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Mechanical engineering student chosen as 2020 University Innovation Fellow

First Name
Nicholas
Last Name
Fraunfelter

Ohio University students learn the skills to bring innovative ideas to life through the University Innovation Fellowship. 

The University Innovation Fellows program is run through Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The goal of the national program is to ensure that students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge to contribute to the economy. 

Ohio University’s 2020 Cohort of University Innovation Fellows are Melissa Damico, Ishan Matta and Laura Ndoigo. The goal of this year’s student cohort is to implement improvements to the online learning environment for all levels of ability and access. The students conducted an institution-wide survey regarding innovation opportunities and spoke with many students and faculty. 

Ndoigo, a junior studying mechanical engineering, was motivated to apply to the program for the opportunity to create positive influence within the Ohio University community. She applied for the fellowship during the Spring 2020 semester and underwent an extensive interview process that teaches prospective fellows professional speaking and communication skills.

“The program helps you understand the process of coming up with ideas and finding solutions, people that you need to talk to, and looking at how to make it happen. We utilize prototyping and the systems needed in order to actualize it,” Ndoigo explained, adding that “I hope to make a lasting impact of change.” 

Read the full story on OHIO News.

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Abstract

Ohio University’s 2020 Cohort of University Innovation Fellows are Melissa Damico, Ishan Matta and Laura Ndoigo. The goal of this year’s student cohort is to implement improvements to the online learning environment for all levels of ability and access. The students conducted an institution-wide survey regarding innovation opportunities and spoke with many students and faculty.

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Laura Ndoigo, a junior studying mechanical engineering, is one of three Ohio University students chosen for the 2020 cohort of University Innovation Fellows.
May 16, 2021
Laura Ndoigo, a junior studying mechanical engineering, is one of three Ohio University students chosen for the 2020 cohort of University Innovation Fellows.

Trembly awarded $1 million in Department of Energy grants

First Name
Nicholas
Last Name
Fraunfelter

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $8.7 million in awards to “Develop Emerging Carbon-Based Building and Construction Materials,” with OHIO’s Jason Trembly receiving two $500,000 grants for two separate projects focused on addressing climate change and sustainability issues surrounding construction and infrastructure.

Trembly, Russ professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, was awarded the two grants for his projects focused on developing carbon foam and carbon composite materials as alternatives to existing construction materials.

Read the full story on OHIO News.

 

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Abstract

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced $8.7 million in awards to “Develop Emerging Carbon-Based Building and Construction Materials,” with OHIO’s Jason Trembly receiving two $500,000 grants for two separate projects focused on addressing climate change and sustainability issues surrounding construction and infrastructure.

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Jason Trembly, Yahya Al-Majali, mechanical engineering doctoral candidate, Dr. Damilola Daramola, OHIO assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Clive Chirume, alum who collaborated with the team.
May 16, 2021

Mechanical engineering students to investigate plastics upcycling via new course

First Name
Tim
Last Name
Minear

Authors: Baylee Demuth and Colleen Carow

Mechanical engineering students will have a new hands-on opportunity next academic year to explore plastics upcycling, thanks to an Ohio University Undergraduate Experiential Learning Stewardship Grant awarded to Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrew Weems.

The grants are offered by OHIO’s University College to faculty, staff and student organizations who are developing new or expanded experiential learning opportunities. Weems, who received $13,370, created a new laboratory exploration course, ME 4900/5900 (Advanced Materials Processing and Characterization) that enable students to investigate plastics upcycling via 3D printing studies – and expanding the process into green/sustainable engineering processes.

“We hope to get some nice results, and to get students really good hands-on experience -- then work to justify further funding that will allow us to purchase a larger printer or to collaborate with companies in the Columbus area and look at recycling on a commercial scale,” Weems said.

Weems will use the grant funds to purchase a variety of baseline equipment, such as glassware and consumables – in addition to processing equipment like a 3D printer and materials to make filament or shred plastics. The hands-on component will focus on process optimization and exploring different recycling strategies, both of which are current industry considerations.

“Students will experience the differences in those processes to see why we make some of the decisions that we do as a community when we think about recycling,” Weems said.

Weems’ collaborator, Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology and Management Jesús Pagán, has been working with 3D printing contractor IC3D of Columbus, Ohio.

“The experience of working with recycled plastics and developing how they’re going to be able to be used or reused becomes a challenge for students,” Pagán said.

Greg Kremer, chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, says experiential learning is increasingly important in this area of study.

“Plastics upcycling is a huge need, and one that will resonate with our students,” Kremer said. “I look forward to these activities enhancing student learning in our programs and opening their eyes to how engineers can create for good.”

Weems hopes to contribute to educating better engineers – those who will be ready to go into industry, think critically and fully function as engineers.

“You can always stand up in front of a classroom, talk to people and watch their eyes roll back into their heads,” Weems said. “But if you really want people to engage, I think you need to take the first step to engage with them, to give them something that they can put their hands on.”
 

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Mechanical engineering students will have a new hands-on opportunity next academic year to explore plastics upcycling, thanks to an Ohio University Undergraduate Experiential Learning Stewardship Grant awarded to Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrew Weems.

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Weems presenting
May 16, 2021

Mechanical engineering assistant professor wows audience with dissolving plastics at Science Café

First Name
Marissa
Last Name
McDaid

We live in a world of plastics. From the cups and straws we drink from, to life-enhancing prosthetics, plastics have changed the way we live. And while we’re excellent at manufacturing plastics, we’re not so great at recycling them.

In early March, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Andrew Weems informed and entertained a crowd of students, faculty and community members at Ohio University’s Front Room coffee shop, as he made polystyrene packaging disappear at an OHIO Science Café.

His presentation, “3D Printing a Better Future: Healthcare and Sustainability Considerations,” began with a review of the linear lifecycle of plastics. Polystyrene makes up around 10 percent of plastics produced, and it is rarely recycled. Because 3D printing sustainability. Material is only used where necessary, minimizing waste compared to traditional manufacturing.

When plastics are heated and repurposed, they lose some of their useful properties such as strength and eventually become waste. However, the materials that Weems works with are designed to take on the properties of the polystyrene.

“I’m not damaging the polystyrene,” Weems said while pushing a piece of foam into a beaker of resin. “I’m just moving it into another form so that we can use it better. The 3D printing resin is simply taking on the polystyrene, reinforcing the resin so that what I make is more mechanically robust, more stable and stronger.”

Not only can this plastic be made into implantable medical devices like heart stents, but these devices can be re-recycled.

“Andrew gave a masterful presentation in how to ‘Print for Good,’” said Greg Kremer, Robe Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering. “I think his tagline should be ‘saving lives and saving the planet - all in a day's work.’ His work to make 3D printing a circular process is so cool. I think it will attract young students into engineering and science.” 

You can watch a recording of Weems’ full presentation at this link.

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Abstract

We live in a world of plastics. From the cups and straws we drink from, to life-enhancing prosthetics, plastics have changed the way we live.

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Mechanical Engineering Assistant Professor Andrew Weems holds a beaker in the Front Room coffee shop while wearing a lab coat.
May 16, 2021

Russ College students honored for leadership, accomplishments at Tau Beta Pi virtual award ceremony

First Name
Marissa
Last Name
McDaid

Ohio University’s student chapter of engineering honorary society Tau Beta Pi hosted the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s first-ever virtual event via YouTube on Saturday evening to commend students on their academics, leadership and other achievements.

When the university began remote instruction in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the annual spring student awards banquet had to be cancelled, the executive board of the OHIO Delta chapter jumped on planning a virtual ceremony to honor the 2020 recipients. They created a video with the help of faculty announcers and hosted a live YouTube screening. The video began with remarks from incoming Tau Beta Pi President Alex Polacek and Russ College Dean Mei Wei.

“Heading into spring break, none of us could have anticipated what life and college studies would actually be like today,” Wei said. “I commend you for your flexibility and resilience during these times – and I hope you know that our faculty and leadership across the college have a great deal of compassion for all the changes you’re weathering.”

Top honors went to civil engineering senior Lydia Ramlo, who received both the Loehr Outstanding Senior Leader Award and the Tau Beta Pi Outstanding Senior Award. For the Tau Beta Pi Oustanding Senior Award, Aviation nominated Neil Bateman; Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering nominated Lukas Johansson; Electrical Engineering and Computer Science nominated Dylan Wright; Engineering Technology and Management nominated Allie J. Gabbard; Industrial and Systems Engineering nominated Matthew Grebinoski; and Mechanical Engineering nominated Cole Neuhart.

"It speaks volumes that Tau Beta Pi and Russ College still held the awards ceremony to honor our outstanding engineering Bobcats,” said Ramlo, an undergraduate research scholar and Engineering Ambassador who is also president of Ohio University Student Senate. “I am so grateful for the dedication that Ohio University has for its students throughout my years here. I am extremely honored to receive these awards; it still leaves me speechless. I wish I could thank my professors and fellow student leaders in person, and hopefully, one day that can happen!"

For the Department of Aviation, the Outstanding Junior Award went to Brady Taylor, and the Outstanding Senior Award went to Neil Bateman.

In the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the Outstanding Sophomore Award went to Adam Stasko. Two students, Annmarie Hoppel and Luke Hamlin, were awarded the Keith M. Russ Award for Outstanding Juniors. The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Outstanding Senior Award went to Mahmoud Ramadan, and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AICHE) Outstanding Senior Award went to Charlotte Kapral. The G.E. Smith and G.V. Smith Memorial Engineering Award went to Raziyeh Ghahremani. The Robe Leadership Award was bestowed upon Lydia Seiter.

For the Department of Civil Engineering, the Junior Academic Achievement Award went to Ryan Pfab, and the Senior Academic Achievement Award went to Justin Bradley. The Outstanding Senior Award and Outstanding Senior Leader Award were bestowed upon Lydia Ramlo.

In the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Outstanding Junior in Computer Engineering Award went to Wyatt Smith, the Outstanding Junior in Computer Science Award went to Kirk Saunders, and the Outstanding Junior in Electrical Engineering Award went to Andrew Moffett. The Outstanding Senior in Computer Engineering Award was bestowed upon Aidan Crowl, the Outstanding Senior in Computer Science Award went to Jordan Ball and the Outstanding Senior in Electrical Engineering Award went to Alexis Lanier. The G.E. Smith and G.V. Smith Memorial Award was awarded to Alex Bagnall.

For the Department of Engineering Technology and Management, Outstanding Senior Leader was bestowed upon Cole Stephan. The Jack and Marsha Myslenski Academic Excellence Award went to Erin R. Dietz. Both the F. Theodore Paige Outstanding Graduating Senior Award and Albert R. Squibb Service to the Department Award were awarded to Allie J. Gabbard.

In the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Dr. Helmut Zwahlen Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Computer Simulation went to Hope Bowden. The Outstanding Junior Award went to Andrew Lakocy and the Outstanding Senior Award went to Matthew Grebinoski.

For the Department of Mechanical Engineering, the Outstanding Senior Leader Award went to Rachel Modzelewski and the Outstanding Senior Researcher Award went to Logan Gutknecht. The Mechanical Engineering Special Recognition Award went to Sean Kilbane, Kay Dunlevy, Cuyler Mills, Anna Kelley, Patrick Habermehl and Margaret Allen. The Outstanding Senior Award went to Cole Neuhart.

Director of Professional Experiences Dean Pidcock presented Outstanding Co-Op Awards to Erik Withrow for his work with Chemours; Tyler Williams for his work with Imperial Electric and Alcon; Joel Compston for his work with Kraton Polymers; and Logan Veley for his work with Rogue Fitness.

View a list of all recipients in the digital program, and check out departmental awards by clicking the timestamps in the YouTube description.

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Abstract

Ohio University’s student chapter of engineering honorary society Tau Beta Pi hosted the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s first-ever virtual event via YouTube on Saturday evening to commend students on their academics, leadership and other achievements.

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Green background with yellow text reading "2020 Student awards banquet presented by tau beta pi engineering honors society"
May 16, 2021
Spring photo of Ohio Universirty's West Green facing Stocker Center. Bright green grass and vibrant blue sky.

Russ College students take first place at Startup Weekend

First Name
Cody
Last Name
Saylor

Authors: Elisabeth Weems and Colleen Carow

Four men holding "Startup Weekend Athens" shirts

The Bounty Board Services team (L to R): Community member Ben Stanley, HTC political science major Zakary Frank, mechanical engineering major Moeto Sasaki, and engineering and technology management major Alex Nay. Not pictured: business major Riley Dwyer.

Photo by Patrick Connolly

A pair of Russ College students found themselves at the intersection of creation, innovation and ideation at the annual Techstars Startup Weekend Oct. 13-15, landing on the first-place team and winning $1,000.

Held at OHIO’s Innovation Center, the annual event tasks students to work in teams and interact with designers, developers and entrepreneurs to evolve their own business concept into a foundation for future ventures.

Senior engineering and technology management student Alex Nay and sophomore mechanical engineering student Moeto Sasaki collaborated with Riley Dwyer, a sophomore business analytics major; Zakary Frank, a senior political science major; and community member Ben Stanley on the team they called Bounty Board Services to develop a matchmaking server for tabletop game players, similar to how Xbox Live virtually connects online players.

The 54-hour ideation process began Friday night, when students pitched their ideas to one another before attendees voted for viability. Then, teams formed, based on similar interests in preparation to collaborate and brainstorm before starting the development process bright and early on Saturday. Startup Weekend ended Sunday, when teams presented their ideas in early development before celebrating at an awards ceremony.

Nay explained that creating a new idea in just 48 hours involves balancing efficiency, flexibility and creativity – and that other Russ College students should participate to gain exposure to the ideation process.

“Even if you don’t think you want to start a business,” Nay said. “The things you learn, the people you meet, and the experience you have is worth it.”

He added that the brainstorming process involved aligning the visions of all team members, which taught him a valuable lesson about group compromise. His advice to other students about teamwork: be open and flexible to original ideas changing as the process continues.

Originally, the group planned to create a video game based on the popular fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, in which players choose their own storylines. However, after administering a consumer survey through a Google forum to more than 800 people, they decided to refine their original concept.

Throughout the weekend, students attended workshops and interact with coaches and judges -- including Art Oestrike, founder and owner of Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery; Dan Rockwell, CEO of Big Kitty Labs; and Leslie Schaller, director of programs at ACEnet -- who provided feedback and guidance.

By combining and applying knowledge from Startup Weekend and their courses, the team members will continue to collaborate to develop their venture idea. First up: an informational website.

Find more information about Startup Weekend online.

Several people on a staircase wearing "Startup Weekend Athens" shirts
Man pointing at laptop screen
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May 16, 2021

Ohio University students named Stanford University Innovation Fellows

First Name
Cody
Last Name
Saylor

Authors: Anna Hartenbach and Colleen Carow

Two people sitting and wearing "university innovation fellows" shirts

Two Ohio University students have been selected as Stanford University Innovation Fellows (UIF), a program that empowers students to become leaders of change and create opportunities for entrepreneurship at their own universities. Just more than 200 fellows from across the globe were named.

Andrew Stroud, a junior mechanical engineering major pursing a certificate in entrepreneurship, and Winter Wilson, a sophomore environmental studies and journalism double major in the Honors Tutorial College, join 2016 fellows Ben Scott, an engineering and technology management student, and Faith Voinovich, chemical engineering major – bringing the total number of OHIO fellows in just four years, to seven.

Created as part of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) through a National Science Foundation grant, the select program provides six weeks of online training, including themed lessons around the ideation process, as well as connections to innovation and entrepreneurship resources on the students’ campuses and beyond.

Stroud said the program changed him as a person by forcing him to step outside of his boundaries.

“As an engineer, we can get pretty locked up in theory, practice, doing the numbers and homework -- but this is taking that process of problem solving and applying it in the real world to make something happen, not just talking about it,” Stroud said. “To me, an engineer is a problem solver.”

In November, Stroud and Wilson attended a Silicon Valley meetup at Stanford University, where they met with fellows from around the world, listened to speakers, and participated in innovative activities.

Because UIF is open to actively enrolled students from all majors and background, the meet-ups are diverse – and the November gathering also welcomed previous fellows, enabling more networking opportunities.

Wilson said that for her, one of the most important aspects of the program was meeting and learning from other fellows from across the world who were passionate about creating a big impact and having a positive change.

“The University Innovation Fellows program has shown me that I have the ability to be a powerful agent of change. Not only have I gained valuable skills through the program training, but I also know that I have an incredible international support network of fellows that will continue to help me achieve my goals in the future,” Wilson said.

The OHIO cohort is continuing its work to develop C-Suite, a centralized entrepreneurship hub where students can collaborate and access relevant resources, as a demonstration of UIF’s charge to unify students across disciplines and inspire interest in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Stroud said one way to bring students together from all backgrounds is to get them to think about their mission.

“When students begin to ask, ‘what’s my mission?’ it helps them to think about the steps required to achieve their mission rather than what’s needed to fulfill their educational requirements,” Stroud said. “Having a mission cuts that idea loose.”

Paul Mass, College of Business entrepreneur-in-residence and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship, who served as Stroud and Wilson’s faculty sponsor, said UIF has the potential to be life changing for students, and that it carries great benefits for OHIO.

“The students who want to effect change are more able to do it than faculty or administration in many ways,” Mass said. “They will feel more empowered about thinking outside of the box, starting new things and soliciting support for what they want to implement – it is the essence of entrepreneurship.”

Stroud said getting outside of one’s academic area to collaborate unlocks the potential of innovation.

“As engineers, we know theory like that back of our hand and we can probably do some pretty crazy tricks with math, but making something happen while working with people of all disciplines can be really powerful,” he said.

Stanford Innovation Fellows Manifesto
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May 16, 2021

Russ College women join Margaret Boyd Scholars Program

First Name
Cody
Last Name
Saylor

Author: Elisabeth Weems

Two first-year Russ College women have been inducted into the Ohio University Margaret Boyd Scholars Program, bringing its total membership, including program graduates, to 100.

Freshmen Elizabeth Fowler, a mechanical engineering major, and Alexa Shust, a chemical engineering student with an interest in biomedical sciences, represent the Russ College in the 20-woman cohort.

Since its inception in 2013, the Margaret Boyd Scholars Program has supported and connected female students from all colleges and majors throughout their time at OHIO, with a focus on cultivating leadership skills. The program, named after the first woman to earn a degree at OHIO in 1873, offers a first-year seminar, second-year residential program, third-year internship and fourth-year capstone seminar.

Fowler said the program is empowering and enables women from different disciplines to connect through shared experiences. “It gives you a well-rounded group of people to support you on campus,” Fowler said, saying

This semester, both Fowler and Shust are enrolled in UC 2900, a special topics course about art, history and engineering.

Shust said she applied for the program to expand her horizons and connect with other women on campus, especially because women are underrepresented in STEM fields. According to the National Science Foundation, about 28 percent of professionals in science and engineering occupations in 2014 were women.

“This is a way for me to get to know other women on campus, hear their views, and learn what they’re passionate about,” Shust said.

She offers some advice for anyone thinking about applying – noting that participating in the program can create lifelong friendships.

“Don’t second-guess yourself,” she said.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.

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Scholars
May 16, 2021

What happened at the Russ College: A summer summary

First Name
Cody
Last Name
Saylor

Authors: Anna Hartenbach and Collen Carow

Girl with cat face paint

Summer at the Russ College takes on a different look and feel for those who stick around – silent study space in the Academic & Research Center, parking spaces by the dozen, student tours a plenty, and clusters of construction. Despite the quiet, the Russ College community still made plenty of headlines.

Here’s what happened while you were away, with our:

Students

Alumni and Outreach

Faculty

Research

Now it’s your turn to make some news! Keep up with it all on our news page.

Group of people on stage with a projection behind them reading "50th Anniversary Homecoming Celebration"
Lei Wu on West Green
Group of people on West Green
Man speaking at a podium
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May 16, 2021

Engineering student duo named semi-finalists in national simulation competition

First Name
Cody
Last Name
Saylor

Author: Marissa McDaid

Two Russ College of Engineering and Technology students were named semi-finalists last month in the national Simio Student Case Competition, which challenges students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world problems.

Clive Chirume, mechanical engineering graduate student and researcher at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology’s Institute for Sustainable Energy and the Environment, and Madison Fiehrer, industrial and systems engineering (ISE) senior, landed in the top 14 of 300 teams that comprised a total of 1,064 students from across the world.

Competing as team “MC Solutions,” Fiehrer and Chirume were tasked with simulating a corn seed production facility to show seed processing from harvest to delivery. They had to factor in a variety of seed types, treatments, batch sizes and packaging types that the manufacturing facility produced to ensure orders were accurately filled.

“Our simulation helped determine the bottleneck of the seed production facility and what changes could be crucial in fulfilling these orders faster with a more stable process,” explained Fiehrer.

Simio software is used in the Russ College classroom as part of Professor of ISE Dušan Sormaz’s Industrial Computer Simulation class (ISE 4130). Sormaz has been using the Simio Student Case Competition as a final project for his class since fall 2014 -- and has seen great success.

“Simio competition problems are selected from real factories and organizations,” Sormaz said. “It gives students the opportunity to solve problems similar to those that they will need to solve when they start their career. All of the presented problems are challenging and require student teams to make a model, run an experiment, produce a 3D animation of the model, and make recommendations on how to improve operations.”

Sormaz’s fall semester class produced eight teams who were judged by a panel of ISE faculty. The top three simulations in the class were submitted to Simio’s global competition, where Fiehrer and Chirume were named semi-finalists.

“I’m particularly delighted that our best team was composed of an undergraduate ISE student and graduate mechanical engineering student who combined their skills in solving the competition problem,” said Sormaz.

Since Sormaz’s students started competing, the class has produced multiple finalist and semi-finalist teams. In May 2017, an Ohio University team took first place.

Colleen Carow contributed to this story.

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SIMIO Competition
May 16, 2021