Author Archives: Darren Ujano, Civil Engineering

About Darren Ujano, Civil Engineering

Civil Engineering and I am employed by UIC Campus Housing as well as Project SYNCERE. Fun fact: I love eating Oreos

Time to celebrate!

Finals week is over! 

So excited — I’ve actually been studying in the Civil & Materials Engineering Lab for the past 48 hours. A couple of my friends actually slept in the lab, too; it’s crazy. Anyway, we also helped out the younger civil engineering students, seeing that we were in their shoes a few years ago and covering the same subjects as before. This song has also been playing in my head, from NBC’s Community titled “Donde esta la biblioteca?

Troy and Abed Rap \”Donde Esta La Biblioteca?\”

So this past week as well, my family and I had to make the tough decision on putting to rest our family dog, Poochie. We had him for 9 years (72 dog years). He was one of the best dogs I’ve ever known — we all loved him so much. So this week’s Pic of the Week goes to him:

Poochie, our Pomeranian 10/23/02 to 12/12/12

Other things that happened this week: Campus Housing began winter closing of all the residence halls on campus. The student staff went around to ensure the building is secure over winter break as a majority of the students went home for the holidays. If at anytime any of the student wishes to stay for a period of time during winter break, they may request approval here at:

Winter Interim for UIC Campus Housing, \”Winterim\”

If you’re a resident at UIC Campus Housing, you may also request something to be repaired or replaced in your room while away at home. You may do that at:

Work Orders for UIC Campus Housing

Our past program last Friday was an attempted trip to go ice skating at Chicago’s Millennium Park. Sadly, no residents turned up and it became a staff program. We just decided to get dinner at the Ogilvie Transportation Center. The food court there had Popeyes, McDonalds, Taco Bell, Cinnabon and more! It’s a fast food paradise. Here’s our picture:

From left to right, Me, RA Andrew, and RA Katrina

That’s a wrap for this week. Next week I’ll talk about my internship with an engineering company over winter break!

Stay Classy Chicago,

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is your dream job? What kind of place do you want to work in? Who do you want to work with?

Finals are here!!

Hello fellow students!!

All term projects are done and one final down — and now the rigorous task begins on preparing for finals week. The culmination of all our semester’s work comes down to this. Here in Marie Robinson Hall, I can see students studying frantically in the lounges, pulling all-nighters in the computer lab and making quick trips to 7-11 to get energy drinks/coffee.

From all that, I decided to make a quick guide on:

Survivor’s Essential Tool Pack to Studying for Finals Week:

1.) Caffeine- Whether it’s coffee, energy drinks, apples or more. You’ll need it to keep the energy flowing.

2.) Entertainment Break- iPod, tablet, laptop, anything that gives you an outlet for those times when you get overwhelmed cramming a subject.

3.) All Notes/Slides Printer- Print out all of your necessary study materials. If you’re a resident of Campus Housing, you have FREE printing (up to 750 pages).

4.) Cell phone (optional)- This is if you want to place an order for food or to call your study buddy to meet up.

So this past week, it’s been crazy time management. Bouncing between floor meetings, RA programs, term projects and studying for finals. Although I did manage to get a picture for a program we conducted at MRH, “Gingerbread Houses.”

MRH Residents building gingerbread houses using graham crackers.

The assembly line!! So many ingredients.

Unfortunately, it didn’t quite work for everyone. “My [gingerbread] house just collapsed!” said MRH resident and Apartment Council member Anna as she picked up the remains of her house. “I think I’ll make a gingerbread sandwich instead.” The MRH Gingerbread House Making Program was a huge success, thanks to our resident Jenny Sampras.

At the MRH television room, we also had the MRH/TBH International Film Festival. This month we feature Miyazaki Films, such as “Spirited Away” and ”My Neighbor Totoro.” We also served Filipino dishes for those who stayed with us.

Our staff, residents and friends attended the program. =)

Well, that’s what’s up these past two weeks. I wish you all the best during Finals Week.

Good Luck!!
TOPIC NEXT WEEK: I can’t of anything right now, so it will be spontaneous. =)

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was your favorite class this semester? (For me, it would be between Senior Design or Finite Elements.)

Last days of November =)

Hey Chicago!! (11/30/12)

This is my angry bird face:

While grocery shopping with my UIC friends at the Target on Roosevelt and Canal.

I forgot to mention, for “No shave November,” I actually didn’t cut my hair as opposed to typically getting short haircuts. Right now, my hair is at its longest. The only thing I don’t like about it is morning hair — I look like a freaking rock star haha.

Pic of the Week: Submitted by RA Christian

Combined two programs: Cards for Kids & Cats, Chats and Chews

Fellow residents and RAs eating ice cream while making cards.

So the pictures above are submitted by TBH RA Christian. The purpose of the program was to meet residents, RAs and faculty and create cards for kids staying in the hospital for the holidays. There were more than 15 cards created and personalized with stickers, glitter and heartfelt messages.

So this week, I have finished my CME 396 project and now will be working on my remaining projects. As I advance higher in my major, I realize they assign more group projects in order for us to work together and learn about group dynamics. So if there’s one pearl I can offer, it would be that I would advise anyone to be a team player in any situation that arises. This skill will help you, not only in these projects, but also in your career as you graduate college.

I remember reading an article these past few months on studying habits. They say that if you listen to familiar episodes/movies/music you will enhance your memorization, concentration and motivation to continue studying. So here it is, I decided to do movies instead.


Top 3 List: Favorite Study Time Movies of All Time!

3. “Sixteen Candles” - Surprisingly, I have seen this movie enough times that it won’t bother me as I study. It doesn’t require a lot of attention and not very noisy when it comes to studying.

2. ”The Simpsons Movie” - I have pretty much memorized every single line in this movie. Not a bother but relaxing to listen to.

1. “Make Love, Not Warcraft” from South Park - I feel like this episode makes me study as I “train” for a test. It’s kind of weird, but I like to listen to this episode as I study. =P

So enjoy the remainder of the fall semester everyone! Wish you all the best for studying,


TOPIC NEXT WEEK: 3 Rituals You Do for Luck during Finals Week

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you have a good luck charm or ritual you do before an exam? (Mine would be to chew gum right before taking an exam.)

Turkey day!

UIC UIC UIC!! (11/23/12)

I had just finished Thanksgiving dinner when I wrote this blog post — it was SOOO GOOD!! Sadly, I had to miss my family’s Thanksgiving this year due to engineering projects, but I got the next best thing: dinner with my Housing Family! The MRH/TBH FIRs served everything homemade: turkey with cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, green been casserole, seasoned brussel sprouts, baked biscuits and salad.

Thanksgiving dinner with our Faculty-In-Residence at MRH/TBH.

Exciting news this week! One of my friends who also graduated from UIC and is now a kindergarten teacher just got engaged. Congratulations! I stopped by her house to hear the news first hand and to visit her dogs. As you can see from the picture below, they were ecstatic to see me.

They were excited to see me as well!

So these next few weeks, I’ve been working on term projects for each of my classes. Here’s what I’ve been working on: 

CME 301: Steel Design Roofing Project. Accommodating various loads, designing panel points, designating beam types.

CME 410: Prestressed Concrete Structure Milan Highspeed Rail System. Source picture:


CME 396: Designing water reserviors for the town of Wanda, Ill.

CME 434: Analyzing the wing of a Cessna airplane under given wind loads.

That’s what I’ve been working on this week. Next week, I’ll talk about my favorite movies to watch as I prepare for FINALS WEEK!

Stay classy Chicago!

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Favorite study time movies!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What type of music do you listen to while you study?? (I like acoustic or piano songs.)

The three-week COUNTDOWN!

Listen up UIC!

How are your stress levels? Mine is about to skyrocket. We need a plan to take on FINALS Week — it’s only three weeks away and that’s too short. Right now I’m buried to my neck in term projects, homework and leftovers of midterm week. So the stress is starting to pick up closely. To alleviate the stress, here’s what I did this week.

Pics of the Week:

Maxwell Street Market: Every Sunday, there's a flea market filled with vendors and mobile restaurants.


Chinatown! My friends and I went to Chinatown this past week too. =)

So when I’m stressed out, I like to play video games (Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Dead Island) or watch TV shows (“Friends,” “How I Met Your Mother”). Sometimes, I also like to escape stress by playing the piano, too. Thank goodness Campus Housing has piano rooms.

I also attended our UIC ASCE meeting (American Society of Civil Engineers). The guest speaker talked about the “100 year storm.” The true definition of that term means that each day that we live, there is a 1/100 chance (1 percent) that the storm of the decade will occur. He was talking about how cities and towns do preventative measures to defend against flooding — a common issue in the Midwest region.

Learning from past mistakes- Storms of the Century.

I noticed that the show “Friends” is playing a lot on TV lately, especially Nick@Nite. As a random tribute article, I’m going to write about my Top 3 favorite episodes on the TV show “Friends.”

Top 3: “Friends” Episodes 

3. “The One Where Everyone Finds Out” (Episode 14 of Season 5)
This where the gang finds out Chandler and Monica are dating, resulting from a promiscuous photo they accidentally accused Joey of taking.

2. “The One with the Prom Video” (Episode 14 of Season 2)
After going through old videos, Rachel finds out what Ross did the night of prom back when they were high school students.

1. “The Last One” (Episode 17 of Season 10)
Do Ross and Rachel truly end up together??? Watch and find out — 52.5 million wiewers saw the most-watched episode of the series. =)


Back to watching “Friends” now! See you all next week,


TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Thanksgiving!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What form of caffeine do you use to stay awake to study? (I use apples and coffee.)


Hey UIC!!

So I helped babysit my resident director’s pet dog named Lily while she was away at GLACUHO (Great Lakes Association of College University Housing Officers). GLACUHO is a conference where our UIC campus housing officers can attend to programs to gain and share ideas traveling through their residence halls here on campus.

Babysitting Lily! =)

CME 410: Prestressed concrete, showing seven-wire strands

Working on steel design project for CME 301

I just finished my CME 301 exam on steel behavior. Essentially, the exam covered compression members of structures. The picture above depicts us working on our term project for the class in which we have to design a structure based of a design provided to us.

Also! A touching speech given by President Obama to his campaign group. The president begins to shed a few tears talking about his roots here in Chicago. Click for Youtube video! President Obama and his heartfelt talk

So here’s the topic for the week–

3 Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About President Obama: 

1. Obama has read every Harry Potter book.

2. He worked in Baskin-Robbins ice cream as a teenager.

3. He collects Spider-Man and Barbarian comics.

For more facts and source: (

Next blog, I’ll post pictures of our Residence Hall Association Fall Ball. The Fall Ball is being held in Willis Tower, which is super exciting, so stay tuned!!

Stay classy Chicago,

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: RHA Fall Ball at Willis Tower

ANSWER FOR LAST WEEK: I definitely think the Chicago Bulls can make it this year — can’t wait for “The Return”  =)

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who’s else is playing Fantasy Basketball?? My team is sadly doing horrible haha.

November! Class registrations around the corner

Time to pull out your jackets!

When I began to write this post, the weather is 32 degrees. FREEZING TEMPERATURE! As the cold weather begins to set in, everyone around campus is starting to pull out their winter wear. I started wearing my thermals and now I just have to find my “texting gloves” so I can text without my fingers falling off from the cold.

Texting Gloves! Source:

So what did I do for Halloween?? Well, I attended the Haunted House event at the UIC Forum. Essentially, they converted the entire banquet hall into a spooktacular haunted house. My RA staff saw all the costumes as well as fellow UIC students. There was one in particular I wanted to get a picture with =)

My personal favorite costume of the evening and new best friend.

I’d say the scariest part of the haunted forum would be at the beginning. We would hear them yell horrifying quotes to build up a fearful atmosphere. After going through it, we attended our FIR (Faculty in Residence) Rob Kemp’s program at TBH titled “Cats, Chats, and Chews.” Which reminds me, at MRH (Marie Robinson Hall) this Saturday beginning at noon our FIR Bill Kohler is hosting “Headlines & Hashbrowns.” H&H as well call it is a program where residents can get breakfast burritos, complete a fun news article crossword puzzle, and network with fellow residents.

So, as registration is around the corner I decided to offer quick tips about “how to go about it.”


Top 3 Tips for Registering: 

3. Flow Charts- This is especially helpful for transfer students. Create a visual flow chart of classes that you need to take for your major. Example:

2. Register for classes that book fast- If you know that the class is only offered in the spring, register for that first as it may fill up. Once it’s filled, registration closes for that class and that would suck if you have to delay your graduation another year.

1. Registration eligibility- Make sure you are in the “GREEN” for registration. I can’t stress to you how important this is. I’ve had friends and residents schedules mess up because they forget to check their eligibility for registration. No eligibility met means no registration.

Well that’s all I got for you this week! See you next week


TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Can’t think of one right now, I’ll suprise you next week.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you think the Chicago Bulls are going to make it to the Finals this year?!





Happy Halloween!!!

Hello UIC (Bain Voice)!!

“It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan!” The plan for this past week was spent working on curriculum plans for Project SYNCERE. The two projects I’ve been working on for students are Bioremediation and Communication.

Curriculum Development Plan: Communication

Curriculum Development Plan: Bioremediation

These curriculum development plans will be a part of classroom lesson plans to further the students in their personal and academic ambitions in science and mathematics. The “Communication” project will teach students about essential tips in holding a meaningful conversation and how to conquer public speaking. The final project for those students will be a debate over a subject chosen by the instructor.

“Bioremediation” project will introduce students to methods in improving environmental standards or conditions. This final project will involve “how to create compost,” fertilizer, and growing plants. This has been an exciting moment for me in that it will be included in a couple weeks at schools throughout Chicago.

Pics of the week: 

TBH Program: Northern Lights Cafe


On Tuesday, UIC’s Thomas Beckham Hall had its “Northern Lights Cafe” program, which essentially was an Open Mic Night. In the picture above, the woman was playing a saw with her guitarist friend. Together, they played amazing ambient songs.

The second picture is of the game I’m currently playing titled “Dead Island.” It’s a zombie apocalypse environment in which you have to find a way off of the island through completing quest. I LOVE playing cooperatively as it feels like the AMC’s TV show, Walking Dead. As of right now, I’m still in the beginning parts of the game and will get back to it once I complete all of my work =)

Personal Choice:

AMAZING architecture!! (Source: Latest Engineering Technology)

I want to live in a house like this! I found this picture while browsing through “Latest Engineering Technology.” I have a knack for houses and architecture.

I was Professor Oak for Halloween. My friends and I were a Pokémon-themed crew. We had Ash and Pikachu as well. I’ll be posting pics of those next week. See you then!


TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Engineering Tips and Survival Guide

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Who’s your biggest childhood crush?? (Mine was Ellen Page haha)

Midterm Week!!

Hey followers!!

This post will be short =( as I have midterms all this week. I promise I’ll make it up next week! Anyways, I’ll show you a couple pictures in my secret collection of things I want to do. These pictures are things I want to surprise my future wife with =)

I think if I ever want to change my room, I'll put in this neon light tree. =) (source: imgur)


Glow-in-the-dark concrete! Pave my drive way this way. (source: imgur)

Well I got to get back to studying, see you next week!


U-I-C, U-I-C!!–

Pics of the week:

Midterm week = messy room, notes everywhere


Elly's Pancake HOUSE!! Stress relief after midterms, Gangnam food style =P

Sorry about the inconsistent blog format, I’m playing with different styles each week to see which is best! So this week’s format will be according to my highlights last week:


Monday: MRH/TBH RA staff meeting and Hall Council’s s’mores night. I was preparing for my Wednesday exam for CME 410: Prestressed Concrete Design.

Tuesday: Typed up my student staff class’s Strength Quest Paper. My top 5 strengths were Competition, Individualization, Significance, Activator and Ideation. Each plays a critical role in my lifestyle.

Wednesday: EXAM DAY! I missed my first two classes in order to prepare for the exam =(. The exam was on the structural analysis of prestressed concrete beams.

Thursday: GAME DAY! I played for an intramural basketball team called Abby’s Avengers. We played like champs but lost the game to FIA-tastic. I’m proud of my team though.

Friday: We had a guest lecturer for our Senior Design Class (as shown below). My best friend came to visit and we went to Elly’s Pancake House. The FOOD was amazing and I’ll definitely be stopping by again.

Lecture on Non-Linear Optimization Methods for companies/manufacturing plants

There’s plenty more happening in my rockstar life, which I’ll catch you up on next week!


So what’s going on this week?? I’m attending…

October, All Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Take the ACCC Password Challenge! See the score your password(s) will recieve.

October 17, Wednesday

Town Hall Meeting, Pathways to Black Male Achievement (PBMA)

Hosted by The Residence Hall Association, network with fellow black males

October 25, Thursday

UIC String Orchestra Concert

Gottlieb Hall, Merit School of Music

To checkout what else is going on at UIC, checkout the UIC Calendar:

Wishlist of the Week:


Talking to Christy, my supervisor =) I WANT THIS PEN. Imagine the immensity of color that will be on my notes, especially in engineering, where things can get a big confusing without color.

I felt like I’ve been typing forever, must save energy for blog next week.

Stay Classy,



TOPIC NEXT WEEK: UIC Experience Certificate. What is it???

ANSWER FROM LAST WEEK: Honey is the only food that does not expire!

 QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What is your favorite phrase during October?

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