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

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.

Continue reading

International Internship for Mechanical Engineering Student

Bryan Zilka is going global with a co-op internship in Seoul, South Korea this summer.

A junior mechanical engineering major in YSU’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, Zilka will be working for light electric vehicle manufacturer MPS Korea Co., Ltd. MPS is based in Seoul and sells products throughout Asia and North America as the maker of small electric vehicles, such as golf carts, electric manufacturing trucks and other applications.

This is the first time the STEM College has been able to send an intern on a foreign assignment in recent memory. Zilka will spend the summer and return in the fall.

Zilka says he’s excited for an opportunity to work abroad in his field. He will be staying in Seoul for nearly two months this summer, working on the product line for an MPS industrial truck.

“Mechanical engineering is a much broader field than I thought it was going into my major,” said Zilka. “So I’m working on figuring out all the opportunities available to me before deciding on a career. That’s what this internship will really help me do.”

Zilka is a member the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Honors Program at YSU.

The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber approached the STEM College in the spring about the opportunity, as in their communication with MPS found a need for engineering support for some of MPS’s upcoming new products. The Regional Chamber’s Vice-President of International Business Attraction, Eric Planey, lauded the efforts by MPS to hire Zilka:  “MPS has given us at the Chamber great insight as to the business climate in Korea, to help attract Korean businesses to the area. Further, we have seen how MPS excels at engineering-driven solutions for its products, and we thought this would be an excellent opportunity for a student like Bryan and the STEM College to showcase their talents.”

MPS was one of three Asian companies that came to Youngstown to attend  the YSU Sustainable Energy Forum, and they were hosted by the Regional Chamber.

Students present at Material Research Society Conference

Andrew B. Smith and Michael McMaster, students of Physics and Astronomy, presented a poster at the Material Research Society Conference in Boston the week of November 28, 2011.

The poster Andrew and Michael presented involves research being done in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Dr. Tom Oder’s Wide Band Gap Semiconductor Laboratory, which currently focuses on optimizing the production of smooth, very high purity Zinc Oxide thin films. They then dope these high quality films, that is, inject specific foreign elements into the ZnO to adjust its electronic properties. The subsequent semiconductor material can be used to make, in the case of ZnO, optoelectronic devices such as LEDs and transparent electrodes.

ZnO is an attractive semiconductor, at least concerning optoelectronic applications, because of its low cost and low toxicity compared to competing materials. The negative doping of ZnO is well-established in industry, but the essential next step for ZnO’s advancement as a competitive semiconductor is to unlock the key to positive doping, which has so far proven to be a real challenge for researchers including ourselves. Solving this problem would open the way for many new and more efficient applications and devices.

Travel funds for the trip were provided by the College of STEM and the Office of the Provost.

Cushwa Fellows

Three STEM graduate students are taking the next step in their academic aspirations. YSU graduates Kristin Frank, Michael Kovach, and Adam Palumbo are the recipients of the 2011-2012 Cushwa Commercial Shearing Graduate Fellowship. Established in 2003 by the Cushwa family, in cooperation with the YSU Foundation, the Fellowship gives outstanding graduate students real work experience through research and internships (working 20 hours a week for 16 weeks) and lessens the financial burden by granting a $15,000 stipend. For the Fellows, a great deal of their preparation began as an undergraduate.

For chemistry student Kristin Frank, she said “as an undergraduate I spent the majority of my time studying and preparing for classes to ensure the best grades possible.” Her dedication has paid off. With YSU chemistry professor Dr. Brian Leskiw, Frank is conducting research in the physical chemistry field, and will be interning with Timothy Eastly, another YSU faculty member, through Toxicology Enterprises Inc., a Warren based drug and alcohol detection laboratory. Frank will be assisting Eastly with probationary drug testing. Frank said that the Fellowship…” has provided me with several opportunities I would have probably not otherwise had access to.” Frank’s future plans include obtaining her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Michael Kovach’s mechanical engineering background has given him the opportunity to work with General Motors, Lordstown. Kovach is working on one of the main robotic arms in the planting department conducting a failure analysis (weakening of frequently used parts). Kovach said that when one of these arms fails, the production slows or shuts down; this can potentially cause a considerable loss of revenue. After completing his project Kovach said that…”we are trying to develop a monitoring system that would give an early indication of trouble so it could be fixed. If successful, it may be implemented on other robotic arms and /or other GM facilities.” With the Fellowship, Kovach said that he has gained “real life experience” and plans on obtaining his Professional Engineering license.

Adam Palumbo, another mechanical engineering Fellow, has taken a different route with his research. Palumbo is working on using different technologies to cool surfaces of solar panels. Palumbo said that he was fortunate to have begun research as an undergraduate with faculty member Dr. Ganesh V. Kudav. Palmubo said this helped him transition to the graduate program, and the Fellowship has provided him with a “sense of responsibility.” Like Kovach, Palumbo also plans on obtaining his PE license in the future, after working full-time with a company.

The Cushwa Commercial Shearing Fellowship provides students with unique opportunities, and experience in their field. In addition to the three students highlighted, other Fellows include Brianne Ciccone, industrial systems engineering, Mark Macali, mechanical engineering, and Brandon McMillen, mathematics. Students with an undergraduate degree from any STEM discipline, including those who have obtained their degrees from other institutions, are encouraged. Also for the first time, students interested in the new PhD in Materials Science and Engineering are welcome to apply; the PhD stipend level has been established at $25,000 The next application deadline will be April 2012.

More information about the Fellowship is available here.

News For CS&IS

A new student association, Information Technology Student Association (ITSA), has been established in the department of Computer Science & Information Systems. The goals of ITSA are (1) to stimulate student interest in information technology field, (2) to seek networking opportunities between students within the department and companies doing business in information technology field in the region, (3) to help CS&IS department publicize Information Technology field to the university and the public. Membership is open to anyone who is interested in Information Technology at YSU. Some of the initiatives ITSA has taken are opening a facebook account, Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, and a twitter account at YSU_CSIS for the CS&IS department.

National Green Energy Challengers

Six YSU students placed second nationally in this year’s Green Energy Challenge in both their team project presentation and the poster competition, winning a total of $2,800 for their accomplishments.

For the national competition, the team traveled to San Diego in late October as one of three finalist teams to present their project, which involved a full-scale energy audit and upgrade to YSU’s Cafaro House dormitory.

The team beat out several others from Purdue, Texas A&M, Oregon State, Southern Polytechnic University and more in the initial round of judging in May. It’s the second year in a row that a team from Youngstown State University placed within the top three teams in the nation for the competition.

This year’s team, from left, includes:

  • David Wright, sophomore electrical engineering technology student of Youngstown.
  • Ethan Parks, freshman electrical engineering technology student of Greenford, Ohio.
  • Justin Hosseininejad, graduate engineering student of Austintown.
  • Jason Nutt, junior electrical engineering technology student of Cortland.
  • Jarrett Scacchetti, third year student of Canfield in electrical engineering and applied mathematics.
  • Michael Sammartino, senior electrical engineering student of Austintown.

Courtesy of YSU Department of Marketing

Physics & Astronomy – Summer 2011 Student REU’s

Sean Robinson (right), junior Physics major, completed an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) at Case Western Reserve University this past summer. This National Science Foundation-sponsored REU was held in conjunction with the NSF-funded Center for Layered Polymer Systems (CLiPS) led by CWRU. YSU’s Photonic, Optical and Electronic Materials Group is affiliated with the CLiPS program and part of the Center of Excellence in Materials Science and Engineering.

Sean, who did research related to the “Optics of Multilayered Polymer Films,” was the fourth YSU student to be selected for this continuing research. He was preceded by YSU STEM students Jessica Shipman, James Aldridge and Kyle Comeau. William Hill (left), also a Physics junior, did research on “Mathematical Probabilities” through an REU at Clemson University.

STEM College students Begin Work on Concrete Canoe

Students from the STEM College begin work on the annual concrete canoe competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nathan Knapp, the team’s captain, said, “I want to expand my knowledge of the overall concrete canoe competition and pass my experiences to underclassmen. I hope to represent Youngstown State University at the national level.”

Nathan is a senior Civil Engineering student who has worked on the canoe project in the past. His team of eight other students includes Sammie Rovnak, Joe Reedy, Allison McMillen, Kim Klonowski, Mike Kaldy, Sentel Rodgers, Chris Jones, and Dan Phillips. They are working on the initial mix design first by using last year’s formula and improving it to be lighter and less dense. The team is performing a structural analysis to make sure the thickness of their hull design can withhold the pressure. The hull of the canoe can be no more than 22 feet long and 36 inches wide so the students are working to make sure the mix can withstand those dimensions and remain light for optimal racing agility.

The next step is to finish the mold. The cross sections for the mold are cut, and the team will pour the concrete on “place day” in December. Then, it will be sanded down, and a drywall compound will be applied to compliment the finish. Graphics and aesthetics will then be applied, and the students hope to have enough time to practice with it in the water.

The regional competition will take place on March 29-31, 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh where they will compete against other universities across the country and Canada. Schools that have competed in the past include Akron University, Western Kentucky, Ohio State University and Ohio University. The team must prepare a design paper and will also be judged on an oral presentation and the aesthetics of the canoe. Then, they will race it. Last year’s team placed second, and if they win this year, they will advance to nationals held in Nevada. For more information on the competition, visit www.asce.org.

Dr. Scott Martin of Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor on the project. He said, “Working on projects like the concrete canoe provides a real opportunity for engineering students to enhance their professional skills. They improve their understanding of the things they learned in their Civil Engineering courses, and also develop communication, teamwork, project management, and time management skills. On top of all that, they have a lot of fun, and gain confidence that they can compete with engineering students from anywhere.”