NASA Official Praises YSU Support of Innovation

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Were it not for a rider attached to a 1915 Navy appropriations bill, research and development in the United States could have turned out much differently.

That provision – the idea of then Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Delano Roosevelt – created the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a government agency dedicated to the research and development of the fledgling aviation industry.

“The forward thinking people of their time said we need to invest in pre-competitive research, so that this research could spawn this nascent industry,” said Robert J. “Joe” Shaw, deputy director of the Office of Technology Partnerships at NASA Glenn Research Center.

The idea worked, Shaw said Thursday. NACA became the forerunner of NASA, and the U.S. government strengthened its relationship with science and engineering firms in the private sector. These partnerships eventually took men to the moon and led to the design of instruments that today allow the Mars Rover to explore the surface of that planet.

Partnerships among academia, the private sector and government are vital to making the United States more competitive in engineering and science as they developed the technology today serve economic and business development in the private sector.

Shaw, born in Lisbon, was the keynote speaker at Youngstown State University’s 18th annual research recognition luncheon in Kilcawley Center.

Innovation, Shaw noted, comes in many ways and isn’t always noticeable. While a jet engine on the outside may look much as it did 30 years ago, the advanced materials of which that engine is constructed has changed how that engine operates, thus transforming the industry.

“This university does some great things here,” Shaw said, things related to advanced materials.

Moving forward, NASA is advancing plans to put a man on an asteroid, has employed the use of 3-D printing technology on the International Space Station, and is developing plans on how to create a sustainable environment on extraterrestrial surfaces such as the moon.

Other sources of collaboration include NASA’s participation in America Makes, the first of President Obama’s manufacturing hubs designed to foster private-public partnerships in advanced manufacturing, in Youngstown, and of which YSU is a component.

“That to me is truly innovative of the Obama Administration,” Shaw said.

Another objective, Shaw said, is harnessing the talent in northern Ohio to create a robust energy economy across this region, as evidenced by a workshop NASA Glenn held last summer.

The industry could grow to $50 billion by the year 2020. “With our capabilities in manufacturing and research,” Shaw said, “we have a great opportunity to form a regional ecosystem, and we think we’ve taken a step towards that.”

YSU honored six faculty and staff and one department for their success in securing grant monies to foster new research.

  • Jane Beese of the Beeghly College of Education for her efforts to launch the Youngstown City School District Leadership Academy, a program designed to help school administrators and aspiring leaders in the system.
  • Sherri Harper-Woods for her work with TRiO High School Upward Bound, a program that prepares high school students from low-income families for college and higher education.
  • Guha Manogharan of the department of mechanical and industrial engineering for a $495,000 National Institute of Standards and Technology grant to develop a consortium dedicated to promoting hybrid manufacturing. Such manufacturing includes finished machining of metallic parts from 3-D printing.
  • Dennis Morawski of the Bitonte College of Health & Human Services for his work with the University Partnership Program, a major component of YSU’s counseling program.
  • Gary Sexton, program manager for WYSU, for the station receiving a Radio Community Service grant.
  • Patricia Veisz, director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center, for helping to obtain $159,000 for the center.

And, YSU recognized its department of mechanical and industrial engineering and five faculty members for landing more than $1.1 million in grants over fiscal 2015 toward additive manufacturing programs and other initiatives.

Mike Hripko, associate vice president for research at YSU, said his office helps faculty and staff members prepare grant requests and initiatives to advance research and development at the university.

“We’d like to get involved with the research process early on,” he said. “We would encourage you that as soon as you think about a research opportunity, come and see us.”

Pictured: Robert J. “Joe” Shaw, deputy director of the Office of Technology Partnerships at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, addresses Youngstown State University’s 18th annual research recognition luncheon.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.