We play serious board games–ones that come with over 700 pieces and 42 page full-color rulebooks. These are games that take 5 or 6 hours to play (and even longer to set up and clean up, it feels like). These nerdy games are happily becoming more mainstream – I think many people have heard of Settlers of Catan, which is a really nice introduction to nerdy boardgaming.


Our most recent favorite is Dominion. It’s a deck building game with about a billion expansions and permutations, so every game is completely different. Our most epic game is Runewars. It’s SO EPIC. In this game you collect resources, recruit units (which are adorable little plastic figures), and fight each other with both those units and your heroes.

The group’s all-time favorite board game is Arkham Horror. Arkham Horror is SO AWESOME that it isn’t on our board game cabinet–that’s because we can’t play it our house because the board takes up so much room, so it’s currently living at our friend’s house. We meet every Friday night and play a few games while we drink and eat popcorn. Especially now, in the winter, game night is an awesome alternative to going out in the freezing cold! Just goes to show that there’s plenty to do in Athens, even if it’s pretty unconventional entertainment.