Hosting the IISE Regional Conference

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 March 2017

Last weekend, Ohio University hosted the Great Lakes Regional Conference for IISE (the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers), the professional organization for Industrial and Systems Engineering majors.

Each spring, there is a conference hosted by one of the schools within each region. Ohio University is in the Great Lakes Region, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

About 400 students gathered in Athens for a two days of networking, listening to speakers, and exploring the possibilities within the professional world.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Finding the IE in relief”. We explored how industrial engineering tools and skills can be used within humanitarian relief situations.

One of the professors in the Russ College Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering specializes in humanitarian logistics. He was the first speaker on Saturday morning. He discussed how his experience with natural disasters in Chile lead him to begin his studies in humanitarian logistics.

Later Saturday, there was a time to converse with a few recent graduates from the major who recently began working full-time. It was nice hearing their perspective, as I am going to be graduating later this spring. There were a few other break-out sessions and key-note speakers throughout the rest of the day.

I really enjoyed this conference as it helped expand my perspective of Industrial and Systems Engineering and presented an opportunity to network with students from different schools.

The Importance of Advisors

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Junior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 2 March 2017

Often times faculty adviser meetings are overlooked and thought of as wasted time. I remember going to the first couple of meetings with my adviser and thinking “Why should this person be telling me which classes to choose? Of course, only I know what I want.” Little did I know that my faculty adviser would impact my life so profoundly. In fact, almost every award I have received and everything I have achieved in college is thanks in part to my faculty adviser.

So, it’s clear that my faculty adviser has made an impact on my life, but how can they affect yours as well? First, you must recognize just how important it is to develop relationships with faculty members. I struggled with grasping this concept over the first part of my freshman year, but I quickly realized that students who had positive relationships with faculty members tended to do better in classes than others. Those students were more likely to ask for help from other faculty members and were more likely to be recommended for many things, whether it be jobs, awards, or club positions.

Once you have grasped that concept, you must really take advantage of it, and one of your first faculty contacts will be with your faculty adviser. Not only will your adviser help you choose which classes to take, but they can also help you land co-ops, internships, or research positions. My adviser led me to both of my internships, and without his help I surely would not have gotten them. Also, you must truly take your adviser’s advice about classes to heart. They know more about the coursework than you do, and you should heed their advice. If you don’t, you may end up working on classwork for 70-80 hours a week like me this semester! Work to develop a strong relationship with your faculty adviser, and you won’t regret it.

Designing a PT Standing Frame

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 February 2017

The process of transforming from an engineering student to an actual engineer is one that is very important to have completed by the time you have graduated from an engineering school. At Ohio University the mechanical engineering students are tasked with a senior design project to do just that. We are given a real world problem that we must solve by designing, creating, and implementing a mechanical device or process.

My senior design team was given a problem from a physical therapy professor at OU. Every year she takes a group of her students to Gabarone, Botswana, in Southern Africa. They travel to a clinic there to get real world physical therapy experience while also helping the staff in Gabarone. They have a need there to get physically disabled children, ages 2-8, into a standing position, so that’s where we as engineers can help.

We spent the fall semester inventing designs for a physically therapy standing frame that would be cost effective (around $100) and easy to build in Gabarone. We finalized our design and got the thumbs up from the physical therapist.

ME Senior Design

This semester we began by tying up loose ends and actually started to produce the first prototype. We should be finished with it next week and will begin testing it by having kids actually try it out.

Thus far the process has been very gratifying and fulfilling. The opportunity to use my engineering skills to create a product that will benefit others is the reason I wanted to become an engineer all along.

Making it to the Future City Finals

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 February 2017

This past week has been a whirlwind. I was planning to go to Washington DC with Mira, a fellow ambassador, to judge the Future City Finals, but was not planning on getting the flu a few days before.

Here’s what happened. It’s Tuesday, I’m finishing up my classes for the day waiting to have a senior design meeting when my stomach starts making funny noises. Fast forward through all graphic details, and I am home miserable all night, then I sleep literally ALL DAY on Wednesday. I need to get his out of my system as soon as possible.

Sickness is so different in college. In high school, sick Jane was half happy because at least she didn’t have to go to school. Nowadays, sick Jane is 0% happy because time is the only money she has. Thursday, thankfully, I didn’t have class because of a water main break, so I didn’t have to decide whether to go or not (PTL). Friday and Saturday, I frantically caught up on all of my work just to fly out to DC and start a hectic day of judging.

The Future City competition is for middle school students who have worked all year on designing a city of the future. With so much science and details in their designs, it makes you think you’re judging college students.

We were judging with so many different people. I met random marketing advisors for construction firms who were sent to represent their companies and also past presidents of super big engineering organizations. We even met President Obama’s STEM advisor (SO COOL). It was an incredible experience to meet them all and learn from them. The whole trip was incredible, especially with the cool museums we went to and delicious food we ate.

Looking back on the past week, drowning in work to catch up on, half of me wonders whether it was all worth it. The flu, definitely would have stopped if I could have. The trip, though, not a chance. These are the experiences that will develop me and that I will remember, and I am so thankful that we got to go. The only cost will be pretending this weekend is just two days of free, intense studying. Because that’s exactly what it will be.

The Estimating Competition

Rob Parker

Rob Parker,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 22 February 2017

“Most importantly, take a deep breath, lighten up and HAVE FUN!”

As engineers, specifically civil, many of our projects tend to deal with infrastructure and as you may already be familiar with these projects get very expensive. With that being said, once a project is designed it goes out for bid, meaning many different contracting companies bid how much they think it will cost to build the project. Then, the lowest bidding company wins the project.

For the past three years I have been involved in the Estimating Competition, which is hosted by the Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) and this past weekend (Feb 17-18) Ohio University competed once again. As the name of the competition may give away, the main purpose of this competition is to estimate how much it’s going to cost to construct a certain project.

There are 11 schools that participate in this competition and the grand prize for the winning team is $3,000. The estimating portion of the competition occurs on a Friday where you have 8 hours to estimate the job and then on Saturday you present your project to the judges. The cool part about this competition is that the project that is provided for the schools to bid has already or is currently being built.

Even though the 8-hour estimating portion of the competition is a high-stress environment the competition as a whole is very beneficial. You are not only getting exposure to blue prints and how to navigate through them, but you are also surrounded by potential employers the entire time. I’ve received two co-op opportunities alone just through this competition.

OU 2017 Estimating Team

Even though we didn’t win this year, I still had a blast and if this wasn’t my last year of college, I would definitely compete next year. There are many hidden opportunities that come with being involved in an organization/competition and the estimating competition is just one example.

Global Consulting Program

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 19 February 2017

Out of all the courses I am taking this semester, my favorite is my Global Consulting Program Greece Course. It’s not that I don’t enjoy engineering–I find all my courses very interesting and have great professors. It is, however, refreshing having a class that is not math or science based.

I will be studying abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece for two weeks in May for a global consulting internship through the College of Business. Before we leave for the trip, it is required for all students to attend a course that teaches us about the program.

The class meets every Monday from 6-8 pm. The first hour is dedicated to learning everything we will need to know before starting our consulting project in Greece. We were each assigned a team of four or five students to submit mini assignments throughout the semester. Some of our assignments include a team charter; country and city report; pestle analysis; decision matrix; and a presentation at the end. This course is set up similar to a “cluster”, which are team based courses that business students take for a semester at Ohio University.

The second part of the course is to learn the Greek language. This is my favorite part of my Mondays. Our professor is very personable and passionate about this trip. He makes the class fun so everyone is willing to learn. We started out learning the Greek alphabet and then learned how to spell our names. Next, we were taught simple words to hear how Greek sounds.

Each week we add on to the previous week’s topics. We learn a little about the history, cultural differences, and enhance our vocabulary. Our final exam for this course is to be able to say each phrase on a sheet that is front to back that we received the second week of class.

I am very interested in the business section of class. Ultimately, I would like to earn my Masters in Business so I can become an Engineering Manager at some point in my career. I believe that these courses and this internship will help prepare me for my MBA in the future.

I am also very excited about the travel. Like I’ve stated in my previous posts, I do enjoy traveling a lot. I cannot wait to see a different part of the world and grow as an individual. Lastly, I am very excited for all the great relationships that I will gain due to this experience.

Water Problems

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 17 February 2017

Yesterday, I woke up at 6:00 am but this day was different. Later that day was the first day of the Russ College Career Fair, and I was in the market for an internship or full time position. With me graduating in less than a year, I had been definitely feeling the pressure creeping in of finding a job. So, when I woke up, I dressed in my best suit and tie, printed out what felt like 100 resumes, and went on my way to Stocker Center for my Lean Manufacturing class at 7:45. That was when things started to go crazy.

Not five minutes into class, I heard a couple of my peers in the row behind me start to make a ruckus about something on the computer. I couldn’t help myself from eavesdropping, and I heard one of them say “Man we aren’t even supposed to be here. The university is closed!” The words had not left his mouth when two other students on the opposite side of the room piped in as well with similar comments. One student after the next all began talking and trying to figure out what was happening. The professor, who was trying to pass out equipment for a project, became very confused as to what had happened to the class. That’s when my friend Sam showed me a picture of the gaping hole in the ground surrounded by water that she had found online in a report by the Athens PD.

Apparentl,y around the 300 block of W. State Street, a 16-inch rupture occurred in the city water main. The leak then caused a sequential sinkhole in the ground and put a halt to all normal water use. Back in the classroom my professor began calling the department secretary as well as the ETM department chair. At this point the university had not sent out notifications to the students and faculty. Around 8:10 or so everyone checked their phones to see the emergency mass text from Ohio University. Classes were canceled, but what mattered much more to me was that the career fair was canceled. I was pretty disappointed about that.

As of writing this post, the water line has been fixed. However, the water itself, is not. A boil warning is still in effect for all of Athens until 2 am on February 18th. Why that matters to me is that I have a week’s worth of dishes that I had been procrastinating on washing. Now it has gotten to the point that I do not have a single clean pot or pan and do not have the time to boil water to wash them. The lift on the boil warning cannot come soon enough.