Tag Archives: international activities

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.

Maase-Offinso

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.

Maase-Offinso

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.

Maase-Offinso

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.

Europe: A Trip to Remember

Robert Parker

Robert Parker,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 11 March 2016

Two years of planning and $50 dollars a week in preparing for this trip and it was a trip of a lifetime. Over spring break this year, myself and three other really good friends of mine took a trip to Europe.

The trip consisted of Ireland, Spain, Germany and Netherlands and totaled up to about 9,500 miles of travel. It was the first time that I had been out of the country (other than Canada) and it was absolutely amazing.

The architecture and old landscape of the European countries were breath taking. It was weird to me to be looking at buildings that were older than our country! Our stops included Heidelberg Castle (below) in Heidelberg, Germany

Heidelberg Castle

This trip started as just a joke one night and then we all realized that it was something that we all wanted to do. I am really glad that I got a chance to do and wouldn’t change a second of it. To experience the different culture, new food and unique social norms was very eye opening.

My favorite part of the trip and most beautiful to me was the Cliffs of Moher in County Claire, Ireland. There is something about being on the edge of a country with the Atlantic Ocean 900 feet below you with no fences in sight.

Cliffs of Moher

Cross-Cultural Leadership

Ali McCormick

Ali McCormick,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 16 November 2015

Senior year has many perks, but my favorite is that (typically) your course load lightens. While scheduling for fall semester, I found that I only had nine credit hours of classes I had to take in order to graduate on time. I needed to fill another three credit hours in order to remain a full time student, so I had the opportunity to explore classes outside of the engineering domain.

Due to my interest in international business, I decided to take a course called “Cross-Cultural Leadership and Management”. In this course, we analyzed the similarities and differences in leadership and management systems, processes, and styles, as well as evaluated the changes and the resulting impact across countries and regions of the world.

Learning how national culture influences management practices and organizational members’ behaviors has impacted the way I’ve dealt with interactions in my engineering senior design group. In the group, there is a Brazilian exchange student who utilizes a different management style than that of students from the US. Taking this course allowed me to become aware of the contextual differences between the two cultures and taught me how to interact effectively across the different cultural contexts.

Eurotrip

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 12 January 2015

This past Christmas break, I took a Eurotrip to London and the Netherlands. London caught me by surprise and Holland stole my heart.

London moved at such a fast pace, I couldn’t keep up! But we still made it to see the big sites. The London eye, London Tower Bridge, and Tower of London were the highlights. I got to see the crown jewels and the best view of London on the Eye.

Big Ben

I even got some James Bond pics by MI6 and made a stop at Platform 9 and ¾. I watched the Lion King near Covent Garden; their British accents made the show! We even happened to find an Abraham Lincoln statue near the British Parliament.

Platform 9-3/4

The pace slowed down when I visited family in Holland. Leiden, Delft, Gouda, and Amsterdam were all so beautiful–lots of water, of course! Everyone in Holland rides a bike; when I got on mine the first thing I did was fall off! By the time our three weeks were up, I could make decent turns.

While in Amsterdam, I visited the Anne Frank House. We waited 3 hours in the pouring rain in 35-degree weather, but it was well worth it! I attended a famous play, Soldaat Van Oranje, or Soldier of Orange. It was truly Dutch! Our seats rotated to the different scenes of the play! It even had real water with waves to be the North Sea the actors jumped into.

Oh yeah, the Dutch are crazy on New Years. Everyone, and I mean everyone, lets off fireworks in the streets! No laws or police to stop it! And for those of you that are Fault in Our Stars fans, I got to sit on the bench that Hazel and Gus kissed at in Amsterdam!

Fault in Our Stars

Given the opportunity to live in Holland, I would gladly take it! For now, I’ll just recommend that everyone take a visit not just to Amsterdam, but several of Holland’s smaller towns as well.

Summer GCP Project in Greece

Daron DiSabato

Daron DiSabato,
Senior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 18 September 2013 – This summer was a long and very busy one. Immediately following the completion of spring semester, I had the pleasure of spending the month of May in Northern Greece. Through the Ohio University College of Business’ Global Consulting Program (GCP), a group of OU students and I traveled to Thessaloniki to work on a joint business and engineering consulting internship with a local Greek company. Thessaloniki is the second largest city in Greece, home to just over 1,000,000 people, and is located along the coast of the Thermaic Gulf.

Our mixed team of Greek and American students was paired with an elevator manufacturing company that had an impressive fabrication facility and showroom located just outside of the city. We were assigned the task of researching new technologies in lift interior compartments as well as researching strategies for the company to expand their business into northern Baltic countries.

One of our most well received recommendations to the company was to integrate a touch screen display in the lift cabin to add an innovative touch to the lift experience. The purpose of the system would be to give elevator riders quick access to information such as local weather forecasts, stock figures, or news headlines. We suggested that the use of a Raspberry Pi microcomputer installed with the Android operating system would offer the easiest and most cost efficient method of system implementation. The company was very receptive to the idea because the use of Android software would eliminate the need to hire a full time software developer, and this type of system would set their products apart from competitors.

After completing our program, we left Thessaloniki to get some much-needed R&R in the Greek islands of Ios and Santorini. It’s one thing to see the islands in pictures and movies, but it’s an entirely different experience to see them in person. Between the breathtaking views, the crystal clear water beaches, the people and the food, I couldn’t find anything I didn’t love about Greece. The trip was truly extraordinary and I can’t wait until I can go back again!

Greece

Greece

Bobcats Building a Better World

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 9 September 2013 – This summer with the student organization Bobcats Building a Better World, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Ghana, Africa. Bobcats Building a Better World has had long ties with Maase, a village in Ghana. The last project started has been to build teacher housing for the betterment of the schools. I had the privilege of traveling with the organization’s advisor, Dr. Giesey, and three other students in varying majors. Over the two weeks we were there, we worked on installing a septic system for the housing. Below shows the walls of the housing and the hole for the septic tank which was formed by poured concrete. We had to assure the level of elevation between all points of the septic system created the appropriate gradient.

ALT

The technical aspects of the project regarding engineering were new to me but I then had the chance to become a well-rounded student learning some aspects of civil engineering. The experience became all the more rewarding as we became immersed in the Ghanaian lifestyle and created close bonds within our group and with the people we got to work with there. Below shows our group members along with two Elders of the village who oversaw our project, and other community members who were able to give us a lot of help.

ALT

Before this I had never been out of the country and had not known what to expect. This experience helped to enrich my education but also helped me to learn about myself, what motivates me and what I am passionate about. The trip was absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to go back!

2012 Spring Festival

Lingchong Mai

Lingchong Mai, Senior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 January 2012 – Last week the Chinese International Students had a wonderful celebration for the Spring Festival 2012. The celebration ceremony was held in Memorial Auditorium, and there were more than 400 students and 100 performers participated in the ceremony. That was one of the biggest ceremonies over the whole year.

The Spring Festival actually is the Chinese New Year. In Chinese, other than the international calendar, Chinese people have a traditional calendar. The day of the spring festival begins is the New Year’s Day in Chinese traditional calendar. The spring festival lasts for around 2 weeks starting from that day. In the ceremony, we had traditional Chinese dancing, poem writing, as well as jazz singing and modern dancing.

The ceremony enriched OU’s diversity, and served as a good chance for all students from other countries to know more about Chinese cultures. Welcome all you guys to come to the Spring Festival next year!