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Featured Student

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Many STEM students participate in internships during their college career. One STEM student, Teresa McKinney, has won the STEM Intern of the Year. The STEM Intern of the Year award is given to a student that has shown a high quality of work, has shown initiative, has completed presentations, and has had an impact on the company with whom they have worked.

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Many STEM students participate in internships during their college career. One STEM student, Teresa McKinney, has won the STEM Intern of the Year. The STEM Intern of the Year award is given to a student that has shown a high quality of work, has shown initiative, has completed presentations, and has had an impact on the company with whom they have worked.

Teresa McKinney, a senior Mechanical Engineering student, has accomplished a great deal in her college career. While she has held several internships, one of her most memorable ones was her internship at Nucor Steel Auburn, Inc. During her internship at Nucor she gained much more than just the experience as an engineer, she gained a family. For Teresa, her Nucor internship was life changing.

“I learned how to be a real engineer, worked on projects, and met some amazing people at the mill,” Teresa says. “[They] ‘adopted’ me and guided me throughout the summer, and I hope we will remain friends well into the future.”

Teresa took a summer off from interning in 2012, after her sophomore year of college, to study abroad. While she may have not been interning, she still learned and experienced much more than the average student. Even though she spent much of her summer semester on a ship traveling the Mediterranean and visiting countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece with the Semester at Sea program, she was able to balance classes at each port they visited. In 2010, Teresa also spent a week at the Gerace Research Center in the Bahamas. There, she explored caves, ruins, and other natural phenomena.

teresaThe North Jackson native often jokes that her father must have really wanted sons, but got a daughter first. With the strong work ethic and passion for how things work her father instilled while working on projects together, Teresa chose Mechanical Engineering for her future. After applying and being accepted into several colleges, Teresa felt that YSU and YSU STEM were where she would feel most at home.

“YSU has a fantastic engineering program,” Teresa says. “The school is small enough that professors know [your] name, but large enough that we have access to equipment that larger schools use.”

Teresa is also very active on campus. For three years, she was the Vice President of the STEM Leadership Society, as well as a Student Government Association STEM Representative. She is the president of Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society. When she is not spending time with one of these on-campus activities, she can be found doing many different activities including camping, intramural volleyball, and drawing.

After graduation, Teresa plans to attend graduate school so she can focus more on sustainable energy or combustion and thermal research. These types of programs will help her to achieve a successful career in the alternative energy field. Teresa knows that no matter what she does that she will continue to have the support of her parents, as well as the support from her friends, classmates, and professors that she has grown so close to throughout her YSU career.

Featured Alumni

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YSU STEM always enjoys learning what its former students are up to and sharing our congratulations on the success of our students, like Julia Mercer. Julia, after graduating from YSU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, has gone on to find a great deal of success pursuing her career. 

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YSU STEM always enjoys learning what its former students are up to and sharing our congratulations on the success of our students, like Julia Mercer. Julia, after graduating from YSU in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering, has gone on to find a great deal of success pursuing her career.

It didn’t take long for Julia, a Michigan native, to find where she belonged. For the last five years, she has worked as an engineer for Carmeuse Lime and Stone Technical Center, which sells industrial chemicals. Specifically, Julia focuses her work and engineering skills on traveling to customers’ work sites to make sure that the chemicals are being used safely, which is something that is very important to Carmeuse. They takes a great deal of pride in making sure that their chemicals are more sustainable and efficient, while also being more cost effective. She also builds customer relationships and protects the company’s intellectual rights. Much of what Julia does today, though, reflects the skills that she learned while at YSU.

“The confidence and technical reasoning skills I built as I went through the engineering curriculum helps me in my daily activities as I troubleshoot the use of chemicals at customers plants…” Julia says about how her YSU education has helped her. She continued to say, “I think YSU’s engineering curriculum is very good at developing engineers who are proficient technically and can communicate well with a diverse audience.” 

The ability to communicate well is something that Julia says is one of the most important things to remember in the work place. She thinks that the perfect place to learn these skills is during summer internships, like her internships at General Electric, WCI Steel, and United States Steel. Julia says that while a student’s internship may not be in their dream field, the experience out weighs all of that.

“Communication skills can sometimes be more important that engineering skills…” she says.

While Julia picked YSU for its great engineering program, she also chose YSU because she wanted to join the YSU Swimming and Diving team. She was, however, involved with a great deal more that just the swim team during her time at YSU. Julia was also involved with the Catholic Student Association, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Much of Julia’s success can be traced back to not only her education at YSU, but to her husband Tyler, also a YSU STEM graduate, her family, and her faith. She and her husband both greatly enjoyed their time at YSU. Specifically, Julia enjoyed that she has small class sizes, which in not the case in the typical engineering school. 

Julia has most recently published articles on Acid Mine Drainage and Flue Gas Desulfurization, which focuses on how to use industrial chemicals more efficiently. She also attended the One Young World Conference in 2010, where 1,300 leaders from over 150 countries, who are also under 30, met and discussed subjects such as human rights, global health, and transparency and integrity. 

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