Tag Archives: engineering orgs

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.

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.

Professional Conferences: Funding and Value

Cami Jones

Cami Jones,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 October 2017

As the president of an engineering student organization, one of the things I’m most thankful for that the Russ College provides is funding. Grants through the Russ Vision fund help individuals and groups of students looking to further their education outside of the classroom at design competitions, conferences, and the like throughout the country. Thanks to this funding, it is possible for us to travel to these events even if we don’t personally have the funds to do so—it breaks down barriers.

You might be able to guess why I have funding opportunities on the brain. If you’re thinking that I may be in the middle of filling out a conference proposal to request funding for a group of thirty-six industrial and systems engineering students to attend a conference in February 2018, you’d be right!

IISE logo

Our student group, the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), has received funding to attend this conference for at least the last six years, and I attribute a sizeable amount of my professional network and employment successes to attending the event for the past four years. Now, it’s my turn to make sure that we secure funding again so that this year’s group of students can also benefit from the experience.

Award Photo with Past, Present, and Future IISE Presidents at IISE Annual Conference in 2016 (at Disneyland!)

The IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference is an annual event held on the campus of one of the universities in the region (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan) that has an active chapter of IISE. In the past, I’ve attended this two-day event at Western Michigan University, Purdue University, and Wayne State University.

Ohio University IISE at Wayne State's Conference in 2016 (selfie by Faculty Advisor Dr. Yuan)

Last year, we even had the chance to host the event here at Ohio University!

IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference Planning Committee at Ohio University in 2017

This year, we will be traveling to The Ohio State University for the conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Digital Transformations: Improving Systems Everywhere” and will focus on how technology and data are changing the role of industrial engineers in industry. I’m a big data nerd, so I am very excited.

Aside from being excited to hear keynote speakers and attend breakout sessions in line with the technology theme, I’m excited to see my IISE friends from the other schools in the region again. Having attended four regional conferences and three national conferences in the last four years, I’ve made some pretty good friends across the region and country. They are “my people” and many of them have helped me grow both as an engineer and as a person.

Thanks to these connections, I’m not worried about finding a job after graduation or knowing what to do with myself. The friends I’ve made at these conferences know my interests and my strengths and are already looking out for me to help start my career.

Now it’s time for me to do my part and ensure that our group can afford to travel to this year’s conference so that our students can continue to build these relationships and experience discussions on the current events impacting the futures of our careers. Thankfully, the Russ College believes in the value of these conference experiences and is always willing to lend a hand. Wish us luck!

Organizations Are a College Game-Changer

Gyasi Calhoun

Gyasi Calhoun,
Senior, Computer Science

Athens, OH 18 September 2017

Student Organizations are a game-changer because of the networking benefits and the travel opportunities, and because they force you out of your comfort zone.

When looking back at my college career I can honestly say that having the ability to meet like-minded individuals who are trying to overcome or who overcame similar—if not the same—obstacles, and going along the same academic path can be priceless, and unique. Being in the right student organization can allow you to travel the country if not the world if the opportunity presents itself and trust me, it will.

When I was a freshman I had never been on an airplane before, or to the state of California, but because of NSBE (The National Society of Black Engineers), I was given the opportunity to do both…for free! I attended the annual NSBE National Conference which was held in Orange County California and it was a time I won’t ever forget and will truly cherish.

I was able to meet other students in Computer Science and other engineering fields, interviewed with the CIA, networked with Google and Apple Recruiters, and even ran into someone I knew from high school. Moreover, if I hadn’t gotten out of my comfort zone and been involved with this organization and other organizations around campus, my college perspective, and experience would have been dulled to say the least.

IEEE Student Activities Conference

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 10 April 2017

This past weekend, I went with The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the annual Student Activities Conference (SAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was honestly one of the best trips that I have ever gone on. Events like these are mostly for professional development, but for me it was so much more. It was a chance for me to get to know my fellow students and it was also a chance to get away from Athens for a little bit and explore a new city!

This year the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science fully supported us to represent Ohio University at SAC. There we got to attend seminars about various subjects, including ethics, leadership, and the Young Professionals Society.

We also got to meet students from other schools. We competed against them in a variety of events that tested our knowledge about physics, circuits and problem solving. We actually ended up winning third in the physics competition and got to bring home a trophy!

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to know my fellow members of IEEE. During the car ride and the stay in Glassboro, we got to bond in a way that we haven’t before. I think this was due, in part, to school still being a lingering thought in our regular socials and meetings. Since we were off campus and most of the weekend we were busy with the conference, we got to take a break from the stress.

I was very pleased to find out how welcoming and comfortable everyone was with each other. It made the bonding experience that much better. There were a lot of factors that went into what made this trip so successful, but I honestly think it was the group of people that went that made it one of my favorite weekends to date.

Hosting the IISE Regional Conference

Joshua Igwe

Joshua Igwe,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 March 2017

Last weekend, Ohio University hosted the Great Lakes Regional Conference for IISE (the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers), the professional organization for Industrial and Systems Engineering majors.

Each spring, there is a conference hosted by one of the schools within each region. Ohio University is in the Great Lakes Region, which includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.

About 400 students gathered in Athens for a two days of networking, listening to speakers, and exploring the possibilities within the professional world.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Finding the IE in relief”. We explored how industrial engineering tools and skills can be used within humanitarian relief situations.

One of the professors in the Russ College Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering specializes in humanitarian logistics. He was the first speaker on Saturday morning. He discussed how his experience with natural disasters in Chile lead him to begin his studies in humanitarian logistics.

Later Saturday, there was a time to converse with a few recent graduates from the major who recently began working full-time. It was nice hearing their perspective, as I am going to be graduating later this spring. There were a few other break-out sessions and key-note speakers throughout the rest of the day.

I really enjoyed this conference as it helped expand my perspective of Industrial and Systems Engineering and presented an opportunity to network with students from different schools.

Being a Member of Eta Kappa Nu

Andrew Videmsek

Andrew Videmsek,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 17 January 2017

Last year myself and nine other Electrical and Computer Engineering students worked together to bring back our university’s chapter of Eta Kappa Nu. Eta Kappa Nu, also known as HKN, is the international electrical and computer engineering honors society of IEEE. It was founded back in 1904 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and the Delta Epsilon chapter here at Ohio University was established in 1960.

At the end of last year, I got the honor of being voted in as the chapter’s president, and since reestablishing the chapter, it has given my fellow members and I opportunities we could have never dreamed of. In spring of last year we took a trip up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to attend the HKN Student Leadership Conference. While we were there we got to meet other HKN members from around the country and hear talks from engineers working at IEEE, Ford, US Power, and NASA.

In addition, just last month we got to the opportunity to host one of our very own EE professors, Dr. Michael Braasch, in a talk he titled “Whatever you do, don’t drink the tea!” In this special presentation, Dr. Braasch told stories about his travels across the country and across the world while teaching and doing research. It was a great event where we were able to bring EE students and faculty closer together.

At the end of last semester, we turned our doughnut sale fundraiser into a project to raise money for the Athens County Children Services Giving Tree Toy Drive. This enabled us to donate boxes of Legos to the ACCS to be distributed to local children in need.

For me, being a member of Eta Kappa Nu isn’t just about showing the work I have completed in school. It is about fine tuning my leadership skills, connecting with other engineers in industry, bringing the students and faculty closer together, and helping out the community we live in. Looking back on the organizations I have been part of in the past, HKN has been one of the few that have had a large impact on my day to day life, and one I will never regret joining.