YSU Featured at ASEE Meeting in Texas

The YSU College of STEM was featured at the recent American Society of Engineering Educators (ASEE) www.asee.org meeting in San Antonio, TX.   Selected as one of only 25 universities to be featured, ASEE included a video presentation of college highlights that was shown during the meeting, and currently resides on the ASEE website.  This video highlights YSU’s unique relationships with area businesses, including Fireline, Inc. www.firelineinc.com and General Motors www.gm.com and the importance of these relationships in enhancing the students’ experience.

Fourth Annual Sustainable Energy Forum

Here in the United States, as well as internationally, sustainable energy is an area that has gained massive attention in more recent years. On June 4th and 5th, the fourth annual Sustainable Energy Forum held in Kilcawley Center at Youngstown State University, served as an opportunity for businesses, students, and the community alike to learn more about ideas and innovations in this growing field. Attendees heard from a variety of guest speakers, such as representatives from Delphi, Dominion Transmission, General Motors, and Global Green USA. Marc Gerken, president of American Municipal Power (AMP) in Columbus, Ohio, delivered the keynote address to the crowd of over 200. Mr. Gerken, and the entire forum as a whole, had one ongoing theme: moving forward. With sustainability being a world -wide concern, new technologies are emerging. These efforts are what will change the future.

A piece of tech brought to be put on display.
Participants at the forum having a discussion.

Science Day

Student poses with research poster. *The accompanying photos are provided by Dr. Felicia Armstrong.

Science is bringing area students to Youngstown State University.

The Ohio Academy of Science (OAS) District 15 Lake-to-River Science day will make its way to Beeghly arena (Roselli court) on Saturday March 31, 2012. Science Day is a yearly regional event that brings hundreds of students from parochial, public, and private schools in grades 5-12 for presentations in scientific research. District 15, which includes Ashtabula, Columbiana, Mahoning, and Trumbull Counties are just one of 16 districts that participate in the all day science fair. The accompanying photos are provided by Dr. Felicia Armstrong.

According to Stephen E. Rodabaugh, YSU’s Science Day council member and Associate Dean of the STEM College, students must adhere to strict guidelines set by the OAS. Students begin their research months in advance in one of thirteen categories and will have to log their research, create an abstract/hypothesis and complete a poster board presentation. Projects cannot be demonstrated, but students may have photos, graphs and charts that describe their work. Two judges are assigned to each project, and participants are rated on a 40-point scale. Those with a minimum score of 36 will advance to the State Science Day, held on Saturday, May 5, 2012 at The Ohio State University. Participants at this level compete for substantial prizes and scholarship dollars.

Science fairs have been on the decline across the nation, especially in District 15. However, grants awarded by Dominion Gas and General Motors have aided in bringing these events back to the schools in various ways. Due to their generosity, Rodabaugh noted that many of these funds help students with materials and in cases of need waive the $30.00 registration fee. Teachers also benefit through science workshop trainings and assistance with how to bring science fairs back to the schools. Grants received for Science Day also allow YSU STEM students to travel to participating schools as coaches, assisting with project research. Students from Trumbull County’s Neal Middle School and McGuffey Elementary, and Volney Rogers Middle School in Youngstown will represent their schools at YSU, with 20-25 students expected to participate.

Science Day is not only a day of academic enrichment, but also an opportunity to learn more about STEM at YSU. Students and their families will have time to explore YSU’s campus, and are invited to the awards ceremony that will close out the day’s festivities. Rodabaugh conveyed that Science Day is very beneficial to District 15, as well as it is “engaging students not otherwise engaged.”

Cushwa Fellows

Three STEM graduate students are taking the next step in their academic aspirations. YSU graduates Kristin Frank, Michael Kovach, and Adam Palumbo are the recipients of the 2011-2012 Cushwa Commercial Shearing Graduate Fellowship. Established in 2003 by the Cushwa family, in cooperation with the YSU Foundation, the Fellowship gives outstanding graduate students real work experience through research and internships (working 20 hours a week for 16 weeks) and lessens the financial burden by granting a $15,000 stipend. For the Fellows, a great deal of their preparation began as an undergraduate.

Student works in the chemistry lab.

For chemistry student Kristin Frank, she said “as an undergraduate I spent the majority of my time studying and preparing for classes to ensure the best grades possible.” Her dedication has paid off. With YSU chemistry professor Dr. Brian Leskiw, Frank is conducting research in the physical chemistry field, and will be interning with Timothy Eastly, another YSU faculty member, through Toxicology Enterprises Inc., a Warren based drug and alcohol detection laboratory. Frank will be assisting Eastly with probationary drug testing. Frank said that the Fellowship…” has provided me with several opportunities I would have probably not otherwise had access to.” Frank’s future plans include obtaining her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Students gathered around equipment in engineering lab.

Michael Kovach’s mechanical engineering background has given him the opportunity to work with General Motors, Lordstown. Kovach is working on one of the main robotic arms in the planting department conducting a failure analysis (weakening of frequently used parts). Kovach said that when one of these arms fails, the production slows or shuts down; this can potentially cause a considerable loss of revenue. After completing his project Kovach said that…”we are trying to develop a monitoring system that would give an early indication of trouble so it could be fixed. If successful, it may be implemented on other robotic arms and /or other GM facilities.” With the Fellowship, Kovach said that he has gained “real life experience” and plans on obtaining his Professional Engineering license.

Students working on equipment.

Adam Palumbo, another mechanical engineering Fellow, has taken a different route with his research. Palumbo is working on using different technologies to cool surfaces of solar panels. Palumbo said that he was fortunate to have begun research as an undergraduate with faculty member Dr. Ganesh V. Kudav. Palmubo said this helped him transition to the graduate program, and the Fellowship has provided him with a “sense of responsibility.” Like Kovach, Palumbo also plans on obtaining his PE license in the future, after working full-time with a company.

The Cushwa Commercial Shearing Fellowship provides students with unique opportunities, and experience in their field. In addition to the three students highlighted, other Fellows include Brianne Ciccone, industrial systems engineering, Mark Macali, mechanical engineering, and Brandon McMillen, mathematics. Students with an undergraduate degree from any STEM discipline, including those who have obtained their degrees from other institutions, are encouraged. Also for the first time, students interested in the new PhD in Materials Science and Engineering are welcome to apply; the PhD stipend level has been established at $25,000 The next application deadline will be April 2012.

More information about the Fellowship is available here.

Fall 2011 Mechanical Engineering Technology class at GM Lordstown Plant

The Fall 2011 Mechanical Engineering Technology Tool Design class worked on projects hosted at the General Motors Lordstown Stamping Plant. The students attended class at the plant instead of on campus, and worked on projects that will go into plant use in 2012.

Students at GM plant

Class instructor Mark Vuksanovich said, “This was an opportunity for the students to handle a real project in the field. Students rarely have experiences that simulate the work they will be doing after they graduate. We would like to change that.”

YSU Assistant Professor Brian Vuksanovich, who oversaw the class implementation, said, “The on-site class gave these students an opportunity to experience what they will be doing as graduates in the workplace. Both the students and the plant benefitted from this type of class. We are already looking at offering more field courses in the future.”

Class projects involved redesign of press components that will be installed next year, and a system to precisely measure press movements during die changeover operations. Proposals, mechanical drawings, parts sourcing and physical measurements of components were some of the aspects of plant engineering that were accomplished by the students. Students also got a private tour of the stamping, weld shop and assembly areas of the Lordstown Complex.

General Motors project manager Dave Brown, who oversaw the class at the plant, said, “The class projects encompassed designs that would have required plant resources to develop. Having the students perform the design work helped with our manpower sourcing and gave the students valuable work experience they would not have had otherwise.”

YSU STEM students