Category Archives: Electrical Engineering

Spring Events: Conference and Volleyball

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 22 April 2019

The past few weeks have been extremely busy as we are nearing the end of the semester. With professors squeezing in exams before finals and final homework assignments and projects, it’s easy to get caught up in the school work and find yourself not making time for anything outside of that. While I normally find myself lost in this routine, refusing to do anything else until my work is done, this semester I decided I wasn’t going to let myself drown in work and I was going to make time for other things I enjoy.

That being said, a few weeks ago I attended the AIAA Region III Student Conference at Cleveland State with several other classmates and a professor. We headed up Thursday evening, and the conference was all day Friday and Saturday.

Cleveland

On Friday, we got to tour NASA Glenn and see some of the student projects they are working on such as their virtual reality cave. We also listened to some guest speakers from NASA, networked with companies, and played trivia for prizes (my team tied for last place).

Then, on Saturday we listened to undergraduate and graduate students from several universities present their research for a few judges. Although the conference was still academically related, it was a great break from school work and it was nice to get away for a few days.

Another event I participated in over the past few weeks is SWE’s Engineering volleyball tournament. Last week, a few other ambassadors/engineers and I put together a team, “Beach, Please,” and competed on Tuesday and Thursday.

Cleveland

The tournament was held at the sand volleyball courts on South Green, and I think about 8 teams total signed up. Unfortunately, we lost in the semifinals, but the tournament was a blast, and I am hopeful they will host another next year.

Although sometimes it is hard to not stress about school work and allow myself time for other activities, it always ends up a great time and I (usually) never regret that I took a break.

Hobbies for a Break from School Work

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 March 2019

In my last blog post, I talked about my first coaching experience as an assistant coach for a 7th and 8th grade girls’ basketball team. A couple of weeks after my post, we had league tournaments, and the 8th grade girls ended up winning for the second year in a row. Each round into the tournament the games got more intense, and it was an incredible experience seeing the excitement on the girls’ and the fans’ faces after they won.

Now that basketball is over and I don’t have to drive to practice or games 3-4 times a week, I have more free time to enjoy some of my other hobbies. Going to class all day and then doing homework for hours after class is exhausting, so to get a breather from school work I love to go to Ping and work out with my sister. Most days I dread going because I convince myself I am too tired or too busy but luckily, I have my sister to help motivate me, and afterwards I always feel better.

I think the gym is a perfect break from school work and it definitely boosts my mental health. Although I usually only have about an hour of free time to go, it is a great mental break that helps me feel refreshed and less stressed.

Another hobby I have been pursuing this semester is robotics. Dr. Bob, a mechanical engineering professor has allowed two of my friends and me to work with his industrial robot, Baxter. So far, we have just been learning the basics like programming him to move to certain coordinates and grab objects. However, recently we have started to work with his camera sensors, and are planning to program him to recognize a certain object and sort it from other objects.

For the Renaissance Engineers Engineering Day, we programmed him so that we could control his movement with a Playstation controller. The kids loved making him move around and tried to get him to do dance moves like dabbing or flossing.

All in all, despite all the homework and studying it’s been an incredible semester so far and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store!

Habitat for Humanity

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 March 2019

Habitat for Humanity is one of my favorite organizations that I have worked with over my life. Volunteering each Friday is a way for me to take my mind off of classes and to do something rewarding with my my free time.

Habitat helps support an event called Ohio University Move-OUt, a coordinated effort each year to reduce the waste of reusable items during finals and move-out week. This link illustrates the program’s collaboration between the city, university recycling, the region’s thrift stores, the SEO food bank, and Rural Action: https://www.ohio.edu/recycle/move-out.cfm

We find a lot of items that can be donated get wasted for many reasons during that weekend, but the largest reason is that students don’t know about their options for donation. All the organizations involved have a concentrated amount of time and resources for Move-OUt weekend. Things could improve if students had access to information about donating and had it earlier. This could reduce the amount of work that weekend entails for the students moving out, their families and the Move-OUt team. Plus, we could reduce waste and help those in need right here in Athens with the donated items. Who doesn’t want to do that?!

During the past couple of weeks, I have been a part of plans to reach out to other colleges including the Russ College, to spread the word about this event. So far, we have plans to flyer and table specific dates across campus. Our hope is that we can start changing the culture of move out and finals weekend- to really get people thinking about how they can prepare to leave the city and do it in the most responsible and sustainable way possible!

Coaching Basketball

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 February 2019

Over winter break I spent a good amount of my free time as an assistant coach of New Lexington girl’s junior high basketball team. From kindergarten to my senior year in high school, I played basketball almost every single day of the year.

After a few years of being away from the sport, I decided I wanted to get back into it, so in the middle of last semester I contacted one of my previous volleyball coaches and asked if she needed any help coaching her daughter’s basketball team.

A few practices in, I quickly realized coaching a sport is an even bigger challenge than playing it. Being back in the gym and observing the other coaches I learned I had to be even more confident, loud (which is oftentimes a challenge for me), and assertive while also being encouraging.

Coaching seventh and eighth grade girls is actually one of the hardest things I have ever done, but also one of the most rewarding. Although junior high girls don’t always listen very well and sometimes bring drama to practice, I wouldn’t change my first coaching experience for anything.

Coaching these girls who have the same dreams I once had has been an unforgettable experience. Being able to pass down knowledge of something that has had such a great impact on my life is so fulfilling, especially when seeing the joy in the players’ faces after a win or a great accomplishment that they’ve been working on for a while.

There have been many long—usually fun—practices, rewarding wins, and tough losses throughout the season, and it’s been great to be back in the basketball environment.

After several snow days and missed games, this upcoming weekend we are heading into tournaments with a record of 7-6. I hope in my next blog post I can say both the 7th and 8th grade won the tournament and were MVL champions.

Wild Ponies

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 15 January 2019

Over winter break I traveled down to Asheville, NC to take a weekend trip to visit the city. The city was beautiful, the food was great, the art was even better. But still after spending the weekend there, the favorite part of my trip wasn’t even my destination. It was a state park that we stopped at along the way, called the Grayson Highlands.

After passing it by on the way down, I received word from my travel partner, that that state park, nestled in the mountains of VA, had an odd main attraction… WILD PONIES. Those two words guaranteed my fate. My trip back was going to involve Grayson Highlands State Park and WILD PONIES.

We entered the gates to the park trying to keep our hopes low, as from our research we learned that finding the wild ponies can sometimes be an impossible task. I wasn’t going to get myself hyped just to be let down by a few ponies in the wild (although secretly I was so excited, and it was a perfect day for hiking and pony sightseeing).

Not even a mile in, there they were! A whole group of them were hanging out right by the gate off the side of the road. We veered off the road to park and meet the ponies.

Grayson Highlands State Park

It was in that instant we learned about the star of the park, Fabio. His long hair was flowing in the wind and he was gratification enough for the whole trip

Grayson Highlands State Park

Even though we had located the ponies, we decided that we should probably still do a hike since that was partly our reason for going to the park. Along our hike we found even more ponies and even more happiness!

It was truly a trip to remember. Everyone go visit this state park!!

Trying Roller Derby

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 November 2018

I’ve heard about roller derby existing but never really witnessed an actual game until I went to one while I was on co-op in Milwaukee. Ever since that day, I had a desire to get involved with a team and learn the sport. To me, it looked like a blast.

Well, after looking through the local Athens events page on Facebook, I found an event titled “Fresh Meat Practice” hosted by a local roller derby team, the Appalachian Hell Betties.

This practice is geared towards recruiting new team members who may or may not have any experience skating. They teach you how to skate and how to play in a roller derby game (safely). This practice seemed perfect to me since I have little experience skating and even less experience with the sport.

Two weeks ago I went to my first practice, and let me tell you, I LOVE IT! It’s a great way to get in shape, and I’ve met so many cool women from around the area who welcomed me into the group with open arms. Right now it’s just practice, but I’m hoping to get to the point in my skill set where I’m able to play in an actual game.

If I have any advice to anyone, it would be to be willing to try something new. There are so many activities and experiences life has to offer, and going out of your comfort zone, can help you find something that you might just love. For me this month, it happens to be roller derby!

Renaissance Engineers

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 21 October 2018

Going into this school year one of my goals was to get more involved by joining more clubs and organizations. With this goal in mind, I went to the Ohio University annual involvement fair at the beginning of the semester and walked through the endless rows of student organization booths. While fighting through the crowd of students, one organization caught my eye—the Renaissance Engineers.

After going to the first meeting and learning about what the Renaissance Engineers do and their mission, I decided this was a group I was eager to be a part of. The Renaissance Engineers are a fairly new student organization that work under four pillars: technical projects, educational outreach, engineering professionalism, and infrastructure.

Each year the group comes up with various hands-on engineering projects for its members to be a part of, while also focusing on planning outreach events for students from local high schools and middle schools. Coming from a small-town school of 60 to 70 students per grade and having no engineering experience prior to college, I was extremely enthusiastic to become a member of an organization whose goal is to reach students who haven’t had much exposure to engineering.

The Renaissance Engineers hold events such as Engineering Day where students from local high schools come to the Russ College to learn more about engineering, and also go to local libraries to allow kids of all ages to take part in engineering projects.

Along with the educational outreach, the Renaissance Engineers also break into groups to work on engineering projects such as a designing and building a hovercraft, robotics projects, designing and building a bridge, and many more. This year, we are also planning on creating a website, reaching out to other colleges, and working with professionals in the field in order to grow the
organization.

After only a few meetings, I am so grateful I saw the Renaissance Engineers’ booth and became a member. If this sounds like something you’d like to get involved in, the Renaissance Engineers meet the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month @ 7pm in ARC 312.