Tag Archives: engineering orgs

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.

Summer Co-op Plans

Alexa Hoynacke

Alexa Hoynacke,
Junior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 24 March 2016

Its crazy to think about how there is only one more month left of my junior year. As the semester comes to a close I have been extremely busy with class, research, and work. As finals approach classes have been getting busier and busier.

Spring semester is always crazier than the fall because OU has so many great events when the weather gets better. A huge event coming up is the Student Expo, which is a university-wide research exposition. I have been working on my research project for almost 2 years now and in 2 weeks I will finally be presenting it in front of judges at the Student Expo.

Once my junior year comes to an end I will be moving back home (Cleveland area) for the summer to start my summer internship. I am extremely excited to be working with Eaton Corporation this summer.

Eaton Logo

Eaton is a multinational power-management company. I will be working as an Industrial Engineering Intern in the Operations Sector. I will be working in a team in my department and with one other intern.

I received this internship by going to the Society of Women Engineers National Conference in Nashville this past fall. I am so grateful that I was given the opportunity to go with the OU chapter of SWE to this conference. Working for Eaton has been a goal of mine for a while now so I am counting down the days till I can finally start my summer internship.

Helping My SWEsters Grow

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 23 March 2016

This year, the Society of Women Engineers of Ohio University established a mentor/mentee program for incoming freshman female engineering students. The program offered guidance, support, and encouragement from upperclassmen female engineering students. SWE hoped to help increase female retention in engineering. I became a mentor to two freshman engineering students, Gabby and Kayzsa. Actually, we recently had an article published about the SWE mentor program featuring Gabby and Kayzsa.

Previously, in SWE, I’d only advised a large group as president my junior year. Working one-on-one with people is a whole different experience; its a way more personal experience. I am fortunate to have gotten to see Gabby and Kayzsa grow not just as engineers, but as people as well.

They probably don’t realize it, but they have helped me grow as an individual, too. They came to me with their homework questions, we attended a regional conference together, had several coffee dates, and I got to know what motivated them to be in engineering.

Both of their backgrounds really interested me. Gabby came to me undecided, and I helped her realize she should join the dark side, Electrical Engineering. Kayzsa has really grown in confidence and expanded her horizons at Ohio University; she was recently elected as Vice President of SWE! And Gabby was elected as head of the mentor/mentee program next year and continues to be heavily involved in her sorority.

After I graduate, I will stay Bobcat SWE member! And I have full confidence that Gabby, Kayzsa, and the next generation of SWE will continue growing the SWE program within Russ College.

Global Engineering Projects

Nicole Sova

Nicole Sova,
Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 14 March 2016

My favorite organization on campus is Global Engineering Projects (formerly known as Bobcats Building a Better World). I’ve been involved since my freshman year and have traveled to Ghana on two separate occasions with members of the organization. It has been the most influential student organization on my experience at OU.

The mission of Global Engineering Projects is “to help disadvantaged communities improve their quality of life through implementation of environmentally and economically sustainable engineering projects, while developing internationally responsible engineering students.”

We are a group of about 20 undergraduate engineering students of all disciplines. We meet once a week for 30 minutes to an hour or so to work on and present designs for our current projects. Especially as a young student, it was really interesting to learn from and work with students of all disciplines and years.

During my first year I learned a bit of AutoCAD and was able to do some on-site surveying because of the upperclassmen civil engineers that were involved in the organization.

Global Engineering Projects has a long-standing relationship with a village in Ghana, Maase-Offinso. Because of this relationship we are able to implement the designs we work on all year and feel the benefits of working on a real project and we are also able to witness the sustainability and impact of past designs.


My freshman year (2012-2013) we worked on building a duplex for two teachers and their families. The duplex was intended to attract and keep teachers in the area. The stipend offered to teachers in Ghana is similar regardless of their location, so the village has a difficult time retaining teachers. The teacher accommodations have many common amenities that were not previously available to the teachers of the village.

The first year we designed and implemented a septic tank and an anaerobic digestion pit; we also surveyed the land and repaired some of the older projects.

My sophomore year, I was unable to go on the trip to Ghana, but the group sent five students. We added a rain water collection system to the duplex, worked on some of the duplex layout, laid the piping, and taught the school children about the water cycle.

My junior year, we worked on adding solar panels and a water pump to the house, we wired the house, we sifted sand to the proper grading to refill the anaerobic pit, we fit the water tanks into the house, we taught the school children about solar energy, and we scoped out future projects.


At the conclusion of last year’s trip, the duplex was nearly complete; we were even able to host a party in the house at the conclusion of our trip. During the party, the three travel team students and Dr. Giesey were able to express our gratitude to the locals who hosted and helped us throughout the trip. We danced around, ate great food, and showed off the solar powered lights.


Currently, our group is working on completing the duplex, creating a system for monitoring the water and electricity usage in the house, building a playground for the village, and a few other future projects.

Global Engineering Projects has allowed me to form great friendships, develop engineering skills (both designing and adapting projects), and fall in love with a place and people across the Atlantic.

Society of Women Engineers Conference

Caroline wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 7 February 2016

This weekend I had the privilege of attending the Region G Conference for the Society of Women Engineers at the University of Cincinnati. It was a weekend full of seminars, networking, and bonding with a group of amazing ladies.

SWE Conference

I joined SWE at the end of last semester—-pretty late in the game, considering I will be graduating next spring, but I am so glad that I finally took the plunge. This conference was the perfect way to kick start my involvement and passion for SWE, an organization which I am certain will remain a part of my life for many years to come.

SWE Conference

At my first SWE chapter meeting, we were asked to submit a statement on the prompt, “What SWE Means to Me.” I felt uncomfortable then because I hadn’t had any real experiences with the group, so the question bounced around, unanswered, in my head.

After this weekend, though, I am confident that I have an answer: for me, SWE is about empowering the women around me—-it is a platform from which we can shout our accomplishments and be recognized and celebrated for succeeding as a woman in a male-dominated field. It’s about telling little girls that yes, they too can become engineers, that they can see a problem in the world around them and imagine creative solutions to fix it. It’s not just for a select group of college women; it’s for women in the peak of their careers, girls in middle and high school that are discovering their passions, men who are supportive of women in engineering.

This weekend I attended seminars teaching me about LinkedIn and interviewing; had a professional headshot taken; asked questions about graduate school to women who were experiencing it; and had the opportunity to attend a career fair. For someone who was completely new to the organization, I realized very quickly exactly what SWE brings to the lives of thousands of women across the world, and I feel incredibly proud to be a part of it.

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.