Showcasing STEM at YSU

By Molly Burke

The Youngstown State University College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will host its annual STEM Showcase from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 22 in Moser Hall.

STEM Showcase coordinator, Emilie Brown, said the event will feature a variety of student projects across different disciplines.

“We have projects from all across the college and all the different majors. There’s research projects, there’s senior design and capstone projects,” Brown said. “Some of our popular competition teams come and show off like the Concrete Canoe, the Baja Car [and] the Steel Bridge.” 

Attendees at the event can come at any time to explore projects. 

“We’ll have projects [outside], and then we go into the building and we have projects all throughout the first floor. We’ll have probably some of our research labs open … It’s free flowing,” Brown said. 

Students in the Choose Ohio First Scholarship Program are required to participate in the STEM Showcase. The program is offered to Ohio residents pursuing a major in STEM or a STEM-related field. 

Elizabeth Williams, junior industrial systems engineering major, said she will be presenting her Choose Ohio First project that she worked on with senior industrial and systems engineering major, Jarod Zillinger and industrial engineering professor, Osama Aljarrah.

“My project is about integrating discrete event simulation machine learning in lean manufacturing to help see if it would be beneficial for small additive manufacturers,” Williams said. “A lot of people don’t know about industrial engineering or lean manufacturing, so it’s really exciting to kind of teach them about what we do and the impact we can make.”

Williams said she will also be presenting with Concrete Canoe at the STEM Showcase.

“Concrete Canoe is part of the American Society of Civil Engineers, and basically we just make a canoe out of concrete, and race it … [At regionals] we actually placed first, so we’re going to go to nationals in Wisconsin,” Williams said. “We’ll have the canoe at the STEM Showcase so that’s definitely something to check out.”

Biology professor Michael Butcher has mentored Choose Ohio First students and graduate students in preparation for the showcase. Butcher said the STEM Showcase gives students an opportunity to expand their presentation skills and deepen their knowledge of their fields. 

“It’s not only laboratory preparation but it’s also reading and familiarizing yourself with the primary literature so you can speak with some degree of a fundamental knowledge about your topic and then offer valid conclusions that can be verified by your initial understanding. So, it’s a lot of work that goes into these projects,” Butcher said. 

Spencer McGarrity, junior mechanical engineering major, has been presenting at the STEM Showcase since he was a freshman. He said the showcase has made a positive impact on his experiences at YSU. 

“It’s gotten me a lot more comfortable with speaking to people both casually and a bit more professionally,” McGarrity said. “You get to present what you are most proud of. You made something work, and it’s very very cool to see your hypothesis turn into reality.” 

McGarrity will present research on shape memory alloys with a group of mechanical engineering majors, junior Allison Stanko, junior Matthew Fabian and sophomore Tyler Miller.

For more information on the STEM Showcase, head to its website