Dean’s Column February and March 2013

March

The second half of the spring semester is an interesting time of contrast on campus. Our seniors are getting ready for graduation and looking forward to starting new jobs. At the same time, we’re still busy working with prospective students who are finalizing their college plans and making sure they have all of their documents submitted so that they can register for the fall semester.

As I’ve indicated in previous columns, and I mention any time someone gives me a chance, our graduating seniors represent a first-rate group of graduates prepared to enter the workforce and make an immediate impact on the economy of our region. Many of our graduates already have jobs lined up. Often, these jobs are a result of their internship or co-op experience. Some of our graduates will be going on to graduate school. Regardless of what they choose to do after graduation, they have a reputation of excellence to uphold. I have every confidence that this class will, once again, have its share of technical leaders that will continue to propel the success of our region.

I’m told that our incoming freshmen also look strong, and it looks to be one of our largest classes ever in the STEM College. Students are entering with AP (advanced placement) credit, or having completed multiple college credits in high school classes. They have ACT scores that place them at the top of their classes. Some will be selected to participate in our STEM Leadership Society, becoming the nucleus of another outstanding group of future YSU success stories. We are delighted to have such a strong incoming class, and are pleased that so many of these students, who could have selected any college in the nation, have entrusted YSU to prepare them for life.

Our entering freshmen were born mostly in 1994 or 1995, the same year as Disney released the Lion King. The central theme of the movie is the circle of life. As we watch our seniors graduate and new freshmen enter to take their place, we get to experience our own circle of life. In only four short years, those students entering the STEM College will be preparing to take their place among the graduates of YSU, ready to enter the world and make their mark on society. Each student will leave an indelible mark on the University, and the college, in the process. That’s the great part about being a professor, and likewise being Dean: the new students entering with a sense that anything is possible, and the graduates leaving with the knowledge that they have the skills to achieve greatness.

Thank you for reading, and for all you do on behalf of the STEM College.

February

One of the cornerstones of the YSU 2020 Strategic Plan is Community Engagement.  For the STEM College, this often means outreach events for area K-12 schools.  Our faculty is busy organizing events for area students.  In the spring semester, it seems we have something almost every week.  It’s a great opportunity to showcase the College and to provide some educational outreach to area students.

My role in these events is generally to provide welcome remarks to the students participating competition or festival. I enjoy these opportunities because it gives me a chance to talk about the importance of science and engineering and the critical function that these future STEM students will have in the success of our region.  I can talk about the advances that have been made by our engineering graduates, and the success of our STEM alumni.  It’s not only an opportunity to brag about YSU success stories, but also an opportunity to sell STEM fields in general.

The range of activities is highlighted on our STEM College web page (http://stem.ysu.edu).  If you browse through the calendar, you will see that February started with the National Ocean Science Bowl, and then Mathcounts.  In March, it’s the Mahoning Valley Miniature Bridge Building competition, the Northeast Ohio Robotics Education program, and the Physics Olympics.  April brings Women in Science and Engineering and the STEM Showcase (which is our chance to show off the activities of our own students).  Each one of these events has its target student population and specific flavor.  Having a chance to meet these students and see the excitement that they have from participating is truly one of the highlights of being Dean.

Of course, we have other ways in which students from the community can engage with the College.  We have regular planetarium shows and our mineral museum is open weekdays and weekends.  We’re in the process of putting together an additive manufacturing display that will illustrate what’s going on at NAMII and we’re also building a display to highlight our efforts in alternative energy.  These displays will be visible both in our lobby in Moser Hall, and at OH Wow! Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.  Our goal is to spread the word about science and engineering and all that we’re doing at YSU to give students the opportunity to excel in these areas.

Our community is a tremendous asset to YSU, and we’re fortunate to have your support.  I continue to be grateful for all that you do to make YSU a leader in STEM education and outreach.