Tag Archives: family

“Moving” to Texas

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 10 March 2019

When I left my home state of Pennsylvania and went off to college, I made my parents “empty-nesters.” It was tough in the beginning. My first semester, I cried when my parents dropped me off and again when the they left after a weekend visit halfway through the semester.

When I finally went home for the first time for Thanksgiving, I was so relieved to see that home had stayed the same. We had the same orange couch with the down feathers and the Pittsburgh Penguins playing on the television. I thought that while college was a new experience and I was growing into a new person, home would always be home: constant and unchanging. This has not been the case.

Looking back, it seems silly that I expected life in Pennsylvania wouldn’t move on without me. Amid all the changes, the biggest has been my parents’ relocation to Texas. This spring break, instead of returning to the familiar, I got to adventure to the unknown.

Dallas, Texas

When I landed in Dallas, my parents knew they would need to feed and water their daughter. I expected them to take me to a burger joint or maybe a steakhouse, because, well, it’s Texas. I was pleasantly surprised, albeit a little confused, when they took me to get sushi instead.

Sushi

At this restaurant, the sushi passed by our table on a conveyor belt. I was entirely too amused and ate far too much.

Sushi

Sushi

After dinner, we went to a Japanese supermarket featuring Hello Kitty udon and some tasty free samples. Visiting Texas astonishingly came with a brief tour of Japan.

Afterwards, we went to my parents’ new apartment where we watched the Penguins at Bluejackets game. Overall, my first day in Texas was well spent and I am looking forward to some more new adventures this spring break. Go Pens!

Flying to Arizona

Julia Nebbia

Julia Nebbia,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 2 October 2018

My whole life I’ve only ever known vacation on the road. My father has driven our family to (and across) almost every one of the United States of America. From several mini-vacations to two full cross-country roadtrips, I’ve seen a lot of America from the car’s perspective. While it has been amazing, I’ve always wanted to see the country from 40,000 feet in the air.

Finally, the opportunity presented itself when my sister sent me a birthday card with the promise of flying me out to visit her in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was only four months earlier that my family drove across the country to move her in. Fast forward, to August 9th, 2018 and I am arriving at the Cleveland Hopkins Airport excited beyond belief to finally be above the clouds. Luckily, I had my sister’s friend with me to help navigate the airport and get to our boarding gate on time.

Waiting for the plane to take off is a moment I will never forget. I don’t think I broke my attention from the window for more than 10 minutes out of the four-hour flight. I couldn’t believe my eyes. As we got closer to Arizona, the view of the mountains and red rocks was spectacular.

Pink Jeep Tour

When we arrived in Scottsdale, my sister had a full agenda set for us for the next five days. We spent a whole first day in Sedona, hiking, and going on one of the famous Pink Jeep Tours. The last day, my mom treated my sister and I to a one night’s stay at an incredible resort.

It was the best vacation I could have asked for and I cannot thank my sister enough for treating me to my first ever flight.

I couldn’t wait to board the plane again for the flight home.

My Niece Leighton

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 15 April 2018

Leighton

Why does a cute, innocent, little baby have to go through cancer? Why does it have to be the rarest kind of acute myeloid leukemia for children? Why have we found treatments for this rare type of leukemia, which is most commonly found in the elderly and those with Down syndrome, yet it is still not treatable in young kids like our Leighton? Why does every amazing treatment and therapy still seem to give hope and then throw a brick in our faces? Why do families get ripped apart and put in a hospital for over 6 months? Why does this monster called cancer even exist? All questions with no answers. Unanswered questions I have to live with every day. I have to find a place for those and move on. Our work is not done. Maybe, maybe I will ever find an answer, but for now unanswered and rest in peace…

Leighton

…Even though this happened to my own family, to my beautiful baby cousin and princess Leighton Hailey van Leeuwen when 12 months old, we will never give up. For 6 months, Leighton smiled every day and never ever gave up. She always laughed and fought back. Now that she’s brought to sleep by a magical fairy, it’s up to us, her family and friends, to share her story and keep her alive!

Leighton

You can help by telling and sharing her story on social media and be part of Team Leighton while this June I step in the life of Forrest Gump to run across America. Although our support could not beat Leighton’s monster, it might help beat that of someone else. This is partly the reason why I decided to run for her when I applied to be a 4K for Cancer runner 5 months ago: supporting my family from overseas while sharing her battle with cancer as a newborn.

Every day for 6 months I talked to the amazingly strong parents—my cousin and his wife—to give them support while they lived in a hospital and the Ronald McDonald house to do everything for their first little baby Leighton. To show her all their love as parents and in an attempt to keep her alive.

Leighton

Now that she is the brightest star in heaven, I realized how much my support meant for my family… I am so proud of Leighton and the rest of my family! All I can say to all of you now is to please be aware and create awareness. Cancer could happen to everyone.

Please be aware of your surroundings, treat everyone with respect, and please support them when they are going through a rough time. I am proud to be part of my Mom’s “van Leeuwen” family and the family of the Ulman Cancer Fund.

Leighton

I will always carry that pride with me. Please support me in my mission for Team Leighton and UCF:
         “We envision a world in which no young adult faces cancer alone”

and in which we keep Leighton Hailey van Leeuwen her story alive!

For more information: https://ulman.z2systems.com/illona-hartman

Creating for Good on My Coast-to-Coast Run

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2018

While I am studying for my engineering classes and practicing for the field hockey team, I am also running around Athens in preparation for my summer plans. This summer, I am running with a team of college-aged runners from coast to coast: literally from San Francisco to Baltimore.

This 4,000+ mile journey in relay form will take us 49 days, which means I will run 8-12 miles on average a day. During this “4K for Cancer,” we will be raising money and awareness for cancer. The 4K is a program of the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults (UCF) and this will be the 17th time UCF is sending young adults across the country.

In addition to the physical aspect of this program it will be a mental challenge as well, as my 10 month old infant cousin is currently battling myeloid leukemia.

4K Run

Studying abroad has been challenging ever since she, Leighton van Leeuwen, got diagnosed with cancer at the age of 6 months (September 2017). However, I found support in running for her and in my family away from home: Ohio University.

4K Run

Last month, the coed professional engineering fraternity Theta Tau and the Russ College of Engineering and Technology helped me set up a fundraiser in the ARC Atrium. For two days, we sold Dutch baked goods for donations and we recruited 25 students to become part of the international bone marrow registry!

4K Run

On top of this, I organized a few other fundraisers such as an online Yankee Candle sale, selling Russ College T-shirts and flowers for Valentine’s Day through Tau Beta Pi, an online sale for engraved baking supplies, a “donate my hair” auction, and a Santa Fest birthday celebration at home before I came back to the States. All of this has contributed to my current donation status of $5,700!

4K Run

4K Run

In order to secure my spot on Team Baltimore, I had to raise a $4,500 minimum goal. Even after achieving this goal, it is not in my nature to stop spreading the word. Therefore, I have some exciting fundraisers planned for the rest of the semester to finish off with a personal goal of $7,000. For instance, Chi Epsilon and I will host a fundraiser at Tavolino, and I am planning on running my first half marathon in Athens this April…

4K Run

Thus, I am extremely thankful of the opportunities given by the Russ College and the ongoing support they have given me. Something I hope everyone to experience!

For more information on my 4K you can visit my personal blog and my fundraising page:https://ulman.z2systems.com/illona-hartman

Chemical Engineering is Useful for Homemade Cider

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 19 January 2018

One of the biggest reasons I went into Chemical Engineering nearly four years ago was due to the versatility of the field. The 3 main tracks Ohio University offers—materials sciences, biological, and environmental—cover such a wide range of areas that with a Chemical Engineering degree, you could find yourself developing new, stronger steels; more eco-friendly fuels, or even making hard cider with your parents over Christmas break!

At my house, we have 2-4 apple trees that produce LOADS of apples each year, and my grandmother also has a well-producing tree. Typically, we just bake the apples into pies or can it as apple butter or apple sauce, but with a large harvest this year, we decided to try our hand at some hard cider.

My Chemical Engineering degree is on the Biological Track, which means I have a fair amount of experience with things involving yeasts, proper sanitation, and the mathematical know-how needed for various types of concentration calculations.

As it turns out, all of these skills came in quite handy when it came time to make some cider. While my father had some experience with brewing from his younger years, I myself had none. However, through the relevant things I had learned in my time at Ohio University, I was able to jump in and help him right away.

It was a really interesting dynamic—my father knew some tricks-of-the-trade but doesn’t have the engineering background, while I knew essentially none of the steps but had the engineering background. Between the two of us, we could learn what the other one did not and from there we could work together to come up with more efficient and different methods to try out.

All in all it was a great experience and a very enjoyable activity over my Christmas break. Also, it was certainly a fun application of various Chemical Engineering theories I have learned over the years, and just another example of the wide range of areas that Chemical Engineering can touch our lives.

Ice Skating

Veronica Ammer

Veronica Ammer,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 11 December 2017

My family has always had a love for ice skating. It is one of our favorite things to do, especially during winter. I have many great skating memories:


  • When I was two, my parents put me in beginner skating lessons at the local arena.

  • They were the designated chaperones when my friends and I would go skating in junior high school and they had instructed my nervous, wall-hugging friends on skating basics such as bending your knees and leaning forward as you push off.

  • At home in western Pennsylvania after my first semester of college, my dad and I went ice skating at Market Square in Pittsburgh and we won two tickets to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Skating in Pittsburgh

To me, ice skating is synonymous with wonderful times spent with family and friends. Ergo, nothing cures homesickness for me quite like taking a few laps around Bird Arena during an open skate. Feeling the cold air brush past my face reminds me of playing ice tag with my elementary school friends. My mom and dad’s gentle instructions enter my thoughts as I push off the cold, solid ice.

As an out-of-state student, I don’t go home very often, which means I still get homesick from time to time. However, sites like Bird Arena on campus replace that longing feeling with happy memories and something to look forward to the next time my family is together.

Thanksgiving

Matt McKenzie

Matt McKenzie,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 29 November 2017

Thanksgiving comes at a nice time in the semester that allows most to head home and spend some time with their families while breaking up some of the work before finals week. Unfortunately for me, since I have been in college, Thanksgiving has been moved to my aunt’s house in Columbus as it was closer for me, and now my sister who goes to school in Indiana. Nevertheless, whether it is held at home or not, it is always a delight to get the family together,as I tend to not make it home very often, and enjoy a nice meal.

This year there was a new addition to the family in the form of a puppy whose name is Murray. This was his second time to my my aunt’s house and being about 8 months old at this point, he has only gained energy causing their older chocolate lab come headaches.

Following a few days at my aunt’s, I was able to stop by Cody’s house and spend a majority of a day there enjoying the nice weather and more great food. Cody and John were both first year graduate students when I was a freshman here and Cody became a close friend over the two years we were both here. Both Cody and John were key figures getting me involved outside the classroom with the Human Powered Vehicle Team here as they were the founders. It was a nice ending to the break spending a day with the two of them and the rest of Cody’s family.