By David Ford
Greg Dillon’s experience includes work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northrop Grumman and Lawrie Technology, but his biggest impact could be at Youngstown State University.
On March 1, Dillon became the associate dean for the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Dillon said he’s adapted well to the new environment, thanks to the welcoming people.
“Everyone strikes me as honest, caring, thoughtful and focused on what is right for the college and particularly the students who attend Youngstown State,” Dillon said. “I have been especially gratified by the honesty of the faculty as they described the opportunities they foresee as well as the challenges they confront.”
Dillon said his first experience with the university was positive.
“I must admit that I was very much taken aback by the warmth of the welcome I received when I arrived,” Dillon said. “To me, this speaks volumes for the level of collegiality that exists in the organization, so I would take this opportunity to thank all those who went to such lengths to make me feel welcome. It’s easy to form positive working relationships with people who care about the people they work with.”
Before his arrival at YSU, Dillon said he had the opportunity work on several innovative projects.
At MIT, Dillon worked as an assistant director of a university-industry consortium, which developed new process technologies based on in-depth physics analysis.
In addition to MIT research, Dillon spent time with Lawrie Technology, Northrop Grumman, and most recently, Pennsylvania State University.
At Northrop Grumman, Dillon served as principal engineer in advanced development, where he helped lead the implementation of an automated forming technology on a fighter aircraft.
Dillion said teaching remained an important role in his career.
“In my 17 years at Penn State, I got involved in a broad spectrum of product and process development projects, ranging from defense platforms to medical devices,” Dillon said. “While I have been engaged in the educational mission virtually throughout my career, I’ve had an intensified focus in that area over the last five years.”
Dillion said he couldn’t pass up the position at YSU.
“It was the very existence of a STEM college that immediately caught my eye,” Dillon said. “As associate dean of STEM, I expect to be engaged in pretty much every element of the functioning of the unit.”
He laid out future goals for the program on campus.
“I passionately believe that practical engagement is the future of STEM education and that, in my view, necessarily entails provision of research, internship and cooperative education experiences,” Dillon said. “Completing a co-op was nothing short of transformational in my life and I believe it could be the same for many students.”
Dillon said he hopes to make an impact on students’ education, preparing them more efficiently for the careers ahead of them.
“The ultimate goal is to prepare our students for a life and career that is satisfying, fulfilling, prosperous and exciting,” he said. “Knowing I have the opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of students pursuing STEM career paths is what gets me out of bed in the morning.”
YSU is the perfect place to make the difference, according to Dillon.
Emilie Eberth, the coordinator of STEM outreach and scholarships, said the university is extremely lucky to have Dillon on board.
“In his few short weeks here, he has been enthusiastic and ready to get to know everyone in STEM and learning what we all do and how we do it,” Eberth said. “He brings great insight from his past experience and we are looking forward to the future.”
Wim Steelant, dean of STEM, said the program’s enrollment continues to rise. Dillon’s arrival helps the program keep up with stability, innovation and student success.
“Dr. Dillon’s terminal degree is in engineering, while mine is not. This means the STEM leadership has terminal degrees representative for the entire college,” Steelant said. “Also, with growing enrollment each year, it’s nice to have an associate dean because for me alone it was insane to keep up and be innovative at the same time.”
According to Steelant, the program held 2800 students in Fall 2014. The number rose to 3500 in Fall 2017.
Steelant said Dillon’s arrival adds to the already diverse background of STEM faculty.