Dr. Sharif Gets Additional Funding Through NSF Grant

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Dr. Bonita Sharif, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Information Systems at Youngstown State University, has recently been awarded a Community Research Infrastructure grant from the National Science Foundation.

This project grant, totaling $527,806 over three years ($237,196 to YSU and $290,610 to KSU), began in June 2017 and is expected to finish in June 2020. This project relates closely to Dr. Sharif’s CAREER award research on eye-tracking from last year and is in collaboration with a team at Kent State University.

“The purpose of the award is to build infrastructure to help support incorporating eye tracking within the developer’s work environment,” said Dr. Sharif.

Basically, Dr. Sharif and her team are creating an extension for integrated development environments (the platforms developers use for coding) that will allow developers to track their eye movement within the platform. They will be able to replay the eye tracking data to learn from how they look at code.

Dr. Sharif says that this software and research is important because it will help developers’ self-awareness (to learn from their own work and become more efficient) and because it will help educators teach students better. It will also help researchers to conduct large-scale studies in the industry with minimal effort.

“We can show novices how experts fix bugs by what they look at first,” said Dr. Sharif.

It is her goal to release a beta version of the software by the end of the first year and to involve other researchers in beta testing and technical briefing sessions.

“At this point, many researchers have seen a demo of our system,” she said, “but really it’s still just a prototype. We want to make it to a point where it is production ready and people can just download it, install it, and use it. I believe the joint effort with Kent State will be great in moving this forward.”

The full project title is “CI-New: Collaborative Research: An Infrastructure that Combines Eye Tracking into Integrated Development Environments to Study Software Development and Program Comprehension.”

The students involved are undergraduates Ashwin Mishra, Alexander Bonnette, Nicholas Iovino, Chris Hardaway, and graduate student Sahaj Bhattarai.

View the abstract for the project and the full details of the award here.

Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Chet Cooper

Dr. Chet Cooper

Within the Department of Biological Sciences at Youngstown State University, there are many areas of research being explored by faculty and students alike. In a monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.


Dr. Chet Cooper is a Professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. He holds a BS degree in Biology from Pitt-Johnstown. He earned his Master and PhD in Microbiology from the University of Texas.

Dr. Cooper researches a fungus that effects AIDS patients in Southeast Asia. The fungus cannot be found in soil or vegetation but it is known that it affects bamboo rats and humans. The only way a human can be infected by this fungus is by traveling to Southeast Asia and being HIV positive. The fungus is breathed in and can live in the body for several years before symptoms are observed.

The fungus, Talaromyces marneffei, was first discovered in the 1950s and brought to greater attention in the 1970s and 1980s when the AIDS epidemic occurred in Thailand. In some places in this country, up to 30% of AIDS patients contracted the fungal disease.

The fungi start attacking a person with AIDS by first giving the patient pneumonia. The infection then will spread to the skin, giving the patient skin lesions. After that, the infection will spread to the organs of the body and can be 100% fatal if it is not treated.

Dr. Cooper started researching fungi in graduate school. His first position out of graduate school was in a state health department in New York. He became familiar with different types of fungi through that position. Soon after, Dr. Cooper was asked to study how this fungus that attacks AIDS patients reacts to anti-fungal agents. His colleague from Thailand worked with him, and his research has progressed since.

“There are only 4-5 labs that study this around the entire world,” said Dr. Cooper. “People come from different countries to earn their PhD at YSU and work in the lab with this fungus.”

“There are several anti-fungal drugs that can be used to treat people who contract the fungus,” said Dr. Cooper. “But we are seeing more and more people experience side-effects and resistance to the drugs.”

At room temperature, the fungi grow filamentously. When the fungi are in the body, it is a single-celled organism that takes the form of a yeast. Dr. Cooper has recently been focusing on genes that could potentially be linked to the yeast phase of the fungus.

“A great co-worker of mine, Dr. Min, developed a software package for the entire genome of fungus,” said Dr. Cooper. “It will tell you the gene products that are pushed out of the cell.”

This software found 538 tentative genes that could potentially be connected to the fungi.

“It is also very important to know that fungi get their nutrition by sending enzymes out of the cell, digesting the substance, and absorbing,” said Dr. Cooper.

Undergraduate students that work with Dr. Cooper are developing a method using Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) to identify genes and see a particular gene is on the list of 538 tentative genes. They have used a different form of PCR to see if the genes were specifically expressed in the yeast phase or both the yeast and room temperature phases. The purpose of this was to find solely the corresponding yeast phase genes. It turns out that they found genes that were like this.

This gives evidence that those types of genes are being expressed.  In a future study, Dr. Cooper and his undergraduate students will grow the fungus in the yeast phase and examine it for the proteins produced. If they find the same types of protein in the fungi it will prove the gene is associated with it.

Ultimately, Dr. Cooper wants to determine the genes and proteins that are produced by the pathogenic form, which can lead to treatments and potential cures for this fungus and many others.

Some people who contract the fungus go into remission following initial treatment. However, they must take an antifungal drug for the rest of their lives because the fungi take hold in their immune system. If the drug is not taken, the person will become sick again because the body will not attack its own immune system.


To contact Dr. Cooper about his research, you can email him at crcooper01@ysu.edu.

Faculty Faction: Dr. Christopher Arntsen

Dr. ArntsenDr. Christopher Arntsen is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at YSU. He holds a BS degree in both Math and Chemistry from the University of Connecticut. He continued to graduate school at UCLA where he obtained a PhD in Chemistry.

At his time at UCLA, Dr. Arntsen was a TA in the Chemistry department. Following the completion of his PhD, Dr. Arntsen taught at the UCLA extension for one semester.

“I loved the idea of being able to teach and do research,” said Dr. Arntsen. “I really felt that YSU had a great mix of both.”

Dr. Arntsen is currently teaching General Chemistry I and the Physical Chemistry Lab. As a researcher, Dr. Arntsen is a theoretical chemist, meaning he deals with computation and theoretical calculations. Once he gets more settled at YSU, he would love to investigate the bandgap modulation of solar cell perovskites. He wants to study what makes them efficient solar cells and find ways to apply his findings to future research.

“I think science education is on the verge of changing to a more project and discovery-based learning,” said Dr. Arntsen. “It’s important for students to learn hands-on skills. I really want to implement more project-based learning in my classes. It would be beneficial for students in higher level classes to have more open-ended projects.”

“I have noticed that the atmosphere at YSU is very friendly, vibrant, and energetic,” said Dr. Arntsen. “I have really enjoyed it in the short time that I’ve been here.”

In the future, Dr. Arntsen wants to get involved with the YSU Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

“I am an enthusiastic Celtics fan,” said Dr. Arntsen. “I will be enthusiastically rooting against the Cavs this year!”

To contact Dr. Arntsen, you can find him at office location in Ward Beecher 5034 on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1:30-2:30 and Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30. You can also email Dr. Arntsen at carntsen@ysu.edu.

Silly Science Sunday 2017

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Silly Science Sunday was such a great way to kick off the 7 Days of STEM! The event was held on September 17, 2017 in the streets around OhWOW Children’s Center in downtown Youngstown. Various events happened throughout the day from 11:00am to 4:00pm. Children could watch the Ronald McDonald Magic Show, Bear Hunt, Dry Ice Pringles Can Blow Up, Minute to Win It, Elephant Toothpaste, Robot Demonstration, and Watermelon Blow Up.

The biggest event of the day was the Beach Ball Drop and T-Shirt Cannon at 1:00. The Beach Ball Drop was organized to beat the world record for the most amount of beach balls in the air at one time. The balls were dumped from the second floor of OhWOW into the street below.

YSU STEM had a tent on the street in front of OhWOW. There were various set ups that children could interact with. They could look at the sun with solar glasses or try on kaleidoscope glasses. In the rest of the tent children could see fat in the human body and learn about its formations, information about the planetarium as well as puzzles, spin a wheel to win a prize, and make their own “substance” from dish soap and corn syrup.

For more information on Silly Science Sunday, contact OhWOW Children’s Center at info@OHWOWKids.org or email us at STEMNews@ysu.edu.

Recent Publication: Dr. Jack Min

Dr. Xiangjia “Jack” Min, Associate Professor in Biological Science, published a research article in Computational Molecular Biology in September 2017.


Title: Comprehensive Cataloging and Analysis of Alternative Splicing in Maize

Author: Dr. Xiangjia “Jack” Min



Gene expression is a key step in developmental regulation and responses in changing environments in plants. Alternative splicing (AS) is a process generating multiple RNA isoforms from a single gene pre-mRNA transcript that increases the diversity of functional proteins and RNAs. Identification and analysis of alternatively splicing events are critical for crop improvement and understanding regulatory mechanisms. In maize large numbers of transcripts generated by RNA-seq technology are available, we incorporated these data with data assembled with ESTs and mRNAs to comprehensively catalog all genes undergoing AS. A total of 192,624 AS events were detected and classified, including 103,566 (53.8%) basic events and 89,058 (46.2%) complex events which were formed by combination of various types of basic events. Intron retention was the dominant type of basic AS event, accounting for 24.1%. These AS events were identified from 91,128 transcripts which were generated from 26,669 genomic loci, of which consisted of 20,860 gene models. It was estimated that 55.3% maize genes may be subjected to AS. The transcripts mapping information can be used to improve the predicted gene models in maize. The data can be accessed at Plant Alternative Splicing Database (http://proteomics.ysu.edu/altsplice/).


Full article link:


Recent Publication: Biology Team

Dr. Michael Butcher, Associate Professor in Biological Science, in collaboration with Dr. Gary Walker, Chairperson and Professor of Biological Sciences, Mr. Julio “Ed” Budde, and student Dylan Thomas published a research article in Journal of Applied Physiology in September 2017.


Title: Ontogeny of myosin isoform expression and prehensile function in the tail of the gray short-tailed opossum (Monodelphis domestica)

Authors: Dylan R. Thomas, Brad A. Chadwell, Gary R. Walker, Julio E. Budde, John L. VandeBerg, Michael T. Butcher



Terrestrial opossums use their semiprehensile tail for grasping nesting materials as opposed to arboreal maneuvering. We relate the development of this adaptive behavior with ontogenetic changes in myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoform expression from 21 days to adulthood. Monodelphis domestica is expected to demonstrate a progressive ability to flex the distal tail up to age 7 mo, when it should exhibit routine nest construction. We hypothesize that juvenile stages (3–7 mo) will be characterized by retention of the neonatal isoform (MHC-Neo), along with predominant expression of fast MHC-2X and -2B, which will transition into greater MHC-1β and -2A isoform content as development progresses. This hypothesis was tested using Q-PCR to quantify and compare gene expression of each isoform with its protein content determined by gel electrophoresis and densitometry. These data were correlated with nesting activity in an age-matched sample of each age group studied. Shifts in regulation of MHC gene transcripts matched well with isoform expression. Notably, mRNA for MHC-Neo and -2B decrease, resulting in little-to-no isoform translation after age 7 mo, whereas mRNA for MHC-1β and -2A increase, and this corresponds with subtle increases in content for these isoforms into late adulthood. Despite the tail remaining intrinsically fast-contracting, a critical growth period for isoform transition is observed between 7 and 13 mo, correlating primarily with use of the tail during nesting activities. Functional transitions in MHC isoforms and fiber type properties may be associated with muscle “tuning” repetitive nest remodeling tasks requiring sustained contractions of the caudal flexors.


Full article link:


Recent Publication: Dr. Michael Butcher & Zachary Glenn

Dr. Michael Butcher, Associate Professor in Biological Science, in collaboration with biology student Zachary Glenn, published a research article in Journal of Mammalian Evolution in September 2017.


Title: Architectural Properties of Sloth Forelimb Muscles (Pilosa: Bradypodidae)

Authors: Rachel A. Olson, Zachary D. Glenn, Rebecca N. Cliffe, Michael T. Butcher



Tree sloths have reduced skeletal muscle mass, and yet they are able to perform suspensory behaviors that require both strength and fatigue resistance to suspend their body mass for extended periods of time. The muscle architecture of sloths is hypothesized to be modified in ways that will enhance force production to compensate for this reduction in limb muscle mass. Our objective is to test this hypothesis by quantifying architecture properties in the forelimb musculature of the brown-throated three-toed sloth (Bradypus variegatus: N = 4). We evaluated architecture from 52 forelimb muscles by measuring muscle moment arm (rm), muscle mass (MM), belly length (ML), fascicle length (LF), pennation angle (θ), and physiological cross-sectional area (PCSA), and these metrics were used to estimate isometric force, joint torque, and power. Overall, the musculature becomes progressively more pennate from the extrinsic to intrinsic regions of the forelimb, and the flexors are more well developed than the extensors as predicted. However, most muscles are indicative of a mechanical design for fast joint rotational velocity instead of large joint torque (i.e., strength), although certain large, parallel-fibered shoulder (e.g., m. latissimus dorsi) and elbow (e.g., m. brachioradialis) flexors are capable of producing appreciable torques by having elongated moment arms. This type of functional tradeoff between joint rotational velocity and mechanical advantage is further exemplified by muscle gearing in Bradypus that pairs synergistic muscles with opposing LF/rm ratios in each functional group. These properties are suggested to facilitate the slow, controlled movements in sloths. In addition, the carpal/digital flexors have variable architectural properties, but their collective PCSA and joint torque indicates the capability for maintaining grip force and carpal stability while distributing load from the manus to the shoulder. The observed specializations provide a basis for understanding sustained suspension in sloths.

Full article link:


STEM Students Explored Career Opportunities This Month!

Constructor for a Day – 2017

Robert J. Korenic, Youngstown State University Associate Professor of Civil and Construction Engineering Technology, in collaboration with the Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) hosted the 25th annual “Constructor for A Day” program.  The event is a proven way to strengthen ties between contractors and students attending YSU who are majoring in Civil and Construction Engineering Technology as well as Civil and Environmental Engineering.  Students met at the A.P. O’Horo Company on Belmont Avenue and then toured local job sites (such as bridges on Interstate 80, the Niles Wastewater Treatment Plant, Mahoning Valley Sanitary District facility and more).  The program allows students to see firsthand practical applications of their education.  It also provides students the opportunity to network with area contractors and to see the various areas of the field that are available to work in with a degree in Civil and Construction Engineering Technology or Civil and Environmental Engineering.

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STEM Expo – Fall 2017

The STEM Expo was a tremendous success this fall. There was a total of 78 employers who participated in the expo. Students in all STEM majors could meet with employers to discuss available positions and job requirements. The expo event was created to provide students with internships, co-ops, full-time jobs, and part-time jobs. In total, there were 833 students that came to the expo in hopes of finding an opportunity in their designated career field.

If you were unable to attend the fall expo, don’t panic! There will be another expo this spring! For more information, contact STEM Professional Services at stem.jobs@ysu.edu.

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Join Handshake!

If you haven’t already joined Handshake, now is the time to do it! The Career and Professional Services at YSU switched to Handshake and they will use the database for all future communications and job postings. Handshake is home to over 200,000 employers from a wide variety of career fields. Every current student at YSU already has an account on Handshake. All you will need to do is go to the login page and enter your YSU credentials. If you are an alumnus who would wish to join Handshake, contact STEM Professional Services at stem.jobs@ysu.edu. For all the mobile users out there, Handshake also has a free app available to both Android and Apple users. Handshake offers you the ability to upload a resume for employers to view when they see your profile. Handshake also provides all students with various job openings that they can apply for right on the site that correspond to their chosen career field.

Handshake Logo




National Manufacturing Day and Design Competition– 2017

On October 6, 2017, YSU celebrated National Manufacturing Day. There were various events held across campus from 11-3.

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There were 5 events that took place in the WCBA:

Industry Showcase A talk with industry professionals about their profession and the various technologies of manufacturing.
The Wonder of 3D Printing Ashley Martof, a recent YSU graduate and former intern at America Makes, shared her engaging insights about how 3D printing attracted her to a manufacturing career.
Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing Joseph Angelo, Director of the WCBA Entrepreneurship Center, shared how many of the best (and worst) entrepreneurial aspirations are tied to manufacturing.
LaunchLab LaunchLab provides a multidisciplinary learning environment and maker space that supports education, learning, and innovation.

There were 3 events held in Moser Hall:

Center For Innovation in Additive Manufacturing, CIAM As one of the only universities in the country to have all 7 Additive Manufacturing Processes, visitors were able to learn how YSU is at the cutting edge of the next revolution in manufacturing.
CNC/AMBIT Lab Visitors could see how YSU students and faculty use computer-controlled additive and subtractive processes to create complex components.
Automation and Robotics Lab They assemble cars, sort products and do increasingly complex tasks in ever closer cooperation with humans. Visitors saw how robotics and automation can be used to support safe, efficient manufacturing processes.

There were two additional events:

Bliss Hall Foundry (Located in Bliss Hall) Where molten metal is transformed into functional and artistic castings, the Bliss Hall Foundry provides support metal casting activities across multiple disciplines at YSU.
Historical Center of Industry and Labor Visitors learned about the steel industry that dominated Youngstown in the 20th century and got to check out the “last hearts” (the final batches of steel produced at each of the mills before they closed).


National Manufacturing Day Design Competition – 2017

Congratulations to the 2017 3D Design Competition winners, Larry and Mariah, from Austintown! The 3D Printing Design Competition allowed students, 13 years of age and older, to test original designs for useful products that can ordinarily be purchased commercially, but that might be 3D printed at a competitive cost or with improvements to function or value. Winners, Larry and Mariah, will receive a New FlashForge Finder 3D Printer.

Student Spotlight: Efrain Velez

Efrain Velez

YSU STEM loves to highlight student achievements and experiences! Please email us about students who have accomplished great things at STEMNews@ysu.edu so we can get the word out about our exceptional students!

Efrain Velez is a junior at YSU who is studying Industrial and Systems Engineering with a minor in Mathematics. This past summer, Efrain had the opportunity to intern at Exal Corporation.

The company is a leading producer in the can and bottle industry. Exal makes bottles for various companies like Monster, Bud Light, Budweiser, Dove, and Loreal Paris. All products made at the company are packaged in-house and shipped out directly from the plant to the producing companies. Exal’s headquarters are located right here in Youngstown and they also have multiple subdivisions in places like Argentina and Brazil.

There are two types of certification offered at YSU that pertain to Efrain’s career, Lean Six Sigma and Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma deals primarily with non-numerical issues like efficiency, getting rid of wastes by eliminating what you can, and improving the workplace. Six Sigma is number-based ideology.

During his freshman year at YSU, Efrain decided to take the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt Certification course that is offered to any majors on campus.

“I highly recommend the course to anyone,” said Efrain. “This was so helpful to me because many companies want their employees to have this type of certification.”

Efrain, who was only a sophomore at the time he was hired at Exal, outshone many junior and senior applicants because of his Lean Six Sigma certification.

“Getting this certificate really advances you and makes you stand out to companies,” said Efrain. “It tells these companies that you really want more and that you are willing to go above and beyond in your job.”

Efrain plans to take the Six Sigma Group Belt Certification course at YSU this spring. It is a great opportunity offered at YSU because it is a lot less expensive here than at other public universities.

At Exal, Efrain is classified as an Operational Excellence Intern. He is directly under the head director for Operation Intelligence, Mr. Oscar Mayet. At the time he was hired, he was one of two industrial engineers working for the Youngstown Exal location. His daily tasks consisted of recreating work standards, analyzing statistical data, and quality control. He was also able to provide translating services for documents that came from other Exal subdivisions in Spanish and even some Portuguese.

“It is very rewarding to work at Exal under the director,” said Efrain. “Mr. Mayet has such a wealth of knowledge and he has shown that YSU students are welcome at Exal.”

Efrain continues to work at Exal this semester and hopes to work there for as long as he can.

“Exal is like a very close-knit family and I love that about my job,” said Efrain.

By working at Exal, Efrain has realized that he wants to specialize his career in industrial and systems management.

Outside of his internship, Efrain is a member of the STEM Leadership Society, the Honors College, the YSU Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers (IISE), and the Choose Ohio First program. He has also been a member in the Honors College’s Big and Little program, iPals, and English Conversation Partners. He hopes to get more involved on campus before his time is up at YSU.

“A little fun fact about me is that I love to sing,” said Efrain. “I was part of the choirs and drama club throughout high school, so if all else fails, I’m trying out for American Idol.”

To find out more about Exal Corporation and what Efrain does, visit their website at www.exal.com.

Fall 2017 STEM Expo is October 5th!

The STEM Professional Services office in the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics hosts the semi-annual Fall 2017 STEM Expo from 12 to 4 p.m. October 5, 2017, in Stambaugh Stadium, Gymnasiums A & B at Youngstown State University.

Employers from private, non-profit and government sectors are invited to participate in the event to recruit and fill available internship and co-op, and full-time/entry-level Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics positions. Currently there are over 80 employers registered for the event.

The Expo is open to all current STEM students and STEM Alumni who are either seeking an internship/co-op for the upcoming year or a full-time/entry level position.  The Expo is a great opportunity to build awareness about your organization, learn more about student dynamics, and to potentially connect with faculty in various academic departments.

For more information, call the STEM Professional Services office at 330-941-2151.


Biomedical Research Series: Dr. Jill Tall

Dr. Jill Tall

Within the Department of Biological Sciences at Youngstown State University, there are many areas of research being explored by faculty and students alike. In a monthly series, we will highlight faculty research that covers various aspects of biomedical efforts from DNA to bacteria, fungi, and more.

Dr. Jill Tall is an associate professor of Biological Sciences at YSU. She earned her BS degree in biomedical science from Arizona State University and her PhD from Kent State University and NEOMED in biomedical science, with focus on neurobiology and pharmacology. Dr. Tall also completed a post-doctoral program at John Hopkins in anesthesiology researching how our diet effects bodily pain.

After her schooling, Dr. Tall brought her pain research with her to YSU until she paused her research in 2010 to have her children. She resumed research in 2012 where she twisted her research into a clinical perspective.

Through the course of her research at YSU, Dr. Tall has experimented with emergency room patient satisfaction. With the help of her students, Dr. Tall set up a research study that surveyed a group of patients as they came into the emergency room, asking questions like why they thought they were there, what they wanted the doctor to know, and what medication or treatment they thought they might need. Her research study was primarily designed to address the issues of emergency room backup.

“Anything that can help decrease the time in the emergency room is a hot topic for researchers,” said Dr. Tall.

The results of her study found that there were no significant differences between patients who were surveyed and patients who were not.

“This indicates that the emergency room gridlock is not specifically from the staff and physicians. Perhaps other hospital-related issues, like backup in the lab, radiology, and time to get a patient a bed on a floor, are slowing the process.,” said Dr. Tall.

However, the results suggested that all patients were fairly satisfied with their experiences at the emergency room regardless of the prior survey.

Dr. Tall has also developed a clinical research certificate program at YSU. In Spring 2017, there were 5 students who graduated with the completion of her certificate program. This program follows a student’s regular BS degree and allows undergraduates to get exposure in clinical research. The program is also included on each student’s transcript, setting them apart in the competitive job field.

The program consists of an inexpensive phone study, followed by research and data collection from patients at a hospital. This year, students will be receiving data from St. Elizabeth patients.

“Students truly get the complete research study experience,” said Dr. Tall.

There were two students in last year’s program that really stood out to Dr. Tall. Students Isaac Pierce, a medical school attendee at Ohio University and Andrew Whipkey, a student at NEOMED impressed Dr. Tall immensely.

“They always went above and beyond with any task I had for them,” said Dr. Tall. “They genuinely enjoyed the program and they always took the lead.”

This semester, Dr. Tall currently has 9 undergraduate students that assist her. For her research expenses, Dr. Tall received a grant from Ohio University Heritage of Osteopathic Medicine. She obtained this grant from a study she did on the effects of emergency transportation backboards.

In the future, Dr. Tall wants to create more connections with other medical organizations. She also wants to attract other science majors to her certificate program because, regardless of their major, they will receive hands-on experiences that will set them apart from their competition. She feels that the best part about YSU is the research opportunities that are present for students as opposed to bigger universities.

To contact Dr. Tall about her research or her certificate program, email her at jmtall@ysu.edu or visit her office in Ward Beecher, Room 4026.

Harry Potter Weekend 2017

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Do you love all things Harry Potter? The Ward Beecher Planetarium and the Room of Requirement will be hosting a Harry Potter Weekend on September 29 at 8:00pm and September 30 at 2:00pm and 8:00pm. Each session will be held at the planetarium. Doors will be open to attendees 30 minute before each show time. Please make sure to allow yourself enough time to get to each show time early because seats are first to come, first seated.

Everyone who attends is encouraged to wear their wizard best! The planetarium show will start with an Astronomy class fit for Hogwarts. Afterward, there will be a challenge that will allow guests to test their knowledge of the stars for a chance to win house points toward the house cup!

The Room of Requirement will also be hosting several Harry Potter themed activities for all ages.

For more information about the event, contact Tiffany Stone Wolbrecht at trstonewolbrecht@ysu.edu or the Room of Requirement President, Krista Clay at kmclay@student.ysu.edu.

Faculty Faction: Dr. Kevin Disotell

Dr. Kevin Disotell

Dr. Kevin Disotell is an assistant professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at YSU. He holds a BS and PhD in Aeronautical & Astronautical l Engineering from The Ohio State University, with the primary focus of aerodynamics.

“While I was a doctoral candidate at Ohio State, I served as an instructor for a technical elective—helicopter aerodynamics—which was my first teaching experience in the classroom,” said Disotell. “It was also a good experience to balance teaching and research duties.”

After his experiences at OSU, Dr. Disotell began his career in the aerospace industry. He was able to contribute to programs and research efforts at NASA.

“I came to YSU from NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia. Langley was established as our nation’s first civilian aeronautics laboratory, and it was an honor to be part of the 100th anniversary of the center’s opening this year,” said Disotell. “So many amazing achievements in aerospace history have roots at Langley. Having also worked in product development at Ford Motor Company in Michigan, I feel quite fortunate to have been part of such iconic organizations with tremendous histories.”

Dr. Disotell knew that giving college-level students the backgrounds for an aerospace degree would allow them to also experience what he had. Dr. Disotell’s interests in teaching at YSU arose because he could contribute to quality degree programs while also helping YSU to be a national model for public education value. Having been raised in Boardman, Disotell knew how important the university was to the area, so he wanted to be part of the university’s momentum.

“I look forward to creating an integrated teaching and research space in the fluid mechanics laboratory of Moser Hall,” said Disotell. “A key piece of this transformation is a new research-grade wind tunnel that we will build alongside our instructional tunnels. Being in a state of aviation pioneers and in the middle of our country’s Fluid Power Belt, it is important that we offer excellent training in fluid mechanics.”

This semester you can see Dr. Disotell if you are part of the mechanical engineering program or if you are taking Thermodynamics I or Fluid Dynamics.

In his short time here, Dr. Disotell has already started to make an impact at YSU. He has been involved in the effort to create a new student branch for the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) on campus. This new student organization will open new doors for students with career interests in the aerospace field. The organization will work to provide its members professional connections. You can read more about the AIAA branch here.

Dr. Disotell has also expressed an urge to improve several components on campus for YSU engineering students.

“One of my goals is to help expand quality research opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students with our work in the laboratory,” said Disotell. “Getting hands-on experience helps drive innovation and will prepare our students to enter the workforce in the aerospace sector, which continues to see global growth in economic value and manufacturing output. Ohio is a leading supplier to the aerospace industry.”

It is great to know that Dr. Disotell is aiming for the stars here at YSU.

“My favorite pastime is baseball. An ancestor of mine, Gene Desautels, played professional baseball as a catcher around the time of WWII,” said Disotell. “He was teammates with the famous hitter Ted Williams in Boston, and also played for Cleveland among other teams.”

Doesn’t Dr. Disotell sound like an amazing professor? For more information about AIAA or to contact Dr. Disotell for any reason, you can email him at kjdisotell@ysu.edu. Due to renovations, Dr. Disotell has a temporary office in Moser Hall 1460. His office will change after the second-floor updates are completed.

STEM Professional Services Student Resource Events

Looking for a way to get your feet wet in a STEM career field? The College of STEM has you covered! There have been several events created for STEM students to meet employers, learn how to be successful while searching for jobs, and learn the specifics for various companies who hire a tremendous amount of YSU students. Every event is open to students who are interested in internship/co-op or full-time job opportunities. There is no registration to participate.


How to Be Successful at an Expo

  • There will be multiple information sessions that will provide you with the knowledge you will need to know about being successful at an expo. Below are the dates, locations, and times of each session:
Dates Time Presenter Company Location
Wednesday, September 20, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Kevin Hawkins Progressive Moser Hall, Room 2400
Monday, September 25. 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Lisa Wise Eaton Corporation Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, September 27, 2017 2:30pm-3:30pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Lincoln Building, Cafaro Suite, Room 510
Thursday, September 28, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Moser Hall, Room 2400
Monday, October 2, 2017 1:00pm-2:00pm Chris Allen Vallourec USA Corp. Moser Hall, Room 2400


Fall 2017 Employer Information Sessions

  • There will be various companies from the area that will be discussing their companies (what they do) and what they look for in potential employees.
    • All Employers seeking to fill Internship/Co-op and full-time positions:


Date Time Company Information Session Location
Monday, October 2, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm RoviSys Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Tuesday, October 3, 2017 3:30pm-4:30pm Vallourec Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 12:45pm-2:15pm Nucor Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 2:15pm-3:15pm Nucor Interview Workshop Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 4:00pm-5:00pm Vallourec Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400
Wednesday, October 4, 2017 6:00pm-7:00pm Honda Information Session Moser Hall, Room 2400


College of STEM Fall Expo 2017

  • Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 12pm-4pm at Stambaugh Stadium
    • Companies Seeking Science Majors for Internship/Co-ops and Full-time Opportunities:
      • Component Repair Technologies Dominion Energy · Johnson Matthey · Mercy Health · Naval Nuclear Laboratory · Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District · Ohio Army National Guard · Ohio Environmental Protection Agency · The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company · TIMET · U.S. Air Force Reserve · USMC Officer Selection Office

For more information on any of these events, contact STEM Professional Services at stem.jobs@ysu.edu.


Student Organization: Actuarial Science Club

Actuarial science is the career field that applies mathematical and statistical methods to calculate risk in insurance, finance, and other industries or professions. Actuaries are professionals who are qualified through intense education and real-life experiences. Actuarial science includes several interrelated subjects, including mathematics, probability theory, statistics, finance, economics, and computer science.


The Actuarial Science Club (ASC) has been at YSU for approximately ten years. The club was created to provide opportunities for students interested in actuarial science careers. In this club, students can learn more about the profession through speakers from the industry, attendance at conferences and career/internship fairs.

Dr. Thomas Wakefield is the co-advisor of the Actuarial Science Club and he is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. Dr. Moon Nyugen is also a co-advisor of ASC; she is an Associate Professor of Mathematics and Statistics. As the advisors, Dr. Wakefield and Dr. Nyugen work diligently to provide all the members of the club with adequate resources for their future.

“There are currently about 20 members in the Actuarial Science Club and there are no requirements to join our club,” said Aaron Loveless, President of ASC.

There are many students who do not know anything about the actuarial science field. For that very reason, ASC provides students with information that allows them to make an informed decision as to whether actuarial science is the career for them. The club also provides its members with extremely beneficial study tips and practice for actuarial examinations.

“The organization typically brings 1-2 speakers from industry in each year,” said Dr. Wakefield. “In the past YSU grads have returned to talk about their experiences working in the insurance industry.”

Several members of ASC are also preparing to attend the Midwest Actuary Student Conference at the University of Iowa at the end of September.

ASC is also involved in several aspects of campus life. They frequently partner with the other math clubs (Pi Mu Epsilon, AWM, SIAM) to support various activities each semester within the Math Department.

Any student who is considering a degree in the actuarial field is encouraged to contact Dr. Thomas Wakefield (tpwakefield@ysu.edu) or Moon Nguyen (ntnguyen01@ysu.edu) or the Club VP Maddie Cope (mcope01@student.ysu.edu). Students can also visit the website for ASC here and look for its addition to the Department page!