Tag Archives: engineering classes

Chemical Engineering Academics

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 February 2018

I’ve heard it said that sophomore year second semester of chemical engineering is the hardest semester. I’ve also heard it said that junior year first semester is the hardest semester. Okay, it’s second semester junior year that is the hardest, and so on and so forth. This is because each semester my dad tells me it’s the hardest one.

I think I understand his parenting logic, to get me to be ever vigilant in my studies and take every class seriously. I remember being annoyed during my sophomore year, but now I appreciate what he said to me. He got me in the mindset to tackle each semester one at a time, not dwelling on past semesters, or worrying about future ones.

However, this semester might actually be the hardest semester in chemical engineering, at least for me. That being said, I have never been more excited about engineering than I am right now. While I enjoyed my calculus and chemistry courses over the past two years, my true passion lies in my engineering classes this semester.

My chemical reaction engineering class takes me inside a reactor where molecular bonds are breaking and reforming. I am learning the intricacies of sizing and choosing what type of reactor will best fit my future company’s needs. In my advanced materials course, I can delve deeper into what makes steel so tough and how to choose the optimal characteristics of a material.

Overall, my classes this semester are some of the most engaging I’ve had during my time here at OU. I am beginning to scratch the surface of what my future career could be like, and I am thrilled about that. I am solving problems that, though textbook, have real engineering applications and challenge me to be creative and apply what I know. These classes are tough. None of them are easy, but I’ve heard junior year second semester is the hardest semester and I only have a few more to go.

Aviation Crew Resource Management

Gareth Bussa

Gareth Bussa,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 27 November 2018

During this semester, our department is trying out a new class. This class is a hands-on experience with another peer in the simulator. The class is called CRM (Crew Resource Management).

CRM is a vital component in today’s aviation industry. Any time you step into the cockpit of an airplane, you will have another crew member aboard. With CRM, aviation has seen a major decrease in aviation accidents.

As a crew, you perform duties together while sitting in a cockpit. You do checklists together, brief what you’ll be flying, how you’re going to fly routes and other necessities during a flight. This class teaches you everything to know in a CRM environment. Yes, it does not have the exact procedures as airlines or cockpits of a jet, but it does have procedures that are close to what you actually do in the real world.

These procedures and actions are key to safety of the crew and passengers aboard the aircraft. The CRM class contains the pilot flying, the pilot monitoring, as well as the professor in the back giving us scenarios in the actual simulator.

Most of the scenarios in the sim won’t happen in the actual aircraft. The professor likes to throw multiple failures at us at a time to see if we can handle the stress of dealing with failures in critical phases of flight. Whenever I talk about critical phases of flight, I mean takeoffs, landings and as well as cruise. These three areas are where you have the most accidents in an aircraft.

This class helps us prepare to be ready in the actual need of a failure. For instance, if an engine fails on a multi-engine aircraft, I know what procedures I need to do to keep the aircraft flying. While I know these by memory, I always verify what I am doing with the other person in the cockpit as well as checklists.

This class helps me prepare for the real world environment and I have learned a whole lot just from one semester. Coming out of this, I know what to expect when actually stepping into an aircraft for the airlines.

App Development

Jordan Osman

Jordan Osman,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 27 November 2017

A project I’m working on this semester is an application for impromptu pickup
sports games called PickUp. I really enjoy working on the application with people in my class and it’s a great hands-on experience.

Right now, we’re coding in java using the IDE Android Studio. It’s a lot of work, but it pays off to get practical experience before I enter the job market with my degree in the spring.

Honestly, the best part about working on something like an app for a school project is all the real-world experience that you get while working on it. There are a lot of little things in the working world that require a specific way of doing it and there are old standards in many industries that people adhere to. My app development course exposes me to all of these things so I’m less stressed about going into the industry after I graduate; something I’m sure many
students are stressed about as well.

Of course this can be a lot, so when I get overwhelmed, a quiet place I like to go to is the top of the hill near the arc that overlooks basically the whole campus. It has a place to sit and its always nice to see the nature that Athens as a whole has to offer. Sometime we can get caught up in our own agendas but its nice to find a quiet place and appreciate being alive and able to live.

Renaissance Engineers

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 20 October 2017

My dad has an electrical engineering degree. I’m going for chemical. A lot of people that know us well usually say something along the lines of “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” I understand where they are coming from, but to me, chemical and electrical engineering are on completely different wavelengths. I’m living in the realm of fluid mechanics and heat transfer while my dad is surrounded by systems and circuits. While both are necessary and cool careers, they are total opposites. Like night and day, cats and dogs, or Squirtle and Charmander.

When it came time for me to take Basics of Electrical Engineering, I knew I was in for it. Thermodynamics and mass balance were more my cup of tea than circuit analysis and Ohm’s law. The first exam did not go well. At all. I remember trying to calculate my grade to see if I would still even be able to get an A for the class. From then on, I stepped up in that class. I went to office hours, did more than the assigned problems, and poured over the books. My professor noticed my effort and toward the end of the semester he approached my friend and me with an awesome idea about how we could create for good while still at OU.

He invited us to become founding members of an organization called Renaissance Engineers. Our goal would be to create for good in the Athens community by solving problems with the application of our engineering knowledge and skills. The more Professor Vouzianas told us about the organization, the more excited I was to see his vision come true.

When I signed up, I did not know what I was getting into. A lot of hours were spent deliberating about bylaws, meeting times, and how to get Renaissance Engineers out there as an organization. From planning the first meeting to making the poster for the Involvement Fair, I got to be part of the inception. It is sometimes hard to devote a lot of time into something before you have the chance to see the results.

There is a learning curve to starting a new organization and a lot of hard work required. Be that as it may, so many students and professionals have joined the organization and that has meant so much to me.

One of my favorite parts of the organization is its interdisciplinary and inclusive nature. We are a mix of students and professionals, with a range of degrees from journalism to business to engineering. In the infamous “real world” that is often alluded to by college graduates, most people will work with others without the same technical background. That is why I believe it is so valuable to be a part of an organization that is more than just chemical engineering. It has certainly been worthwhile to get involved and I am honored to serve as Vice-President for such an innovative, service-based engineering organization.

Instrument Flight Rating Test

Becca Sedlak

Becca Sedlak,
Junior, Aviation Flight

Athens, OH 6 March 2017

Since August I have been in the Instrument Flight course here at OU. Getting your instrument rating is one of the hardest flight courses because you cannot see outside and have to focus on your instruments and trust them, ignoring your body sensations.

There have been times where I was in a sight-restricting device and my body was telling me I was in a turn while my instruments told me I was in straight-and-level flight. My instructor could see outside and confirmed that I was in a straight-and-level flight.

The most frustrating thing about being a flight student is when weather comes in and causes you to slow down in your progress. hat is what happened to me towards the end of last semester. After weather coming in stopping me from being able to take my Instrument Flight rating test, I was finally able to take it the Monday of Spring Break. This was one of the most stressful tests that I have ever taken. I had to be confident in my answers but also show that I knew how to fly with just my instruments.


I could not be more proud of myself when I heard the test instructor tell me that I did very well and passed. It was the best way to start off Spring Break!

Planning a Chik-fil-A for Athens

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 27 November 2016

This semester in one of my ISE classes, Project Management, myself and a few other students decided to do a project studying what it would take to open a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Athens.

Project Management is a class required for all seniors to take in the fall before we begin our senior design project in the spring. Naturally our department wants us to understand how to manage a project from start to finish before we are given our final capstone project.

Chick-fil-A is my favorite fast-food restaurant and I’ve always wondered why we don’t have one in Athens. I figured it would be a fun thing to study in case I wanted to come back to Athens someday to be a franchise owner.

Soon after we began research we found that all that you truly need to open a Chick-fil-A franchise is $5,000 for franchising and a free year to manage the restaurant. The catch however is that Chick-Fil A accepts less than 0.1% of the applications they receive every year. This realization put a damper on my dream of opening a franchise in real life, but the work on the class project had just begun.

Through the planning of the rest of the project, we went through and picked out a location for the franchise, cost for renovations and supplies along with how we planned to staff the restaurant once opened. After gathering the information, planning each task and developing a report, we presented our findings to the class.

This process was helpful as we learned about opening a restaurant and managing a project from start to finish. I expect that this experience will be helpful when we begin working on our senior design project next semester.

Internet Engineering

Mollie Whitacre

Mollie Whitacre,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 22 September 2016

Coming down to the end of my college journey, the classes I need to take are slowly dwindling down. I’m able to pick electives that are outside of the normal Computer Science scope. One class I decided to take this semester is Internet Engineering. It isn’t too hard to guess what this class would be about…yes, how the internet works.

When I enrolled for it, I thought it was going to be such a cool class and sure enough it has already exceeded my expectations. With it being one of my hardest and most demanding classes, it is still definitely one of the most rewarding ones I’ve taken. It has actually showed me what I want to do with life after college.

An interesting topic we’ve covered so far is routing to different computers and setting up the internet using solely IP Addresses. At first, it was all over my head and I felt lost, but the more time I spend walking to and from classes, I find myself thinking about how those computers are all connected together on the same network. I’m excited to see what other random facts I learn and to cover more topics as the year progresses.