Category Archives: Electrical Engineering

Getting a Dog

Dillon Mahr

Dillon Mahr,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 October 2020

When I was a sophomore, I really wanted to get a dog. I was not sure how hard it would be to find an apartment that would allow me to have a dog. I went back and forth on the pros and cons and was going to wait until I graduated. Then, a close family friend emailed me about a litter of Boykin Spaniels he had. I decided to go ahead and get a puppy.

My fear of finding an apartment quickly dwindled when I started to look for options. Many apartment options in Athens allow pets, you just have to look early and, in some cases, they might charge a small fee.

There are a couple of important factors to consider when getting a puppy. Firstly, what time of the year you get the puppy. In the beginning, my puppy was a lot of work. A lot of waking up early for potty breaks, etc. What saved me is that I got him right after the semester ended, going into summer. This allowed me to work with him and to potty train him before moving into an apartment in the fall. I really think that was critical and I think it would not have gone well if I just got him in the middle of a semester.

Echo, Boykin Spaniel

The second important consideration is that pets require a lot of attention and exercise. My dog is now one year old so he still has some puppy energy. That means a lot of walks and trips to the dog park. It is time-consuming, but a good break from school work. Overall, I am very happy I decided to get him. Pets can take some work and require some planning, but they have many benefits and great at emotional support! The photo is of my dog, Echo.

Making a Decision about Grad School

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 19 April 2020

A little over a month ago, when life was still normal, I got to go visit a few graduate schools to try and help me decide where I wanted to go to get my PhD.

The first university I visited was University of Utah in Salt Lake City. While I was there, I got to tour several labs, go snow tubing, and was provided with lots of free food (always a huge perk in my book) with about twenty other prospective students.

Snow Tubing in Utah

It was my first-time snow tubing so that was an incredibly fun experience and I got to make lots of new friends with the current and prospective students.

In the two weeks following, I also visited the Ohio State University and Colorado School of Mines which were both great visits filled with more fun activities. The best part was my oldest sister is a post-doc at CSoM, so I got to stay with her and catch up on some much-needed sister time.


After months of worrying about where I would be living and what I would be doing after summer, I finally had heard back from all the schools I applied to and got to make my final decision. The decision was in no way an easy one as it was one of the biggest decisions I had made in my life thus far.

That being said, I will be attending the University of Utah to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering starting this August. My research will be on lower limb robotic prosthetics and exoskeletons, so I will get to combine my passion for robotics with my passion for helping people. While it is so sad to move on from all the great times I had in undergrad and all the amazing people I have met, I am beyond excited to start this next stage in my life and see where life takes me.

Making Plans for Grad School

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 February 2020

With the end of my last semester of college quickly approaching, I am constantly thinking about my plans for after graduation. After graduation I am hoping to attend graduate school to get a PhD in electrical or mechanical engineering. While doing this, I am hoping to work on robotics/medical robotics research. I have wanted to study robotics since I was in the 8th grade and came across one of Hanson Robotics’ humanoid robots being interviewed.

Applying to graduate school took a lot of my free time last semester with studying for/taking the GRE and writing and editing my personal statement/statement of purpose (I applied to 9 schools), so I am relieved to have that all off my plate. I am now waiting to hear back from each school to make my final decision of where I want to go.

Currently I have been accepted to The Ohio State University electrical engineering PhD program, and next weekend I will be visiting the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. During this visit I will get to meet with professors in the mechanical engineering department, eat with faculty, and even go snow tubing at a ski resort.

It’s extremely stressful not knowing where I’ll be in six months, but I know no matter where I end up, I’ll be one step closer to my dream of working in robotics, and hopefully making an impact in the lives of others. I am excited (but nervous) to hear back from other schools, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunities I have been offered thus far.

Sand Volleyball

Dillon Mahr

Dillon Mahr,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 13 October 2019

One thing that I really like about Ohio University is the recreational opportunities it provides. There is a lot of hiking trails, lakes, and other land open to the public very close to OU. Not only that, there are the sand volleyball courts, frisbee golf course, and basketball course.

In my sophomore year I found a group of fellow engineering students that really enjoyed playing volleyball together on the sand courts. We definitely are NOT pros by any means, but we just enjoyed playing and hanging out after class.

Sand Volleyball

The Russ College has its own volleyball tournament every year that is usually held in the spring. My friends and I decided to enter. Everyone was there to have fun, but the competition was actually pretty intense. We worked our way through the tournament to the championship game.

I was the only computer engineer on a team of mostly chemical engineers. We were facing the team Steel Bridge from the Civil Engineering Department. Each team was playing to win bragging right for their college. The game was super fun and came down to the wire in the last set. We somehow managed to win.

I am definitely glad I decided to first just go ask if I could join in on a game of sand volleyball. I ended up making some great friends and having a great time.

Summer Internship at Fluor-BWXT

Alexis Lanier

Alexis Lanier,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 September 2019

Over the summer, I got the opportunity to work at Fluor-BWXT in Portsmouth, Ohio as a design engineering intern. When I first arrived at the plant, I was amazed at the history and size of it. Until 1991, the site was a gaseous diffusion plant used to enrich uranium for military and commercial purposes. Now, the plant’s main operation is decommissioning and cleaning up the site.

Since I have only worked in research prior to this opportunity, working as a design engineer and working in the industry were both new experiences for me, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started.

The first thing I learned at the plant is that safety is the top priority. In my first few weeks at the plant, I went through radiological worker training, electrical Lock Out Tag Out training where we learned how to properly lock out hazardous energy sources, harness training, and a few others. After all my training was completed, I was given projects right away and got to experience what it was like to be a design engineer.

In the three months I interned at the plant, I got to work with other engineers on several projects around the plant. I worked on power calculations, installing a plotter, replacing a water heater from a one-phase to a three-phase heater, and multiple other smaller projects. After completing many design documentation packages, I learned that with the enjoyable engineering work, paperwork usually follows.

Fluor-BWST Interns

Besides gaining experience in the power field, I became great friends with the other interns and got to explore Portsmouth, Ohio with them. I went to my first dairy bar (shown below), saw the Portsmouth floodwall murals, and learned some southern Ohio jargon.

Dairy Bar

Although at first, I was nervous being in such a new environment, working at the plant was a great and enjoyable experience that I’ll never forget.