Tag Archives: travel

Graduation and What’s Next

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 26 April 2016

Yesterday I took my last final of my undergrad career and today I picked up my cap and gown. It’s starting to set in that my four years at OU is coming to an end and I will soon be starting the next chapter of my life.

I am excited for my family to come down this weekend for graduation. My paternal grandparents, father and brother are all graduates of OU as well and this will be the first we will all be on campus together, and likely the last. I am so thankful for my Bobcat family I have created during my time here, but even more so that I have a family of Bobcats to share my experiences with.

After graduation I will be spending May at home with family, going to a number of weddings and graduation parties and playing soccer with my dog, Jürgen.

Dog

At the first Engineering Ambassador meeting in the fall we had to introduce ourselves and share something from our bucket list. My bucket list item was that I wanted to backpack through Europe and so for the first two and a half weeks of June I will be doing just that. I am travelling with my cousin and her boyfriend and will be visiting Paris, Rome and Barcelona.

When I return I will have one week to get all of my things packed up and ready to move to Wisconsin. I will begin working full time for Epic Systems Corporation in Madison starting July 5th.

I’m excited to start anew, but nervous at the same time. I know no one in the area, I have only visited the area twice (once for my interview and once to go apartment hunting) and my hometown is a solid seven hour drive away. However, I am always up for a challenge and I am looking forward to using my skills to create for good.

Caroline wilson

Caroline Wilson,
Junior, Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 18 April 2016

This past weekend I had the absolute privilege of attending the Association of American Physicians and American Society for Clinical Investigation Joint Meeting in Chicago, Illinois. The conference lasted from Friday to Sunday, and I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it.

The research project which I have been working on over the past couple of years is in collaboration with a DO/PhD student from the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine named Ashley Patton. Our project involves investigating the early development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, as well as analyzing the effect of a novel group of compounds on the progression of the disease.

Research Poster

Attending the AAP/ASCI meeting offered us the opportunity to share our work with leading researchers and emerging students in the biomedical field. I may very well have been the only undergraduate in the room for the whole weekend, but I would not have traded my experience for anything.

Ashley and I left on Thursday to allow us some time to see the sights before the conference began. We landed at 1:00 pm, and then proceeded to soak in everything that Chicago had to offer.

Chicago Bean

Over the course of our trip, we marveled at “the Bean,” sampled some famous popcorn, tried Chicago deep-dish pizza (TWICE!), trekked up and down the Magnificent Mile, traveled the Chicago River walk, ate squid ink pasta, basked in the sun in Millennium Park, and took in the incredible skyline from the tallest floor of the “Sears” (now known as the Willis) Tower.

Willis tower

It was the perfect mix of business and entertainment. The majority of our time was spent listening to presentations and panels with a group of talented speakers which included everyone from a Nobel Laureate to a former NASA astronaut.

Recently, I have struggled to identify what my path will be after graduation, but attending this conference really invigorated me because I realized that many of the most gifted minds in the world have no idea what they want to do: they follow their passions at any costs, and in this way, they succeed brilliantly in their endeavors.

I think the thing that struck me the most was a quote from a panelist on the last day. Despite being a super successful scholar and entrepreneur, he said, “I am no smarter than anyone else. The only reason that I am here is that I have been willing to fail over and over and over again.”

That was my biggest takeaway from the weekend, and I can only hope that in my life, regardless of my triumphs and trials, I can show the same strength to get back up each time I fall.

Alyson Meister

Alyson Meister,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 15 March 2016

Having spring break in the middle of the semester allowed for a much needed refresher and time to prepare for my last few weeks and beyond.

For the first weekend, I went to visit a friend (and former ambassador) in Chicago.

Pizza

We ate deep dish, explored the city and I pretended I was on House Hunters as we looked at apartments for her. The weather was amazing and the city stole a piece of my heart. I was sad when it came time to leave, but I knew I would see it again soon. Below is a picture I took of the Chicago skyline from the North Avenue Beach.

Chicago Skyline

After my weekend trip, I spent three days at home with the flu. Being sick on break was not fun, but at least it happened when I didn’t have school and work to hinder my recovery.

I’ve accepted a job at Epic Systems Corporation in Madison, WI, so on Thursday, my parents and I drove up to explore the area and look for apartments (House Hunters Round 2). The drive up was an adventure since our GPS kept taking us off the highway and it took all day to get there when it should have only been 7 hours, but I got to see the Chicago skyline once again.

Other than my interview, I had never visited Madison so there was a lot of backtracking, trying to figure out the city layout and where to get the best cheese curds.

There are four main lakes around Madison and the heart of downtown is nestled between the two biggest ones, Lakes Mendota and Monona. Even though it was March, the lakes were still frozen enough to skate and walk on as you can see below.

Lake Mendota

The trip was successful and I now have an apartment lined up for when I begin work in July. Visiting Madison got me excited for the future, but also made me realize I don’t have much time left to enjoy Athens. I better go get started on that Athens bucket list…

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

Spring Break in Vegas

Paige Preske

Paige Preske,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 7 March 2016

This spring break I traveled all the way out west! I spent two days in Las Vegas enjoying what the city had to offer. The second part of my vacation was spent climbing and hiking through national parks in Utah and Nevada.

Spring Break

I was lucky enough to have weather in the high 70s and sunny the entire week. The biggest difference I noticed between Ohio and Nevada, besides the obvious temperature difference, was the dry air. It made me very thirsty!

One of the parks I explored in Utah was Snow Canyon State Park. This park has amazing views of red and white Navajo sandstone. The park also has lava tubes throughout the park. I have a very big fear of heights but this park had very simple and beginner trails I could walk.

Another park that I visited was Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. This park has lizards everywhere and in all sizes. The park is rich in history with 3,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs on the sandstone. I really enjoyed looking at the petroglyphs because it is so amazing how they got on these rocks 50 feet in the air.

Spring Break

The last major thing I did over my spring break was go golfing. The golf courses out in Nevada are beautiful with mountains surrounding every part of the course.

Spring Break in PCB with Cru

Melinda Nelson

Melinda Nelson,
Senior, Industrial and Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 6 March 2016

Spring break is always a highlight of the spring semester for many students. The past two spring breaks, I have gone on trips with Cru, a Christian ministry and student organization on campus. Each year, a charter bus full of students and staff head off for a weeklong stay in Panama City Beach, Florida! At a luxury resort, we have daily sessions with music, speakers, lessons and of course lots of fun. Our afternoons are spent on the beach having conversations with beach goers about their lives and beliefs on spiritual things and sharing with them about who God is and how to have a relationship with Him. We also got to hang out at the pools, go swimming and play a lot of volleyball.

Volleyball on PCB

One fun activity that happens during the week is called Creative Dates. The idea behind creative dating is to get to know more people by having dinner together and it is a lot of fun! The first night a guys’ condo will cook dinner for and serve a girls’ condo and the next night they switch. It’s always an interesting and often entertaining couple of evenings!

Creative Date

My favorite thing about PCB is the community aspect. Living in a condo with people you may not really know at the beginning of the week, and leaving with five new best friends at the end of the week is one of the best feelings there is.

Spring Break Friends

Building lasting friendships with others who share the same passions you do is just one of the amazing benefits of joining student organizations while in college. I have made some of my best friends through organizations on campus including Cru and Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE). OU has over 200 student organizations; there’s something for everyone so they are definitely worth checking out!