Tag Archives: academics

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.

Double Major: CS + VisCom

Rachel Fryan

Rachel Fryan,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 5 November 2014

This semester, most of the classes I’m taking are for my second major in the Scripps College. The actual university name is “Visual Communications: Interactive Multimedia” which is a mouthful so we refer to it as “VisCom” or “Interactive”. I started this major my junior year because I thought it would be a great complement for my computer science degree. Visual communications is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the study of how things are communicated visually and answers the questions like: Why do we look where we do? What makes us remember certain advertisements?


Most people don’t really understand what interactive is so I like to describe it as such: If you think of a website, software, or app, computer science gives me the knowledge to work on what is referred to as the back end. This includes all the coding, performance, and all the logical concerns of the piece. Interactive gives me the knowledge to work on the front end. This means all the design, aesthetics, where people are most likely to look and click, and user experience.

I love both of my majors so much and find both very interesting. It’s also interesting how there will always be a battle between the two in industry. For example, if a CS person creates software, the last concern on their mind is aesthetics, but you will have a completely opposite opinion if you talk to a designer. They want something to look cool and work no matter how long it takes to code. Either way, I hope to use the get the most out of my dual degree and have it help me land my dream job: a software designer developer.

Learning from a Great Advisor

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 2 October 2014

As an incoming freshman, you are paired with a faculty member in your department. It will be your advisor’s duty to help guide you through the process of choosing classes and schedules throughout your time at OU. Sometimes your advisor is the first professor you meet outside a classroom with. You’ll meet your advisor at least one time a semester to go over scheduling classes.

This professor is a huge part of your experience! They become a mentor and are a very important contact to have. If you have questions about changing major, adding minors, adding certificates, adding specific tracks, switching classes, or dropping classes they’re the person to talk to.

My own advisor, Dr. Monica Burdick, has helped me with much more than my classes throughout my four years at OU. Starting my sophomore year, I had the opportunity to work under Dr. Burdick in the Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department helping with biomedical research experiments. I had a chance to learn about the different options other than classical chemical engineering that you could pursue with my degree.

I was intrigued and thoroughly enjoyed the lab and Dr. Burdick’s research. She and her graduate students have helped shape me as an engineer throughout the past couple of years and have also made a huge impact on what I’ve chosen to pursue.

Advisors can be an intimidating first step when coming to OU but these professors are here to help you find out your goals and achieve them! They help and mentor you in many ways throughout the years.

Computer Science Career Preparation

Weston Martin

Weston Martin,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 24 February 2014 – One of the things I love about the computer science field is that the opportunities for careers seem almost endless. In recent years, the need for computer science majors has skyrocketed. This is very good news for anyone seeking a degree in CS (and many other engineering majors) because lots of need means lots of jobs.

Although it is very nice to not have to struggle with the thought of “am I even going to get a job after I graduate,” I still have the question of “how do I make sure I don’t hate my job?” Even if you love computer science you could potentially get a job you don’t like. If your interest is in developing new software then you don’t want to get stuck as a database administrator, and if your interest is in operating systems then you may not want to get stuck developing websites. So, how do you make sure you get the job you want?

The answer to that question is a two-part answer: you need to make yourself stand out and you need to pursue your interests. Luckily Ohio University and the Russ College are dedicated to partnering with students to help make these happen.

First, OU offers free (and paid) tutoring, and extra help sessions for difficult classes to make sure you have the resources to do well in your classes. This is crucial because one great way to make yourself stand out is to have a high GPA. However, although a good GPA is almost essential, what really makes you stand out from other students is experience. That means co-ops, internships, and/or undergraduate research.

Not only do these get you experience, they also help you pursue different interests without making long term commitments. This is where the Russ College offers a lot of assistance. They get companies to visit for career fairs specific to the college of engineering and they have staff members who are devoted to helping you get the co-op or internship that you desire. Then with your high GPA and your loads of experience, you will be a shoo-in for whatever job you desire.