Human-Powered Vehicle Team

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2016

With the school year setting in, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Human Powered Vehicle team has begun its quest for the top. Each year, around 35 universities compete in a series of rigorous events and races with the vehicles they have designed over the previous year.

As a leader of the OU team, my passion and goal is to continue to help young, aspiring engineers through the engineering process from research to testing, and ultimately to show off what Ohio University students have to offer.

In my previous two years’ experience, I have learned a lot about not only bicycles, but also the engineering process, including many items that I have not yet learned in the classroom environment.

As this year rolls in, and I continue on to my second year as a leader of the team, I am looking to pass on that information to younger members so they can continue leading the organization to success after I have moved on. One of the most gratifying parts of this organization for me is being able to pass on the knowledge I have gained to other members.

The process of designing, analyzing, manufacturing, and testing a vehicle is neither a simple nor short endeavor. As a leader of such an extracurricular group, I realize that time while in college is precious and a juggling act between classes, extracurricular activities, personal life, and even work. I have devoted much of my time to the organization and am very grateful to see new and returning members devoting theirs to the organization as well.

While there are still many unknowns and hurdles to overcome, I continue to look forward to passing on knowledge and seeing the ideas members come up with to solve the challenging issues they face, with the hopes of bringing home a win for Ohio University come competition time.

Internet Engineering

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Junior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 September 2016

Coming down to the end of my college journey, the classes I need to take are slowly dwindling down. I’m able to pick electives that are outside of the normal Computer Science scope. One class I decided to take this semester is Internet Engineering. It isn’t too hard to guess what this class would be about…yes, how the internet works.

When I enrolled for it, I thought it was going to be such a cool class and sure enough it has already exceeded my expectations. With it being one of my hardest and most demanding classes, it is still definitely one of the most rewarding ones I’ve taken. It has actually showed me what I want to do with life after college.

An interesting topic we’ve covered so far is routing to different computers and setting up the internet using solely IP Addresses. At first, it was all over my head and I felt lost, but the more time I spend walking to and from classes, I find myself thinking about how those computers are all connected together on the same network. I’m excited to see what other random facts I learn and to cover more topics as the year progresses.

Engineering and Video Production

Joe Meyer

Joe Meyer,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 11 September 2016

When I was in my senior year of high school, they offered a class on video production where I was able to learn about every part that went into a news broadcast. I was able to dive into the audio, camera work and the post production. We also did smaller projects such as making a music video, and shooting news packages. After learning all of this, I realized I loved the work I was doing.

Over the summer I worked a co-op at Rovisys in Aurora Ohio, and I started to find ways I could incorporate my appreciation of video production with engineering. I was able to work with senior engineers in different industries to make short productions about what their strengths were and what technologies they used. This gave the customers an in-depth viewpoint to what Rovisys could do and how it would be done.

At Ohio University, they recently partnered with ESPN3 to have a student production crew shoot all of the Football, Basketball, and Volleyball games. When I found out about the class in the summer, I knew I had to register for it. After meeting a couple times with the class so far, its been amazing to see all of the new equipment, production trailer, and funding they have put into it.

My future aspirations are to find ways to incorporate what I’ve learned from electrical engineering here at Ohio University, and incorporate that with videography.

Starting Fall Semester

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 September 2016

Fall is a complex time. As time passes and it comes closer to October, I yearn for cool weather and colorful trees. I daydream of long runs on the Athens bike path where I can breathe in fall-scented fresh air and reminisce on my high school cross country days. At the same time, however, I am aware that as time progresses, the many commitments I have will pick up to the point that my “long runs” might only be speed walks to class in the morning.

An exciting part of senior year that just came together is our senior design project assignments. Our class of around 70 students has been split into about 14 teams, each of which have a design project to work on for the next two semesters. I have been really pumped for this, and even more now that I know what my team’s project is.

The projects that always excite me most are those from local project partners, so I was very excited to hear that our team would be working with the Athens Cycle Path Bike Shop to design a human powered bike path cleaner. I’m sure I’ll post more about this design in the future as it comes together.

I’m only beginning to see what this semester will look like. So far, something I see that will separate this semester from the rest is the amount of purpose there is in what I’m doing. Although each of my previous semesters has also had purpose, they were more focused on preparing me and turning me into a competent engineer. Finally, now that I’m on the last level of my undergraduate career, I can feel the training wheels being lifted and I’m ready to roll.

The Curse of the Fun Fact: How those Little Talents Save you Major Anxiety

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 7 September 2016

The thing I dread most about the start of a new school year is that horribly, horribly uncomfortable first session of class, or first meeting of a club, when you’re forced to go around in a circle and introduce yourself. You give the basics: name, year, major, focus…then you’re asked to name a fun fact about yourself. Or you’re made to tell what you did over summer. Or you’re asked some other get-to-know-you question that you’ll answer, and immediately move on from.

Any normal person without a fleck of anxiety understands that what you say in that moment doesn’t really matter. It’s not like the group is going to dwell on it for more than five minutes anyway, right? But to anyone with social anxiety—which is most of us nowadays—that moment is the single most torturous event of the next fifty-five minutes and can leave you grasping at words, trying to find something interesting about yourself to share.

I’ve taken to being brutally honest about myself now in my “Fun Fact” sections. I don’t really have hobbies, at least none that I really consider hobbies. Sure, I enjoy reading, but most days I’m too tired to read when I come home. Yes, I like to hike, but I get woozy in the heat so I avoid spending too much time outside in the warmer months. I could say that I have a slight online shopping addiction (okay, not so slight, but my mom could be reading this so I don’t want to admit how bad it really is), but who doesn’t in this day of AmazonStudent?

None of these are particularly pleasant options, as they would lead to a room full of bored, blank faces, and frankly I like to garner a reaction from people. So, I’m blunt. “Yeah, I don’t really have hobbies,” I’ll say. “But, I can walk in seven-inch heels on brick roads.”

Usually, this confession leads to a few stunned faces, maybe a few chuckles, and sometimes even a “Uh, why do you have seven-inch heels?” However, it’s true! The best way out of an uncomfortable Fun Fact situation is to just have a collection of small, odd talents. Whenever I need to think of a factoid on the spot, I have enough to choose from to avoid the anxiety-ridden moment altogether.

And, I’m able to tailor my responses to my crowd. The heels answer is probably impressive to a group of cyclists, but not so much to a room of actors. Maybe, “I can do The Wave with my eyebrows” (demonstration included) is a bit more interesting. Engineers may find “I can make my tongue disappear in my mouth!” more exciting and weird than “I can balance a broom vertically on my pinkie while walking up stairs.”

Really, the moral of this story is that when I got to college, I realized that all of my weird little talents that I had spent my childhood perfecting were actually useful for something: overcoming anxiety! Learn thyself, know thyself, and you shall never have a truly uncomfortable time in the Fun Fact moments of life.

Co-op with Columbia Gas

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 September 2016

This past summer I had the privilege of working at Columbia Gas of Kentucky. The location I was working at is located in Ashland, Kentucky, which is about 10 minutes away from my hometown, Ironton, Ohio. I worked in the field-engineering department and for the most part I spent my time working on small gas line extensions, relocations, and betterment projects.

The position had some great learning opportunities. I was able to attend a course on project management in Columbus and a course in Pittsburgh, PA to learn a computer program used by pipeline companies called Synergi. Traveling for work was super fun and I took advantage of my time while I was there, especially while in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has so many fun things to do, fantastic restaurants, and the city is very beautiful.

Columbia Gas

I loved my time at Columbia; the atmosphere was always friendly and laid back. The people I worked with while I was there were great, and very diverse. I was around a lot of people who had been with the company for over 30 years. They were incredibly knowledgeable of engineering practices and the natural gas industry. I learned many lessons from them that I most certainly couldn’t gain from the classroom and I am so grateful for it.

Now I am back in Athens and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Columbia part time while in school. I just try to log about 5 hours a week for work, which still leaves plenty of time for school and life. I miss being at work, but school is great and I am really enjoying my senior year so far.

Setting up a New ETM Lab

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 3 September 2016

This last summer I had the great pleasure of working in the Engineering Technology and Management labs under Ron Porter. It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to see the laboratories within Stocker Center, the main building of the Russ College, with a whole new level of appreciation.

Primarily, the job entailed maintenance and cleanup of the existing labs. I still remember the first project we had was blowing out and cleaning up the immense amount of sawdust that had accumulated in lab 009. This is the woodworking lab for ETM, and I was truly not prepared for how much sawdust I experienced in that first week and a half.

As the weeks went on through the summer, we also were tasked with some jobs needed to prepare the road for the new ETM capstone lab. Some of the back rooms were just a treasure of really interesting old projects and equipment. It surprised me to find some of the processes and equipment have remained relatively unchanged after so many years. Just as interesting were the discoveries so obsolete that we had trouble even figuring out what they were.

I find myself much more aware in the lab sessions of my classes. When work is finished I am so much more motivated to make sure not only my area is cleaned, but the whole lab that was being used. Largely, it was because I was able to see behind the curtain and witness the amount of work put into our wonderful university. At the end of the day, it was a very eye-opening experience that left me much more invested in my classes and Ohio University as a whole.