YSU Mathematics Students Score in top 8% of International Mathematical Modeling Competition
The YSU Department of Mathematics and Statistics is proud to announce that an undergraduate team won Meritorious awards in this year’s Mathematical Contest in Modeling (MCM/ICM-COMAP). A distinction of Meritorious placed a YSU team in the top 8% of the more than 25,000 teams worldwide. In all YSU had seven teams and 21 students participate in this international mathematical modeling contest.
Each year, the Consortium for Mathematics and Its Applications (COMAP) holds the Mathematical (MCM) and Interdisciplinary (ICM) Contest in Modeling. This year’s contest was held on February 4-9, 2021 and the results were published this week. Teams of three students have 96 hours to develop a model, create a solution, and submit a written report for one of several problems. This year, the problems addressed by YSU students were: (A) “Fungi” (B) “Fighting Wildfires” or (D) “The Influence of Music.”
Bishal Lamichhane of Pokhara Nepal, Subham Singh of Kathmandu, Nepal and Aniket Singh of Birgunj, Nepal worked on problem D and received the distinction of Meritorious (top 8%) for their submission to Problem D entitled “The Music of Networks”.
Nishan Adhikan of Chitwan, Nepal, Abhinav Giri of Tikapur, Nepal, and Pradip Rimal of Kushma, Nepal worked on Problem B, received Honorable Mention for their paper titled “Fighting the Wildfire”.
Dr. Thomas Wakefield, Chair of the Mathematics & Statistics Department, notes that Bishal, Subham, and Aniket comprised the only team from the US to receive the Meritorious designation for their submission. We are very proud of our students and their work in this contest.
For information about the contest, visit COMAP online.
Figure 1. 2019-2020 First Destination for YSU STEM Graduates
At the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester, the College of STEM launched its inaugural First Destination Survey to Fall 2019, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates. A first destination survey is used to determine what graduates are doing after they graduate from their institution. The College of STEM First Destination Survey consists of two parts, the standard NACE (National Association of Colleges & Employers) survey and supplemental questions provided by the College of STEM. The NACE survey focuses specifically on what students do after graduation. The supplemental College of STEM questions take a closer look at goals outlined by academic departments within the College of STEM and the student’s experiences with experiential learning. Students will receive a free official transcript upon completion of the Survey and graduation from the University as compensation for their time.
With the exception of Fall 2019, the Survey launches 2 weeks prior to graduation and closes 6 months after graduation. In addition to the students that have submitted responses to the Survey, STEM Careers, Internships & Co-ops compiled data from secondary sources such as LinkedIn, the First Destination Survey through YSU Career & Academic Advising and faculty members. This data pulled from secondary sources is referred to as the knowledge rate. Responses received directly from the student are referred to as the response rate. Knowledge rate was heavily relied on for Fall 2019 due to the launch of the survey occurring after graduation. The overall rate, the sum of knowledge rate and response rate, for Fall 2019-Summer 2020 graduates was 74.4% or 396 of 532 graduates. Results can be found below.
What did our students do after graduation?
See Figure 1, above.
It is important to note that students may have found positions since taking the survey or may not have updated information on their LinkedIn. Additionally, Spring 2020 and Summer 2020 graduates were impacted by the immediate and long-term effects on the job market caused by COVID-19. This impact may have hindered or prolonged the job search process for many graduates.
Where did our students head to after graduation?
The large majority of our students remain in northeast Ohio for employment and in the Midwest United States for continuing education. Click Here to see a graphic representation.
What industries are our students working in?
Manufacturing jobs take up a large piece of our employment pie with 18.75% of graduates heading into that industry. Other sectors include construction (10.42%) and automotive (9.38%) all the way down to defense (4.17%) and investment banking (1.04%). See the full chart by clicking here.
Note: Only 49% of data included employer industry.
What types of degree programs are our students moving onto?
Of our students continuing their education from a bachelors degree: 52% are going on to a doctorate program; 42% to a masters program; and 6% are pursuing another bachelors degree.
Of our graduating masters students, 18% are pursuing another masters degree and 82% are entering a doctorate program.
Did experiential learning impact successful outcomes?
Of our 19-20 graduates who were employed or continuing their education, 59% had completed an experiential learning experience. Of those who indicated they were still looking, 39% had completed an experiential learning experience.
It is important to note that students may have found positions since taking the survey or may not have updated information on LinkedIn. Due to COVID-19, Summer 2020 graduates may have had their experiential learning opportunities canceled or lack of opportunities to apply to.
Everyone has to endure a job hunt every once in a while. Whether the job hunt is due to temporary unemployment or simply searching for the next step, there are plenty of obstacles to get prepared for. From the outside looking in, it is generally assumed that when a rejection letter enters an email inbox it is because that person did not fully meet the requirements for that particular position. Most people assume that the organization they are applying to is following federal anti-discrimination act laws. These laws are not always followed accurately and can be a blurry discussion when it comes to an organization justifying how they select their candidates. When a company decides to screen an employer based on a requirement, they need and must be able to 100% justify their reasoning without argument or discriminating against a minority group. While screening an employee may seem like a simple process, it is actually much more complicated, especially when looking at requirements like GPA.
A current trend amongst employers is the lowering or overlooking of GPA qualifications when considering applicants. This trend has been adopted in attempts to diversify the applicant pool. GPA disproportionately limits applicants from historically excluded populations and/or low socioeconomic statuses. Even though fewer employers are using GPA as a screening tool, the required average GPA stands at 3.0. On average students from low-income households have lower GPAs than students from families with higher incomes.
Some view skill-based hiring as more efficient, less risky, and better suited to today’s skills economy. As technology increases and more workers pursue self-guided learning and online courses, the skills-based model will become even more relevant and GPA less so. Skills acquired through hands-on projects, volunteerism, extracurricular activities, or internships/work experiences are more valuable indicators for skills that the candidate could bring to the workplace, which is not reflected through GPA. In the absence of real-world indicators of skills and abilities, hiring managers tend to use GPA as a proxy. When employers rely on GPA and degree requirements, they tend to shut out entire portions of the workforce and limit their access to a skilled labor pool. GPA is suggested to be a portion of the hiring equation and should be weighed in conjunction with the experience level of the candidate. When they only have a year or two of experience, GPA represents a candidate’s largest body of work. In this scenario the GPA should be weighed more heavily. The responsibility lies on the employer’s shoulders to provide evidence that GPA is a “business necessity” in order to avoid liability.
As stated by the U.S. government, employers often use tests to determine the possible effectiveness of a potential employee. These tests can include: cognitive tests, personality tests, medical examinations, credit checks, and criminal background checks. It is possible that the use of these tests violates the federal anti-discrimination laws. Violation of these laws happens when an employer intentionally uses them to discriminate based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or age. The uses of these tests and other selection methods can be a violation of the federal anti-discrimination laws if they disproportionately exclude people in a particular group by race, sex, or another covered basis. The process is viewed as a violation unless the employer can justify the test or procedure under the law. Fortune 500 and largercompanies may tend to use GPA as a filter to find the best quality of new hires, when screening applications. Smaller companies that need applicants with specific skills or work experience are more likely to ignore GPA and focus on what the person can bring to the company.
At the resume stage, employers tend to not care as much about GPA. Employers are more interested in the work experience, year of graduation, major, and school. It is only when employers have finished interviewing candidates that GPA comes into the picture for a decision between candidates. It is simply not enough for an employer to have a theory or belief that GPA is related to job performance, they will need to be able to back their claims up especially if they are audited, or else they’ll be fined for discriminatory hiring practices. To avoid a lawsuit an employer must prove that the policy of screening for GPA is “Job related for the position in question and consistent with business necessity” (42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(k)(1)(A)).
Doing the right thing can be more difficult than it seems at times. Employers want to succeed in their place of business or industry. Employees want to succeed in their career as well as their livelihood. Creating a match between employer and employee cannot be forced, but sometimes employers can limit a perspective applicant’s opportunities. Creating requirements that may disproportionately exclude students with minoritized identities can result in a fine or a lawsuit. As a perspective employee it is hard to tell, if not impossible, what exactly deterred the organization from calling them back. As we look at the bigger picture, it becomes more apparent that these requirements can limit the talent pool and deflect capable and qualified individuals from even receiving an interview. Both parties are at a loss. At one end the organization lost out on a talent that could have been a better fit, and on the other end, the employee doesn’t learn what they can improve on and make themselves a better candidate. In conclusion, requirements for a position should not be based on numbers outside of definite, quantified job specific responsibilities. Requirements such as minimum years of experience, GPA, and standardized test score only work to segregate the workforce and suggest a less-than-equal platform for providing career opportunities to prospective employees.
Intern Conversion Rates
When it comes to finding the most qualified employees for a place of business, the best practice is to hire an intern and then convert that intern to a full-time employee. Having a good enticing internship program will draw in prominent talent that can be converted to a full-time employee at a lower cost than hiring from outside the organization. This process is convenient for both parties but can have some potential negatives to the intern.
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average conversion rate for interns climbed by nearly 20%, from 55% to 66.4%, in 2021. Conversion occurs when an intern who is working with a company receives a full-time position offer. A likely explanation for this uptick in intern to full-time conversion is the pandemic. The pandemic shifted employers to shutdown many of their in-person recruiting efforts with little time for them to adjust to virtual recruiting. The result of this shift ended up being that many employers opted to put more emphasis on their internship programs for new hires. Conversion of interns to full-time employees includes several benefits, on being various cost savings.
Converting an intern to a full-time position saves various costs including
· Advertising and event costs
· Internet services
· Third-party contract and fees
· Referral bonus cost
· Signing bonuses
· Technology-based hiring management
In order to attract quality candidates, internship programs must be well-planned, engaging, provide real-world experience, and deliver a paycheck. It is very important to treat interns as new employees would be treated, as well as to make interns matter. One of the most important aspects of an internship program is that it can act as a trial run for employers as well as interns. A positive experience at an internship for a student or perspective employee where the individual can get a chance to be immersed in the company’s culture makes it more likely that that person will choose to work for that company down the line. Ultimately, creating a good environment for an internship saves a company money. Internship programs can be thought of as a new organization or business unit inside the company, with included purpose, goals, objectives, and success criteria. In order for conversion rates to continue to increase at any organization the internship program needs to be kept running and have its worth proven by HR managers.
Internships are a great way to begin to gain career related experience. Internships offer many benefits to companies and interns themselves. Although, there are some negative aspects that are usually overlooked and not considered. Who stands to benefit more with internships? As it stands, it can be assumed that internships are mutually beneficial for both parties. When looking at this objectively, it becomes apparent that employers tend to be the bigger winner. For an employer, an internship program allows the company to attract cheaper labor, get real-world work done, and potentially save money by offering this individual a full-time position if they feel that they are a strong enough candidate. The intern, unknowingly along for the ride, would never see this aspect of the program. If the company did not hire current interns or convert interns, they might be subject to pay an outside applicant higher wages, a signing bonus, as well as a possible increased benefits package. Additionally, companies must factor in the costs and labor wages in allocating time to search for potential candidates. When interns skip a tradition full-time position search, they are typically less familiar with competitive salary or benefits for an entry-level employee. As a result, interns that convert to full-time positions generally see lower wages than that of an outside applicant Even though there are possible negatives, internships are a great opportunity overall. When looking at the reality of these situations, there is always room for improvement which could result in an increase in conversion rates.
With all of this in mind, it raises a lot of questions about the competitiveness of full-time position offers for former interns. When speaking with employers, every intern should be well-
researched on typical starting and salary looks like in their field. In the end, everyone is a winner. An intern gains experience to become more skilled and an employer gets to test run a potential full-time employee and get some work done.
Established in 1996, ACA Engineering, Inc. is an independently owned and operated firm in the State of Ohio and Pennsylvania. ACA is committed to providing their clients with geotechnical engineering, high quality environmental services, professional construction inspection, and material testing. Our staff of engineers, geologists, and inspectors have a combined experience of over 50 years in all phases of engineering and inspection. Originally founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, ACA now operates a fully equipped office in Youngstown, Ohio. Both offices are considered to possess state of the art laboratories. In addition, ACA is AASHTO Accredited, ODOT Prequalified, PennDOT Certified, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers certified.
ACA Engineering, Inc. is a local company that specializes in civil engineering and geotechnical engineering. The company offers a number of services to the geographic area, and has locations in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio. ACA regularly attends the fall and spring STEM Expos and typically hires 2-3 interns per year. The company has a structured internship/co-o program, providing hands-on training, manuals/specification for reading material, and workshops for their interns. ACA requires their interns to register their internships with YSU or any University for course credit. Over the years, ACA has converted 20 interns to full-time employees. Currently, they have 5 full-time employees that began their careers as interns.
Pictured from left: Dr. Kristopher Pierson, Dr. Hazel Marie, Dr. Matthew Pierson, and Emma Pierson
What do Kristopher Pierson and Matthew Pierson have in common, besides the obvious same last name? First as one might suspect they are related. They are brothers and the sons of Dr. Hazel Marie, Distinguished Professor in Mechanical Engineering. But there is more:
· Kristopher and Matthew both earned their bachelor degrees with minors in YSU STEM disciplines.
o Kristopher was awarded a BE in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics in 2010.
o Matthew was awarded a BS in Mathematics with a minor in Mechanical Engineering in 2013.
· Both spent a year in Germany through the Congress-Bundestag exchange program. Matthew while in high school before coming to YSU and Kristopher as a young professional right after graduating from YSU.
· While at YSU both were inducted into their respective disciplines honor societies: Kristopher in Tau Beta Pi and Matthew in Pi Mu Epsilon.
· Both recently earned a Ph.D. in their respective fields.
o Kristopher in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Akron in 2019. Dissertation title: Multiphysics Cavitation Model with Application to the Dynamic behavior of Journal Bearings.
o Matthew in Mathematics from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 2021. Dissertation title: Some Applications of a Duality in Cyclic Homology.
· With an earned Ph.D., many individuals enter the academic work force. Neither are joining academia. Kristopher has a position at Hankook Tire Company and Matthew is now searching for an industry position in the Boulder/Colorado area.