Learning Python

Cami Jones

Cami Jones,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 21 January 2018

Would you take a class on a Saturday? What if it was just a one-time class, but it was on the first Saturday back from winter break after a week of new classes? I’m guessing it depends on what you expect to learn in the class.

Believe it or not, I spent my first Saturday afternoon back on campus in a computer lab learning the basics of computer programming in Python. Perhaps the more surprising thing is that I was joined by twenty other students and two professors from our Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE) department who were all there for the same reason I was—to learn something new.

The Python workshop I attended was the first of its kind hosted by our chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE). Eric May, an alumnus of our ISE department (and current machine learning researcher for J.P. Morgan Chase in Columbus, OH) volunteered his time and talents to help us better understand the applications of Python, a widely-used programming language, in the context of industrial engineering.

To me, this workshop was a testament to more than just the growing importance of understanding general programming. I saw that both students and professors in our department truly value continuing their education and working to understand how to solve problems in new ways. I also saw the great impact of an alumnus spending time back on campus to teach others about their passions to prepare them for the future.

So now would you take a class on a Saturday? If it’s hosted by an industry professional taking their time to share their knowledge, I highly encourage it!

P.S. Eric was also an Engineering Ambassador during his time at Ohio University!

Senioritis? No time for that!

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 December 2017

It is most college students’ hope that after putting in three long years of studying and hard work, that their senior year they can just carry the required classes and maybe take some fun classes just to meet their minimum hours. For me, however, I don’t exactly get this luxury.

The largest reason for this is that because I plan to pursue medical school next fall, I had to take additional classes throughout my undergraduate years to meet the prerequisite requirements. In addition to these classes, you add a personal finance class (because I wasn’t exactly the best with money…) and a couple “just for fun classes,” and here I am as a senior and I need 20 credit hours each semester to graduate on time!

The reason I’m telling you this isn’t to brag or complain or anything of the sort, but rather to make two points:


  1. Plan your entire class schedule early and well, and

  2. Find what works best for you and grow from it.


This second point may seem a little odd, but let me explain. Though I had 20 credit hours this semester on top of the other organization commitments and responsibilities I had, I found it to be one of my most productive semesters to date. There’s something about feeling busy all the time that increases my productivity and makes me more motivated to keep moving forward.

When reflecting on this experience that I thought would be miserable, I have actually learned more about myself and how I perform best. The things I have learned from this experience are things I plan to implement into my life moving forward.

Ice Skating

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 11 December 2017

My family has always had a love for ice skating. It is one of our favorite things to do, especially during winter. I have many great skating memories:


  • When I was two, my parents put me in beginner skating lessons at the local arena.

  • They were the designated chaperones when my friends and I would go skating in junior high school and they had instructed my nervous, wall-hugging friends on skating basics such as bending your knees and leaning forward as you push off.

  • At home in western Pennsylvania after my first semester of college, my dad and I went ice skating at Market Square in Pittsburgh and we won two tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Skating in Pittsburgh

To me, ice skating is synonymous with wonderful times spent with family and friends. Ergo, nothing cures homesickness for me quite like taking a few laps around Bird Arena during an open skate. Feeling the cold air brush past my face reminds me of playing ice tag with my elementary school friends. My mom and dad’s gentle instructions enter my thoughts as I push off the cold, solid ice.

As an out-of-state student, I don’t go home very often, which means I still get homesick from time to time. However, sites like Bird Arena on campus replace that longing feeling with happy memories and something to look forward to the next time my family is together.

Finally Done with Senior Design

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 10 December 2017

This semester was by far the longest 15 weeks of my life. What do I have to thank for this grueling yet empowering struggle? My senior design project of course!

In Civil Engineering, we have the choice of taking three different types of senior design classes. In the fall, there is Land Development senior design. In the spring, there is Environmental/Water senior design and Structural senior design. Because I am interested in transportation, planning, and municipal engineering, the Land Development senior design was the best choice for me.

The overall concept of the class is to design and plan a housing subdivision complete from the initial surveying to the completed utility and grading plans.

In my opinion, this class is the class where you will learn the most Civil Engineering topics out of any class in the curriculum. Over the course of 15 weeks, I learned how to:

  • do a topographic survey of 30 acres of land
  • plan and design roadways with horizontal and vertical curves
  • grade out existing land to make it usable for homes
  • plan out storm sewer, sanitary sewer, and water main utility lines
  • design a detention basin with correct drainage plans

…and a whole lot more which would take up way too much time to
describe.

For the first time ever in a college class, it finally felt like I was being an engineer. To go from nothing to a complete design with all the bells and whistles was something so amazing to be a part of. It wasn’t without mistakes, which my group made a fair amount of. But it was from these mistakes in our design that allowed us to learn the most.

At the end of the class, we presented our design to a panel of 10 professional engineers. They all had specialties they used in their real-world engineering jobs and were able to comment on all of our plans and designs. Even though presenting to them was nerve racking, their input was awesome and it was great to hear comments from veteran engineers.

Even though I wouldn’t recommend taking senior design with 19 credit hours and being the head of two large organizations, it was the biggest learning experience of my college career. The skills I learned with surveying and AutoCAD I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I definitely feel ready to take on the real world now.

The Great Outdoors

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 December 2017

My entire life, I have been quite the outdoorsman. I attribute some of that to my parents who took us camping twice a year with several close families.

In addition to that, I used to go “creeking” and catch all sorts of animals. I would keep these animals and study them for a few days, feeding and caring to them as needed, then I would release them back into the wild.

I was very close to entering a major in bio or even environmental engineering. I do not regret my decision to chose engineering technology. However, in the future I could see myself getting into an industry that can work with or protect the environment.

As I’ve grown older I’ve moved onto different kinds of outdoor hobbies. I started fishing religiously, hunting, cliff diving, backpacking with my pup or even doing “man vs. wild” with my friend.

The two things that made me appreciate nature the most were hunting, and the man vs. wild camps where we went out for 3 days with just a pot, a bb gun, and two knives.

Now a lot of people ask how I could hunt animals yet love nature? Everyone has an opinion and I respect that. I am not here to argue why I believe hunting is okay, but I truly believe it has made me more in tune with nature and helped me understand its complicated beauty.

I might sit outside and freeze all day without seeing one deer, but I get an opportunity to study nature that non-hunters cannot experience. I learn about varieties of plants and animals. I understand weather patterns and how animals react to it. I see the delicate balance of the ecosystem, and the interaction between animals at its simplest level, in which no book can teach.

For example, something I see too often: chipmunks will chirp loudly and scatter into holes, then 10 seconds later a hawk will fly by. It is that sort of communication and realization of nature’s community that has made me enjoy hunting so much.

Whether I am hunting, cliff diving, hiking, camping, etc. nature has never failed to amaze me. At every turn, I will educate people on its importance advocate for its sustainability for future generations.

Here’s a short video I made about my love for nature and the outdoors.

Snowboarding in Colorado

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 December 2017

Around 5:00 pm on Friday, December 15, the last day of finals week this semester, my friends and I will start the 21-hour drive from Athens, Ohio to Keystone, Colorado. One of these friends is a fellow engineering ambassador, Dan Riordan.

Once we get to Keystone, we will be skiing and snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains. This will be the third year that we take such a trip. It will also be the third year that I spend much of November and all of December impatiently waiting to be in Colorado. Although it does make it slightly harder to concentrate on studying for finals, this snowboarding trip is a great way to end fall semester.

I learned to snowboard in eighth grade, and since then I have tried to spend as much time on the mountain as possible. This became especially important once I got to college; spending a day or two where I’m only concerned about how much snow is falling each day is a great stress relief.

Snowboarding trips like this one are also rewarding because I get to notice myself getting better every year.

If the past two paragraphs have not already convinced you that I’m a big fan of snowboarding, I suggest you ask any of my friends, roommates, or classmates if I have offered to teach them to snowboard. I doubt you’ll get too many “no” responses.

Wrapping up the Semester

Nicholas Burton

Nicholas Burton,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 1 December 2017

Finals week is almost upon us. Thanksgiving Break was a nice little taste of the things to come for Winter Break and the end of the semester—just have to get through these next two weeks.

This semester has definitely been full of ups and downs, and it has given me an idea of a curriculum path to take while I finish up at OU with taking a path of land development. I tailored my schedule next semester to this path and I am very excited to learn more in depth of what all it has to offer.

I recently accepted an offer to intern at the company I was at the previous summer, Seamon Whiteside in Mt. Pleasant, SC. This has lifted a huge weight off of my chest, as it’s just one less thing to worry about now. If anything, it provides extra motivation to keep grinding and finish up school when I am supposed to. I hope to continue on with some of the projects I worked on last summer and gain more knowledge in my field of interest.

The fate of this upcoming weekend lies in the hands of the Ohio State Buckeyes. A win Saturday in the B1G championship and a potential college football playoff berth would be a great start to “Finals Week”. Go Bucks!