YSU STEM has a new minor! Natural Gas and Water Resources!

YSU STEM students now have the opportunity to pursue a new and relevant academic minor in Natural Gas and Water Resources, a program that provides a focus on the emerging oil and gas industry. The STEM College’s Department of Geological and Environmental Science heads this minor.

With the rapid emergence of the regional natural gas industry, the Natural Gas and Water Resources Minor at YSU was first proposed in November 2011 and was quickly approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2012.

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Student Spotlight: Katie Smith

Katie SmithMost college seniors dread looking for careers in the months after graduation. Katie Smith, a senior chemical engineering major, is ahead of the game, having already procured a position with the Edison Engineering Development Program at General Electric Lighting, in East Cleveland, Ohio.

Starting in June, Katie will embark on the first leg of the Edison Engineering Development Program’s two-year rotation. The program is an accelerated track for gaining leadership within the company.

During the past two summers, Katie has interned with the company in two separate departments: LED Technology and Fluorescent. Continue reading

Ward Beecher Feature: The Electron Microscope Facility

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Dr. Virgil Solomon looking at the chemical composition of a sample.

From the outside, Ward Beecher Hall looks like a normal academic building. Sure, it houses a planetarium and a greenhouse, but there is more than that on the inside. Youngstown State University has the privilege of having an Electron Microscope (EM) Facility on its campus.

The first part of the facility was started in 2009 with the help of a grant from Ohio Third Frontier. The $2.1 million grant was used to redesign part of the fifth floor of Ward Beecher Hall to accommodate both a focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope and a scanning/transmission electron microscope. Continue reading

Faculty Faction: Dr. Michael Butcher

Dr. Michael T. Butcher

Youngstown State University collects all sorts of people as students, faculty, and professors. Each of these people has something specific and unique to offer the community and the university. Dr. Michael Butcher, assistant professor of anatomy and physiology, has been an essential part of the research initiative in the Department of Biological Sciences for the last five years.

Michael feels at home in the Biological Sciences department; the position is what brought him to the Youngstown area.

“The Department of Biological Sciences was a good fit for me and they were very supportive of my research program,” Michael says.

Dr. Butcher studied

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Kerry Meyers, Ph.D.- Faculty Faction


Youngstown State University is privileged to have Dr. Kerry Meyers on the faculty this year.Kerry brings passion, fun, and learning to the job of “First-Year Engineering Director.

Dr. Meyers earned her bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue. She continued with her masters in Mechanical Engineering at Oakland University in Michigan. Returning to Purdue, Kerry earned her Ph.D. in Engineering Education. For her Ph.D. Kerry did research in student engagement and engineering identity (who goes into engineering, who stays in engineering, and why?).

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Student Spotlight: Massey Fowler

Massey Fowler

Massey Fowler

Any student at YSU will tell you that a full schedule of classes is a lot to handle. Massey Fowler, however, just keeps adding more to his already busy schedule. The junior Mechanical Engineering and Math major likes keeping busy all the time.

Massey is currently the president of the YSU STEM Leadership Society. As if being the president wasn’t an accomplishment enough, he is one of the founding members that brought SLS to YSU’s campus.

“SLS’s mission is to develop students into better leaders and therein greater successes beyond their years at YSU,” Massey says.

STEM Leadership Society is a student organization where students are provided excellent opportunities for networking, mentoring, and interaction with area businesses.

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Inside STEM Professional Practice

by Kara Miller

stemprofpracjan13In just over a year, the STEM Professional Practice Program has shown me, and many other students, all it has to offer. Students have the opportunity to meet with the program’s coordinator to discuss the opportunities offered to them, like constructing a resume and landing an internship. Students are also offered a variety of resources like career development and professional etiquette techniques. The opportunities for students are always growing with new grants and programs being added all the time.

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The 5th Annual STEM College Awards Dinner

    Make your reservations now for the 5th Annual STEM College Awards Dinners to be held on Thursday, February 21, 2013 in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center, Youngstown State University. The STEM College Awards are presented to STEM distinguished alumni, educators and community leaders as we celebrate both our past achievement and future challenges.

Award recipients this year are:

Outstanding Alumnus:  Jack Scott, AST2
Outstanding Alumnus:  Ted Burke, Ajax Tocco Magnethermic
Outstanding Young Alumnus:  Dan Martin, Lubrizol
Outstanding Community Partner:  Youngstown Business Incubator/Jim Cossler
Outstanding Education Partner:  Austintown Local Schools/Tom Stellers

We are also pleased to be able to recognize Mr. Matthew Mrakovich, General Electric Technology Manager, Outdoor Fixtures, who is a recipient of G E’s Edison Pioneer Award and will be making remarks during the ceremony.

The evening includes a reception beginning at 6:00 PM, followed by a buffet dinner at 7:00 PM, with awards will be presented at 8:00 PM. The event is open to the public. The cost is $30 per person or $300 for an event sponsorship and a reserved table for 8 guests. Advanced registration only. Please download the reservation form and RSVP by February 8, 2013 to Jenifer Miller, 330.941.4635 or jamiller10@ysu.edu.

Business Incubator Says You Can Come Home Again

By Dan O’Brien– The Business Journal

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Those who relocated from the Mahoning Valley years ago and returned for the holidays might not recognize the city they left.
Mike Hripko, YSU STEM Research and Technology--Based Economic Development

Mike Hripko, Director of YSU STEM Research and Technology–Based Economic Development

Today Youngstown is in the midst of an economic renaissance, officials boast, and the Youngstown Business Incubator, Youngstown State University and the OH WOW! Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology demonstrate why. Continue reading

Electrical Contractors Award 5 Scholarships to YSU Students

Mahoning Valley NECA Chapter recognizes local engineering scholars

YOUNGSTOWN (Dec. 18, 2012) – Five local Youngstown State University students were named recipients of the Mahoning Valley National Electrical Contractors Association’s annual scholarship.

Students from left to right: Michael Currao, David Wright, Jason Nutt, Ethan Parks and Kalen Wallace

Top row from left to right: Paul McFadden (YSU Foundation), Rex Ferry (VEC, Inc.), Bob Magni (RLM Electric), Bill Leone (Tri-Area Electric), Joe Dickey, Jr. (Joe Dickey Electric), Jalal Jalali (YSU Electrical Engineering), Tom Travers (Mahoning Valley NECA executive director), Ted Bosela (YSU, Electrical Engineering Technology), and Dean Martin Abraham. Students Awardees of the Mahoning Valley NECA Scholarship from left to right: Michael Currao, David Wright, Jason Nutt, Ethan Parks and Kalen Wallace.

The students were recognized at a luncheon in their honor hosted by the YSU Foundation at the Youngstown Club today.

“These young men are exemplary representatives of Mahoning Valley NECA, each having shown tremendous academic achievement, strong character and award-winning participation in extra-curricular activities, namely the student NECA chapter,” said Thomas J. Travers, Mahoning Valley NECA executive director. Continue reading

Y-town Tech Tour Set for Late December

Make your reservations now!

Youngstown State University, The Youngstown Business Incubator, and OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology will host the Second Annual Y-Town Tech Tour on December 27, 2012.

This event, designed to introduce Youngstown’s rapidly growing technology career opportunities and emerging research focus to visitors who are home for the holidays, is free and open to the public.

Guests can take a one-hour tour of YBI at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., where they can learn about the more than 400 jobs created in the computer science and information systems fields in Youngstown. Representatives from YBI Portfolio companies will be on hand to present information on their technologies and businesses.

Dr. Martin Abraham, dean of Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics will be available to discuss YSU’s research initiatives, the college’s new Ph.D. program in materials science and engineering, Youngstown’s new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and the YSU Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute.

OH WOW! will be open for exploration and experimentation from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tour participants should stop in to discover interactive exhibits and experience the Center’s STEM EDUtainment.  OH WOW! will also be offering a special program as part of the Tech Tour called “Reverse Engineering – Toy Deconstruction.”

Several Downtown restaurants plan to offer lunch specials and discounts to Y-town Tech Tour guests.

For reservations, contact Rose Shaffer at rshaffer@ybi.org.

First-Year Engineering: An Introduction

The first year of engineering at Youngstown State University is a time for STEM students to experience, research, and test out engineering. The first semester combines a number of classes teaching the basics of engineering.puttputta

Students during the first semester take the mathematics and engineering courses that are the necessary building blocks to the next four years of their undergraduate degrees. In these courses they learn to do research, compile the data, and then put it to use.

First-year engineering students are introduced to the main concepts of engineering, and then they have to use those concepts in a major project with a written and oral report. Over the fall semester, the students have put their engineering concepts to work in two major projects: the edible cars and the putt-putt course.

The edible cars were a project in which the students had to create a car with all the components being edible. The three person teams were then judged on speed, distance, and creativity, in addition to their written and oral reports. Approximately fifty students participated in this event.


The second project the first-year engineers had to complete was a mini-golf course. The course had to have a change in elevation, bends, and some sort of obstacle. Using AutoCAD, the students had to develop their courses before they could golf a couple rounds. The students presented their projects to Dr. Kerry Meyers, their first-year engineering professor.

Meyers said that she loves the enthusiasm the students put into their projects. “They go above and beyond [in their projects] when they are excited,” she said.

Stay tuned next semester as the first-year engineering students start another project for the OH WOW! The Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.

The Fifth Annual STEM Awards Dinner

Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics is hosting its Fifth Annual STEM Awards Dinner on Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 6pm-10pm. The event showcases past achievements and the future potential of alumni, educators, and community leaders.

The event will be held in the Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center. the cost is $30 per person or a corporate table for eight at $300 per table. The Fifth Annual STEM Awards Dinner is open to the public

For reservations and further information, please contact Jenifer A. Miller at 330.941.4635 or jamiller10@ysu.edu.

Faculty Faction: Colleen McLean

colleenmcleanNew to the College of STEM’s faculty is Colleen McLean, assistant professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences. The Bazetta native started in the spring of 2009 with a term position. When the opportunity for a faculty tenure position became available, Colleen was happy to be selected.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, with a minor in chemistry, at YSU. McLean moved on to Kent State University for her Master of Science in Geology. At Michigan State University, she earned her doctorate in Environmental Geoscience and completed an additional specialization in Environmental Science Policy.

McLean’s research focus is aqueous and environmental geochemistry.  She likes to investigate the impacts of water quality, and she studies historic ecological conditions using geochemical and biological archives in sediment cores.

“Biological indicators, such as fossil diatoms and ostracodes, reflect the water chemistry and climate conditions at the time they were living,” McLean explained. Quantifying these parameters makes it possible to reconstruct environments from the past. “Understanding the past environmental response can help us make predictions for the future,” she continued.CM2012

When she isn’t collecting core samples or doing research, she is at home with her children. As a mother and professor, she understands the importance of teaching her kids about global environmental issues. She has passed down her love of science to them.

Colleen likes to talk to YSU students about their ideas, but what she loves most about the students is that they are motivated and fun. They are good at giving her updates on environmental news stories at the start of class. McLean likes the reciprocal learning from her students that comes from their common interests.

McLean co-advises the STEM Leadership Society and participates with student groups in the department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. She was also involved with the Sustainable Institute for Teachers. McLean would like to see a YSU student chapter of the Friends of the Mahoning River on campus as well as activities for high school students to experience geology and environmental science related to local causes.

This year at YSU, there is a new minor in Natural Gas and Water Resources. McLean is excited about the new minor because of the opportunities for teaching and research, especially with water quality and quantity issues.  CM2012b

Most recently, Colleen McLean has published an article in a Past Global Changes Newsletter, “Integrated Paleoscience for Sustainable Management”. Her article, assessing anthropogenic impacts in a Great Lakes watershed using paleolimnology, can be found by clicking here.