Spring 2017 STEM Expo

The STEM Professional Services office in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics hosts the semi-annual STEM Expo on Thursday, February 23, 2017, from 12 to 4 p.m. in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University.

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The Expo is open to all current STEM students and STEM Alumni who are either seeking an internship/co-op for the upcoming year or a full-time/entry level position.

Formal attire is required, and students are advised to bring several copies of their resumes. Registration is not required.

For more information, call the STEM Professional Services office at 330-941-2151.

Internship Experience: Taylor Simcox

The College of STEM at Youngstown State University focuses a lot of time and energy on promoting internships and hands-on experience for its students. The students gain valuable knowledge through this work because it is more than just an extension of their education. Taylor Simcox, a recent civil engineering graduate, explained the importance of her internship experience with us.

Taylor interned at Union Metal Corporation in Canton, Ohio, starting in the fall of 2015. The primary focus of her job was designing poles that support traffic lights.

“Designing poles sounded like the most boring job on the planet and to be completely honest, I didn’t know poles required engineering,” said Taylor, thinking back on her first impressions of the job.

She had expected to be given intern-level responsibilities at Union Metal. After all, she was an undergraduate student working as a part-time, temporary employee. As time went by, Taylor learned and grew with the company, taking on a bigger role and handling more responsibilities.

“In the spring I was assigned my own state, meaning I would handle all calculations and drawings that came through for the state of New York,” she said. “This was usually reserved for full-time, experienced engineers.”

She continued to grow within the company, working hard and taking on more responsibilities as a professional engineer.

Taylor accepted a full-time position at Union Metal in June 2016, just before graduating in August. She plans to continue her education in the near future by pursuing a master’s degree in mechanical engineering.

At YSU STEM, student success is a big deal. We’d like to congratulate Taylor and wish her well for the future, and we’d like to leave you with a bit of advice from her:

“You have to express how you feel to your superiors. If you feel like you’re not getting enough work or if the work isn’t challenging enough, tell them. Show interest and ask questions, bug the right people for more responsibilities, and never let anyone tell you that you aren’t old enough or in the correct class level to apply for an internship.”

Taylor with concrete canoe

Physics and Chemistry Professional Days

Physics Professional Day

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Local area teachers attended the first Physics Professional Day sponsored by the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Y.A.P.A. (Youngstown Area Physics Alliance) on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. At this first all-day meeting, the faculty from the Physics Department presented demonstrations covering varying topics such as resonance, energy, sound and an explanation of the upcoming Physics Olympics competition.

The teachers watched a presentation in the Planetarium and learned about the many resources available to them, including travel expenses to bring their students to YSU’s campus. Each teacher received hands-on laboratory ideas and supplies to use in his or her own classroom to create items used to initiate infrasonic sound waves and information about the ease of applying for STEM scholarships. Y.A.P.A. coordinator, Mary Janek, was very pleased with the success of the inaugural meeting and hopes to continue the practice in conjunction with the YSU Physics & Astronomy Department.

Written by Aislinn Janek

Chemistry Professional Day

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The Department of Chemistry hosted its annual Professional Day January 6th. Professional Day is a one-day workshop for local teachers touching on topics of chemical and/or educational interest.

This year the theme for Professional Day was “Forensic Science: How Chemistry is Used to Help Us Solve Mysteries, Murder and Mayhem!” Participants were welcomed by Dr. Tim Wagner, the chair of the department. Teachers then heard presentations from two people with experience in forensic analysis. Andrew Hirt, President and Senior Scientist of Materials Research Laboratories, Inc. (MRL), in Struthers, Ohio has worked with law enforcement at the local, state, and national level. He spoke on using the right instrumental tools to prove or refute the evidence. Andrew was followed by one of YSU’s own, Shaena Taylor (BSAS in Forensic Science, 2008). Shaena is currently a Forensic Scientist 3 specializing in drug chemistry at Cuyahoga County Regional Forensic Science Laboratory located within the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office in Cleveland, Ohio. She discussed the drug trade in the Cleveland area, and she gave an overview of a typical day in the lab focusing on the analysis of drug mixtures involving cocaine and heroin.

After the presentations teachers had a chance to perform one of two forensic labs – TLC of over-the-counter pain killers or a qualitative analysis of ions found in blood. In the afternoon, teachers finished the day in the Department of Criminal Justice & Forensic Sciences where Professor Susan Clutter demonstrated how do visualize blood splatter. Professor Rob Wardle showed everyone how to visualize latent fingerprints. Student Melissa James gave us a tour of the crime scene condo where students in the department learn how to secure a crime scene and collect evidence. The response from the participants was overwhelmingly positive and several planned on incorporating what they learned into their classes.

Staff Spotlight: Jonathan Kelly

Jonathan KellyJonathan Kelly is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering. As of November 2016, he’s back at YSU working with Drs. Brett Conner and Hazel Marie.

Earlier in 2016, it was announced that YSU would be partnering with the Air Force and other research centers to work on a grant-funded project involving additive manufacturing. With this new project came the need for additional personnel.

Jonathan is a project leader, meaning he works more behind-the-scenes than hands-on. With research and paperwork making its way back and forth between organizations and facilities, someone needs to be there to organize everything and help coordinate so that the project runs smoothly. He is here to assist Dr. Conner from an administrative view on this project.

Since earning his degree, Jonathan has worked as a quality engineer and as a quality and safety manager. This project will give him the opportunity to gain more experience while working on earning his MBA. He also works as a real estate agent on the side.

Jonathan Kelly is here for the duration of the project, ending in March 2019. For more information on the grant-funded project, read these resources from The Business Journal, WKBN, and the Tribune Chronicle.

7 Days of STEM

OH WOW! is eager to announce and invite you to participate in the 2nd Youngstown Regional Science & Technology Festival – 7 Days of STEM scheduled for September 17 – 23, 2017 and our 7th Silly Science Sunday on September 17, 2017.
 
The 7-day community celebration of Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics will:
  • Provide a variety of hands-on, interactive learning opportunities rooted in STEM;
  • Showcase STEM events, organizations, institutions, professionals, & businesses in Youngstown and surrounding area; 
  • Energize inquisitiveness and provoke curiosity in the minds of learners of all ages in the greater Mahoning Valley and beyond.
Our planning team is thrilled to hear what STEM events you have planned for this fall, and to see if they fit into the festival’s mission. As a participating organization, your event information will be adequately promoted and be included in all festival materials at no cost to you. OH WOW! is powering the festival with the assistance of the planning team, and looks forward to highlighting all of the STEM educational opportunities happening in our community!
 
To be considered for the festival schedule, please fill out the request for entry form and submit it no later than Friday, April 30, 2017, to our Festival Coordinator, events@ohwowkids.org or fax (330) 259-0258.  Do not hesitate to contact us with any questions, (330) 744-5914.

ACS Student Chapter Receives Commendable Award

ACS studentsThe American Chemical Society (ACS) student chapter at Youngstown State University has been selected to receive a Commendable award for its activities conducted during the 2015-2016 academic year.

More than 400 reports were submitted concerning chapter activity across the nation. The ACS presented 46 outstanding, 93 commendable, and 145 honorable mention awards. The chapters that received awards will be honored at the 253rd ACS National Meeting and are listed in the November/December issue of inChemistry.

Professor Michael Serra, the faculty advisor of YSU’s ACS chapter, was specifically recognized and congratulated by the ACS for leading such an outstanding group of students.

You can find a description of the award and a list of recipients on the ACS website.

STEM Faculty Awarded Research Professorships

In accordance with the YSU-OEA Agreement, at least eighteen faculty members shall be designated “Research Professors” each year. The language in the agreement specifies that:

“The Research Professorship Committee may award a minimum of six (6) hours to a maximum of nine (9) hours; the total number of hours distributed will be no less than 162 hours.”

Proposals from thirty-two faculty members, submitted for research professorships, were reviewed and evaluated by a seven-member committee. Graduate faculty members representing all six colleges were on the committee which awarded 22 research professorships for the 2017-2018 academic year. Congratulations to the research professors.

Research Professorship Committee
Dr. Rebecca Badawy
Mr. Michael Hripko (Chair)
Dr. Daniel Keown
Dr. Mary LaVine
Dr. Susan Lisko
Dr. Dolores Sisco
Dr. Tom Wakefield

STEM Research Professors

Dr. Snjezana Balaz, Physics and Astronomy – Awarded 6 Hours
“Investigation of Charge Transfer in Organic Interfaces”

Dr. Ganesaratnam Balendiran, Chemistry – Awarded 9 Hours
“Role of Fibrates and Like Molecules in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases”

Dr. Kyosung Choo, Mechanical and Industrial Engineering – Awarded 6 Hours
“Heat Transfer Enhancement of Steel Pipe”

Dr. Douglas Genna, Chemistry – Awarded 9 Hours
“Removal of Common Water Contaminants using Select Porous Materials”

Dr. Johanna Krontiris-Litowitz, Biology – Awarded 9 Hours
“Inserting Quantitative Literacy into the Human Physiology Lab Curriculum”

Dr. Xiangjia Min, Biological Sciences – Awarded 6 Hours
“Expanding the plant alternative splicing database”

Dr. Moon Nguyen, Mathematics and Statistics – Awarded 6 Hours
“Ohio Extreme Weather Forecast using Hidden Markov Model”

Dr. Jae Joong Ryu, Mechanical Engineering – Awarded 9 Hours
“Influence of biochemical environment on synovial lubrication and surface wear of prosthetic knee joints”

Dr. Bonita Sharif, CSIS – Awarded 9 Hours
“An eye tracking experiment summarizing API elements using code and documentation”

Dr. Suresh Sharma, Civil/Environmental and Chemical Engineering – Awarded 9 Hours
“Investigating Temporal and Spatial Variability of Flow and Salinity Level in the Mentor Marsh Watershed”

Recent Publication: Biology Faculty & Students

STEM faculty members on the paper: Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Feng Yu, Chester Cooper
STEM graduate students:  Brian Powell, Vamshi Amerishetty, John Meinken
STEM undergraduate student: Geneva Knott

Powell B., Amerishetty V., Meinken J., Knott G., Feng Y., Cooper C., and Min X.J., 2016, “ProtSecKB: the protist secretome and subcellular proteome knowledgebase,” Computational Molecular Biolog 6(4): 1-12.

Abstract:

Kingdom Protista contains a large group of eukaryotic organisms with diverse lifestyles. We developed the Protist Secretome and Subcellular Proteome Knowledgebase (ProtSecKB) to host information of curated and predicted subcellular locations of all protist proteins. The protist protein sequences were retrieved from UniProtKB, consisting of 1.97 million entries generated from 7,024 species with 101 species including 127 organisms having complete proteomes. The protein subcellular locations were based on curated information and predictions using a set of well evaluated computational tools.  The database can be searched using several different types of identifiers, gene names or keyword(s). Secretomes and other subcellular proteomes can be searched or downloaded. BLAST searching against the complete set of protist proteins or secretomes is available.  Protein family analysis of secretomes from representing protist species, including Dictyostelium discoideum, Phytophthora infestans, and Trypanosoma cruzi, showed that species with different lifestyles had drastic differences of protein families in their secretomes, which may determine their lifestyles. The database provides an important resource for the protist and biomedical research community. The database is available at http://bioinformatics.ysu.edu/secretomes/protist/index.php.

Recent Publication: Dr. Jai K. Jung

Editors’ Choice – Canadian Geotechnical Journal – December 201

Jai K. Jung, Thomas D. O’Rourke, Christina Argyrou“Multi-directional force–displacement response of underground pipe in sand,” Canadian Geotechnical Journal, 2016, 53(11): 1763-1781.

This paper is part of a Special Issue entitled “Pipeline geotechnics”.

Abstract:

A methodology is presented to evaluate multi-directional force–displacement relationships for soil–pipeline interaction analysis and design. Large-scale tests of soil reaction to pipe lateral and uplift movement in dry and partially saturated sand are used to validate plane strain, finite element (FE) soil, and pipe continuum models. The FE models are then used to characterize force versus displacement performance for lateral, vertical upward, vertical downward, and oblique orientations of pipeline movement in soil. Using the force versus displacement relationships, the analytical results for pipeline response to strike-slip fault rupture are shown to compare favorably with the results of large-scale tests in which strike-slip fault movement was imposed on 250 and 400 mm diameter high-density polyethylene pipelines in partially saturated sand. Analytical results normalized with respect to maximum lateral force are provided on 360° plots to predict maximum pipe loads for any movement direction. The resulting methodology and dimensionless plots are applicable for underground pipelines and conduits at any depth, subjected to relative soil movement in any direction in dry or saturated and partially saturated medium to very dense sands.

Recent Publication: Dr. Kyosung Choo

Brian K. Friedrich, Tamira D. Ford, Aspen W. Glaspell, Kyosung Choo, “Experimental study of the hydrodynamic and heat transfer of air-assistant circular water jet impinging a flat circular disk,” International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer Volume 106 (March 2017) 804-809.

Abstract:

Hydrodynamic and heat transfer characteristics of the circular hydraulic jump by air-assistant water jet impingement was experimentally investigated using water and air as the test fluid. The effects of volumetric quality (β = 0–0.9) on the hydraulic jump radius, local Nusselt number and, pressure at the stagnation point were considered under fixed water-flow-rate condition. The results showed that the dimensionless hydraulic jump radius increased with volumetric quality, attained a maximum value at around 0.8 of the volumetric quality, and then decreased. The hydraulic jump of two phase impinging jet is governed by the stagnation pressure and the lateral variation of Nusselt number is governed by hydraulic jump radius. Based on the experimental results, a new correlation for the normalized hydraulic jump radius of the impinging jet are developed as a function of the normalized stagnation pressure alone.

Student Organization Spotlight: Theme Park Engineering Group

TPEG LogoYSU’s Theme Park Engineering Group might not be what you expect. Most of its members are indeed engineering students, but the group is very flexible and can plan to accommodate almost any major. That’s because the group (TPEG) is not solely focused on the engineering that goes into theme parks but rather the park experience in general.

“We’re a group of mainly STEM students,” said TPEG president and mechanical engineering senior Jacob Janoso, “but we’ve had other majors in the past. We are interested in the technical aspects of the amusement industry.”

Amusement parks deal with so many types of careers, from engineering to communications to graphic design, and TPEG kind of encompasses all of those things by attending conferences and working with larger organizations like the Themed Entertainment Association.

students at IAAPA“It’s a great way for us to gain knowledge in the industry through professionals and it’s a great way to expand our networking as well,” said Jacob.

The most recent conference attended by TPEG members was hosted by the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, the largest organization of its kind in the world.

The NextGen Initiative of the Themed Entertainment Association is an important affiliate of TPEG, providing resources for students and recent graduates. Conferences, webinars, internships, and jobs are all offered by NextGen for groups like this to help them develop professionally.

Any students interested in getting involved in theme parks should definitely check out TPEG. By joining, new resources will be available regardless of major. Officer contact information is available on their website and useful information is posted on their Facebook page.

 

Updated STEM Facilities

Everyone knows about the construction that’s been going on around campus for what seems like forever. The roads are closed, there are detours everywhere, and we’re all eager for the construction to be finished. What many people may not know is that inside of our buildings some things have been updated as well.

Seven classrooms in Ward Beecher were renovated this summer as part of Instructional Space Upgrades. New flooring, paint, ceiling tile, and light fixtures were the major changes in these rooms.

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Renovations in Moser 3275 have made the new home of the physics research lab for Drs. Andrews and Oder.

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The Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum on the first floor of Moser Hall has also been updated, most importantly with brand new lighting installed throughout.

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Campus architects are currently in the design stages of a renovation that will impact Ward Beecher over the summers of 2017 and 2018 and will be developing another project which will focus on various laboratory spaces on campus, although it is not yet known which colleges or buildings will be impacted.

Local Hack Day

Following a lot of interest in HackYSU from incoming freshmen at STEM IGNITE and the STEM Student Organizations Fair at the beginning of the semester, a 12-hour Local Hack Day was held on December 3. It was a great opportunity for students to experience the environment of hackathons without committing to a 36-hour event like HackYSU for the first time.

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13 speakers hosted 16 talks on topics including game development, functional programming, generating music, and how to land an internship. Mark Tareshawty, an engineer from GitHub, also spoke at the event about how Git enables software engineers to collaboratively write code, highlighting its importance in the industry.

Almost every participant said that they learned something new at Local Hack Day, and more than half said they researched a topic further after the event.

Those who attended and enjoyed the Local Hack Day are encouraged to register for HackYSU, which will take place February 17-19 at the DeBartolo Stadium Club. This will be a full 36-hour hackathon where participants form teams of up to four people to create, well, anything.

HackYSU participants are always fed, there will be prizes, and guest mentors will be giving talks and hosting workshops. Registration is open at HackYSU.com.

Coming Soon to the Planetarium!

Laser Shows

Laser Weekend is back! Don’t miss this fun and entertaining weekend filled with great music and colorful displays on January 20 and 21. The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and more will each have their own time slots that you can attend. Check out the planetarium program calendar for a full listing of shows.

This is only for one weekend a year! Do not miss your chance to see these crowd favorites. Shows run Friday evening and all day Saturday in place of the normally scheduled public programs. This event has come to be very popular, and again it is only once a year, so don’t miss out!

While the Ward Beecher Planetarium has always been and always will be free and open to the public, a suggested donation of $2.00 per person for this special event will allow us to continue to bring programs like this to the Mahoning Valley.

Lecture Series

The Ward Beecher Planetarium is proud to introduce our new lecture series: Astronomers will visit for LIVE presentations on the latest fascinating findings on a wide variety of topics!

Lectures include talks about exoplanets and extraterrestrial life, supermassive black holes, and dark matter. The speakers are all guests to the Ward Beecher Planetarium, so each will only be presenting once.

This lecture series begins February 17 with Penn State Behrend Physics & Astronomy professor Dr. Darren Williams presenting “Hello! Is Anyone Out There? Some Thoughts on Exoplanets and Life.”

Check out the planetarium calendar for details and more events.

Follow the Ward Beecher Planetarium on Facebook and Twitter, and visit their website to stay up-to-date on all public events.50th anniversary logo

3D Printed Models Showcase NASA Missions

As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, the Ward Beecher Planetarium is proud to partner with YSU’s Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) for the new display “NASA Missions to the Solar System” outside the Planetarium on the 2nd floor of Ward Beecher Hall.

With last year’s flyby of Pluto, NASA has had robotic spacecraft visit nearly every major body in the solar system since the dawn of the space age almost 60 years ago. These missions have radically changed our understanding of astronomy, and have captured our imagination with spectacular imagery.

This display lists NASA missions to prominent members of our solar system and features eight 3D printed models to highlight some of the most influential spacecraft.

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Special thanks go to Jay Wargacki and his students, Mechanical Engineering majors Ryan Betts, Mike Manginelli, and Dean Jaric, in the CIAM for converting and printing the models from CAD model plans available from NASA.

If you have any questions about the display, please contact either Curt Spivey at x7278, or Tiffany Wolbrecht at x3619.