Author Archives: dalemasel

About dalemasel

Associate Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Ohio University

Relaxing with Yoga

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 March 2017

One of my favorite hobbies is yoga. I have been practicing yoga since my junior year of high school and do not see myself quitting any time soon. I started going to yoga after I had many knee issues from running track in high school. I had to go to physical therapy for my injuries.

As a long term solution, my therapist recommended that I start stretching more often to relieve tension in my knees. After doing yoga for a month straight, I noticed a huge difference in my flexibility and my knee pain was gone! From then on, I have made it a point to stretch every day and do an actual yoga class at least once a week.

Yoga not only has many physical benefits, it has mental benefits as well. When I am overloaded with school work and start to stress out, yoga always helps me calm down. The main thing I love about it is that it can be as easy or as hard as you want it to be. No matter what the difficulty, I always feel rejuvenated after.

My favorite type of yoga is Vinyasa, which means “to flow”. It is a series of movements that flow together. I particularly like power vinyasa, especially when the room is hot. Hot yoga helps increase flexibility since it warms the muscles. At first, I thought I would not like being stuck in a hot room doing hard yoga poses, but it is actually incredible. I definitely recommend giving it a try if you want a good workout. I also love gentle yoga. This type is great if I need to destress and get a good stretch in.

Finally, yoga is meant for any age group and is a great go-to work out when traveling. Adding this in even once a week can make a huge impact on balancing out stress levels.

Spring Break in San Diego with RLI

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 14 March 2017

My last Spring Break as a college student was definitely the best one. This fall, I was a member of the Robe Leadership Institute. This was a course that focused on building leadership skills to a small group Russ College seniors.

To conclude the course, we were fortunate enough to have to opportunity to take a trip out to San Diego, CA to meet with various CEOs while they give us a tour of their companies.

This trip could not have been possible without Russ College alumnus, Dan Squiller. Dan arranged for us to meet with these CEOs throughout the week.

It was so fascinating to hear the CEOs’ stories and career paths. After going a semester learning about leadership, it was so beneficial to see it in action. These CEOs are very successful and they told us their keys to becoming successful.

If you told me at the beginning of my freshman year that I would be spending my Spring Break meeting 6 CEO’s while allowing me to pick their brain, I would have called you crazy. This was honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I would like to think I took full advantage of it.

My favorite company that we saw was HM Electronics Inc. This company designs and manufactures the headsets that you see in fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and Starbucks. They also deal with many other electronic solutions in their market.

RLI in San Diego

Their CEO is Chuck Miyahira. Chuck gave us some great insight on how to succeed both early and later in our careers. Joining Robe Leadership Institute was one of the best decisions of my college career and I will take so much away with me as I begin my full-time job in June.

Spring Break in NC

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 14 March 2017

I went to Asheville, North Carolina for four days to visit my aunt and uncle in the mountains. My expectations were pretty low because it isn’t a town I’ve heard many people talk about. The drive was lengthy, but it was surrounded with mountain tops and gorgeous scenery.

North Carolina

I arrived to find that Asheville was a larger version of Athens. It was very laid back and most of the food was locally grown and organic. The best meal I had was locally made French toast stuffed with sausage and cheese. My mouth is watering just thinking about it! I learned very quickly that Asheville is also known for its craft beer because you cannot drive a mile in that town without seeing a brewery!

My hands down, favorite part of the whole trip was zip lining. I was scared to death looking down and thinking that I’m trusting my life with a cable and a few clips, but it was the best feeling in the whole world. It felt like I was a bird flying in the wind, looking down 300 feet at trees, and trying to spot something below me. Once I relaxed in my harness, I enjoyed the wind in my face and the adrenaline rushing through my body.

My spring break wasn’t on a beach, but it was a very enjoyable couple of days.

Recharging over Spring Break

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 13 March 2017

It’s about that time in the semester where I start to get tired and I feel like I need a vacation. Luckily, there is such a thing as spring break! During spring break, I take some much needed me time so I can get my head back on straight.

With engineering, there aren’t many days off, so I take full advantage of this week. Every year I get to go back home and catch up with my family, friends, and schoolwork. Plus, my mom and I usually go on a short vacation.

This year I spent most of my week hanging out with my family. I worked at my dad’s donut shop to earn a few extra bucks. I enjoyed the nice weather by picking up some milkshakes. I celebrated some birthdays. I also worked on some of my research and schoolwork so I could stay ahead of the game.

As much as I enjoyed seeing everyone back home, the highlight of my spring break was my trip to Washington D.C. While everyone was down at the beach, I got to walk around the capital. I have been before, but my mom had never been, so we made sure to visit all of the “must-sees”. We saw the White House, the Capitol building, the National Zoo, all of the main monuments like the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial, and we visited some of the museums on the mall, like the Holocaust Museum and the Natural History Museum. We also took one of those touristy bike tours. (So worth it!)

During the couple days I went to D.C. I didn’t take my laptop or my book bag. I found out that it is so important to get a break from life for a little bit and just see what the world has to offer. That is what I did this spring break unlike the ones in the past. It really did make all the difference in how much I enjoyed the trip.

Spring Break in the Caribbean

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 March 2017

For spring break this year, I ended up leaving the country for the first time and heading to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic with a few friends for a week off the grid. With the craziness of classes and the cold weather in Athens, this break couldn’t have come any sooner.

With this being the first time I had ever been out of the country, I was a bit apprehensive before leaving but as soon as we got to the resort, those worries all went away.

Every day was a new adventure, whether it was sitting by the pool or ocean meeting new people from all around the world, or adventuring on different parts of the island, riding horses or looking for starfish.

Spring Break Dominican Republic

While meeting new people and hearing everyone’s story is nice, I am always one for a good adventure. There were a few times where we toured around parts of the island with the first being on the southern coast in Bayahibe. Here we took a speedboat out to a sandbar where we were able to swim some and look for starfish. Following the sandbar, we got back in the boats and headed to the island of Saona where we hiked for a little, had lunch, and relaxed for a few hours before boarding a catamaran for the journey back.

As there are about 70 resorts in Punta Cana, each journey had new faces along with it. One of the other journeys around the island took us to the rural countryside north of the city of Higuey. Here we found ourselves riding horses through the mountain trails, driving side by sides through the mud, enjoying some cocoa from the local plantations, and riding a series of zip lines back down the mountain.

As some may call me an adrenaline junky, the zip lines were probably my favorite part of the trip. The final zip line we rode spanned almost 0.75 miles with speeds reaching over 40 mph. The excursion was rounded out with a nice Dominican meal before heading back to the resort.

Spring Break Dominican Republic

All in all, the first time leaving the country was a great success in my mind. I was able to enjoy the time off from classes while meeting lots of new people and experiencing pieces of a different culture.

Spring Co-op at Eaton Corp

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 6 March 2017

For the spring semester I decide to co-op with Eaton Corporation. This is my second rotation with Eaton and the plan is to continue working with Eaton and complete a third rotation this summer.

For this rotation I requested to be in Ashville, North Carolina. Asheville is one of Eaton’s electrical sector plants. This plant is close to 2.2 million square feet and has around 800 employees. It is a similar environment to my first rotation. Here I am working in the medium voltage drives department, and I’m completing projects in design, supply chain, and manufacturing/operations. I have been fortunate enough to work at a large plant where I can decide my own projects and work in various departments.

I would recommend that everyone does some sort of internship, co-op, or research while at OU. Until this past summer I did not plan on doing a co-op. I had already done two years as a research intern and completed one summer internship. I felt that my resume showed a lot of experience across different fields from those experiences and involvement on campus. However, I have found that doing a co-op has taught me a lot, and I do not regret taking the semester to work.

Moving to Asheville was a completely new experience. I have never lived outside of Ohio so the move was exciting and a culture change. When doing a co-op, everything is fast-paced: finding an apartment quickly, meeting new coworkers and friends, and exploring the new area in just 4 months.

While in Asheville I have been able to meet other interns and connect with fellow Bobcats that relocated here. I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains, near the Smoky Mountains, and along the Appalachian trail. The picture below was taken on one of the 6,000 footers that are along the Appalachian Trail.

Appalachian Trail

My biggest take-away from doing internships is that it’s not about how much you know before, but if you know how to learn. You may not use every formula you study in your classes, but you learn how to learn and problem solve.

Making Computer Science a Hobby

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 March 2017

Admittedly, I’d always had interest in tech-related hobbies that one might consider cliché for a computer science major. These might include things like video games, installing a wide variety of free programs to perform obscure tasks like deleting file directories without access right to the directory, accidentally ruining my dad’s computer with freeware (sorry dad), and experimenting with my computer in any ways which I could.

However, up until my sophomore or junior year of college, I’d never really spent any times explicitly practicing computer science as a hobby. Sure, I’d been learning programming and basic algorithm design starting at my senior year of high school, but once class was over and my assignment was finished, I was off to other hobbies. This all changed as my knowledge and skill within the field grew.

Particularly, I started inquiring to professors and older students about machine learning. In layman’s terms, these are methods of problem solving for computers. After studying with a professor for a semester, I found myself finishing my homework and reading “Machine Learning: The Art and Science of Algorithms that Make Sense of Data” by Peter Flach outside of class to satisfy my curiosity. I didn’t make much of it at the time, but I was essentially taking a course on Machine Learning, for fun. From there, my interest in computer science only spilled further into my personal life.

The next step came when I took the Interactive Computer Graphics course here at Ohio University. I’d always liked video games, so learning to build graphics from scratch seemed like a natural choice for an enjoyable elective. Soon after the conclusion of the class, I found myself researching graphics APIs and implementing various graphics projects as a hobby. I’ve no plans to make a career out of computer graphics, but designing the algorithms and engineering the graphics projects from scratch has been a vastly enjoyable and occasionally challenging hobby.

While these were just 2 examples, I’ve found that my academic life and hobbies have become very closely intertwined. Hobbies in machine learning, computer graphics, reinforcement learning, parallel computing, and other topics in computer science are really enjoyable to explore in my free time; and now I’m able to appreciate how lucky I am to have grown so fond of my major. My advice to anyone would be to find a hobby in your field; it can make learning that much more exciting.