YSU Cyber Defense Team

The Youngstown State University Cyber Defense Team (CDT) recently placed second in a statewide competition. The team, comprised of eight YSU computer information systems and information technology students, were amongst seven teams participating in the Midwest Regional Cyber Defense Competition (CCDC), held on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

The challenge is open to all two-year colleges and four-year universities: this is the first year Youngstown State University participated. The CCDC is a part of the Systems for Security and Information Assurance, a National Resource Center, with funding by the National Science Foundation. By participating in the competition, students were able to gain additional skills that would prepare them for the work force. According to the CCDC, participating schools will also receive feedback for the school’s securities, and information technology programs.

Groups competed in an eight-hour long event where members were …”presented with a small corporate network that has several user workstations, servers for internal services, email, and an e-commerce website” and the CDT took “months preparing” said Stephen Mesik, a computer information systems major.

Jonathan Eddy, another CDT member and computer information systems student, said the team was presented with a specific task: “The scenario was that we were an entirely new IT staff brought in to a company’s network as-is and we were to provide common services such as an HTTP e-Commerce site, email, FTP server, Windows Active Directory authentication, DNS lookup, and others…” How the teams were scored was …” ultimately determined by our (participants) ability to keep those services available and complete as many of the tasks provided as possible” Mesik conveyed.
Eddy added, “Being attacked in real-time in a realistic network environment is like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. Seeing the attacks happen live and trying to mitigate them actually gives you a sort of rush.”

Both Eddy and Mesik are anticipated to graduate this spring 2012, and wish to obtain a masters degree from YSU.

YSU Materials students work with NSF Research Center through Case connection

A growing new research effort at YSU originates in the Photonic, Optical, and Electronic Materials (POEM) group, begun by YSU physics faculty and now including engineering and chemistry faculty. In physics, for example, the POEM group has been actively recruiting students for the past three summers in cutting-edge research supported by multiple National Science Foundation grants, as well as grants from the State of Ohio Third Frontier Program. Ongoing support for YSU student research into polymers as photonic and optical materials has been provided through YSU’s affiliation with the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) Science & Technology Center for Layered Polymeric Systems (CLiPS). CLiPS is a multi-institution collaborative research and education Center begun in 2007 with now ten years of pledged NSF support at nearly $40M. Four YSU faculty members have participated in CLiPS, including Drs. Andrews, Crescimanno, and Oder in Physics and Dr. Price in Chemical Engineering. In addition to material support, research collaboration opportunities, and support for off-campus research experiences for YSU students, direct support to YSU as an affiliate of CLiPS is anticipated to total over $300k. Since 2008, YSU faculty has co-authored at least seven refereed publications partially supported through CLiPS with several more in preparation and many including YSU students as co-authors.

A major component of CLiPS programs is the training of undergraduate students at Affiliates Programs, like YSU, and the recruitment of undergraduates into summer research experiences and, eventually, graduate research in polymer science & engineering. In addition to their research at YSU, POEM students have participated each summer in research experiences for undergraduates (REUs) at nearby Case Western Reserve University, the lead institution for CLiPS. The REU program introduces students to CLiPS technologies, polymer science and STEM research and serves as an important pipeline for American students into CLiPS graduate programs. This year the first four American students accepted into the CWRU PhD program in Macromolecular Science & Engineering were REU alumni, including James Aldridge, graduate of Youngstown State University, who joined the prestigious research group of Dr. Eric Baer, Director of CLiPS, in June, 2011. As part of the REU experience, students work as members of CLiPS Layered Research Teams for ten weeks under the mentorship of a graduate student. In addition to daily research activities, REU students participate in weekly program meetings during which they hone their presentation skills, attend lectures in various areas of polymer science and engineering, and discuss professional ethics. The summer program culminates in the Northeast Ohio Undergraduate Polymer Symposium, an event showcasing the summer research work of undergraduates from CWRU, the University of Akron, Kent State University, and NASA.

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.