Getting Ready to Leave

Steve Toth

Steve Toth,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 22 April 2016

Today was my last day of class as college student, meaning a week from tomorrow I will be walking across the floor of the Convocation Center as I graduate from Ohio University. This experience is kind of a bittersweet one, one that I’ve never really had before.

Soon I will be starting a new chapter in my life’s book. One not centered around waiting on classes to start or end. It’s both exciting and scary as I will be coming into a whole new batch of variables.

The first few pages of this chapter will be finding an apartment for my fiancée and I while we remodel the farm house. Shortly thereafter, I will be starting my “big-boy job” at Honda.

With all of these huge changes coming in a very short period of time, I’m sure things will be hectic but I know that my experiences here at Ohio University will be some of my most cherished memories and that the Russ College has prepared me for life after college. For the last time, this is Steve Toth signing off. Stay classy, Bobcats.

Caroline wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

This past weekend I had the absolute privilege of attending the Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation Joint Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The conference lasted from Friday to Sunday, and I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.

The research project which I have been working on over the past couple of years is in collaboration with a DO/PhD student from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine named Ashley Patton. Our project involves investigating the early development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as analyzing the effect of a novel group of compounds on the progression of the disease.

Research Poster

Attending the AAP/ASCI meeting offered us the opportunity to share our work with leading researchers and emerging students in the biomedical field. I may very well have been the only undergraduate in the room for the whole weekend, but I would not have traded my experience for anything.

Ashley and I left on Thursday to allow us some time to see the sights before the conference began. We landed at 1:00 pm, and then proceeded to soak in everything that Chicago had to offer.

Chicago Bean

Over the course of our trip, we marveled at “the Bean,” sampled some famous popcorn, tried Chicago deep-dish pizza (TWICE!), trekked up and down the Magnificent Mile, traveled the Chicago River walk, ate squid ink pasta, basked in the sun in Millennium Park, and took in the incredible skyline from the tallest floor of the “Sears” (now known as the Willis) Tower.

Willis tower

It was the perfect mix of business and entertainment. The majority of our time was spent listening to presentations and panels with a group of talented speakers which included everyone from a Nobel Laureate to a former NASA astronaut.

Recently, I have struggled to identify what my path will be after graduation, but attending this conference really invigorated me because I realized that many of the most gifted minds in the world have no idea what they want to do: they follow their passions at any costs, and in this way, they succeed brilliantly in their endeavors.

I think the thing that struck me the most was a quote from a panelist on the last day. Despite being a super successful scholar and entrepreneur, he said, “I am no smarter than anyone else. The only reason that I am here is that I have been willing to fail over and over and over again.”

That was my biggest takeaway from the weekend, and I can only hope that in my life, regardless of my triumphs and trials, I can show the same strength to get back up each time I fall.

Drago Cvijetinovic

Drago Cvijetinovic,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

With the end of the year approaching, and graduation only about two weeks away, I can’t help but think about how all of this is coming to an end. About five years ago, I was studying day in and day out for college admission tests, thinking about which college I wanted to go to, and writing down pros and cons for a number of different universities.

It would be fair to say I may have shed a few years off my life from the levels of stress I had thinking about all this. It’s not easy to make these large financial decisions that impact the rest of your life, especially at the age of 18.

There was always a little part of me that wanted to come to Ohio University, maybe because I had an older sibling that went here too. The idea of college was intimidating at first, but coming down for Sibs Weekend as a high school senior, spending time with my sister and her “college friends” was a huge encouragement.

OU Sibs Weekend 2011
Sibs Weekend 2011

Despite that, I didn’t want to make a decision that was purely based on one good weekend. But when I added that weekend to the great Aviation program, to the comfort I felt on campus, to the Athens student community, my decision was simple.

From start to finish, I never stopped meeting people. I wasn’t aware until I was on my own how many different types of people there were, the way they thought, and how they perceived life. The people that had the biggest impact on me were the ones who thought differently, and I loved that.

Despite not thinking alike, I find myself to this day with the same group of friends that I made day one in Ewing Hall. We all came from different backgrounds but we shared similar core values: a belief that we’re good people, a want to strive for greatness, and a need to help each other along the way.

It’s almost like having another family. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to describe, possibly because it’s a not tangible, but it’s definitely one of those unique traits that a university like OU holds.

Now that the year is coming to an end, it’s time to grow up and think about the future. Just this past week, I’ve successfully completed my commercial pilot certificate—I’m officially employable! Therefore, starting immediately, I’m starting my Flight Instructor training. This fall, I’ve committed to staying in Athens for a year to be a Flight Instructor for the university.

After the Checkride
After my commercial checkride

Overall, coming to Ohio University was a remarkable experience. I was able to get the degree that I dreamed about as a young boy but I also took away a lot more than what I initially paid for. I was able to become the person I wanted to be: confident, assertive, and an advocate for others in need.

Women’s Leadership Symposium

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 15 April 2016

Waking up at 4 am on a Wednesday sounds like an awful way to start the day, right? Pair that with a four-hour bus ride to the other side of the state, and you’d think that the day is going poorly. Actually, when it involves networking with women in professional leadership positions, it’s not so bad.

I spent my Wednesday at Cleveland State University attending seminars and panel discussions on what it means to be a woman in the workforce, and what we can do to support our sisters in professional growth.

Here’s about how the day went:

4:00 am (Athens): Wake up, eat a small breakfast, get dressed in business professional attire—don’t ask me the difference between business professional and business casual, I probably couldn’t tell you—and try to leave my house on time.

5:30 am: Be late, leave my house in a hurry, and take one step down the hill, purse breaks. Great start to the day. Speed walk to Baker Center to catch the bus that’s supposed to leave at 6, see a bus leave the Baker parking lot, panic, consider going home, decide against that and begrudgingly walk with my head down to the designated meeting place.

5:45 am: Realize that the bus I saw leave was theGoBus, feel embarrassed, stand with the other attendees and wait for the real bus, not saying a word to anyone.

6:00 am: Bus leaves for Cleveland. Commence napping.

9:45 am (Cleveland): Bus pulls up to the Cleveland Public Auditorium. Attendees all pile out of bus, directly go into first session.

10:00 am: Walk in late to a panel discussion on women in male-dominated fields. Listen to testimony from female police chiefs, construction company CEOs, and athletic directors. Feel empowered. Take lots of notes. Scurry off to next seminar.

11:00 am: Arrive early for discussion on LGBTQ rights in Ohio. Realize that Ohio is still very far behind in the fight for equality. Leave feeling motivated.

12:00 pm: Lunch at a table of professional attendees. Discover one is an OU alum. Briefly chat about Athens. Lunchtime keynote speaker begins. Listen to presentation on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Feel enlightened.

1:30 pm: Keynote speaker ran long, after-lunch sleepiness kicks in. Wander into panel discussion on women in creative fields. Ears perk up at the statement “I graduated in a class of 75% women”. Try to imagine what engineering would be like with 75% women. Leave feeling disconnected and a little jealous.

3:00 pm: Attend discussion on emotional intelligence. Learn so much on emotionally conscious leadership. Decide to implement in everyday life. Leave feeling rushed, but excited.

4:00 pm: Load back up onto bus. Immediately fall asleep. Realize that I’m an 80-year old woman trapped in a 20-year old’s body.

8:00 pm (Athens): Arrive home. Fall back asleep. Too much excitement for me in one day.

It was an interesting event, to say the least. Usually, I attend these kinds of things with at least one person I already know, but this time I decided to roll solo. As a remarkably socially awkward person, this was probably not a good idea. I don’t think I had a conversation that lasted more than two minutes the whole day. But, this allowed me to spend a lot of time sharpening my observation and listening skills.

I did feel a bit disconnected from the other attendees, being one of the only engineers there, but the community was still very strong. I’ll probably try to attend again next year, if possible. Even though it’s not an engineer-focused event, it would have been nice to have an engineering presence there. Maybe it’s an event that SWE would like to partner with, since it’s like a mini-conference. I think that would be a good idea!

Preparing for Life after Graduation

Gavin Whitehead

Gavin Whitehead,
Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 13 April 2016

The final stretch of my last semester. All I have to do is pass my last 4 classes and graduation will be awaiting at the end of April. It didn’t really hit me that I actually have to move out of Athens until I talked to my dad last week about moving my stuff out of my apartment.

I’m still trying to push off the thought and completely ignore the fact that I will have to start packing soon. I remember when I moved in my freshman year and could fit everything into one car load. I don’t know when I acquired all of this extra stuff, but it’s definitely going to take a decent sized SUV and a car to maybe get my stuff back in one trip.

I have been fortunate enough to get hired at PSA Airlines this past month! They flew me down to Charlotte, North Carolina over spring break for an interview and I got hired on the spot!

My first day is the second week of May, so I will be rolling right into a job the week after graduation. I’ll be in training for a few months between Dayton, OH, Charlotte, NC, and Cincinnati, OH then I will be out flying the jets. Not too many people go straight to the airlines after college but this shows that OU has the tools necessary to make it all the way to the dream job!

Summer Approaches

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 13 April 2016

Spring in Athens is my favorite time of the year, but it also is the busiest time of the year. It seems that all of your projects, homework assignments and exams all fall on the same due date. With that being said, I find a way to get through it and make it to summertime, and for this summer I cannot wait for it to get here.

This summer I will be working for E.S. Wagner Company as a superintendent. They are a heavy highway, heavy excavation company that works in Ohio, the surrounding states and in South Carolina. I will be working out in the field supervising the different crews on the job site. For my location this summer, I have not heard the finalized decision but I’m still very excited either way.

This opportunity may have never presented itself if I had gotten involved with organizations during my time here at Ohio University. My organizations have broadened my professional network exponentially and I continue to improve my relationships with professionals daily.

For this particular co-op. I have my organization, The Ohio University Estimating Team, to thank for getting me in contact with E.S. Wagner. Without being involved in that organization I would have never talked with the company. Summer is right around the corner and I cannot wait for it to arrive!!

Optimization in Senior Design

Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2016

The biggest project of many senior engineering students is Senior Capstone. This is a course where all your knowledge and experience are tried out in a real world scenario. Each group has an industry client and is assigned the project the client chooses. I knew that this could be a challenge and a great learning experience for life after college. It has definitely met both of those expectations!

The team I am on was assigned a project with Exel/DHL. They run warehouses for customers in various consumer industries. Our task was to create a model that could be used to evaluate existing and new, custom box sizes for packaging their customers’ products.

We created a model to take into account the size of products, boxes and costs involved in using different variations of box sizes. The model consisted of multiple equations that describe the different aspects of the situation we were studying. We set it up to choose optimal box sets based on making the void (empty space) when packing products as small as possible.

This project incorporated so many skills that I had been building throughout my time in college! Not only were skills in software and coursework utilized but also soft skills like presenting ideas and logistics and time management skills for working on the project while continuing to take a full load of courses! It also challenged and helped me to build on my leadership and motivational skills when working in a group. It was definitely a challenge working with conflicting schedules, deadlines, client demands and having to learn on the job.

Our project was to search for optimal box sets but the biggest takeaway for me was learning to create optimal team work and time management when working. These are huge takeaways that can be used in everyday life for years to come! Even though it had its stressful times, overall Senior Capstone was a great learning experience I truly enjoyed.