Category Archives: Civil Engineering

Student Organizations for Everyone

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 3 February 2016
Student Organizations for Everyone –

One thing that is clear here at Ohio University is that there is a student organization for everyone. I am involved in several organizations, most of them centered around engineering. The organization that keeps me the busiest and I’m most excited for is the American Society of Civil Engineers. I have recently taken on the role of president of the organization.

With the organization we are preparing for many activities this semester. The officers have a student conference in Pittsburgh, our chapter is hosting the regional conference in April and our largest event, the Ohio Valley Student Conference is coming up in March. The OVSC competition is by far what every member looks forward to all year.

This competition consists of about 350 civil engineering students from 14 schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Pittsburgh. There are several different competitions that each school can participate in: concrete canoe, steel bridge, surveying, concrete bat, environmental, geotechnical, and basal wood bridge competitions. Students have been preparing all year for these competitions and the projects are in their final stages of construction. It’s a great time and a good learning experience. Who would have thought that a bunch of engineers could be so fun?!

2015 Concrete Canoe

This is last year’s concrete canoe team. Unfortunately, even though I was involved in the construction of the canoe, I am not in the picture. I also compete in the surveying competition and that occurs at the same time as concrete canoe.

Semester Productivity, Hacked

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 14 January 2016

Anyone who knows me knows that there is nothing I love more than a well-organized planner. I mean, I have at least four different planners that I use on a daily basis. And while I won’t go into each of those, I do want to talk about a major game-changing organization strategy. It’s called bullet journaling. Here’s a link to the official website!

I’m very into productivity research (I really should’ve gone into ISE, but oh well…) and bullet journaling is great because it’s like a combination of rapid-logging ideas, ever-evolving to-do lists, and a calendar all in one. And one of the best parts about it is that you can do it in any kind of notebook you can find.

My Journal

My Journal! Found it at Target, the most glorious place to buy school supplies.

The idea is to start each day on a page, like a to-do list. Every morning, I sit down with my cup of coffee and I write down everything I can think of that pertains to the day, be it tasks, ideas, appointments, things to remember, meals I want to eat…Anything. I have a special key for each type of entry, but every bullet journal user develops their own method for logging. Throughout the day, as tasks get completed, I fill in their bubble just like any other to-do list.

But, at the end of the day, whatever I don’t get done, I have to “migrate” to the next day. This contributes to my “roll rate”, which is sort of like a productivity tracker. I take the amount of tasks I had to migrate and I divide it by the total number of tasks that day (and multiply by 100) to get the percentage of things that have to “roll” to tomorrow. I find that this helps me to stay productive and get everything done that I need to.

January 13

January 13, not as productive as I’d hoped it would be.

“But Mira,” you say, “What do I do about tasks or events that need to happen later, not just today?” Well, my curious grasshopper, I will direct you to the “Monthly Calendar and To-Do” pages.

Monthly Calendar and To-Do

A very lazy month.

As you can see here, I didn’t do much in September. That was back when I was just starting this method and hadn’t developed my own personality about it. But, the general idea is to write all events for the month (appointments, theme weekends, exams…) on the “Calendar” side, just like you would in a normal planner. Then, all things that need to get done later on in the month (for instance, “Buy train tickets for Spring Break trip to Washington D.C.”) go on the next page, the “To-Do” page, with the due date next to them.

I also use my bullet journal for my (unhealthy) obsession with taking notes on things I see throughout the day, such as this list of “12 Banned Books Every Woman Should Read” from HuffingtonPost.

12 Banned Books

The Awakening sure wasn’t my favorite book, but by gum I finished it.

That’s really what makes this different from a normal planner, that it becomes a sort of diary for your observations throughout the day. I’m really excited to be able to look back on this time in my life ten years from now and know that I found the “Portsmouth Sinfonia Instrument Swap” video funny enough to write down. It’s a nice way to have a paper record of everything you need to do and have done so that someday when the internet crashes (who knows, I’m super paranoid about it) you still have a historical presence that someone can find and know exactly who you were and what you thought about.

Deciding to Go Off to College

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 7 January 2016

When considering what college to attend a question that continued to pop in to my head was, how far away from home do I want to be?

As a senior in high school the thought of living away from home can be very exciting, but also very frightening at the same time. For me, the thought of going away to school was pretty challenging because of how close I am with my family. I love spending time with my little brother and wrestling with my nephews so leaving them was not the first thing I wanted to do.

I am from the great city of Youngstown, Ohio so Ohio University is about a four hour drive, which as a senior in high school I thought was a very long ways away. As a senior in college now, looking back on my decision to attend a school somewhat far from home was one the best decisions I could have made. Though there were some real hard times of being homesick and wanting to spend time with my family, it was very rewarding sticking out those times and staying at school.

I have learned so much about what it looks like to live on your own and be a responsible adult. I’ve learned to budget money and how to pay bills. I have learned to make connections with people and how to make new friends. Being away at school has been the best for preparing for life after college. Plus, it is where I met my fiancée so of course I would choose Ohio University ten times out of ten.

So, my advice to any high school seniors having difficulty choosing between commuting from home and going away and staying on a campus, totally go away for college! It will be the place that you most likely learn to grow up while also having a ton fun! Plus, with technology, it is possible to go home and spend time with your family but I would also suggest not going home too many times your first year because it will keep you from connecting with the people you’re with at school!

Being a Basketball Coach

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 7 December 2015

As a senior in high school my thoughts about being an engineering student were quite clouded and pretty skewed. I could picture myself buried in the library with large books on the desk and not having any time for anything other than studying. I came to the realization that this is not an accurate picture of what college looks like as an engineering student nor is it healthy to be so focused on studies and not actually enjoying where you are in your life.

I do study often for my classes but not to the point where I don’t have time for anything else. As a senior in engineering I’ve found myself involved in many different things that I really enjoy doing outside of engineering.

Currently I am coaching a third- and fourth-grade coed basketball team through the local church I attend. I have practice on Monday evenings and games on Saturday mornings.

My team unfortunately is named the Wolverines (after the Marvel comic and not the college football team). There are two girls and five boys and coaching them is a blast.

I played basketball throughout my life and it is a passion of mine, so getting to share my passion with these kids is quite rewarding. The players come from vary different backgrounds and homes and it is often apparent in their behavior. Because of this, my favorite part of coaching arises, getting to love on the kids. It is two hours a week that I get to show the kids that they are valuable and awesome! I get to run around with them and be a kid all over again.

So, if you are coming into college, be ready to do some studying but also be ready to have some fun and really enjoy where you are!

Construction Estimating

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 29 November 2015

The air is becoming cooler and crisper and the days are much shorter. I cannot believe that we are done with November and moving in to the last month of the year. The semester is coming to a close and the project deadlines are approaching. There is nothing more that terrifies me than project deadlines and finals. Even though I am terrified to think of what is in the near future, I am still ready to tackle them head-on. I have found that I work and learn best when I am under a little pressure.

One of my favorite classes of the semester is CE 4160, Construction Estimating & Equipment. In this class, I have been working on roadway construction projects all semester. In this class we are divided up into groups and we are given a set of plan drawings to which we need to make an estimate of how much the project will cost to build. I like this class the most because it is most applicable to what I want to do once I graduate.

Another benefit of this class is that is directly related to one of the organizations that I’m in. The Civil Engineering Estimating Team does exactly what my class is teaching me. We get a set of plan drawings and we need to bid the project during a competition.

I find that I tend to like classes more that I can directly relate to outside of the class room. I am what they call a “hands on” kind of person.

Enjoying a Day Off

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 13 November 2015

It’s a rare occasion that students have a day off in the middle of the week. It’s even more rare that a day off will be adjacent to the day of a big exam. But I was lucky this semester, Veteran’s Day happened to fall on the Wednesday before my second Structural Theory exam. As a result, I woke up even earlier than I usually do for classes (no sleeping in for me!) and went to Donkey Coffee to spend the day studying.

As usual, my plans didn’t exactly…go to plan.

From 8:30 to 12, I was on fire, flying through problem after problem. Beams, trusses, and influence line diagrams flying past my head as I delved deeper and deeper into my studies.

Then, a fateful text message. “What are you doing right now? –Mom”.

I actually grew up in Athens, so whenever I receive a message like this, 99% of the time it means that I’m going to be dragged into doing something that destroys my productive flow. This time, it was lunch with my mom and sister on our days off. Free food? How could I refuse!

Long story short…A one-hour lunch turned in to a four-hour excursion, including going on a trip to Kroger, going to Petland to play with puppies, and five laps around the endless aisles of the Athens Staples. Come about 8 pm, and I hadn’t been studying for a while, but was too exhausted to continue.

Surprisingly enough, I’m not too worried about how the exam went. I guess those four hours at the beginning of the day helped a lot more than I imagined!

Fall at Ohio University

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 October 2015

It just so happens that my favorite season is fall, but being down here in Athens Ohio for fall makes the season so much better. I love when the trees start to turn and the air is cool and crisp in the morning. Even though all are signs of what is to come in the near future, the gloomy winter season ahead is outweighed by the sheer beauty around.

One of my favorite spots on campus has always been East Green, but I especially like it in the fall. The trees that line East Green drive are postcard worthy to say the least.

I love campus but from time to time it is nice to get out and away for a while. There is nothing more that takes my stress level down like a motorcycle ride with my good friends, as we love taking to the hills and curves that await us outside of the city limits.

Motorcycle Riding

I do not have any thing even remotely close to a hill where I’m from, so I ride down here as much as my schedule allows. The fall colors in the trees only enhance the experience.

I found that once I arrived to Ohio University is was crucial for me to find a stress reliever so that I could keep my stress in check. Well, let me tell you, taking a nice 1-hour bike ride around Athens County and the surrounding counties definitely does just that for me.