Wrapping Up Senior Year

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 11 April 2017

My final year at Ohio University has been the fastest year yet. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in freshman orientation stressing out about the next four years of my life. I missed my friends and family at home. Shortly after that, I developed my own family here in Athens and I am not ready to leave them.

Something I always tell the prospective students while I am taking them on tours is how fast college goes—especially at such a great school like Ohio University. I felt that it would be very difficult for me to find friends here at Ohio University as a freshman but the programs and organizations here make it near impossible to not find friends.

My final semester has been consumed of my senior capstone project in which my project team is working with Muskingum Valley Educational Service Center located in Zanesville, OH. We have been developing a database with them to help them with their documentation systems. I couldn’t have imagined a more perfect ending to college, I love the work that we are doing for them and the client has been great to work with.

As I prepare to go into the “real world” when I move to Pittsburgh in June, I will take the knowledge, experiences, and relationships from Ohio University with me. I hope to develop the type of friendships and relationships in Pittsburgh that I have developed in Athens.

IEEE Student Activities Conference

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 10 April 2017

This past weekend, I went with The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the annual Student Activities Conference (SAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was honestly one of the best trips that I have ever gone on. Events like these are mostly for professional development, but for me it was so much more. It was a chance for me to get to know my fellow students and it was also a chance to get away from Athens for a little bit and explore a new city!

This year the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science fully supported us to represent Ohio University at SAC. There we got to attend seminars about various subjects, including ethics, leadership, and the Young Professionals Society.

We also got to meet students from other schools. We competed against them in a variety of events that tested our knowledge about physics, circuits and problem solving. We actually ended up winning third in the physics competition and got to bring home a trophy!

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to know my fellow members of IEEE. During the car ride and the stay in Glassboro, we got to bond in a way that we haven’t before. I think this was due, in part, to school still being a lingering thought in our regular socials and meetings. Since we were off campus and most of the weekend we were busy with the conference, we got to take a break from the stress.

I was very pleased to find out how welcoming and comfortable everyone was with each other. It made the bonding experience that much better. There were a lot of factors that went into what made this trip so successful, but I honestly think it was the group of people that went that made it one of my favorite weekends to date.

Preparing for the Student Research and Creative Activity Expo

Quintin Fettes

Quintin Fettes,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 April 2017

For many students, research and creative activity goes on behind the scenes with the outside world largely unaware of their work. Students work on their scientific, artistic, musical and other pursuits in their free time as an extracurricular activity, developing their skills from composing and performing a new piece of music to trying to predict the onset of diabetes in mice using computers. However, the Student Research and Creativity Expo provides the opportunity to share all of their creations with the community and university.

This year, I’ll be co-presenting my senior design team’s work on Rufus, the RoboCat. As our senior design project, the Robocat has served as an introduction to engineering principles, mobile development for android devices, software development for robotics, Arduino programming, natural language processing, and image analysis.

Robocat

The improvements we’ve made have focused on the behavior and usability of the cat, ultimately producing a wider platform for the next team to begin developing and provide a flashy engineering project to get children interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM); in short, we’ve given the RoboCat a stronger brain.

Robocat

Ultimately, the Student Research Expo is giving hundreds of students, us included, the opportunity to present and feel pride in the result of hard work. Hundreds of our peers, professors, and high school students will come to admire the work of the college students and those that want will get the opportunity to be judged and ranked against our peers. The student research expo has given us all a great opportunity.

What the Heck is a “Study Aesthetic” and Where Can I Get One?

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 3 April 2017

One of the most important things anyone will ever learn in college—besides how many credit hours is too many credit hours—is what their very own study aesthetic is. I’m going to refer to it as an “aesthetic” for two reasons. The first being that “aesthetic” is my favorite word of all time. The second being that I’ve found that the only way to really and truly convince myself to do something I see as unpleasant is to turn it into something unnecessarily dramatic (or as the kids call it, “extra”).

Your very own study aesthetic can say a lot about you, and can be one of the most fun self-discoveries you’ll have in these four years. However, it can also be horribly stressful because you won’t even notice that you’re searching for it. You’ll just know that something you’re doing isn’t working, and it just doesn’t feel right.

My entire freshman year, I tried so hard to be a library studier—on the top floor of Alden, surrounded by bookshelves filled with information you can easily find with one simple Google search. It felt…forced. It felt fake. I wasn’t learning anything that I hadn’t learned in class or recitation, so I found myself getting frustrated when I wasn’t making any progress.

My sophomore year, I tried to be a dorm studier. This was easier in my quiet sophomore dorm than in my rowdy freshman dorm, so I thought I was making progress in my setup. But there was still something missing.

My junior year, I became a coffeehouse studier. It was like the clouds parted and the choirs started singing! Not really, because that would be horribly distracting. I realized that it wasn’t just a room with light background noise that I needed, it was an entire environment. An environment with a history.

Coffeehouses have been the place of academic, social, and intellectual interaction since their inception. In the beginning, they were a place where natural and social scientists of all economic classes could meet to discuss ideas. They were where pivotal friendships such as that of Edmond Halley and Isaac Newton were formed. I learned that for me, I need that history of innovation to work well. I need the feeling of coziness to surround me while I work on a foundations engineering project, or else I won’t be productive. Even as I’m writing this, I’m sitting on the second floor of Donkey Coffee—a local coffeehouse—with a tall glass of lavender/peppermint soda.

Now, Donkey Coffee may not be the best place for everyone. Many engineering students that I’ve met feel they absolutely cannot work outside of the ARC (Academic and Research Center), and some have said that they can’t study anywhere other than one specific study room in the library.

So, as you go on your journey through college looking for your productivity sweet-spot, remember that no two people are alike. And remember that the location is not the only variable you need to consider. You may need a specific drink, a specific type of music, a certain feeling to the place you’re about to settle into. You may do your best work in the gym, surrounded by the smell of sweat and the clink of weights returning to their shelves. You may work best in a restaurant, with bustling waitstaff bringing plates of fries to the table next to you. All I can say is that you’re going to feel so much better when you finally find the setting that works for you.

Volunteering at the Community Dinner

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 31 March 2017

One important role of an engineering ambassador is to give back to the community. Earlier this month, some of us volunteered at the Church of Christ’s community dinner. Every Tuesday they host an open and free meal, to the public.

For an event like this, they have a lot of roles to fill, and that’s where we came in! Some ambassadors worked earlier on in the day prepping the food, but I got to work the later shift where we got to serve the food and get to know some of the community members.

Serving Food

When I first arrived we were greeted by all of the members of the church. We were then shown around the kitchen, and were assigned positions along the serving table.

The menu that night consisted of breakfast burritos, along with all of the traditional breakfast sides and a choice of dessert. Some of us were assigned to the meats. Some were assigned to the burrito toppings. Since it was Pi Day, there was peach pie for dessert. I got to pass out the hash browns and French fries.

When the dinner started, we got to talk with all of the community members as they walked through the line. After everyone was served, we were able to join them. I heard different life stories and connected with some of the people in just the short amount of time I was there.

It was such a rewarding experience because we got to know and give back to the community. All of the church volunteers were so kind and welcoming, which is why I think the whole event was such a success!

Life Decisions

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 28 March 2017

This semester I have been faced with making huge life decisions. As someone who is pretty indecisive in general, this has basically been a nightmare.

For the past 4 years of my life here at Ohio University, I have had a vision of what my life would look like when I graduated. This semester forced me to evaluate whether that vision still rings true to me. Making the choice between industry and graduate school has been one of the most difficult decisions I have ever had to make. I am a big believer in gut feelings, but in these past few months it sometimes felt like my gut was refusing to talk to me.

What helped me come to my final decision was the enormous support from everyone around me. I am the kind of person that wants to know absolutely every piece of available information before I am willing to make a final decision. This is not a particularly useful personality trait in situations where there are a lot of unknowns.

The reason I’m writing this blog post is that I think my situation probably resonates with a lot of incoming freshmen who might not know what the right path is for them. I have two things to say which might ease your worries.

First of all, I would like to say that I reached the decision to accept a job offer because of the unwavering support and patience of my academic advisor here at OU, Dr. Doug Goetz. His impact on my experience in the Russ College cannot be understated.

In these past few weeks, he has met with me every time I felt uncertain or wavered in my decision. He has answered emails, asked for input from his colleagues, and generally been the greatest ally I could have asked for at such a critical point in my life. Ohio University and the Russ College have put me into contact with some of the most incredible people in my life: people that were willing to fight for me and who were there for me during every step of my college experience.

That leads me to my second point: coming to Ohio University was the single best decision that I have ever made. It meant leaving my family behind and flying across the country to a place where I didn’t know a single other person. It also meant that I found a second home.

As I am preparing to leave Athens for my new job as a process design engineer at Kiewit Engineering Group Inc. in Kansas City, I am definitely sad to be closing this chapter of my life, but I also know that my experiences at Ohio University have prepared me to take on the challenges that this next chapter may present.

I wish the best of luck to anyone who might be making those big decisions in their life, and I hope that the experiences of myself and the other Ambassadors might be helpful in making that choice!

Preparing for Summer

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 27 March 2017

The cherry trees are blooming, the birds are singing, and fest season is upon us, which means one thing: summer is right around the corner. This semester has absolutely flown by, and my plans for this summer are finally starting to come together. This summer, I plan to study abroad in Italy for six weeks studying business, hopefully intern for a couple of months, and also spend some time relaxing with friends and family.

This summer I have to travel abroad in order to fulfill a scholarship requirement. After months of planning, I finally decided to go to the Santa’Anna Institute in Sorrento, Italy to study business in the European Union. The Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) here at OU is top-notch, and they helped me throughout my search. I eventually came upon the Sorrento program through OGO, and I never looked back.

As an engineering student, it is often times difficult to find an abroad program that caters towards your program, but studying abroad can be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and has many, many benefits. Think outside the box, and think of taking classes abroad that could perhaps help you achieve a minor or certificate.

I am also hoping to co-op with Toyota for a couple months before I travel abroad. I am in communications with them currently, and am trying to work out a position that lasts for only two months. Remember that intern or co-op terms typically last 3-4 months, so keep this in mind for summer plans.

Also, don’t forget to relax and spend some time with your family and friends over the summer. You only have 4 summers until you are thrust into the “real world”, so enjoy them.