Dean’s Columns January-June 2015

June

Summer term is in full swing and several interesting activities are in process in the STEM College. STEM Explore is a weeklong camp for area middle school students that will take place on campus June 22-26. This popular camp, which gives hands-on opportunities for the students, is run by faculty in the STEM College and the Beeghly College of Education. Another popular camp for middle school students happens June 29 through July 3. The STEM Techie Camp is run by Tech Corps and YSU STEM to promote student interest in computer programming, robotics, and “ap” development.

The STEM College also has recent funding news to add to the summer excitement. Guha Manogharan, from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, has received a grant award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology for $495,910 to work in collaboration with North Carolina State University to lead the Consortium for Advanced Hybrid Manufacturing-Integrating Technologies. Also, Brett Conner from Mechanical and Industrial Engineering has received a $365,000 grant from the Department of Defense to purchase a 3D printer that works by a direct energy deposition method. A good number of external grant proposals from faculty across the disciplines in STEM have passed through my office in the past six months, and I think our faculty should take pride in the job they are doing to promote research at the University.

March

The spring term always finds us busy with the competitions, award dinners, and project presentations for the academic year. It is surprising to see how much these activities have already been occurring in February and the beginning of March. I have been invited to and attended a number of these activities in the past few weeks and I am always impressed at the level of volunteering I see from the faculty and staff of the STEM College.

Since last month’s newsletter, the Mini Bridge Building Competition was held by the Civil Engineering Technology Program at YSU, the Mahoning County Engineer’s Office, Trumbull County Engineer’s Office and MS consultants, Inc. The competition involved 27 high school teams in the Chestnut Room in a balsa wood bridge design/build/test project.

Thanks to the Department of Physics and Astronomy and a host of volunteers, the 37th annual YSU Physics Olympics enjoyed the participation of 17 high schools on March 7 in the Stambaugh Gym area with a range of competitions from ping pong ball launchers to making musical instruments.

The Northeast Ohio Robotics Education Program was hosted by the Career Tech Prep Office in Beeghly Gym with 18 teams from 11 schools on March 10.

On February 28, two STEM events attracted a large number of female students despite the bitter cold weather: (1) YSU’s Women in Science held a symposium with activities for female middle school students interested in STEM careers, and (2) The YSU SWE chapter brought 4th and 5th grade Girl Scouts from all over the Northeastern Ohio region to join them for a morning of activities exploring the different engineering fields YSU has to offer.

Also, the late admission BSMD interviews attracted several top high school students to campus on February 28. All of these activities are promoted and staffed by different groups in the STEM College, or promoted by an interested external group and enjoy a level of volunteer assistance from the STEM College that makes the activity possible.

I thank everyone involved for their leadership by volunteering.

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this column stated that the Civil Engineering Department held the Mini Bridge Building Competition. The mistake has been changed to say the Civil Engineering Technology Program held the competition. 3/20/15

February

Being relatively new to the dean position in the STEM College, I am surprised how many important activities occur each month within the college. Let me list a few that come to mind this past month.

Dr. Brett Conner in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering acquired two new Cube 3D printers from 3D Systems Inc. for use in the Launch Lab, a joint effort of the College of Creative Arts and Communications and the College of STEM. At a time of flux in the deans’ positions of these two colleges, this demonstrates a renewed commitment to the Launch Lab idea, a collaboration which connects technology to creative design to provide a more diverse experience for our students.

The Penguin Bowl was held on February 7 at YSU with 16 teams participating. This is a regional competition of the National Ocean Sciences Bowl for high school students studying oceanography. Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer of the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences organizes the local event each year and this year included a sleepover for the participants at the Oh! Wow Museum in downtown Youngstown.

By way of announcing upcoming STEM activities, I want to remind everyone the STEM Honors Convocation has been moved to April 27 so we can include President Tressel and Provost Abraham as guests. Also Spring Commencement, which is being held on May 16, will be celebrated with the STEM College, the College of Business, and the College of Education in the morning. This will be the first splitting of the Spring Commencement into three colleges in the morning and three colleges in the afternoon. I invite everyone to attend commencement to congratulate our new graduates.


January

In December, I had my first opportunity to congratulate a graduating class of the STEM College as Interim Dean. It gives me a sense of pride on behalf of the STEM faculty that 108 undergraduate and 18 master’s degrees were awarded at a combined commencement ceremony that nearly filled Beeghly Auditorium.

I’ll take this opportunity to remind or inform everyone that the commencement and Honors Convocation exercises from Spring 2015 onward will be scheduled differently than in the past. The commencement exercises will be held jointly in an undergraduate and graduate ceremony held by college. Half of the colleges will be in the morning commencement ceremony and the other half of the colleges will be in the afternoon ceremony. Furthermore, Honors Convocation celebrations will take place by individual college.

The STEM College Honors Convocation will be April 14 at 7pm. The new Honors Convocation will be a shorter, more intimate affair that will possibly entice better student attendance. I hope all STEM faculty and staff will join me in encouraging award-winning students in their departments and classes to attend the STEM Honors Convocation.

Several faculty and staff members have been helping to develop working relationships with industry partners by making site visits over the past two months. Companies like Nucor, Vallourec, and Crescor desire to build relationships with our College to encourage a student pipeline for employment and to increase other collaborative endeavors. Please encourage your students to visit the STEM Co-Op and Internship Expos on campus to talk with companies like these. The next Expo is scheduled for February 11. It is surprising how often I hear from these companies that there are not enough qualified students for them to hire.