Commencement: YSU’s first PhD graduate says “the opportunities have been tremendous”

Kyle Myers in a lab in YSU's Moser Hall.

Kyle Myers in a lab in YSU’s Moser Hall.

Kyle Myers likes getting his hands dirty, working with practical science – that’s what he enjoyed about Youngstown State University’s new PhD program in Material Science and Engineering.

On Saturday, May 7, the Sharpsville, Pa., man will make history as the first to earn a PhD at YSU. Myers will participate in the university’s 9:30 a.m. Spring Commencement at Beeghly Center on the YSU campus; an afternoon ceremony is set for 2:30 p.m.

Myers came to YSU for graduate school with a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Pennsylvania State University. He earned a master’s at YSU, also in Chemistry, and was accepted by several PhD programs, including Auburn, Alfred and Clemson universities.

“I chose YSU because no other school could offer the financial support I got here. It’s like a job, really,” Myers said, explaining that he received a research stipend and a partial tuition reimbursement. “I’m 100 percent glad that I stayed here. YSU insists on real-world experience, and the opportunities have been tremendous.”

Throughout his graduate and PhD studies, Myers worked as a research assistant for Fireline, a Youngstown manufacturer of ceramic products. His research focused on creating composites, using 3D printing technology, that combine ceramics and metals into materials that function well in extremely high temperatures. His career goal is to find an engineering position in private industry.

“Kyle has always shown himself to be an exceptional student, so I’m not surprised that he finished first,” said Chemistry Professor Clovis Linkous, the PhD program coordinator. “We are all feeling proud and excited for him.”

YSU’s PhD program in Material Science and Engineering, which currently has nine candidates, was created in 2012 in the College of Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics. While it is the university’s first and only PhD program, YSU has two other doctorate degree-level programs – the Beeghly College of Education offers an EdD, a doctorate in education, and the Physical Therapy Department offers a DPT, a doctorate in Physical Therapy.