Athens Bike Path

Paige Preske

Paige Preske,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 3 November 2015

During the fall (and every other month, really), my favorite spot at Ohio University is the bike path. Running right along the Hocking, it’s a beautiful spot for all seasons. This time of year with the changing leaves and a cool breeze, it really is the perfect place.

I initially fell in love with this spot during my freshman year. I lived in Johnson Hall, and the bike path was my favorite spot to walk, run, or catch some quiet time. At the time I kept to the section by South Green and didn’t venture very far past O’Bleness Hospital. This part of the bike path is beautiful–it’s right against the river and you can look across it to see the hilly landscape and changing leaves.

Now, as a senior, I really enjoy the portion of the bike path that runs through West State Street Park. It’s a little quieter and farther removed from the river but it is just as pretty. While I’m on this portion, I find myself at different times:

  • under canopies of trees
  • crossing a bridge over the Hocking River, and
  • passing a small local farm.

Overall, there isn’t a bad place to be find on the bike path and after four years it’s still my favorite spot at Ohio University.

My Athens Bucket List

Nicole Sova

Nicole Sova,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular


Athens, OH 2 November 2015

Amidst the hustle of classes and conferences, it could be easy to forget to step back and enjoy the little things. In order to make sure we didn’t miss out on any of the fun Athens has to offer, my roommate and I made a bucket list for our last fall in Athens, with many of them complete (X).

  • Bike the Hocking Adena Bike Path (X)
  • Enjoy Breakfast at the Catalyst Café (X)
  • Experience the Pawpaw Festival (X)
  • Buy Apples at the Farmer’s Market (X)
  • Walk the Ridges Nature Trails (X)
  • Visit the Kennedy Art Museum (X)
  • Watch One of the Performing Art Series Concerts (X)
  • Cheer on the Hockey Team (X)
  • Watch the Sunset from Bong Hill
  • Hike Radar Hill
  • Sing along to the Marching 110 (X)
  • Go to a Football Game (X)
  • Watch the Homecoming Parade
  • Eat the Local Cuisine on Court Street (X)
  • Go Bowling at the Rollerbowl
  • Take a Sunday Drive through Town (X)
  • Enjoy the Colors of Fall on College Green (X)
  • Watch a Movie at the Fun Barn
  • Dress up with Friends and Enjoy the Halloween Block Party (X)

While I’m still working on crossing a few of these things off of the list, so many memories accompany each of these bullet points. One of my favorite memories on the list is singing and dancing along with the Marching 110 at the football game halftime shows. Their spirit and energy are infectious! This video is of one of the songs they played during this year’s parents’ weekend game, but nothing beats watching them live.

Being from New York, I had never heard of a pawpaw (a sweet, slightly mushy, but delicious fruit). My freshman year I was happy to discover this interesting fruit and the festival that celebrates it. This year I was more than excited to introduce my freshman sister to it all. We listened to local bands, ate pawpaw-flavored foods, browsed the local crafts, and sported some stylish balloon hats. Below is a picture of me (far left), my roommates, and my sister (far right) at the Pawpaw Festival.

Pawpaw Festival

Another Athens Fall favorite is the HallOUween Block Party. It is always so much fun to see all of the interesting costumes and this year I thought we might have had a chance at winning the costume contest. Unfortunately, we lost to the Sanderson sisters. Below is a picture of my friends and me (the Mad Hatter, second from the right) as the cast of Alice in Wonderland.


Athens has so much to offer and so many incredible people to experience it all with. I’m so glad I chose a school with so much character and friends to remind me to slow down and enjoy all that Athens has to offer.

Startup Weekend Athens

Zach Perrault

Zach Perrault,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 29 October 2015

Last weekend I attended Startup Weekend Athens, a contest where groups work to start a company in 48 hours.

On Friday, I went to the Ohio University Innovation Center with no idea what I was getting myself into. After a bit of introduction from the event organizer, people lined up to make their 60 second pitches for their proposed business ideas. Once everyone had given their pitch we voted on which ones should be pursued. I decided to join Amy Miller and her idea to create a virtual reality system where martial arts students could apply their skills in mock scenarios. I really liked Amy’s enthusiasm and a virtual reality system sounded like a really fun technical challenge.

The first night was mostly fleshing out the idea some more. Wilson, my fellow computer science engineering ambassador, and I went to our houses to pick up our workstations, grab our Oculus Rift and a Microsoft Kinect from our friend and ACM president, Charlie Murphy. We also acquired important brain fuel in the form of gummy worms and La Croix.

Wilson and I worked non-stop all weekend to get as impressive a tech demo as we could. On Saturday, the event organizers also invited coaches from the Athens area to help us with our startups. Nathan from the Create_space and John Bowditch from the GRID Lab both help us a lot with how to approach our technical hurdles.

On Sunday, We presented our startup and performed a demo of what we had been working on. It went really well! After presenting the judges deliberated while we had another delicious, catered meal from the contest. Then it was time for the judges to announce the winners. My team took second place!

It was so exciting for our hard work to have paid off. I went into Startup Weekend just wanting to build something but I got so much more. I learned a lot about business plans and how product is just a portion of what makes a successful business.

Rediscovering Soccer

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 27 October 2015

This was the first year since I was 4 years old that soccer was not a consistent part of my life and to say I miss it would be an understatement. However, I’ve been finding ways to keep the game I love a part of my life. This weekend I finally made it up to a Columbus Crew SC game, which is something I have wanted to do all year.

It was “Ohio University” night at the game, so students got discounted tickets. One of my friends and I drove up to Columbus for the game and my brother and some of his friends were in the same section as us! We hadn’t planned it so it was a nice surprise to spend some time with him as well.

Crew Game

Another thing I’ve been trying to do more this year is read books. My brother gave me a book called Finding the Game by Gwendolyn Oxenham, which I finished at the same time I was starting to play intramural soccer. I mention these together because the book is a personal account of a girl who traveled the world with her boyfriend and two friends looking for pickup soccer games in 29 different countries. Playing with my team makes me feel like I am living that book, but instead of traveling thousands of miles, I just go to the other side of campus.

The majority of the people on my team are engineers, but of different disciplines and cultures. We have kids from Oman, Angola, Spain, China and the United States and although everyone speaks English, most default to their first language when we play. At first I thought it would be difficult to play because of this, but we communicate through the universal language of soccer with passes, claps and high fives. We have won both our games so far (5-1 and 12-1) and I am looking forward to the rest of our games.

Soccer’s ability to break barriers is one of the things I admire most about the sport. There are kids I’ve had many classes with, but had never talked to until we started playing soccer together. This connection not only has affected our social interactions and cultural understanding, but it has enhanced our collaborations as engineers which, to me, is invaluable.

Kayaking Class

Wilson Taylor

Wilson Taylor,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 26 October 2015

This semester I have a course load that consists of solely engineering classes, but I find it important to always include something fun in my schedule. This semester the solution was an introduction to kayaking class.

I didn’t have any expectations going into the experience other than learning some basic paddle strokes. This past week, the course has been drastically more difficult than I had originally expected–in a good way.

This past week we were introduced to a rescue maneuver called the “T-Rescue.” The T-Rescue is a way to flip back upright upon capsizing. To do so, you run your hands along the side of your kayak and wait until another kayaker bumps into the side of your kayak. At that point you grab the tip of their kayak with both of your hands and throw your kayak back under yourself. If executed properly, you will return to the upright position above water.

I have found the rescue to be most challenging because of the reliance you have upon another kayaker to reach the side of your boat quickly. The entire time you’re underwater you have to wonder if someone will make it to you before your lungs run out of air. Prior to the class I had never known any of the individuals I had been kayaking with. These rescue techniques required us to quickly grow to trust one another. I found the experience to be mentally challenging; it has also helped me forge new meaningful relationships.

Cutler Scholars Program

Caroline wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 26 October 2015

I can still remember the moment that I answered the phone call which changed my life. It was spring break of my senior year of high school, and I remember shaking with excitement as I was informed that I had been awarded the
Russ-Legacy Cutler Scholarship
. The incredible generosity of the program was something completely unprecedented in any other scholarship I had heard of—-it included not only room and board for four years, but also stipends for summer enrichment programs like Outward Bound Leadership programs, volunteer trips, study-abroad opportunities, and internships. For me, it made the decision as to whether I should leave my family in Washington behind for college a no-brainer. I have never regretted my choice for a second since I’ve come to OU.

Fast-forward to my junior year and I can hardly believe the places I’ve been as a result of the Cutler Scholars Program. From a sea-kayaking trip in North Carolina, to a sea-turtle conservation project in Ostional, Costa Rica, to an internship with a start-up biotech company right here in Athens: the Cutler Scholars have shaped my life in countless ways.

Below are a couple of pictures from my time in Ostional. The pictures were taken when it was basically pitch dark out, while we were out on patrol.

Ostional, Costa Rica

Ostional, Costa Rica

During the school year, all of the scholars meet up for a weekly discussion session which covers a wide variety of different topics from semester to semester. Colloquium is often my favorite part of the week because it gives me an hour to unwind from the hard math and science of engineering by discussing current events, philosophy, and a myriad of other subjects.

Former OU President Dr. Charles Ping often joins us for these discussions, and one of his nuggets of wisdom which really stuck with me was when he told us, “You are all the products of incredible generosity.” The benefactors for each of our scholarships have made investments in each of us not so that we can travel around the world purely for our enjoyment, but so we can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

I cannot find the words to accurately express everything which the Cutler Scholars Program has meant to me, but I can say without a doubt that without the generosity of the Russ Family, I would not be the person I am today.

Fall at Ohio University

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 October 2015

It just so happens that my favorite season is fall, but being down here in Athens Ohio for fall makes the season so much better. I love when the trees start to turn and the air is cool and crisp in the morning. Even though all are signs of what is to come in the near future, the gloomy winter season ahead is outweighed by the sheer beauty around.

One of my favorite spots on campus has always been East Green, but I especially like it in the fall. The trees that line East Green drive are postcard worthy to say the least.

I love campus but from time to time it is nice to get out and away for a while. There is nothing more that takes my stress level down like a motorcycle ride with my good friends, as we love taking to the hills and curves that await us outside of the city limits.

Motorcycle Riding

I do not have any thing even remotely close to a hill where I’m from, so I ride down here as much as my schedule allows. The fall colors in the trees only enhance the experience.

I found that once I arrived to Ohio University is was crucial for me to find a stress reliever so that I could keep my stress in check. Well, let me tell you, taking a nice 1-hour bike ride around Athens County and the surrounding counties definitely does just that for me.