Tag Archives: service projects

Senior Design Demo Day

Katie Logue

Katie Logue,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 4 April 2016

With graduation just around the corner, I really can’t believe how quickly my senior year has gone by. There are so many things left to do, but I know the next four weeks will be over in the blink of an eye.

This past weekend, my senior design class presented our final projects to other students, faculty, mentors, parents, and members of the community. We call it Demo Day, and it’s the culmination of all the hard work, blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into our projects over the past two semesters.

I may be a little biased, but I think our team’s demonstration and presentation went perfectly. Our booth was a big hit with the attendees. Our project was to create a custom tricycle for a five-year-old girl named Fiona, who has agenesis of the corpus callosum. This condition affects the ability of the two hemispheres of her brain to communicate with each other. Due to this condition, Fiona needs physical therapy to improve her strength, coordination, and motor skills. The tricycle we created for her can be used independently for therapy, and it can also be attached to her mother’s bike so that the entire family can ride together on the bike path.


Our Demo Day booth, with our actual project setup, tri-fold board displaying our needs statement and project pictures, and laptops with a slideshow of photos, and before and after videos of Fiona riding her old trike and her new trike.

We were so grateful that Fiona and her family could join us on Demo Day. Fiona is such an adorable, happy little girl, and she absolutely loves her new trike. She kept asking members of our group to take her for a ride around the building.

After about half an hour of pulling Fiona around, we proceeded to the auditorium to present our project. I was fortunate to have the responsibility of presenting for our team. When I flipped to a slide with a picture of Fiona’s trike, she got so excited, pointing and laughing. I had to pause my presentation to let the laughter of the audience die down.

Then, I asked her father to say a few words about what the project means to their family, and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room. This project has been so rewarding, and Saturday was the perfect way to wrap it all up. It was incredibly cool to be able to share this experience with so many people.

Senior Design group

Group photo of our team on Demo Day with Fiona, her brother Griffin, and parents Megan and Lenny.

Now that Demo Day is over, it’s like we’re finally able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s unbelievably bittersweet. As excited as I am for the past four years of school and one year of co-op work to pay off, I know I’ll miss this school very much.

Athens will always be home to me, and I wouldn’t trade being a bobcat for the world. Every late night studying for finals, every frustrating assignment I had to do, and every paper I had to bribe myself with coffee to finish was worth it. I feel like I’ve made the most of my time here, but part of me wishes I had more time.

I think as I look back, I’m realizing that it’s the people I’ve met here that mean the most. I’ve met some of my very best friends over the past five years, and I’m so grateful I was given the opportunity to be a part of the Russ College community.

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.

Getting Ready for Race for a Reason

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 22 March 2015

For the past four years the Saturday before Final week begins, Race for a Reason occurs. This is an event put on by O’Bleness Hospital, OU Sports Administration Program and Athletes in Action.

Last year over 1,000 people participated in four events raising $115,000 for charities, non-profits and student organizations. A 5K Race, Mud Run, Triathlon and 3K Walk are all put on the day of the event and registration costs are then put towards whichever cause you choose.

I’ve been able to participate in the Mud Run before and am excited to participate in the sprint Triathlon this year. The mud run was a short route up to the ROTC training course and back down to Peden Stadium. I signed up for this with my roommate freshman year and had a blast!

After the Mud Run

This year, two of my current roommates are looking to participate in the sprint triathlon. We were excited to be able to run in the new Walter Fieldhouse this Winter while the cold weather still stuck around. Now the weather is warming up and we’re able to work out outside while getting ready for the Race for a Reason sprint triathlon.

Tau Beta Pi Supports the Polar Plunge

Courtney Sterrick

Courtney Sterrick,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 15 February 2015

This year, Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, sponsored six members to jump into Lake Snowden on February 14th. The Polar Plunge is a fundraising event during the winter months which, in Ohio, sponsors Special Olympics Ohio. Prior to the event, participants must raise at least $50 for the cause.

At the day of the event, each participant runs into a body of water…and freezes! Besides running into the lake, there is also a costume contest, where fellow onlookers and participants cheer for their favorite costume. While I was too chicken to take the plunge, I supported fellow Tau Bates as they jumped.

Tau Beta Pi’s participants (from left to right):
Josh Johnson, Josh Frash, Eric Arnold, Greg Croxford, Zach Zwahlen, and Marshal Willet

Polar Plunge: Before

As if the concept of diving into an Ohio lake during February didn’t sound appealing enough, the day was particularly cold. On top of the lake was ice, which had to be removed so that participants could enter the water. At the time of the event kickoff, the wind chill made the already chilly 30-degree afternoon even colder. In fact, it started snowing while we waited for our group to jump in!

Running into Lake Snowden:

Polar Plunge: During

The water was cold!

Polar Plunge: After

Both the spectators and participants had a great time supporting such a great cause.

Benefits of Theta Tau

Claire Hall

Claire Hall,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 8 April 2014 – By the end of my freshman year, I had close friends I had been in class with all year. Some of them had joined an engineering fraternity and somehow convinced me to try it. Theta Tau turned out to be one of the best things I could have gotten involved in at Ohio University and Russ College.

Theta Tau is a professional engineering co-ed fraternity founded in 1904 with the Ohio University, Rho Beta chapter being established in 1988. All different majors in Russ College can join the organization and it’s a great way for different majors to meet each other and learn about different disciplines. The current exec board is composed of Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, and Computer Science majors.

Theta Tau

It’s also a great organization to learn from older students and seniors in Russ College. Learning leadership skills and gaining experience in organizing and communicating with others are benefits from involvement in Theta Tau. The professional fraternity is involved in community service in the Athens community, professional development activities on campus and also intramural sports.

I’m currently the chair for community service and this year we have helped at the Pawpaw Festival, supported a Good Works Friday Night Life dinner, and will be participating in the Athens B-day.

  • The Pawpaw Festival is a community event held at Lake Snowden in honor of Ohio’s state fruit, the pawpaw. Animals are not allowed to be taken in to the festival so the local Friends of the Dog Shelter dog-sit while their owners are able to walk around. We volunteered as a group, watching over and playing with the dogs.
  • Good Works puts on a Friday Night Life dinner sponsored by a different group every week. One week this winter, we cooked a chili dinner for 150 community members at Friday Night Life.
  • Athens Beatification Day is a large volunteer event organized by OU’s Student Senate which involves over 2,000 students giving back to the Athens community. Theta Tau has participated as a group the past couple of years.

Joining Theta Tau my sophomore year has given me the chance to become close friends with engineers in other disciplines, to learn from seniors in Chemical Engineering and develop some friendships I’m sure will last much longer than our time here at OU.

Theta Tau

Bobcats Building a Better World

Evan Boso

Evan Boso,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 22 January 2014 – One of the student organizations I’m currently involved with is Bobcats Building a Better World (BBBW). This organization’s main goal is to help disadvantaged communities through the application of economic and environmentally friendly engineering projects as well as giving students an ability to travel and develop respect for others across the globe.

Since 2006, BBBW has had a strong connection with Maase-Offinso, which is a small village in Ghana that is about 45 min. northwest of Kumasi. Over the past few years, students at Ohio have designed and installed various projects that have included a pump station to bring up ground water and a house for teachers’ accommodations.

More recently we have focused on the creation of a wastewater and water collection system for the teachers’ accommodations. This is in hopes to entice better teachers to the school and inevitably offer a better education to the children in the village. The picture below shows the group who traveled to Ghana last summer, including Russ College Associate Dean Dr. Giesey.

BBBW in Ghana

Currently there are about fifteen student members in the organization, running the gamut of the engineering majors here, and we are always looking for more. So if you are a current or future Bobcat and any of this interests you, I would highly recommend joining. I know I have loved the group and it has been an amazing opportunity to learn, travel, and help others!

Problem Solving with Bobcats Building a Better World

Joe Cook

Joe Cook,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 14 November 2013 – This week I got to be part of a great team effort. My student organization Bobcats Building a Better World ran into a design issue concerning the septic system on the duplex we are helping to construct in Ghana. We had previously designed an anaerobic digestion pit to treat the gray water exiting the septic tank because a standard leech field typically found in the US wouldn’t work in the clayey African soil. Unfortunately, after construction, it became apparent the design would not work as anticipated because of poor building materials and the local topography.

At the start of our one-hour meeting we knew we had a problem. Over the course of one hour the group came up with 3 alternatives to the design and we are in the process of choosing the most cost-effective option. It was great to see our team of students get excited about the issue and come up with creative solutions.

Bobcats Building a Better World, commonly referred to as BBBW, is the only international engineering service organization currently operating at Ohio University. We are partnered with Masse-Offinso in central Ghana. Our current project is to build a modern (running water, flush toilets, and reliable electricity) duplex to house teachers for the village. It is our hope that the living conditions, coupled with a fantastic village culture will draw passionate teachers from the more modern cities to the village and ultimately lead to a better education for children in the village.