The end of the year is the traditional time to reflect on past successes, so why not spend the next few minutes looking back on a year that saw so much activity in the STEM College. Rather than putting this in chronological order, I think I’ll borrow from David Letterman and give my list of the top ten successes from the STEM College in 2013
10. New funding was received for STEM co-ops and internships, with State funding through Ohio Means Co-ops and Internships and the OH-Penn Manufacturing Workforce Development grant from the Department of Labor. Over 100 students were placed in 2013.
9. We launched our online Masters of Engineering, Engineering Management concentration.
8. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute rebranded itself as America Makes! We placed our first intern in their facility during the summer, and continued our participation in their activities and governance.
7. The Fifth annual Sustainable Energy Forum featured over a dozen speakers from national energy laboratories throughout the country, with over 200 attendees.
6. YSU received an in-kind contribution valued at $440,000,000 from Siemens Corporation for Product Life Cycle Management software.
5. The Jack D. Bakos, Jr. Student Collaborative Lounge was renovated with new technology and dedicated in October, bringing new collaborative capabilities for our students.
4. Nearly 500 students received degrees from the STEM College.
3. Ten new faculty were added throughout the college, supporting initiatives in natural gas, additive manufacturing, computing, and more.
2. The engineering programs underwent a successful ABET accreditation visit.
1. The annual STEM Awards dinner featured a special presentation by Mr. Matthew Mrakovich, recipient of General Electric’s Edison Pioneer of the Year Award, a 2001 BE graduate from Mechanical Engineering. The award included a $15,000 cash prize that was presented to YSU and the STEM College.
Students. At a University, you would think that we would recognize the students for all that they do and the important role that they play in the everyday working of the institution. But I think that all too often, we take our students for granted. We recruit a class of students, move them through our classes, and then they graduate. And we move on to the next class. We are well into working to recruit our new incoming class, and the seniors are all getting ready for graduation. So this is a good time to reflect on the past few years and think about what this group of students has achieved, and how it has changed YSU and the STEM College.
Let me start with our STEM Leadership Society students. We started the program in 2010, and the first group of students will be graduating in the spring. This is a group of over-achievers. Some of them are scholars; but all of them have the ability to be scholars. Because this is the first group of SLS students to go through the program, I’ve gotten to know them a bit better than some others. From a small group of students who responded to my suggestions, to the owners of their own activities today, the SLS represents the best of what it means to be in STEM at YSU. The look out for each other, they participate in service projects they set the tone for STEM activities. It’s an amazing group of real leaders, proving that YSU students can compete with anyone, anywhere—and win!
Another shout out goes to our NSBE members and leaders, and those who have gone in past years. Here too I have had the pleasure of working with a great group of students who have worked hard to take ownership of a small student group and give meaning to its role at YSU. For the past few years, I’ve seen the leadership change, but each time, the new leadership has something just a little stronger to build upon. Now, they have a small, but vibrant chapter who will be attending the regional meeting in Detroit later this month. They tutor, they support each other, and they bring a diverse viewpoint to our college. We are better because of their efforts, and again demonstrate that YSU students succeed in all aspects.
Our STEM Professional Practice office is another example of how we spread the word about the capabilities in the college through our students. Over 100 students did paid internships this year. Every one of these students served as an ambassador for the college. And because of their success, more companies want to come and hire our students for internships, and for permanent placement.
I could also talk about the amazing achievements of our student groups. The student NECA chapter won the poster competition at the NECA challenge. Six of our Math students won awards at this summer’s MathFest (out of 11 total awards given out nationally). Last spring we finished in the top 20 in the concrete canoe and the steel bridge. Students competing nationally and bringing back awards.
It happens, in part, because our area high schools have become more attuned to the importance of STEM education. Canfield and Austintown competed and were recognized for their success in the FIRST Robotics challenge. Youngstown has created a STEM magnet school in Chaney. We partner with the Youngstown Early College. And we reach into the elementary grades through our great relationship with OH Wow! The Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology.
STEM students are thriving at YSU, and making a name for themselves nationally. If you are a student, you should be very proud of what you and your classmates have achieved. For our outstanding alumni, recognize that our current students are carrying out your legacy of success. And for our friends, please take a moment to thank one of our students for all that they do to support our community. YSU STEM students are the best anywhere. Let’s all be proud of what they accomplish.