In Athens for the Summer

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 29 April 2018

This summer I am interning at General Mills in Wellston, OH. An added bonus to an already amazing opportunity is that I get to stay in Athens for the summer. Although I have lived in Athens for six semesters, there is still so much of the town and surrounding areas I have to explore.

My first two years, I was mostly limited by how far I was willing to walk on foot (not far). Even now that I have a car on campus I still don’t venture too far, mostly sticking to the necessities: Walmart, campus and the Athena Grand.

I’m excited for all the places I’ll go without homework looming over me. I definitely want to make it a priority to go to Hocking Hills State Park to check out Old Man’s Cave and Cantwell Cliffs. After seeing some photos via Google, I definitely want to see the caves, waterfalls and hemlock trees for myself.

In addition, I’m looking forward to running on the bike paths in the evenings after my internship. The path follows the Hocking River quite a ways and offers some pretty breathtaking views. I enjoy seeing the foliage in the fall, so I can’t wait to see how vibrant the greens are in the summer.

It will be interesting to see how the town atmosphere changes when most of the students are gone for the summer. I can’t imagine campus without the hustle and bustle of students milling about in-between classes. This summer is certainly going to be a new experience and I am very excited to enjoy Athens and gain engineering experience.

The Best $140 You Could Spend At Wal-Mart

Sean Neff

Sean Neff,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 25 April 2018

Over the last four years of my eventful time here in Athens, I’ve made quite a laundry list of incredible memories and incredible friends. One of my fondest memories is from last summer in the heat of late June. Out on Lake Snowden (about 15 minutes south of Athens) my friend and I decided to christen our new shiny Wal-Mart purchases.

Two days earlier, we stumbled upon a summer sale in the outdoor section of the State St. Wally World. A bright blue Sundolphin Kayak for $120… a steal for even the cheapest type of new kayak out on the market. We debated buying the small 8 foot watercraft for a few minutes as well perused through the cereal aisle…and as we finally hit the Captain Crunch, we decided to pull the trigger and buy the kayak. Our biggest problem was this: even though I only weigh 148 pounds, two grown men could not fit in the kayak comfortably. So to make up for this issue, we also bought a $20 child-sized dinghy raft.

So back to Lake Snowden… with a bright blue kayak and a child sized raft in tow, two college students with two fishing poles and some tackle headed out to purge the lake of its famously large, but tough to catch, channel cat fish.

We spent almost 12 hours from sun up to sun down paddling into every cove and fishing hot spot catching a massive haul of keeper-sized cats. As the fishermen with their $150,000 specially-designed high-tech fishing boats passed by and saw two sun-burnt college punks with 10+ large catfish in their Wal-Mart kayak, their mouths dropped and their wallets cried. We delightfully filleted and grilled up our catch for the day, and shared our bounty with our troop of friends back in town.


Now, as the spring of 2018 continues to roll by into the early stages of summer, I have a kayak of my own. Unfortunately I didn’t get this one on sale, but it was still only $140. Now instead of a blue kayak and a kiddy dinghy out on Lake Snowden… there is a blue kayak and a twin orange kayak still raking in huge hauls. Except now we tend to throw back more than we keep. Yet still, I think it’s the best $140 I’ve ever given to the Walton family.

IEEE/HKN End-of-the-Year Event

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 April 2018

This past weekend, IEEE and HKN (Eta Kappa Nu) held a social event for the entire School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. This event welcomed all students and faculty to get together for a cookout.

In my five years, I was never aware of an event like this that took place for the whole department. It was a great experience to get to talk to professors outside of class and get to know them on a more personal level. Since all years of students were there, we also talked about the different classes people were taking. It was cool to see upperclassmen give advice on certain courses and talk to them about topics that they have already been through.

Attendance at the event was good with about ten faculty members and sixty students participating. The weather was great, and the burgers were even better! I hope they continue to hold this event in this future because it really brings the students and faculty closer together.

Recommendations for Enjoying College

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Senior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 22 April 2018

With the final few weeks and graduation coming closer I feel as if my days are numbered at Ohio University. I look back and know that I made the right choice by going to OU. I have countless memories and will be sad leaving such a friendly and amazing place.

There are some recommendations for incoming freshman that I have learned over the past four years. The first recommendation is to live in a freshman-only dorm. This sounds odd but everyone in the entire building is going through what you are going through and is more willing to try something new.

Second is to try something new, make a bucket list of things you want to get done before you graduate. I did that and have climbed the rock wall, went hiking all over campus, went to at least one game for each sporting event and joined a club that was outside of my major.

My last recommendation is to not be afraid to spread your wings and find new friends, but don’t forget your old friends in the process. Having different friends will help you explore and have new experiences, but friends you came into college with are there for you when you are home sick and they understand.

These are just a few of my recommendations, but whatever you do, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and enjoy the time that you have at Ohio University because it goes a lot faster than you think!

2018 Human Powered Vehicle Competition

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2018

The Ohio University Human Powered Vehicle team recently competed for their fourth time in an event sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, this year at Penn State University. The competition’s goal is to provide innovative solutions to the world of human powered vehicles to make them more practical in today’s world.

To achieve this, there are multiple events that test teams and their vehicles which range from technical analysis and documentation, to drag races and a two and half hour endurance event with various obstacles including speedbumps, slaloms, stop signs, and even carrying groceries.

As part of the preliminaries on Friday, there was a safety check, which included assessment of the impact in a rollover.

Rollover Test

Saturday was filled with a men’s and women’s, double elimination style drag race where teams begin from a stop and accelerate down and quarter mile stretch of road.

HPV Drag Race

Traditionally the team had designed tadpole trikes, a trike with two wheels in the front for their low speed stability and handling, but this year that was changed to a two-wheeled vehicle that is much less stable at low speeds. This was countered with landing gear that could be deployed but the change to two wheels allowed for better efficiency and thus higher speed in this event. One member of the team was able to accelerate to 37.8 mph over the quarter mile stretch which makes it the fastest vehicle the team has designed to date. Our one female rider ended up riding all races in that bracket and brought home 3rd place, and I combined with one other male to finish in fourth place on the men’s side.

Sunday is the day of the endurance event, the two and a half hour race that always seems to be filled poor weather and puts vehicles and riders to the test. This year the weather was cold and the majority of the course was a grueling gradual climb, but the team managed to get by with only five riders, one of which, reached the maximum 20 km limit per rider. In the end, the team finished the endurance event in second place of the 45 teams that were there, but after a few penalties were applied we dropped to third.

One of the things that I was personally the proudest of was that the team was awarded the sportsmanship award for helping other teams when they needed it. As I am still very close to the two founding members, I know that is the type of culture that they both wanted the organization to be like and would be very proud that it has remained that way to this day.

To me, this organization and event have been incredibly important as it has offered me a tremendous growth opportunity not only on the technical side, but also as a leader and manager. This was the first year with new, highly motivated, leadership that I was able to mentor some, but it was great to watch as they developed another reliable vehicle for the competition. In the future I plan on staying involved in the team as a mentor and possibly sponsor, but also may be interested in assisting with further competition judging or event planning activities within ASME.

Why This Summer is My Most Important

Gyasi Calhoun

Gyasi Calhoun,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 16 April 2018

Over the past three years I have spent my Summers at Hyland Software working as a software developer on the healthcare team. Most would say that my most important Summer/Internship is the last Summer as an intern. However, I think the most important Summer is this up and coming one because I’ll officially be a full-time software developer. All that hard work has paid off and I finally can get a standing desk, larger monitors, a shiny metal nametag, and not to mention that full-time salary!

Since I’ve interned for so many years I’ve seen a lot of my fellow interns become full time employees as I remained an intern until May 5, 2018 finally comes!

This Summer is so important because things become more serious. There’s
no more knockout basketball twice a day every day of the week or the feeling of relief knowing my project won’t actually be launched for outside users to use.

What I’m about to experience is really similar to a college basketball player entering the NBA (obviously with a lot less on the line and a lot less pay). College was great, but how can you help our team’s production professionally? Can you write code that is efficient, maintainable at a large scale and usable to users globally? I definitely think I can and the company who hired me thinks I can as well, otherwise they wouldn’t have hired me.

Now it’s my time to showcase my skills and what positive impact I can bring to the table. This Summer is my time to make a great first impression as a full-time developer and although I’ve interned for a while it’s time to put that coat on a hanger and put on my grown-up pants.

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 15 April 2018


Why does a cute, innocent, little baby have to go through cancer? Why does it have to be the rarest kind of acute myeloid leukemia for children? Why have we found treatments for this rare type of leukemia, which is most commonly found in the elderly and those with Down syndrome, yet it is still not treatable in young kids like our Leighton? Why does every amazing treatment and therapy still seem to give hope and then throw a brick in our faces? Why do families get ripped apart and put in a hospital for over 6 months? Why does this monster called cancer even exist? All questions with no answers. Unanswered questions I have to live with every day. I have to find a place for those and move on. Our work is not done. Maybe, maybe I will ever find an answer, but for now unanswered and rest in peace…


…Even though this happened to my own family, to my beautiful baby cousin and princess Leighton Hailey van Leeuwen when 12 months old, we will never give up. For 6 months, Leighton smiled every day and never ever gave up. She always laughed and fought back. Now that she’s brought to sleep by a magical fairy, it’s up to us, her family and friends, to share her story and keep her alive!


You can help by telling and sharing her story on social media and be part of Team Leighton while this June I step in the life of Forrest Gump to run across America. Although our support could not beat Leighton’s monster, it might help beat that of someone else. This is partly the reason why I decided to run for her when I applied to be a 4K for Cancer runner 5 months ago: supporting my family from overseas while sharing her battle with cancer as a newborn.

Every day for 6 months I talked to the amazingly strong parents—my cousin and his wife—to give them support while they lived in a hospital and the Ronald McDonald house to do everything for their first little baby Leighton. To show her all their love as parents and in an attempt to keep her alive.


Now that she is the brightest star in heaven, I realized how much my support meant for my family… I am so proud of Leighton and the rest of my family! All I can say to all of you now is to please be aware and create awareness. Cancer could happen to everyone.

Please be aware of your surroundings, treat everyone with respect, and please support them when they are going through a rough time. I am proud to be part of my Mom’s “van Leeuwen” family and the family of the Ulman Cancer Fund.


I will always carry that pride with me. Please support me in my mission for Team Leighton and UCF:
         “We envision a world in which no young adult faces cancer alone”

and in which we keep Leighton Hailey van Leeuwen her story alive!

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