Category Archives: Archive – November 2011

Unit Ops Design Project

Leesha Blake

Leesha Blake, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 17 November 2011 – It has been a busy few weeks as the quarter has been winding down. I’ve been working on projects and getting ready for exams. One interesting project in particular is my design project for my unit operations class. In unit ops, we do experiments with all types of systems; that way we can learn how chemical systems work in the real world.

At the end of the quarter, each student does a design project over one of the systems that they worked with that quarter. For my design project I had to design a system that would move 3000 gallons of a chemical from one tank to another tank that was much higher up and almost half a mile away from the first tank. It was a challenge, but it was a lot of fun working out what I had to do to make the safest, most efficient system that I could. I also thought that it was really cool because I felt like a real engineer. I even had to figure out how much the system would cost and take that into account when determining what I thought was the best system.

I can still hardly believe that only three years ago I never could have done this project, but now I can take what I have learned the first three years of my college education and actually apply it to design a chemical system like one that would actually be used in industry.

ETM Robotics Class

Eric Biggens

Eric Biggens, Senior, Engineering Technology and Management

Athens, OH 14 November 2011 – This quarter I’m taking a class called ETM 464, Robotics Applications. The class deals with all aspects of robots in the manufacturing industry including the wide variety of uses for them in an assembly line whether it is welding, material handling, or palletizing. We have also discussed the various inputs and outputs dealing with robots in the manufacturing world such as grippers/manipulators, conveyor lines and how to get everything to flow easily and communicate together. I have learned a lot in this class and it has made me understand that when we think of robots and what they can do for us, it doesn’t just mean a futuristic robot we have in our homes that can do our chores. They have been around for quite a long time and have made the way we design and produce products much easier and efficient.

For our final project in the class we were required to have our two robots conduct a palletizing routine with plastic building blocks. The first robot pulled the blocks off of gravity feed and placed them on the conveyor line to move them to the next robot, which pulled them off the line and put them in another gravity feed. Here is a video showing the final project in action.

CE Class Projects

Grace Sallar

Grace Sallar, Senior,
Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 14 November 2011 – This quarter has been an incredibly busy one for me. I have involved in way too many things. And I thought this was going to be an easy quarter! I have two different class projects due in a week as well some research I’ve been working on.

The first class project is in CE 471, which is Foundation Design. My group and I just completed an assignment on why we chose to use deep foundations instead of a shallow foundation. We spent more than 12 hours on it and we’re finally done!

The other project is in CE 450 (Water Treatment). This has been, by far, one of the most intriguing classes I’ve taken at OU. We’ve been talking all quarter about water; how it goes from the brownish color you see in Rivers, to the clear water that flows from our taps. Our class went to visit the Columbus Water Treatment Plant, and this made me greatly appreciate all the work we’d been doing all quarter. All I have to do now is apply all that I saw at the plant to my project and I’m sure we’re going to do a great job. Whew! All I can say is I’m ready for a long break from school.

Going through Job Interviews

Annye Driscoll

Annye Driscoll,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 13 November 2011 – This fall I’ve been hard at work–I’m taking my senior classes, I’ve kept both of my jobs, and, most importantly, I’m working on getting a full time job for when I graduate in the spring. Job searching while working and going to school can be tough, but I’ve been fortunate to get some really cool interviews.

The most exciting interview I’ve earned so far was with a large banking institution; it was a second/final round interview, and it was considered a “Super Day” (so lots of interviewees travel to one location to meet with lots of interviewers). This particular Super Day was in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania–quite a drive from Athens. At first, I panicked a little about the interview. How would I get there? Where would I stay? How would I afford the gas, parking, and hotel??

The thing I have to tell myself in these situations, however, is that the employer wants me just as much as I want the job. An interview is not just about me selling myself to an employer–the company also has to convince me that I want to work there. When I mentioned that I was almost four hours away from the interview, the company booked me a hotel room and offered to pay for gas and wear on my car (in fact, there were many people at the interviews who had been flown to Pittsburgh). The day was not all about the potential employees–the company representatives spent a lot of time telling us about company culture, highlighting benefits, and telling us about the company’s goals and ideals.

In addition to the help from the company, my professors are very sympathetic to missing class for career-related reasons. Teachers realize that we’re in school in order to get a job, and that at some point job searching has to be just as important (if not more important) than class. All of my professors have been very sympathetic to our absences due to interviews and career fairs; we don’t get marked absent, a sincere effort is made to make sure we don’t miss content, and occasionally (especially if the interview is a long drive away) we even get extensions on assignments.

I was nervous about interviewing with such a big company and so far from home, yes. But everyone helped so much along the way – making sure I didn’t have to worry about money, class, homework, etc. etc., that I was able to focus on my actual interview!

SWE Girl Scouts Day

Alysia Watson

Alysia Watson, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 8 November 2011 – Last Saturday, the Society of Women Engineers at OU (SWE-OU) hosted 2011 Girl Scouts’ Day. We invited girl scouts from local troops to come to OU and learn about engineering. 21 girl scouts were inspired them to think about how they see the world as well as engineering concepts. Led by the wonderful members of SWE, the girls participated in the following activities:

First the girls participated in activities that challenged them to look at things differently. They were to guess how many drops of water could fit on the surface of a penny; they learned it is much more than you would think! The girls then discovered kabob sticks can be passed through a balloon without popping the balloon. After, the challenge was to move water from one cup to another without moving the glass, by using plastic tubing.

Next the girls built their own water filter and their own flashlights to take home. Many of the groups were able to clean the water after a few filtrations. They all loved making their own flashlights!

The last activity was to build a contraption to protect and an egg from a 30-foot drop, most were successful and all had fun!

I did not have the chance to interact with the girls like I would want, since I had to make sure the day ran as smoothly as possible, but I enjoyed the conversation I had with them after they completed all the activities. The most rewarding part for me was when I asked what they had learned about engineering, and one girl very excitedly said that “Engineering is fun.” I hope they all will keep this concept that it is fun and they are capable of being a success in this field.

Preparing for Grad School

Abby Frankart

Abby Frankart, Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 November 2011 – My fall quarter has been overloaded with classes, group projects, and work. I’ve spent time working with my learning community, worked with other students in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, collaborated with faculty and the Student Advisory Board, but none of these have been a huge stress for me. My biggest stress has been applying for grad schools and fellowships. Applications, essays, standardized tests. My senior year of high school all came flashing back to me this quarter. The most frequent question I get from friends is: why?

A lot of engineering students decide to go immediately into the workplace rather than moving on to grad school. Many entry level engineering positions only require your undergraduate degree. I expect that my career path will be a little difference. The summer between my sophomore and junior year, I learned about Boston Dynamics project, BigDog. I got so excited about this project, that I knew I wanted to work in the robotics field, which most of these jobs required a Masters Degree, at the minimum! So even though going through the whole application process is long, cumbersome, and stressful, I know that it’s what I want to do.

For more on the BigDog project:

O.A.R. Concert

Nicole Sari

Nicole Sari, Senior, Aviation

Athens, OH 2 November 2011 – I attended the O.A.R. concert last night here on the Ohio University campus. The concert was held in the Templeton Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium. Tickets for the first ten rows were only $55 a piece. The picture appears farther away than we really were, but that’s the view from the 5th row.
The tour was to support their King album, which was released in early August. Songs included were “Shattered,” “This Town,” and “That was a Crazy Game of Poker.” I was almost extremely disappointed that they didn’t play Crazy Game of Poker, but they saved it until the very end.

O.A.R. formed at O.S.U. and O.U. contributed to them making it big. When they were starting out, they played at a lot of backyard and street parties at O.U. They eventually worked their way up and recently grabbed the #3 spot on the ITunes Album Chart Day of Release and #3 on the Billboard Digital Album Chart

It was an awesome concert. After the concert we went to uptown to the PigSkin, where I got the chance to meet bass player Benj Gersham (left in photo) and guitarist Richard On (center in photo). After walking back and forth multiple times making sure it was really them, we stopped and talked to them. I was so star-struck I forgot to take a picture with them. We also thought we saw Jerry, the saxophone player. It turns out we said “good show!” and shook the hand of a random dude at the bar who very closely resembles Jerry.

The OU Performing Arts website provides a calendar of upcoming events and tickets prices. Some recent and upcoming events include O.A.R., The Miles Davis Experience, Aziz Ansari, and Young Frankenstein. These concerts and performances are generally pretty affordable and only a short walk from your dorm or house on campus, which is great because you don’t have to deal with the normal hassles of being stuck in traffic and paying for parking when attending concerts.