Tag Archives: travel

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.

Georgia

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.

Georgia

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.

Georgia

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.

Georgia

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

Engineering

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.

Germany

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.

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.

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