Student projects, labs highlight STEM Showcase April 26

YSU's Baja team, from the left Sam Faykus, John Henley, David Carmendy, Adam Harrold, Caty Moran, and seated, AJ Grayson, is part of the STEM Showcase on Saturday, April 26.

YSU’s Baja team, from the left Sam Faykus, John Henley, David Carmendy, Adam Harrold, Caty Moran, and seated, AJ Grayson, is part of the STEM Showcase on Saturday, April 26.

Tours of the new Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing and displays of more than 50 student projects like the SAE Baja car and concrete canoe are among the highlights of the Youngstown State University STEM Showcase from 2:30 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, in Moser Hall on campus.

The free event is for prospective students, parents and others who want to learn more about the YSU College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. U.S. News and World Report ranks YSU’s undergraduate engineering program among top 25 percent in the world.

Free parking is available along Lincoln Ave and in the Wick Avenue deck. For more information and to register to attend, visit

Visitors will get the chance to meet with STEM faculty and students to talk about STEM-related careers. Tours of Moser Hall computer and laboratory facilities will be available, including the new Water Resources Lab. In addition, demonstrations of the Siemens Product Lifecycle Management Software and the Center for Innovation in Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) will be available. The center features two high-end 3D printers that will enable research for undergraduate- and graduate-level students, as well as students in the university’s new PhD program in materials science and engineering. YSU is only the second university in the world with this specific equipment fully installed and operating.

Among the student projects on display:

  • Baja car. Each year, the Society of Automotive Engineers holds three competitions across the country that put student-designed off road vehicles to the test. The SAE Baja Competition is an inter-collegiate engineering design event founded in 1976 to promote students’ knowledge of vehicle production. The 2014 competition is in Peoria, Ill. June 4 to 7. YSU seniors using the car as their senior design project include: David Carmendy, Adam Harrold, John Henley, and Robert Virostek (Poland HS). Others involved in the project include: Caty Moran, Matt Harrold (Crestview HS), Rick Heusey (Butler Area HS), Michael Krizner (Bethel Park HS), Sam Faykus, Brian Wilster (Western Reserve HS), Scott Zilke (Western Reserve HS), Ryan Higgins (Baldwin HS), Ben Saltsgiver (Hermitage HS), Patrick Hyden (Girard HS) and Jon Bancroft (Joseph Badger HS).
  • Safety Grab Bar and Hand Rail System. Falls are the leading cause of injury, death, and hospital admissions for traumatic injuries among older adults. One way to combat this is to use Safety Grab Bar hand rails in accordance with guidelines set forth by the American Disabilities Association. Many companies produce a Safety Grab Bar, but the company working with YSU students has developed the optimal safety bar design. The senior design group helped the company better their product and reduce costs associated with their design. Also, the material choice for the mounts was changed from aluminum to a high strength composite plastic. Finally, the student group is completing a machine that will finish the bar on site, allowing for in house production of the entire grab bar apparatus. Students involved are Alex Amendolea (Canfield), Teresa McKinney (Jackson Milton), Ryan Moore (Howland), and Justen Vrabel (Canfield)
  • Compactor design

    Compactor design

    Compactor design. The design of the delay compacting system consists of electrical and mechanical components that are used to efficiently pack the explosive powder into a delay. The system takes and packs powder into a small delay that goes into a grenade to keep it from burning too fast or slow after being thrown. The grenades can provide a loud noise or heavy smoke to allow the military or law enforcement to move in on a target. The design was created by a group of senior mechanical engineering students, Nicholas Somerfield, Matthew Callahan, Jed Chismar, DJ Giammarco, and Lauren Hagerty, and was sponsored by Combined Tactical Systems in Jamestown PA.

  • Spring car wing mounts. Mechanical engineering students Brandon Spithaler (Evans City, PA), Anthony Davis (Salineville, OH), and James Stiger (Hookstown, PA) redesigned a winged sprint cars’ wing mounting system for their senior design capstone project. The redesign is an attempt to increase both handling as well as the efficiency of the wings themselves. If proven to be successful in the upcoming 2014 racing season, it will lead to an increase in down force while limiting the drag forces due to the wings.
  • Additive manufacturing. Students Caitlyn Rodomsky (Girard), Ashley Martof (Mineral Ridge), and Lauren Rodomsky (Girard) worked to develop a complexity scale to help companies determine whether they should use additive manufacturing to produce their products.
  • Nanoflowers. Student Jennifer Miller (McDonald) worked to grow nanoflowers. The group varied the level of pH of Barium Chloride to determine which level resulted in the growth of the best “flowers.” They used a high-powered scanning electron microscope to examine the result of their efforts.  The group also made a plan to adapt this project for use in College in High School chemistry courses so that high school students can try growing the flowers and then visit YSU to view their flowers through the electron microscope.