STEM Expo sees success as pandemic winds down

Attendees browse tables of potential employers at the STEM Expo in Stambaugh Stadium.

By Christopher Gillett

This year’s STEM Expo saw students meet with potential future employers, set up internships and work with co-ops. The expo took place Feb. 24 in Stambaugh Stadium. Several students attended the expo scouting for future careers.

Wim Steelant is the head of the College of STEM at YSU and the organizer of the STEM Expo. He was in charge of acquiring volunteers for the event and companies to advertise at it.

“[There are] about 80-100 companies here, so I think we’re getting back where we’re supposed to be. About five years ago, we had about 46 companies per semester, so it’s looking good,” he said.

Many of the companies’ representatives were former YSU students. Among the companies presenting at the expo was McWane Ductile Ohio. According to the STEM Expo’s booklet, it is a heavy manufacturer of ductile iron pipes. 

McWane was represented by Heather Rainwater, among others. She is a YSU alumna who graduated from the university in 2004 with a degree in chemical engineering. She went into detail about the company’s work.

“We are a heavy manufacturer of ductile iron pipes. So, we melt cast iron and molten iron goes into our centrifugally cast machines and we produce iron pipes for the water works industry,” she said.

The company also continues the legacy of Ohio’s extensive history as an industrial manufacturer. It is located about two hours south of Youngstown in Coshocton County, Ohio.

One YSU student who attended the event was Jeremy DeMarco, a junior computer science major. He said he enjoyed being able to meet potential employers while being provided with an assortment of materials. 

“[My goal is] to have a job where I can have an impact on the world in a positive way, provide for my family and be happy,” he said.

DeMarco also said he would love to come back to YSU as an ambassador for a future company.

“I’d love to come back,” he said. “I have learned so many things from my time at YSU due to events like this and due to our great faculty staff and teaching services, so I would love to give back to the school in that way.”

Previously, the STEM Expo had been hosted in the Chestnut Room in Kilcawley Center or online during the pandemic. The STEM department greatly increased the space for the expo with the use of Stambaugh Stadium, alongside hosting an online conference. 

The day after the expo, companies were able to interview students and hire them on the spot. 

Steelant hopes to continue having success with future STEM Expos after this one. He said his goal for next year’s STEM Expo is “to keep growing it.”

If any students missed the expo, they can connect with companies on the app Handshake.