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

My Freshman Pics… back then

My favorite month of the YEAR!! (10/5/12)

                Our MRH & TBH South Apartment Council won Battle of the Residence Hall hosted by UIC’s Residence Hall Association!! Battle of the Residence Hall is an event when each of the hall councils and residents compete with each other in  “field day” type of events. This year the theme for the event was the Hunger Games.

Battle of the Residence Halls 2012 Champions, MRH/TBH!

CAMPUS LIFE: October – and UIC is bringing out their Fall trends! The combined color of reddish-burgundy is the new fashion statement on campus (shoes, scarfs, etc.) as the cool weather settles in.

So now is the time to start thinking of plans for a “Chicago” Halloween. This might include Six Flag’s Fright Fest, Navy “FEAR” (Pier), or something as simple as an all-nighter watching your favorite Zombie Movies! I haven’t personally decided what to do yet, but I’ll definitely keep you posted. I might just carve a pumpkin and make pumpkin pie.


                          Back When I Was a Freshman (circa 2007):

1.) The Route 157 CTA Bus was the 38.
2.) Sodexho was our Cafeteria provider
3.) Had to install W2 to get internet
4.) Pool was in the basement of SCE
5.) James Stukel Towers was under construction

JST Construction. Source:


Freshman Year-- Millennium Park

My Freshman Floormates =)

That’s what I got for you now! Next week, we’ll talk about upcoming UIC, as well as Chicago events.

Stay Classy Chicago!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: If you could have the ultimate scare plot to spook out a celebrity, who would it be?

ANSWER FROM LAST WEEK: My first class was CME 434: Finite Element Analysis

RANDOM FACT OF THE WEEK: Did you know honey is the only type of food that does not expire?

And so it begins…

- – - Hey UIC!!

First day of classes, now first wave of midterms are around the corner?! Can you believe it? Fall hasn’t sunk in yet for me, but October is my favorite month.

So this year is my graduating year; I think of every class like it’s the last – it’s kind of a bittersweet feeling. Walking around the quad, I realize there’s so many new faces around UIC and seeing changes, I’m starting to feel old.

First day of Senior Design Class!! CME 396

*So here’s my schedule for anyone in the same class!*

CME 301: Behavior and Design of Metal Structures
CME 396: Senior Design I
CME 410: Design of Prestressed Concrete Structures
CME 434: Finite Element Analysis

I had a “Chicago” Summer this past few months. Taking cooking classes at Kendall College while teaching engineering courses for After School Matters and Project SYNCERE.

Presentation Day! Teaching miniature golf course design (Credit: Project SYNCERE)

MRH RA Program: Marshmallow Engineering Night

So a small snippet of senior life at UIC! Next week I’ll talk about things UIC had “back in my day” you won’t believe =)

Stay Classy Chicago!!!

TOPIC NEXT WEEK:  “Back in my Day… UIC had ____________ [fill in blank]”

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What was your first class of this Fall Semester??

July is Hot!

Hey Chicago!

Pics of the week:

7/14/12 "Cupid Has A Heart On" at Improv Olympic


7/14/12 Improv Rap Battle at Improv Olympic

7/16/12 Teaching Wood Shop & Carpentry

 ”Cupid Has A Heart On”- I saw this musical comedy at the Improv Olympic last Saturday, and it was hilarious! The spin to the show was that it was a ‘guide to relationships’ and all of the songs kept the audiences thrilled and entertained. Brian, my instructor for the improv class, performed on the piano and it was exciting seeing him perform live before the audience– seeing the master at work. After that, my classmates and I went downstairs to see the “Improv Rap Battle.” It was also outrageously hilarious as audience made suggestions to the rappers.

Teaching Wood Shop & Carpentry- My students at Kenwood High School told me that their schools don’t offer Wood Shop, so I will be preparing tools for Monday to teach them. I believe that Wood Shop is an essential skill for them, teaching them basic skills of tools. I’m excited to show them.

Top 3: Movies for 4th of July

3. Back to the Future (I know it isn’t anything relevant to July 4th)

2. Armageddon (same as above)

1. Independence Day 

That’s all I got! See you next week!

Topic Next Week: Construction

Question of the Week: What’s your favorite animated comedy?

Answer of the Week: Yes of course! I want to colonize Mars before I die

Summer Classes

U-I-C  U-I-C  U-I-C!!

Pics of the week:

Instructing at Kenwood High School: Bridge Design (6/26/12)


My improv coach-- at Chicago's The Second City Training Center


Teaching at Kenwood High School– We just started our first week of our high school program for summer. As the students are learning Bridge Analysis and Design, they also get firsthand experience applying their knowledge to Balsa Wood. They will be constructing bridges using Balsa Wood. Next week, we’ll be starting Miniature Golf Course Design and Construction:

Improv Class A at The Second City– For the summer, I decided to take improv classes at the infamous Second City in Old Town. There I met my colorful personality instructor and he had us work through some ice-breakers, team builders, and a crash course above improv. One time during the session, he had us do the “Space Walk” in which we randomly walked around the room for 5 minutes. Our first homework assignment included object improv, which we have to mimic holding objects throughout our day.


Top 3: Tips for Teaching/Working with Youth (Simple and self explanatory!)

3. Challenge and Support  

2. Acceptance and Belonging 

1. Don’t hear them, rather listen to them

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Independence Day, best movies for 4th of July

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Do you believe that we should increase funding towards space exploration??

ANSWER FROM LAST WEEK: My plans for 4th of July include eating everything possible made from a grill

Preparing for the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering)

–Hello CHICAGO!!

Pics of the week:

My aunt's wedding in Dixon, Illinois! CongratulationsSigned up for some Culinary Classes! Demo on the first day.


Did a lot this past week! Drove out to Dixon, Illinois where my aunt got married to the man of her dreams. That same day, I also had to drive out to my cousin’s birthday and graduation partyCongratulations to her earning her psychology degree! That whole day, we drove for a total of 5 hours; that’s a lot for me. The longest I drove in my life was to the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis for a conference, which was a total of 14 hours there and back.

I also started culinary classes at Kendall College, as a part of their program Spice Up Your Life Program. It’s pretty exciting. I haven’t started the hand-on part yet, but I attended their demo class called “Summer and Sangria” in which they taught us to make some simple dishes: Flank Steak with Salad, Tangerine Grilled Shrimp, and Lobster Chowder. I’ll post more pics as I take the hands-on classes.


Studying for the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam!!

So for engineers, there is the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (FE). In order to receive a professional engineering license, engineers need to take two exams, one of them is the FE. They are offered in a few different locations in Illinois. To figure out when and where they are offered, checkout the website .

The exam is different into two different sections, the morning and afternoon. The morning section will cover 12 topics with 120 questions all together. Subjects in the morning are Mathematics, Engineering Probability and Statistics, Chemistry, Computers, Ethics and Business, Engineering Economics, Strength of Materials, Material Properties, Fluid Mechanics, Electricity and Magnetism, and Thermodynamics. The afternoon session exam material will cover the specific field you are entering, such as:  Chemical, Civil, Environmental, Industrial, Mechanical, and more. 

*** Top 3: Tips to Study for the FE***

3. Study and review the FE Formula Handbook before hand!
This helps so much, The FE Formula handbook is filled with more than thousands of equations. Reviewing it before hand will make you find formulas much faster, and as you know, answering questions is a race against time.

2. Study in a group
Everything is better with a partner(s)! You can bounce ideas off of each other and quiz each other to solve problems. Studying with fellow friends motivates you as well to do better

1.) Problems, Problems, and more Problems!
Keep doing problems! What other way is the best way to review than getting hands-on with the material thats going to be on the exam

~~SIDE TIP: Create a study schedule! Starting with the 70 day count down schedule to the exam. Plan it from there!

That’s what I got this week! Stay classy Chicago,

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Teaching Chicago’s Youth!

ANSWER FOR LAST WEEK: I am RIGHT NOW on the patio of my friend’s condo grilling flank steak, smells sooo delicious

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Plans for 4th of July????

NACURH 2012!!!


NACURH (National Association for College and University Residence Halls) was just this past weekend at the University of Colorado, Boulder. We brought a team of 12 consisting of Hall Council Members, RHA E-Board members, and Advisers to the conference. NACURH is an international organization in which on campus residents are brought to share ideas and knowledge in order to expand their thriving communities. It is the largest student organization in the world. For more info:

Pics from NACURH:

One of the Sessions for Advisors: Student Development Theory

Meeting students from around the world.

Supporting fellow communities from around the world at the "Pass the Torch" opening ceremonies.

It was an absolutely amazing weekend. I learned so many things about how to advise an organization to programming. Creative programs include “15 minutes to Save the World” and “Diversity [advocating on campus].” Their cafeteria was amazing as well, have a variety of sections: pasta, pizza, salad, grill, international, asian, and more!

They just announced that the following NACURH Conference will be held at the University of Pittsburgh. Can’t wait!

So just last weekend, I had an awesome time eating sushi in Chicago. Which I just realized, unlimited sushi isn’t as popular in the suburbs as it is in the city.

So here are my:
“Top 3: Places for Unlimited Sushi [that I've tried]“ 

3.) Ichiban Sushi Cafe
1422 W. Taylor St.
Chicago, IL. 60607

2.) House of Sushi and Noodles 
1610 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL. 60657
[Can't find website]

1.) Sushi Para II 
2256 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL. 60614

So I have a wedding to attend for the weekend, I’ll be sure to send pics!

Stay Classy Chicago!
TOPIC FOR NEXT WEEK: Preparing for the FE [Fundamental Engineering Exam]

ANSWER FOR LAST WEEK: My favorite summertime snack would be WATERMELON 

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Where are you right now?????????????

It’s SUMMER!!!

So pumped!! (5/20/12)

Summer breakNo school! No homework!! And no test!! Freedom!! I can already taste the summer foods, watermelon, cantaloupe juice, grilled burgers. So what have I been up to these past weeks? After closing the residence halls, I got to see The Avengers. I would rate it a 4.5/5 for great action sequences and comedic script, but I wish they developed the plot deeper in the film for the villain Loki so that the audience felt the heated tension between the characters.

I’ve also been playing a lot of Modern Warfare 3 Multiplayer Something I missed during the school year. My online screen-name is ThatsNoMoon, so feel free to add me =).

During the weekdays, I work as an Engineering Instructor at Project SYNCERE. I teach engineering classes at various schools in Chicago and provide projects for students to learn. such as the ones below. Students had to engineer a design based around two objectives for their catapult, accuracy and distance:

Catapult Design: Distance Competition

Another design of the Catapult: Braced frame at the base of the design

Next week, the classes will be learning about Rocket Design, as well as, Air & Flight. I’m super pumped and I can’t wait to make the power point. Next week as well I’ll be leaving to the University of Colorado- Boulder for the 2012 NACURH (National Association for College and University Residence Halls) Conference. So catch you guys next week!

Random Picture of the Week:

Fun Fact: To repair/replace an Exit Sign cost $275.50, don't damage them unless you want to be billed =)

Stay Classy Chicago!

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Chicago Sushi Restaurants!!

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What’s your favorite Summer Time Snack/Drink?

Closing Time -Semisonic

Hey UIC!

Mood music while reading the blog!
“Closing Time” by Semisonic

Rapping up the year at UIC, all the memories:

JST Staff 2011-2012

Concrete Testing Lab. My Lab Group =)

My first time kayaking with MRH/TBH Residence Hall


UIC Radio

Food adventures around Chicago!!

These are the only a handful of the many memories I had this year at UIC. I’m so glad I met many new people and am truly grateful for all the friends I’ve made.

I’m bad at saying goodbye, but I’ve had an outstanding time writing for UIC Student Blogs and hope to return next year. I’ll definitely miss all the Top 3 articles and I surely have more to offer you guys.

For the summer, I’ll be working for Project SYNCERE as an Engineering Instructor. I’m very excited to teach students about science, math, and engineering and all the cool projects and skills I can offer. Anyway, here’s my last Top 3 article:

Top 3: Reason’s to Pick UIC

3. A City University 
Welcome to the bustling City of Chicago– You’ll be surrounded by many fun characters of Chicago, ranging for the busy-bees to the adventurous artist of Chicago. While the city also has it’s upbeat side, there is also a quiet, tranquil, and beautiful side in many parts of Chicago, especially at UIC. This school is definitely for you if you’re the adventurous type.

2. Making A Name Across the World
UIC is already a great school, filled with a large team working tirelessly to make sure their students are the best. This can be seen through the schools academic results and ranking. For the past several years, UIC’s enrollment has skyrocketed, getting undergraduate, as well as, graduate students. UIC is known for it’s research as well, being one of the most federally funded schools in the nation. I’ll be honest, compared to other schools, UIC is also relatively cheaper and presses students more by developing a challenging curriculum to make sure students can truly be “all they can be.”

1. The UIC Experience
UIC has a truly different type of college experience compared to fellow campuses. It isn’t the typical college life you see in movies, UIC is different in that it carries a variety of students with different backgrounds. You’ll meet many people from around the world. One of the most important things I learned is that, “UIC will push you, grill you, and make you learn those hard lessonsthey always say it’ll get easier next semester, but it truly doesn’t. They’ll make sure you can be all-you-can-be by saying “you can do better.” But even through these hardships, UIC also brought me my closest friends and had me “believing in me.” 

I hope all of you have a wonderful Summer! Cheers!

Stay Classy Chicago,

Finals Week!

Hey UIC!

Sorry for not having pictures for this week =(, I have 5 finals in two days, Monday and Tuesday. I’m cramming as much as I can right now. But I came up with a short list on how to survive this week:

Top 3 Tips: How to Survive Finals Week!

3. Max your study time. 
Study alone first, so you can come up with questions to ask. Then study in a group to ask those questions. You’ll get the most productivity with your time and feel more prepared for the exam.

2. Tackle the easy things first, then spend the rest of your time on the hard.
It’s true, once you get the easy things out the way you can spend the remaining time on the difficult things.

1. It’s all about sleep!
If you are to sleepy during an exam, you’re brain is only operating at half it’s potential thinking power. So get some rest

That’s it right now! Good luck on Finals,

Top 3: Growing UIC Summer Fashion Trends


Random Pictures of the Week:

Teaching class for Chicago's Project SYNCERE =) (4/20/12)

JST Prom Staff Night 2012! (4/16/12)

Prom Date! (4/16/12)

(4/16/12) So our JST Staff just had Prom Night to celebrate the end of an extraordinary year. We had music, dancing, and ate dinner in the cafeteria. Now Campus Housing is preparing for closing, a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure floors finish the year strong.

(4/20/12) In other news, I applied for Chicago’s Project SYNCERE. I wanted to be an Engineering Instructor and help communities throughout Chicago expand their science skills while also practicing fun projects in different fields of Engineering.

Top 3: Growing UIC Summer Fashion Trends

3.) Graphic T-Shirts written in Asian & Checkered Button-ups
As it gets hotter, graphic t-shirts with popular American logos/movies/anything accompanied with Japanese, Korean, or Chinese letters. Checkered button ups are on the rise too! easy to mix and match with a simple design.

2.) Phasing out Jean Shorts, Rise of Khaki Shorts!!
Jean shorts are being phased out! So time to toss out your jean shorts and grab different style khaki shorts. Remember, always get two different colors when picking out your khaki shorts and shirt for the day to make you look taller.

1.) Boat Shoes, Boat Shoes, Boat Shoes
This summer is going to be unarguably hot. What better way then to wear stylish boating shoes. This style is on the rise on campus as students relax in their colored shoes. I don’t know why but I’m craving red boat shoes right now =)

So next week is finals week!! Good luck Chicago!!

Stay Classy,

TOPIC NEXT WEEK: Surviving. Finals. Week.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK: What’s your lucky piece of clothing?


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