Category Archives: Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Summer Internship at ABB

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 1 April 2019

I can’t believe that it’s April already and the semester is finally starting to wind down. While I’m definitely sad to be leaving Athens and all of my friends behind, I am looking forward to my summer plans and taking a much anticipated break from school work. Since this is officially my last blog post of junior year, I thought I’d update you all on what I will be doing during my time away from Ohio University!

I will be returning this summer to the same company I worked for last summer—ABB Inc. in Cleveland, Ohio. ABB is a worldwide power and industrial automation company. Last summer I enjoyed working in the Systems Engineering Department, while this summer I will be expanding my horizons an working in the Proposals Engineering Department. I am excited for this, as it involves a heavy amount of planning and overseeing projects/developments. I am confident that this department will allow me to get the perfect overview of what every department of the company does, all while fueling my love of planning and organization.

I officially begin work on May 13th and will be working full time until mid August. In the meantime however, I have several much anticipated vacations planned for a few weeks in July. My family will be heading back to Carolina Beach, North Carolina for one week, where we will enjoy the ocean and atmosphere. A few weeks following that, I will be heading to the Outer Banks, North Carolina with my boyfriend and his family. I’m also expecting several concerts and trips to Cedar Point throughout the summer.

I will definitely be keeping busy while I am away from Athens. While I will miss being in the town that I love, I am excited for the opportunities that await me once finals week is over.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Lydia Seiter

Lydia Seiter,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 23 March 2019

My favorite part about living in a college town is all the opportunities there are here to try new things. The Ohio University community and the surrounding Athens community have so many possibilities to join, from service groups to international conversation clubs to undergraduate research to outdoor recreation.

This semester, I decided to try a new thing: Brazilian jiu-jitsu! It is a grappling-based martial art which is centered around the skill of controlling a resisting opponent in ways that force them to give up. Most of the technique of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is focused on taking an opponent down to the ground and wrestling them in order to subdue the opponent.

jiu-jitsu

I have been training in fundamentals and women’s self-defense at Relson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy—Athens since January. Self-defense is a crucial skill to learn, and I also enjoy the atmosphere of the classes—the students are of all ages, from all over Southeastern Ohio. The women’s self-defense class is a supportive, inspiring group of strong women who are all talented teachers; it’s truly empowering.

One of my favorite things about jiu-jitsu is improving myself. With any new move or skill that I learn, it’s guaranteed that I won’t master it on the first try—but that’s okay! In jiu-jitsu, I have learned to be comfortable with failing at first, and the feeling of satisfaction and confidence that comes from personal growth is unparalleled. Going to jiu-jitsu class is a fun break from my engineering classes, because it’s a different type of challenge.

“Moving” to Texas

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 10 March 2019

When I left my home state of Pennsylvania and went off to college, I made my parents “empty-nesters.” It was tough in the beginning. My first semester, I cried when my parents dropped me off and again when the they left after a weekend visit halfway through the semester.

When I finally went home for the first time for Thanksgiving, I was so relieved to see that home had stayed the same. We had the same orange couch with the down feathers and the Pittsburgh Penguins playing on the television. I thought that while college was a new experience and I was growing into a new person, home would always be home: constant and unchanging. This has not been the case.

Looking back, it seems silly that I expected life in Pennsylvania wouldn’t move on without me. Amid all the changes, the biggest has been my parents’ relocation to Texas. This spring break, instead of returning to the familiar, I got to adventure to the unknown.

Dallas, Texas

When I landed in Dallas, my parents knew they would need to feed and water their daughter. I expected them to take me to a burger joint or maybe a steakhouse, because, well, it’s Texas. I was pleasantly surprised, albeit a little confused, when they took me to get sushi instead.

Sushi

At this restaurant, the sushi passed by our table on a conveyor belt. I was entirely too amused and ate far too much.

Sushi

Sushi

After dinner, we went to a Japanese supermarket featuring Hello Kitty udon and some tasty free samples. Visiting Texas astonishingly came with a brief tour of Japan.

Afterwards, we went to my parents’ new apartment where we watched the Penguins at Bluejackets game. Overall, my first day in Texas was well spent and I am looking forward to some more new adventures this spring break. Go Pens!

Spring Break is Coming

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 3 March 2019

Spring is finally almost approaching! I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by. This time of year is one of my favorites and I bet you can guess why. We have spring break of course! I love hearing about everyone’s spring break traditions and thought I would share a little bit about my own.

Every year since I was a senior in high school, I have gone to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my boyfriend’s grandfather. Because he lives so far away, it is a real treat to get to see him this time every year. It’s also great that we know someone who lives in such a warm place, as we are able to go to the beach, the pool, and the outlet malls in March—a month that is typically still freezing here in Athens. We also save money because we don’t have to book a hotel or beach house!

There are so many fun activities to do in the southwest Florida area. Last year, we got the chance to take a riverboat tour of a section of the Everglades. It was so amazing to see the different wildlife—including jaguars, crocodiles, and dolphins!

I am looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite vacation spots in one short week, and to see what new adventures this year will bring. Hopefully we don’t miss our departure flight this year, as it is at 6:00 in the morning.. I’m sure the excitement of vacation will guarantee my getting out of bed at 4:00 am.

I hope everyone has a great spring break—whether you are going on a vacation or just relaxing at home.

Job Search to Job Found

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 February 2019

My first three years of college, I dreamed about that brilliant light at the end of the tunnel: graduation. It felt like it couldn’t come fast enough. Seven more semesters. Only three more semesters. However, when senior year finally rolled around, my excitement was replaced with apprehension as the daunting reality of the job search process sank in.

Frankly, I did not know where to begin. There is a vast variety of work for chemical engineers across a wide range of industries. This is definitely a positive, but it was challenging to narrow down what I wanted to do.

Luckily, I was not left to my own devices and procrastinating tendencies. The Director of Professional Experiences for the Russ College sent out an email about a job posting for an engineer interested in materials science. I thought, “Hey, I like materials science.”

I continued to read the job description—research and development of plastic films—and realized that this was exactly what I wanted to do. It was a mix of lab work while also working with customers and production for the scale-up process.

So, I worked up my courage and sent out my resume and brief cover letter to Next Generation Films, Inc in Lexington, OH. I heard back quickly and soon enough I had a phone interview scheduled with the R&D manager. I was very nervous for the interview, as most interviewees tend to be. However, the interview turned out to be a positive experience as the R&D manager and I chatted about Lauren Daigle in between discussing my resume.

Soon enough, I was on-site for a formal interview and had the chance to check out blown film extrusion and the R&D lab. I fell in love with the process and was beyond excited when I was offered a full time position at Next. Once again, I find myself impatient for summer, not for the end of college, but for the start of my career.

Practicing Meditation

Lydia Seiter

Lydia Seiter,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 February 2019

This semester, I returned from a year away from Ohio University which I spent interning and studying abroad. During that year away, I learned so many things about myself and the world around me, and I have been attempting to incorporate some of those learnings into my daily life here in Athens.

One of these learnings is meditation. While studying abroad in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I had the remarkable opportunity to participate in a 4-day silent Vipassana meditation retreat at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a 700-year old Buddhist temple.

Vipassana, or insight meditation, is the practice of continued close attention to sensation, through which one ultimately sees the true nature of existence. It is believed to be the form of meditation practice taught by the Buddha himself.

The daily schedule was as follows:


  • 5 am: Wake up

  • 5:30 am: Dharma Talk, which was an inspirational speech from our teacher monk

  • 7 am: breakfast

  • 8 am: morning meditation

  • 11 am: lunch

  • 12 pm: afternoon meditation

  • 1:30 pm: meditation report to teacher. I would report on my progress to the teacher monk, and he gave me new challenges and assignments, such as increasing the duration of each meditation session

  • 2 pm: more afternoon meditation

  • 6 pm: evening chanting. This practice involved reading devotions to Buddha in the ancient language of Pali

  • 7 pm: evening meditation

  • 9 pm: bedtime


Along with the strict schedule, there were many rules: wear all white, no speaking, no eating after 12 pm, no use of electronic devices, no reading, no writing, and no yoga or exercise. These rules were in place to limit our distractions and external stimuli, so that we could maximize our mindfulness. The hardest rule to follow was not eating dinner—I got extremely hungry fasting for 19 hours!

Though undertaking this experience seemed daunting to me at first, it was an incredible 4 days. It was surprisingly easy for me to remain silent at all times, because I enjoyed the chance to look inwards in a way I’m not able to in daily life. I enjoyed the practice of walking meditation more than sitting meditation—I found it easier to be mindful and not become distracted in this position.

The silent meditations were absolutely an exercise in self-discipline and endurance of suffering, such as when my legs would get tired or sore from sitting still. But our teacher monk advised us to focus on the suffering or distraction for 3 seconds, and then come back to meditation. I loved this tactic; I wasn’t ignoring the distraction or dwelling on it, I was simply acknowledging it and then letting it drift away.

The best thing about meditation is that it can be done anywhere. I don’t have to be with monks in a temple to focus on my breathing and calm my mind. It can be done in moments between classes, as a study break, a way to start my day in the morning, or a way to relax before I fall asleep. It’s important to make time for the things that make you feel good!

Skiing in Winter

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 3 February 2019

As much as I dislike the dry skin, bitter cold, and icy conditions, there are many hobbies that I enjoy only in these frigid winter months. Since I was in fifth grade, I have had a strong love for skiing.

I’m from a small town outside of Cleveland with no fancy ski resorts near by. That being said, I learned to ski at a small “resort” called Alpine Valley where the black diamond hill could probably be compared to the easiest hill at bigger resorts like Seven Springs or Holiday Valley.

After many wipeouts and mishaps over several years, my family bought me tickets to Seven Springs when they deemed me ready. Being at a big resort was so much different than what I was used to. The hills were larger, the ski lifts longer, the crowds bigger, and the snow conditions of much better quality. I soon developed an even bigger passion for skiing, frequently visiting resorts like Seven Springs and Holiday Valley. I hope one day to get out to Colorado to ski on the mountains.

I wish there was a ski area down here in Athens, but there are plenty of other winter activities that Athens offers. During the cold months of spring semester, I enjoy bundling up and taking long winter hikes at Strouds Run State Park or The Ridges. The way the snow blankets the forestry of Athens is absolutely beautiful.

After these hikes, I always enjoy stopping at Brenen’s or Donkey Coffee for a hot drink to warm myself up.

While winter can be brutal, there’s nothing better than bundling up and hitting the slopes or hiking trails. Winter can be beautiful and enjoyable if you know where to look.