Brain power

YOUNGSTOWN – Patrick Hyden said the realization that he and his teammates needed to work out some kinks on their solar powered car concept wouldn’t stop them from moving forward with the idea.

”We just have to shift gears a little,” explained Hyden, 19, of Girard, a sophomore. ”We lost some of our solar panels, and that was a bummer. But next time we’ll figure out how to keep them on the roof of the car.”

Hyden, along with teammates Derek Dowdell, 22, of Cleveland, a junior, and Ralph Roth III, 20, of North Bloomfield, a sophomore, explained how the solar panels on the roof they crafted to cover a pink Barbie car could power the small vehicle.

”I really like our concept,” Dowdell said. ”I just wish we would have secured the solar panels a little better.”

The three electrical engineering students were among dozens of students in Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to display and demonstrate their projects Sunday during the annual showcase. The event, held at Moser Hall on the YSU campus near downtown, featured displays of various student projects including a concrete canoe, mini baja car, steel bridge and moon rover.

This year’s STEM Showcase drew at least 200 people.

”It really is nice to see your idea, your concept become something concrete,” said James White, 29, of Pittsburgh. ”You realize what you would change if you could, what you would keep the same, and where you could go from here.”

White and his teammate, Yashar Nasseri, 22, of Poland, both seniors, demonstrated their Android Control System.

Nearby, Matt Virostek, 23, of Poland, a senior, showed his mom, Mary Jane Virostek, also of Poland, how his team’s Automated Garment Heating System worked.

”I think this is great,” Mary Jane Virostek said as she ran her hand over the garment. ”It’s getting warmer and warmer. I think it would be a wonderful thing to have if you go skiing or ice skating. Really, anytime you’re cold.”

Katie Smith, 32, of Youngstown, said she heard about the showcase and wanted to see the students’ ideas put into action.

”I think it’s fascinating,” she said. ”The ideas are so creative and for them to be able to take those ideas and develop them and then to show us what they come up with is great. I like seeing how they make things work.”