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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2012 Business Advocate of the Year: Dean Martin Abraham

This October, the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber named Martin Abraham, STEM dean, the 2012 Business Advocate of the Year. Abraham is responsible for increasing the number of students in the STEM College, as well as promoting research initiatives. He also serves on the Board of the TechBelt Energy Innovation Center, which promotes public and private investment, research, and manufacturing.

Watch below as Dean Abraham accepts his award!

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.

Dr. Daniel Suchora

The Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering will have a faculty change this June 30.

Dr. Daniel Suchora, chair of the department for the past seven years, will be retiring after a 32-year career on the campus of Youngstown State University (YSU). Before examining his time at YSU, it’s valuable to look back on how it all began.

“When I was growing up, I liked to tinker with things, and take things apart” Dr. Suchora said. Following that desire, he worked at a bowling alley as a teenager, working on the machinery, and enjoyed it. When it was time to go to college, Dr. Suchora said he knew “…mechanical engineering was a good idea.”

Dr. Suchora went on to obtain his undergraduate and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from YSU, and his Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. During his master’s program, Dr. Suchora found his passion for teaching. Although he did consulting work with other companies, Dr. Suchora conveyed that he “liked the connection of teaching and practicing in the field.” That way, he could bring real world experience to the classroom.

When asked what has been the greatest accomplishment of the department, Dr. Suchora simply said “the students: their successes are our successes.”

And for YSU students, they feel the same sentiment. Aubrey Garland, junior in mechanical engineering, and student employee of the department, relayed how she has enjoyed working with Dr. Suchora as well as being a student of his. Garland said “There is no question he wants the students to really learn the material so we are not just successful students but successful and effective engineers.”  She added “To this day I am still more nervous about taking a Dr. Suchora test than anything else; not because I am afraid I won’t do well, but because I don’t want to disappoint him.”

Another junior mechanical engineering student, Amanda Cox, furthered this, saying how Dr. Suchora …” genuinely cares about his students and did his best to prepare us to be the best engineers we could be. I appreciate Dr. Suchora so much for all he has done for me, and I am so thankful I got to experience having him for class.”

Students are not the only members of YSU who will miss Dr. Suchora’s leadership. Faculty members also emphasized the impact he has made. Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Hazel Marie, said how Dr. Suchora always “puts the good of program, department, and university first.” Dr. Martin Cala, professor and coordinator of industrial and systems engineering said that he and Dr. Suchora worked together on projects such as hiring a new Industrial Engineering faculty member, and …” coordinated the reconfiguration of laboratory space together, and made some progress in improving shared resources not only between the two programs in our department but with other STEM programs and other colleges.”

Though Dr. Suchora will be missed, he will not be entirely gone. He will continue to teach in fall 2012 part time. Reflecting on his experiences overall, Dr. Suchora added: “I’ve been lucky to get into a career that I really enjoy.”

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 College Awards Dinner

In “An Evening of Celebration and Recognition” the Fourth Annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Awards Dinner was held on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at Youngstown State University (YSU).

The event began as a way to provide … “an opportunity to recognize alumni who demonstrate the success that can be achieved after receiving a degree from the College, and friends who have been instrumental in promoting the success of our students” said Martin Abraham, dean of STEM.

This year, seven awardees were honored. In the Outstanding Alumni categories were Harry Bircher, professor of geological and environmental sciences at YSU; Dr. Peyman Givi, mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Matt Ragan, Senior Controls Engineer at Lockheed Martin, in Akron, Ohio; and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Babcock & Wilcox Co., Mary Pat Salomone.

 

For the past seven years, Harry Bircher has been the co -owner of Buckeye Civil Design LLC, a civil engineering design firm, in North Lima, Ohio, and a YSU professor for ten years. Upon hearing of his award, Bircher said it was a “total surprise.” Bircher received his Bachelor of Science from YSU in 1988 in geology, and a Master of Science of Geology from Wright State University with attention to geophysics. Bircher returned to YSU to obtain a Master of Science in Engineering, concentrating on civil and environmental engineering in 1995.

Deemed a “modern rocket scientist” Dr. Peymen Givi said YSU is “100 percent responsible” in contributing to his career. Dr. Givi, who received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1984, is internationally recognized for his research, and has over 200 publications. In 1992, Dr. Givi was amongst one of 15 engineering faculty nationwide who were honored at the White House to receive the Presidential Faculty Fellowship from President George H. W. Bush.

Outstanding Young Alumnus, Matt Ragan, has advanced substantially in his career since leaving YSU in 2005 with a BE in electrical engineering and BS in physics with a minor in mathematics. Ragan was recommended to the Lockheed Martin Engineering Leadership and Development Program (ELDP) shortly after joining the company. Ragan graduated from the two-year program, which only takes the top one percent of entry-level engineers, in order to prepare them to be future leaders with the company.

Mary Pat Salomone, resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated in 1982 with her bachelors’ degree in civil engineering, She had not been back in the area for five years and said that that her education at YSU gave her a “good foundation” to where she is today. Salomone has been in various management positions since joining B&W in 1982. Some of Salomone’s current roles include directing the operations of the company’s five business units, holding responsibility for commercial and government contracts, health and safety, in addition to day-to-day operations.

Roger and Gloria Jones of Youngstown, Ohio, based Fireline Inc., and the OH, Wow! Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, in downtown Youngstown, were presented with the Outstanding Community Partners award for their dedication to the Mahoning Valley and YSU. Roger Jones conveyed how Fireline has been “enriched” by a “42 year partnership” with YSU, and many employees at Fireline are YSU alumni.

In the Outstanding Community Leader category was Dr. Connie Hathorn, superintendent of the Youngstown City Schools District (YCSD). Under Dr. Hathorn’s leadership, the YCSD was able to provide visual arts and STEM programs; a first for YCSD. With a generous grant by the AT&T Foundation, the YCSD is collaborating with YSU’s STEM in order to gain outreach with high school students in pursuing STEM disciplines. Dean Abraham also shared how the YCSD will have a high school internship program. The purpose, Dean Abraham said is so the students are “engaged in work because that’s how you learn.”

The STEM awards dinner has grown tremendously since its inception. Over 200 guests were in attendance, and Dean Abraham shared “We (STEM) are truly grateful for the support shown to us by the community, who continues to turn out each year, in increasing number, to recognize the achievements of our alumni and friends. “

STEM Awards Dinner

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012, was the evening for the Fourth Annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Awards Dinner, at Youngstown State University (YSU). The event, which has grown tremendously since its induction, acknowledges the success of exceptional STEM alumni, and friends of the college, who have demonstrated a commitment in furthering the accomplishments of YSU STEM students.

This year, there were seven awardees honored. In the outstanding alumni categories were Harry Bircher, professor of geological and environmental sciences at YSU; Dr. Peyman Givi, mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Matt Ragan, Senior Controls Engineer at Lockheed Martin, in Akron, Ohio; and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Babcock & Wilcox Co., Mary Pat Salamone.

Dr. Connie Hathorn, Superintendent of Youngstown City School’s was honored as the outstanding education leader. Moreover, Roger and Gloria Jones of Fireline Inc. and The OH, WOW! Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, in Youngstown, Ohio, were awarded outstanding community partners, for their dedication to YSU and the Mahoning Valley.

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.

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.”

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.

Fall 2011 Mechanical Engineering Technology class at GM Lordstown Plant

The Fall 2011 Mechanical Engineering Technology Tool Design class worked on projects hosted at the General Motors Lordstown Stamping Plant. The students attended class at the plant instead of on campus, and worked on projects that will go into plant use in 2012.

Class instructor Mark Vuksanovich said, “This was an opportunity for the students to handle a real project in the field. Students rarely have experiences that simulate the work they will be doing after they graduate. We would like to change that.”

YSU Assistant Professor Brian Vuksanovich, who oversaw the class implementation, said, “The on-site class gave these students an opportunity to experience what they will be doing as graduates in the workplace. Both the students and the plant benefitted from this type of class. We are already looking at offering more field courses in the future.”

Class projects involved redesign of press components that will be installed next year, and a system to precisely measure press movements during die changeover operations. Proposals, mechanical drawings, parts sourcing and physical measurements of components were some of the aspects of plant engineering that were accomplished by the students. Students also got a private tour of the stamping, weld shop and assembly areas of the Lordstown Complex.

General Motors project manager Dave Brown, who oversaw the class at the plant, said, “The class projects encompassed designs that would have required plant resources to develop. Having the students perform the design work helped with our manpower sourcing and gave the students valuable work experience they would not have had otherwise.”