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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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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STEM Recognizes Donors from 2011

The YSU College of STEM is pleased to recognize those alumni, friends and companies who help make our work possible. We’ve received great support over the past year and are very grateful to those who see value in supporting our efforts to educating tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

You can view our updated list of 2011 donors by clicking here, or visiting the “Our Donors” page from our blog.

If you would like to contribute to our work, please consider making a donation. You can donate through the YSU Development site. Please be sure to designate the STEM College as your recipient, so your contribution can be correctly directed and recognized.

Thank you to all of our past, present and future supporters!

CTME Advisory Board Meeting

YSU’s Center for Transportation and Materials Engineering held an Advisory Board Meeting in Moser Hall, Friday, January 6, 2012 with 16 members present including Ms. Cynthia Gerst, Research Program Manager at the Ohio Department of Transportation. The Advisory Board sets policies and procedures for the CTME which are the guidelines Joann Esenwein, as Director, uses to make decisions throughout the year. The Board also has input on the selection of research, outreach and workforce development projects selected for funding. Ms. Gerst presented an overview of the ODOT Strategic Research Plan. Ms. Esenwein went over the highlights of 2011 which included the submission of a proposal for new funding through the University Transportation Centers program, submitted in collaboration with the University of Pittsburg and University of Akron. Additional highlights included YSU’s Transportation Career Day, an ODOT visit, and funding received from ODOT District 4. Esenwein also informed the Board that the call for white papers for new research activities within the current funding cycle went out January 3, 2012 and are due January 18, 2012.

STEM College Implements New Ph.D. Program

The new Ph.D. program in Materials Science and Engineering focuses on industrial collaboration where students will participate in research projects relevant to current industry innovations. Dr. Hazel Marie, the program’s director, said, “The program is unique in its emphasis to produce Ph.D. students that will use their talents in local and regional industries.” The program received final approval this summer and is now accepting students.

 

The new program and related research will become a vital hub for regional economic development and position YSU as an urban research university. Faculty from multiple science and engineering disciplines will work together with industry partners to champion scientific, engineering and commercial development throughout the region and beyond. Program graduates will have significant internship and outreach opportunities that will have a major impact in the region. For more information on the program, visit the Ph.D. program website.

New Co-op/Internship initiative for Students

The YSU STEM College has enhanced its cooperative/internship program for students designed to increase employment opportunities.

Sherri Hrusovski, Coordinator of STEM Student Professional Services, plans to have the program in place by the summer semester of 2012. Internships are currently overseen by the different departments within the STEM College. Hrusovski is working to centralize the program so that students and employers can gather information in one central location. She said, “We need a happy medium that works for the department and the new program being developed.”

Students can choose between three types of academic work assignments – internship, co-op, or professional practice. This type of collaboration between the college, students and industry partners benefit all parties involved.

Not only do students gain valuable knowledge in their field, they build relationships within the industry improving their employment opportunities after graduation. Employers get a chance to work with students to determine if they can add value to their company on a permanent basis. Employers can share knowledge and cost for research projects by building relationships within the University. The STEM College benefits as well by creating new partnerships with employers to further research opportunities and collaborative efforts.

Hrusovski plans to develop new industry relationships with companies like BP Corporation, First Energy, GE Lighting and JM Smucker Company. She is developing new marketing pieces and establishing electronic networking opportunities. She is working on a link accessed through the STEM website where students, faculty, and employers can find pertinent information on various features of the professional practice services and programs. Employers can learn how to post internships and cooperative education jobs as well as how to recruit students on campus. Employers interested in finding more information about the program and posting positions can email STEM.jobs@ysu.edu.

Hrusovski is also working with the Williamson College of Business Administration to implement a central database, PPOD (Professional Practice On-line database), which stores student and employer information and allows them to easily connect with one another. For more information on PPOD, employers can visit the PPOD website.

Students and employers can also connect through mediums like the YSU Job Expo and Interview Day where students sign up to attend interviews for either internship/co-op or full-time opportunities upon graduation. They can interview with prospective employers like American Environmental Group, Farmers National Bank and CMI Industry Americas, Inc.

Hrusovski encourages all students to take advantage of this opportunity and said that it can take four to six months to find a job after graduation. She adds that 70% of employers hire students with some type of experience. They look for qualities like team management, leadership, technical competence, ethical behavior and motivation. Cooperative and internship programs provide those skill sets and promote future employment viability.

Focus on Academic Advisory Council

The STEM College Advisory Council is comprised of influential leaders in industry and government who share a common commitment to the success of YSU. During their meeting on Friday, October 21 Council members provided input on several College initiatives, including an analysis of STEM facilities, ideas on promoting student engagement in industry, and the STEM College strategic plan.

Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, commented that “the Advisory Council is one way in which we can get input from leaders in industry, who know what our students need to learn in order to be successful after graduation. They can assist in building relationships that can lead to jobs for our students. They help us to make our curriculum relevant.”

Another initiative of the council is to build good working relationships with industry to foster faculty and student involvement in joint research projects and establish YSU as a leading urban research university, and to help find employment opportunities for students and graduates.

Jack Greaf, former Chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, said he is serving on the Council to provide some ideas from industry for research and development. He added, “I would like to understand what the University is doing in education particularly the STEM College,” so he can determine, “how the education that’s being provided can be complemented by industry.” Greaf, who is recently retired, graduated from YSU in 1967 and is hoping to give back to the University that gave him the education to be successful.

Stephen Giangiordano, VP of Technology and Innovation at RTI, was in attendance and is a 1979 YSU graduate. He said, “I have a very strong interest in STEM issues that are facing the aerospace and defense industry. By having the privilege to be on the Council, I will have an opportunity to learn more about the STEM issues and have a positive impact on the University.” RTI has an ongoing relationship with YSU and offers internship opportunities for students.

Joseph Hamrock, President and COO of American Electric Power, also serves on the council. American Electric is among the nation’s largest generators of electricity and owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system (a nearly 39,000-mile network). Hamrock is a 1985 YSU graduate of the Electrical Engineering program and said he would like to give back to the University that provided him a great platform for success. He added, “My education at YSU in the Electrical Engineering program was so valuable to me in ways I didn’t understand then. It’s great to help today’s students explore the opportunities that a STEM education can provide for them.”

David Reed is a Boardman native and currently resides in Poland. He is President of Essex Group, Inc. located in Fort Wayne, IN. He said he is grateful for the education he had at Youngstown State. He said, “Hopefully, I can continue to provide some positive influence from an industrial perspective.” He added that he hopes the college will continue to focus on undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs, and he wants to help provide support and influence from the private sector.

Third Frontier Paves the Way for Innovation by Students and Faculty

Ohio’s Third Frontier program provides funding for four collaborative research projects that support YSU students and faculty for research conducted in conjunction with industry partners.

Mike Hripko, Director of STEM Research and Technology-Based Economic Development, said, “The YSU STEM College is enjoying unprecedented success in receiving research funding through Ohio’s Third Frontier Program.” Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, added, “While STEM has previously received Third Frontier funding, this is the first time we have four concurrent grants active at the same time.”

Dr. Darrell Wallace of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is working with M-7 Technologies to develop manufacturing equipment which can simultaneously process precision measures and perform material surface analysis. They were awarded $1.66 million in 2010 through the Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering, a Third Frontier program.

Dr. Virgil Solomon of the Department of Material Science and Engineering was awarded $1 million to oversee a project with Third Millennium Metals. They are investigating properties in a new carbon infused copper metallic composite that will reduce wire size and increase conductivity.

Dr. Solomon is also working with Delphi Corporation to investigate aluminum battery cable which will be used in electric and hybrid vehicles. Aluminum is less expensive than copper and will allow for smaller cable size. They were awarded $1 million for the initiative.

Dr. Josef Simeonsson of the Department of Chemistry is collaborating with Polyflow Inc. on a $1 million research project to develop a process to turn polymer waste (i.e. plastic bottles, containers) into fuel. Along with this grant, YSU also received $600,000 for capital equipment to support the research.

Each project involves undergraduate and graduate students working in conjunction with faculty and the industry partners. This type of collaboration not only enhances the educational experience but provides opportunities for future employment with these companies.

The grants provide funding for a period of one to two years on each project. Hripko added, “These and other research awards are critical to the success of the STEM College, as they provide much needed capital equipment, funding for undergraduate and graduate student research, and relevant scientific discovery opportunities for our students.”

The Ohio Third Frontier program is a technology-based economic development initiative that supports existing industries working with new globally competitive products. Ohio voters approved the $700 million extension of the program in 2009. Its purpose is to foster and attract new companies to Ohio promoting job development and innovative processes. More information on the program can be found on its website.

Solar Panels Installed on Roof of Moser Hall

A 4,100 square foot solar panel was installed on the roof of Moser Hall creating a hands-on working laboratory for students to learn and understand this type of technology.
Using federal grant money, Carbon Vision of Shaker Heights installed the system, and it will generate 64,000 KW hours of electricity annually. Its life expectancy is 25 years and will provide a lifetime savings of $160,000. The panel sits on a solar flex rack developed by Northern States Metals, a Youngstown-based company.

Dr. Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, said, “By having the panels here, we can get students engaged in understanding what the technologies are and what the needs are for converting the electricity that we generate into making electricity for the grid.” He added that the vision is to promote student innovation where they can start and grow a business by creating a device using solar panel technology.