YSU to collaborate with South Korea

In an effort to increase Youngstown State University’s global outreach, the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics will work toward a research relationship with the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea.

YSU has already participated in introductory discussions with UNIST, which may lead to research collaborations or to student exchange programs between the two schools.

Michael Hripko, director of STEM research and technology-based economic development, said YSU reached a preliminary agreement to work with UNIST. The details of this agreement have not yet been finalized.

“This is the first step. We have to agree to agree first. We have both expressed an interest in working together,” Hripko said.

Hripko added that YSU has invited UNIST representatives to visit campus over the summer to solidify the schools’ collaboration.

Eric Planey, vice president of International Business Attraction at the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber, assists local companies with global expansion and works to expand direct foreign investment in the Mahoning Valley.

Planey said YSU was introduced to UNIST last summer through the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber.

“The chamber has been active with South Korean corporations for over two years now. This opportunity was introduced to us by Power Plaza, a Korean manufacturer of power conversion and electric vehicle technologies,” he said.

During a visit to Youngstown last summer, Power Plaza expressed interest in conducting research with YSU students. Hripko said working with Power Plaza “complements the relationship” between YSU and UNIST.

“The best way Power Plaza can get to know us better is [for YSU] to develop a relationship with UNIST,” he said.

Planey added that a relationship with Power Plaza encourages growth in the Valley.

“It’s a great opportunity to leverage the assets of YSU to further our international investments. With the United States and Korea signing a free trade agreement in 2012, Korean investment will increase into the U.S., and the Mahoning Valley will stand ready to welcome this investment for decades to come,” Planey said.

Hripko said YSU wants to expand its global reputation.

“It is all about global growth,” he said. “YSU is trying to be well known around the world. These relationships with international schools creates opportunities for students.”

YSU’s discussion with UNIST is only the latest of several international relationships the school has participated in. Hripko said YSU has exchange agreements with schools in Finland, Turkey and Taiwan.