Category Archives: Civil Engineering

Project in Sustainable Construction

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 19 March 2015

When we got back from spring break, my Sustainable Construction class got assigned a project that is going to extend until the end of the semester. Our problem statement is to work with Ohio University to see what it would take to get various buildings around campus to a LEED Silver standard. LEED is the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is one of the leading green building standards used throughout the country and parts of the world.

The group I am working with has been assigned Siegfred Hall, it is currently used as the Arts building. During this past week we have been taking multiple tours of the building to understand different parts of the energy use, transportation, environmental, and a few other components. Our group is tasked to see what it would take to in order to obtain the LEED Silver Certification.

LEED takes into account six major aspects:

  • location and transportation
  • sustainable sites
  • water efficiency
  • energy and atmosphere
  • materials and resources
  • indoor environmental quality

These six categories have different numbers of points that you can achieve and total up to 110 points for the highest certification of Platinum. For our project we have to reach a minimum of a Silver certification which is between 50 to 59 points. Our professor is challenging us not to just stop there at silver but to really see what it would take to get an even higher certification of Gold or Platinum.

Our professor also surprised us with the fact that once our projects are complete our report with be shared with the university along with a presentation to the sustainability department. They will be able to use our project as a starting point when it is time for a major renovation.

Preparing for Life After College

Lance Jackson

Lance Jackson,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 23 February 2015

A lot has come with the final full semester of my college career. Preparing for graduation, continuing to apply myself in classes, and hunting for jobs have been the main three things that have been occupying my time along with attempting to enjoy my last full year of college with my classmates.

There are a lot of things that must be addressed when preparing for graduation, like ensuring that everyone has somewhere to stay and making sure they all have transportation. Classes have become slightly more challenging since the finish line has become within seeing distance but I’ve managed to keep the deadly case of senioritis at bay by increasing my level of focus.

However, my senior year has been very rewarding in the aspect of job searching. I have received interviews with companies where I was treated to dinner, shown around the main office of the company, then given a tour of one of their project sites. These interviews have been particularly exciting seeing that I was able to actually experience first-hand what these potential employers had to offer. I haven’t made a decision on where I want to work after graduation but would not be opposed to being wined and dined a few more times before I finally committed to where I want to start my professional career.

Campus Jobs

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 10 February 2015

Something to consider when thinking about being a college student is whether you want to get a job or not. For me, I didn’t want a job during my first year in school because I wanted to establish a foundation in the transition from high school to college and focus mainly on my classes. As my sophomore year rolled around, I decided that I was capable of working a few hours a week so I got a job at parking services.

I really enjoy working, it gives me some time away from the classroom and homework and allows me to do some physical labor. My current position as event manager is quite a diverse job in that my role is never the same from day to day. One day I could be moving barricades another day I could be dealing with a customer who had their car towed. The ever-changing job tasks keep me on my toes and give some challenges outside of labs and projects.

CATS Bus

As a junior now, it was imperative that I have a job so that I could buy groceries and pay for rent. I actually picked up a second job this semester driving a shuttle bus for Ohio University’s Transportation Services. I currently drive the purple loop CATS bus which is a free shuttle service offered to Ohio University students. Working two jobs has helped me in the ability to manage my time and ensure that I am getting all of my work done. Work is not always a bad thing, I would suggest if you can manage your time well work in college could be for you.

ASCE Steel Bridge Competition

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 19 November 2014

Every year the members involved in American Society of Civil Engineers participate in multiple competitions such as steel bridge, concrete canoe, environmental, and more. The competitions aren’t until March; however, we have to begin working now so that our teams will be ready for competition.

This year I am captain of our steel bridge team. For the steel bridge competition we have to design a 1/10 scale model of a steel bridge and every year the criteria are changed. This year we have to design a bridge that has an 18-foot clear span which means that the supports are only on the ends of the span. During the competition we are challenged to subject our bridge to various forms of loading.

To begin design we have to carefully read the rules. As a group we all suggest different ideas and begin to build off of them. This year we decided to go with a beam bridge design. As a group we are planning that we will use a built up T-member made from two L-members for the bridge decking. Our biggest challenge so far is to design the way to brace the bridge laterally. Lateral bracing is used to prevent side sway. After we decide what we would like to do for bracing our next step will be to make all shop drawings and then next semester we will begin fabrication.

My Favorite Restaurant in Athens

Lance Jackson

Lance Jackson,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 4 November 2014

Athens offers a number of unique restaurants that are exclusive to the city. From Big Mama’s burritos, to Kiser’s barbecue to Wings Over Athens, there is a wide variety of food options in the city of Athens that can be enjoyed.

However, one of these restaurants will always hold a very special place in my heart. That restaurant is Ginger’s Asian Kitchen, commonly known as Ginger’s. Ginger’s is a restaurant that allows the customer to make his or her own Asian bowl. Customers may choose rice, noodles or both to start and are able to choose between a wide variety of meats, vegetables and sauces to top off their order. For those watching their weight Ginger’s also offers different soups and salads on the menu. Sushi lovers should not feel left out either seeing that sushi can either be added to a bowl as a substitute for a meat selection or ordered separately.

Next, Ginger’s offers a delivery service that will deliver anywhere within a 3-mile radius, this is very convenient for us busy college students because it keeps us from having to take a break from our studies and traveling to the actual store to pick up our order. In closing, for any of those who might be visiting Athens in the near future or have never experienced the glorious food served at Ginger’s, I would strongly suggest making that your restaurant of choice the next time you are faced with that decision.

Water Treatment Field Trip

Nick Sparks

Nick Sparks,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 30 October 2014

Throughout the semester in my water and waste water management class, we have been in the process of designing a water treatment plant. During class we have learned all types of treatment processes and how to remove contaminants to provide quality drinking water to the public. We learned how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides the water quality standards and from the standards civil engineers are free to design the water treatment plant however they would like as long as they meet the standards.

There comes a time when learning theory in class does not teach you everything you need to know about water treatment. During our own design project, there were multiple times when we were doing calculations to determine tank size we questioned ourselves if our numbers made sense. Most of the time we were unable not comprehend how massive water treatment plants are.

As a part of the class and a teaching tool our professor organized a field trip to a water treatment plant in Lancaster, Ohio and a waste water treatment plant in Columbus, Ohio. Being able to see these plants in person helped us understand on how massive these plants are actually and help us realize that our calculations of our own design are acceptable.

Pictures provided show both the water treatment plant and waste water treatment plant.

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Field Trip

Enjoying a Fall Getaway

Jordan Sapp

Jordan Sapp,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 20 October 2014

A question I wrestled with when choosing to major in engineering was “If I study engineering, will I have a life outside of homework and exams?” After spending two-and-a-half years in Civil Engineering, I can confidently answer that question with, “Yes it is possible to have a life outside of engineering work.”

This past weekend was a clear example of leaving the real world of work and just enjoying life. Saturday I went to the Circleville Pumpkin show with a group of friends. The pumpkin show is an annual gathering of pumpkin fanatics in a festival-like atmosphere about an hour from Athens. There are rides, food, games, and tons of pumpkin goodness. That includes the World’s Largest Pumpkin Pie, 6 feet in diameter.

World's Largest Pumpkin Pie

Anything you can think of, they’ve made it pumpkin-flavored and I had the opportunity to taste some of it! After sampling through pumpkin chili, elephant ears, coffee, pie, funnel cake, ice cream, and fudge I decided my favorite pumpkin-flavored food was the pumpkin donut from a local bakery named Lindsey’s. The donuts were one-of-a-kind and truly satisfied my taste buds.

After the pumpkin show we camped out at the house of one of my friends. this camping out involved marshmallows, hot dogs, guitar playing, and an overall good time. To top off the night, we all slept in hammocks.

Hammock Camping

After weekends like these, I appreciate the ability to have some free time to get away from engineering and just enjoy the opportunities going to school in this area offers