Recent Publications: Alumn William Hurst

William Hurst, a 1975 graduate of Chemistry, is publishing his eighth book, Chocolate and Health, with Dr. Philip Wilson of East Tenn. State Univ and Dr. W Jeffrey Hurst of the Hershey Co as editors. The book is currently in production in Europe with publication in early 2015 by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Their first book, Chocolate as Medicine, won the prestigious Gourmand award as the best book published in the UK on this topic and the 2nd Best in the world.

Recent Publications: Dr. Rodabaugh

Stephen E. Rodabaugh, Associate Dean of the College of STEM, has just published or is publishing in the near future the following four papers: first, Enriched categories and many-valued preorders: categorical, semantical, and topological perspectives (with Denniston, Melton), Fuzzy Sets and Systems 256(2014) 4–56; second, Formal contexts, Formal Concept Analysis, and Galois connections (with Denniston, Melton), Theoretical Computer Science (electronic): Festschrift in Honor of David Schmidt’s 60th Birthday, to appear; third, Lattice-valued preordered sets as lattice-valued topological systems (with Denniston, Melton, Solovjovs), Fuzzy Sets and Systems, to appear; fourth, Function spaces and L-preordered sets(with Denniston, Melton), Topology Proceedings, to appear.  In addition, Dr. Rodabaugh recently presented a four session, NSF supported series Many-Valued Topology: A Tutorial at an international conference on topology and its applications hosted by the City University of New York on its Staten Island campus.

Dr. Rodabaugh is coming to town!

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why!
Dr. Rodabuagh is coming to town!

During the holidays, the advertisements start rolling and without a doubt you see a picture of Santa and his never ending bag of gifts. You may have also seen Dr. Rodabaugh whisking himself down the hallways of Moser with his belt pack and wonder, “Is he Santa?” YSU STEM Social Media investigated to find out what exactly he keeps in that thing.

While Dr. Rodabaugh doesn’t have any reindeer to take him places, he does have a fancy outfit, just like St. Nick. With his Tony Soprano jacket and his beat-up, worn-out belt pack, Dr. Rodabaugh has some stories to tell. Just like Santa, that belt pack has been around for a long time and has visited many different countries, but no matter how many places it has been, it still calls the halls of Moser home.

So what’s in Dr. Rodabaugh’s belt pack? Well it’s not the same gifts and goodies that Santa delivers to good STEMians, but there is still a lot of laughs! Take a look at the wonders that have travelled the world below!

Whether you are mesmerized by the tinsel staples holding the belt pack together or amazed by the fact that it can carry all that stuff YSU STEM Social Media would like to wish you and your families a Happy Holiday Season!

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Mixing Art and STEM: New “STEAM” Course Planned for Fall 2015

STEAM — Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math — has been showing up in universities across the country, with its next stop being YSU. STEAM is a combination of STEM and Art, forming interdisciplinary courses that recognize the overlap between art and STEM. A new course called Design in Practice is planned to start at YSU in Fall 2015 as a general education course.

Kerry Meyers, Assistant Professor of Engineering and the key developer of the new course, said that there is a large overlap between art and engineering.

“The commonality between engineering and art is design. Engineering focuses on design for a specific purpose. Where in Art,  looks at design as expression considering both aesthetic value and the medium. So what you’re doing is bringing the creative values of Art with the functionality aspects of Engineering to create a course focused in cultural factors,” Meyers said.

The course will be dual-taught, with Meyers being the engineer instructor and Christine McCullough being the art instructor. Meyers said that the course is not meant to be a history course or a lecture course, but is intended to be a class where different methodologies, approaches, and implications are explored.

“The interesting thing about it is that it looks at cultural and ethical issues that would affect the community and trying to develop solutions and approaches that consider that. Like doing projects that involve recycled materials or zero energy, zero waste,” Meyers said.

Transforming the Future: Ashley Martof Named Intern of the Year

Ashley Martof holds the letter that she designed and printed for President Obama.

Ashley Martof holds the letter that she designed and printed for President Obama.

The STEM Intern of the Year award is given to a student that has shown a high quality of work, has shown initiative, has completed presentations, and has had an impact on the company with whom they have worked. This year, Ashley Martof, a senior industrial engineer student, won the award.

Ashley said that she toured America Makes in Spring 2013, and that was the first time she was introduced to additive manufacturing and 3D printing. She said she fell in love with the technology immediately. Ashley began interning with America Makes in January, where she helps with workforce and educational outreach.

America Makes is the first institute in the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation. ”Our focus is on additive manufacturing research”, said Mike Hripko, director of workforce and educational outreach, “ At the same time, we know by developing and offering educational content, we will enable people to take full advantage of the new technology.”

Mike Hripko and Ashley Martof showcase some of the materials printed at America Makes, including a side mirror for a car and a honeycomb-structure metal beam.

Mike Hripko and Ashley Martof showcase some of the materials printed at America Makes, including a side mirror for a car and a honeycomb-structure metal beam.

One of the first projects Ashley did was develop an additive manufacturing curriculum for teachers.

“Last year if you Googled ‘additive manufacturing,’ no results for curriculum showed up. Teaching tools for 3D printing had not been developed; the technology was so new. So I had to research additive manufacturing and develop curriculum from scratch,” Ashley said.

Other projects Ashley completed include developing a 3D printing student camp, where she took the children from 2D and 3D basics to designing and printing their own products in five days, designing a 3D letter to President Obama, designing a side mirror for the 3D Print Your Car project from Local Motors, and designing a coyote for a collaboration award.

Ashley was also a student participant in the STEM Professional Practice Program and was a participant with the PICAM 1 and the OH-PENN grants.

After Ashley graduates in May, she plans on returning to YSU to pursue a master’s degree in industrial engineering.

Laser Light Shows Back by Popular Demand at the Planetarium

Due to popular demand, the Ward Beecher Planetarium is bringing back laser shows for one weekend only, January 23 and 24!

Rock out to laser light with these great shows:

Beecher Plantetarium Logo var 1Friday, 1/23 and Saturday, 1/24:
5 p.m.: Laser Vinyl (Classic Rock)
6 p.m.: Laser Retro (80s New Wave)
7 p.m.: Laser Beatles
8 p.m.: Laser Led Zeppelin
9 p.m.: Dark Side of the Moon (full album)
10 p.m.: The Wall (excerpts)

While the Ward Beecher Planetarium has always been and will always be free and open to the public, a suggested donation of $1.00 per person for this special event will allow us to continue to bring programs like this to the Mahoning Valley.

The seats are first come, first served, no reservations accepted. The Ward Beecher Planetarium seats 145, so plan on arriving early!

Please visit  for more details.

Faculty Faction: Jason Zapka

zapka1Jason Zapka is a lifelong Penguin. He began his journey as a Penguin in his undergraduate career, where he was in the University Scholars Program. Then, he came back as a grad student. Now he’s a full-time faculty member, using the knowledge he learned as a Penguin to teach first year engineering students and serving as an adviser for Tau Beta Pi.

“The material is pretty much the same [as when I was an undergrad,]” Zapka said. “But once you work [in the field] you learn a totally different way to learn and analyze things.”

After he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, Zapka went on earn his master’s degree and to gain 15 years of experience working in heavy industry steel mills working on process automation and project management. In 2006, he started his own consulting company, but was asked to help out with a few classes at YSU. In 2007, Zapka became a part-time faculty member.

“I liked interacting with the kids, and I think I add something to them because I had practical experience, and I have been out in the field,” he said. “They have questions like, ‘Well, what was the job really like? What did you do? What did you learn?’ I kind of enjoy that aspect of it.”

Zapka wants to use his years of experience as a tool to aid his teaching. He referred to gaining experience in the field as an evolution process.

“[It’s] unlike the university environment where you have this book that you’re following, and you’re stuck to a curriculum of one thing that is a layer on a layer that is building this foundation of knowledge,” he said. “[In the work world,] you have to take the way that you were taught to understand things and then turn that into some way of making good decisions. … Once you have to work, you realize the world is bigger than just the material you’re training with.”

Zapka said that he hopes he helps other students realize the big picture, saying that engineering is not just “that one problem in your area,” but that the problem is something that everyone is experiencing.

As for his goals, Zapka said that he hopes he just helps students learn.

“I look forward to those days five or six years from now when a student comes back to me and says, ‘You know, you really helped me make a good decision,’ or ‘I think you’ve made a positive impact.’ That would be the best thing to have.”

Mechanical Engineering Technology hosts Boy Scouts of America

Merit Badge Saturday -1Merit Badge Saturday -2The Mechanical Engineering Technology program hosted the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Saturday for Robotics Merit Badge on November 8. This is the seventh consecutive semi-annual event held for the BSA by the School of Engineering Technology. Saturday’s activities resulted in 25 Robotics merit badges awarded. Daryl Gross said this weekend was a great success and said he would like to extend his thanks to Dr. Mike Crescimanno, Physics, and Ronald Griswold, PE, Mechanical Engineering Technology, for their assistance and the generous sacrifice of their Saturday to help the scouts. The next event will be scheduled on a Saturday in April 2015 to prepare the scouts for Engineering merit badge.Merit Badge Saturday -3

Making a Difference: What does an Environmental Scientist do?


In a new series of articles, YSU STEM will take you through some of the most complex jobs out there. We will explore the hows, whys, and wheres of these jobs. For this first article, we will take a look at environmental scientists.

Environmental scientists are crusaders for the environment—charged with protecting our resources and wildlife. Whether they are working in an office, a laboratory, or in the field, each environmental scientist still starts out in the same manner. YSU STEM graduate in biology and current laboratory assistant for ELS Laboratory in New Castle Amanda Ruozzo sat down with us to tell us how she got where she is and what exactly it is that an environmental scientist does.

According to Amanda, it all starts with an education. The most optimal degree for an environmental scientist is a degree in environmental studies, like the program we have here at YSU, but there are other degrees that make great environmental scientists though, like biology, geology, and even engineering. The best way to form a great environmental scientist, however, is to make sure that you have a minor to go along with that degree, like our minor in natural gas and water resources.

“There are so many jobs that you can get with a degree in biology, but getting into the field is difficult,” Amanda says. “Diversifying my education is the best thing I did.”

While Amanda has an associate’s degree in business, she still says that it helps to have a little bit of background somewhere else.

“A diversified background makes it easier for me to tie everything together, especially when it comes to cost savings and timelines,” she says. “A great STEM education meant that even though I studied biology, I still know enough chemistry to be able to use it everyday.”

Environmental scientists wear a variety of hats on a daily basis. While Amanda currently runs tests on water samples at ELS Laboratory, she is also an environmental consultant with Lafarge in Warren. With Lafarge, she classifies the over 200 native plants and wildlife associated with our area, as well as helping with some of Lafarge’s community outreach programs.

“I’m excited to have the Boy Scouts come out next year to help us build some new bird houses,” Amanda says. “The boys always enjoy helping with the environment and the birds definitely could use some new homes.”

Being an environmental scientist is starting to sound like a great career choice, but let’s go a little further. Many people and future employers will encourage you to pursue a graduate degree, but don’t worry, it will pay off. In 2012, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that environmental scientists have a median income of over $60,000 a year. Also, since there is a rise in interest in environmental issues, like fracking and global warming, the bureau also predicts a rise of 15 percent in jobs in the next eight years.

If there is a career or job you would like to see covered, don’t hesitate to let us know. We want to know what you want to read about, so shoot us an email, and we will get to work!

Faculty Faction: Dr. Thomas Madsen

madsenDr. Thomas Madsen does more than just teach mathematics, he lives it. That same passion he has for math is the same passion he brings to teaching our STEMians.

“I love math, and it’s nice to have a job where all you have to do is talk about math,” Dr. Madsen joked.

From an early age, Dr. Madsen had always wanted to involve math in his life. He recollected the first time he realized that he loved mathematics. Around the third or fourth grade his teachers started to teach the class about square roots. Dr. Madsen did not decide that math was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life until early high school. Becoming a mathematics professor, though, is a little different.

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Alumni Corner: Pete Walsh

Pete WalshThere are some students who leave their college right after graduation, happy to never have to take another exam again or even have to walk on campus again. And then you have the alumni that keep the university going, and who wear their Penguin pride for all to see. Pete Walsh is one of those alumni.

Pete came to YSU in the fall of 1966, when YSU was referred to as Youngstown University, and only two years after the first Penguin mascot started showing up at football games.

He was an industrial engineering major with a math minor, and said that he always thought he was in the right field.

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Student Spotlight: Connor Hetzel

HetzelThird year physics major Connor Hetzel sat at a table in Maag Library sipping his coffee and wearing a Boardman tennis sweatshirt. At first glance he seems like a normal college student, just trying to get through his day with his coffee by his side.

But while most college students are wondering if they’ll get a job in their field of study, Connor already knows that he will be taking another path.

“I’m planning on only using my major as a hobby of sorts. I am planning on pursuing theology when I graduate from here. I am a Roman Catholic, so I will be entering the seminary,” he said.

Connor said that he did some studying of religion in high school, but that he realizes entering the seminary will be a completely different type of studying for him.

“It’ll be a culture shock that I’m ready for,” he said.

As for his love of physics, Connor mentioned that it’s something that comes easily to him.

“In high school and previous, sciences and mathematics just came very naturally, very intuitively to me. I understood them, and I was able to tell that I had a gift with it that I could perceive that not everyone had,” he said. “I wanted to do something with it that would both challenge and excite me. As I took more courses, I just found a love of the material, a love of the challenges that the professors put before us.”

Connor said that he sees a “beautiful harmony” between science and religion, a place where some see conflict.

“My understanding of science deepens my level of faith, and I see a necessity for divine inspiration — not in a way that many describe as contradictory to science, but in a way that is, ‘How could this be spontaneous chance?’ Everything around us working to an exact perfection beyond what we could ever come up with, and it just furthers my faith,” he said.

Connor said that he hopes that his alternate career path will allow him some free time that he can devote to “self learning,” where he will spend his time involved in theoretical research. Some aspects of theoretical research that he hopes to explore are Einstein’s unified field theory and gravity.

“It wasn’t even that I didn’t want to pursue physics as a career,” he said. “It was that I realized I had a calling that superseded a calling to physics. With the help of some very good friends of mine, they helped me realized that I have certain gifts that call me to the ministry that call me to be a leader in the Roman Catholic church.”

Calling all Penguins!

petesprideAll proud Penguins have the option of joining Pete’s Pride, a volunteer program designed to get Penguins involved with different activities on campus.

“Pete’s Pride is a volunteer initiative that engages YSU alumni and friends of the university to help with recruitment, mentoring and networking,” said Heather Belgin, events coordinator for alumni.

The volunteer program is very flexible, and each member of Pete’s Pride can devote as much time as they would like to the program. Some recent events that Pete’s Pride members have helped with include Crash Day, the Fall Career Fair, Majors Fair, Experience Y Day and a letter writing initiative.

“Pete’s Pride helps attract new students, foster current students and engage recent graduates,” Heather said.

Pete’s Pride kicked off on October 23, but there are already over 400 registered members.

Members are able to choose which events they would like to participate in, and some can even act as a mentor to current students.

View a Pete’s Pride introductory video featuring President Tressel and Pete’s Pride members here. You can sign up for Pete’s Pride here.

Astronomy professors receive Hubble time

hs-2009-07-h-large_webDrs. Pat Durrell and John Feldmeier, both astronomy professors at YSU, have received time to use the Hubble Space Telescope for their research. Drs. Durrell and Feldmeier will be working with three other astronomers from Case Western Reserve University, including Dr. Chris Mihos,  who is leading the project.

The astronomers will be focusing on the outer disk of the popular galaxy M101, which is a spiral galaxy located roughly 22.5 million light years away.

“It sounds like a lot, but for galaxies, it’s just down the block,” Durrell said. “So because it’s really near by, we can get a really good look at it. Some galaxies are so far away they look like just two pixels on an image. M101 is close enough that we can do a detailed study of it.”

The project will center around researching the individual stars on the outskirts of the galaxy, where the galaxy has an asymmetrical shape. The goal is to figure out why the galaxy doesn’t hold the classic spiral disk shape.

“The thing is, when we look at [the galaxy], it’s not nice and round. Spiral galaxies are shaped like a plate; they’re flat and often round,” Durrell said. “Well, we’re looking at this one straight down on it, and it’s not round. It’s actually very bowed out on one side.”

They will be able to study the galaxy for a total of 26 orbits of the telescope, which equates to roughly 20 hours.

In order to receive time to use the telescope, a proposal had to be written explaining what they would do with the time requested. Only about one in eight proposals get accepted.

“I know students work hard on writing their term papers and their final exams and stuff; well, we’re still doing that now. This is when we write our final papers. The only problem is that only one in eight passes,” Durrell said.

The project is slated to start September 2015, but the research team is still waiting to see if funding has been granted for the project.

After the data is taken and analyzed, the group plans on publishing a pair of research papers, and creating a new fulldome show for the Ward Beecher Planetarium based on the findings.

Dr. Feldmeier said that this a huge opportunity for YSU, and that he was extremely happy when they were informed they received the Hubble time.

“For YSU, this means three things: 1) Access to one of the most advanced and powerful telescopes in the world, 2) Being able to do world-class research, 3) Creating opportunities for students who want to do real astronomical research,” Feldmeier said in an email. “I was thrilled and grateful. Competition for the Hubble Space Telescope is very keen - less than 10% of the proposals receive time on the telescope, and many excellent proposals do not get time. In astronomy, getting Hubble time is like scoring a touchdown in football.”

Learn about the stars with the Ward Beecher Planetarium

BackToTheMoon DSC_9185If you’re looking for something fun to do on the weekends, head over to the Ward Beecher Planetarium! The planetarium offers many different shows open to the public, and best of all, they’re free! That’s right! Free.

The planetarium opened in the late ‘60s and has been putting on free shows ever since. Planetarium engineer Curt Spivey said that they have a variety of shows, and that each show plays for a month, so you have plenty of chances to see them.

“The key is variety. We want to find shows that are popular but also informative,” Curt said.

Showtimes include 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for general audiences and shows at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturdays for younger viewers.

One of the most popular planetarium shows is “Cosmic Castaways,” which is shown for high school field trips.

“Cosmic Castaways is a show we produced here in-house based on the work of Dr. Feldmeier and Dr. Durrell. We already have it in 70 planetariums in 17 countries, but our final step to getting it done is to create a Spanish script and have a Spanish speaker speak the script to get the show into more places.”

Another show made at YSU was “George and Oatmeal Save Santa,” which was a popular holiday show. This year, George and Oatmeal are being replaced by “The Alien Who Stole Christmas,” a show that lets you tour the winter sky with Santa and alien Mr. Feep as they try to meet the needs of Christmas Eve.

A new show for November is “Back to the Moon for Good.”

“‘Back to the Moon for Good’ is about the Google Lunar XPrize. Google is offering money for the first team that can land a robot on Mars, drive it 500 meters, send back pictures and data from the moon. [The first team to do that] will receive $30 million from Google, and it’s [Google’s] incentive to start exploring the moon again,” Curt said. “It’s a way to get people to privately explore space.”

A list of public showings can be found at When you’re looking to take a break from studying, explore space with the Ward Beecher Planetarium!