Sustainable Energy Forum, June 4-5, 2012

Tim Ryan speaks at the podium in the Chestnut Room.

The Youngstown State University Sustainable Energy Forum will be held on June 4-5, 2012 in Kilcawley Center on the YSU Campus. Details are available at www.ysu.edu/sef

The fourth annual Forum will host more than 200 academicians, energy industry leaders, government officials, and entrepreneurs. The Forum focus is on technology that is imminently ready for commercialization, especially those technologies which will have a near-term positive impact on commercial, industrial and residential energy savings.

The YSU Sustainable Energy Forum places a particular focus on sustainable and other clean energy technologies that are being successfully implemented within the region. The planned Tuesday conference technical sessions include such topics as renewables, waste-to-energy, natural gas applications, water technology resources, vehicle electrification, energy management, and small modular nuclear energy.

A key objective of the YSU Sustainable Energy Forum is collaboration building amongst attendees. In past years, entrepreneurs have teamed up with students/faculty to successfully pursue sponsored research funding. Researchers have also engaged large energy companies for insights and opportunities. All attendees gain a clearer picture of national and state energy priorities, as well as the strategic direction of the energy industry.

Monday, June 4 will feature plenary presentations by a series of national and regional keynote speakers.

Relevant technical abstracts are invited for our planned technology focus sessions on Tuesday, June 5, in which technical and industry experts will engage in discussion with entrepreneurs and researchers.

The YSU Sustainable Energy Forum also features an “Energy Expo”, in which participating organizations and companies display products and technologies. Expo participants receive program billing, conference registration, and a two-day display space in Kilcawley Center.

Please go to www.ysu.edu/sef for additional conference details, a list of speakers and agenda, abstract submission, and for individual and Energy Expo registration.

STEM Showcase

On April 22, Moser Hall was the location for the annual College of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Showcase. The three hour event serves as a way for undergraduate STEM students to present their research projects to the campus community, as well as have high school students see, first hand, the opportunities available at the College and YSU.

The Moser Hall atrium buzzes with activity.

About 30 projects were on display, such as the concrete canoe and moon rover. STEM faculty was also present to guide tours through research laboratories and answer questions.

In addition, Dr. Nathan Ritchey, chair of the Mathematics & Statistics Department, welcomed incoming Fall 2012 YSU students who will be inducted into the STEM Leadership Society (SLS).  Through an application process, SLS accepts exceptional high schools students majoring in any STEM discipline.  The students will be involved in community service, internships, and various research initiatives.

Edward W. Powers Women in Science and Engineering Career Day Sets Record in Attendance

Some of the women professionals participating in career day pose for a photo.

This year’s career day on March 3, 2012 smashed the previous attendance record. One hundred and eighty five middle school and high school girls from over 50 different schools attended.

The keynote speaker, astronomer Dr. Pamela Gay from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, gave an exciting presentation on the history of space exploration and how students have contributed to scientific discovery in the field.

The largest ever career day group of girls crowds the Moser Hall atrium.

After the talk, the students attended panels where professional women who are working in science and engineering discussed their careers, their training, their lives and the highlights of their jobs. A number of the panelists were YSU graduates, emphasizing the quality education in STEM available at YSU. In the afternoon, STEM faculty and other professionals led a variety of hands-on workshops that allowed the students to experience science and engineering in action. Two new workshops were added this year. The girls built motors and learned about electricity in one and used protein chemistry to identify a suspected criminal in another.

A speaker addresses the girls on the stage of the Chestnut Room.

More than 35 Youngstown State University graduate and undergraduate students volunteered their time, helping in workshops and acting as chaperones. This year’s program was enhanced through an endowment from the Edward W. Powers Foundation, which allowed for increased activity, broader workshops, and more well-known speakers.

Not only was this the largest group of participating girls we have had, but they were also very engaged. This shows that word is getting out about the career day and also that area schools are increasing their emphasis on science and technology. We are already looking forward to next year’s program and hope to continue to build on this year’s success.

WISE Career Day for Girls in Grades 6-12

Women in the science and engineering fields are underrepresented; however, one program at Youngstown State University is bringing exposure in these areas to the forefront.

Panelists lead discussion.

The fifteenth annual Women in Science and Engineering Career Day (WISE) will be held on YSU’s campus Saturday, March 3, 2012. This free all day event is open to girls in grades 6-12.

The program is filled with educational, hands-on activities throughout campus, and presentations from a keynote speaker and panelists of industry professionals.
YSU Professor and Director of WISE, Diana Fagan, said the program began because participation in these fields is low, and WISE wants to “reach” the girls “before they attend college.” The first year of WISE saw 56-80 girls from twenty different schools come for the event; these numbers have dramatically increased. Within the past five years, 120-140 girls from 99 schools have partaken in WISE each year, and come anywhere from Akron to Pittsburgh, Fagan noted.

Young girls participate in science activity.

Dr. Pamela L. Gay is this year’s opening keynote speaker, and is an assistant research professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Gay’s educational background is extensive: she received her B.S. in astrophysics from Michigan State University, and her Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Texas.

On her blog, Star Stryder, Gay states that she is …”focused on using new media to engage people in science & technology.” Another way she furthers this is by co-hosting Astronomy Cast; a weekly program that answers listeners questions, and discusses various scientific topics.

One of the many benefits of WISE is that the girls simply will have “fun” Fagan said. Workshops are designed to be very interactive, and may include activities such as investigating a crime scene, fingerprinting, or involvement with chemistry, physical therapy, and bioengineering. The girls can also choose from various panel discussions, and will be linked with women in science and engineering disciplines that have provided their information in order to serve as mentors.

While the girls join their sessions, parents or guardians will have the opportunity for a tour of YSU’s campus, as well as attend financial aid informational sessions.

WISE will be expanding in the future, thanks to the generous support of the Edward W. Powers Educational Charitable Fund. Senior Development Officer, Heather Chunn, conveyed that a public announcement of a new endowment for the program will be held on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 2:00pm.

Girls coming to the Women in Science and Engineering Career Day receive real exposure to occupations in science and engineering fields. If they continue with their interest and work hard, they may become future students at Youngstown State University.

More information and registration for WISE is available on the College of STEM website.

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.