YSU STEM has a new minor! Natural Gas and Water Resources!

YSU STEM students now have the opportunity to pursue a new and relevant academic minor in Natural Gas and Water Resources, a program that provides a focus on the emerging oil and gas industry. The STEM College’s Department of Geological and Environmental Science heads this minor.

With the rapid emergence of the regional natural gas industry, the Natural Gas and Water Resources Minor at YSU was first proposed in November 2011 and was quickly approved by the Board of Trustees in April 2012.

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Student Spotlight: Katie Smith

Katie SmithMost college seniors dread looking for careers in the months after graduation. Katie Smith, a senior chemical engineering major, is ahead of the game, having already procured a position with the Edison Engineering Development Program at General Electric Lighting, in East Cleveland, Ohio.

Starting in June, Katie will embark on the first leg of the Edison Engineering Development Program’s two-year rotation. The program is an accelerated track for gaining leadership within the company.

During the past two summers, Katie has interned with the company in two separate departments: LED Technology and Fluorescent. Continue reading

Ward Beecher Feature: The Electron Microscope Facility

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Dr. Virgil Solomon looking at the chemical composition of a sample.

From the outside, Ward Beecher Hall looks like a normal academic building. Sure, it houses a planetarium and a greenhouse, but there is more than that on the inside. Youngstown State University has the privilege of having an Electron Microscope (EM) Facility on its campus.

The first part of the facility was started in 2009 with the help of a grant from Ohio Third Frontier. The $2.1 million grant was used to redesign part of the fifth floor of Ward Beecher Hall to accommodate both a focused ion beam/scanning electron microscope and a scanning/transmission electron microscope. Continue reading

Faculty Faction: Dr. Michael Butcher

Dr. Michael T. Butcher

Youngstown State University collects all sorts of people as students, faculty, and professors. Each of these people has something specific and unique to offer the community and the university. Dr. Michael Butcher, assistant professor of anatomy and physiology, has been an essential part of the research initiative in the Department of Biological Sciences for the last five years.

Michael feels at home in the Biological Sciences department; the position is what brought him to the Youngstown area.

“The Department of Biological Sciences was a good fit for me and they were very supportive of my research program,” Michael says.

Dr. Butcher studied

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Kerry Meyers, Ph.D.- Faculty Faction

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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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Inside STEM Professional Practice

by Kara Miller

stemprofpracjan13In just over a year, the STEM Professional Practice Program has shown me, and many other students, all it has to offer. Students have the opportunity to meet with the program’s coordinator to discuss the opportunities offered to them, like constructing a resume and landing an internship. Students are also offered a variety of resources like career development and professional etiquette techniques. The opportunities for students are always growing with new grants and programs being added all the time.

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Faculty Faction: Colleen McLean

colleenmcleanNew to the College of STEM’s faculty is Colleen McLean, assistant professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences. The Bazetta native started in the spring of 2009 with a term position. When the opportunity for a faculty tenure position became available, Colleen was happy to be selected.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, with a minor in chemistry, at YSU. McLean moved on to Kent State University for her Master of Science in Geology. At Michigan State University, she earned her doctorate in Environmental Geoscience and completed an additional specialization in Environmental Science Policy.

McLean’s research focus is aqueous and environmental geochemistry.  She likes to investigate the impacts of water quality, and she studies historic ecological conditions using geochemical and biological archives in sediment cores.

“Biological indicators, such as fossil diatoms and ostracodes, reflect the water chemistry and climate conditions at the time they were living,” McLean explained. Quantifying these parameters makes it possible to reconstruct environments from the past. “Understanding the past environmental response can help us make predictions for the future,” she continued.CM2012

When she isn’t collecting core samples or doing research, she is at home with her children. As a mother and professor, she understands the importance of teaching her kids about global environmental issues. She has passed down her love of science to them.

Colleen likes to talk to YSU students about their ideas, but what she loves most about the students is that they are motivated and fun. They are good at giving her updates on environmental news stories at the start of class. McLean likes the reciprocal learning from her students that comes from their common interests.

McLean co-advises the STEM Leadership Society and participates with student groups in the department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. She was also involved with the Sustainable Institute for Teachers. McLean would like to see a YSU student chapter of the Friends of the Mahoning River on campus as well as activities for high school students to experience geology and environmental science related to local causes.

This year at YSU, there is a new minor in Natural Gas and Water Resources. McLean is excited about the new minor because of the opportunities for teaching and research, especially with water quality and quantity issues.  CM2012b

Most recently, Colleen McLean has published an article in a Past Global Changes Newsletter, “Integrated Paleoscience for Sustainable Management”. Her article, assessing anthropogenic impacts in a Great Lakes watershed using paleolimnology, can be found by clicking here.

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

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!

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!

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.”

Sustainable Energy Forum, June 4-5, 2012

The Youngstown State University Sustainable Energy Forum will be held on June 4-5, 2012 in Kilcawley Center on the YSU Campus. Details are available at www.ysu.edu/sef

The fourth annual Forum will host more than 200 academicians, energy industry leaders, government officials, and entrepreneurs. The Forum focus is on technology that is imminently ready for commercialization, especially those technologies which will have a near-term positive impact on commercial, industrial and residential energy savings.

The YSU Sustainable Energy Forum places a particular focus on sustainable and other clean energy technologies that are being successfully implemented within the region. The planned Tuesday conference technical sessions include such topics as renewables, waste-to-energy, natural gas applications, water technology resources, vehicle electrification, energy management, and small modular nuclear energy.

A key objective of the YSU Sustainable Energy Forum is collaboration building amongst attendees. In past years, entrepreneurs have teamed up with students/faculty to successfully pursue sponsored research funding. Researchers have also engaged large energy companies for insights and opportunities. All attendees gain a clearer picture of national and state energy priorities, as well as the strategic direction of the energy industry.

Monday, June 4 will feature plenary presentations by a series of national and regional keynote speakers.

Relevant technical abstracts are invited for our planned technology focus sessions on Tuesday, June 5, in which technical and industry experts will engage in discussion with entrepreneurs and researchers.

The YSU Sustainable Energy Forum also features an “Energy Expo”, in which participating organizations and companies display products and technologies. Expo participants receive program billing, conference registration, and a two-day display space in Kilcawley Center.

Please go to www.ysu.edu/sef for additional conference details, a list of speakers and agenda, abstract submission, and for individual and Energy Expo registration.

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.

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. “