Reading Happy City by Charles Montgomery had a profound impact on my understanding of urban design and how the city makes us feel. I learned how much things like trusting your neighbors and having a short commute can make our communities brighter, happier, more welcoming. I learned how slowing down cars and prioritizing pedestrians and cyclists can transform the way citizens get around and encounter each other. By really examining how people interact with the urban environment, we can make improvements to increase safety, freedom, and happiness.
This artifact represents my interests at the intersection of civil engineering and urban planning and adds psychology and human behavior to the mix as well. I am starting to develop an interest in research, specifically in a laboratory that studies the modes of transportation and how accessible they are.
During my sophomore year, I participated in the Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP). I attended weekly meetings during first semester with my cohort group and mentor (Ty Shepfer), completed professional development co-curricular programs and a financial wellness component, and attended a STEP expo. I selected a signature project and submitted a proposal, abstract, and budget. My project is planned for summer 2022, at which time I would like to complete a civil engineering or urban planning internship in a large metropolitan area, ideally New York City.
This experience belongs in my portfolio because it is assisting me in my professional development and networking skills. Working with a mentor and peers outside of engineering gave me new perspectives in developing my signature project. Receiving funding is also a huge benefit of the program, and it will help provide me with an experience I might otherwise not have. Thanks to my mentor, I learned more about a broad series of topics, including time management, mental health, and the impact of social media. Participating in STEP broadened my skill set and encouraged me to meet new people.
SIGNATURE PROJECT PROPOSAL
This is the robot my group and I designed, constructed, and operated for our honors fundamentals of engineering program in spring of 2020 at Ohio State University. The objective of the course was to use our robot to complete various “tasks” on a themed course in contest with other peer groups. Our group used CAD to design the robot and shop tools to construct it in Bolz Hall. The robot was tested and our progress documented in Hitchcock Hall. Due to COVID-19, the robot competition was canceled.
I chose this artifact because it is a representation of my first engineering team-based project. As someone who did not participate in robotics in high school or have any CAD experience, I had to locate the strengths I could offer to the team and make an extra effort to be able to work with my more experienced teammates. Throughout this course, I developed a better understanding of my learning and communication styles. I also gained important skills, including writing project documentation, implementing testing processes, and understanding CAD drawings. I learned the importance of asking questions and receiving clarification. I became more comfortable with sharing my ideas and voicing my opinions. I learned the dynamics of teamwork and the challenge that working with others can present.
In October 2020, I traveled to Pittsburgh to meet up with a friend over fall break. Although this was not an explicitly educational experience, I observed a lot about cities, how they work, and how they impact our personal lives. I witnessed firsthand the ways in which urban settings can nurture relationships and provide accessible, unique opportunities. This experience is worthy of inclusion in my portfolio because it inspired growth, connection to the world, and a desire to learn more. It sparked my interest in the psychological aspect of urban studies: How does the city make us happy? I also observed the positive impact of free public transportation in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh, reaffirming my belief that everyone deserves the freedom of movement, both for work and leisure. I learned the importance of a convivial environment in sharing positive experiences with others; the relationships we forge with others are heavily impacted by our surroundings. A peaceful park bench, a bustling coffee shop, and the commotion of an outdoor market are all backdrops for the connections that are vital to human well-being. And there is no place like a city to provides all of these experiences within a walkable sector.