Intern’s at Butech Bliss

Internships are an important part of gaining real work experience. At Youngstown State University (YSU), student internship opportunities prepare STEM majors for future careers.

This spring semester, three mechanical engineering majors, Joseph Myers, German Natal, and Brandon Strahin, are working at Butech Bliss, in Salem, Ohio. With a 125 year history, Butech Bliss builds coil processing equipment, rolling mills, custom applications and extrusion/ forging machinery. Many YSU alumni work for the company, such as mechanical engineer Robert Kerr. A 1983 graduate, Kerr joined Butech Bliss in 2005. Kerr said that working for the organization has been a …”rewarding experience.” Furthermore, he conveyed how the intern’s have been beneficial: “It immediately became obvious to me that their education at YSU had prepared them well for becoming potential assets to the company.”

All of the intern’s tasks vary. Strahin noted “The intern program cycles job duties so we can get experience in all of the different departments in the company. I think that all of the different job responsibilities really help in learning how the company works and how all of the different departments tie together.”

Myers furthered this saying how being involved in other areas permits…” to see how each part of a project comes together from the initial sale through production which helps my understanding of the business side of things.”Additionally, he has been prepared for the future by Butech Bliss …” allowing me to work on an actual project and being given the trust to do things on my own then receive feedback on the work I’ve done…”

German Natal said his experience has been beneficial because “At Butech, the managers place the interns in a position which allows them to work with engineers and shadow the job processes, along with participating in the job where applicable.”

More information about internships with the College of STEM is available on the Office of Professional Practice site here.

STEM Leadership Society provides opportunities for students

Being involved in campus activities is an integral part of the college experience, and students in the STEM Leadership Society (SLS) have the opportunity to do just that. The SLS focuses on bringing the most highly qualified high school seniors to YSU’s STEM College. Currently at 45 members, the SLS provides opportunities in leadership, academic enrichment and community service. By promoting interaction with faculty and business leaders, the SLS provides students with “access to all of the opportunities that would be available at a large, major research institution, but remains small enough so that students actually can take advantage of those opportunities” according to Martin Abraham, Dean of the College.

For active students in the SLS, the benefits are largely rewarding. Darrell Wallace, Associate Professor in Industrial Engineering and the new Director of the program, said students gain an advantage by having “…close interaction with faculty, exclusive academic enrichment opportunities, social activities, and access to experiences with SLS industrial partners.” Internships that provide real work experience enhance student’s job prospects, and the close connection that SLS students have with potential employers enhances their placement opportunities.

Vice President of SLS and mechanical engineering major Teresa McKinney noted, “I was even given the opportunity to meet with a large number of representatives from companies in the area and I am currently speaking with them about internship opportunities. By being a part of this group, I am gaining valuable networking connections.”

The goal of the organization, Wallace said, is to “create a strong, student-centric organization that provides unique and attractive opportunities for exceptional STEM students.” SLS Secretary and biology major Ashley Bowers confirmed that “SLS provides opportunities that otherwise students may not have.” In the future, SLS would like to host events with professionals in the community, to further promote student networking opportunities. As SLS continues to grow, so does their overall mission.

The SLS focuses on recruiting highly qualified incoming STEM freshmen. An initial application is used to provide information on those interested, and then a smaller group is selected for interviews by a faculty panel. The faculty is trying to identify those students who can excel at YSU, as evidenced by the students’ high school grades, participation in extracurricular activities, and teacher’s recommendation.

High school seniors who will be enrolling in a STEM program for Fall 2012 may apply for the SLS no later than March 1, 2012. The round of finalists will be scheduled for an interview on March 17, 2012, and the selected students will be announced by April 1, 2012.

More information on the STEM Leadership society is available on the STEM College website, and an application can be found here.

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.

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.