Tag Archives: engineering competitions

Robotics Club

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 8 October 2017

I love my engineering classes, and I have learned a lot from them, but one of the best ways to cement what you have learned in class is to apply what you’ve learned in a student organization.

One student organization I am in is the Robotics Club, which is a new Russ College organization that focuses on developing and creating, you guessed it, robots.

As a club, one of our first projects is to create a robot to enter into the Association for Technology,Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) Robotics Competition. At the completion, we will have to put our robot through several tests, including throwing a bean bag into a corn hole, lifting up a weight and grabbing an item underneath it, and removing an object from inside a tiny pipe.

In order to make the robot perform these functions, we have to make the robot, from scratch. I have taken several classes geared towards robotics, including a C# Coding class, an Electronics/Microcontrollers class, and a couple of others, but this is my first chance to truly apply what I have learned about robotics in class into a project.

I have learned and incredible amount of information about robotics from engaging in activities with this club, and is has really helped cement what I learned in class.

Not only has the Robotics Club helped me get involved in something I’m passionate about and helped me learn, but it has also helped me professionally. Employers love to see students who are active in clubs and students who have been involved in activities where they have had to solve problems. You can’t really go wrong with getting involved in an Engineering organization, and I know getting involved with the Robotics Club this fall has certainly helped me.

WERC Competition

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

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.

WERC Competition

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.

WERC Competition

WERC Competition

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.

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.

National WERC Competition

Joshua Greenlee

Joshua Greenlee,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 October 2016

As a senior, I decided to get involved in a few new student organizations within the Russ College of Engineering. One of these is the National WERC Competition, which challenges collegiate teams to develop viable solutions to real-world environmental/energy-related problems.

The competition has a few prompts to choose from, and teams can also choose to make their own project related to a current environmental problem. This year, our team of six chemical engineering students is creating a passive solar distillation process to treat acid mine drainage and turn it into clean water, while recovering the dried salts that remain. Our innovative design is entirely passive, using no electricity and requiring little to no human interaction.

Teams will not only plan how to carry out this process on a large scale, but they are also tasked with creating a bench scale model to represent how this process works on a small scale. In April, my teammates and I will spend a week in New Mexico, and go to New Mexico State University to present our design with our bench scale demonstration. Judges will grade the project based off numerous factors and give out awards to the top teams in each prompt category.

On the trip, students from OU also get to stop and do some sightseeing in New Mexico and Arizona, including hiking in the Grand Canyon. For more questions on about the WERC project, feel free to contact Dr. Ridgway.

Human-Powered Vehicle Team

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2016

With the school year setting in, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ Human Powered Vehicle team has begun its quest for the top. Each year, around 35 universities compete in a series of rigorous events and races with the vehicles they have designed over the previous year.

As a leader of the OU team, my passion and goal is to continue to help young, aspiring engineers through the engineering process from research to testing, and ultimately to show off what Ohio University students have to offer.

In my previous two years’ experience, I have learned a lot about not only bicycles, but also the engineering process, including many items that I have not yet learned in the classroom environment.

As this year rolls in, and I continue on to my second year as a leader of the team, I am looking to pass on that information to younger members so they can continue leading the organization to success after I have moved on. One of the most gratifying parts of this organization for me is being able to pass on the knowledge I have gained to other members.

The process of designing, analyzing, manufacturing, and testing a vehicle is neither a simple nor short endeavor. As a leader of such an extracurricular group, I realize that time while in college is precious and a juggling act between classes, extracurricular activities, personal life, and even work. I have devoted much of my time to the organization and am very grateful to see new and returning members devoting theirs to the organization as well.

While there are still many unknowns and hurdles to overcome, I continue to look forward to passing on knowledge and seeing the ideas members come up with to solve the challenging issues they face, with the hopes of bringing home a win for Ohio University come competition time.

Student Organizations for Everyone

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 3 February 2016
Student Organizations for Everyone –

One thing that is clear here at Ohio University is that there is a student organization for everyone. I am involved in several organizations, most of them centered around engineering. The organization that keeps me the busiest and I’m most excited for is the American Society of Civil Engineers. I have recently taken on the role of president of the organization.

With the organization we are preparing for many activities this semester. The officers have a student conference in Pittsburgh, our chapter is hosting the regional conference in April and our largest event, the Ohio Valley Student Conference is coming up in March. The OVSC competition is by far what every member looks forward to all year.

This competition consists of about 350 civil engineering students from 14 schools from Ohio, Kentucky and Pittsburgh. There are several different competitions that each school can participate in: concrete canoe, steel bridge, surveying, concrete bat, environmental, geotechnical, and basal wood bridge competitions. Students have been preparing all year for these competitions and the projects are in their final stages of construction. It’s a great time and a good learning experience. Who would have thought that a bunch of engineers could be so fun?!

2015 Concrete Canoe

This is last year’s concrete canoe team. Unfortunately, even though I was involved in the construction of the canoe, I am not in the picture. I also compete in the surveying competition and that occurs at the same time as concrete canoe.

Construction Estimating

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 29 November 2015

The air is becoming cooler and crisper and the days are much shorter. I cannot believe that we are done with November and moving in to the last month of the year. The semester is coming to a close and the project deadlines are approaching. There is nothing more that terrifies me than project deadlines and finals. Even though I am terrified to think of what is in the near future, I am still ready to tackle them head-on. I have found that I work and learn best when I am under a little pressure.

One of my favorite classes of the semester is CE 4160, Construction Estimating & Equipment. In this class, I have been working on roadway construction projects all semester. In this class we are divided up into groups and we are given a set of plan drawings to which we need to make an estimate of how much the project will cost to build. I like this class the most because it is most applicable to what I want to do once I graduate.

Another benefit of this class is that is directly related to one of the organizations that I’m in. The Civil Engineering Estimating Team does exactly what my class is teaching me. We get a set of plan drawings and we need to bid the project during a competition.

I find that I tend to like classes more that I can directly relate to outside of the class room. I am what they call a “hands on” kind of person.