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.

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi FellowshipJenna Wise has been awarded a Fellowship worth $5,000 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Wise is one of 57 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.

Wise received bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from Youngstown State University. As a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, she will pursue a Ph.D. in software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jenna was also recently awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation, which you can read about here. She was also one of the two Goldwater Scholars chosen from YSU last year along with Andrew Morgan. More information on that can be found at YSU News.

Since its creation in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of the Society’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $345,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. Currently, 51 Fellowships of $5,000 and six of $15,000 are awarded each year.

The selection process for a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

In addition to the Fellowship Program, the Society awards $1.4 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through study abroad grants, dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897. Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

Student Organization Spotlight: Women in Science

WinS logoWomen in Science (WinS) is a brand new STEM student organization here at Youngstown State University. It was created to help promote the participation of women in science-related fields.

Alexandra Fountaine, student president and cofounder of the organization, is a senior studying psychology and biology. She is excited for WinS to grow and really make an impact on students at YSU.

“When Gloria Steinem lectured at Stambaugh Auditorium last March, she said WinS ‘sounds like a great idea’ and she wished us ‘the best of luck’ with our group!” said Alex. “Not many organizations can say that Gloria Steinem endorses them!”

So far, WinS has hosted holiday bake sales and a guest speaker seminar, and they are hoping to collaborate with local middle schools and high schools for more events.

Being female is not a requirement to join WinS. Gender inclusivity and diversity in science is the real focus, so any students with a STEM major or minor are welcome.

“We hope to find novel ways to provide females with the encouragement and support they need to maintain successful educations and careers in science,” said Alex.

Students interested in joining or learning more about WinS can email Alex at afountaine@student.ysu.edu. This is a great opportunity for students, especially freshmen, to become involved in science-related events and to help build a community on campus.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Gary Walker

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 new monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.

Dr. Gary Walker is a professor and chairperson of Biological Sciences at YSU. He obtained a PhD in Biological Sciences from the Wayne State University of Michigan. He began graduate school with an interest in becoming a developmental biologist with focus on cell division and later in stem cells.

His interest in biomedical research began decades ago but recently changed direction when he collaborated with a local neurologist, Dr. Carl Ansevin. They wrote several papers together and heavily researched muscle proteins. Now he is mainly focusing on the basic molecular programming of muscle tissue with anticipation that he can eventually engineer a functional muscle.

Dr. Walker is currently studying the growth of muscle cell cultures to advance the fundamental understanding of muscle development and function. In addition, he is interested in tissue engineering, specifically 3D-printed structures, which will be used primarily for therapy purposes.

Given his research background, one of his goals is to create functional muscles. To create a 3D-printed tissue structure, Dr. Walker grows myoblasts in cell cultures that are then mixed with a bio gel. The bio gel aides in the suspension of the cells and maintains the 3D structure throughout the printing process. A computerized 3D fluid printer is then used to create a specific geometric structure allowing the “tissues” to transfer to culture vessels so that the myoblasts can grow.

“As you can see, these myofibers form in all sorts of directions,” said Dr. Walker. “So you can’t make a functional muscle because in a functional muscle all these fibers have to be aligned parallel.”

In the end, once the cells are understood and a live tissue is formed, Dr. Walker wants to tinker with the geometry of the tissue, making it more like a standard muscle tissue.

Once the structure is fit for usage in medical procedures, his personal hope for the 3D-printed muscle tissue is to benefit trauma patients and those who experience muscle diseases. This research project has tied together his love of growing cells and researching how functional tissues are formed. The project is also a great way to show the transition between basic and applied knowledge.

There is great potential for this research and Dr. Walker could be an important part of this advancement of biomedical technology.

Recent Publication: Biology Student, Faculty, and Staff

Thomas DR, Chadwell BA, Walker GR, Budde JE, Vandeberg JL, Butcher MT. “Ontogeny of myosin isoform expression and prehensile function in the tail of the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica),” Journal of Applied Physiology, May 2017. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00651.2016

Former YSU biology student Dylan Thomas authored this paper in collaboration with faculty and staff from YSU, Ohio University, and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. The paper was submitted in July 2016 and was accepted and published in May 2017 by the American Physiological Society.

Abstract:

Terrestrial opossums use their semi-prehensile tail for grasping nesting materials as opposed to arboreal maneuvering. We relate the development of this adaptive behavior with ontogenetic changes in myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform expression from 21 days to adulthood. Monodelphis domestica is expected to demonstrate a progressive ability to flex the distal tail up to age 7 months, when it should exhibit routine nest construction. We hypothesize that juvenile stages (3-7 months) will be characterized by retention of the neonatal isoform (MHC-Neo), along with predominant expression of fast MHC-2X and 2B, which will transition into greater MHC-1β and 2A isoform content as development progresses. This hypothesis was tested using Q-PCR to quantify and compare gene expression of each isoform to its protein content determined by gel electrophoresis and densitometry. These data were correlated with nesting activity in an age-matched sample of each age group studied. Shifts in regulation of MHC gene transcripts matched well with isoform expression. Notably, mRNA for MHC-Neo and 2B decrease, resulting in little-to-no isoform translation after age 7 months, whereas mRNA for MHC-1β and 2A increase, and this corresponds with subtle increases in content for these isoforms into late adulthood. Despite the tail remaining intrinsically fast-contracting, a critical growth period for isoform transition is observed between 7 and 13 months, correlating primarily with use of the tail during nesting activities. Functional transitions in MHC isoforms and fiber type properties may be associated with muscle ‘tuning’ repetitive nest remodeling tasks requiring sustained contractions of the caudal flexors.

Faculty Publication: Dr. Jim Andrews

Daniel Wehrung, Elaheh. A. Chamsaz, James H. Andrews, Abraham Joy, and Moses O. Oyewumi, “Engineering Alkoxyphenacyl-Polycarbonate Nanoparticles for Potential Application in Near-Infrared Light-Modulated Drug Delivery via Photon Up-Conversion Process,” Journal of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology 17, 4867-4881 (2017). 

This publication describes the results of experiments primarily done at NEOMED, but also at YSU’s Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, using nano-crystals to convert near infrared light to ultraviolet light. Typically, ultraviolet light is difficult to apply as a form of medical phototherapy due to its harmful effects to other tissues. Using the materials studied in this paper, the primary exposure would instead be to infrared light that is then converted to ultraviolet at the site of the phototherapy for localized treatment. This work was led by Daniel Wehrung as part of his successful PhD dissertation work at NEOMED under the supervision of Dr. Moses Oyewumi in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences. Dr. Andrews assisted with experiments at YSU as part of this study.

Abstract:

Photoresponsive delivery systems that are activated by high energy photo-triggers have been accorded much attention because of the capability of achieving reliable photoreactions at short irradiation times. However, the application of a high energy photo-trigger (UV light) is not clinically viable. Meanwhile, the process of photon-upconversion is an effective strategy to generate a high energy photo-trigger in-situ through exposure to clinically relevant near-infrared (NIR) light. In this regard, we synthesized photon upconverting nanocrystals (UCNCs) that were subsequently loaded into photoresponsive nanoparticles (NPs) prepared using alkoxyphenacyl-based polycar- bonate homopolymer (UCNC-APP-NPs). UCNC loading affected resultant NP size, size distribu- tion, colloidal stability but not the zeta potential. The efficiency of NIR-modulated drug delivery was impacted by the heterogenetic nature of the resultant UCNC-APP-NPs which was plausibly formed through a combination of UCNC entrapment within the polymeric NP matrix and nucleation of polymer coating on the surface of the UCNCs. The biocompatibility of UCNC-APP-NPs was demonstrated through cytotoxicity, macrophage activation, and red blood cell lysis assays. Studies in tumor-bearing (nu/nu) athymic mice showed a negligible distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to retic- uloendothelial tissues. Further, distribution of UCNC-APP-NPs to various tissues was in the order (highest to lowest): Lungs > Tumor > Kidneys > Liver > Spleen > Brain > Blood > Heart. In all, the work highlighted some important factors that may influence the effectiveness, reproducibility biocompatibility of drug delivery systems that operate on the process of photon-upconversion.

Visit YSU STEM: High School Groups

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.

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Available STEM Visit Days for Fall 2017

Wednesday, September 20th– This is a special visit day in conjunction with the Regional 7 Days of STEM Festival. High School seniors are invited to come to campus, sit in classes, tour labs, and meet with faculty and students in their STEM major of interest. Space is limited and interested students must RSVP by contacting Emilie Eberth at egeberth@ysu.edu or 330.941.2884

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!

Building Bridges Panel Discussion

Recently Sherri Hrusovski, Director for the STEM Professional Services office with the College of STEM at Youngstown State University recently arranged and participated in the “Building Bridges from High School to College to Career through Internship Experiences” panel discussion at the Ohio Cooperative Education Association (OCEA) Conference on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Other panel participants included Student – Rana Abu-Hashim – Chemical Engineering, STEM Co-op of the Year at the YSU College of STEM and Graduate of Chaney High School; John Pierko, Vice President – Technical Services, ms consultants, inc.; Pam Lubich, STEM Coordinator, Chaney High School (Youngstown City Schools); and facilitated by Judith Crocker, Workforce and Talent Development Consultant.

As the lead for the STEM Outreach Initiative grant program, Youngstown State University College of STEM initiated the partnership between local employers and the Chaney High School STEM program. The goal was to create internship opportunities for qualified Chaney High School students with local employers. Students who were interested in the program had to complete an application process (Application, complete a 500 word essay, and obtain parent permission if they were under 17 years of age), attend a 2-day Career Development work-shop, and then interview with the employers. After the student completed the entire process successfully, and then enrolled at Youngstown State University, the grant provided the students with a $1,500.00 scholarship divided into two semesters. Rana Abu-Hashim who participated with the panel was one of these success stories.

The panel concentrated on how high school internships provide students an opportunity to apply curriculum to the workplace. Strong partnerships, with high school and college staff, workforce intermediaries, and willing employers allow students to bridge from school to college to a successful career with a strong resumé, documented work experience related to their degree, and enhanced earning power. In this panel presentation, representatives from the partners will describe their roles and provide examples of how they work together to help high school students successfully obtain internship/co-op positions. These programs benefit the students and the schools by helping students determine their career and academic pathways. These decisions help benefit the schools, the employers, and the regional economy.

Student Competitions: Steel Bridge & Baja Car

Steel Bridge

The YSU Steel Bridge team placed 11th overall at the National Student Steel Bridge Competition. This is tied for the highest that YSU has ever placed at the competition. There were approximately 45 schools there mostly from the United States, but Puerto Rico, China, Mexico, and Canada were all represented as well. Approximately 250 schools participated in the regional competitions combined prior.

The 2017 National Student Steel Bridge Competition was hosted by the ASCE Student Chapter of Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon, on May 26-27, 2017.

YSU placed second in the display category, fifth in the construction economy category, and eighth in the lightness category.

The team members were Tommy Carnes, Greg Lipp, David Mendenhall, Nico Pagley, Spencer DeSalvo, and Kenny Anderson.

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Competition Mission:

The mission of the ASCE/AISC Student Steel Bridge Competition (SSBC) is to supplement the education of civil engineering students with a comprehensive, student-driven project experience from conception and design through fabrication, erection, and testing, culminating in a steel structure that meets client specifications and optimizes performance and economy. The SSBC increases awareness of real-world engineering issues such as spatial constraints, material properties, strength, serviceability, fabrication and erection processes, safety, esthetics, and cost. Success in inter-collegiate competition requires effective teamwork and project management. Future engineers are stimulated to innovate, practice professionalism, and use structural steel efficiently.

Baja Car

The YSU Baja team competed at the Baja International event in Peoria, IL, June 7-10, 2017.

109 teams participated from the US (all over), Canada, Mexico, India, and the United Arab Emirates. View the full list of participating schools: http://students.sae.org/cds/bajasae/midwest/teams/.

YSU placed 33rd overall.

In dynamic events:

Acceleration 62nd
Rock Crawl 48th
Hill Climb 42nd
Maneuverability 20th

The main event: 4-hour endurance race, YSU placed 16th!

YSU Baja Team

Students that went to competition include

4 newly graduated seniors:

  • Zach Thompson—hired at Marsh Bellofram
  • Donny Dixon—hired at Timken
  • Nick Mastrangelo—hired at Quality Bridge and Fab
  • Matt Silvers—job searching now that Baja is complete

5 rising seniors that will be doing Baja next year in senior design,

4 rising juniors that will assist in Baja next year.

Alumni Spotlight: Michael Bellas

Michael BellasMichael Bellas graduated from YSU in May with a major in chemistry and minor in geology. He actually changed majors three times before finding his place in the chemistry department.

While at YSU, Michael made the most of the resources available to him. He worked on quite a bit of research with Dr. Genna and presented at YSU’s QUEST, the Pennsylvania-Ohio Border Section of the American Chemical Society at Westminster College, and the University of Akron’s Ohio Inorganic Weekend.

Interdisciplinary research is emphasized in the STEM College at YSU, and Michael has firsthand experience in this kind of research.

“This research often involved collaboration between departments (Chemistry, Physics, and Geology) as well as local industry, notably the Materials Research Laboratory in Struthers,” said Michael.

Michael was also very involved outside of the classroom, claiming membership in Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Alpha Lambda, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the YSU student chapter of the American Chemical Society (treasurer). He also worked on campus in the Center for Student Progress.

Currently Michael is interning at the University of Michigan in Dr. Melanie Sanford’s lab. In the fall he will begin working toward his PhD from the University of Michigan while undoubtedly pursuing more research opportunities.

“I am not really sure what I will do after that- whether I’ll end up in academia or industry,” said Michael. “I just want to do chemistry and have fun, that’s about the most honest answer I can give you!”

While reflecting on his time at YSU, Michael explains that he was given the best opportunities because the size of the STEM College is just right.

“The STEM program is large enough that I had access to the very same equipment being used at top 10 universities, like Columbia and Northwestern, yet small enough that the faculty could give me the hands on attention that fostered my success,” said Michael.

Check out Michael’s first publication in Inorganic Chemistry!

Michael K. Bellas, Joseph J. Mihaly, Matthias Zeller, and Douglas T Genna, “Anion-Cation Mediated Structural Rearrangement of 3-Dimensional Interpenetrated Metal-Organic Frameworks,” Inorganic Chemistry 2017, 56, 950-955.

Transforming the Future: Chemistry Graduate is Princeton-Bound

Tyler PabstTyler Pabst is a recent graduate from YSU with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a minor in mathematics.

A truly dedicated student, Tyler has been heavily involved in the Honors College and has also served as a trustee and treasurer for the University Scholars Program. Working in the Center for Student Progress and volunteering for a number of non-profit organizations in Youngstown further enriched his experiences during his time at YSU.

“I started college as a Biology major with the intent to go to medical school,” said Tyler, “but when I took organic chemistry the summer following my freshman year, I really fell in love with it and started thinking about becoming a scientist.”

After committing to chemistry, Tyler immediately became involved with Dr. Genna’s research group. This research led him to present results as far as Seattle, and he hopes to publish a full paper soon. Though his research was quite distinct from most of the other research in Dr. Genna’s group, it has left an impact.

“My work has also given rise to some new project ideas that the group will pursue in the future,” said Tyler.

Tyler will be attending Princeton in the fall to begin working on his PhD. He aspires to become a professor and lead his own research groups. For now he continues to work in the lab on organometallics research that may lead to publishing an in-depth paper.

Many YSU STEM students have expressed surprise and gratitude toward the availability of professors and research opportunities for undergraduate students, and Tyler is no exception.

“I think it was very valuable that, even as a 19-year-old undergrad who didn’t yet fully understand what I was doing, I could be trusted to just dive in to research,” said Tyler. “I think we’re in a sweet spot in terms of resources and accessibility of those resources.”

This commentary from Tyler sums it all up:

“I’ve thought recently about how I, as a high school senior who committed to YSU because it was my cheapest option, would react to the idea that I was headed to Princeton for a PhD in chemistry.  In all honesty, I did not expect to grow as much as I have in these four years, or to get such a world-class education, or to be in the position that I find myself in now.  I consider myself fortunate to be a YSU penguin at the best time ever to be one.  Our chemistry department is sending recent graduates to Notre Dame, Michigan, and Princeton this summer for PhDs.  I have friends going into engineering doctoral programs at UC-Berkeley and Yale, and still others working for Tesla, GE, and Google.  I’m so excited to see the amazing things YSU students do for years to come; I don’t think there’s any doubt that we’re trending upward.”

We at YSU STEM congratulate Tyler on his accomplishments, wish him the best at Princeton, and look forward to hearing about his future successes.

Student Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant

Elizabeth UrigElizabeth Urig of Canfield, Ohio, recently was awarded a Study Abroad Grant worth $1,000 from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Urig is one of 50 students nationwide to receive the award.

A recent graduate of applied mathematics and mechanical engineering at Youngstown State University, Urig will use the grant to study abroad in Budapest, Hungary.

The selection process for a study abroad grant is based on the applicant’s academic achievement, campus and community service, relation of travel to academic preparation and career goals, a personal statement, letters of recommendation, and acceptance into a study abroad program.

Established in 2001, Phi Kappa Phi’s Study Abroad Grant Program has awarded more than $775,000 to undergraduate students. In addition to these grants, the Society awards $1.4 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through graduate fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

To learn more about the study abroad grants and other Phi Kappa Phi awards, visit www.phikappaphi.org/awards.

About Phi Kappa Phi
Founded in 1897, Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Phi Kappa Phi inducts annually approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni. The Society has chapters at more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. Faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction also qualify. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information about Phi Kappa Phi, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

Faculty Publication: Robert J. Korenic

Robert J. Korenic, Associate Professor, Civil and Construction Engineering Technology, presented a paper entitled “Youngstown State University ‘Gateway Project’ Rain Garden Design Upgrades.” The paper was presented at the Engineering Sustainability Innovation and the Triple Bottom Line Conference on April 10, 2017 in Pittsburgh, PA. This is a national conference affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering and the Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation.

Robert J. Korenic

 

Abstract:

The Youngstown State University (YSU) “Gateway Project,” completed several years ago, was a large scale grounds and facilities project intended to upgrade several campus buildings and the grounds surrounding these facilities. Many of the upgrades utilized Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) sustainable design criteria. Included in these upgrades was the installation of bioswale and rain garden areas intended to help manage storm water runoff from new parking facilities. While the bioswales are functioning as intended, the rain garden has never maintained plant life and is not functioning to manage storm water runoff. Phase one of this research involved testing the hydraulic conductivity of the soil in the garden, sampling the soil for its pH and identifying the soil stratification in the garden by digging test pits. This document will recap the results of that research and build on those results by specifying how the rain garden can be rebuilt in order to properly manage the storm water runoff.