STEM Leadership Society: Making You a Success

By: Teresa McKinney

slshabitat“Making you a success.” Youngstown State University STEM Leadership Society, known on campus as SLS, is working to do just that for its members—the top students in YSU’s STEM college. SLS was created to provide outstanding students with the tools to grow and develop into leaders in their respective STEM fields. The organization is working to become a presence both on campus and in the community. It offers members the opportunity to have a supportive network of peers and faculty that will help pave the way for a successful, undergraduate experience at YSU.

STEM Leadership Society is a student organization that gives students the tools to succeed. One of its main goals is to convince top high school seniors of that YSU is the university for them. Continue reading

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 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.