Archive for the '4th year (junior)' Category


日本のインターン (Coop at Japan)

IMG_4339When I was applying for UC, 4 years ago, I read a brochure about the International Coop Program, and since then I knew I was down for it. The first year I registered with other 20 freshman in the German Program. I liked the idea of doing an internship for Airbus or the European Space Program, while backpacking around Europe during holidays. I even took German classes during summer of freshman year. After a couple of years, I got more interested in Asian cultures, and learning the astronomically difficult Japanese language became a challenge. I switched into the Japanese program right before the language classes began. There were about 10 students registered. The International Coop Program is very well structured at the University, so that it that doesn’t interfere with the curriculum. We had one class about “living abroad” during our second year, a six-week intensive language course during our third year, and at the begging of four year we started the job hunting, which is coordinated with the professional practice department at UC. Then, we had two weeks of intensive language in Japan before starting coop. The entire program is already well set. In my case I got my first choice, working for IHI in Tokyo, doing CFD for aircraft engines.

IMG_0923 I always thought that living in a different country, working together with its people and learning their language is the real way to understand and enjoy their culture. People are extremely polite and kind. Since I came, I haven’t seen a person fighting or scream to another. Everyone is very concern about the welfare of the society. If feels like they take care of each other. Recycling, not wasting food and saving electric energy is not only a general concern, but absolutely everyone practices it. Everyday I get more amazed about their personality. Working for a Japanese company is also another story. It’s more about harmony. Everyone in the company, starting from the president, wears the same uniform, eats the same lunch, does the same exercise routine in the morning. It really feels like belonging to a family more than a company. Every week they keep inviting me to go out to an Izacaya, Japanese bar/restaurant, go out fishing, or any other activity that would bring me more together with my working team.

DSC_0043 I just had a one week holiday. My brother came to visit and we went to Kyoto and Nara, the ancient capitals of Japan. Most of the Shinto and Buddhist temples are located in these areas. The landscapes and the cities are breath taken. Kyoto is the only place where the traditional Geishas live. We met with other there friends from UC. Kira, one of our Engineering Ambassadors, is working in Kyoto, home of Nintendo. It was a great trip and managed to make it affordable. Really I’ve only mentioned a few of the amazing things I lived in this country. The food, the language, the rituals, you have to live it to entirely understand its magic. If you want to learn more about the International Coop Program you can visit the website:


Experience at Coop

During my first week of coop I realized the big difference in experience and knowledge I had compared to regular workers. Quiet honest, it was frustrating. I thought I would be the one responsible of photocopying, scanning or printing stuff (since I was clueless on the software being used or what was going on in general). But today, in my last day at Gulfstream Aerospace and after 4 coop rotations, I feel proud of how much I was able to contribute to the development of the aircrafts and the amount of experience I acquired during this period.

Since the beginning I was introduced to the secret project (when the G650 was not announced yet) and trained about corporate system and other programs and applications. By the end of my rotations I had helped analyzing and generating aerodynamic data, designing features of the cockpit and even developing software for the flight simulator of the aircraft, far from what I had expected at the beginning. I still have a long way to go before I have the experience to take greater decisions for the company, but the coop program has certainly been a great way to begin. Then, when I was invited to events like the recognition of the G650 development team, I realized what my real roll as coop was and how important my contribution was.


What’s going on

Aside from my work update, I’d figure I’ll share a little about what else is going on for me right now. I’ve been in Seattle for about 2 1/2 months and time has gone by very quickly. This feeling is mostly because of how much extracurricular tasks I’ve been doing. From EWB to EA my free time is spent mostly getting update and helping along in projects. However, my newest task has been getting familiar with my new computer and learning about Microsoft Vista. So far Vista has been pretty easy to get along with, I pimped my computer out so it would have an easy time with all the graphics Vista uses.

As for the Engineers Without Borders project I’ve been working on, well our implementation trip got postponed due to funding. So if you’ve got an extra $10,000-$12,000 lying around let me know. Our project was named June’s Project of the Month from EWB-USA so that’s an honor for us. I’m hopeful we get to go sometime in August before school starts up. The current status is that we’re ready to give our contractor the nod to order materials and start construction of the tanks (very exciting for me). In the mean time we’ve all been very busy working on operations manuals and specifications to make sure every group is getting to the same point before we head over. I think the next two weeks will be very busy updating files and assembling documents. The village is also very eager for us to arrive and build their water system for them. This past raining season was not very good for them as they did not get the rain and their food crop suffered badly. This has also created famine in the village, so the sooner the better. Seeing how this is the first chance many of us have had at applying skills we’ve learned on COOP or in the classroom, we’re all very eager to get the construction portion rolling. At the same time we will begin to get those other mixed feelings that construction brings.

And on to Engineering Ambassadors, well I’ve got a lot more on my plate now that I’m the new President (as of mid May). Being on the other side of the country does make things difficult, but my stand in VP at UC is doing a great job so far. I’m always in the loop and our veteran members know what it takes to keep things rolling. To be honest, its kind of cool to have started as a freshman and then finally progressing to President as a Senior. I never would have thought about that my freshman year, but as I’ve matured in the CoE I continue to see my duty as to offer my wisdom and knowledge about the CoE to our prospective students. Each EA has their own story(s) to tell and that’s what families and students really enjoy hearing. You can give them all the ratings and class schedules you want, but they ultimately enjoy hearing about our COOPs and outside activities. I’ve been very lucky to have worked in North Carolina and Seattle and many other engineering schools can’t offer that to students as a guaranteed opportunity choose from. But, ultimately our COOPs are about letting us individually learn about something we have a desire for. For me finally working in a field that I’ve been waiting for since I was 6 is the greatest gift COOP at UC has offered me. You can learn all you want from a textbook, but its how you perform in the field that gets noticed. So if we go back to sports, practice is like COOP and your career is that big game. Practice hard and surround yourself in a winning environment and you are set for creating a personal dynasty.

And now a short Senior moment, it is beginning to hit me at the magnitude of what my college experience has created for me. In a little under a year, if all goes as well I well become the second person in my family to graduate from UC’s College of Engineering. I will be joining my grandpa, Mike Vogt, Sr. over fifty years after he graduated as Vogt Bearcats. Not too bad for a hick from southern Indiana.


Coop perk update and Friday the 13th

Okay, so it sounded like a great opportunity, spending June hiking and biking for work. June is usually the start of nice sunny and relatively cool temperatures in the Pacific Northwest. Well, in two weeks so far of working in Capitol State Forest, we’ve had two nice days and those came the last two days we were there. I will say the treat on 6/12 was nice. We were planning to just hike the day and when we got to a trail crossing we had a great view of the valley and Mt Rainier. Mount Rainier (14,411ft) is a bit special to me because I climbed it last summer so seeing it kind of lifted the spirits.

The other days consisted of cold, wet, miserable rain for most of the day. Its kind of hard to cover a lot of ground when the trails are like puddings and our GPS device, Gilbert, does not like the weather either. I’m not going to complain about being cold and wet, I’ve endured it many times in my life, but when its the same thing day after day it wears on you. Not too mention it has totally destroyed our scheduling, I think we’ve manged to get a little over half of the trails and most of the facilities done in two weeks. It was only supposed to take us eight work days. We are moving on to the other forest this week (Tahuya State Forest).

My co-worker and I have come to the conclusion that Capitol State Forest is cursed, at least to us. Aside from the bad weather we/I had a Friday the 13th encounter. Now most people would take a flat tire as being nothing to big, just an inconvenience of sorts. But what about two flat tires in the span of about and hour?

Here’s the quick notes version. We came to a road closure and I had just turned the vehicle around when I finally got tired of seeing this light on the dashboard. So we looked it up and when I say our back tire was flat I thought okay, no biggie I’ll just change it and we’ll be on our way. After the change I started driving and the light was still on, maybe the tire just needed to be warmed up. But after a mile or two I let the wheel go and it turned right. I had the passenger get out and look. She didn’t say anything and I thought, you have got to be kidding. Sure, enough it was flat, so I drove us to a clearing and called the rental place to setup a tow. They called about 20min later saying the two wouldn’t come into the park and we had to find a way to get out. It was about 10-15miles on logging roads to the nearest exit. So I said okay we’ll drive out (but in a much less censored wording) and call for pickup. We made it, the tire, well its being recycled right now.

So in a nut shell, Capitol State Forest is cursed for Otak and always get the full insurance on rental cars because then you can drive 10-15miles on a flat tire and not worry about paying for it. And definitely stay away from it on Friday the 13th. I/we can’t wait to get to Tahuya this Monday and maybe Capitol will burn down or something else will happen before we have to return. So everyone who has nice warm, sunny weather please send it towards Belfair, Washington for the next two weeks.


Exam Week

It’s every students favorite time of the quarter – FINALS! Ok so that may be a bit of an exaggeration.

Finals can be tough. Any college student can tell you at least one horror story of an exam the were sure to ace. He had studied; he had paid attention in class all quarter. But it wasn’t enough. He got to the final and he blanked. Maybe the problems were totally different than what he was expecting. Then again, maybe tests freak him out and he panicked. No matter the reason, the outcome is shear disappointment (in himself).

The point of the story is that life goes on. As engineers, we are programmed to work hard and do well. But this doesn’t mean we are above the occasional complete failure. Mine was Tuesday and I won’t lie, it didn’t make me optimistic to continue my week full of tests and projects. It happens to the best of us. I’m not going to quit though. I love my classes (from the topics, to the work, to the professors). I love that this time next year I will be able to call myself a real engineer. I love that it’s tough. It keep me on my toes.

So study hard! (and good luck, because a little bit of luck never hurts)


Can Legos and a Sandbox Create an Engineer? Read to find out.

This may seem like a unique question let alone an answer for a question about why did you choose engineering. However, for me this pretty much sums up my early life and how it created my desire to become a civil engineer.

I can remember playing in my sandbox since I was about 3 or 4 years old and you could say that was my first 40-a-week job. But I think I pulled in a lot of overtime, especially in the summer months. I tell my mom, and she agrees, the sandbox was pretty much a babysitter for me. I can also remember being dragged away from some sandboxes that featured a backhoe digging device you sat on.

To be honest I still feel tempted to go and sit down and start digging when I see one today. This was actually my first “hands on” coop experience although I was pretty much just mixing sand and water and moving sand with the loaders. I remember creating just about everything from sub-divisions to harbors (yes, I used to flood the box and bring out the boats). As I got older and really looked at construction jobs around me I used to place bits of metal in my sand/water forms. Okay, I’ll admit that is VERY nerdy of a 8-10 year old, but I had a good excuse and its paying off today.

When you enter civil engineering you still use your sandbox experience, except now you’re digging (excuse the pun) into the chemical and materialistic properties of sand, water, cement, and metal along with other details of basic concrete. You begin to learn how certain proportions of each component allow you to build new and unique structures. Then you can go back and see why your early sand mixtures didn’t hold up very well. As you get more education about the materials going back to your old methods really goes against everything you’ve been taught and this unfortunately can take the fun out of going to the sandbox with someone younger. You WILL make everything more complicated than the 4 year old will do it.

When the weather got bad (rain or snow) construction has to adjust, for me this meant going downstairs to my hundreds (probably thousands) of Legos and create something else new. I built just about anything you could think of from aircraft carriers to zoos. If I saw something on TV, I would go downstairs and after time, a copy of it would be made. I can’t exactly remember my earliest Lego adventures, but I did start with the jumbo blocks and moved down. Legos were also another built in babysitter function my parents had, as long as I didn’t choke on a piece. Christmas and birthdays were my favorite times because that meant new Lego sets. I could easily put new sets together in no time, and my family would ask why I would put it together so fast. I couldn’t answer because reading the plans was like second nature to me and this really helps me today, granted the plans are a lot more detailed and a little harder to understand at times.

And to provide another nerd factor to me, I actually created blueprints for hotels and other structures I built. Hey, when you got utility, structural, elevator (yes, I built working elevators) and roof details you need to remember how to build that feature in the future. I unfortunately had to retire from Lego building somewhere around middle school, but I still own each piece I ever had neatly sorted my a process I still know today. I think a while back I decided to see just how engineering school has complicated my ability to easily construct something. I think I tired to build a hallway cross section. Things got hairy quickly because I was trying to leave room for utilities, drywall, and exterior wall features. I decided to give up after I got really frustrated. I think today bridges might be the easiest for me to build. The only real beef I had and still have with Legos is the inability to build things at a certain angle.

So, as you can see my engineering track was set pretty early. I can also thank one of my uncles, who is a civil engineer, as he helped provide insight on to what they do and not to mention showed me blueprints at an early age. I take pride in being able to tell people that I knew I wanted to be a civil engineer since I was about 6-7. It may sound weird, but I’m proud as can be because I’m applying what I’ve learned and will learn to help people in main ways that they might and might not see.

So, YES a sandbox and Legos can create an engineer (it did to me) . In other words, let your future children play in the sand and buy them plenty of Legos (the basic sets (town and random pieces) more than that character stuff (Harry Potter and Bionicle)), not only will you have a cheap babysitting service, but you’ll be contributing to forming future engineers, which isn’t that scary. Unless they start taking everything apart at home (I’m guilty here and I still do it to this day), then you may need to monitor them a bit more. Legos and sandboxes allow children to build imaginations and dig into their creative tracks. Being creative in engineering is sometimes overlooked, but a creative idea can get the project done quicker and cheaper at times. Not to mention, engineers are somewhat outside the normal box of society anyways, and this facet is shown off in the vast array of engineered projects across human time. Another factor, I will probably try to build something of Legos in the future, but probably after creating CAD drawings, specifications, and a contract. But, I still owe everything to my family for buying Legos and to dad for building the tree house sandbox that lasted for many years. I will go ahead and say my kids will be playing in the sand and with Legos, probably next to me.


Why I Love UC

Hello all,

My name is Shari and I am a 4th year Aerospace Engineer who is patiently counting down the days till co-op. I have one of the most fun and tough co-op jobs there are. I work at Comair Airlines out of CVG (Cincinnati’s airport). I write repairs for the mechanics to complete on the aircraft. In the summer and winter you can often find me somewhere on the tarmac waiting for aircrafts to land to get them back in the air before anyone takes a delay. I absolutely love it and UC lets me do it.

The next reason I love UC is the atmosphere. When I walk around campus there is always something going on and things to do. (You can usually find free food too : ) ) But even better than that are the people. Some of the coolest people I know are really nothing like me, but we all have a genuine love of UC to share. Even the professors that I have speak to me outside of class about everything. When they talk to me outside of class, I always want to go study for their course. It really helps build the relationship you have with them and it makes it easier to go ask for help when it is needed.

The next reason and probably my favorite is UC athletics. I will do whatever it takes to make sure I get to as many Bearcat games that I can. Football and basketball are my favorites. The atmosphere at the games is amazing. Bearcat fans are some of the best. The noise level in Nippert Stadium can be heard from the opposite side of campus when we are playing. It is such a rush to really be there. When you come to UC, the first Saturday they play at home, you have to be there. You can find me in the front row, right behind the goal post.

I am Shari and I’m signing off.



This blog is operated by Engineering and Applied Science Ambassadors, a student group at the University of Cincinnati. Our purpose is to advance the relationship between the community, students, alumni, faculty, staff and friends of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
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