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

Alumni Corner: Juggerbot 3D

Nobody works harder than YSU STEM students and alumni. Anybody can look at YSU STEM success stories and see that. Big ideas and friendship took three industrial engineering alumni to the Youngstown Business Incubator. These alumni are so hardworking and believe in their project so much that they are dedicating over 25 hours a week (in addition to their 40-50 hour a week jobs) to develop what they are hoping to be a juggernaut of the desktop 3D printing industry: Juggerbot 3D.

imageJim D’Andrea, Zac DiVencenzo and Dan Fernback are the pioneers of Juggerbot 3D. All three were industrial engineering majors at YSU. Jim and Dan graduated in May 2014, and Zac graduated in December 2014.

Before graduation, the three alumni became the guinea pigs of additive manufacturing at YSU.

“When the 3D printers first came into YSU, it just fell right into our laps. It came into the room that we liked to study. We got to take part in some of the projects down there that involved additive manufacturing,” Zac said.“Dan, Jim and I kind of participated as student ambassadors for additive manufacturing. So toward the end of our junior year we had plenty of ideas how we wanted to start a business and how we wanted to get into additive manufacturing.”

Jim and Dan already had some ideas they were running past each other, including installing a 3D printing kiosk in the main lobby of Moser Hall. From there, Jim and Zac worked together to design and manufacture a kiosk, and then tinkered with the YSU machines. Funds for this project were provided by Mrs. Patsy Bakos in memory of her late husband Jack Bakos, who was a very dedicated professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering department. The kiosks were then put out for student use. Zac said that’s when they realized “this is where it’s at.”

After Jim and Dan graduated in may, the trio still met up at local coffee shops to talk about pursuing a larger project. Through those talks they decided that they should make the 3D printers faster, along with other ideas. Soon, they decided they should try to get some space in the Youngstown Business Incubator.

While in the YBI Inspire Lab and in their work space, the Juggerbot 3D team produced their first prototype. The team wants to engage with local companies to do test runs, and they hope to launch the company fully and go to market come 2016.

Juggerbot 3D hopes to some day move onto working with metal printers, but for now they’re focusing on thermoplastic filament 3D printers.

“When you get into the thermoplastic filament printers, you have your desktops and your industrial grade printers, but there’s not a lot of in between,” Jim said. “Your industrial grade printers run anywhere from $50,000 to $500,000. Whereas a desktop, the nice ones are $4,000 to $6,000 but they go all the way down to a couple hundred dollars. So what we’re doing is we’re trying to create a desktop 3D printer that prints industrial grade parts.”

The biggest thing Juggerbot is going to tackle is quality.

“The parts that [most desktop printers] print end up being very poor quality, and we think with our designs and our ideas, we can kind of take some of the best parts of the desktop printer — like size and it’s agility — but get high quality parts off of them. [We want to make] something that prints industrial grade parts and can sit on your desk,” Jim said.

Jim stressed that Juggerbot is in the perfect location to continue its journey.

“We couldn’t have graduated from a better school in a better location,” Jim said. “And everything’s been working out perfectly. We’re at the number one university affiliated business incubator in the world, right down the street from YSU,” Jim said. “We’re all graduates. We know the professors up there, and they’re constantly graduating high-caliber students. America Makes is right in our back yard, the national research development center for additive manufacturing.”

Zac echoed Jim’s love for the area.

“We can’t come back enough and say how much [YBI] have given us,” he said. “They’ve given us a home. We started in their inspire lab. Jim Cossler has pushed us down the path that we’re on. … He is a true mentor, and he is a true entrepreneur in residence.”

Alumni Corner: William Hurst

HurstWilliam Hurst is a YSU STEM alum who gets to work at a truly magical place: a chocolate company.

Hurst started his career at the Hershey’s Company in 1976, a year after he finished his Master of Science in Chemistry at YSU. Soon afterward, in 1984, he received his doctorate from Columbia Pacific University.

He now works as a principle scientist for the Hershey’s Company.

“I’ve spent a number of years looking at analytical methods on food safety and nutrition I now provide technical assistance to our regulatory affairs group,” he said.

Hurst described coming to YSU as “serendipitous.”

“I didn’t know what I was going to do or where I was going to go. YSU looked intriguing,” Hurst said. “I enjoyed my time at YSU, and my family enjoyed the time in Youngstown. … I was married when I went there and had two children, so I didn’t get immersed, as you will, as some may have. I ended up with a teaching assistantship so I taught in the Chemistry department.”

He said that he was very fortunate that he had a job out of graduate school.

“Hershey’s was very supportive and I’ve done a lot here. I’m finishing up my 8th book. Between presentations and publications, I’ve got between 350 and 400. “

One thing that Hurst stressed was the importance of the STEM program.

“I think that there is a need for people in the program. We need people in the STEM program who are interested in the sciences,” he said. “I have two daughters that are young ladies, and I know the issues that are around women going into the sciences and the engineering, and we need to do what we can to support women in these fields.”

Hurst and his wife have started a diversity center at one of his local colleges.

“I think that we need diversity and we need to support young people going into the STEM area,” he said.

If you’re considering a degree in Chemistry, visit the YSU Department of Chemistry website.

Alumni Corner: Miranda Helmer

A lot of YSU STEM alumni go on to pursue extraordinary careers in their field. Our STEM alumni include people who work at Hershey’s, VEC, Inc., and even NASA.

Among those outstanding alumni is Miranda Helmer, who is the Director of Research & Development for new product innovation at The Clorox Company.

Miranda graduated from YSU in 1997 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and said that YSU was a wonderful experience and that being a Penguin helped her get her return on investment sooner than if she went to a more expensive university.

“YSU provided me with exceptional academics without the high price tag of other universities,” she said. “This enabled me to not be weighed down with the stress of how I would ever pay off my student loans.”

She manages a department of 24 Engineers and Ph.D. Chemists to develop new products for Clorox’s home care and laundry product lines. Some of the recent innovations from her team include Clorox Smart Seek Bleach, which was named as one of Better Homes and Gardens Best New Products for 2015 and was voted as the Best New Laundry Stain Remover.

Miranda said that she did have to work a bit harder than others with degrees from big schools, but said that academic organizations on campus were a big help.

“My advice would be to create strong chapters of organization such as [Society of Women Engineers] or [American Institute of Chemical Engineers].  These organizations have large conferences that companies attend,” she said. “At these conferences network, network, network.  There is a lot of recruiting that happens at these types of events.  Since the companies aren’t coming to your campus, you have to go to them.”

Miranda said that a big part of her success was being flexible with work location. After graduation she moved to Wisconsin to be a production supervisor with Frito-Lay PepsiCo. Two years after joining Frito-Lay, she was transferred to their Research and Development department, moving her to Dallas.

After spending 11 years at Frito-Lay and obtaining an MBA, Miranda and her husband made the move to California, where she put in two years at Chevron before moving to Clorox.

She also addressed a common thought of most students: “How many times will I actually use this stuff?”

“I mean, really, how many times will I actually need to size a heat exchanger?” she said. “What I didn’t realize was that, more than the exact content they were teaching, they were training my brain a way of thinking. The curriculum is set up to give you broad knowledge of content. The content was used to train our brains how to approach a problem in a structured and logical fashion. That can be applied to anything thrown at you.”

And in case you’re wondering just how many times you’ll need to size a heat exchanger, the answer is one.

“You will likely size a heat exchanger just once in your career but you will use the way of thinking everyday.”

Alumni Corner: Pete Walsh

Pete Walsh
Pete Walsh

There 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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Alumni Corner: Graduate commencement speaker Katie Hyden

Kaite Hyden

Kaite Hyden was more than just a graduate at the May 17th Commencement Ceremony for graduate students; she was the speaker. Katie knows that she will remember the day for a long time, and she hopes that her fellow graduates feel the same.

The Girard native graduated with her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2012, and has always been very involved with the engineering program. She was a member of the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, a member of Tau Beta Pi, a STEM activities volunteer, and much more. To say that Katie made her academic career as rounded as possible would be an understatement.

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Alumni Corner: Marc Malandro

Marc Malandro

Some people look back on their college days and think about all of the fun they had or the time they spent in class. Some do not look back on the college where they spent a good four or more years at all. Occasionally, however, a college will get an alumni like Marc Malandro, who not only looks back on his time at Youngstown State University favorably, but visits often as a part of so many different events.

Marc graduated from YSU in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. He continued his education at YSU and completed his master’s degree in 1991. While he finished up his schooling with a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Florida College of Medicine, he wasn’t quite done with YSU. Continue reading “Alumni Corner: Marc Malandro”

Alumni Corner: Suzy Thompson Maddock

Suzy Thompson Maddock

YSU STEM believes that all of its students are able to go the distance. While many may not have gone on to study the great beyond like Suzy Thompson Maddock, we know that they will make it!

Mrs. Maddock, a Boardman, Ohio native, graduated from YSU in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Astronomy and a minor in Mathematics. She left YSU to succeed in many different ways, including in her current career.

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Alumni Corner: Julia Mercer

Julia Mercer

YSU STEM always enjoys learning what its former students are up to and sharing our congratulations on the success of our alumni, like Julia Mercer. Julia, after graduating from YSU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, has gone on to find a great deal of success pursuing her career.

It didn’t take long for Julia, a Michigan native, to find where she belonged. For the last five years, she has worked as an engineer for Carmeuse Lime and Stone, which mines and manufactures industrial chemicals. Specifically, Julia focuses her work and engineering skills on traveling to customers’ work sites to make sure that the chemicals are being used safely and efficiently, which is something that is very important to Carmeuse.  She also builds customer relationships, develops new products, and protects the company’s intellectual property. Much of what Julia does today, though, reflects the skills that she learned while at YSU.

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Alumni Corner: Annette Marado

Annette Marado
Alumna Annette Marado

Youngstown State University is known for having a great engineering program, and that great engineering program has a tendency to produce great alumni. Annette Marado is one of those alumni.

The Warren native graduated from YSU with a bachelors degree in materials engineering. After working for many years in the flat roll steel industry, predominately with automotive customers, Annette found her dream job at The Timken Company.

Annette has moved higher in responsibility with each job she has had throughout her career. She started with The Timken Company in Corporate Purchasing. Quickly, Annette moved over to the steel side of the business, as a sales engineer. More recently, Annette has been promoted to being the Manager of Global Business Development for Timken Steel. Continue reading “Alumni Corner: Annette Marado”

Alumni Corner: Dan Martin

DAN Martin
Dan Martin

Dan Martin was a little surprised to hear that he would be presented with the outstanding young alumnus award at this year’s STEM Awards dinner.  The graduate of Youngstown State University, now a leader in Lubrizol Company, attended the dinner with his wife Amy.

Dan started at YSU in Industrial and Systems Engineering and graduated in 2003. Since YSU has such flexible programs, he decided to attend YSU again and earn his masters degree.

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