STEM holds sixth annual award dinner

Dean Martin Abraham and Cynthia Anderson stand with 5th annual STEM dinner award winners of 2013: (from left to right) John A. Scott, Thomas J. Stellers, Theodore Burke and Daniel Martin.
Dean Martin Abraham and Cynthia Anderson stand with 5th annual STEM dinner award winners of 2013: (from left to right) John A. Scott, Thomas J. Stellers, Theodore Burke and Daniel Martin.

Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics community will gather for the sixth annual STEM College Awards Dinner on Feb. 20. The dinner celebrates the success and contribution of distinguished alumni, math and science educators, local business leaders and community partners.

Martin Abraham, dean of STEM, said the college distributes these awards to both recognize recipients for their accomplishments and to thank them for their assistance to the college.

“I couldn’t give them anything that would really fully appreciate what they have given to us. So this is just a token to say ‘thank you,’” Abraham said. “These are people who have never said ‘no.’ When we call and say ‘can you do this for us, ‘they say ‘yes, absolutely, be thrilled to do so.’ Like I said, this is the least we can do. We are just so thankful for all their support and all their help.”

This year, eight awards will be distributed in a variety of categories including: outstanding community partner, outstanding alumna (two), outstanding young alumnus (two), stem intern of the year, intern employer of the year and outstanding education partner.

Tom Reardon, a 1974 YSU graduate and veteran teacher, will be rewarded the Outstanding Education Partner Award for his enduring dedication to STEM education, including 35 years of teaching at Austintown Fitch High School.

“We have the educator award that we provide,” Abraham said. “It is always somebody out in the community who is very instrumental in promoting, largely at the K-12 level, the education for STEM. Quite frankly, if it weren’t for them doing a good job, I would have no students. So we like to recognize their contribution and their importance.”

Siemens Corporations, a U.S. subsidiary of the high-tech international company Siemens AG, will be rewarded the Outstanding Community Partner Award for its $440 million in-kind software grant to YSU, as well as further involvement.

“We figure a $440 million contribution deserves a little recognition,” Abraham said. “It has been a heck of a lot of good things going on between us and them, well beyond the software they provided us. It has really been a tremendous partnership that has developed over the two years they have been working with us.”

Jenifer Miller, secretary for STEM and organizer for the event, said this year’s awards dinner will also introduce two new categories.

“This is the first year we are doing an actual Student Intern of the Year Award, and that is Teresa McKinney,” Miller said. “We are also awarding Nucor Steel Auburn Inc. for being the employer of the Intern of the Year. So that is new this year.”

William C. Kennedy, president of Redex Industries Inc,, and Thomas Serenko, chief geologist for the state of Ohio, are the recipients of the Outstanding Alumnus awards. Robert Cicchillo, biochemist and R&D manager at Dow AgroSciences, and Andrea Arnio, North American storeroom manager for Novelis Corp., will receive the Outstanding Young Alumnus awards.

Arnio said the intimacy of YSU’s STEM program gave her an advantage in the workforce.

“I actually began my college career at the University Of Akron. I spent a year and a half at Akron, and it felt like I was getting lost in the shuffle because it was larger.” Arnio said. “That is when I decided to come back [to YSU]. The class size and the one-on-one time professors are able to spend with you — making sure the content of the classes are completely understood and can be applied to real world activities — fully helped myself and all of the students that I graduated with enter the work force better prepared.”

The award dinner will begin with a reception at 6 p.m. in Kilcawley Center’s Chestnut Room. The event is open to the public with reservations at $40 per person or $350 to sponsor an event and reserve a table for eight attendees.

“The one thing I can’t emphasize enough is how much we really appreciate all contributions and the support that we get from our alumni and friends. We have done this six years now, and there are a lot more people out there to recognize who participated and really supported us,” Abraham said.

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