Category Archives: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Springtime in Athens

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 April 2017

After a sometimes seemingly endless couple of months of walking to class in the cold and having to find indoor activities for the weekend, springtime in Athens almost never fails to come around abruptly and it is always welcome! It always seems as if the weather is never going to break, and then all of a sudden, it will and the general ‘vibe’ on campus picks up so much. It is so nice to see people back on the greens throwing a frisbee or baseball on the way to class, or being able to study outside for a nice change of scenery.

In addition to just the weather being nicer, it opens up all the possibilities for recreation that haven’t been available since the Fall! This includes going to Stroud’s, which is a lake/park near campus and a great place to picnic, fish, or just relax during a break between classes or on the weekend.

Also, springtime is a great chance to hit any of the local popular hiking trails. It is always a good time to be able to get some friends together and take a hike and overlook all of Athens and the Ohio University Campus.

Lastly, maybe my favorite thing about springtime is the blossoming of the cherry trees along the Hocking River. For those of you who may not know, there is a very well-maintained bike path that stretches for 21 miles throughout Athens county, and a part of it runs right along campus and the Hocking River. This section is lined with dozens (if not hundreds) of cherry trees that bloom beautifully in the spring. It is my personal favorite part about spring—to just be able to take a casual stroll or bike ride along the bike path along the river with the trees in full bloom. Athens in the spring is just such an amazing place!

Life Decisions

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 March 2017

This semester I have been faced with making huge life decisions. As someone who is pretty indecisive in general, this has basically been a nightmare.

For the past 4 years of my life here at Ohio University, I have had a vision of what my life would look like when I graduated. This semester forced me to evaluate whether that vision still rings true to me. Making the choice between industry and graduate school has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I am a big believer in gut feelings, but in these past few months it sometimes felt like my gut was refusing to talk to me.

What helped me come to my final decision was the enormous support from everyone around me. I am the kind of person that wants to know absolutely every piece of available information before I am willing to make a final decision. This is not a particularly useful personality trait in situations where there are a lot of unknowns.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is that I think my situation probably resonates with a lot of incoming freshmen who might not know what the right path is for them. I have two things to say which might ease your worries.

First of all, I would like to say that I reached the decision to accept a job offer because of the unwavering support and patience of my academic advisor here at OU, Dr. Doug Goetz. His impact on my experience in the Russ College cannot be understated.

In these past few weeks, he has met with me every time I felt uncertain or wavered in my decision. He has answered emails, asked for input from his colleagues, and generally been the greatest ally I could have asked for at such a critical point in my life. Ohio University and the Russ College have put me into contact with some of the most incredible people in my life: people that were willing to fight for me and who were there for me during every step of my college experience.

That leads me to my second point: coming to Ohio University was the single best decision that I have ever made. It meant leaving my family behind and flying across the country to a place where I didn’t know a single other person. It also meant that I found a second home.

As I am preparing to leave Athens for my new job as a process design engineer at Kiewit Engineering Group Inc. in Kansas City, I am definitely sad to be closing this chapter of my life, but I also know that my experiences at Ohio University have prepared me to take on the challenges that this next chapter may present.

I wish the best of luck to anyone who might be making those big decisions in their life, and I hope that the experiences of myself and the other Ambassadors might be helpful in making that choice!

Women in Graduate School Conference

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 13 February 2017

This past weekend, I spent my Saturday attending the Women in Graduate School Conference which was hosted by the Ohio University Women’s Center at Nelson Commons. My friend Stephanie, a fellow ChE major, told me about the conference because one of her friends helped organize it.

Although I was initially hesitant to spend my entire Saturday at a conference instead of enjoying sibs weekend with my friends, I have to say that the conference surpassed all of my expectations, and I am so glad that I went. There were a variety of different panels throughout the day which covered a wide range of topics: we learned about presenting ourselves professionally, budgeting in graduate school, and succeeding in and out of academia.

For me, the best part of the day was listening to the keynote speaker, Dr. Valerie Young, author of The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women. Dr. Young spent the day talking to us about impostor syndrome—that uncanny feeling that you sometimes get which tells you that you’re a fraud, not qualified to be where you are in life, and that someone is going to find out at any second.

I have to say, it was a huge relief to hear that I am by no means the first person to feel this way. In fact, around 70 percent of people—men and women—suffer from impostor syndrome. We talked about how the voices in our head tell us that we aren’t good enough, and how we should deal with them.

Within the next two weeks, I will be interviewing for PhD programs in biomedical engineering at two universities, and I have to say that Dr. Young’s talk could not have come at a better time for me. She reminded each of us that we are capable and qualified at a time in our lives when many of us are most doubtful of our abilities. I am so thankful to the Ohio University Women’s Center for putting on this incredible event—spending the Saturday with a group of talented and passionate women was a breath of fresh air and I felt lucky to be in attendance.

Sibs Weekend

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 7 February 2017

Sibs Weekend is always one of my favorite weekends here at Ohio University. It’s always good to see all the Bobcats’ siblings out and about, whether they are much younger or older–and many are actually alumni!

Sibs Weekend is especially important for me because I’ve been a part of it since I was a junior in high school. My older brother is two years my senior, and he came to Ohio University; visits to the Athens campus in high school undoubtedly played a huge role in my decision to come to OU.

Now, as a junior, Sibs Weekend is still important to me. This year, with my older brother graduated, it was up to me to entertain my 13-year-old brother for the weekend when he came to visit. However, that isn’t too difficult of a task given the amount of various activities that Ohio University typically has on Sibs Weekend. Activities range from catching a movie, watching a an Ohio University basketball game, and attending one of the various activities that the university puts on for siblings.

As for this most recent Sibs Weekend, my brothers and I caught up over some games of bowling at Rollerbowl, caught a men’s basketball game, and checked out the various campus book stores. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Sibs Weekend, even though it’ll sadly be my last–unless I can convince my little brother to be a Bobcat too!

Going to the Movies

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 31 January 2017

One of the best things to do in the winter months is Athens is…go to the movies?

Hear me out. Growing up in Athens, I never knew how good I had it in terms of movie theaters. There are two main theaters in the Athens area, Athena Grand, located on East State Street, and Movies 10/The Fun Barn located near Nelsonville, Ohio, off Route 33.

I would say most people are accustomed to spending loads of money at the movie theater, sometimes up to $12 per ticket with popcorn and candy seemingly marked up 1000%. This is absolutely not the case in these two Athens gems. Both theaters boast tickets under five dollars, all showings at any time. Despite the low prices, the theaters are actually well maintained, and the showings are always the most popular movies in theaters.

However, the real advantage is when it comes to snacks. For example, at Movies 10 you can get a popcorn, pop, and hot dog all for just one dollar a piece. The prices here are so low, they actually don’t care if you bring in outside food!

Movies 10 also has a recent addition to its theater, the Fun Barn. The Fun Barn is a huge arcade area filled with dozens of arcade games and a food court. Although it may seem childish, I can assure you my friends and I have had our fun reliving the glory days in the arcade. In the winter, when the weather is inclement and cold, outside activities seem to cease, making a trip to the movies a refreshing alternative.

Russ College Board of Visitors

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 5 January 2017

Just before finals week last semester, I had the privilege of attending the Russ College Board of Visitors Meeting with my fellow ambassador, Rob Parker. The meeting was in sunny Sanibel Island, Florida. It was a welcome change to escape just as Athens was starting to get cold for the winter. Although I mostly had to enjoy Florida from the balcony of my hotel while I studied for finals during breaks from meetings, it was a nice change of scenery!

The Board of Visitors meets in person twice a year—once in Florida, and once in Athens. Rob and I were asked to attend to provide a students’ perspective. Over the course of the few days that I was there, I attended meetings which covered everything from the progress and goals of Ohio University as a whole to the Russ College Strategic Plan Goals.

As a student, it was extremely interesting to gain insight into the future of my college: being a graduating senior, it’s a bit bittersweet knowing that I won’t see some of the changes enacted while I’m still here. That said, I am incredibly excited about the direction in which the Russ College is heading, and the progress that we have made even since I have been here.

The Board of Visitors meeting was a great opportunity for me because it shed light on some of the challenges that the college has identified, allowing me the opportunity to brainstorm and potentially effect real change. There is a position on the Board open for recent Russ College graduates, and I hope that in the future I can be a part of the group in some capacity. I am proud to be a Bobcat, but more than that, I am so proud to be a soon-to-be graduate of the Russ College of Engineering and Technology.

Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 November 2016

One of the greatest decisions I have made with my time at Ohio University is getting involved in undergraduate research. I began the spring semester of my freshman year at the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment (ISEE), working with another undergraduate student researching and developing a cost-efficient way of precipitating out harmful cations in fracking water.

After the completion of this project, I began a new project at ISEE testing the pyrolysis of coal in a fluidized bed to produce tar, which would later be treated with different chemicals and polymers to produce asphalt binder. Both projects gave me excellent undergraduate research experience and improved my independence, as each project required the responsibility and work ethic typical of a graduate student.

For the past year, I have worked in Dr. Goetz’s lab at OU studying the efficacy and toxicity of a novel compound in the treatment of ovarian cancer. I previously worked with a graduate student on this project, but after he graduated I was left to finish the project independently. If all goes well, I should be authored on a publication about this research by the end of the academic year.

Overall, my experience has led me to realize that I was made to pursue a career in academic research. It also helped direct me into figuring out what type of a field I wanted to pursue after graduation. If I never would have started researching as an undergraduate, I may never have discovered my affinity for cancer research, or research in general for that matter. If you are interested in participating in undergraduate research with a professor, I would encourage you to send them an email expressing your interest. I’m sure glad I did!