Faculty Faction: Dr. Eric MacDonald

Eric MacDonald

photo credit: YSU News Center

Dr. Eric MacDonald is a professor of electrical engineering and YSU’s Friedman Chair in Engineering. He holds a BS, MS, and PhD in Electrical Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin.

He worked as a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso for 15 years after leaving industry as a chip designer. He created microprocessors for products including computers and game systems and he worked for companies like IBM and Motorola.

In 2003, Dr. MacDonald teamed up with a mechanical engineer at UTEP to experiment with the mixing of 3D printing and electronics, which was almost unheard of at that time.

“So you could make a ball that’s a circuit board for instance, or you could make a prosthetic hand,” said Dr. MacDonald. “We ended up getting a lot of interest from NASA and the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, the intelligence community even.”

He had strong ties to Youngstown before he even considered coming here to teach.

“In 2011, President Obama in his State of the Union address basically said that he was going to invest in manufacturing by setting up institutes, the first of which was additive manufacturing… and it came to Youngstown,” said Dr. MacDonald.

A grant from this institute based in Youngstown brought him and Dr. Brett Conner together for collaboration.

Dr. MacDonald was very interested in coming to Youngstown through a recent endowment. He is now the first Morris and Phyllis Friedman Chair in Engineering at Youngstown State University.

He plans to continue his hands-on research with 3D printing and electronics while also incorporating Youngstown’s history of metal manufacturing.

Last semester, Dr. MacDonald published a paper in the journal Science along with former colleague Ryan Wicker of UTEP. Science is a highly prestigious magazine and it is very difficult to be accepted for publication.

A frequent traveler, Dr. MacDonald has been to many different countries all over the world. Even so, he still thinks Ohio is a beautiful place to live.