Tag Archives: international activities

Summer Research in Copenhagen, Denmark

Nathan Arnett

Nathan Arnett,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 16 September 2016

In my opinion, one of the greatest components of the Russ College and Ohio University in general is the approachability of the professors and staff. In Fall 2015, I went to my academic advisor, Dr. Gerardine Botte, and told her I really wanted to get a research internship abroad for the summer. She thought it was a good idea, and she put me in contact with Dr. John Kopchick because of his extensive network of colleagues overseas.

After meeting with Dr. Kopchick, we reached out to various researchers from all along the globe asking if they would be interested in hosting me. After weighing the options, we decided the best fit for me would be in Copenhagen, Denmark.

So this past summer, I was fortunate to spend two months at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research! Being a Chemical Engineering student on the Biological Track, I felt that experience in a molecular biology lab would be very beneficial learning experience—and I was right. I gained a vast amount of knowledge and experience in the field and I’m excited to see how it helps me in the future.

All of my time wasn’t spent in the lab, however. I got plenty of free time to explore the city of Copenhagen, go to concerts, and meet incredible new people! Travelling is one of my favorite hobbies, and being able to do so through the helpfulness and approachability of the Ohio University faculty is a prime example of how valuable of a resource your professors can be.

Appreciating Architecture in Georgia

Jannat Al Barwani

Jannat Al Barwani,
Junior, Aviation Management

Athens, OH 30 August 2016

This summer, I went to Georgia (the country in Europe, not the state). I found Georgia pretty peaceful and wonderful for nature lovers.

When I was going around Georgia and exploring the beauty of it, I realized that it has a fascinating location between three countries and a diversity of Italian, Turkish, and Russian culture. In fact, those have affected the architecture of its buildings.


The country has a combination between the old and modern life. For example, Tbilisi, which is the capital city of Georgia, has old forts and hoods in the middle of a modern city. They have many spectacular buildings that are designed by great architects.


Although I saw many spectacular designs in Georgia, especially in Tbilisi, the churches there are the ones that have caught my attention the most. Not a day passed without me visiting a new church. Most of the churches I have visited were pretty old and have a fascinating design.


I was amazed by the material that the churches are built from and how strong they are. That, for sure, shows how the civil engineering for those old churches were far more advanced than their times.


The holy trinity cathedral of Tbilisi is the third tallest and the largest building in the world. That made me think how talented the civil engineers, who were included in construction of this church, are. They must have studied the geology of the place very well and had a great virtualization of the building. I went there only for a week, but until now I am still fascinated by the architecture there.

Summer Research in Germany

Caroline Wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular


Athens, OH 27 August 2016

I spent my summer doing research in the chemistry department at the University of Leipzig. For eleven weeks, I worked on a project under a PhD student which involved solid-state peptide synthesis and a novel reversible PEGylation approach.

Peptides have the potential to act as potent therapeutics, but this is often limited by their breakdown in the body. Polyethylene glycol (PEG) can be added to prevent this elimination, but it also impairs the peptide’s ability to function—thus, we worked on an approach which would allow PEG to be reversibly linked to the peptide so that its release could be controlled.

I don’t have a background in chemistry research, so this summer marked a lot of firsts for me. I was able to gain hands-on experience working with methods which I had learned about in the classroom, like liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. Furthermore, I gained experiences outside of the lab which made my summer unforgettable.

Although I spent most of my weekends exploring the city with a group of international students that I met through a fellow Bobcat in Leipzig, I did have a few experiences with travelling.


In high school, I participated in the German American Partnership Program (GAPP), through which I spent a month living with a host family in Munich. This summer I was able to visit my high school exchange student, Clara, at her university in Rothenburg.


We spent the weekend exploring the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town, and catching up since it had been 5 years since we had last seen each other.

I was also able to travel to Amsterdam with my Finnish friend, Ella, for another weekend trip. The eight-hour bus rides there and back were almost unbearable, but the time we spent in the city made it more than worth the trip.

Amsterdam Canal Tour

From a canal tour (above) to an ice bar (below); from the Anne Frank House to a museum of the Red Light District, we packed as much of Amsterdam as we could into our short visit. I fell in love with the city.

Amsterdam Ice Bar

My experiences in Europe would not have been possible without the financial support of the Cutler Scholars Program. I am grateful every day to have been the recipient of such incredible generosity.

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.

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.


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.