Category Archives: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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.

Ohio Snowcats Take On Keystone

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 16 January 2018

Wintertime in Athens is always visually striking—the trees are bare, snow is everywhere (unless the sporadic 60°F day comes around)—and there’s always plenty to do outside within walking distance. However, Ohio University’s location in the hills of southeast Ohio also places it within driving distance of ski resorts Snowshoe Mountain and Seven Springs Mountain as well as a couple
hours away from Columbus’s Mad River Mountain.

When it comes to snow sports, my trip into the white snow and high elevation this winter was not to one of those places, but with many of my friends and peers to Keystone Resort in Colorado, facilitated by the local ski & board club, Ohio Snowcats.

Many Ohio University students take advantage of this Athens-area club to spend a week of our winter break in the mountains of a world-class ski resort somewhere in the United States, and I surely enjoyed the choice of destination this year.

Snowcats

For a heavily subsidized cost, my friends and I, as well as about 200 other Ohio University students had the opportunity to ski down some black diamonds and enjoy the views from 10,000 ft. up at this scenic mountain range two hours west of Denver.

Snowcats

Athens is a great place to be, but the opportunities Ohio University has presented me to travel to places and with people I would not otherwise have had the chance to take advantage of are the source of life-changing experiences and many fond memories for me.

Senioritis? No time for that!

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 December 2017

It is most college students’ hope that after putting in three long years of studying and hard work, that their senior year they can just carry the required classes and maybe take some fun classes just to meet their minimum hours. For me, however, I don’t exactly get this luxury.

The largest reason for this is that because I plan to pursue medical school next fall, I had to take additional classes throughout my undergraduate years to meet the prerequisite requirements. In addition to these classes, you add a personal finance class (because I wasn’t exactly the best with money…) and a couple “just for fun classes,” and here I am as a senior and I need 20 credit hours each semester to graduate on time!

The reason I’m telling you this isn’t to brag or complain or anything of the sort, but rather to make two points:


  1. Plan your entire class schedule early and well, and

  2. Find what works best for you and grow from it.


This second point may seem a little odd, but let me explain. Though I had 20 credit hours this semester on top of the other organization commitments and responsibilities I had, I found it to be one of my most productive semesters to date. There’s something about feeling busy all the time that increases my productivity and makes me more motivated to keep moving forward.

When reflecting on this experience that I thought would be miserable, I have actually learned more about myself and how I perform best. The things I have learned from this experience are things I plan to implement into my life moving forward.

Ice Skating

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 11 December 2017

My family has always had a love for ice skating. It is one of our favorite things to do, especially during winter. I have many great skating memories:


  • When I was two, my parents put me in beginner skating lessons at the local arena.

  • They were the designated chaperones when my friends and I would go skating in junior high school and they had instructed my nervous, wall-hugging friends on skating basics such as bending your knees and leaning forward as you push off.

  • At home in western Pennsylvania after my first semester of college, my dad and I went ice skating at Market Square in Pittsburgh and we won two tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Skating in Pittsburgh

To me, ice skating is synonymous with wonderful times spent with family and friends. Ergo, nothing cures homesickness for me quite like taking a few laps around Bird Arena during an open skate. Feeling the cold air brush past my face reminds me of playing ice tag with my elementary school friends. My mom and dad’s gentle instructions enter my thoughts as I push off the cold, solid ice.

As an out-of-state student, I don’t go home very often, which means I still get homesick from time to time. However, sites like Bird Arena on campus replace that longing feeling with happy memories and something to look forward to the next time my family is together.

Eco-Challenge Competition: Reusable to-go boxes

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 30 November 2017

Along with some other Engineering Ambassadors, I was fortunate enough to compete in this year’s Ohio University Eco-Challenge! The competition involved members of the Cutler Scholars Program, the Russ College of Engineering and Technology Robe Leadership Institute, and the College of Business Select Leaders program.

The purpose of the project/competition is to present a sustainability solution for a current issue at Ohio University or in the Athens area to panel of judges, and the top idea(s) are selected to be implemented. However, the project involves much more than this. It is also an opportunity to work with students outside of engineering and to make a “sales pitch” of your ideas, which are both things you don’t really get to do in the engineering curriculum alone.

My team’s project was to replace the current compostable to-go boxes from the dining halls with reusable, recyclable to-go boxes—and I am happy to report that my team’s proposal received first place! Because of this, the Culinary Services program at Ohio University is beginning a pilot program for this upcoming spring semester, and if this goes according to plan, all dining halls will have these reusable boxes come Fall 2018.

So, if you’re a future student reading this, you can thank Eco-Challenge Team 4 when you get to use the durable, reusable boxes! We hope the transition is smooth, and we are excited about the positive environmental impact this change will have.

Hiking, Biking, and Bouldering: Athens in Autumn

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 6 November 2017

During the fall semester in Athens, Ohio, a funny thing happens where nearly every day is warm enough for shorts or cool enough for a wind breaker. The winter weather rarely ever hits before the end of Finals Week, so every weekend or free afternoon offers an opportunity to get outside and have some
fun.

The Hockhocking Adena Bikeway (in other words, the Athens bike trail) offers bikers, joggers, and walkers a scenic route on winding pavement under the canopy created by the autumn-colored trees lining the path. I’m a huge fan of the spot, and whether I’m feeling a short six-mile round-trip bike ride or if I’m feeling adventurous enough to go further, I do my best to head over there a few times a week.

Even if you don’t have access to a vehicle that can take you far from Athens, plenty of hiking opportunities very close to Athens are best experienced this time of year.

I’ve enjoyed my first trip down a mountain bike trail near The Ridges, but the best memories of the area are from going on runs up to the top of Radar Hill and back with my roommates. The trails at the Ridges, especially the one leading to the top of Radar Hill, are my favorite places to escape and get a breath of fresh air this time of year. The rolling green hills are pretty to look at, and I can’t think of a more beautiful and more convenient way to get a calf workout than exploring them.

Acting Fundamentals

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 5 November 2017

I love my engineering classes. They are challenging and engaging. I feel like my limits are being pushed and expanded as my problem-solving skills are put to the test. However, sometimes, I need some variation in my day. This semester, it’s my acting fundamentals class, THAR 1130.

I registered for the class after hearing my roommate rave about it. I enjoyed musicals in high school so I thought it would be fun to work monologues and do scene work again. Though musical rehearsals were a huge source of stress during high school, my acting class always leaves me in a good mood.

In this class, it’s hard not to be friends with everyone. There’s a very welcoming environment and most of the class is spent interacting with each other in various over-the-top activities.

My favorite game is pass the movement. We stand in a circle and one person makes a movement accompanied by a sound and everyone copies it one at a time around the circle. As the class progresses, the movements become bigger and more outrageous.

Our first assignment of the semester was to find a portrait that wasn’t anyone famous or someone we know. After scouring Google imagines for a solid fifteen minutes, I found it: the perfect picture. The portrait was taken in the 1920s and featured a burly man climbing out of a sewer with a rifle in one hand and a dead rat in the other. We got to make a back story for our portraits, write a monologue and then become our character to deliver the monologue.

For an hour and twenty minutes every Tuesday and Thursday, I can forget about the stresses of college life and just be my goofy self with twenty other students.