Spring Break in Nashville

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 18 March 2018

This past week was our spring break and I got the privilege of visiting my sister in Nashville for a couple days! It is, by far, my favorite city and I would love to live there one day.

When I arrived, we visited Broadway street for the night. Broadway Street is filled with giant bars and plenty of great country music. My favorite thing is walking down the street and listening to loud, live bands every five feet because each and every bar has live country music every night. How can you not love that?

We did some more sight-seeing over the next few days by visiting Centennial Park where the Parthenon is located and visiting the Gaylord Opryland.


The Parthenon is an exact replica of the original Parthenon located in Greece. This thing is massive. We got some cool pictures there looking like ants next to this structure.

The Opryland is a resort and convention center, but mainly a tourist attraction. They have three indoor “rooms” with shops inside them. I say inside with quotes because each room has either a river or pond in it with beautiful scenery everywhere. We loved watching a dancing fountain in one of the areas. My trip was amazing and I can’t wait to visit again!

CAD Project: Green Machine

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 March 2018

Many engineering classes involve group projects designed to test the students’ understanding of the topics taught throughout the semester. This is the case for many of the classes that I am taking this semester.

Of these projects, one that I am particularly excited for is my CAD (ME 3510) project. This project involves modeling and analyzing an existing product. Once this is completed, each group is required to make at least five design improvements.

The most exciting part about the project is that we were given free rein in terms of choosing the product to redesign. My group decided to use this as an opportunity to analyze a favorite toy from our childhoods, the Green Machine.

Green Machine

In addition to being an interesting engineering challenge, this also gave us an excuse to purchase a Green Machine for ourselves. Once we finally received the Green Machine, we were able to spend an afternoon performing some “product testing.” Although this is the technical term, a more accurate description would be continuously crashing the tricycle.

By the end of the semester, we plan to have implemented enough design improvements to have a tricycle that is large and stable enough for teenagers and adults to use. This goal is somewhat selfish since we have a group-wide consensus that we all need our own improved Green Machines to race.

Scuba Class

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 March 2018

Each semester of college, I usually take about 5 classes. Most of them are engineering courses straight from the Mechanical Engineering flow chart found on the website for OU, but I always try to squeeze in one different class. For example, I took a dance class for a fine arts credit freshman year, two courses for my scholar’s program (Margaret Boyd Scholars) on Women in Leadership, an entrepreneurship class last year, a business consulting class to study abroad in Greece, and this semester a SCUBA class.

SCUBA class consists of an online class and a lab for two hours once a week. Every few weeks we meet in a lecture for two hours before the lab to go over important topics, such as learning how to use equipment, dive tables, and an exam review.

The lab is my favorite part of the class. In lab, we put on our equipment and learn all the skills necessary for scuba diving. Some of those include surface dives, regulator breathing, buddy breathing, water entries, and bailout. I am usually exhausted after each lab from swimming and carrying around all the equipment.

One of the reasons I decided to take this course is because I have always loved the water, but sometimes don’t participate in water activities because I don’t like being cold. I bought a wet suit so I have no excuse now. SCUBA has taught me how to be a more patient and relaxed person because if you aren’t relaxed when SCUBA diving, lots of things can go wrong. At the end of course, I can even get certified if I pass my pool and written exams.

Hearty Software: Update

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 2 March 2018

In the beginning of last semester, I talked about my senior design project. For a recap, it is developing an Android and iOS application to calculate a user’s risk for Cardiovascular Disease in 15-20 years.

I am in a team with four other Computer Science majors but split up internally based on which platform we are developing. I am on the iOS team and work with two other people.

We have made a lot of progress since last semester, as one would hope. With the success we have had, there has also been a lot of struggles. I quickly learned how to communicate with our clients who did not know as much about technology and software as we did. That is probably the hardest barrier our team has had to get over.

Watching our two apps deploy onto actual devices is a pretty cool experience. Looking back to August, I had no idea what the programming language Swift was, and now it seems that I think more in Swift than English.

Our team finally has a validated Healthy Heart Score to give to the user and now we are currently working on a feature using slider bars to show how certain behaviors can positively or negatively affect their risk in the future. With only seven weeks left in the semester, I am excited to see a final version of our application!

Creating for Good on My Coast-to-Coast Run

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2018

While I am studying for my engineering classes and practicing for the field hockey team, I am also running around Athens in preparation for my summer plans. This summer, I am running with a team of college-aged runners from coast to coast: literally from San Francisco to Baltimore.

This 4,000+ mile journey in relay form will take us 49 days, which means I will run 8-12 miles on average a day. During this “4K for Cancer,” we will be raising money and awareness for cancer. The 4K is a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) and this will be the 17th time UCF is sending young adults across the country.

In addition to the physical aspect of this program it will be a mental challenge as well, as my 10 month old infant cousin is currently battling myeloid leukemia.

4K Run

Studying abroad has been challenging ever since she, Leighton van Leeuwen, got diagnosed with cancer at the age of 6 months (September 2017). However, I found support in running for her and in my family away from home: Ohio University.

4K Run

Last month, the coed professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology helped me set up a fundraiser in the ARC Atrium. For two days, we sold Dutch baked goods for donations and we recruited 25 students to become part of the international bone marrow registry!

4K Run

On top of this, I organized a few other fundraisers such as an online Yankee Candle sale, selling Russ College T-shirts and flowers for Valentine’s Day through Tau Beta Pi, an online sale for engraved baking supplies, a “donate my hair” auction, and a Santa Fest birthday celebration at home before I came back to the States. All of this has contributed to my current donation status of $5,700!

4K Run

4K Run

In order to secure my spot on Team Baltimore, I had to raise a $4,500 minimum goal. Even after achieving this goal, it is not in my nature to stop spreading the word. Therefore, I have some exciting fundraisers planned for the rest of the semester to finish off with a personal goal of $7,000. For instance, Chi Epsilon and I will host a fundraiser at Tavolino, and I am planning on running my first half marathon in Athens this April…

4K Run

Thus, I am extremely thankful of the opportunities given by the Russ College and the ongoing support they have given me. Something I hope everyone to experience!

For more information on my 4K you can visit my personal blog and my fundraising page:https://ulman.z2systems.com/illona-hartman

Chemical Engineering Academics

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 February 2018

I’ve heard it said that sophomore year second semester of chemical engineering is the hardest semester. I’ve also heard it said that junior year first semester is the hardest semester. Okay, it’s second semester junior year that is the hardest, and so on and so forth. This is because each semester my dad tells me it’s the hardest one.

I think I understand his parenting logic, to get me to be ever vigilant in my studies and take every class seriously. I remember being annoyed during my sophomore year, but now I appreciate what he said to me. He got me in the mindset to tackle each semester one at a time, not dwelling on past semesters, or worrying about future ones.

However, this semester might actually be the hardest semester in chemical engineering, at least for me. That being said, I have never been more excited about engineering than I am right now. While I enjoyed my calculus and chemistry courses over the past two years, my true passion lies in my engineering classes this semester.

My chemical reaction engineering class takes me inside a reactor where molecular bonds are breaking and reforming. I am learning the intricacies of sizing and choosing what type of reactor will best fit my future company’s needs. In my advanced materials course, I can delve deeper into what makes steel so tough and how to choose the optimal characteristics of a material.

Overall, my classes this semester are some of the most engaging I’ve had during my time here at OU. I am beginning to scratch the surface of what my future career could be like, and I am thrilled about that. I am solving problems that, though textbook, have real engineering applications and challenge me to be creative and apply what I know. These classes are tough. None of them are easy, but I’ve heard junior year second semester is the hardest semester and I only have a few more to go.

Spring Co-op at Toyota

Andrew Noll

Andrew Noll,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 18 February 2018

Starting out the year 2018 I accepted a co-op with Toyota Manufacturing in Buffalo, West Virginia. I have an apartment in Eleanor, WV, the neighboring town of Buffalo, and live with another co-op.

I am very grateful for the classes and professors here at OU that have set me up to secure this opportunity. I got an interview with Toyota through the Russ College career fair last fall and learned a lot about the company through a friend who worked in Buffalo last summer.

My position at Toyota is internal logistics engineer and I have been doing lead time studies for the engine and transmission lines. I map out the process lines and analyze them in attempts to eliminate buffer stock, which in turn reduces inventory costs.

At the end of my rotation I will have to present out to various managers on what changes I propose to implement. The work environment at Toyota is great and I am learning a lot of manufacturing precedents that the Japanese company has set. I have no doubt that this experience will be very valuable in my career search, and I am hopeful that it will turn into a full time offer after graduation!