Civil Engineering Competitions: Concrete Canoe & Steel Bridge

The YSU American Society of Civil Engineers has been hard at work this year. The concrete canoe and steel bridge teams competed well at the Ohio Valley Student Conference in Columbus, Ohio (The Ohio State University) in April.

Concrete Canoe

The concrete canoe team placed second overall out of nine teams at their regional competition.

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There are four main categories for judging: design paper, oral presentation, final product, and racing.

2nd in design paper

4th in oral presentation

2nd in final product

2nd in racing

1st in men’s sprint
2nd in men’s endurance
3rd in women’s sprint
3rd in women’s endurance
2nd in coed sprint

The endurance races include a 100 m slalom with 500 m of additional course.

Men’s and women’s sprints are two 100 m straights with a 180 degree turn in between.

Both men’s and women’s races have two people in the canoe at a time.

The coed sprint has two men and two women in the boat, and the team must altogether complete 400 m of straight and three 180 degree turns.

Other schools in the competition included the University of Akron, Western Kentucky University, University of Cincinnati, University of Louisville, Cincinnati State University, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio University, and Ohio State University.

YSU team members included Miranda DeFuria (captain), Thomas Carnes, David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Gregory Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Kelly Hollis, Taylor Monroe, Jacob Millerleile, Julian Rosales, Montana Gessler, and Kenneth Anderson.

Steel Bridge

For this competition, students must design a 20′ scale bridge of a 200′ bridge. There are various design constraints that are given each year that present new challenges and are given in attempt to make this design experience as close to a real-life situation as possible.

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The factors that decide the score are as follows:

  • the weight of the bridge
  • the amount that the bridge deflects when loaded with 2500 pounds
  • how quickly the bridge can be assembled at the competition
  • the appearance of the bridge

The YSU team placed first overall

1st in lightness

1st in display

1st in structural efficiency

2nd in construction speed

2nd in construction economy

4th in stiffness

The team members included Tommy Carnes (captain), David Mendenhall, Leah McConnell, Karen Schilling, Nico Pagley, Greg Lipp, Spencer DeSalvo, Miranda DeFuria, Montana Gessler, and Kenny Anderson.

Nationals are being hosted by Oregon State University May 26-27.

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded NSF Fellowship

Jenna WiseJenna Wise, a recent computer science and mathematics graduate, has been awarded a 2017 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. 2,000 STEM students nationwide were awarded out of a pool of more than 13,000 applicants.

The fellowship program recognizes students for their academic efforts while pursuing a research-based, graduate-level degree in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.

Jenna’s name may sound familiar to many because of her strong presence here at YSU:

  • Webmaster and former president of Pi Mu Epsilon
  • President and former vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery–Women
  • Tutor at the Mathematics Assistance Center
  • Student researcher in the Software Engineering Research and Empirical Studies Laboratory (CSIS Department under Dr. Sharif)
  • 2016 Barry Goldwater Scholarship recipient
  • Author and co-author of several math and computer science publications

With many activities and accomplishments under her belt, Jenna has already compiled an impressive resume through all of her hard work.

She has worked on NSF-funded research in the past, including her eye-tracking research with Dr. Sharif which was also the basis of her senior project.

Jenna is spending her summer as an intern for IBM Research before attending Carnegie Mellon University for her PhD studies in the fall.

Check out this article from YSU News to read more about Jenna and her award.

View details about the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship Program here.

Co-op of the Year: Rana Abuhashim

Rana AbuhashimJunior chemical engineering major Rana Abuhashim was named Co-op of the Year 2016 for her work with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron.

Each year, one student is selected to receive the award for outstanding performance on the job and positive influence in the community.

Though much of Rana’s work with Goodyear was confidential, she said that it was a good fit with her major area of study.

“A lot of stuff that I learned in class I was able to apply in the field,” she said.

All professors hope that their classroom instruction really does make an impact and help students in their fields, and students like Rana prove that the connection between school and work is real.

Rana is continuing her work with Goodyear this summer as she spends this rotation in Kansas.

Students can be considered for Co-op or Intern of the Year through an application process which includes an essay and a recommendation from a faculty advisor and employer. Rana received notice of the opportunity through the STEM Professional Services at YSU.

Rana’s advice to all students is to get involved—join student organizations, find an internship, stand out.

“It’s not all about the grades. Get the experience and put it on your resume,” said Rana.

In addition to her co-op experience, Rana has also been involved in AIChE, SWE, Phi Sigma Rho, and the Emerging Leaders Program.

Student Research: QUEST & STEM Showcase

QUEST

QUEST is a unique university sponsored forum for undergraduate and graduate students to:

  • Present scholarship to the community
  • Share acheivements and creations
  • Hone conference presentation skills
  • Receive University recognition for accomplishments

Examples of past QUEST submissions include:

  • Results and finished products of scientific research
  • Musical scores
  • Engineering designs and analyses
  • Panel discussions of social, political, and economic issues
  • Poetry readings
  • Honors and senior theses
  • Study abroad experiences

QUEST presentation

Three graduate presentations were selected to present at Best of Quest; two of them were STEM students:

  • Sarah Springer (College of STEM)
    • Anion controlled synthesis of partially halogenated In-derived metal-organic frameworks
  • Jennifer Moore (College of STEM) 2017 Best of QUEST Winner
    • Tuning the substrate specificity of the glutathione transferase GstB from Escherichia coli via site-directed mutagenesis.

One undergraduate project from each college was selected to present at Best of QUEST; two were selected from STEM as a tie:

  • Antonio DiSalvo, Mark Plant, Elizabeth Urig (College of STEM) (tie)
    • Optimized Rim for Spring Tires
  • Vincent Dell’Arco, Jared Fink (College of STEM) (tie)
    • Automatic Tong Mechanism Senior Design Project

A complete program for QUEST 2017 can be found here, which includes abstracts for the projects.


STEM Showcase

The STEM Showcase is an annual event highlighting our students and the projects they have worked hard on all year.

On Saturday, April 22, 2017, students set up posters, tables, experiments, prototypes, and finished projects in Moser Hall so that guests could examine the students’ knowledge and effort. Facilities were available for touring including the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, YSU’s bragworthy 3D printing lab.

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Third Annual STEM Honors Convocation

On Monday, April 24, undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in STEM programs were recognized for their hard work in the classroom as well as in the community. Congratulations to all students who were honored with scholarships, memberships, and other awards to celebrate their success!

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University Awards

Clarence P. Gould Honor Society

Membership awarded to students on the basis of academic achievement and breadth of academic courses

Leah Bayer
Jonathon Burns
Andrew Morgan
Tyler Pabst
Dusti Pilkington
Elizabeth Rogenski
Amanda Seidler
Cassandra Shaffer
Andrew Whipkey

Theodore P. and Evelyn H. Chengelis Memorial Scholarship

Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student of Hellenic heritage who will matriculate to medical school

Ellianna Hoff

O’Horo Family Scholarship in Engineering

To an upper-division student enrolled in the engineering program and a resident of Mahoning, Trumbull, or Columbiana County

Joshua Robinson

Woodrow Wilson Legacy Scholarship

Awarded to Woodrow Wilson High School graduates or descendants pursuing an undergraduate degree

Zachary Jacobson

Shorty and Elba Navarro Scholarship

Awarded to a student of Hispanic descent, with a minimum 2.5 GPA, who is a resident of Columbiana, Lawrence, Mahoning, Mercer, and Trumbull counties

Adam DeMarco
Diego Antonio Mendel

Dr. Earnest and Doris Perry Diversity Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to an African-American student with a minimum 2.4 GPA who has graduated from a high school in the Mahoning Valley

Janessa Rich

William H. Farnell Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a worthy and financially needed student who is a graduate of Poland Seminary High School, Struthers High School or any high school from the Mahoning Valley

Montana Gessler

Shorty and Elba Navarro Scholarship for Students in Education, Nursing, Science, Technology, or Mathematics

This scholarship is awarded to a student of sophomore ranking or higher, who is majoring in Education, Nursing, Science, Technology or Mathematics, who has a minimum 2.5 GPA that is a resident of Columbiana, Mahoning, or Trumbull county.

Bruno Serrano

Undergraduate Awards

Douglas Faires Outstanding Student in Mathematics and Statistics Award

Awarded for outstanding academic achievement in the study of Mathematics and Statistics

Monica Busser
Kyle Gumble
Gabrielle Van Scoy

B.J. Yozwiak Mathematics Award

Awarded to a senior majoring in Mathematics who has demonstrated outstanding academic performance

Jenna Wise Continue reading

Intern of the Year: Carmen Marinucci

Carmen MarinucciJunior mechanical engineering student Carmen Marinucci has been named Intern of the Year 2016 for his internship work with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron.

Each year, one student is selected to receive the award for outstanding performance on the job and positive influence in the community. The Intern of the Year Award was presented at the annual Internship/Co-op Appreciation Event.

Carmen worked for Goodyear in the Global Engineering division on the curing team.

“My team specifically was curing, which is a process in making the tire—it’s one of the last processes, the vulcanization of rubber,” said Carmen.

He said that he was assigned to all different sorts of projects during his internship, including design and research. Being on summer rotations, Carmen will resume his work with Goodyear during the summer, this time in North Carolina.

When asked about his classroom work, he said that it has been affected by his internship immensely. He has experienced what it’s like to take classroom knowledge into the “real world.”

“I’ve learned that it’s important to just learn as much as you can because you never know when you’re going to have to use it,” said Carmen.

Not only did he perform well on the job, but he has also involved himself in academic groups on campus. Carmen is a member of STEM Leadership Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program. He also presented a project at QUEST and the STEM Showcase this semester, as he has in the past.

Carmen’s advice for finding a good internship? All STEM students should attend the STEM Expos, even freshmen. Goodyear was the first company he spoke with during last year’s fall expo, and he clearly made a good decision in that.

Student Organization Spotlight: STEM Leadership Society

SLS LogoSTEM Leadership Society is an organization for all majors within STEM who want to become more involved with volunteer work and professional networking.

Every year, invitations are sent out to local area high school seniors who plan to attend YSU as a STEM student. Those students, who are in good academic standing, will have a chance to be interviewed to join SLS.

To be accepted, students must display academic success as well as leadership skills. Because of this, many SLS members are also involved in other student organizations.

In addition to the group’s monthly meetings, members volunteer to help with many STEM-related events around campus and in the local community. SLS organized Meet the Employers and a recent STEM jacket sale, and they helped out with the STEM Open House and Silly Science Sunday. Officers in SLS are hoping to schedule a Habitat for Humanity build day in the near future.

SLS Members

Incoming freshmen are encouraged to join, but current YSU students can also apply here online.

Joining an organization like STEM Leadership Society is beneficial for multiple reasons: students get more involved in the community and the college, it provides great networking opportunities, and it looks great on a resume!

Recent STEM Events

Physics Olympics

YSU’s annual Physics Olympics took place on February 25, 2017 in Stambaugh Stadium. Students from dozens of schools in nearby counties gathered to compete in a series of twelve events that demand collaboration, applied physics, and all-around fun.

Some events included were the egg drop, bridge building, house of cards, and ping-pong ball launch competitions.

Women in STEM Career Workshop

The 20th Annual Edward W. Powers Women in STEM Career Workshop was held on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at Youngstown State University.

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The workshop was designed for middle school and high school girls to come and meet with female STEM professionals, including scientists and YSU faculty, staff, and students. Panel discussions were held to answer any questions about working in STEM fields, and participants were given the opportunity to observe and participate in real science work.

Miniature Bridge Building Competition

Youngstown State University hosted the 10th Annual Mahoning Valley Miniature Bridge Building Competition on February 24, 2017. Local businesses have sponsored the competition each year in conjunction with the Mahoning and Trumbull County Engineers.

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This is a great learning experience for students because they can see for themselves what real engineers have to do: design and maintain bridge structures.

This year’s winner was Brookfield High School. Their bridge held 130 lbs and set a new record for the weight of the bridge to weight held ratio.

Crystal Growing Competition

On March 8, 2017, students from local area high schools gathered at Youngstown State University for a crystal growing competition. A winner was selected from each of the following categories: most perfect single crystal, biggest single crystal, best crystal cluster, artistic expression, and wildcard.

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While on campus, the students toured the Clarence R. Smith Mineral Museum in Moser Hall and visited the Ward Beecher Planetarium for a show.

Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing

Women and men from 40 colleges and universities and 23 Ohio-based companies met at the Sawmill Creek Resort in Huron, Ohio on February 24-25, 2017. This was for the Ohio Celebration of Women in Computing Conference 2017.

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The conference is held every two years and it focuses on career advice for young women in IT, student research poster sessions, and professional networking.

Jenna Wise, a double major in Computer Science and Mathematics at YSU, presented her poster submission “Predicting Developer Expertise From Eye Gazes on Source Code.”

Alyssa Pawluk, a computer science major at YSU, presented her poster “Improving Stack Overflow Tag Prediction Using Eye Tracking.”

The keynote speaker this year was Margaret Burnett, a distinguished professor from Oregon State University. She gave a speech on Gender Inclusiveness in Software Companies, namely a method called GenderMag.

HackYSU 2017

Youngstown State University’s annual hackathon, HackYSU, took place February 17-19, 2017. This event, hosted by the Penguin Hackers student organization, allows students to “hack” for 36 hours straight. Projects include apps, websites, games, robots, and everything in between.

Students came from colleges and universities from all over Ohio and even beyond to participate in HackYSU this year in the DeBartolo Stadium Club Room. The attendance this year was incredible, with more than 140 participants, 23 mentors, and 26 total projects submitted for judging.

Judging was based on originality, creativity, technical difficulty, and execution, among other things.

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The group that received first place created an app that allows users to turn a smart phone into a computer mouse. One of the students from the University of Akron came up with the idea when he realized he’d forgotten his mouse at home. Rather than go without a mouse, he and his group created one.

Many groups utilized the several 3D printers that were available for the weekend, even with no previous experience in additive manufacturing.

All of the sponsors were critical in the success of the event, especially Major League Hacking, who provided the winners’ prizes, some really cool equipment, and some great advice on projects.

The projects were judged by a diverse group of judges from different businesses and backgrounds, including Dr. Kriss Schueller of YSU’s Department of Computer Science and Information Systems.

To learn more about HackYSU, visit hackysu.com. For more information and events from the Penguin Hackers group, visit penguinhackers.io.

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.

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.

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.

 

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.

Bird Day 2016

Bird Day was a fund raising event that the YSU Biology Club held for the local bird sanctuary, Birds in Flight, located in the Warren/Niles area. Birds in Flight rescues, rehabilitates, and releases over 1000 birds per year without any government assistance.

Bird Day was held to raise money and awareness for this organization; informational posters were made by undergraduates Cartier Howlett and Leah Bayer along with graduate student Kyle Spainhower, guided bird walks were led by undergraduate student Daniel Bancroft, and there was a “guess how many feathers are in the jar” competition.

The main attractions for the event were the birds. Birds in Flight Sanctuary brought a Barred Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, and a Harris Hawk.

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Despite unfavorable weather for the day, more than $400 was raised by approximately 70 guests within four hours. 16 Biology Club members worked hard to make the day a success.

Since the Bird Day was such a great success, it is likely that this could become a yearly fundraising event hosted by the YSU Biology club. Keep an eye out for future Bird Days.

ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest

Each year, Youngstown State University’s Association for Computing Machinery participates as one of four host sites for the International Collegiate Programming Contest in the East Central North America Region.

The programming contest attracts students from colleges and universities throughout Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Western Pennsylvania, and Eastern Ontario.

Dr. Bonita Sharif and Robert Gilliland from the Computer Science and Information Systems Department are the Site Directors for the YSU location, and Dr. Robert Kramer, also from YSU’s CSIS department, is the Regional Director for the competition.

This year, the competition took place on October 28 & 29 in Meshel Hall.

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For the contest, each team of three students is given a set of ten problems to solve on one computer station within five hours, each independent and a different level of difficulty. The students must come up with a computer program to solve each problem while being timed and checked for errors.

Backpacks were awarded as prizes to the top teams at YSU this year, awarded by Regional Director Dr. Kramer. Every participant received a shirt, a flash drive, and a certificate of achievement signed by the ICPC Executive Director, Dr. William Poucher.

Winners selected from this region will advance to the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest World Finals, to be held in Rapid City, South Dakota on May 20-25, 2017.

This year was the tenth year that Youngstown State University has been a competition site and has been the largest competition site in the region since 2007.