Kerry Meyers, Ph.D.- Faculty Faction

kmeyersjan13

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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Incredible Edible Cars! The First Edible Car Competition At YSU!

While the future of cars keeps evolving, edible cars may not be the best road to travel down. But for STEM students, edible cars are a great way to learn and apply the different aspects of engineering. At the beginning of the month, almost 50 first-year engineering students participated in the First Edible Car Competition. The three-person groups were judged on speed, distance, and creativity.

Check out the video to see how some of the cars were created!

STEM Showcase

In Moser Hall, engineering projects such as the concrete canoe, steel bridge, and moon rover, competed for space with posters including one which described research that developed a mathematical modeling of fracking, for example, as approximately  30 student projects were on display at the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Showcase held on Sunday, April 22. The three-hour event provided an opportunity for STEM students to present their projects to peers, faculty, and the community.

In addition, Dr. Nathan Ritchey, chair of the Mathematics department, welcomed roughly 40 outstanding high school seniors into the STEM Leadership Society (SLS). These incoming fall 2012 students, among the best graduates from their high schools, were selected based on their written application and in-person interview. These outstanding student leaders will have the chance to be engaged in community service, research, and internships through their four year program as STEM majors at YSU.

Upcoming member Matt Pelch, senior at Howland High school will be majoring in computer engineering, and said that computer courses and interest in video games lead to his decision to enroll at YSU. Pelch added that he looks forward to be a part of SLS and YSU.

STEM students spent months, or longer on projects, typically in teams. A part of NASA’s Great Moonbuggy Race, Mike Uhaus and his team were on hand to show their moonbuggy rover, which was a part of a national competition. The event is held in Huntsville Alabama, and high school and college students may participate. Two riders, one male and one female, face away from each other to pedal this human-powered vehicle. Uhaus noted that “last year the team experienced a suspension failure” so for this year’s competition the team focused primarily on suspension design.

Senior mechanical engineering student Chris Fenstermaker and his team worked with Canfield, Ohio, Linde Hydraulics, on the hydraulic system for wind turbine. The team, found, researched, and purchased a small- scale wind turbine then “designed a hydraulic system to fit the turbine size that we purchased.”

Junior Mechanical Engineering student Ken Minteer worked with art student Chris Kamykowski on a Collaborative Learning (CoLab) project. CoLab is an effort from the College of Fine and Performing Arts and STEM to bring art and engineering together.

Minteer described how Kamykowski wanted to make a barrel of monkeys cast out of bronze. With Kamykowski’s design, Minteer made templates on SolidWorks, a 3D program. “From there” Minteer said “we printed them out on our thermal jet printer.” In Bliss Hall, Kamykowski was able to finish the process by baking the molds and pouring the bronze from the two-coil induction furnace located in the art department.

The 2012 Showcase marked a hike in attendance. STEM students were able to present their hard work to families, media, and the community, who were able to see first-hand the capabilities of STEM College students. Also, high school students from area schools were in attendance to learn more about the YSU STEM program, and opportunities for research and project activities.

STEM Showcase

On April 22, Moser Hall was the location for the annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Showcase. The three hour event serves as a way for undergraduate STEM students to present their research projects to the campus community, as well as have high school students see, first hand, the opportunities available at the College and YSU.

About 30 projects were on display, such as the concrete canoe and moon rover. STEM faculty was also present to guide tours through research laboratories and answer questions.

In addition, Dr. Nathan Ritchey, chair of the Mathematics & Statistics Department, welcomed incoming Fall 2012 YSU students who will be inducted into the STEM Leadership Society (SLS).  Through an application process, SLS accepts exceptional high schools students majoring in any STEM discipline.  The students will be involved in community service, internships, and various research initiatives.

Dr. Steven R. Little

Photo by Joshua Franzos

The Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh is proud to announce that Associate Professor Steven Little, PhD has been appointed Chair of the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, effective May 1, 2012.

Dr. Little’s research focuses on the controlled release of drugs. He holds the Bicentennial Board of Visitors Endowed Faculty Fellowship and also retains appointments in the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering. Recently, he was elected Chair of the Drug Delivery Special Interest Group in the Society for Biomaterials.

Dr. Little joined the Swanson School of Engineering in 2006 where his research focuses on the controlled release of drugs. He holds the Bicentennial Board of Visitors Endowed Faculty Fellowship and also retains appointments in the McGowan Institute of Regenerative Medicine and in the Swanson School’s Department of Bioengineering. Recently, he was elected Chair of the Drug Delivery Special Interest Group in the Society for Biomaterials.

Dr. Little holds eight US patents and provisional applications for patents including new methods to fabricate controlled release vehicles in a high throughput fashion; dissolvable synthetic-vasculature; novel complex delivery vehicles; and a description of the first degradable, artificial cell. Since joining Pitt, Dr. Little has received funding from the National Institutes for Health, the National Science Foundation, the US Army, the US Department of Defense, the American Heart Association, The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, and several industrial sources that total almost $5 million.

Dr. Little received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering in 2005 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he held three National Graduate Fellowships and received the American Association for the Advancement of Science Excellence in Research Award for his work on engineered therapies that interface with the human immune system. He received a bachelor of engineering in Chemical Engineering from Youngstown State University in 2000.

YSU Engineering Students Win Concrete Canoe Competition

Youngstown State University’s Concrete Canoe team dominated their regional competition at the University of Pittsburgh on March 30, placing first in four out of five races. The team also won first place awards for best design paper and best finished product, and placed first overall in the competition. They qualified to participate in the National Concrete Canoe Competition to be held June 15-16 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Nathan Knapp, a senior in civil engineering, is the concrete canoe team captain.

The competition was part of the annual American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Ohio Valley Student Conference, attended by civil engineering students from thirteen universities, including the University of Pittsburgh, Akron, Cleveland State, Carnegie Mellon, Ohio State, Ohio University, Cincinnati, University of Kentucky, Louisville, and Western Kentucky. The YSU students also placed second in the steel bridge building competition, earning an invitation to the National Student Steel Bridge Building Competition to be held May 24-26 at Clemson University in South Carolina. Dan Phillips, a civil engineering graduate student, is the steel bridge team captain.

In other conference events, the YSU Environmental Design team placed third out of ten teams in a contest requiring the removal of barium from hydraulic fracturing wastewater, and third place in the balsa wood bridge competition. Fourteen YSU engineering students attended the conference, along with faculty advisor, Dr. Scott Martin, and practitioner advisor, Adam DePizzo.

SWE Annual Dinner with Industry

Recently, the Youngstown State University section of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) held their Third Annual Dinner with Industry in Kilcawley Center. The event promoted social networking in a low-pressure environment for engineering students with representatives from local area engineering companies. The YSU SWE section would like to thank the following companies for participating in and supporting the evening’s events: Ellwood Group, Inc., Ergon-West Virginia, Inc., General Motors, Michael Baker Corporation, ms consultants, inc., Parker Hannifin, R.G. Steel Warren, RTI International Metals, Inc., and V&M Star.

A welcome address, given by Dr. Martin Abraham, Dean of the YSU College of STEM, was followed by dinner and keynote speaker for the evening, Laurie Moore, a Staff Environmental Engineer working for Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC. Ms. Moore, with over thirty-five years’ experience in the engineering and manufacturing industries, delivered guidelines for young engineers who are about to enter the workforce. Her tips included having a mentor within the company as a go-to person who can assist with questions about company policies, and also completing Six Sigma training, an educational asset that can enhance any engineer’s understanding of increasing efficiency in the workplace. The organization looks forward to another successful Dinner with Industry next spring!

Pictured above, from left to right are: Melissa Workoff, section treasurer; Laurie Moore, keynote speaker; Jennifer Moy, section president; Professor Carol Lamb, YSU SWE Advisor; Kathleen Smith, section secretary; and Kayla Herron, section vice president.

This year marks the thirty year anniversary of the establishment of the Society of Women Engineers section here at Youngstown State University. This organization is open to all male and female engineering and engineering technology students, and it is a great way to enhance professional development. Biweekly meetings throughout the semester are held to promote professional development with various speakers and networking opportunities available. Professor Carol Lamb, the section advisor, has been influential in keeping this student association together! For more information about the YSU SWE section, please email ysuswe@gmail.com.

Hybrid LED Exterior Site Pole

The group consisting of Michael Stanish (Team Leader), JR Harvey, Rey Mejo and Audria Grubbs chose the project “Hybrid LED Exterior Site Pole” to present at the 22nd annual QUEST Forum for Student Scholarship on Tuesday, April 3, 2012. This project is an exterior lighting system that is fully sustained with renewable energy sources such as the wind turbine and the solar panel. The LED fixtures are powered by our batteries during night time. Then, the wind turbine and the solar panel will charge our batteries all day. The purpose of this project is to eliminate dependency of non-renewable energy for exterior lighting application. The result of our design will expand the application of renewable energies for efficient, economical, and environmental engineering purposes. This will create a better future for tomorrow by greatly limiting dependency on non-renewable energy for exterior lighting applications.

Edward W. Powers Women in Science and Engineering Career Day Sets Record in Attendance

This year’s career day on March 3, 2012 smashed the previous attendance record. One hundred and eighty five middle school and high school girls from over 50 different schools attended.

The keynote speaker, astronomer Dr. Pamela Gay from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, gave an exciting presentation on the history of space exploration and how students have contributed to scientific discovery in the field.

After the talk, the students attended panels where professional women who are working in science and engineering discussed their careers, their training, their lives and the highlights of their jobs. A number of the panelists were YSU graduates, emphasizing the quality education in STEM available at YSU. In the afternoon, STEM faculty and other professionals led a variety of hands-on workshops that allowed the students to experience science and engineering in action. Two new workshops were added this year. The girls built motors and learned about electricity in one and used protein chemistry to identify a suspected criminal in another.

More than 35 Youngstown State University graduate and undergraduate students volunteered their time, helping in workshops and acting as chaperones. This year’s program was enhanced through an endowment from the Edward W. Powers Foundation, which allowed for increased activity, broader workshops, and more well-known speakers.

Not only was this the largest group of participating girls we have had, but they were also very engaged. This shows that word is getting out about the career day and also that area schools are increasing their emphasis on science and technology. We are already looking forward to next year’s program and hope to continue to build on this year’s success.

5th Annual Mahoning Valley Miniature Bridge Building Competition (MVMBBC)

During the National Engineers’ Week 2012, the 5th Annual MVMBBC was held on Friday, February 24, 2012, from 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University. A total of 31 teams from 17 different high schools participated this year.

Teams arrived in the morning with their teacher/advisor and constructed their bridges on site, to meet the design specifications established by the competition. After allowing for lunch and glue drying time, bridges were inspected for adherence to design specifications and load-tested until failure. The winning bridge was chosen based on meeting the design criteria and the most efficient load carrying capacity to structure weight ratio. Winning 1st place was Lowellville High School, Team 1 with Carmen Donofiro, Randy Pavlicko and Bryan Schirald; Lowellville High School, Team 2 came in 2nd place with Dean Donatelli, Eric Inskeep and Michael Willliams. Both teams are coached by Travis Williams. This is the 3rd time in 5 years that Lowellville High School has won 1st place in the competition. Winning 3rd place was Niles-M1. The winning team achieved a load to weight ratio/structure efficiency of 1243.

The event involves design and construction of a balsa wood bridge followed by a load testing until failure. The goal of the MVMBBC is to promote civil engineering as a career choice to students, and to provide students with an educational opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real-world application. High school students in the Mahoning and Trumbull Counties are strongly encouraged to participate in this event since it will expose them to some basics of engineering design.

The competition has been organized and supported since 2008 by: Civil & Environmental Engineering at Youngstown State University; Mahoning County Engineer’s Office; Trumbull County Engineer’s Office; and ms consultants, inc.

Art meets Engineering

Bliss Hall is home to the College of Fine and Performing Arts; however, what’s inside is something you may not expect to find: a two-coil induction furnace.

Through a partnership with the Department of Art and College of STEM Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program, the Collaborative Learning Laboratory (CoLab) has brought students together for a joint educational experience.

CoLab was founded three years ago when professor and Department of Art Chair, Greg Moring, and Brian Vuksanovich, professor of MET, wanted to see how their disciplines could come together. The result is an expanding partnership.

CoLab is a project where both art and MET students benefit from “hands on experience” Vuksanovich said, as well as work with state of the art equipment. Art students build metal sculptures, and engineering students work on developing machine parts. Art students …”bring their ideas” Moring said, while engineers know …”how to execute the process.”


Since its induction, CoLab has been able to grow due to the generous support of local businesses and YSU.

Ajax Tocco Magnathermic, a Warren based heating induction and melting manufacturer, donated $125,000 towards the $150,000 two-coil furnace. Tom Illencik, President of Ajax Tocco, provided his support to ensure the installation of the two-coil furnace. The additional $25,000 came from contributions by YSU’s Office of the Provost, College of Fine &Performing Arts, and the College of STEM. Crucibles, which are used for molding metals, were donated by Fireline Inc., another Youngstown company. Prior to the new equipment being installed, students worked with a gas-fired furnace that required projects to last up to 90 minutes. Now, with the two-coil furnace, work can be completed in 15-20 minutes.

Even when art and MET students are not collaborating, both programs will be able to have access to the lab. This provides an opportunity for all students to remain engaged throughout the semester.

For F&PA and STEM, CoLab has been a continual success. Bryan DePoy, dean of F&PA conveyed that by partnering F&PA and STEM students…”we support a whole brain experience for those involved. Engineering students can benefit by working with the creativity inherent in artists, while artists can benefit from the sequential thought process valued in engineering.”

STEM Dean Martin Abraham added, “CoLab is an excellent example of interdisciplinary activity.” For students “working together, they learn how to merge their interests, the practicality with the aesthetic.  It’s truly a one-of-a-kind relationship.”

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.

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.

YSU develops Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute

Youngstown State University is developing a new institute designed to educate professionals and provide research for the emerging multi-billion dollar shale natural gas industry in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The YSU Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute will provide bachelor’s degree level courses in science and engineering that will lead to an academic minor in gas technologies and also will provide research opportunities for industry focusing on analysis of water used in the shale gas extraction process.

“Given YSU’s location in the heart of the Utica shale region, this new Institute is well-poised to meet the educational and research demands and needs central to this new and growing industry,” said Martin Abraham, dean of the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, in which the new Institute will be located.

“Establishing YSU’s presence in this fast-changing field is a critical necessity if we are to have a role in educating the future workforce to support this economic growth opportunity.”

Formation of the Institute was announced this morning at the Youngstown, Ohio Utica and Natural Gas Conference and Expo in the Covelli Centre in downtown Youngtown. The event, presented by the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber, is the first conference and exhibition solely focused on Ohio’s emerging shale gas industry.

The Utica shale is a large rock formation thousands of feet below the surface spanning an area from eastern Ohio to Pennsylvania and across the Canadian border. Gas contained in the Utica shale is expected to become a dominant source of natural gas in the United States in this decade. A recent study showed that more than 200,000 jobs, including nearly 9,000 in professional and technical services, will be created or supported by 2015 due to exploration, leasing, drilling and pipeline construction for the Utica shale reserve.

One of the significant issues for the extraction of the gas is the use and recovery of large volumes of water used in the hydraulic fracturing process and the need to treat, analyze and monitor this water.

The YSU Natural Gas and Water Resources Institute will provide research on water-related issues such as analysis and monitoring, remote sensing, remediation and treatment, and reuse and recycle, utilizing faculty and facilities in YSU’s chemistry, mechanical engineering, environmental science, chemical engineering, geology and civil engineering departments.

In addition, the Institute’s educational component will establish an academic minor in natural gas and water resources for students interested in careers in professional and technical fields directly related to shale gas and other unconventional resources, or the petroleum industry in general. Most of the faculty, expertise, courses and laboratory components for the new minor already exist in the STEM College, Abraham said. A few new courses will be created to provide specific technical competencies required for understanding water resource issues associated with the Utica and Marcellus formations.

The concept of the new Institute will be presented to the YSU Board of Trustees in December. Abraham said he hopes to work with an industrial advisory board to identify specific research targets for the new institute and complete the development of the minor by next fall. The first students in the new minor in natural gas and water resources could graduate as early as May 2013.

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.