Student Spotlight: Alexis Fisher

Alexis FisherYSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Alexis Fisher is a Biology major who will also be receiving a Chemistry minor. She has done amazing things at YSU that haven’t gone unnoticed!

Recently, Alexis was chosen by the Center for Animal Research and Education, or CARE, as an intern for the Spring 2018 semester. CARE is located in Bridgeport, Texas.

The Center for Animal Research and Education is a non-profit organization dedicated to education, research, rescue, and long-term care for exotic animals.

“As an intern at CARE, my duties are to help with daily operations of the facility,” said Alexis. “This includes checking water buckets for the cats throughout the day, feeding our lemurs and coati, and giving medications to cats that require special supplements.”

Alexis will be performing different tasks daily.

“At CARE, the cats are fed a diet consisting of whole animals like horses and cows, and the larger cats (lions and tigers) are fed every four days. The smaller cats (leopards and cougars) will be fed every four days as well, but they receive smaller amounts of food in the form of chicken,” said Alexis. “Between feeds, we will clean enclosures and replace bedding for the cats.”

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“Everyday at CARE is a little different, but it keeps the work exciting,” said Alexis. “Most of the cats have been rescued and are now provided a much better quality of life at the facility.”

We are so proud of your accomplishments, Alexis!

To see yourself or someone you know featured as our student spotlight, please email us at We love hearing about our students doing great things!


Student Spotlight: Brian Duricy

Brian DuricyYSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Brian Duricy is a fourth-year mathematics and economics major with a political science and philosophy minor.

Currently, Brian does not do any research, but he hopes to start with a faculty member next semester. He is really interested in cryptocurrencies and statistical applications.

As a high school student, Brian has taken college in high school classes at Kent State University. He has also taken a transient class at Kent in Fall 2016. His first semester of college was spent at the University of Pittsburgh before coming to YSU.

“I love that you aren’t pigeon-holed to a specific field in STEM. I will never feel bored in my majors because statistics can be applied to anything. One week I can work with physics-related topics, the next I could be working with mathematics,” said Brian. “I also really love the flexibility at YSU so I can have two majors and two minors comfortably.”

This past month, Brian participated in the ethics bowl at YSU. The ethics bowl consists of multiple cordial arguments based on descriptive cases. A team’s coaches come up with broad-based ethics questions pertaining to each case that is designed to help the team get used to the main points of the case and what they could potentially be asked in competition. Seven minutes are given to the team to answer each question presented to them by the judge. Everyone on the team is given a part to answer. These parts consist of introductions, main points, and objections.

For this ethics bowl, Brian was the objector. His main duty in the competition was to come up with ways the other team may approach his team’s case and say they were wrong. The opposing team then had 5 minutes to respond to Brian and his team. The match continues after this with the opposing team presenting their case.

“What I really love about ethics bowl is that you get into a lot of discussions that you know are ethical or not ethical, but until you sit down and really think about them, you don’t get the understanding behind why they are ethical or unethical,” said Brian.

For the remainder of the match, Brian was also responsible for responding to the opposing team alongside his teammates.

“The things I have learned in my mathematics logistics classes really prepared me for ethics bowl because of the thought process the classes instilled in me,” said Brian.

Brian is also a member of the Actuarial Science Club and Moot Court.

Student Spotlight: Evan Harris

Evan HarrisYSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Evan Harris is a junior Electrical Engineering student. He is a research assistant at YSU that helps collect data in groundbreaking experiments involving 3D printing and artificial intelligence.

Evan performs his research under Dr. Eric MacDonald, a professor and distinguished researcher in YSU’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He has also worked with several of Dr. MacDonald’s co-workers, other distinguished professors and researchers on staff at YSU, as well as his classmates Andrea Beck and Chad Lynagh.

“Our group is currently handling projects dealing with Additive Manufacturing ranging from Commercial 3D printing to Industrial Sand Casting utilizing Computer Vision and Machine Learning, to recognize when a print is failing or about to fail,” said Evan. “We are also using the university’s S-Max 3D printer to gather experimental data on sand molds containing cavities of complex geometries to be used in metal casting, something that wasn’t previously possible. YSU is one of only two universities in the country with S-Max printers.”

“We hope to increase the efficiency, quality, and performance of both methods of 3D printing,” said Evan. “The commercial project aims to create a closed-loop system that recognizes common hazards, stops defective prints, and saves filament (feedstock) in the process. We’re comparing data we collect from our sand casting experiments to today’s models, looking for inconsistencies. Porosity is a very complex, yet important, property when it comes to casting metal, so the more data we can collect, the more we can learn about what causes defects and how that compares to current models.”

Through this research project, Evan hopes to learn more about Additive Manufacturing and have the opportunity to help advance the field in future.

“It’s an exciting area of study that could expand existing technologies and lead to new ones,” said Evan. “Large companies are beginning to take advantage of 3D printing metal parts that are currently out of production.”

When speaking about the 3D printing, “our YSU professors are also pioneering research into the way metal casting works. We’re one of only two universities in the country to have an S-Max 3D printer, and that gives us the ability to design our own experiments and try things that have never been explored, which to me is really exciting,” said Evan.

In addition to his research, Evan is a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Engineering Honors Society, and a member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Evan is also a huge Steelers fan.

To find out more about the research Evan participates in, visit the Google Scholar page for Dr. Eric MacDonald. You can also email Evan at

Student Spotlight: Efrain Velez

Efrain Velez

YSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Efrain Velez is a junior at YSU who is studying Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. This past summer, Efrain had the opportunity to intern at Exal Corporation.

The company is a leading producer in the can and bottle industry. Exal makes bottles for various companies like Monster, Bud Light, Budweiser, Dove, and Loreal Paris. All products made at the company are packaged in-house and shipped out directly from the plant to the producing companies. Exal’s headquarters are located right here in Youngstown and they also have multiple subdivisions in places like Argentina and Brazil.

There are two types of certification offered at YSU that pertain to Efrain’s career, Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma deals primarily with non-numerical issues like efficiency, getting rid of wastes by eliminating what you can, and improving the workplace. Six Sigma is number-based ideology.

During his freshman year at YSU, Efrain decided to take the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification course that is offered to any majors on campus.

“I highly recommend the course to anyone,” said Efrain. “This was so helpful to me because many companies want their employees to have this type of certification.”

Efrain, who was only a sophomore at the time he was hired at Exal, outshone many junior and senior applicants because of his Lean Six Sigma certification.

“Getting this certificate really advances you and makes you stand out to companies,” said Efrain. “It tells these companies that you really want more and that you are willing to go above and beyond in your job.”

Efrain plans to take the Six Sigma Group Belt Certification course at YSU this spring. It is a great opportunity offered at YSU because it is a lot less expensive here than at other public universities.

At Exal, Efrain is classified as an Operational Excellence Intern. He is directly under the head director for Operation Intelligence, Mr. Oscar Mayet. At the time he was hired, he was one of two industrial engineers working for the Youngstown Exal location. His daily tasks consisted of recreating work standards, analyzing statistical data, and quality control. He was also able to provide translating services for documents that came from other Exal subdivisions in Spanish and even some Portuguese.

“It is very rewarding to work at Exal under the director,” said Efrain. “Mr. Mayet has such a wealth of knowledge and he has shown that YSU students are welcome at Exal.”

Efrain continues to work at Exal this semester and hopes to work there for as long as he can.

“Exal is like a very close-knit family and I love that about my job,” said Efrain.

By working at Exal, Efrain has realized that he wants to specialize his career in industrial and systems management.

Outside of his internship, Efrain is a member of the STEM Leadership Society, the Honors College, the YSU Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and the Choose Ohio First program. He has also been a member in the Honors College’s Big and Little program, iPals, and English Conversation Partners. He hopes to get more involved on campus before his time is up at YSU.

“A little fun fact about me is that I love to sing,” said Efrain. “I was part of the choirs and drama club throughout high school, so if all else fails, I’m trying out for American Idol.”

To find out more about Exal Corporation and what Efrain does, visit their website at

Student Spotlight: Rayann Atway

Rayann AtwayNo matter where you look at YSU, there are always STEM students making an impact on campus. Whether our students are taking part in organizations, sororities or fraternities, internships, or volunteer services, it is noticeable that each student is striving to be the best they can possibly be.

This year, Rayann Atway has stepped up to take on the role of YSU’s Student Government Association President. Rayann is a senior in the Biology, Pre-Med program and has accomplished several great things in her time at YSU. For the past two summers, she has interned at National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is a part of many organizations on campus, like YSU’s American Medical Student Organization (AMSA), Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), and Student Government Association (SGA). She is also a member of the YSU Honors College where she actively participates in the Pen Pals Program.

Throughout the course of her years at YSU, Rayann has volunteered at several organizations like Akron Children’s Hospital and Northside Medical Center. She was also given the opportunity to work as a medical scribe at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where she charted various types of information given by the physicians at the hospital. After she graduates this year, Rayann wants to attend medical school.

When she started at YSU, her interests in SGA also began. In her first year, she served as a freshman representative, taking actions to promote change at YSU. During the following two years, Rayann became the STEM representative and served as a parliamentarian on the executive board.

“I fell in love with SGA,” she said. “I absolutely love the things SGA does for YSU students and our community.”

This year, SGA will be tackling several projects. Some of these projects include the expansion of the food pantry, assistance in the community, the gathering of supplies for hurricane victims, textbook affordability, and improving voter registration rates on campus.

Students who are interested in joining SGA can attend their meetings every other Monday at 4:00pm. To find out more about SGA’s projects or how to get involved, contact Rayann Atway at

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

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

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.

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 Spotlight: Andrew Morgan and Ashley Orr

This month in STEM, we would like to highlight and congratulate two outstanding students who have recently received national recognition for their academics.

Andy MorganAndrew Morgan has been awarded a scholarship from Tau Beta Pi, The Engineering Honor Society.

He also was named a Goldwater Scholar this year and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and the Pi Mu Epsilon National Math Honor Society. He is active in YSU Student Government, Academic Senate and YSU Honors College and is a first-year engineering teaching assistant.

You can read about Andy and his scholarship here.

Ashley Ashley OrrOrr has been awarded a 2016 Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship. Ashley is the first YSU student to receive the Marcus L. Urann Fellowship, which is reserved for only 6 of the top applicants, valued at $15,000.

Ashley Orr is a Rhodes Scholar who hopes to lead a life of service. She started early, volunteering throughout middle school, high school and college at Youngstown State University. Orr led Youngstown’s Pen Pal mentorship program and co-founded Poverty Awareness while serving as student government president. Economics, she says, is like a study of happiness. She learned more about how economics affects policy as an intern at the Fourth District of the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank in Cleveland. She will attend the University of Oxford, studying poverty traps and the econometric evaluation of policy, all in hopes of making a better future for the world’s poor.

Read more about Ashley and her accomplishments here.

Student Spotlight: Darian Wilson

While at the agDarian Wilson in Cypruse of 20 most students are just entering their sophomore or junior year of college, senior Biology major Darian Wilson is already preparing to attend medical school.

“Well, I started college in high school,” Darian said. “I went to MCCTC for the biotech program. It pretty much started me out almost as a sophomore [at Youngstown State University], but I had to take some summer classes.”

He’s using his final semester at YSU to study Vertebrate Histology, a recommended course in preparation for his education in podiatry. However, podiatry wasn’t Darian’s first choice.

“At first I was interested in pharmacy,” Darian said. “I’m actually a pharmacy tech right now at Rite-Aid, [but] it’s not what I want to do.”

After looking into being a doctor, Darian decided that he wanted to be a specialist, but he wasn’t quite sure which specific area to study.

He said that his uncle is a local podiatrist, which is what gave him the opportunity to be exposed to the field he had already begun researching as a possible career option.

“So I just started researching the field [of podiatry] and interviewing, looking at treatments, and seeing how my uncle handles things in his practice,” said Darian. “In learning the structure of the foot and thinking about how important it is, if you can prevent issues there, you could prevent other problems.”

Darian, like many pre-med students, is very ambitious in his studies and future career. He’s in the process of applying to medical school with hopes of beginning his study in the fall.

Even with his condensed collegiate career, he was able to study abroad in Cyprus.

Darian’s study abroad program was coordinated by the University of Nicosia, the largest university in Cyprus.

Since his experience there, the university has named Darian as their YSU campus ambassador. Darian will share his study abroad experience in hopes of encouraging fellow YSU students to take advantage of the study abroad experiences available to them.

Intern of the Year: Kyle Spickler

Every year, a student who shows exceptional work and who has a positive impact on a company receives the STEM Intern of the Year Award. This year, Kyle Spickler, a senior majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in mathematics, received the award.

Spickler said receiving this award is something that he has aspired for over the past few years.

“I was incredibly excited when I was notified as recipient of the Intern of the Year award,” he said. “I have volunteered for the STEM annual awards banquet, where this award is presented, since my sophomore year. I always thought it would be wonderful to receive an award during that banquet someday.”

Spickler interned at The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, where he gained experience in electrical engineering. He worked for the Component Prep team under the Global Engineering division.

As part of his internship, he programmed Programmable Logic Controllers and Human-Machine Interfaces for different projects. Spickler also volunteered to be chair of the speaker’s committee for the Goodyear college relations program.

“We were able to bring in 14 speakers with a total of 11 events,” he said. “Most of these individuals were associates from different parts of the company. The speech topics varied from professional networking, supply chain, intellectual property law, brand marketing and some others.”

One of his larger projects included working with a local fabrication shop.

“The objective of this project was to build and automate a machine to cut ply at varying dimensions for the plant in Chile,” Spickler said. “Most of my work on this project was focused on creating diagnostic displays for the operators using HMI programming. This allows them to change system parameters, view faults/alarms, check device status and much more.”

Spickler also had the opportunity to work on an individual project called the Message Marquee project. He said that Goodyear uses industrialized message displays throughout their plants, and Spickler found that their manufacturer’s software wasn’t up to specs.

“To resolve this issue I reached out to their application engineer and software team,” he said. “After several conference calls and numerous days of testing on my part, their software team was able to solve some of the issues. Utilizing my research Goodyear is now able to display other languages, eliminate some equipment and save roughly $4,500 every time they implement these message displays in a plant.”

Spickler said that this experience — as well as a previous internship with ABB — have made a huge impact on his career path.

“Working in a field that combines the automation and automotive industries is exactly what I want to accomplish with my life,” he said.

Spickler has plans of continuing his education by obtaining a Master of Business Administration degree after working in the industry.

Hailey Sullivan named inaugural recipient of the Co-Op of the Year Award

Hailey SullivanHailey Sullivan, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, is the first recipient of the newly established Co-Op of the Year Award.

Sullivan participated in a co-op at ABB, a global leader in power and automation technologies, located in Wickliffe, Ohio, from January to August as a proposal engineer. She secured the co-op through a past Internship/Co-Op Expo.

“It bridges sales aspects and engineering, which is kind of nice because you get to see all different facets of the company,” Sullivan said. “A proposal engineer creates a technical document that details all different parts of a project, and then it’s sent to a customer so they can determine whether or not they want to purchase the engineering project.”

To complete these proposals, she had to do cost analyses, create system architecture drawings and create engineering estimates. Each proposal took anywhere from an hour to a week, depending on how large the project was.

“They actually gave me a lot of responsibility and freedom, so I worked on larger control system upgrades, and I was able to run risk-review meetings,” Sullivan said.

She said that being able to run the risk-review meetings gave her a lot of confidence. As a sophomore at the time, Sullivan was able to lead a group of people that were high up in ABB and answer their questions. She said that along with the proposals and risk-review meetings, she was given other small, side projects to work on.

“I wrote different work instructions, detailing our departmental processes, and then once summer rolled around when the new co-op came, they told me to be his mentor,” Sullivan said. “I had to teach him how to create proposals and everything.”

Sullivan plans to return to ABB in the summer, where she will be working with the systems group. Until then, she has her sights set on taking steps to further her education.

“Right now my plan is to study for the GRE over winter break, take that, and then during my senior year I will apply to grad schools and a bunch of jobs,” she said. “Ideally I will be able to get into a school close enough to a job that I acquire, and I would like to start pursuing a master’s while I’m working.”

Sullivan is involved in many STEM-related groups, such as the Chem E-Car team, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Tau Beta Pi and the Stem Leadership Society.

Making a Difference: Ashley Martof named STEM Exemplar

Photo by Justin Wier/The Jambar.

Last year Ashley Martof was named STEM’s Intern of the Year. This year, she has been working hard and has been named a Believe in Ohio STEM Exemplar.

The Ohio Academy of Sciences named 58 students as STEM Exemplars this year. A STEM Exemplar is someone who serves as a role model for students to pursue STEM careers and innovative thinking.

She said she was excited and felt blessed when she found out she was named an exemplar.

It is such a great feeling to go around and promote STEM education.”

Students named as exemplars had to apply or be nominated for the title. Martof said that her professor Guha Manogharan encouraged her to apply.

Of course I applied because this is a wonderful opportunity to express my love of teaching children by educating kids in STEM,” Martof said.

When Martof was named STEM Intern of the Year, she had interned with America Makes, where she was able to show her passions for advanced manufacturing and education. One of her first projects at America Makes was develop an additive manufacturing curriculum for teachers.

Other projects Martof completed at America Makes include developing a 3D printing student camp, where she took children from 2D to 3D basics to designing and printing their own products in five days. All of these projects have led to her being named and exemplar.

I have hosted STEM camps, mostly related to additive manufacturing,” Martof said. “I am currently holding a 3D printing club two days a week at the Lewis School in Youngstown. I am also a part of the [Center for Innovation and Advanced Manufacturing] at YSU; this allows me to give tours and work on the 3D printing equipment at YSU. I also help out with any STEM related camps [or] sessions at YSU or in the community.”

Martof is working on her master’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

Martof still has a few years left in her degree, but she said she knows additive manufacturing will definitely be in her future.

My love for additive manufacturing continues to grow each day. I plan to look for a career in additive manufacturing,” she said. “I am not sure if I will pursue a career in the actual manufacturing companies or fall towards the educational side. Either way, I will be happy!”

Graduate profile: Josiah Banks

Josiah BanksJosiah Banks is an energetic and outgoing student with a passion for math.

A senior double majoring in theoretical mathematics and math education, Banks attributed his love of math to a very special person in his life, Michael Soroka, a calculus teacher at Campbell Memorial High School.

“He was a wonderful teacher,” Banks said. “He was very funny, down to earth, and knew how to explain things in a very effective way. He’s the one that really got me into math education. I wasn’t originally into math education.  I wasn’t even going to go straight into math; I was going to do architecture at first.”

Three-quarters through Banks’ senior year, Soroka passed away.

“The teacher that came in, she never taught calculus [before] … and we all still wanted to learn more about [math] in memory of him,” Banks said. “We knew [Soroka] would still want us to learn. I got my friend’s notes from the year before and actually ended up learning the material…and basically helped the [new] teacher teach the class. That started my mathematics journey.”

Originally wanting to teach math at the high school level, Banks took a theoretical math class from Dr. Jacek Fabrykowski as part of the regular curriculum for integrated mathematics education majors.

“[Dr. Fabrykowski] really pushed me, and it was probably the hardest math course I ever had,” Banks said. “He made me understand that theoretical mathematics is so beautiful.”

Banks plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in math so he can teach theoretical mathematics at the college level. His main interests are in number theory and abstract algebra. This past summer, Banks studied number theory at Texas A&M at a Research Experience for Undergraduates.

“[Number theory focuses on integers] — no fractions, no decimals,” Banks explained. “It’s the study of all the properties of those numbers, [such as] divisibility.”

A form of number theory that interests Banks is modular arithmetic.

“[Modular arithmetic is] actually in a lot of things nowadays, and it’s very interesting,” Josiah said. “It’s like a section out of mathematics called discrete mathematics. In this world we live in — we live in a very continuous world — we’re used to seeing things constantly flowing. Well, with integers there are spaces between 0 and 1. You’re not looking at 0.1 or 0.2; you’re looking at just 0 or 1 or 2  with nothing in between. You’re not looking at fractions; nothing like that. So, some people find discrete mathematics and number theory very challenging, because…we are used to the things that are continuous.”

During his time at Texas A&M, Banks studied number theory. Parts of number theory he studied included the smallest parts function, the partition function and asymptotic formulas.

“It’s just amazing how number theory can relate to so many different aspects of mathematics without [people] even knowing it,” Banks said.

But Banks did more than just study numbers during his time in Texas.

“It was wonderful. I met a lot of wonderful people; I learned a lot of interesting things. I networked a lot, and I visited a lot of cool places in Texas,” Banks said. “Pretty sure I had the best BBQ of my life.”

After his summer in Texas, Banks came back to YSU and participated and presented research at the annual MathFest competition in DC, as well as competing in the competition.

He has also competed in the prestigious Putnam exam twice, the Integration Bee, the Calculus Competition, and has been a Presidential Mentor for the past two years, all on top of being active in over 10 student organization on campus.

“There are so many things our students need to know about, because there are so many opportunities in our math department,” Banks said. “I’m very proud of this math department. It’s great.”

Graduate Spotlight: Michelle Kordupel

This summer, YSU STEM will highlight a different graduating student each month. This month, we’re highlighting Michelle Kordupel, a biological sciences major.

Michelle has plans on pursuing veterinary medicine, but it’s not all about the domestic pets for her.

“I’m going to North Carolina State School of Veterinary Medicine. Right now my focus is avian and reptilian medicine,” she said. “In private practice and corporate medicine, it’s all dogs and cats, and it’s a lot of seeing the same thing over and over again.”

Michelle said the thing she wants to focus on research with the animals, since not much is known about their health complications.

“[With] birds and reptiles, there is not a lot of research done on these species. So, there are a lot of problems common in other types of [veterinary] medicine that they really don’t know how to treat in reptilian and aviary medicine. So I’m interested in the research aspect of it. Why do we understand these problems in other species but not in reptiles and birds?”

Michelle was part of the honors program her entire collegiate career, as well as various student organizations. She said that being active in the campus community has helped her immensely in the very social aspect of veterinary medicine.

“We deal directly with our clients who own our patients, the pets. Everything goes to our clients, so you have to be very good with people, which a lot of people don’t quite realize when they think of vets,” Michelle said. “Sometimes you have to deal with the people even more so than the pets.”

The best part of being involved in organizations at YSU was the diversity.

“We are acting with people from different countries. We have a lot of foreign exchange students who lived in Cafaro, and there are also a lot of foreign exchange students that are a part of the STEM program itself, so being able to interact with diverse people in diverse situations, being able to talk to different people from different backgrounds has been one of the biggest influencing factors I would say for me,” she said.

In addition to the diversity, Michelle volunteered through the STEM College and the Honor’s Program. She said that volunteerism allows a person to give more of themselves to a cause.

“Veterinary medicine, specifically, is a very difficult profession where you’re giving a lot of yourself to these patients, to these clients. “A lot of your time and your energy and your effort goes into this career, so the people who are passionate are able to do that.”