Exploring the STEM fields

YSU students exploring the career tables. Photo by Sydney Fairbanks / The Jambar

By Sydney Fairbanks

Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics hosted its fall STEM Expo from noon to 4 p.m. on Sept. 28 at the Stambaugh Stadium gymnasium.

The STEM Expo is a biannual event where hiring companies set up tables to find for student interns and full-time workers. YSU alumni could also attend to learn about changing careers.

According to STEM College Dean, Wim Steelant, STEM is a growing field for students, but there’s a shortage of STEM professionals in the U.S. Steelant said the event is a great opportunity for students and hiring companies to fill those positions. 

“Companies are really short for anything that [needs] STEM students. That’s why [companies are] so eager to hire pretty much everything that we have now,” Steelant said.

Many employers that came to the expo have YSU alumni on staff and were looking to add more to their companies.

Reece Wilson, a former YSU student who now works at Fairbanks Morse Defense, said that half of the engineer staff at his company were hired from YSU.

“We do really good stuff here at YSU. We are able to put people all over the place and we come back every year for them,” Wilson said. 

The employers at the expo were eager to assist students, even if they did not hire them. Wilson said his company will let students know what they did and didn’t like about their resume and give them advice to find a better job somewhere else.

Alicia Olnsinger, sales engineer for Nucor Vulcraft, said that internships are the only opportunity to explore a career before committing to a full-time job since there are so many options in the STEM field.

“It’s so hard to know from your classes exactly what you’re really interested in and want to do for the rest of your life. Internships are the perfect opportunity to go out and experience that environmental engineering, experience that structural engineering, and see what you’re interested in and what you really want to do afterwards,” Olnsinger said.

Internships are low commitment experiences that allow students to explore the field before graduation. 

“You’re there for like three months,” Olnsinger said. “You’re committed to them, [and] you could have that job opportunity afterwards, but you also have the flexibility of going somewhere else next summer.”

Any students that have missed this year’s fall STEM Expo can get their resumes ready for the next one noon to 4 p.m. on Feb. 29, 2024 at the Stambaugh Stadium gymnasium.

For more information on the STEM Expo and STEM College, head to its website.