Helping to Combat Recidivism in Columbus

Hope Bowden

Hope Bowden,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 10 April 2020

As a senior in ISE, we must complete a senior capstone project to apply the skills we’ve been learning over the past 4 years to a real life scenario. We have a semester to work with a company to complete an ISE-related problem they have at their company.

My group is working with MCS T.O.U.C.H. in Columbus. They work with former inmates to help them more easily transition back into life outside of prison. Their program helps clients find jobs as well as provides mentoring sessions to help with emotional issues they may be going through.

My project focuses on taking the data they have about their clients, such as race, age, gender, employment status, etc., to find a way to predict their likelihood of returning to jail. It is not what I thought I would be doing for my project when I entered into ISE, but it has been an eye-opening project. It has been interesting finding trends with simple things to see how it impacts someone’s decisions in life after prison.

Some pieces of information we found made sense, such as job loss leading to a higher risk. Other factors, such as zip code, were not expected. Considering the area codes that had high levels of recidivism were marked as relatively crime free areas, it was an interesting trend the group found within the data.

My group also had the chance to sit in on a peer-to-peer mentoring session to better understand the program. It was uplifting to see participants trying to lift each other up and push each other to be better people.

I have loved getting to use my skills to truly Create For Good. This program we are creating will be used to allow for the company to personalize their program and prevent recidivism in Franklin County, where the company focuses their efforts. Overall this was an incredible project to get to work on and I am glad I had a chance to work with a company that wanted to give back to others and help them succeed.

Biking Around Athens

Lydia Seiter

Lydia Seiter,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 9 April 2020

As my time in Athens comes to a close, I find myself reminiscing on all the wonderful memories I’ve made here, and all the unique facets of Athens that make it such a special place. One of the best parts about Athens that I’ve enjoyed the most is its natural beauty. Athens is the perfect place for so many outdoor activities, like hiking, rock climbing, running, and cycling.


I started to cycle as a hobby at the beginning of my first semester of senior year and wish I had started exploring Athens by bike much sooner, for multiple reasons.

First of all, there is the bike path, named the “Hockhocking Adena Bikeway,” which stretches from near Ohio University’s campus, all the way to Nelsonville. This path is frequented by all sorts of athletes—from cyclists, to runners, to rollerbladers. On any given ride, you can glimpse toddlers taking their first spins on tricycles, couples on tandem bikes, and elderly folks on recumbent bicycles. Not only is the bike path a fun place to ride, but there are also a multitude of hills around Athens to get the legs pumping.

Second of all, Athens has a wonderful cycling community, and many independent bike shops, such as Athens Bicycle, Black Diamond Bicycles and Rental, and Cycle Path Bicycle. Starting out as a beginner, I was able to get all the equipment I needed, like pedals, shoes, and a proper fit, from these helpful folks.

Lastly, the scenery in Athens is truly beautiful in all seasons. Whether in fall, when the leaves are changing, disintegrating with a gentle crunch under the wheels, or in spring, when the beautiful scent of blossoming flowers travel on sweet winds, Athens’ natural beauty is perpetually on display. Riding a bike through Southeastern Ohio takes one past farms with horses and turkeys, past rushing rivers and streams, and alongside railroad tracks and trains. I can’t recommend exploring Athens enough, whether it’s by bicycle, hiking, or running. I will miss the one-of-a-kind charms of exploring outside in Athens when I move away!

Activities with AIChE

Charlotte Kapral

Charlotte Kapral,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 5 April 2020

The first organization I became a member of at Ohio University was the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE). At the end of my freshman year, I became the secretary for the organization. I held that position until the end of the junior year when I became President. As I start my last few weeks as a student, I have had to say goodbye to the student chapter. Elections have been held, and AIChE officially has a new President!

Through AIChE, I got to visit chemical plants and even the Jackie O’s brewery.

AIChE Plant Tour

Every Halloween we carved pumpkins. We had movie nights, sundae parties, bowling events, card night, and many other social events. I had the opportunity to learn more about the college when the organization sponsored university events such as the Career Fair and Ramen Fest. I got to know my professors better by planning a fall dinner at the Chemical Engineering assistant department head’s house, and a spring picnic at the department head’s house. I was able to network with alumni and professionals in industry when they would come to meetings.

My favorite aspect of being involved in a student organization was getting to know the other students within my program; they have made my time at Ohio University a fulling and memorable journey.

Keeping Busy and Appreciating Athens

Reagan Richardson

Reagan Richardson,
Junior, Energy Engineering

Athens, OH 30 March 2020

Instead of focusing on all the negative or scary changes the world is going through right now, I want to talk about some personal positives. Through all of this I have found that it’s important to keep myself “busy” and outside of class I’m trying to keep my screen time down.

To fill my time, I’ve started picking back up hobbies that I used to enjoy and starting some new ones and I wanted to share what I’ve been up to.

I’ve always enjoyed puzzles so over the span of a week I spent a couple hours a day putting together and finishing a 1000-piece puzzle.


I’ve also taken walks around campus to stay active, see everything bloom, and watch the sunset.

Athens Sunset

Athens Sunset

Athens Sunset

Athens Sunset

Currently I’m painting a paint by number of an owl, but I’m just getting started on that.

These are just a couple things I’ve been doing to relax and take my mind off things. Like everyone else I am eager to return to “normal”, but until then I am finding new interests every day.


Jason Wherry

Jason Wherry,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 March 2020

The feeling that washes over me when I stroll down the sidewalks of Athens, Ohio is grim. Its once cheery, bustling nature has transformed into a barren land of college kids who are attempting to finish out their semester within the perimeters of their off-campus housing. I wouldn’t be shocked to see a tumbleweed go by; however, this is no scripted Western, it’s reality.

The fact of the matter is hard to swallow as myself and many others have acknowledged this may be just the beginning of the alterations which COVID-19 has imposed on human life. It is testing people’s health, the bonds of our communities, and willingness to surrender our social lives and commit to adjusting our communications with each other. One common misinterpreted saying I would like to talk about, in light of the coronavirus affecting everyone, follows: people don’t change.

To frame this line a bit let me take a step back and refine what that means to me. The saying people don’t change refers to the true character of a person, their intrinsic values. I am getting at one’s beliefs, values, rather than a minor shift in habit such as employing a new method to cook chicken or an exciting way to work out. I want to dive into the determinants for significant interpersonal change, which the current tides of society have brought to shore quite rapidly. In other words, people don’t change by themselves…they are changed by circumstances.

The spread of illness has changed the circumstances for everyone without their input on the matter, an unfavorable way to introduce change. It is unusual as we are creatures of habit and resist change through our day-to-day lives. In an attempt to get behind of the wheel of life again, I suggest one tries to react differently to their circumstances, leading oneself towards new conditions, and unexplored territories. Do not be afraid to try new things, do the same things differently, add people (virtually for now) to situations and append yourself (also virtually) onto new situations too, and most importantly remember that the best way to change is to stop relying on comfort to guide your life.

The graduating class of 2020 has been forced to change, just like most social constructs have, and we are not thrilled about it. What good will it do us if we sit around and wallow in the past, complaining about something out of our control? I have just examined my interpretation for changing oneself on a deep level and since we have so much “free time” on our hands, I urge you to exercise that power and do some internal digging. Listen acceptingly to oneself to find out how you can put aside all of the calamity and find peace.

To quote a great mind known as Carl R. Rogers, I present the following: “we cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are”. I am no expert at personal psychology, or anything at all really; however, I do believe that now is a better time than ever to sift through your personal experiences and psychoanalyze how you can be happy within. After all, the world is nearly at full capacity when it comes to unanticipated circumstances, so why not implement meaningful change by realizing what structural material will best hold yourself up during these rocky times?

I hope my thoughts brought some new ideas to the front of your mind and sincerely wish everyone well-being and personal development during the quarantine. We can, and we will overcome this obstacle; in the meantime do your best to steer oneself in a positive direction.