Faculty Research: Dr. Suresh Sharma

Dr. SharmaDr. Suresh Sharma is a faculty in Civil and Environmental Engineering at YSU. He is originally from Nepal. He worked as a Civil Engineer in Nepal government before deciding to come to the United States for his PhD at Auburn University in 2008. He worked as a postdoctoral research associate at Purdue University before joining the faculty position at YSU in 2013.

Recently, Dr. Sharma, in collaboration with City of Mentor and Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, has received a gracious grant from the EPA. The grant was given to him because of his research with the Mentor Marsh. The Mentor Marsh watershed, along the Lake Erie coastline, has the potential for future economic development via eco-tourism related activities, which have strong and positive impacts on the local economy.

“In 2016, we established the monitoring stations from the upland watershed with some grant support from the Ohio Sea Grant and Lake Erie Protection Fund. However, this study was conducted in the upstream tributaries using two monitoring stations, which only provides some basic information from the upland sub-watersheds,” said Dr. Sharma. “Therefore, additional monitoring stations were needed in the Mentor Marsh, especially in the downstream region, to develop a separate hydrodynamic model for the complete investigation of salinity inputs within this watershed. We wrote a proposal to EPA to establish nine (9) additional monitoring stations and couple a watershed model with a hydrodynamic model to fully understand the salinity intrusion mechanism in Mentor Marsh.”

The grant from the EPA was, in total, $187, 959 for three years. In terms of using the grant, Dr. Sharma and his team will be monitoring the additional sites that were added to the Lake Erie coast. They will also be recording the stage of the stream and developing models. With the addition of more sites, Dr. Sharma will be adding new students to his research team after reviewing various applications from interested candidates.

Aside from his research, Dr. Sharma is also the faculty advisor for the Nepali Student Organization on campus. The organization was created to help Nepali students become used to the multi-cultural setting at YSU. There are currently about 40 students in the organization. To learn more about his research and involvement at YSU, please take a look at his website http://ssharma06.people.ysu.edu/. To find out more about the Nepali Student Organization, contact the club President, Romit Thapa at rthapa@student.ysu.edu.

Tau Beta Pi Welcomes Fall Initiates!

Tau Beta Pi InitiatesTau Beta Pi has initiated their new members this fall! The Tau Beta Pi Association is the oldest engineering honor society in the United States and the second oldest collegiate honor society in America. It is made of honors engineering students who have shown a history of academic achievement as well as a commitment to personal and professional integrity.

“Our purpose is to uphold to qualities of excellence and integrity of engineering,” said Tayah Turocy, current president of Tau Beta Pi. “We strive to be role models, achieve academic success, and hold leadership positions while being connected to a large network of engineers.”

Tau Beta Pi is one of the multiple Ohio Lambda Chapters at YSU. They have a similar process of initiation to the other chapters on campus. They truly celebrate the hard work of students. The group supports dedicated, hardworking, and successful engineers.

“After our initiation this week of 41 initiates, we now have almost 60 active members in our Ohio Lambda chapter. Tau Beta Pi is a society that one must be invited to join. A student must be of junior status or above to be considered,” said Tayah. “A student is eligible if they are pursuing an engineering degree and are in the top 1/8th of their junior class, top 1/5th of their senior class, or top 1/5th of their graduate class.”

Tau Beta Pi hosts several events each year. Their two main events are their fall and spring initiation. Their initiation process is very involved.

“Candidates go through an interview process with the current members, and they are elected by vote,” said Tayah. “After being elected to join, candidates go through an initiation ceremony, take a group photo in front of our symbol, the “bent,” and are invited to celebrate with their guests at a banquet.”

Additionally, Tau Beta Pi hosts Engineer’s Week. This is a weeklong competition in spring between civil engineering, chemical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and mathematics students. The events of the week range from paper airplanes to duct tape a team member to a wall to penny wars.

Throughout the year, Tau Beta Pi also holds a Pi day event, futures for engineers’ sessions. If you’ve seen people walking around campus with laptop stickers that look like Ohio and have a “Y” for Youngstown, that’s also Tau Beta Pi!

“Many people do not know anything about Tau Beta Pi when they are asked to join, but it is the largest engineering society in the world with over 580,000 members,” said Tayah. “Also, we just had our largest initiate class in 17 years!”

For more information about the organization, visit www.tbp.org. To keep up with Tau Beta Pi’s events on campus, you can also follow them on their Facebook page: YSU Tau Beta Pi Ohio Lambda Chapter.

Although a student must be invited to join, it is never too early or too late to think about joining. Freshman and sophomore students can look forward to being invited in the future by keeping their grades up, and juniors and seniors can improve their grades to be asked in a future semester. If thinking about attending grad school, students can look into how that school’s chapter operates. For more detailed questions, contact Tayah Turocy at tdturocy@student.ysu.edu.

Student Organization: Actuarial Science Club

Actuarial science is the career field that applies mathematical and statistical methods to calculate risk in insurance, finance, and other industries or professions. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified through intense education and real-life experiences. Actuarial science includes several interrelated subjects, including mathematics, probability theory, statistics, finance, economics, and computer science.


The Actuarial Science Club (ASC) has been at YSU for approximately ten years. The club was created to provide opportunities for students interested in actuarial science careers. In this club, students can learn more about the profession through speakers from the industry, attendance at conferences and career/internship fairs.

Dr. Thomas Wakefield is the co-advisor of the Actuarial Science Club and he is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Moon Nyugen is also a co-advisor of ASC; she is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. As the advisors, Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Nyugen work diligently to provide all the members of the club with adequate resources for their future.

“There are currently about 20 members in the Actuarial Science Club and there are no requirements to join our club,” said Aaron Loveless, President of ASC.

There are many students who do not know anything about the actuarial science field. For that very reason, ASC provides students with information that allows them to make an informed decision as to whether actuarial science is the career for them. The club also provides its members with extremely beneficial study tips and practice for actuarial examinations.

“The organization typically brings 1-2 speakers from industry in each year,” said Dr. Wakefield. “In the past YSU grads have returned to talk about their experiences working in the insurance industry.”

Several members of ASC are also preparing to attend the Midwest Actuary Student Conference at the University of Iowa at the end of September.

ASC is also involved in several aspects of campus life. They frequently partner with the other math clubs (Pi Mu Epsilon, AWM, SIAM) to support various activities each semester within the Math Department.

Any student who is considering a degree in the actuarial field is encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas Wakefield (tpwakefield@ysu.edu) or Moon Nguyen (ntnguyen01@ysu.edu) or the Club VP Maddie Cope (mcope01@student.ysu.edu). Students can also visit the website for ASC here and look for its addition to the Department page!

Join YSU’s New AIAA Student Branch!

AIAAAre you interested in a career in the aerospace industry? The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is the world’s largest technical society that focuses globally on the aerospace industry. This year, a new student branch is forming at YSU. But, we need YOU! Sound like something you want to be a part of? Come to the information session on Tuesday, September 5, 2017, from 2:00pm to 2:30pm in Moser Hall, Rm. 2400. Mechanical Engineering professor, Dr. Kevin Disotell, will present interested students with a roadmap for beginning YSU’s AIAA Student Branch. Any student with an interest in aerospace careers is encouraged to go and talk to Dr. Disotell. Some aerospace careers are manufacturing, aerospace medicine, digital avionics, aerodynamics, space and satellite systems, and propellants and combustion. If you have any questions, feel free to email Dr. Disotell at kjdisotell@ysu.edu or visit AIAA’s website here.

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.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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!

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.

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.


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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Student Organization Spotlight: Tau Beta Pi

Did you know that there is an honor society specifically for engineering students? Did you know that Youngstown State University has a student chapter of this honor society? Tau Beta Pi the only engineering honor society that covers all disciplines of engineering, and we have a chapter at YSU!

Eligible students are invited each year from the top 1/8 of the junior class and the top 1/5 of the senior class and graduate students. Tau Beta Pi is a very selective society and is very prestigious because of it.

Since this is an honor society, great importance is placed on students’ academics as well as their involvement in extracurricular activities. This means that many members are also involved in other STEM student organizations at YSU.

“Pretty much everyone in Tau Beta Pi [at YSU] is involved in either STEM Leadership Society (SLS) or their unique American society, like the American Society of Mechanical Engineers or the American Society of Chemical Engineers,” said president Libby Rogenski. “We also have a few members involved in the Society of Women Engineers.”

Besides being an impressive note on a resume, Tau Beta Pi students receive a lifetime membership and the benefits associated with that.

“There are a lot of alumni chapters, so they still get together and go to conventions,” said Libby, “and you get a subscription to the Tau Beta Pi magazine, Bent. And what’s cool is a lot of employers are Tau Bates themselves.”

Something that the YSU community is pretty familiar with is Engineers Week during spring semester, which is of course brought to you by Tau Beta Pi. Engineers Week is a whole week of different disciplines of engineering competing against one another in egg drops, fundraisers, and taping people to a wall.

Libby explained that Tau Beta Pi headquarters pays for the president of each chapter to attend the national conference each year, so she and the vice president were able to attend the conference in San Diego this year.

“It was a lot of fun and we learned a lot about the organization on a national scale,” said Libby. “We also got to know some of the other Ohio chapter leaders pretty well.”Tau Beta Pi initiates

Students who receive an invitation to join Tau Beta Pi should seriously consider joining for the benefits. Notable Tau Bates include astronaut Buzz Aldrin, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, and supercomputer pioneer Seymour Cray.

Student Organization Spotlight: The Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers

IISE groupThe Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers, formerly the Institute of Industrial Engineers, is a student organization at YSU welcoming all industrial engineering majors and minors.

“We’re kind of changing our presence on campus,” said Zach Thompson, president of YSU’s IISE and junior IE major. ”We’re going to try to do some more fundraisers and get involved and get our name out there as a group.”

IISE has both student and professional sections in the area. Zach explains that there are many benefits to connecting with these groups.

“We can connect with professionals and get our names out there and network, and they provide a bunch of services for us,” said Zach.

As a YSU IISE member, the students can receive discounts on various certifications for engineers.

The IISE members also attend conferences in the Great Lakes region where they have the option of submitting papers. One conference that they are attending this academic year is being hosted by Ohio University in February.

“We didn’t have any last year, but this year we’re planning on having some professionals from out in the field come in and talk to us, even some local businesses,” said Zach. “It’ll be nice because they can talk to us about what it’s actually like in our area.”

IISE is offering Lean Green Belt training and certification this November and Six Sigma Green Belt training and certification in February, both at a discounted rate. All majors are welcome and encouraged to get these certifications.

Any students interested in joining YSU’s IISE or for more information, contact Zach at zsthompson@student.ysu.edu or visit their Facebook page.

Student Organization Spotlight: Association for Computing Machinery

Each month, we try to highlight a student organization in STEM to show everyone what they do and why they’re an important part of STEM. This month, the Association for Computing Machinery is our featured organization.

ACM logo

The ACM is actually a much larger organization that is composed of many professional and university chapters. Here at YSU, all CSIS majors are welcome to join and to attend meetings and presentations.

The new student president of YSU’s chapter, Ricky Elrod, explains that students and faculty alike have given presentations on a wide range of topics.

“We’ve had presentations on bitcoin, on Linux-related stuff, on functional programming, robotics—all sorts of computer-science-related subfields,” said Ricky.

Students are also given opportunities to collaborate with others that share their interests in “hack” sessions. Similar to a hackathon, students bring computers and small projects that they work on with other students who attend.

One major goal of YSU’s ACM is to get students interacting with one another (and with faculty) and learning from one another.

Ricky says that another goal for the future of the group is to try to work more with the local professional chapter in Northeast Ohio. He says that networking is a strong asset within the organization.

Students interested in joining or learning more about the ACM can check out their Facebook page or e-mail student president Ricky Elrod.

Student Organization Spotlight: Phi Sigma Rho & SAE

Each month, we try to highlight at least one student organization in STEM. This month, we found two student organizations that are really encouraging students to join: Phi Sigma Rho and the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Phi Sigma Rho

Orchid Ball groupThough Phi Sigma Rho is not a part of YSU’s Greek Life, it’s a STEM sorority. President and industrial engineering major Sydney Negro explains that they welcome all STEM majors.

“The university doesn’t consider us a sorority, but we follow all national guidelines of Phi Sigma Rho,” said Sydney.

From coordinating t-shirt sales to joining the Society of Women Engineers for events, Phi Sigma Rho is pretty active throughout the semester.

“We always participate in Relay for Life and we go to Light the Night because our national philanthropy is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society,” said Sydney.

Most recently, Phi Sigma Rho held their Orchid Ball. At this formal, members danced, received awards, and socialized with alumnae.Phi Sigma Rho

“Our flower is the orchid, so instead of calling it our formal, we call it the Orchid Ball,” said Sydney.

STEMians interested in finding out more about joining Phi Sigma Rho can contact Sydney Negro at phirhoaa.president@gmail.com.

The Society of Automotive Engineers

The Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, is a relatively small group at YSU. President and mechanical engineering major Kyle Hogan encourages students from any major to check it out if they’re interested.

“We’re trying to grow and get some more recognition for the program and basically let people know there’s an option for any of the motor heads that might be out there,” said Kyle.

SAE Baja groupThe main event that SAE participates in is the Baja competition. The team must design and build a vehicle that can perform well in different tests, like maneuverability and acceleration.

“So it’s really balancing a lot of different aspects of your car and maybe having things that are variable that you can change between events,” said Kyle.

Anyone interested in learning more about SAE or the Baja competition can check out the group’s Youngstown State SAE Baja page on Facebook or @YSUBajaSAE on Twitter.

“We’re very welcoming of anyone wanting to come in and check it out,” said Kyle. “Even if you decide you’re not interested, that’s fine. If you want to learn, it’s an excellent place to do it. We’re not going to turn you away because you know nothing.”

Student Organization Spotlight: The American Society of Civil Engineers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Youngstown State University Student Chapter is an organization for engineering students of all disciplines.

The main focus of the group, besides bringing YSU’s engineering students together, is building and preparing for the steel bridge and concrete canoe competitions. All of this preparation has paid off for them this year; they won first place at the Ohio Valley Student Conference for their steel bridge.

“The steel bridge competition is a cost analysis sort of thing,” said Leah McConnell, president of YSU’s ASCE. “So we fabricate this bridge and they do a load test—they measure how much it deflects and they also do a side sway test to see how much it moves from side to side.”

For the steel bridge competition, students compete to make the strongest bridge with the lowest cost.

“Our bridge cost a little bit over six million dollars total and then the next lowest cost was about eight million dollars,” said Leah. “So we beat all the other schools by about two million dollars, which is pretty impressive.”

YSU’s ASCE won $1000 for coming in first place at the regional steel bridge competition. They plan to use the money toward their trip to the national conference that they qualified for.

Any engineering students at YSU are welcome to join the ASCE. They have weekly meetings and compete in regular events against other schools across the country.

“We have a great group of people,” said Leah. “We really do become like a family since we spend so much time together.”

For more information, contact Leah at lmcconnell@student.ysu.edu or Dr. Islam at aaislam@ysu.edu.