Tag Archives: travel

Post-Graduation Road Trip

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 25 April 2019

In a few weeks, I will be departing for a multi-week road trip with some of my oldest friends: Evan, Devin, and Keegan. We’ll be heading towards Montana and Wyoming. Well, there or possibly towards New Orleans. So, we don’t exactly have the route planned yet but we’re pretty sure we’ll either be going Northwest or South.

In our opinion, this is only a minor detail; we have a car, GPS, and a tent—everything you need to get across the country and back home. The rest of the trip should figure itself out once we hit the road.

This is the fifth year these friends and I have gone on some sort of trip together. These trips have helped us better understand the world around us. Undoubtedly, we’ll have a similar experience this year but with something extra: it will be our last summer for the foreseeable future with us all living in the same place. In only a few months, we will disperse throughout the country/world to explore a new phase of life. This is an extremely exciting prospect but I am grateful that I have a few weeks to reflect with close friends before trading Athens for a new home.

Summer Plans

Jelena Mrvos

Jelena Mrvos,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 5 April 2019

With graduation being less than a month away, I am thinking about summer more and more! There is still plenty to do between now and the end of the semester, but I can’t help but to think of summertime. I am continuing on to graduate school here at OU in the fall and will be spending the better half of the summer in Athens. However, I am also planning on doing a fair amount of traveling throughout.

The largest trip I have planned is a two week long trip to Serbia. I will be going the second half of May, and I can’t wait! I am 100% Serbian; both of my parents are Serbian, as are their parents, and so on. This will be my first time visiting the country, and I am extremely excited to see the country of my ancestors. I am going with my parents and my sister, and we will be travelling all around the country over the span of the trip!

The other trips I have planned for the summer are relatively small in comparison. I will be staying mostly in Athens but will be taking many trips back home to Pittsburgh to visit family and friends. I am also planning a trip back to Nashville with my friend (and former ambassador) Jane! The picture below is from when we went last summer, and both would really like to go back again! My remaining time in Athens this summer will be spent doing research and moving towards my master’s degree! Overall, I am excited for a fun summer.

Nashville

Create for Good in Florida

Illona Hartman

Illona Hartman,
Junior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 31 March 2019

During Spring Break, I had the chance to go down to Florida with Theta Tau, my coed professional engineering fraternity, to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity. We were able to stay at the United Methodist Church in Flagler Beach, which was only 3 blocks away from the Atlantic and 20 minutes away from the work site where we volunteered for 4 days.

My friend and little in the fraternity, Sam (ISE senior), and I started our trip down to Florida on the Friday before break. Firstly, we drove 8 hours to Cleveland, Tennessee, to stay the night with Sam’s family and break up the road trip to Florida. The next day, we drove another 6 hours to Savannah, Georgia, where we found a hotel. Here I saw the first palm trees of our trip!

Habitat / Spring Break

For some reason, I get extremely excited about palm trees. These trees are the ultimate sign of vacation in my view. The next day, we had time to spend a couple of hours exploring the city of Savannah! This city had a lot of historical architecture at the riverbank and some crazy structures to visit.

Later that afternoon, we drove to Flagler Beach to meet our other brothers from 6 different chapters around the nation: Texas, Virginia (2x), Rhode Island, Michigan, and Ohio. We had dinner and found out that most of the volunteers were returners from previous years! They were extremely friendly and welcoming towards us, the newbies. After a free dinner from the church and Habitat, we spent some time bonding at the beach.

Habitat / Spring Break

For the next four days, we woke up at 6:30 am to leave the church by 7:30 am. Habitat for Humanity expected us to be on the site by 8:00 am to start the day with a dedication circle. Throughout the day, we performed different tasks such as roofing or siding.

Habitat / Spring Break

I joined the siding group for most of the days, so I was pounding nails in the outside of the house to finish the outdoor walls. I also spent a day or two on hurricane straps. These could be a real pain at times because both sides of a roof frame had to be nailed with 5-6 nails to the strap and wall so the wind could not blow underneath the roof. The angle of nailing and the fact that we had to nail them through metal while standing on a ladder didn’t make the job much easier!

Habitat / Spring Break

By the end of the day, we had a lot of fun and it was extremely rewarding work! On our last day, we finished almost the entire roof and the outdoor walls. We also got to dedicate another, finished house to a family which was a great experience. It was awesome to see how a finished house would look like!

Next year, I hope to come back to volunteer again as it precisely describes what I would like to do after graduation: combining civil engineering with natural hazard mitigation and humanity work in developing communities.

AirVenture

Sarah Bailey

Sarah Bailey,
Junior, Aviation

Athens, OH 17 March 2019

Last summer I was able to go to Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the annual EAA Airventure Fly-In Convention. It is the world’s largest fly-in and for that week the Wittman Regional Airport becomes the busiest airport in the world.

There is something there for people interested in all branches of aviation, including military aircraft, seaplanes, amphibious planes, vintage aircraft, helicopters, unmanned aerial systems, and more. The event featured hundreds of exhibitions with everything from repurposed airplane parts to building your own engine. There were air shows several times a day and hundreds of airplanes to look at on the ground.

While I was there I volunteered with the Seaplane Pilots Association, a nonprofit organization that protects, promotes, and advocates for seaplane aviation. I have always been very interested in seaplanes. When I turned fifteen I got a seaplane ride for my birthday, and it is actually what inspired me to pursue a career in aviation.

Volunteering with the SPA was a great opportunity for me to learn more about the history of seaplane flying and to meet people in that community. I was also fortunate enough to win a scholarship to get my seaplane rating at Kenmore Air in Seattle, Washington! Becoming a seaplane pilot has been a dream of mine for years now so I’m very excited to do that at the end of spring semester.

“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!

Spring Break is Coming

Melissa Kuchta

Melissa Kuchta,
Junior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 3 March 2019

Spring is finally almost approaching! I can’t believe how fast this semester is flying by. This time of year is one of my favorites and I bet you can guess why. We have spring break of course! I love hearing about everyone’s spring break traditions and thought I would share a little bit about my own.

Every year since I was a senior in high school, I have gone to Fort Myers, Florida to visit my boyfriend’s grandfather. Because he lives so far away, it is a real treat to get to see him this time every year. It’s also great that we know someone who lives in such a warm place, as we are able to go to the beach, the pool, and the outlet malls in March—a month that is typically still freezing here in Athens. We also save money because we don’t have to book a hotel or beach house!

There are so many fun activities to do in the southwest Florida area. Last year, we got the chance to take a riverboat tour of a section of the Everglades. It was so amazing to see the different wildlife—including jaguars, crocodiles, and dolphins!

I am looking forward to heading back to one of my favorite vacation spots in one short week, and to see what new adventures this year will bring. Hopefully we don’t miss our departure flight this year, as it is at 6:00 in the morning.. I’m sure the excitement of vacation will guarantee my getting out of bed at 4:00 am.

I hope everyone has a great spring break—whether you are going on a vacation or just relaxing at home.

Grad School at Johns Hopkins

Quinn Mitchell

Quinn Mitchell,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 24 February 2019

Starting next year, I will be pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. I recently had the opportunity to visit my future school as well as the specific lab in which I will be working.

During my three-day stint in Baltimore, I explored the city and got to know my future advisor and labmates. While I was there, many of the other students considering Johns Hopkins were also visiting; this gave me the chance to meet many of the students with whom I’ll share much of my graduate school experience.

In addition to seeing the city and meeting my future classmates, I was able to discuss my future research with my advisor, Professor Tamer Zaki. This research is an extension of the work I have done at Ohio University with Dr. Sarah Hormozi. I was extremely fortunate to have worked with Dr. Hormozi, who has helped me develop as an engineer and researcher.

The final detail of the trip, which is perhaps more important than anything else I’ve mentioned, is the plentiful and delicious food! The other students and I ate at a handful of Indian restaurants and took advantage of Baltimore’s abundance of crab cakes. This type of culinary exploration is a necessary part of visiting any city.