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.
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.
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.