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 (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.

Faculty Faction: John Martin

John Martin, assiJohn Martinstant professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, is a lifelong penguin. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Youngstown State University.

He has worked in the industry for companies such as WCI Steel, Webco Industries, Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic, PMC Colinet, and RMS/Steelastic.

Martin said that if he ever got the chance to teach at YSU that he would, and that opportunity came to him last fall semester.

“It was something that I had in the back of my mind,” He said. “I came from industry, so that was kind of what I had always planned on doing, and if the opportunity ever arose that I could teach [at YSU], I wanted to; I just didn’t know if that was going to be a possibility.”

Martin said he hopes to be a big influence on his students so that one day they will look back and remember that he helped them to really understand the fundamentals of engineering and use it to their full potential.

Besides using his expertise to teach students about mechanical engineering technology, he has also been researching classroom instruction techniques.

“Right now, I’m doing research in engineering education,” Martin said. “I am currently evaluating different instructional methods in the classroom; for instance, the effectiveness of simultaneously presenting a software program while teaching a new mathematical concept versus sequentially presenting the software program and the concept.  My goal is to better understand how these methods effect learners in an engineering classroom to ultimately improve student learning.”

He also thinks that STEM is the perfect place to be if you want to be a part of the large diversity of both students and faculty on campus.

“I like the interaction with the students. I like meeting all the different people and personalities. There’s a lot more human contact teaching in STEM than there is in most industry jobs,” he said.

Faculty Faction: Dr. Lucy Kerns

Lucy[1]Dr. Lucy Kerns joined the YSU Math Department as an assistant professor at the beginning of the fall 2014 semester. Before that, she was a part time professor at the university for seven years.

Dr. Kerns came from China to pursue her graduate degrees in statistics. Originally, she was an accounting major, but found more success in securing an assistantship as a stats major.

Dr. Kerns met her husband, Dr. Jay Kerns, while in graduate school. After he got his job at YSU, she soon followed. She said that the faculty and staff at YSU are very friendly, and the students are very hardworking.

“Teaching is a rewarding experience. When students come to me and say that something finally makes sense to them and that they can use what I taught them, it’s very rewarding to me,” Dr. Kerns said. ”

In Spring 2015, Dr. Kerns launched a new service to the university, the Mathematical and Statistical Consulting Center, along with Dr. Tom Wakefield. This service is for faculty and students working on research projects, and is the first of its kind for YSU. In the short time since its launch, Dr. Kerns has already helped many people who have said they wished this service was available a long time ago.

Dr. Kerns’ research focuses on areas such as confidence bands, logistic regression, drug stability studies, and range regression. She has already published some papers and has submitted a few more which are under review.

Outside of YSU, Dr. Kerns volunteers her time teaching Chinese at a Methodist church in Poland.

Faculty Faction: Tony Vercellino

Dr. Tony Vercellino, assistant professor of Civil Engineering, didn’t originally want to teach.

“Ten years ago if you asked me if I would be teaching at a university, I would have said you’re out of your mind,” he said.

But luckily for us STEMians, he changed his mind.

“I [thought I] was just going to be an engineer working with construction, and then I did the consulting stuff, found out it wasn’t my cup of tea, went back to school, got the opportunity to teach and found out I really liked it,” Vercellino said. “I guess you could say I kind of fell into it. I like being able to teach and being able to interact with the students and watch the ideas click whenever you explain something well in the classroom.”

He said he likes the small-school feel of the university, and that’s what made YSU appealing to him.

“I came from a big research university and that atmosphere was too research focused compared to what I want to do. It’s easy to lose touch with students at such a big university,” Vercellino said.

One of his main goals is to build a successful research program and further the name of the university. He said he wants to help build the program to be well-rounded so the students that do want to come here can get a broad environmental background as a part of their civil engineering degree.

He hasn’t started research yet, but Vercellino said he is looking to get into oil and gas research as well as broaden his research background in water and wastewater treatment. He is currently putting together a research article about the uptake of micropollutants in agriculture due to wastewater reuse, and will be serving as a professional mentor to the YSU chapter of Engineers Without Borders.

When he’s not in the classroom, you can find him refereeing ice hockey in his spare time or rooting for his favorite teams, the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues.

Faculty Faction: Dr. Thomas Madsen

madsen
Dr. Thomas Madsen

Dr. Thomas Madsen does more than just teach mathematics, he lives it. That same passion he has for math is the same passion he brings to teaching our STEMians.

“I love math, and it’s nice to have a job where all you have to do is talk about math,” Dr. Madsen joked.

From an early age, Dr. Madsen had always wanted to involve math in his life. He recollected the first time he realized that he loved mathematics. Around the third or fourth grade his teachers started to teach the class about square roots. Dr. Madsen did not decide that math was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life until early high school. Becoming a mathematics professor, though, is a little different.

Continue reading “Faculty Faction: Dr. Thomas Madsen”

Faculty Faction: Dr. Nguyet “Moon” Nguyen

2014-09-09 12.37.24
Dr. Nguyen sitting on the red Moser sculpture.

With the start of a new academic year comes new faces. Nguyet Nguyen is one of those new faces, but she isn’t a freshman. Dr. Nguyen is a new assistant professor in the Mathematics Department and is excited to see new students who are eager to learn.

Dr. Nguyen graduated this past summer with her Ph.D. from Florida State University where she helped as a teaching assistant. Her love for mathematics didn’t start with her bachelor’s degree from Hanoi National University of Education in Hanoi, Vietnam; it started much earlier than that.

Continue reading “Faculty Faction: Dr. Nguyet “Moon” Nguyen”

Faculty Faction: Colleen McLean

colleenmclean
Colleen McLean, assistant professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences

New to the College of STEM’s faculty is Colleen McLean, assistant professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences. The Bazetta native started in the spring of 2009 with a term position. When the opportunity for a faculty tenure position became available, Colleen was happy to be selected.

She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Geology, with a minor in chemistry, at YSU. McLean moved on to Kent State University for her Master of Science in Geology. At Michigan State University, she earned her doctorate in Environmental Geoscience and completed an additional specialization in Environmental Science Policy.

McLean’s research focus is aqueous and environmental geochemistry.  She likes to investigate the impacts of water quality, and she studies historic ecological conditions using geochemical and biological archives in sediment cores.

CM2012
McLean lectures a group of students on-site in the woods.

“Biological indicators, such as fossil diatoms and ostracodes, reflect the water chemistry and climate conditions at the time they were living,” McLean explained. Quantifying these parameters makes it possible to reconstruct environments from the past. “Understanding the past environmental response can help us make predictions for the future,” she continued.

When she isn’t collecting core samples or doing research, she is at home with her children. As a mother and professor, she understands the importance of teaching her kids about global environmental issues. She has passed down her love of science to them.

Colleen likes to talk to YSU students about their ideas, but what she loves most about the students is that they are motivated and fun. They are good at giving her updates on environmental news stories at the start of class. McLean likes the reciprocal learning from her students that comes from their common interests.

McLean co-advises the STEM Leadership Society and participates with student groups in the department of Geological and Environmental Sciences. She was also involved with the Sustainable Institute for Teachers. McLean would like to see a YSU student chapter of the Friends of the Mahoning River on campus as well as activities for high school students to experience geology and environmental science related to local causes.

CM2012b
McLean and students find something interesting in the woods.

This year at YSU, there is a new minor in Natural Gas and Water Resources. McLean is excited about the new minor because of the opportunities for teaching and research, especially with water quality and quantity issues.

Most recently, Colleen McLean has published an article in a Past Global Changes Newsletter, “Integrated Paleoscience for Sustainable Management”. Her article, assessing anthropogenic impacts in a Great Lakes watershed using paleolimnology, can be found by clicking here.