Alumni Spotlight: Ryan Betts

Ryan BettsRyan Betts is a YSU STEM alumnus with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. He began his higher education with a love of math, physics, and problem-solving; and through his coursework, he found new interests in computer-aided design and additive manufacturing.

In his junior year at YSU, Ryan began working as a lab assistant in the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (CIAM) under his mentors, Dr. Brett Conner and lab manager Jay Wargacki. He used this position to enhance his classroom knowledge and to gain real-world experience for his future career.

Ryan now works as a design engineer under Dr. Kirk Rogers in the Center for Additive Technology Advancement (CATA) at General Electric in Pittsburgh, PA.

“As a design engineer, I am responsible for designing functional mechanical parts to be printed on the several 3D printers we have at our site,” he said. “We are capable of 3D printing parts out of several polymers, sands, and metal alloys, each possessing their own unique challenges in the design phase.”

During his senior year, Ryan had expressed to Dr. Conner his interest in GE’s CATA, but he knew there were no available positions. Through some networking and determination, he was hired just before graduation when a position became available.

Ryan gave a little bit of advice to YSU STEM students so that they can find opportunities like he did:

“My advice to STEM freshmen would be to get involved with internships, on-campus employment, and/or research as soon as possible. These are great ways to enhance your skillsets and make your resume stand out to potential employers! I didn’t do myself any favors by keeping my high school job into my first two years of college and neither will you.

To the seniors, don’t wait until May to start looking for a full-time job or graduate school. It’s never too early to start networking with professionals or interviewing for positions you want to secure upon graduation. At this point, setting up and preparing for interviews/universities should be considered just as important as completing projects or studying for exams.”

You don’t have to be an engineer, or even a STEM student, to apply this advice to your own education and career options. It’s never too early to start networking and planning, just like Ryan said. You never know what kind of opportunity will open up if you prepare and wait for it.

Recent Graduate Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship

Jenna Wise Awarded Phi Kappa Phi FellowshipJenna Wise has been awarded a Fellowship worth $5,000 by The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi—the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. Wise is one of 57 recipients nationwide to receive a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship.

Wise received bachelor’s degrees in computer science and mathematics from Youngstown State University. As a Phi Kappa Phi Fellow, she will pursue a Ph.D. in software engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Jenna was also recently awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation, which you can read about here. She was also one of the two Goldwater Scholars chosen from YSU last year along with Andrew Morgan. More information on that can be found at YSU News.

Since its creation in 1932, the Fellowship Program has become one of the Society’s most visible and financially well-supported endeavors, allocating $345,000 annually to outstanding students for first-year graduate or professional study. Currently, 51 Fellowships of $5,000 and six of $15,000 are awarded each year.

The selection process for a Phi Kappa Phi Fellowship is based on the applicant’s evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate academic achievement, service and leadership experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance in an approved graduate or professional program.

In addition to the Fellowship Program, the Society awards $1.4 million each biennium to qualifying students and members through study abroad grants, dissertation fellowships, funding for post-baccalaureate development, member and chapter awards, and grants for local, national and international literacy initiatives.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897. Phi Kappa Phi inducts approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni annually. Membership is by invitation only to the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students and 7.5 percent of juniors. The Society’s mission is “To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.” For more information, visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org.

Alumni Spotlight: Janet Gbur

Janet GburJanet Gbur, a Youngstown State University alumna and a current Case Western Reserve University doctoral candidate, is certainly making waves in the STEM community.

Though still pursuing a degree, she is very active in research and real-world experience.

“As an active member of ASTM International, I participated in the development of a test standard that relates to my dissertation work and I sit on several committees that create and maintain standards for metallurgy, fatigue and fracture, mechanical testing, and medical devices,” said Janet.

Her dissertation focuses on the effects of material purity on the fatigue and fracture of wires used in biomedical applications.

“Perhaps the most exciting and rewarding work is related to a project under PI Dustin Tyler in Biomedical Engineering,” said Janet. “His group is working on restoring the sense of touch to amputees through a unique neural interface system.”

Janet’s role in this project is to develop tests and evaluate the materials and mechanics to ensure quality and functionality for implantation. This requires knowledge of several disciplines, including materials science and mechanical, electrical, and biomedical engineering.

She has been published twice this year, once with Daniela Solomon and once with John J. Lewandowski, her doctoral advisor. You can read about the publications here.

Janet holds a BS in Biology from Kent State University, a BS in Materials Engineering and MSE in Mechanical Engineering from YSU. After she completes her doctorate at CWRU, she plans to continue her research and eventually teach at the university level.

“The most important part of my YSU STEM education was the early introduction to lab coursework and emphasis on fundamentals across all core engineering disciplines,” said Janet. “Strong mentorship from faculty Bob McCoy, Dan Suchora, and Hazel Marie helped to keep me focused and provide a solid academic foundation from which I could confidently pursue a doctoral degree and chart a career in research and academia.”

Recent Publications: Janet Gbur

Promoting Technical Standards Education in Engineering
2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Abstract:

The United States Standards Strategy, the framework developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to guide the U.S. standards system, recognizes the need for standards education programs as a high priority and recommends initiatives that address the significance and value of standards. To this intent, a novel workshop was developed in partnership with the library and the School of Engineering to raise the level of awareness of technical standards and standards usage on campus. The effort was a result of a campus-wide collaboration that provided a low-cost method of introducing technical standards and providing a foundation to develop a series of online tools accessible to the campus community. The event featured guest speakers representative of six major national and international standards bodies in addition to faculty, staff and students. The panels provided discussions on the background of the various types of standards and industries impacted, the development and implementation of these documents, the ways in which students and faculty can become more familiar with these documents and the benefit to becoming actively involved with standards organizations. The presentations and question-and-answer sessions provided a venue to learn about technical standards and to talk about ways to improve standards education within the campus community. The event was well received as shown by strong attendance and follow up to online materials continues to show activity five months following the event. This paper summarizes the implementation of the workshop, its impact, and strategies to further improve standards education on campus.

Fatigue and fracture of wires and cables for biomedical applications
International Materials Reviews

Abstract:

Fine wires and cables play a critical role in the design of medical devices and subsequent treatment of a large array of medical diagnoses. Devices such as guide wires, catheters, pacemakers, stents, staples, functional electrical stimulation systems, eyeglass frames and orthodontic braces can be comprised of wires with diameters ranging from 10s to 100s of micrometres. Reliability is paramount as part of either internal or external treatment modalities. While the incidence of verified fractures in many of these devices is quite low, the criticality of these components requires a strong understanding of the factors controlling the fracture and fatigue behaviour. Additionally, optimisation of the performance and reliability of these devices necessitates characterisation of the fatigue and fracture properties of its constituent wires. A review of cable architecture and stress states experienced during testing is followed by an overview of the effects of changes in material composition, microstructure, processing and test conditions on fracture and fatigue behaviour of wire and cable systems used in biomedical applications.The review concludes with recommendations for future work.

Alumni Corner: Miranda Helmer

A lot of YSU STEM alumni go on to pursue extraordinary careers in their field. Our STEM alumni include people who work at Hershey’s, VEC, Inc., and even NASA.

Among those outstanding alumni is Miranda Helmer, who is the Director of Research & Development for new product innovation at The Clorox Company.

Miranda graduated from YSU in 1997 with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering and said that YSU was a wonderful experience and that being a Penguin helped her get her return on investment sooner than if she went to a more expensive university.

“YSU provided me with exceptional academics without the high price tag of other universities,” she said. “This enabled me to not be weighed down with the stress of how I would ever pay off my student loans.”

She manages a department of 24 Engineers and Ph.D. Chemists to develop new products for Clorox’s home care and laundry product lines. Some of the recent innovations from her team include Clorox Smart Seek Bleach, which was named as one of Better Homes and Gardens Best New Products for 2015 and was voted as the Best New Laundry Stain Remover.

Miranda said that she did have to work a bit harder than others with degrees from big schools, but said that academic organizations on campus were a big help.

“My advice would be to create strong chapters of organization such as [Society of Women Engineers] or [American Institute of Chemical Engineers].  These organizations have large conferences that companies attend,” she said. “At these conferences network, network, network.  There is a lot of recruiting that happens at these types of events.  Since the companies aren’t coming to your campus, you have to go to them.”

Miranda said that a big part of her success was being flexible with work location. After graduation she moved to Wisconsin to be a production supervisor with Frito-Lay PepsiCo. Two years after joining Frito-Lay, she was transferred to their Research and Development department, moving her to Dallas.

After spending 11 years at Frito-Lay and obtaining an MBA, Miranda and her husband made the move to California, where she put in two years at Chevron before moving to Clorox.

She also addressed a common thought of most students: “How many times will I actually use this stuff?”

“I mean, really, how many times will I actually need to size a heat exchanger?” she said. “What I didn’t realize was that, more than the exact content they were teaching, they were training my brain a way of thinking. The curriculum is set up to give you broad knowledge of content. The content was used to train our brains how to approach a problem in a structured and logical fashion. That can be applied to anything thrown at you.”

And in case you’re wondering just how many times you’ll need to size a heat exchanger, the answer is one.

“You will likely size a heat exchanger just once in your career but you will use the way of thinking everyday.”

Recent Publications: Alumn William Hurst

William Hurst, a 1975 graduate of Chemistry, is publishing his eighth book, Chocolate and Health, with Dr. Philip Wilson of East Tenn. State Univ and Dr. W Jeffrey Hurst of the Hershey Co as editors. The book is currently in production in Europe with publication in early 2015 by the Royal Society of Chemistry. Their first book, Chocolate as Medicine, won the prestigious Gourmand award as the best book published in the UK on this topic and the 2nd Best in the world.

The Fifth Annual STEM Awards Dinner

2013 Awardees
2013 Awardees

Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics proudly honored and celebrated alumni, community partners and educational partners at the Fifth Annual STEM awards dinner on February 21, 2013 in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center.

The 2013 awardees were Theodore Burke, James Cossler, Daniel Martin, John Scott, and Dr. Thomas Stellers with guest speaker Matthew Mrakovich who presented the college with a $15,000 donation from General Electric.  Mr. Mrakovich, a YSU grad with a Bachelors of Engineering, won The Edison Pioneer Award.  Since joining GE in 2001, Matt has twenty-six issued patents and was given the award because of his technical contributions, which has made a significant impact on the current, and future, vitality of General Electric. Continue reading “The Fifth Annual STEM Awards Dinner”

The 5th Annual STEM College Awards Dinner

Groups of attendees at awards dinner pose for a picture.

Make your reservations now for the 5th Annual STEM College Awards Dinners to be held on Thursday, February 21, 2013 in the Chestnut Room of Kilcawley Center, Youngstown State University. The STEM College Awards are presented to STEM distinguished alumni, educators and community leaders as we celebrate both our past achievement and future challenges.

Award recipients this year are:

Outstanding Alumnus:  Jack Scott, AST2
Outstanding Alumnus:  Ted Burke, Ajax Tocco Magnethermic
Outstanding Young Alumnus:  Dan Martin, Lubrizol
Outstanding Community Partner:  Youngstown Business Incubator/Jim Cossler
Outstanding Education Partner:  Austintown Local Schools/Tom Stellers

We are also pleased to be able to recognize Mr. Matthew Mrakovich, General Electric Technology Manager, Outdoor Fixtures, who is a recipient of G E’s Edison Pioneer Award and will be making remarks during the ceremony.

The evening includes a reception beginning at 6:00 PM, followed by a buffet dinner at 7:00 PM, with awards will be presented at 8:00 PM. The event is open to the public. The cost is $30 per person or $300 for an event sponsorship and a reserved table for 8 guests. Advanced registration only. Please download the reservation form and RSVP by February 8, 2013 to Jenifer Miller, 330.941.4635 or jamiller10@ysu.edu.

STEM College Awards Dinner

In “An Evening of Celebration and Recognition” the Fourth Annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Awards Dinner was held on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at Youngstown State University (YSU).

The event began as a way to provide … “an opportunity to recognize alumni who demonstrate the success that can be achieved after receiving a degree from the College, and friends who have been instrumental in promoting the success of our students” said Martin Abraham, dean of STEM.

This year, seven awardees were honored. In the Outstanding Alumni categories were Harry Bircher, professor of geological and environmental sciences at YSU; Dr. Peyman Givi, mechanical engineering and petroleum engineering professor at the University of Pittsburgh; Matt Ragan, Senior Controls Engineer at Lockheed Martin, in Akron, Ohio; and Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Babcock & Wilcox Co., Mary Pat Salomone.

 

For the past seven years, Harry Bircher has been the co -owner of Buckeye Civil Design LLC, a civil engineering design firm, in North Lima, Ohio, and a YSU professor for ten years. Upon hearing of his award, Bircher said it was a “total surprise.” Bircher received his Bachelor of Science from YSU in 1988 in geology, and a Master of Science of Geology from Wright State University with attention to geophysics. Bircher returned to YSU to obtain a Master of Science in Engineering, concentrating on civil and environmental engineering in 1995.

Deemed a “modern rocket scientist” Dr. Peymen Givi said YSU is “100 percent responsible” in contributing to his career. Dr. Givi, who received his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University in 1984, is internationally recognized for his research, and has over 200 publications. In 1992, Dr. Givi was amongst one of 15 engineering faculty nationwide who were honored at the White House to receive the Presidential Faculty Fellowship from President George H. W. Bush.

Outstanding Young Alumnus, Matt Ragan, has advanced substantially in his career since leaving YSU in 2005 with a BE in electrical engineering and BS in physics with a minor in mathematics. Ragan was recommended to the Lockheed Martin Engineering Leadership and Development Program (ELDP) shortly after joining the company. Ragan graduated from the two-year program, which only takes the top one percent of entry-level engineers, in order to prepare them to be future leaders with the company.

Mary Pat Salomone, resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, and graduated in 1982 with her bachelors’ degree in civil engineering, She had not been back in the area for five years and said that that her education at YSU gave her a “good foundation” to where she is today. Salomone has been in various management positions since joining B&W in 1982. Some of Salomone’s current roles include directing the operations of the company’s five business units, holding responsibility for commercial and government contracts, health and safety, in addition to day-to-day operations.

Roger and Gloria Jones of Youngstown, Ohio, based Fireline Inc., and the OH, Wow! Roger & Gloria Jones Children’s Center for Science and Technology, in downtown Youngstown, were presented with the Outstanding Community Partners award for their dedication to the Mahoning Valley and YSU. Roger Jones conveyed how Fireline has been “enriched” by a “42 year partnership” with YSU, and many employees at Fireline are YSU alumni.

In the Outstanding Community Leader category was Dr. Connie Hathorn, superintendent of the Youngstown City Schools District (YCSD). Under Dr. Hathorn’s leadership, the YCSD was able to provide visual arts and STEM programs; a first for YCSD. With a generous grant by the AT&T Foundation, the YCSD is collaborating with YSU’s STEM in order to gain outreach with high school students in pursuing STEM disciplines. Dean Abraham also shared how the YCSD will have a high school internship program. The purpose, Dean Abraham said is so the students are “engaged in work because that’s how you learn.”

The STEM awards dinner has grown tremendously since its inception. Over 200 guests were in attendance, and Dean Abraham shared “We (STEM) are truly grateful for the support shown to us by the community, who continues to turn out each year, in increasing number, to recognize the achievements of our alumni and friends. “

STEM Recognizes Donors from 2011

The YSU College of STEM is pleased to recognize those alumni, friends and companies who help make our work possible. We’ve received great support over the past year and are very grateful to those who see value in supporting our efforts to educating tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

You can view our updated list of 2011 donors by clicking here, or visiting the “Our Donors” page from our blog.

If you would like to contribute to our work, please consider making a donation. You can donate through the YSU Development site. Please be sure to designate the STEM College as your recipient, so your contribution can be correctly directed and recognized.

Thank you to all of our past, present and future supporters!