Faculty Faction: Dr. Kevin Disotell

Dr. Kevin Disotell

“The Ohio State University Career and Internship Fair at The Ohio Union in Columbus, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014. “

Dr. Kevin Disotell is a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at YSU. He holds a BS and PhD in Aeronautical & Astronomical Engineering from The Ohio State University, with the primary focus of aerodynamics.

“While I was a doctoral candidate at Ohio State, I served as an instructor for a technical elective—helicopter aerodynamics—which was my first teaching experience in the classroom,” said Disotell. “It was also a good experience to balance teaching and research duties.”

After his experiences at OSU, Dr. Disotell began his career in the aerospace industry. He was able to contribute to programs and research efforts at NASA.

“I came to YSU from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Langley was established as our nation’s first civilian aeronautics laboratory, and it was an honor to be part of the 100th anniversary of the center’s opening this year,” said Disotell. “So many amazing achievements in aerospace history have roots at Langley. Having also worked in product development at Ford Motor Company in Michigan, I feel quite fortunate to have been part of such iconic organizations with tremendous histories.”

Dr. Disotell knew that giving college-level students the backgrounds for an aerospace degree would allow them to also experience what he had. Dr. Disotell’s interests in teaching at YSU arose because he could contribute to quality degree programs while also helping YSU to be a national model for public education value. Having been raised in Boardman, Disotell knew how important the university was to the area, so he wanted to be part of the university’s momentum.

“I look forward to creating an integrated teaching and research space in the fluid mechanics laboratory of Moser Hall,” said Disotell. “A key piece of this transformation is a new research-grade wind tunnel that we will build alongside our instructional tunnels. Being in a state of aviation pioneers and in the middle of our country’s Fluid Power Belt, it is important that we offer excellent training in fluid mechanics.”

This semester you can see Dr. Disotell if you are part of the mechanical engineering program or if you are taking Thermodynamics I or Fluid Dynamics. For now, these are the classes that he teaches, but he hopes to acquire more variety of classes next semester.

In his short time here, Dr. Disotell has already started to make an impact at YSU. He has been involved in the effort to create a new student branch for the American Institute of Aeronautics (AIAA) on campus. This new student organization will open new doors for students with career interests in the aerospace field. The organization will work to provide its members professional connections. You can read more about the AIAA branch here.

Dr. Disotell has also expressed an urge to improve several components on campus for YSU engineering students.

“One of my goals is to help expand quality research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students with our work in the laboratory,” said Disotell. “Getting hands-on experience helps drive innovation and will prepare our students to enter the workforce in the aerospace sector, which continues to see global growth in economic value and manufacturing output. Ohio is a leading supplier to the aerospace industry.”

It is great to know that Dr. Disotell is aiming for the stars here at YSU.

“My favorite pastime is baseball. An ancestor of mine, Gene Desautels, played professional baseball as a catcher around the time of WWII,” said Disotell. “He was teammates with the famous hitter Ted Williams in Boston, and also played for Cleveland among other teams.”

Doesn’t Dr. Disotell sound like an amazing professor? For more information about AIAA or to contact Dr. Disotell for any reason, you can email him at kjdisotell@ysu.edu. Due to renovations, Dr. Disotell has a temporary office in Moser Hall 1460. His office will change after the second-floor updates are completed.

STEM Professional Services Student Resource Events

Looking for a way to get your feet wet in a STEM career field? The College of STEM has you covered! There have been several events created for STEM students to meet employers, learn how to be successful while searching for jobs, and learn the specifics for various companies who hire a tremendous amount of YSU students. Every event is open to students who are interested in internship/co-op or full-time job opportunities. There is no registration to participate.

 

How to Be Successful at an Expo

  • There will be multiple information sessions that will provide you with the knowledge you will need to know about being successful at an expo. Below are the dates, locations, and times of each session:
Dates Time Presenter Company Location
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Kevin Hawkins Progressive Moser Hall, Room 2400
Monday, September 25. 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Lisa Wise Eaton Corporation Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 2:30pm-3:30pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Lincoln Building, Cafaro Suite, Room 510
Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Moser Hall, Room 2400
Monday, October 2, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Moser Hall, Room 2400

 

Fall 2017 Employer Information Sessions

  • There will be various companies from the area that will be discussing their companies (what they do) and what they look for in potential employees.
    • All Employers seeking to fill Internship/Co-op and full-time positions:

 

Date Time Company Information Session Location
Monday, October 2, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm RoviSys Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 3:30pm-4:30pm Vallourec Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:45pm-2:15pm Nucor Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 2:15pm-3:15pm Nucor Interview Workshop Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm Vallourec Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm Honda Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400

 

College of STEM Fall Expo 2017

  • Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 12pm-4pm at Stambaugh Stadium
    • Companies Seeking Science Majors for Internship/Co-ops and Full-time Opportunities:
      • Component Repair Technologies Dominion Energy · Johnson Matthey · Mercy Health · Naval Nuclear Laboratory · Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District · Ohio Army National Guard · Ohio Environmental Protection Agency · The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company · TIMET · U.S. Air Force Reserve · USMC Officer Selection Office

For more information on any of these events, contact STEM Professional Services at stem.jobs@ysu.edu.

 

Student Organization: Actuarial Science Club

Actuarial science is the career field that applies mathematical and statistical methods to calculate risk in insurance, finance, and other industries or professions. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified through intense education and real-life experiences. Actuarial science includes several interrelated subjects, including mathematics, probability theory, statistics, finance, economics, and computer science.

ASC

The Actuarial Science Club (ASC) has been at YSU for approximately ten years. The club was created to provide opportunities for students interested in actuarial science careers. In this club, students can learn more about the profession through speakers from the industry, attendance at conferences and career/internship fairs.

Dr. Thomas Wakefield is the co-advisor of the Actuarial Science Club and he is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Moon Nyugen is also a co-advisor of ASC; she is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. As the advisors, Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Nyugen work diligently to provide all the members of the club with adequate resources for their future.

“There are currently about 20 members in the Actuarial Science Club and there are no requirements to join our club,” said Aaron Loveless, President of ASC.

There are many students who do not know anything about the actuarial science field. For that very reason, ASC provides students with information that allows them to make an informed decision as to whether actuarial science is the career for them. The club also provides its members with extremely beneficial study tips and practice for actuarial examinations.

“The organization typically brings 1-2 speakers from industry in each year,” said Dr. Wakefield. “In the past YSU grads have returned to talk about their experiences working in the insurance industry.”

Several members of ASC are also preparing to attend the Midwest Actuary Student Conference at the University of Iowa at the end of September.

ASC is also involved in several aspects of campus life. They frequently partner with the other math clubs (Pi Mu Epsilon, AWM, SIAM) to support various activities each semester within the Math Department.

Any student who is considering a degree in the actuarial field is encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas Wakefield (tpwakefield@ysu.edu) or Moon Nguyen (ntnguyen01@ysu.edu) or the Club VP Maddie Cope (mcope01@student.ysu.edu). Students can also visit the website for ASC here and look for its addition to the Department page!

Student Spotlight: Rayann Atway

Rayann AtwayNo matter where you look at YSU, there are always STEM students making an impact on campus. Whether our students are taking part in organizations, sororities or fraternities, internships, or volunteer services, it is noticeable that each student is striving to be the best they can possibly be.

This year, Rayann Atway has stepped up to take on the role of YSU’s Student Government Association President. Rayann is a senior in the Biology, Pre-Med program and has accomplished several great things in her time at YSU. For the past two summers, she has interned at National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is a part of many organizations on campus, like YSU’s American Medical Student Organization (AMSA), Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), and Student Government Association (SGA). She is also a member of the YSU Honors College where she actively participates in the Pen Pals Program.

Throughout the course of her years at YSU, Rayann has volunteered at several organizations like Akron Children’s Hospital and Northside Medical Center. She was also given the opportunity to work as a medical scribe at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where she charted various types of information given by the physicians at the hospital. After she graduates this year, Rayann wants to attend medical school.

When she started at YSU, her interests in SGA also began. In her first year, she served as a freshman representative, taking actions to promote change at YSU. During the following two years, Rayann became the STEM representative and served as a parliamentarian on the executive board.

“I fell in love with SGA,” she said. “I absolutely love the things SGA does for YSU students and our community.”

This year, SGA will be tackling several projects. Some of these projects include the expansion of the food pantry, assistance in the community, the gathering of supplies for hurricane victims, textbook affordability, and improving voter registration rates on campus.

Students who are interested in joining SGA can attend their meetings every other Monday at 4:00pm. To find out more about SGA’s projects or how to get involved, contact Rayann Atway at ratway@student.ysu.edu.

Join YSU’s New AIAA Student Branch!

AIAAAre you interested in a career in the aerospace industry? The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest technical society that focuses globally on the aerospace industry. This year, a new student branch is forming at YSU. But, we need YOU! Sound like something you want to be a part of? Come to the information session on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, from 2:00pm to 2:30pm in Moser Hall, Rm. 2400. Mechanical Engineering professor, Dr. Kevin Disotell, will present interested students with a roadmap for beginning YSU’s AIAA Student Branch. Any student with an interest in aerospace careers is encouraged to go and talk to Dr. Disotell. Some aerospace careers are manufacturing, aerospace medicine, digital avionics, aerodynamics, space and satellite systems, and propellants and combustion. If you have any questions, feel free to email Dr. Disotell at kjdisotell@ysu.edu or visit AIAA’s website here.

Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Betts

Ryan BettsRyan Betts is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He began his higher education with a love of math, physics, and problem-solving; and through his coursework, he found new interests in computer-aided design and additive manufacturing.

In his junior year at YSU, Ryan began working as a lab assistant in the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) under his mentors, Dr. Brett Conner and lab manager Jay Wargacki. He used this position to enhance his classroom knowledge and to gain real-world experience for his future career.

Ryan now works as a design engineer under Dr. Kirk Rogers in the Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA) at General Electric in Pittsburgh, PA.

“As a design engineer, I am responsible for designing functional mechanical parts to be printed on the several 3D printers we have at our site,” he said. “We are capable of 3D printing parts out of several polymers, sands, and metal alloys, each possessing their own unique challenges in the design phase.”

During his senior year, Ryan had expressed to Dr. Conner his interest in GE’s CATA, but he knew there were no available positions. Through some networking and determination, he was hired just before graduation when a position became available.

Ryan gave a little bit of advice to YSU STEM students so that they can find opportunities like he did:

“My advice to STEM freshmen would be to get involved with internships, on-campus employment, and/or research as soon as possible. These are great ways to enhance your skillsets and make your resume stand out to potential employers! I didn’t do myself any favors by keeping my high school job into my first two years of college and neither will you.

To the seniors, don’t wait until May to start looking for a full-time job or graduate school. It’s never too early to start networking with professionals or interviewing for positions you want to secure upon graduation. At this point, setting up and preparing for interviews/universities should be considered just as important as completing projects or studying for exams.”

You don’t have to be an engineer, or even a STEM student, to apply this advice to your own education and career options. It’s never too early to start networking and planning, just like Ryan said. You never know what kind of opportunity will open up if you prepare and wait for it.

Ward Beecher Planetarium Opening Weekend 2017

Have you ever been to the Ward Beecher Planetarium? This year our planetarium is celebrating its 50-year anniversary! It’s even more exciting that over the summer the planetarium staff have been working hard to bring some exciting changes for the public.

The planetarium has recently purchased a new video projection system with assistance of a generous donation from the Beecher Foundation.

“We have a brand new SkySkan Definiti video system – we will put it through its paces and show you what you can expect for years to come,” said planetarium lecturer Tiffany Wolbrecht.

Planetarium Opening Weekend

The new addition will allow the planetarium to revolutionize their shows. It provides viewers with a brighter and higher resolution as well as a higher contrast. If that doesn’t already sound great, the system also renders 3D models in real time.

“This means that the planetarium can use its dome to travel anywhere in the universe in a matter of seconds,” said Wolbrecht. “The new system will provide variety to our live programming, but we will have new pre-recorded shows to share too.”

There will be multiple new additions to the planetarium’s season. This year’s new show it titled “Moons: Worlds of Mystery.” The show will premiere in February and is one of seven brand new shows the planetarium will be offering to the public.

The planetarium will also be bringing back their guest lecture series with two new lectures. The first, on November 3, 2017, is entitled “Galileo, Shakespeare, Van Gogh: Creative Reactions to the End of the World.” The second, on March 23, 2018, is entitled “A Quark’s Life.”

This year the planetarium will be holding their Opening Weekend lectures on Friday, September 22, 2017 at 8:00PM and Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 2:00PM and again at 8:00PM. The Opening Weekend is the kick off to their exciting new season and also where the new Sky-Skan Definiti Theater system will be premiered. If you plan to go, the doors do not open until 30 minutes prior to each showing. Seating is first come, first seated.

For more general information about the planetarium, you can peruse their website here. You can also keep up to date with the Ward Beecher Planetarium by following them on Facebook.

Be a STEM Student for a Day & High School STEM Visits

Come Be a STEM Student for a Day!

High School Juniors and Seniors interested in science, computers, engineering, and math are invited to spend a day with STEM at YSU! On Wednesday, September 20th, students will have the opportunity to sit in real STEM classes, visit our labs, have lunch with YSU students, and tour our campus and residence halls! See what it is like to be a YSU student! Check-in will begin at 8:30am and we’ll wrap up around 2:00pm.

Space is limited so registration is required by CLICKING HERE!

STEM student for a day

 

High School Visits to STEM

The YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics encourages you to bring your students to campus to experience a day with STEM! Gather a group of up to 30 high school juniors and/or seniors and we’ll provide the fun and the food! A typical visit runs from about 9-1:30 and includes science demonstrations with our Dean and sessions with two of our academic departments. You’ll enjoy lunch at your choice of Chick-fil-A or the KC Food Court and then tour campus before heading back home.

Available STEM Visit Days for Fall 2017

  • Friday, September 29th– Math/Stats and Engineering Technology Programs
  • Tuesday, October 17th– Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science and Information Systems
  • Wednesday, October 25th– Biological Sciences and Electrical and Computer Engineering
  • Tuesday, November 7th– Physics/Astronomy and Chemical Engineering
  • Friday, December 1st– Geological and Environmental Studies and Civil/Environmental Engineering

For more information or to schedule your trip, contact Emilie Eberth, Coordinator for STEM Outreach and Scholarships, at egeberth@ysu.edu or 330.941.2884. We can’t wait to see you here!

Recent Publication: Dr. Jack Min & Dr. Feng Yu

Dr. Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Associate Professor in Biological Science, in collaboration with Dr. Feng Yu, Assistant Professor in Computer Science and Information Systems published a research article in Current Plant Biology in July 2017.

 

Title: “Comparative landscape of alternative splicing in fruit plants”

Authors: G Sablok, B Powell, J Braessler, F Yu F, XJ Min

 

Abstract:

Alternative splicing (AS) has played a major role in defining the protein diversity, which could be linked to phenotypic alternations. It is imperative to have a comparative resolution of AS to understand the pre-mRNAs splicing diversity. In the present research, we present a comparative assessment of the AS events in four different fruit plants including apple (Malus domestica), grape (Vitis vinifera), sweet orange (Citrus sinensis), and woodland strawberry (Fragaria vesca), using spliced mapping of the expressed sequence tags and mRNA sequences. We identified a total of 2039 AS events in apple, 2454 in grape, 1425 in orange, and 631 in strawberry, respectively. In this study grape displayed the maximum number of genes (1588) associated with the splicing, followed by apple (1580), orange (1133) and strawberry (444). Transcripts mapping analysis shows that grape plant has relatively larger intron sizes than introns in other fruit species. The data provide a basis for further functional characterization of the genes undergoing AS and can be accessed at Plant Alternative Splicing Database (http://proteomics.ysu.edu/altsplice/plant/).

Full article link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214662817300439

Recent Publication: Dr. Mark Womble

“Sex and regional differences in rabbit right ventricular L-type calcium current levels and mathematical modeling of arrhythmia vulnerability.” Experimental Physiology 102 (7): 804-817, 2017.

 

*A figure from this paper was used as the cover illustration for the July 1 edition of this journal.

Abstract

New Findings:

What is the central question of this study?

Regional variations of ventricular L-type calcium current (ICa-L) amplitude may underlie the increased arrhythmia risk in adult females. Current amplitude variations have been described for the left ventricle but not for the right ventricle.

What is the main finding and its importance?

Adult female rabbit right ventricular base myocytes exhibit elevated ICa-L compared with female apex or male myocytes. Oestrogen upregulated ICa-L in cultured female myocytes. Mathematical simulations modelling long QT syndrome type 2 demonstrated that elevated ICa-L prolonged action potentials and induced early after-depolarizations. Thus, ventricular arrhythmias in adult females may be associated with an oestrogen-induced upregulation of ICa-L.

Previous studies have shown that adult rabbit left ventricular myocytes exhibit sex and regional differences in L-type calcium current (ICa-L) levels that contribute to increased female susceptibility to arrhythmogenic early after-depolarizations (EADs). We used patch-clamp recordings from isolated adult male and female rabbit right ventricular myocytes to determine apex–base differences in ICa-L density and used mathematical modelling to examine the contribution of ICa-L to EAD formation. Current density measured at 0 mV in female base myocytes was 67% higher than in male base myocytes and 55% higher than in female apex myocytes. No differences were observed between male and female apex myocytes, between male apex and base myocytes, or in the voltage dependences of ICa-L activation or inactivation. The role of oestrogen was investigated using cultured adult female right ventricular base myocytes. After 2 days, 17β-estradiol (1 nm) produced a 65% increase in ICa-L density compared with untreated control myocytes, suggesting an oestrogen-induced upregulation of ICa-L. Action potential simulations using a modified Luo–Rudy cardiomyocyte model showed that increased ICa-L density, at the level observed in female base myocytes, resulted in longer duration action potentials, and when combined with a 50% reduction of the rapidly inactivating delayed rectifier potassium current conductance to model long QT syndrome type 2, the action potential was accompanied by one or more EADs. Thus, we found higher levels of ICa-L in adult female right ventricle base myocytes and the upregulation of this current by oestrogen. Simulations of long QT syndrome type 2 showed that elevated ICa-L contributed to genesis of EADs.

 

Information regarding the authors:

YSU Faculty: Dr. Mark D. Womble (Department of Biological Sciences; senior author) and Dr. Jozsi Z. Jalics (Department of Mathematics and Statistics; contributing author).

YSU Students: At the time that this research was performed, Zane M. Kalik (lead author) was an undergraduate Biology student, Joshua L. Mike (contributing author) was an undergraduate Mathematics and Chemistry student, Moriah Wright (contributing author) was an undergraduate Mathematics student, and Cassandra Slipski (contributing author) was a Biology graduate student.

YSU Student Math Group Receives Award

On Friday, July 28, the YSU Association for Women in Mathematics Student Chapter was awarded the AWM Award for Professional Development at the MathFest Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The chapter was presented with a certificate and a $100 honorarium. The following students attended the event: Monica Busser, Julie Phillis, Alanis Chew, Sarah Elizabeth Odidika, Mirella Boulus, Hannah Haynie, Jacqueline Chapman, Ashley Amendol, Lexi Rager, Christine Langer, and Nathalie Halavick.

The purpose of the award was to reward a student chapter for its recruitment and development of students’ professional involvement in mathematics.

Alanis Chew, a junior Business Economics and Mathematics major, is the Secretary of YSU’s AWM Student Chapter. Speaking of the AWM Award for Professional Development, Alanis explained that “our chapter received this award because of our former president, Monica Busser, who started the AWM Bigs and Littles program.”

She also mentioned that Busser organized several events to promote women in STEM. A few of the events that YSU’s AWM was recognized for were pursuing an event that provided a more inclusive environment in STEM, the Women’s History Month Colloquium, and the Women in Math Trivia Day.

Each member that attended the conference also presented research they have worked on for the past year. Some of the research topics include Konstant’s Partition Function, Preparation for Industrial Careers in Mathematics, infinite series, bones, and muscles.

President Julie Phillis began her research in April with the assistance of a special computer system. “We were continuing the research done by Gabrielle Van Scoy, who graduated this past spring with her math degree and is now pursuing her PhD at the University of Kentucky,” said Phillis. “Gabbie succeeded in creating a mathematical simulation that accurately mimics how bone cells form bone in nature.”

Researcher Lexi Rager and her group found uses for recommender systems. “Our research uses recommender systems in the academic sphere,” said Rager. “We’ve created a program that recommends classes and professors to students based on classes and professors a student has already had and liked.”

AWM strives to promote and encourage women to be more involved in a math community. Chew said that the chapter “wants everyone to know how amazing female mathematicians are and how much fun math can be!”

AWM also helps with many events that the math department hosts like movie nights and pancake dinner nights.

“There are no qualifications to join AWM, you just have to be open to making a lot of new friends,” said Chew.

Any students that are interested in joining AWM can email Alanis Chew at ajchew@student.ysu.edu or the President of AWM, Julie Phillis at japhillis@student.ysu.edu. You can also find the organization on Facebook.

YSU CSIS Runs Jackson-Milton Coding Camp

From July 31 to August 4, 2017, the Computer Science and Information Systems Department at YSU conducted a week-long coding camp at Jackson-Milton High School. The camp was created to introduce Jackson-Milton high school and middle school students to various aspects of the computer science field.

With the help of Dr. Bonita Sharif, recent Computer Science and Mathematics graduate Benjamin Clark coordinated several activities that allowed students to experiment with coding and programming. Together, Sharif and Clark created activities that taught the students about computer science topics like binary numbers, error checking, graph coloring, and learning how to give computers commands.

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Throughout the entire camp, students could work individually while focusing their efforts toward a similar goal. Almost every student walked into the camp without any knowledge about coding or programming.

To start off the first part of the camp, each student was introduced to the Raspberry Pi. Through this system, they all learned about programming, basic circuitry, and interacting with their prototype circuits using C++. Shortly after learning these skills, they were then able to use the Raspberry Pi to control the motors on their robots. On their last day, they were introduced to a programmed eye tracker system that allowed the students to play a video game with only their tracked eye movements, nothing else.

All equipment provided in the camp came specifically from the NSF outreach funds presented to Dr. Sharif. The NSF grant was awarded to Dr. Sharif in 2016. To read more about the grant click here.

When speaking to each of the students, it was obvious that they truly loved the aspects of the camp. A high school student, Mackenzie Martin (junior), entirely enjoyed her time in the camp.

“I really loved how easily everyone was able to catch me up with missing the first few days of the camp,” said Martin. “They broke everything down really well even though I was behind everyone else.”

Another high school student, Garrik Cataina (freshman), commented that “the entire camp was so well rounded. I enjoyed all of it: the socializing at lunch time, talking with the volunteers, and learning how to code.”

Dr. Sharif also spoke very highly of her experience at Jackson-Milton, saying “we are very thankful to Mr. Vega, Jackson Milton High School’s principal, for the venue to conduct the camp.”

She would also like to give credit to the YSU SERESL volunteers that assisted with the program throughout the week: Alex Bonnette, Alexandra Fountaine, Devin Patrick, Christopher Hardaway, Mark DeGenova, Bob Collins, Natalie Halavick, and Nick Iovino.

“My favorite part about the camp was getting the students to understand what computer science is about,” said Dr. Sharif. “I enjoyed being able to provide them with hands-on experiences where they could troubleshoot and debug issues what popped up.”

This was the first coding camp YSU has done at Jackson-Milton, but they intend to continue doing them annually. For more information about the camp, or future computer-related camps, contact Dr. Sharif at bsharif@ysu.edu.

To keep up to date with the YSU’s CSIS Department, make sure to follow them on Facebook!

CSIS Professor and Student Participate In Summer Research Project

Dr. Lazar and Zackary Harnett at Lawrence Berkeley National LaboratoryDr. Alina Lazar, Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems, and her student Zackary Harnett traveled to the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab this summer.

They joined efforts with the lab as part of the Scientific Data Management Group. Dr. Lazar and her student, Zack, were sponsored by the Department of Energy through the Visiting Faculty Program. They worked closely with the Energy Technology Area on a research project titled “Sequence Cluster Analysis for Identifying Long-term Lifecycle Trajectory Patterns.”

This research project was performed to further study the relationship between life-cycle patterns and decisions or choices (such as the choices of purchasing a home, owning a car, or investing in new technologies). Dr. Lazar and Harnett assisted the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to show the wide availability of mobile devices and sensors that are connected to the internet. They collected research in data sets to model long-term user behavior of both test variables.

The research Dr. Lazar and Harnett assisted with observed sequence data representations, as well as several methods designed to test similarity algorithms. Methods to test these algorithms can range from classical approaches to a system called Optimal Matching. The methods used can then display what it would take to overcome the issues present between life-cycle patterns and decisions. It can also use strategies to model real sequence data to identify life-long behavior and produce descriptive self-explanatory visualizations even in the presence of disturbances and missing values.

Dr. Alina Lazar is a Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems. She completed her PhD in Computer Science in 2002 from Wayne State University. She specializes in several areas like data analysis, algorithms, and data mining.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Michael Butcher

Within the Department of Biological Sciences at Youngstown State University, there are many areas of research being explored by faculty and students alike. In a monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.

Dr. Michael Butcher is an Associate Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. He earned his PhD in Zoology from the University of Calgary. Afterward, he completed a two-year NSF post-doctoral fellowship at Clemson University before becoming a full-time professor at YSU.

At YSU, Dr. Butcher conducts three different types of research with assistance from multiple graduate and undergraduate students. The main focuses of his laboratory research are the mechanical properties and shape of limb bones, fiber architecture and force production in the limb muscles, and development of muscle fiber types. His most recent work involves studies of muscle form and contraction activity in tree sloths.

Every other year, Dr. Butcher has traveled to The Sloth Sanctuary in Limón, Costa Rica. This gives him the opportunity to study species of two-toed and three-toed sloths.

On his most recent trip, he and his research team visualized live muscle contractions of the sloths using implanted fine wire electrodes. They recorded muscle activity while sloths performed combinations of walking, climbing, and hanging exercises. In addition, Dr. Butcher and his team conducted very detailed dissections on cadaver sloths to learn about their muscle architecture.

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“What we do is take geometric measurements of the muscles,” Butcher said. “For example, how long is the muscle belly, how long are the muscle fibers, at what angle are the muscle fibers? Then we apply a couple basic calculations.”

They could then estimate the force, power, and torque (strength) properties of sloth muscles. Dr. Butcher considers this approach to the study of muscle form and function “simple, but elegant.”

To understand his research interests, it is important to know some of the unusual characteristics of a sloth.

“Why a sloth?” Dr. Butcher was asked. “Because they’re old and interesting mammals that do something really different from what humans are capable of doing.”

In a sloth’s body, there is only about 24% muscle mass. Dr. Butcher and his students are finding that their muscles have a high tolerance for lactic acid and rarely fatigue, unlike skeletal muscles in humans. Much to his surprise, Dr. Butcher is also learning that sloths primarily use anaerobic mechanisms to allow them to conserve energy and resist fatigue. This contributes to a sloth’s ability to hang from tree limbs for extended periods of time.

Other factors that relate to the strength and stamina of sloths are lower body temperature, lower metabolism, and slower digestion than most placental mammals.

“Sloths also have a network of blood vessels in their forearms that lowers the temperature of the muscles,” Butcher said. “This allows the muscles to remain strongly contracted for gripping branches while using energy at a slower rate.”

With these distinctive characteristics, sloths can conserve a tremendous amount of energy. For this very reason, Dr. Butcher finds sloth research remarkably insightful.

Dr. Butcher does not simply perform research to learn more about muscle structure-function in sloths, but rather to give further evidence of the performance range of muscles, in general. He wants to continue studying how muscles are put together and how they work, as functionality is diverse for animals depending on their lifestyle.

While this research has medical applications such as bioengineering artificial muscles and limbs, Dr. Butcher remains committed to fundamental science where his findings contribute towards education in the scientific community, future textbooks, and enhancement of the courses that he teaches at YSU.

Dr. Butcher stresses the immense contribution from his students. He believes that they are vital to his research efforts. To further his studies in primitive mammals Dr. Butcher plans to travel to Argentina this fall to investigate muscle properties in rare species of armadillos.

STEM Social Media is Hiring!

The YSU STEM Social Media Team is looking to expand with two new student job positions:

Social Media and Vlog Content Creator

The College of STEM is seeking an outgoing, self-motivated student of Sophomore or Junior standing to take on the role of content creator. This person would work closely with the Dean of STEM and the STEM Social Media Team to deliver content to a social audience. Applicants need not be STEM Majors.

Responsibilities include:

  • Takes part in storyboarding and content creation with Social Media Team
  • Responsible for meeting with Dean Steelant to capture video ideas and put them into an outline/script for delivery
  • Create content to post on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  • Research and experiment with new ways to leverage social media for STEM marketing
  • Track and measure the impact of social media campaigns for the college

Experience/Qualities:

  • Sophomore or Junior in good standing
  • Experience with content creation
  • Ability to work independently and meet deadlines
  • Team player mentality with a comfort of giving ideas and suggestions as needed

Videographer/Video Editor

The College of STEM is seeking an outgoing, self-motivated student of Sophomore or Junior standing to take on the role of videographer/video editor. This person would work closely with the Dean of STEM and the STEM Social Media Team to deliver content to a social audience. Applicants need not be STEM Majors.

Responsibilities include:

  • Takes part in storyboarding and content creation with Social Media Team
  • Responsible for shooting, editing and final output of videos created for College of STEM
  • Maintain consistent tone and voice in all videos created for STEM
  • Coordinates with the social media coordinator to upload content to social media accounts

Experience/Qualities:

  • Sophomore or Junior in good standing
  • Experience with video creation
  • Ability to work independently and meet strict monthly/bi-weekly deadlines
  • Team player mentality with a comfort of giving ideas and suggestions before, during and after the video shooting process
  • Experience with photography a plus

Interested applicants for either position should email their résumé to Emilie Eberth, STEM Outreach and Scholarship Coordinator, at egeberth@ysu.edu.