Starting Fall Semester

Jane Oberhauser

Jane Oberhauser,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 8 September 2016

Fall is a complex time. As time passes and it comes closer to October, I yearn for cool weather and colorful trees. I daydream of long runs on the Athens bike path where I can breathe in fall-scented fresh air and reminisce on my high school cross country days. At the same time, however, I am aware that as time progresses, the many commitments I have will pick up to the point that my “long runs” might only be speed walks to class in the morning.

An exciting part of senior year that just came together is our senior design project assignments. Our class of around 70 students has been split into about 14 teams, each of which have a design project to work on for the next two semesters. I have been really pumped for this, and even more now that I know what my team’s project is.

The projects that always excite me most are those from local project partners, so I was very excited to hear that our team would be working with the Athens Cycle Path Bike Shop to design a human powered bike path cleaner. I’m sure I’ll post more about this design in the future as it comes together.

I’m only beginning to see what this semester will look like. So far, something I see that will separate this semester from the rest is the amount of purpose there is in what I’m doing. Although each of my previous semesters has also had purpose, they were more focused on preparing me and turning me into a competent engineer. Finally, now that I’m on the last level of my undergraduate career, I can feel the training wheels being lifted and I’m ready to roll.

The Curse of the Fun Fact: How those Little Talents Save you Major Anxiety

Mira Cooper

Mira Cooper,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 7 September 2016

The thing I dread most about the start of a new school year is that horribly, horribly uncomfortable first session of class, or first meeting of a club, when you’re forced to go around in a circle and introduce yourself. You give the basics: name, year, major, focus…then you’re asked to name a fun fact about yourself. Or you’re made to tell what you did over summer. Or you’re asked some other get-to-know-you question that you’ll answer, and immediately move on from.

Any normal person without a fleck of anxiety understands that what you say in that moment doesn’t really matter. It’s not like the group is going to dwell on it for more than five minutes anyway, right? But to anyone with social anxiety—which is most of us nowadays—that moment is the single most torturous event of the next fifty-five minutes and can leave you grasping at words, trying to find something interesting about yourself to share.

I’ve taken to being brutally honest about myself now in my “Fun Fact” sections. I don’t really have hobbies, at least none that I really consider hobbies. Sure, I enjoy reading, but most days I’m too tired to read when I come home. Yes, I like to hike, but I get woozy in the heat so I avoid spending too much time outside in the warmer months. I could say that I have a slight online shopping addiction (okay, not so slight, but my mom could be reading this so I don’t want to admit how bad it really is), but who doesn’t in this day of AmazonStudent?

None of these are particularly pleasant options, as they would lead to a room full of bored, blank faces, and frankly I like to garner a reaction from people. So, I’m blunt. “Yeah, I don’t really have hobbies,” I’ll say. “But, I can walk in seven-inch heels on brick roads.”

Usually, this confession leads to a few stunned faces, maybe a few chuckles, and sometimes even a “Uh, why do you have seven-inch heels?” However, it’s true! The best way out of an uncomfortable Fun Fact situation is to just have a collection of small, odd talents. Whenever I need to think of a factoid on the spot, I have enough to choose from to avoid the anxiety-ridden moment altogether.

And, I’m able to tailor my responses to my crowd. The heels answer is probably impressive to a group of cyclists, but not so much to a room of actors. Maybe, “I can do The Wave with my eyebrows” (demonstration included) is a bit more interesting. Engineers may find “I can make my tongue disappear in my mouth!” more exciting and weird than “I can balance a broom vertically on my pinkie while walking up stairs.”

Really, the moral of this story is that when I got to college, I realized that all of my weird little talents that I had spent my childhood perfecting were actually useful for something: overcoming anxiety! Learn thyself, know thyself, and you shall never have a truly uncomfortable time in the Fun Fact moments of life.

Co-op with Columbia Gas

Lucas Bond

Lucas Bond,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 September 2016

This past summer I had the privilege of working at Columbia Gas of Kentucky. The location I was working at is located in Ashland, Kentucky, which is about 10 minutes away from my hometown, Ironton, Ohio. I worked in the field-engineering department and for the most part I spent my time working on small gas line extensions, relocations, and betterment projects.

The position had some great learning opportunities. I was able to attend a course on project management in Columbus and a course in Pittsburgh, PA to learn a computer program used by pipeline companies called Synergi. Traveling for work was super fun and I took advantage of my time while I was there, especially while in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has so many fun things to do, fantastic restaurants, and the city is very beautiful.

Columbia Gas

I loved my time at Columbia; the atmosphere was always friendly and laid back. The people I worked with while I was there were great, and very diverse. I was around a lot of people who had been with the company for over 30 years. They were incredibly knowledgeable of engineering practices and the natural gas industry. I learned many lessons from them that I most certainly couldn’t gain from the classroom and I am so grateful for it.

Now I am back in Athens and I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to work for Columbia part time while in school. I just try to log about 5 hours a week for work, which still leaves plenty of time for school and life. I miss being at work, but school is great and I am really enjoying my senior year so far.

Setting up a New ETM Lab

Jacob Motts

Jacob Motts,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 3 September 2016

This last summer I had the great pleasure of working in the Engineering Technology and Management labs under Ron Porter. It was a wonderful experience that allowed me to see the laboratories within Stocker Center, the main building of the Russ College, with a whole new level of appreciation.

Primarily, the job entailed maintenance and cleanup of the existing labs. I still remember the first project we had was blowing out and cleaning up the immense amount of sawdust that had accumulated in lab 009. This is the woodworking lab for ETM, and I was truly not prepared for how much sawdust I experienced in that first week and a half.

As the weeks went on through the summer, we also were tasked with some jobs needed to prepare the road for the new ETM capstone lab. Some of the back rooms were just a treasure of really interesting old projects and equipment. It surprised me to find some of the processes and equipment have remained relatively unchanged after so many years. Just as interesting were the discoveries so obsolete that we had trouble even figuring out what they were.

I find myself much more aware in the lab sessions of my classes. When work is finished I am so much more motivated to make sure not only my area is cleaned, but the whole lab that was being used. Largely, it was because I was able to see behind the curtain and witness the amount of work put into our wonderful university. At the end of the day, it was a very eye-opening experience that left me much more invested in my classes and Ohio University as a whole.

Summer Co-op at Eaton Corp.

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 01 September 2016

As the school year begins everything seems crazy, hectic and fast paced. It is insane to me that I am entering my senior year. I have been enjoying every moment of my 4th year at OU so far.

This summer I interned with Eaton Corporation in Euclid, Ohio and had an amazing experience, so I think that is why I was so ready to hit the ground running for senior year.

With Eaton I was an industrial operations intern in the aerospace sector. I worked on a team of 10 quality engineers and I had projects that dealt with optimization and quality control. I was able to implement one of my projects by the end of my 12 weeks, saving the company money and time in the fuel pump assembly cell.

I loved everything about Eaton—the people I worked with, the company culture and the exposure/experience I was able to get in the manufacturing world. After this summer I choose to apply to do the spring co-op program with operations and technical sales. About a week ago I received a written offer to return to Eaton this upcoming spring and summer, for my 2nd and 3rd rotations. I am so happy to be returning to Eaton and it has made the start of my senior year even more memorable and exciting.

Summer Co-op at Honda

Andrew Videmsek

Andrew Videmsek,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 31 August 2016

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to co-op with Honda North America at their Marysville, Ohio campus. I worked in a subdivision of their engineering center focused on replicating manufacturing processes for training purposes and for testing new technologies.

With this being my first co-op, I was nervous not knowing if I would be able to complete the tasks they had assigned for me. Within my first few days I quickly realized I had nothing to worry about. The projects assigned to me were most definitely a challenge, and required me to learn about systems that I had never seen before, but my mentor knew that, and provided me with every resource I needed to be successful.

The majority of my projects were related to developing equipment to accurately simulate different factory environments. I was tasked with the design, construction, programming, and implementation of this equipment. While doing this I got to work with people from many different backgrounds, all who helped me grow my skill-set. Additionally, I was working with equipment and software that are normally not taught in a school environment.

Now that I am back at Ohio University, I feel very fortunate I got the opportunity that I did. I was able to take the knowledge I learned in school, and apply that to real-world problems. There wasn’t a single day I didn’t learn something new, and I feel this co-op has put me in a better position moving forward into my engineering career.

Summer in Detroit

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 31 August 2016

This summer I spent 10 weeks in Detroit doing a summer internship with Bridgewater Interiors. Bridgewater Interiors manufactures seats for a select number of General Motor vehicles. I interviewed with the plant manager (an OU grad) this past spring and was offered a position as an industrial engineer intern at the Detroit plant.

This internship gave me a chance to grow both personally and professionally. After taking a class on lean manufacturing in the spring, I was able to see a real-world facility that based its operating procedures off of a lean philosophy. I worked with full-time engineers to ensure that the plant was prepared to implement a new set of seats that were to be made for the first time.

Living in Detroit gave me an opportunity to explore a new city and a new culture that is very different from the one I grew up with in Columbus and the one I’ve become accustomed to in Athens. One thing that I had to get used to very quickly was the difference in the driving in Michigan. From the increased speed to the “Michigan left”, I learned quickly that Detroit is a much faster-paced city than Columbus or Athens.

Though Detroit is still suffering from the recent recession, I saw first-hand that the city is definitely making a comeback. As someone who loves cities and urban environments, I was drawn to and captivated by the love that people living in Detroit have for their city.

This summer definitely taught me a lot about myself and about the manufacturing world. I am very grateful for the opportunity to live in Detroit and work with Bridgewater.