Category Archives: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

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.

Renaissance Engineers

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 20 October 2017

My dad has an electrical engineering degree. I’m going for chemical. A lot of people that know us well usually say something along the lines of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I understand where they are coming from, but to me, chemical and electrical engineering are on completely different wavelengths. I’m living in the realm of fluid mechanics and heat transfer while my dad is surrounded by systems and circuits. While both are necessary and cool careers, they are total opposites. Like night and day, cats and dogs, or Squirtle and Charmander.

When it came time for me to take Basics of Electrical Engineering, I knew I was in for it. Thermodynamics and mass balance were more my cup of tea than circuit analysis and Ohm’s law. The first exam did not go well. At all. I remember trying to calculate my grade to see if I would still even be able to get an A for the class. From then on, I stepped up in that class. I went to office hours, did more than the assigned problems, and poured over the books. My professor noticed my effort and toward the end of the semester he approached my friend and me with an awesome idea about how we could create for good while still at OU.

He invited us to become founding members of an organization called Renaissance Engineers. Our goal would be to create for good in the Athens community by solving problems with the application of our engineering knowledge and skills. The more Professor Vouzianas told us about the organization, the more excited I was to see his vision come true.

When I signed up, I did not know what I was getting into. A lot of hours were spent deliberating about bylaws, meeting times, and how to get Renaissance Engineers out there as an organization. From planning the first meeting to making the poster for the Involvement Fair, I got to be part of the inception. It is sometimes hard to devote a lot of time into something before you have the chance to see the results.

There is a learning curve to starting a new organization and a lot of hard work required. Be that as it may, so many students and professionals have joined the organization and that has meant so much to me.

One of my favorite parts of the organization is its interdisciplinary and inclusive nature. We are a mix of students and professionals, with a range of degrees from journalism to business to engineering. In the infamous “real world” that is often alluded to by college graduates, most people will work with others without the same technical background. That is why I believe it is so valuable to be a part of an organization that is more than just chemical engineering. It has certainly been worthwhile to get involved and I am honored to serve as Vice-President for such an innovative, service-based engineering organization.

WERC Competition

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2017

As fall has just recently begun, the days are becoming shorter and temperatures are becoming more sweater-friendly here in Athens. Before the cold weather catches up to us and the “new” school year becomes the “current” school year, I wanted to highlight a valuable experience Ohio University’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department allowed me last year during 2016-2017: the WERC Environmental Design Contest.

Teams of junior and senior chemical engineers (plus others who are interested) are led by Dr. Darin Ridgway of the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering department to compete in a nationwide competition to design solutions to real-world environmental and waste-management issues, presenting their proposal and a bench-scale demonstration in April at New Mexico State University.

WERC Competition

I had a blast last year working with my teammates on our project, where we proposed cleaning industrial wastewater from a coal-fired power plant by installing a specialized absorption tower at the beginning of their existing wastewater treatment system. Not only did I have an all-expenses-paid trip to the Southwest during the school year to present our work, but our group won the award for Best Written Technical Report in our category. Being recognized for all the hours of hard work my teammates and I put into our project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.

The event wasn’t all WERC, though (Get it? Work? I’ll be here all week…). After the awards ceremony, we spent the few days left on our trip seeing some incredible examples of natural beauty in New Mexico and Arizona.

WERC Competition

WERC Competition

From hiking the Grand Canyon (14.2 miles is no joke, let me tell you) to experiencing the White Sands National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park, traveling the Southwest in a university van with my best buds after taking home a trophy was a vacation and resume-booster worth remembering.

Summer in Athens

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 16 September 2017

This past summer I was fortunate enough to work as an intern for the City of Athens Water Treatment Plant. While I could go on about the job itself or the amazing people I met at and through the plant, I think the more eye-opening experience was living in Athens for the summer—when the number of students in the city drops dramatically.

Spending a summer in Athens certainly has many perks. Sure, it may seem somewhat empty at times, and not all of your friends from class are there. But this just serves to open many more opportunities to explore everything that the city and surrounding area have to offer.

Over the summer, there are various events held right in the heart of Athens that offer great opportunities to get out and meet people. For example, “Boogie on the Bricks,” “Ohio Brew Week,” and multiple car shows are all held right on Court Street—Athens’ central street. A laid-back summer without classes also left many opportunities to mountain bike on the nearby trails, and to go kayaking at the nearby Stroud’s Run State Park.

All in all, it was a great summer spent right here in Athens, Ohio. However, I cannot say I am upset all the students are back and the semester is in full swing yet again. While the summer was nice, it’s nice to see all the friends I have made over the past three years, and it’s certainly exciting to get my last year of undergrad underway!

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!

Heading off to Grad School

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 20 April 2017

It’s truly a wonderful time of the year, especially for us seniors, as we prepare to take the next big step in our lives and graduate. As awesome as this time is, I for one will testify that it will be hard leaving the city of Athens that we have called home for these past years.

After graduation, I will be attending Vanderbilt University in pursuit of a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. I had applied to eight different graduate programs, and went to visit a few of them to get a feel as to how I would like the school. In the end, Vanderbilt just felt like the right place for me to be, and I am very excited to be pursuing a graduate education there.

I will be working under the direction of Dr. Michael King, a renowned professor in the field and the Biomedical Engineering Department Chair, conducting research focusing on drug delivery with translational applications in metastatic prostate and lung cancer treatment.

I am very excited to take this next step in my life, and I will be moving to Nashville, Tennessee this fall (an awesome city, by the way, if you’ve never been). This is bittersweet though, as I will undoubtedly miss Athens, the place I’ve called home my entire life. I am so thankful for all the people who have poured into me over this first part of my life at Ohio University, and I cannot wait to see what the future holds! Have a great summer everyone!