Focus on Academic Advisory Council

The STEM College Advisory Council is comprised of influential leaders in industry and government who share a common commitment to the success of YSU. During their meeting on Friday, October 21 Council members provided input on several College initiatives, including an analysis of STEM facilities, ideas on promoting student engagement in industry, and the STEM College strategic plan.

Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, commented that “the Advisory Council is one way in which we can get input from leaders in industry, who know what our students need to learn in order to be successful after graduation. They can assist in building relationships that can lead to jobs for our students. They help us to make our curriculum relevant.”

Another initiative of the council is to build good working relationships with industry to foster faculty and student involvement in joint research projects and establish YSU as a leading urban research university, and to help find employment opportunities for students and graduates.

Jack Greaf, former Chairman and CEO of Mitsubishi Electric Power Products, said he is serving on the Council to provide some ideas from industry for research and development. He added, “I would like to understand what the University is doing in education particularly the STEM College,” so he can determine, “how the education that’s being provided can be complemented by industry.” Greaf, who is recently retired, graduated from YSU in 1967 and is hoping to give back to the University that gave him the education to be successful.

Stephen Giangiordano, VP of Technology and Innovation at RTI, was in attendance and is a 1979 YSU graduate. He said, “I have a very strong interest in STEM issues that are facing the aerospace and defense industry. By having the privilege to be on the Council, I will have an opportunity to learn more about the STEM issues and have a positive impact on the University.” RTI has an ongoing relationship with YSU and offers internship opportunities for students.

Joseph Hamrock, President and COO of American Electric Power, also serves on the council. American Electric is among the nation’s largest generators of electricity and owns the nation’s largest electricity transmission system (a nearly 39,000-mile network). Hamrock is a 1985 YSU graduate of the Electrical Engineering program and said he would like to give back to the University that provided him a great platform for success. He added, “My education at YSU in the Electrical Engineering program was so valuable to me in ways I didn’t understand then. It’s great to help today’s students explore the opportunities that a STEM education can provide for them.”

David Reed is a Boardman native and currently resides in Poland. He is President of Essex Group, Inc. located in Fort Wayne, IN. He said he is grateful for the education he had at Youngstown State. He said, “Hopefully, I can continue to provide some positive influence from an industrial perspective.” He added that he hopes the college will continue to focus on undergraduate programs as well as graduate programs, and he wants to help provide support and influence from the private sector.

YSU hosting Robotics Merit Badge

One of five new Merit Badges introduced in April this year, the Robotics Merit Badge joins 125 other subjects in the Merit Badge Program of the Boy Scouts of America.

On Saturday, Nov. 12, 2011, 24 scouts will participate in a 6 hour workshop to earn the Robotics Merit Badge on the campus of Youngstown State University. The Merit Badge Counselor is Daryl Gross, an Instructor in the Engineering Technology Department at YSU. As part of completing all of the merit badge requirements, the scouts will design, build, program and test a robot.

It’s the latest example of how Scouting embraces the interests of modern boys while preparing them for careers in science, technology, engineering, and math fields collectively known as STEM, says Bryan Wendell, Senior Editor of Scouting Magazine, about the Robotics Merit Badge.

STEM College students Begin Work on Concrete Canoe

Students from the STEM College begin work on the annual concrete canoe competition hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Nathan Knapp, the team’s captain, said, “I want to expand my knowledge of the overall concrete canoe competition and pass my experiences to underclassmen. I hope to represent Youngstown State University at the national level.”

Nathan is a senior Civil Engineering student who has worked on the canoe project in the past. His team of eight other students includes Sammie Rovnak, Joe Reedy, Allison McMillen, Kim Klonowski, Mike Kaldy, Sentel Rodgers, Chris Jones, and Dan Phillips. They are working on the initial mix design first by using last year’s formula and improving it to be lighter and less dense. The team is performing a structural analysis to make sure the thickness of their hull design can withhold the pressure. The hull of the canoe can be no more than 22 feet long and 36 inches wide so the students are working to make sure the mix can withstand those dimensions and remain light for optimal racing agility.

The next step is to finish the mold. The cross sections for the mold are cut, and the team will pour the concrete on “place day” in December. Then, it will be sanded down, and a drywall compound will be applied to compliment the finish. Graphics and aesthetics will then be applied, and the students hope to have enough time to practice with it in the water.

The regional competition will take place on March 29-31, 2012 at the University of Pittsburgh where they will compete against other universities across the country and Canada. Schools that have competed in the past include Akron University, Western Kentucky, Ohio State University and Ohio University. The team must prepare a design paper and will also be judged on an oral presentation and the aesthetics of the canoe. Then, they will race it. Last year’s team placed second, and if they win this year, they will advance to nationals held in Nevada. For more information on the competition, visit

Dr. Scott Martin of Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor on the project. He said, “Working on projects like the concrete canoe provides a real opportunity for engineering students to enhance their professional skills. They improve their understanding of the things they learned in their Civil Engineering courses, and also develop communication, teamwork, project management, and time management skills. On top of all that, they have a lot of fun, and gain confidence that they can compete with engineering students from anywhere.”

Retirees: Bob Hogue

Bob Hogue
Associate Professor
Computer Science and Information Systems

Bob Hogue retired this year after a 23-year affiliation with the University. He started his career at YSU in 1988 as a faculty member in the Department of Computer Technology. He served as Secretary of the Academic Senate for nine years and was First Vice President of YSU-OEA for several years. He also served as OEA President for a year. He developed an individual curriculum program in web communications and established a scholarship for new students majoring in creative writing, journalism or technical writing and created a website with Dean Abraham for the STEM Leadership Conservatory.

After retirement, Bob will teach one or two courses a year under Extended Teaching Service. He is involved with the development of various websites and will continue to be involved with the English Festival. In the winter months, he plans to travel to warmer climates.

Bob enjoyed working with the students at YSU. He said, “They inspired me with their energy and their creativity and their ability to keep everything in proper perspective. They are very talented people, and I consider it an honor to have worked with them.”

New Faculty: Dr. Bonita Sharif

Dr. Bonita Sharif
Assistant Professor
Computer Science and Information Systems

Dr. Sharif started teaching classes at YSU this fall after serving as Adjunct Assistant Professor at Ohio University. She has conducted research in empirical software engineering and program comprehension and has experience in software visualization to support maintenance of large systems and eye-tracking research related to software engineering.

She received her MS in 2003 and Ph.D. in 2010 from Kent State University. Her dissertation work involved controlled experiments and eye-tracking studies evaluating the impact of layout on the comprehension of Unified Modeling Language class diagrams.

Dr. Sharif hopes to be a valuable asset to YSU’s growing masters program in Computing and Information Systems by contributing her knowledge of software engineering. She said, “I enjoy working with students, and my research is accessible to them.” She looks forward to building collaborative relationships with the other departments and promoting the software engineering expertise of students and faculty.

Retirees: Carolyn Denny-Schaefer

Carolyn Denny-Schaefer with her family.

Carolyn Denny-Schaefer
Secretary 1
Electrical & Computer Engineering

Carolyn Denny-Schaefer retired in July of this year. She began her employment at the University in 1976 as the secretary for the Physical Plant. In 1984, she became the secretary for Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and later moved to the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department where she remained until her retirement.

Carolyn is also a YSU graduate from the School of Business where she received an associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Her husband is a graduate of the YSU School of Business as well.

Carolyn said, “I worked with some of the most phenomenal people.” She added that her relationships with co-workers are what she loved most about working at YSU. “I still get together with my co-workers who are still at the University and some are retired,” she commented.

She has three children attending YSU and is still involved with events at the University. Her son is in the marching band so she goes to all the football games, and she loves to see the theatre productions. Carolyn’s husband is retired, as well, so she plans to spend time with family and friends and support her children in the various clubs they are involved with on campus.

New Staff: Jim Cook

Jim Cook
Lab Coordinator

Jim Cook has been hired as a Lab Coordinator for the STEM College. He began in April and is assisting with automating research and teaching equipment. He is also interfacing general purpose and custom hardware with computers. He works primarily with faculty and researchers, but also assists students with computer hardware needs.

Jim graduated in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh with a BS degree in Bioengineering. He worked for six years in the Medical Virtual Reality Lab at the University of Pittsburgh where he fabricated and maintained electronic and mechanical testing equipment. He also programmed data acquisition, automation, and data analysis software.

Some major projects Jim was involved with include the automation of a chemical reactor used for carbon absorption research and the configuration of a data logger for acquisition of weather data and wind turbine power generation data.

Jim hopes to enhance the learning and research environment at the University and continue to be a resource for the faculty and researchers at YSU.

New Staff: Sherri Hrusovski

Sherri Hrusovski
Coordinator, STEM Student Professional Services

Sherri Hrusovski is “thrilled” to be back at YSU where she obtained her communications degree in 1989. Hrusovski will centralize the co-op/internship programs in the STEM College and streamline the process for students and employers to connect. She received her MS degree in Higher Education Administration in 2007 from The University of Akron, then worked for almost 11 years at The University of Akron as the Assistant Director for Employer Relations, UA Career Center and as Assistant Director for Cooperative Education/Internship. She was also a training specialist at Youngstown Employment and Training Corporation where she worked extensively with displaced workers from Phar-Mor and the local hospitals as well as economically challenged individuals. Her goal is that every student will have an opportunity to take part in the program and improve their job market viability.

Third Frontier Paves the Way for Innovation by Students and Faculty

Ohio’s Third Frontier program provides funding for four collaborative research projects that support YSU students and faculty for research conducted in conjunction with industry partners.

Mike Hripko, Director of STEM Research and Technology-Based Economic Development, said, “The YSU STEM College is enjoying unprecedented success in receiving research funding through Ohio’s Third Frontier Program.” Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, added, “While STEM has previously received Third Frontier funding, this is the first time we have four concurrent grants active at the same time.”

Dr. Darrell Wallace of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering is working with M-7 Technologies to develop manufacturing equipment which can simultaneously process precision measures and perform material surface analysis. They were awarded $1.66 million in 2010 through the Wright Center for Sensor Systems Engineering, a Third Frontier program.

Dr. Virgil Solomon of the Department of Material Science and Engineering was awarded $1 million to oversee a project with Third Millennium Metals. They are investigating properties in a new carbon infused copper metallic composite that will reduce wire size and increase conductivity.

Dr. Solomon is also working with Delphi Corporation to investigate aluminum battery cable which will be used in electric and hybrid vehicles. Aluminum is less expensive than copper and will allow for smaller cable size. They were awarded $1 million for the initiative.

Dr. Josef Simeonsson of the Department of Chemistry is collaborating with Polyflow Inc. on a $1 million research project to develop a process to turn polymer waste (i.e. plastic bottles, containers) into fuel. Along with this grant, YSU also received $600,000 for capital equipment to support the research.

Each project involves undergraduate and graduate students working in conjunction with faculty and the industry partners. This type of collaboration not only enhances the educational experience but provides opportunities for future employment with these companies.

The grants provide funding for a period of one to two years on each project. Hripko added, “These and other research awards are critical to the success of the STEM College, as they provide much needed capital equipment, funding for undergraduate and graduate student research, and relevant scientific discovery opportunities for our students.”

The Ohio Third Frontier program is a technology-based economic development initiative that supports existing industries working with new globally competitive products. Ohio voters approved the $700 million extension of the program in 2009. Its purpose is to foster and attract new companies to Ohio promoting job development and innovative processes. More information on the program can be found on its website.

Retirees: Tom Bodnovich

Tom Bodnovich
Associate Professor and Chair
Computer Science and Information Systems

Tom Bodnovich retired in August of this year celebrating a 29 year career at the University. He received his BS degree in Computer Science at YSU in 1979. He returned to the University in 1982 as an analyst designing computer information systems used in the administrative operation of the University. He was vital in the adoption of a relational database paradigm, and he structured numerous programming techniques.

He began teaching in 1988 as an instructor of Computer Technology in the Engineering Technology Department. He became assistant professor in 1996 and associate professor in 2001. He was ultimately appointed Chair of Computer Science and Information Systems in 2006.

Tom said, “The most satisfying accomplishment was helping students to succeed academically and preparing them for productive and fulfilling lives beyond college.” He added that the people of YSU are like an extended family for him, and he treasures the relationships he developed. Tom plans to travel, spend more time with family and friends, and resume his love for golf.

New Faculty: Dr. Robin Mattheus

Dr. Robin Mattheus
Visiting Assistant Professor
Geological & Environmental Sciences

Dr. Mattheus began teaching intro level Geology courses this fall for the College of STEM. He will teach upper level courses in the spring. He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He achieved his masters degree in Geology at The University of Alabama in 2006. He was Visiting Assistant Professor at Hamilton College in New York where he taught undergraduate courses in sedimentology/stratigraphy, geo-hazards and river environments, and sea level and environmental change.

Dr. Mattheus is a coastal sedimentologist, and his research interests include studying the processes that define river landscapes and coastlines including the Great Lakes. He has researched river connectivity and sensitivity to environmental change and long-term river and continental margin evolution. He enjoys the urban campus atmosphere at YSU and hopes to be involved in local research and collaboration with other faculty at the University.

Solar Panels Installed on Roof of Moser Hall

Rows of solar panels stretched out on the roof of Moser Hall.

A 4,100 square foot solar panel was installed on the roof of Moser Hall creating a hands-on working laboratory for students to learn and understand this type of technology.
Using federal grant money, Carbon Vision of Shaker Heights installed the system, and it will generate 64,000 KW hours of electricity annually. Its life expectancy is 25 years and will provide a lifetime savings of $160,000. The panel sits on a solar flex rack developed by Northern States Metals, a Youngstown-based company.

Dr. Martin Abraham, Dean of the STEM College, said, “By having the panels here, we can get students engaged in understanding what the technologies are and what the needs are for converting the electricity that we generate into making electricity for the grid.” He added that the vision is to promote student innovation where they can start and grow a business by creating a device using solar panel technology.

Contractor for a Day Event

Each year the Youngstown Chapter of the Ohio Contractor’s Association (OCA) sponsors the “Contractor for a Day Event”. The event is open to all Civil Engineering and Civil & Construction Engineering Technology students. This year’s event was held on September 23 and started at 7:00 am with Tom Metzinger, of A.P. O’Horo, spearheading the day’s agenda.

Students at the “Contractor for a Day Event” learn some basics on site.

The purpose of the event is to provide student’s first-hand experience of being on actual and various types of construction project sites. This year’s project sites included a roadway project and a bridge replacement project, both in Mahoning County, and a wastewater treatment plant in Vanport, Pa.

Group of students receive on-site lecture at event.

The students not only get to experience the feeling of being on an actual, in-progress project, they get to talk to the supervisors of the various projects, who take time to explain what the purpose of the project is, how the construction progresses, any problems or delays that may have happened on the project, and answer questions that the students may have.

Students at the “Contractor for a Day Event” learn some basics on site.

OH Wow Fundraiser

OH Wow, the Roger and Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, held a fundraiser in downtown Youngstown on September 25, 2011, promoting science and technology for younger children.  The STEM College participated by hosting a tent, packed with examples of projects STEM students have engaged in over the years.  Over 600 attendees came to the event and sampled the activities, including all of the exhibits contained within the Center itself, as well as a broad array of activities occurring on the street. The musical group, Hey Kid, also was present to offer children’s songs as part of the afternoon.

Families at Oh Wow! fundraiser learn about the fun kinds of rocks and minerals on display.

The College was well-represented, displaying the Concrete Canoe , the Steel Bridge, the singing Tesla Coil, a wind turbine,  the supermileage vehicle, a display of minerals courtesy of the Smith Museum, and the solar telescope.  Prof. Ray Beiersdorfer presented his amazing sideshow of science, and brought a collection of Madagascar hissing cockroaches that caught the attention of the young guests.  Children and parents lined the street to see all of the activities, and the weather cooperated, giving everyone a wonderful afternoon of science and technology in downtown Youngstown.  The STEM College was pleased to be able to support this event, enhancing the stature of STEM in our community and expanding the interest for our future engineers and scientists.

Professor Kin P. Moy Received Prestige SAE “2011 Technical Standards Board Outstanding Contribution Award”

Professor Kin P. Moy, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology, has been selected by the Motor Vehicle Council of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to receive the 2011 Technical Standards Board Outstanding Contribution Award in recognition of his outstanding service within the technical committee activities of SAE.

Professor Moy was the only engineer from an academic institution to receive this award in 2011 and was officially recognized in the 2011 SAE World Congress during the Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, April 12th at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Michigan.

The purpose of the Outstanding Contribution Award is to recognize individuals for outstanding service in the technical committee activities of SAE International including:

  • Outstandingly valuable contributions to the work of SAE technical committees.
  • Unusual leadership in the activities of an SAE technical committee.
  • Significant contributions as a representative of SAE to the accomplishments of technical committees of other organizations or of government agencies.
  • Outstanding contributions to SAE technical committee work in the form of research, test methods and procedures, and/or development of standards.

Due to active participation into the EMC standards activities, Professor Moy has been awarded numerous research grants from the Hong Kong Productivity Council, Automotive Research & Testing Center of Taiwan and the U.S. Department of Transportation via YSU’s Center for Transportation & Material Engineering (CTME). Much of the technical knowledge gained from these activities has been incorporated into his classes to enrich students’ ability to understand real world global engineering issues.

This award enhances Youngstown State University’s Global image as an Urban Research University.