New Faculty Help Expand YSU STEM Capabilities

Now that the first few weeks of school are over, many have met the new faculty that are roaming the halls of the STEM College. We may not know them by name just yet, but we recognize that they are new faces. Some of the new faculty were brought in to help expand several areas of the STEM College, including the Ph.D. program in Materials Science and the new natural gas minor.

Let us now introduce the newest members of the faculty!

Dr. Snjezana Balaz

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Dr. Snjezana Balaz

Dr. Snjezana Balaz earned her bachelor’s degree in Physics from Northland College in Ashland, WI in 2001, her Master of Science degree in Physics, as well as her PhD in Chemical and Materials Engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005 and 2007, respectively. She has since worked at the University of California at Riverside and The Ohio State University. Dr. Balaz has extensive experience and publications in the field of surface science. Her research has focused on the structure of surfaces of thin films, semiconductors, and nanoclusters. Among her accomplishments, she is the first to show that boron carbide, a novel semiconductor, makes an effective neutron voltaic and photovoltaic diode that has been made into a solid-state neutron detector for Homeland Security. She investigated the tantalum oxynitride series ATaO2N (A = Ca, Sr, Ba) and RTaON2 (R = La, Pr), promising candidates for photocatalytic splitting of water under illumination by visible light. She is also the first to reveal the electronic properties of perovskite oxides heterojunctions that are grown and characterized in situ. Dr. Balaz is currently studying organic interfaces using surface science techniques to better understand their electronic and chemical characteristics. Dr. Balaz is passionate about the STEM fields and in creating strong scientists and thinkers.

Dr. Brett Conner

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Dr. Brett Conner

Dr. Brett Conner joins YSU’s Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering with fifteen years of experience in government and industry. Dr. Conner served in the US Air Force where he conducted research into materials, conducted space systems development, developed technology policy, and managed programs. His assignments included Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the Pentagon. After the Air Force, Dr. Conner was a contractor supporting the Mine Resistant Ambush Protection (MRAP) Joint Program Office. There, he led teams of engineers to upgrade survivability and automotive performance of these armored vehicles used to protect soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Dr. Conner then joined Alcoa where he first started in the Alcoa Defense organization managing naval research and development programs. This was later followed by working in the Alloy Technology Division, where he developed new aluminum alloys and tempers. Most notably, he led research efforts funded by DARPA into functional graded aluminum armor. He is an inventor on two patents and several pending patent applications. Dr. Conner received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri in physics and masters and doctorate from MIT in materials science and engineering.

Dr. Conner has research interests in additive manufacturing and 3-D printing of the following: multi-material systems, functional graded materials, shock and energy absorption applications, and complex structures. He also has interests in entrepreneurial approaches for additive manufacturing.

Dr. Holly Martin

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Dr. Holly Martin

Dr. Holly Martin received both her Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University. Dr. Martin’s graduate work focused on the modification of implant-quality titanium to bond a bioactive polymer to improve cell adhesion and growth. Dr. Martin then focused on the corrosion of lightweight metal alloys for use in the automotive industry as a Post Doctoral Research Associate and Assistant Research Professor at the Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems at Mississippi State University. Her future research interests are focused on combining her coatings experience with her corrosion experience in an effort to reduce and control microbially assisted corrosion in the oil and gas industry. Dr. Martin also has experience teaching a multitude of chemical engineering classes at the freshman, junior, senior, and graduate level.

Dr. Robin Mattheus

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Dr. Robin Mattheus

Dr. Robin Mattheus graduated from the UNC Department of Marine Sciences in 2009 with his PhD. His graduate work focused on shallow coastal stratigraphy and sediment-transport dynamics through coastal environments of North Carolina. He received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Geology from the University of Alabama in 2003 and 2006, respectively.

Following graduate school, Dr. Mattheus held a position as Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College, in New York, for one and a half years and, most recently, a two-year visiting position at YSU in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. He has had the opportunity to teach a broad spectrum of Earth Science courses over the last 4 years, including Sedimentology/Stratigraphy, Geomorphology, Geohazards, Oceanography, and River Environments, among others.

Dr. Mattheus’s general research interests are in coastal geology, sedimentology, and fluvial geomorphology. He is particularly interested in how coastal environments evolve in response to changes in sea level, climate, and human impacts.

Dr. Donald Priour

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Dr. Donald Priour

Donald Priour has joined the YSU Department of Physics & Astronomy this fall as a tenure track assistant professor. Donald is a native Texan who received his undergraduate degree from Rice University and his doctoral degree from Princeton University. Donald specializes in theoretical condensed matter physics. Donald’s teaching interests at YSU include introductory physics, classical mechanics, modern physics, and materials science at the doctoral level. He is also interested in finding ways to teach computational methods with an emphasis on programming environments, which led to transferable industrially relevant skills. Much of Donald’s research has a computational element, and the presence of disorder is a major theme. Donald has studied magnetic semiconductors, percolation physics in continuum systems, and charge transport in amorphous media. Recently, his research interests have also included thermodynamic phases in hard-core models for liquid crystals and band gaps in patterned photonic crystals.

Dr. Suresh Sharma

Suresh Sharma
Dr. Suresh Sharma

Originally, Suresh Sharma is from Nepal. He received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and his master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering (Civil) from Tribhuwan University, Nepal. Sharma earned his PhD in Civil Engineering from Auburn University, USA in 2012 and worked as a Post Doctoral Research Associate at Purdue University, Indiana for one year. Before his PhD, he worked as a civil engineer in Nepal and was involved in various multi-disciplinary projects such as rural road, bridge, irrigation, water supply and sanitation for about seven years. In addition, Sharma worked as a part-time assistant professor for a few semesters.

Dr. Sharma’s diverse research interests include climate variability and its application in watershed modeling and hydrodynamic and in-stream water quality modeling. He is interested in complex hydrologic and water quality modeling, using various types of data driven, conceptual, physically based and distributed and semi-distributed watershed models in climate change/variability context. In particular, He works in the area of climate variability and its impact in water resources. Dr. Sharma’s research includes land use (land cover change) and its impact in hydrology (water quality); remotely sensed precipitation datasets (NEXRAD) and its application in hydrology; and spatial variability and its impact in hydrologic analysis. His research area also includes long range stream flow forecasting using climate models; climate variability based rainfall runoff modeling; hydrological time series analysis with ENSO (wavelet analysis); and mathematical modeling for stream flow forecasting using ENSO information. His most current research area includes meta-analysis, non-point source modeling, sediment modeling, DO modeling, best management practices, sediment transport, and hydrologic and water quality impact due to bioenergy crop production on agricultural land.

Dr. Lin Sun

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Dr. Lin Sun

Lin Sun received the her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 2001 and 2004, respectively. She then earned her PhD from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, in May 2010. From 2004 to 2010, she worked as the research assistant, as well as a teaching assistant in the Center for Computational Electromagnetics and Electromagnetics Laboratory (CCEML) at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. From May 2010 to July 2013, she worked as the Post Doctoral research scientist at Schlumberger-Doll Research Center where her work focuses on electromagnetic inverse algorithms for characterizing complex structures in horizontal wells using directional resistivity measurements. In the summers of 2007 and 2008, she worked at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and Mentor Graphics on signal integrity analysis and parametric extraction of inhomogeneous packaging structures in microelectronics and nanoelectronics circuits.

Her research interests focus on computational electromagnetics algorithms; moment method; finite difference method and inverse algorithms in wave scattering problems; and signal integrity analysis problems in IC design and subsurface sensing.

She is a reviewer for journals of IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on Components, Packaging and Manufacturing Technology, International Journal of Numerical Modeling: Electronic Networks, Devices and Fields, and Wave Motion.

Dr. Feng (George) Yu

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Dr. Feng (George) Yu

Dr. Feng Yu has completed his PhD in Computer Science from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. His research interests include database query optimization, cloud computing, and big data. Dr. Yu also has industry experience in software development and information security. He will teach database management system in the fall semester.

Dr. Jinsong Yu

Jinsong Yu has his Ph. D. in Chemical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University and his  B. S. in Chemical Engineering Tsinghua University, Beijing, China.  He was most recently a post-doc working at Purdue University Calumet Water Institute, where he participated in a Multimillion Environmental Project funded by British Petroleum (BP) Cooperated with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) on bench and pilot scale treatability studies to remove heavy metals from BP refinery wastewaters.

Dr. Susheel Kolwalkar

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Dr. Susheel Kolwalkar

Susheel Kolwalkar earned his Master of Science in Engineering degree in Civil Engineering from YSU in 2003 and his Doctor of Engineering in Civil Engineering from Cleveland State University in 2009. He has worked for GRL Engineers, Inc. in Chicago for the past five years. His primary expertise is in geotechnical engineering. He will be teaching a variety of civil engineering courses in the geotechnical, structural, and environmental engineering areas.

Mr. Robert Gilliland

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Robert Gilliland

Robert Gilliland has been a part-time instructor in CSIS for several years and joins this year as a new term faculty.  Robert has expertise in database services, including time with his own company supporting system and web administration.