Tag Archives: travel

Professional Conferences: Funding and Value

Cami Jones

Cami Jones,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 8 October 2017

As the president of an engineering student organization, one of the things I’m most thankful for that the Russ College provides is funding. Grants through the Russ Vision fund help individuals and groups of students looking to further their education outside of the classroom at design competitions, conferences, and the like throughout the country. Thanks to this funding, it is possible for us to travel to these events even if we don’t personally have the funds to do so—it breaks down barriers.

You might be able to guess why I have funding opportunities on the brain. If you’re thinking that I may be in the middle of filling out a conference proposal to request funding for a group of thirty-six industrial and systems engineering students to attend a conference in February 2018, you’d be right!

IISE logo

Our student group, the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), has received funding to attend this conference for at least the last six years, and I attribute a sizeable amount of my professional network and employment successes to attending the event for the past four years. Now, it’s my turn to make sure that we secure funding again so that this year’s group of students can also benefit from the experience.

Award Photo with Past, Present, and Future IISE Presidents at IISE Annual Conference in 2016 (at Disneyland!)

The IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference is an annual event held on the campus of one of the universities in the region (Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Michigan) that has an active chapter of IISE. In the past, I’ve attended this two-day event at Western Michigan University, Purdue University, and Wayne State University.

Ohio University IISE at Wayne State's Conference in 2016 (selfie by Faculty Advisor Dr. Yuan)

Last year, we even had the chance to host the event here at Ohio University!

IISE Great Lakes Regional Conference Planning Committee at Ohio University in 2017

This year, we will be traveling to The Ohio State University for the conference. The theme of this year’s conference is “Digital Transformations: Improving Systems Everywhere” and will focus on how technology and data are changing the role of industrial engineers in industry. I’m a big data nerd, so I am very excited.

Aside from being excited to hear keynote speakers and attend breakout sessions in line with the technology theme, I’m excited to see my IISE friends from the other schools in the region again. Having attended four regional conferences and three national conferences in the last four years, I’ve made some pretty good friends across the region and country. They are “my people” and many of them have helped me grow both as an engineer and as a person.

Thanks to these connections, I’m not worried about finding a job after graduation or knowing what to do with myself. The friends I’ve made at these conferences know my interests and my strengths and are already looking out for me to help start my career.

Now it’s time for me to do my part and ensure that our group can afford to travel to this year’s conference so that our students can continue to build these relationships and experience discussions on the current events impacting the futures of our careers. Thankfully, the Russ College believes in the value of these conference experiences and is always willing to lend a hand. Wish us luck!

WERC Competition

Daniel Riordan

Daniel Riordan,
Senior, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

Athens, OH 24 September 2017

As fall has just recently begun, the days are becoming shorter and temperatures are becoming more sweater-friendly here in Athens. Before the cold weather catches up to us and the “new” school year becomes the “current” school year, I wanted to highlight a valuable experience Ohio University’s Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department allowed me last year during 2016-2017: the WERC Environmental Design Contest.

Teams of junior and senior chemical engineers (plus others who are interested) are led by Dr. Darin Ridgway of the Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering department to compete in a nationwide competition to design solutions to real-world environmental and waste-management issues, presenting their proposal and a bench-scale demonstration in April at New Mexico State University.

WERC Competition

I had a blast last year working with my teammates on our project, where we proposed cleaning industrial wastewater from a coal-fired power plant by installing a specialized absorption tower at the beginning of their existing wastewater treatment system. Not only did I have an all-expenses-paid trip to the Southwest during the school year to present our work, but our group won the award for Best Written Technical Report in our category. Being recognized for all the hours of hard work my teammates and I put into our project was one of the most rewarding experiences of my college career.

The event wasn’t all WERC, though (Get it? Work? I’ll be here all week…). After the awards ceremony, we spent the few days left on our trip seeing some incredible examples of natural beauty in New Mexico and Arizona.

WERC Competition

WERC Competition

From hiking the Grand Canyon (14.2 miles is no joke, let me tell you) to experiencing the White Sands National Monument and Petrified Forest National Park, traveling the Southwest in a university van with my best buds after taking home a trophy was a vacation and resume-booster worth remembering.

Studying in Greece

Emily Morello

Emily Morello,
Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Athens, OH 11 September 2017

This past summer was probably the best summer I have ever had. The first month of May consisted of traveling to Greece with my best friend for a study abroad internship. This happened through the OU Global Consulting Program which Dr. Costas Vassiliadis, from the electrical engineering department, supervised.

It was an incredible experience that I will never forget. The program was two weeks long and took place in the city of Thessaloniki. Thessaloniki is located in the upper peninsula of Greece right on the coast. The city is beautiful!

During the day, all the students met at the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) to work on our consulting projects. We were split up into groups of 5-6 students and 2-3 of those students were from the ACT. Each group was pared with a different company to consult.

My team was pared with the Chalkidiki Flour Mills. This company is a global flour mill company that produces specialty flour blends that they ship out to other places. My team had to implement a new Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) program for the company. It was a great learning opportunity.

Other than the project, we had socials, special dinners, and traveled to other cities in the free time. I also loved shopping in the city after class. Another great opportunity was being able to tour monasteries and Mount Olympus on the weekend.

After the two weeks were over, my friend Gabby and I island hopped for an extra week. We visited Ios, Santorini, and Mykonos.

Ios was incredible because it was a mountainous island that a lot of college students liked to travel to. It was cheaper than the other islands, so we stayed for three nights. We did not want to leave. We stayed at a family-owned hotel that had a gorgeous view on top of a cliff. One of our favorite things about Ios was renting ATVs to ride around the island on.

Santorini was our next stop, but we only stayed for one night. Santorini is located on a cliff and it was not what I expected at all! When looking at the city from the water, it looked like little bird nests were located on the peaks of the mountains. As we moved in closer, we were amazed by the beautiful architecture and colors of the buildings. I loved this city, but it was very touristy.

Our last stop was Mykonos before heading to Athens. Mykonos was my favorite island. We met students from the University of Barcelona that hung out with us every day. I think being with a fun group made this island the best. Mykonos is very hilly with a beautiful town located on the shore. I loved all the white
buildings and beautiful beaches. I definitely want to travel back to this island.

Athens was our final destination. Dr. V was our tour guide since he lives near Athens. He showed us the Parthenon, monuments, and the museum.

Studying abroad was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made.

A Summer Abroad

Brandon Mahr

Brandon Mahr,
Senior, Engineering Technology & Management

Athens, OH 6 September 2017

This past summer, thanks to the Cutler Scholars Program here at Ohio University, I was able to study abroad in Sorrento, Italy for 5 weeks. In Italy, I studied a Business/Sustainability course in order to fulfill a requirement for my minor.

My experience in Italy was absolutely amazing, and I would advise any college student to at least consider studying abroad. For engineering students, it’s often difficult to find a program that caters to your major and needs, but Ohio University’s Office of Global Opportunities (OGO) is absolutely amazing and offers an extremely wide variety of programs/courses. From working with a manufacturing company in China, to applying engineering solutions in Ghana’s impoverished areas, to studying fine arts in Great Britain, and everything in between, OGO has it.

When you are studying or volunteering abroad, not only do you have to the opportunity to grow and learn in the classroom, but you also can grow as a person. I learned a lot about business and sustainability this summer, but I learned even more about myself.

Italy

I became a more confident and adventurous person, and I did a lot of things that I may have never done before, like cliff diving off a Roman Villa into the Mediterranean, or swimming a couple of miles to visit several underwater sea caves, or engaging with complete strangers in deeply personal discussions. I really challenged myself this summer when I was in Italy, and grew a lot from it. Study abroad this summer certainly changed my life, and I would advise anyone interested in studying abroad to do it, and you definitely won’t regret it.

IEEE Student Activities Conference

Mia Wilson

Mia Wilson,
Junior, Electrical Engineeering

Athens, OH 10 April 2017

This past weekend, I went with The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) to the annual Student Activities Conference (SAC) at Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. It was honestly one of the best trips that I have ever gone on. Events like these are mostly for professional development, but for me it was so much more. It was a chance for me to get to know my fellow students and it was also a chance to get away from Athens for a little bit and explore a new city!

This year the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science fully supported us to represent Ohio University at SAC. There we got to attend seminars about various subjects, including ethics, leadership, and the Young Professionals Society.

We also got to meet students from other schools. We competed against them in a variety of events that tested our knowledge about physics, circuits and problem solving. We actually ended up winning third in the physics competition and got to bring home a trophy!

My favorite part of the trip, though, was getting to know my fellow members of IEEE. During the car ride and the stay in Glassboro, we got to bond in a way that we haven’t before. I think this was due, in part, to school still being a lingering thought in our regular socials and meetings. Since we were off campus and most of the weekend we were busy with the conference, we got to take a break from the stress.

I was very pleased to find out how welcoming and comfortable everyone was with each other. It made the bonding experience that much better. There were a lot of factors that went into what made this trip so successful, but I honestly think it was the group of people that went that made it one of my favorite weekends to date.

Spring Break Road Trip

Rob Parker

Rob Parker,
Senior, Civil Engineering

Athens, OH 17 March 2017

As most people know, when spring semester rolls around every student is thinking of their spring break plans. Students tend to gravitate towards a destination in Florida or somewhere south, with the main stipulation being that the location has to be warm and sunny. Many of these spring break trips are planned far in advance and some not so much.

This was the case for my most recent and final spring break of my college career. Myself and five of my best friends decided on a whim (2 weeks before spring break) that we were going to take a cross country trip in just 8 days with the turnaround point being the West Coast.

Spring Break Trip

We traveled a total of 5,100 miles, passed through 9 states and saw some of the most breath taking sites along the way. We started from Athens, Ohio and made it to the Santa Barbara Boardwalk at the end of the historic Route 66.

Spring Break Trip

Along the way we stopped in Denver, Colorado; Pike’s Peak, Four Corners, The Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Hollywood and Beverly Hills. On the way back we saw The Hoover Dam and stopped in Las Vegas for a night.

Spring Break Trip

I got to see things in person on this trip that I’ve only ever seen in pictures and to me that was awesome. We traveled many miles and spent a lot of hours cooped up in a minivan and surprisingly enough, we never got tired of each other’s presence. I’ve been fortunate enough to have met some great people with my time at school and I’m glad that I can take random trips with them.

Spring Break in San Diego with RLI

Kevin White

Kevin White,
Senior, Industrial & Systems Engineering

Athens, OH 14 March 2017

My last Spring Break as a college student was definitely the best one. This fall, I was a member of the Robe Leadership Institute. This was a course that focused on building leadership skills to a small group Russ College seniors.

To conclude the course, we were fortunate enough to have to opportunity to take a trip out to San Diego, CA to meet with various CEOs while they give us a tour of their companies.

This trip could not have been possible without Russ College alumnus, Dan Squiller. Dan arranged for us to meet with these CEOs throughout the week.

It was so fascinating to hear the CEOs’ stories and career paths. After going a semester learning about leadership, it was so beneficial to see it in action. These CEOs are very successful and they told us their keys to becoming successful.

If you told me at the beginning of my freshman year that I would be spending my Spring Break meeting 6 CEO’s while allowing me to pick their brain, I would have called you crazy. This was honestly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I would like to think I took full advantage of it.

My favorite company that we saw was HM Electronics Inc. This company designs and manufactures the headsets that you see in fast food restaurants such as McDonalds and Starbucks. They also deal with many other electronic solutions in their market.

RLI in San Diego

Their CEO is Chuck Miyahira. Chuck gave us some great insight on how to succeed both early and later in our careers. Joining Robe Leadership Institute was one of the best decisions of my college career and I will take so much away with me as I begin my full-time job in June.