Category Archives: Archive – January 2012

2012 Spring Festival

Lingchong Mai

Lingchong Mai, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 January 2012 – Last week the Chinese International Students had a wonderful celebration for the Spring Festival 2012. The celebration ceremony was held in Memorial Auditorium, and there were more than 400 students and 100 performers participated in the ceremony. That was one of the biggest ceremonies over the whole year.

The Spring Festival actually is the Chinese New Year. In Chinese, other than the international calendar, Chinese people have a traditional calendar. The day of the spring festival begins is the New Year’s Day in Chinese traditional calendar. The spring festival lasts for around 2 weeks starting from that day. In the ceremony, we had traditional Chinese dancing, poem writing, as well as jazz singing and modern dancing.

The ceremony enriched OU’s diversity, and served as a good chance for all students from other countries to know more about Chinese cultures. Welcome all you guys to come to the Spring Festival next year!

Board Games

Annye Driscoll

Annye Driscoll,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 23 January 2012 – My group of friends and I have found an incredibly awesome and nerdy way to spend our weekends (and our money)–board games. And no, I’m not talking about Monopoly or Sorry. We play serious board games–ones that come with over 700 pieces and 42 page full-color rulebooks. These are games that take 5 or 6 hours to play (and even longer to set up and clean up, it feels like). These nerdy games are happily becoming more mainstream – I think many people have heard of Settlers of Catan, which is a really nice introduction to nerdy boardgaming.

Our most recent favorite is Dominion. It’s a deck building game with about a billion expansions and permutations, so every game is completely different. Our most epic game is Runewars. It’s SO EPIC. In this game you collect resources, recruit units (which are adorable little plastic figures), and fight each other with both those units and your heroes.

The group’s all-time favorite board game is Arkham Horror. Arkham Horror is SO AWESOME that it isn’t on our board game cabinet–that’s because we can’t play it our house because the board takes up so much room, so it’s currently living at our friend’s house. We meet every Friday night and play a few games while we drink and eat popcorn. Especially now, in the winter, game night is an awesome alternative to going out in the freezing cold! Just goes to show that there’s plenty to do in Athens, even if it’s pretty unconventional entertainment.

Back to Athens

Steve Magers,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 January 2012 – From the middle of June up through December last year, I was away from school on co-op. As this took place close to home, I was able to live at home with my parents during that time which was a nice break. When the time came however, I started getting a little nervous about getting back to school and everything that comes with it. It wasn’t the same as the freshman jitters and leaving home, it was more of a concern of the work load to come.

Well, it’s happened, I finally made it back. After the first few weeks of classes with mid-term exams looming, it seems as if I never left. While it was nice having a job and not having to worry about doing homework, I am enjoying being a student again. While at times there is more stress involved with long hours of homework, the schedule is more of a pace I was looking for.

The majority of my time is spent going to class and working on homework. It is very rewarding finishing homework assignments and projects for classes. The social atmosphere is more comfortable as well. The friends I left six months ago are still here and haven’t missed a beat. I’ve begun to realize that I feel home in Athens, concluding that the re-adjusting that I thought I was going to have to do, turned out to be as simple as unpacking.

ME Senior Design Project: Sand Filter

Abby Frankart,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 January 2012 – To graduate with a BSME at Ohio University, you need to complete a year-long capstone course, Senior Design. In Senior Design, you find a customer with a need (the project theme is “Design to Make a Difference”), develop a conceptual design based on customer input, begin prototype and testing, plan a schedule and budget, develop an owner’s manual for your project, and manufacture the final product. The project simulates what students will see in the workplace. The class focuses on building problem solving, research, technical, communication, and teamwork skills.

My team, Haitian Filtration, is working with 1000 jobs/Haiti. They focus on creating jobs for people in Haiti by using resources only found in Haiti. We are designing a sand filter and sending the manufacturing and operating instructions to our customer. Our project will improve the quality of life for Haitians (most of the country does not have access to clean water) as well as providing jobs.

We are halfway through the year. We have built a prototype to test factors such as flow rate and water purification, as well as to determine the type of maintenance necessary for our design. Below are images of prototype.

Sand Filter

We are beginning to design subsystems for our final product. Our final project will be a concrete housing, filled with gravel and sand (filter material), with a diffuser plate. We are including an optional activated carbon extension as an additional filter. The sand filter will remove the particulates and biological impurities, while the activated carbon will improve taste and color. All of our materials for the final product will be available in Haiti; no materials will be imported. Our goal is have a low cost filter that can provide clean water for a small community, such as a school. I’m enjoying not only using my engineering skills to solve real world problems, but also working with my group and customer, and feeling like I’m making a difference. Senior design is very time consuming, but well worth the effort.

To monitor Team Haitian Filtration’s progress and successes, see:

For more ME Senior Design projects, see:

Taco Tuesdays

Jessica Borer,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 January 2012 – One of the great things about college is all the different clubs you can join. About a year ago I was walking through the ARC (Academic and Research Center, one of the engineering buildings) and I saw a group selling walking tacos. They called it Taco Thursdays. I thought it was a pretty cool idea, sell snack food in a building where students spend the majority of their day. The people selling them even seemed to be having a good time.

It turns out that the group was the student chapter of IEEE, or the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the professional society for electrical engineers. A few months later I went to one of their general body meetings and quickly became a co-fundraising chair for the group. I had no idea what I was getting myself into but I was essentially in charge of Taco Thursdays. It was pretty cool, I was in a group with a few of my friends from class and I got to meet some older EE students and hear about their experiences with the classes and teachers that I’ll soon be taking.

It is also a great way to meet professionals in my field. There are thousands of professionals in IEEE and when I meet them, the fact that I’m a member will make me stand out. Being a part of the group will not only look good on a resume but also help a lot in school. The IEEE society has a library full of journals and article over thousands of topics related to electrical engineering. I can search it any time even if I’m not a member and use it for any papers or research topics.

If you’re not an electrical engineer that’s not a problem, there’s a professional society for any engineering field and a student chapter at OU for each. They all have interesting fundraisers like Taco Thursdays, and all groups will give you an edge after college. They are also great opportunities to meet new people–every quarter we have an end of the quarter party, and even some of our professors show up. We all hang out and get to relax from our school work. I regret that I waited until the end of my sophomore year to join the group; I suggest keeping an eye out for notifications of meetings and opportunities to join!

Talking Machines in Elementary School

Eric Biggins,
Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 28 January 2012 – Earlier this week, I took part in a service project for Epsilon Pi Tau, the honorary engineering society that I am vice president of this year. I went to Wellston, Ohio with two other students where we volunteered at Bundy Elementary School.

We had the opportunity to discuss simple machines with a first grade class. We had wooden models of each simple machine and gave them real life examples of where they can be found. To my surprise, many of them could identify each one after learning about them only one week earlier.

We then took the kids outside and had them find examples of simple machines on and around their playground. After that, we went inside and had them pass around each model and draw them. It was fun to teach at the elementary school and it was nice to get out of class and do something different. Being a part of an organization like Epsilon Pi Tau gives me the chance to meet new people and give back to the community.

Exploring Bioinformatics

David Parisi
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 29 January 2012 – This quarter I am in PBIO 214, which is an exploring bioinformatics course. Bioinformatics is the analysis of biological information using computer science. Sequencing the human genome has been one of the major projects undertaken by bioinformatics.

This class dives deeper into the different areas of bioinformatics such as medical applications and databases of biological information. It is a small class consisting of about 10 people. We meet once a week and have guest speakers come in and give presentations on what exactly they do and how bioinformatics has played a large role in their careers. All the speakers have been enthralling and it’s a class I look forward to every week.

I find this class very interesting because even though I chose computer engineering as my major I have always loved biology. The possibility of applying what I am learning in electrical engineering and computer science to biology is very appealing to me. I had never even thought about putting them together. Sometimes classes like this, that are not part of my major, will really change my viewpoint on my future career and what it could be. I would like to continue looking at bioinformatics and find a way to use my computer engineering degree in it, such as designing prosthetic limbs that work with the nervous system. Currently I am looking at getting my certificate of bioinformatics from the University so that I will have a much stronger background in this field.