WERC Competition

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2017

As fall has just recently begun, the days are becoming shorter and temperatures are becoming more sweater-friendly here in Athens. Before the cold weather catches up to us and the “new” school year becomes the “current” school year, I wanted to highlight a valuable experience Ohio University’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department allowed me last year during 2016-2017: the WERC Environmental Design Contest.

Teams of junior and senior chemical engineers (plus others who are interested) are led by Dr. Darin Ridgway of the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering department to compete in a nationwide competition to design solutions to real-world environmental and waste-management issues, presenting their proposal and a bench-scale demonstration in April at New Mexico State University.

WERC Competition

I had a blast last year working with my teammates on our project, where we proposed cleaning industrial wastewater from a coal-fired power plant by installing a specialized absorption tower at the beginning of their existing wastewater treatment system. Not only did I have an all-expenses-paid trip to the Southwest during the school year to present our work, but our group won the award for Best Written Technical Report in our category. Being recognized for all the hours of hard work my teammates and I put into our project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.

The event wasn’t all WERC, though (Get it? Work? I’ll be here all week…). After the awards ceremony, we spent the few days left on our trip seeing some incredible examples of natural beauty in New Mexico and Arizona.

WERC Competition

WERC Competition

From hiking the Grand Canyon (14.2 miles is no joke, let me tell you) to experiencing the White Sands National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park, traveling the Southwest in a university van with my best buds after taking home a trophy was a vacation and resume-booster worth remembering.

First Fall in Athens

Nicholas Burton

Nicholas Burton,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 22 September 2017

4 weeks down, 11 to go. These are the kind of thoughts one like myself experiences at this point in the semester, where the joys of “syllabus week” and early semester fun ends and it becomes time to buckle down for the first round of exams.

Ohio State’s loss to Oklahoma has brought some sour feelings to the beginning of the best season in the world, but with that being said, I am really enjoying my first true fall semester in Athens. Last year at this time, I was in Cleveland cheering on the Tribe during my co-op at Soils and Material Engineers and the year before, I was at a different school, so finally I am able to be in Athens for a fall semester. I’ve done all I can to be outside and soak up as much of the nice weather that I can, and it’s nice walking to class in the sun rather than getting wind burn in sub-zero temperatures that come with spring semester in Ohio.

I am actually happy to be back at OU and keeping busy with classes. I was able to enjoy the beach all summer working down in Charleston, SC, but I did miss my home state and it’s good to be back (stay tuned for my next blog post to see if this positive attitude remains the same). I like all of my classes so far this semester and I am ready to keep grinding them out every day and learning as much as I can.

Summer in Athens

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 16 September 2017

This past summer I was fortunate enough to work as an intern for the City of Athens Water Treatment Plant. While I could go on about the job itself or the amazing people I met at and through the plant, I think the more eye-opening experience was living in Athens for the summer—when the number of students in the city drops dramatically.

Spending a summer in Athens certainly has many perks. Sure, it may seem somewhat empty at times, and not all of your friends from class are there. But this just serves to open many more opportunities to explore everything that the city and surrounding area have to offer.

Over the summer, there are various events held right in the heart of Athens that offer great opportunities to get out and meet people. For example, “Boogie on the Bricks,” “Ohio Brew Week,” and multiple car shows are all held right on Court Street—Athens’ central street. A laid-back summer without classes also left many opportunities to mountain bike on the nearby trails, and to go kayaking at the nearby Stroud’s Run State Park.

All in all, it was a great summer spent right here in Athens, Ohio. However, I cannot say I am upset all the students are back and the semester is in full swing yet again. While the summer was nice, it’s nice to see all the friends I have made over the past three years, and it’s certainly exciting to get my last year of undergrad underway!

Studying in Greece

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 11 September 2017

This past summer was probably the best summer I have ever had. The first month of May consisted of traveling to Greece with my best friend for a study abroad internship. This happened through the OU Global Consulting Program which Dr. Costas Vassiliadis, from the electrical engineering department, supervised.

It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The program was two weeks long and took place in the city of Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is located in the upper peninsula of Greece right on the coast. The city is beautiful!

During the day, all the students met at the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) to work on our consulting projects. We were split up into groups of 5-6 students and 2-3 of those students were from the ACT. Each group was pared with a different company to consult.

My team was pared with the Chalkidiki Flour Mills. This company is a global flour mill company that produces specialty flour blends that they ship out to other places. My team had to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program for the company. It was a great learning opportunity.

Other than the project, we had socials, special dinners, and traveled to other cities in the free time. I also loved shopping in the city after class. Another great opportunity was being able to tour monasteries and Mount Olympus on the weekend.

After the two weeks were over, my friend Gabby and I island hopped for an extra week. We visited Ios, Santorini, and Mykonos.

Ios was incredible because it was a mountainous island that a lot of college students liked to travel to. It was cheaper than the other islands, so we stayed for three nights. We did not want to leave. We stayed at a family-owned hotel that had a gorgeous view on top of a cliff. One of our favorite things about Ios was renting ATVs to ride around the island on.

Santorini was our next stop, but we only stayed for one night. Santorini is located on a cliff and it was not what I expected at all! When looking at the city from the water, it looked like little bird nests were located on the peaks of the mountains. As we moved in closer, we were amazed by the beautiful architecture and colors of the buildings. I loved this city, but it was very touristy.

Our last stop was Mykonos before heading to Athens. Mykonos was my favorite island. We met students from the University of Barcelona that hung out with us every day. I think being with a fun group made this island the best. Mykonos is very hilly with a beautiful town located on the shore. I loved all the white
buildings and beautiful beaches. I definitely want to travel back to this island.

Athens was our final destination. Dr. V was our tour guide since he lives near Athens. He showed us the Parthenon, monuments, and the museum.

Studying abroad was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Co-op at Van Rossum Amsterdam

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 9 September 2017

In April 2016, I got in touch with a Dutch company located in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands, which is only an hour away from my Dutch hometown. The name of this company is “Van Rossum Raadgevende Ingenieurs” and they are well known for their interesting and sophisticated structural engineering projects.

Likewise, they have received a huge price for their famous project “Hoog Catarijnen” in Utrecht, The Netherlands, for which they have designed the complicated foundation.

Designing the foundation of a Dutch building or bridge is an enormous challenge since the load-bearing soil is mainly below sea-level. This problem has been tackled by the use of piles, which is typical for Dutch engineering and architecture. So, it was challenging for me to apply my American knowledge of engineering to the Dutch projects I have been working on this Summer and in 2016.

I restarted my co-op this May and I was supervised by Senior Structural Engineer Melvin Eschweiler. Consequently, I had the chance to excel myself as an engineer while working at two different projects shown below:

Zeeburgeiland, Amsterdam

The City Garden, Van Heuven Goedhartlaan, Amstelveen

During these projects, I was privileged to expand my knowledge of the steel reinforcement bars within a concrete structure. Similarly, I had to draw the diameters, lengths, and the center to center properties of the steel bars on the floor plans, cross sections, and front views. To accomplish this, I had to use the newest software of AutoCAD (2017).

Because of the two projects and their tasks mentioned above, I had the ability to get used to the real engineering world. I had to work with a multidisciplinary team of all ages and academic levels. This was not as challenging as I expected, since I am used to working in teams because of my background as a field hockey player on the Ohio University Field Hockey squad.

Furthermore, because of this student athlete fact I am used to work under pressure with lots of deadlines every single day. Hence, my colleagues were happy with me as their companion and the collaboration with all of them went very smoothly.

Nevertheless, at the beginning of my co-op experience I had some trouble with the software. I had not used AutoCAD for over a year so I had forgotten most of the keys to make quick drawings. Luckily, my colleagues were patient with me and they explained me everything I had questions about despite their busy schedules.

Fortunately, I have worked a lot with AutoCAD 2012 during my freshman year, so at least I remembered the fundamentals of the software to get started eventually. Thus, my field hockey background has surprisingly helped me a lot during this co-pp and this experience will therefore help me in the classroom too.

A Summer Abroad

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 6 September 2017

This past summer, thanks to the Cutler Scholars Program here at Ohio University, I was able to study abroad in Sorrento, Italy for 5 weeks. In Italy, I studied a Business/Sustainability course in order to fulfill a requirement for my minor.

My experience in Italy was absolutely amazing, and I would advise any college student to at least consider studying abroad. For engineering students, it’s often difficult to find a program that caters to your major and needs, but Ohio University’s Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) is absolutely amazing and offers an extremely wide variety of programs/courses. From working with a manufacturing company in China, to applying engineering solutions in Ghana’s impoverished areas, to studying fine arts in Great Britain, and everything in between, OGO has it.

When you are studying or volunteering abroad, not only do you have to the opportunity to grow and learn in the classroom, but you also can grow as a person. I learned a lot about business and sustainability this summer, but I learned even more about myself.

Italy

I became a more confident and adventurous person, and I did a lot of things that I may have never done before, like cliff diving off a Roman Villa into the Mediterranean, or swimming a couple of miles to visit several underwater sea caves, or engaging with complete strangers in deeply personal discussions. I really challenged myself this summer when I was in Italy, and grew a lot from it. Study abroad this summer certainly changed my life, and I would advise anyone interested in studying abroad to do it, and you definitely won’t regret it.

Camp Ohio University

Cami Jones

Cami Jones,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 5 September 2017

There’s something beautiful about the Fall season in Ohio that is amplified by living in Athens in the hubbub of campus life. I know that this is an engineering student blog, but let me be sentimental here for a few lines. The first few weeks of the first semester in Athens are fun because you get to meet new friends and together explore what I affectionately deem “Camp Ohio University”.

Local wildlife spotting at Camp Ohio University while walking to a 7:30 am class

The campus has so many hidden gems to find—interesting art, local wildlife, rainbows hidden in fountain spray, surprise performances by the Marching 110, cozy coffee shops (my favorite is named after an animal) and more. Everything is new and as the weeks progress, the forest of trees that fills in campus gains a golden hue as autumn settles in.

Throwback to my first week freshman year, when we enjoyed our downtime by doing yoga in the lobby of Read Hall!

What’s even better, in my opinion, is coming back for subsequent fall semesters. As a returning student, the opening of the semester is no longer about finding your way and meeting new people. It’s about rejoining familiar friends at favorite spots and enjoying local fare together. That’s what this past week has been for me.

We all know that our classes will pick up soon—after all, engineering assignments inevitably end up looking like big puzzles and group projects. However, I have learned to take advantage of the downtime that accompanies the first week of each semester in the “calm before the storm”.

Group projects tend to be more creative and fun when working with friends. Just notice the matching galaxy cat shirts we wore for a team intro video used as a part of our final project in computer simulation!

As the second week of the semester rolls around, I’m preparing to settle into the rhythm of classes and student organization meetings. In other words, it will be back to working on group projects with my friends and planning events for our chapter of the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. And while I wouldn’t venture to say that these coming weeks will be as relaxing as the first, I know that they will be rewarding in many other ways. Here’s to a final fall semester in Athens!