Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, spent Wednesday afternoon and evening with students and athletes on WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus.
Taylor, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler, made headlines in his final year of college at the University of Maryland for his promotion of the Human Rights Campaign during his matches. In 2011, he founded Athlete Ally, a nonprofit that “provides public awareness campaigns, educational programming and tools and resources to foster inclusive sports communities.” That program now maintains ambassadors at 80 colleges and universities in addition to the support of more than 100 professional athletes.
As part of the organization’s outreach, Taylor visits with K-12 schools, colleges and corporate campuses throughout the United States to help students and athletes foster more inclusive communities where they live and work.
He said seeing people realize that they have the power to impact change drives his work.
“I think that sport has the power to change the world. Athletes are influencers. Sport speaks every language and it connects cultures and communities in a way that little else does. Those athletes who use their platform with a purpose are the ones who make the most difference in the world. When athletes stand up and speak out, that’s what really inspires me,” he said.
Taylor kicked off his visit with the Golden Bear wrestling team, where he shared some tips and techniques he had picked up in his years at Maryland. A few hours later, he attended a regular meeting with Tech Alliance, a student-run LGBTQ+ and ally organization that promotes awareness and inclusivity on campus.
That evening, Taylor presented his seminar, “Allyship: Becoming a Champion for Inclusion of Your Campus.” Taylor shared the story of how he became a straight ally for the LGBTQ+ community after his college experience exposed him to both the LGBTQ+ student community and homophobia in the locker room. He also shared issues still prevalent in the sports world and action steps students and other members of the campus community to address issues of homophobia and transphobia in the collegiate environment.
“There’s never been a successful social justice movement for a minority group that didn’t have support from the majority,” Taylor said. “We need allies to stand out and speak up and be a part of the solution. That starts with people getting better educated and being more intentional with how they speak to and about other people.”
Scott Robertson, Assistant Dean of Students of TRIO Programs at WVU Tech, said that the visit was a successful opportunity for students to engage in open dialogue on LGBTQ issues in a safe environment.
“We wanted to explore more ways that our students can create a culture of inclusivity on campus,” said Robertson.
“We wanted to do this in a way that was thought-provoking, but in a fun and comfortable environment. It’s a topic that can be difficult for students to have real discussions about. You’re fighting preconceived notions or concerns that you’re going to be judged for how you view the world. This breaks things down in a way that lets people feel comfortable expressing their opinions and asking questions,” he said.
The event was sponsored by the WVU Tech Convocation Committee, WVU Tech Student Government Association, WVU Tech Golden Bear Athletics, WVU Tech Dean of Student Life, WVU Tech TRIO Student Support Services and Tech Alliance.
Robertson said that members of the campus community who are interested in helping out on campus can participate in safe zone training next week. Cris Mayo, director of the LGBTQ+ Center at WVU in Morgantown will conduct sessions on Wednesday, February 22 at 12:30 and 2:00 p.m. in the Student Activities Room.
WVU and KVC Health Systems have reached an agreement in principle regarding a lease-purchase of the WVU Tech campus in Montgomery. A public meeting was held on Wednesday, February 15 at 10 a.m. in the WVU Tech Engineering Auditorium.
For those who could not make the meeting or for more information, visit our campus transition FAQ page.
More information about KVC is available at westvirginia.kvc.org.
WVU Tech’s faculty members are dedicated to the advancement of the fields they teach. Outside of the classroom, they’re researchers, writers, presenters, go-to experts and road warriors who share their passion for learning with the world.
Here’s what our faculty members have been up to:
Dr. David Yost (Career and Technical Education) chaired the 2016 national meeting of the Association for Career and Technical Education Research program in December. Dr. Yost serves on a multi-state research team collecting data to support development of a new school administrator professional development model.
Dr. Houbing Song (Computer and Electrical Engineering) collaborated on and published six peer-reviewed journal papers in IEEE Internet of Things Journal, IEEE Communications Magazine, Ad Hoc Networks and Mobile Networks and Applications. He also worked on three peer-reviewed conference papers presented in the 21st International Symposium on Formal Methods and the 2016 IEEE Global Communications Conference (GLOBECOM). At GLOBECOM, Dr. Song chaired the session “Algorithms and learning systems for e-health” and served as the technical program committee chair of the Fifth International Workshop on Cloud Computing Systems, Networks, and Applications.
Dr. Yunyun Yang (Mathematics) presented her paper, “Distributions in spaces with thick points” in October at the 1st Northeastern Analysis Meeting at The College at Brockport in New York. This month, Dr. Yang presented “Theory of thick distributions” at the Ohio State University Analysis seminar.
Drs. Yadi Elsami and Asad Davari (Electrical and Computer Engineering), in collaboration with Dr. Kourosh Sedghisigarchi of California State University, Northridge, published “A Low-cost Efficient Hardware-in-the-loop Testbed for Distributed Generation Penetration Analysis” in the Journal of Energy and Power Engineering.
Dr. Paul Rakes (History) was interviewed and quoted in the article “West Virginia, ‘Identify Decline” and Why Democrats Must not Look Away from the Rural Poor” on In These Times.
Dr. Sandra Elmore (Sport Studies) established endowment, the Sandra J. Elmore Academic Scholarship. . The $25,000 endowment will offer aid for CPASS students who have financial need, with first preference for students majoring in either athletic coaching education or sport management, or who are residents of Roane County.
Dr. Mark Wilson (Economics) had his review of “Success and Luck: good fortune and the myth of meritocracy” by Cornell economist Robert Frank published in the October volume of The American Economist.
Dr. J.T. Hird (Mathematics) presented “Second-maximal subalgebras of Leibniz algebras” at the American Mathematical Society (AMS) South-Eastern Sectional Meetings at North Carolina State University in November.
As West Virginia University continues to evolve the brand in the marketplace, the word marks (logos) for WVU Tech and Potomac State College will undergo slight revisions. These revisions align all campuses within the WVU system quickly and easily while reducing confusion in the market.
“We have five wonderful and vibrant campuses across the state of West Virginia,” said President Gordon Gee. “We need to align all so that prospective students, faculty and staff have a better understanding that we are one university with a variety of quality educational experiences to meet our students’ needs.”
Carolyn Long, president of WVU Tech, agreed. “All of the campuses within the West Virginia University system bring different features to the table for students and meet their needs in a variety of ways,” said Long. “We’re excited about continuing our work together to help find the best fit for prospective students and families. Through streamlining and collaboration, we can be more efficient and effective in how we support students and communities throughout the state.”
Though aligning the marks is a new marketing direction, the affiliation with WVU has been long-standing. “The change in logos highlights and supports the goal of being OneWVU. Since its inception in 1901, Potomac State College has always been a part of the University. We’re pleased that this fact is being brought more to the forefront visually,” said Campus President Jennifer Orlikoff.
University Relations and Enrollment Management teams from all campuses are working to create cohesive messaging and materials for the recruitment cycle that will begin in fall 2017.
For WVU Tech files and branding guidelines, please contact WVU Tech University Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
University representatives are working together to provide information and support to students and employees on all University campuses, including Montgomery and Beckley, through an information session and resources. These efforts are ongoing and we will continue to keep students and employees apprised of the Executive Order and what that means for the members of our community.
“The University takes the Executive Order very seriously and has moved quickly to assist our students and faculty who are directly impacted,” President Gee shared in a message to campus on Sunday evening.
President Gee also stated, “Our University is enriched by and appreciates the diverse talent, culture and contributions shared by our international faculty and students. With more than 115 countries represented on our Morgantown campus, the world comes to West Virginia through our doors.”
Campus President Carolyn Long adds, “There are more than 25 countries represented at WVU Tech. We value the diversity and global perspectives that our students, staff and faculty bring to the campus community, and so we are working diligently to help them understand the impacts of the order.”
Finally, President Gee reminds us “that we are One West Virginia University. As we empathize with all who are affected, let us also offer our support in every possible way. And I ask that we be mindful of each other, and that we continue to treat each other with respect, with civility and with the dignity that every human being deserves.”
WVU Tech’s Baja SAE project is one of the largest student-led efforts on campus. Each year, a team of engineering students spends their free time designing, building and racing a full-scale, buggy-style vehicle. That’s on top of the time the group spends raising tens of thousands of dollars and negotiating access to heavy equipment so they can built the thing.
It’s a busy life, but by all accounts, it’s a rewarding one.
Dr. Winnie Fu, professor of engineering technology programs at WVU Tech and advisor to the student chapter of SAE, said that the experience teaches students entire skillsets that will help them as they branch out into their careers.
She also said that the 2017 season is a “build year” for the team, since there are more underclassmen in the group than in previous years.
“It’s about increasing knowledge and skills. Analyzing what can be improved. Taking chances and experimenting. Learning as much as we can. By spending the time up front, learning, training and developing, I’m anticipating a very strong future contender team,” she said.
Noah Morrison, a mechanical engineering major from Huntington, West Virginia is a sophomore at Tech. He serves as the current vice president of the WVU Tech student chapter of SAE.
Morrison said the team doesn’t lack talent or passion, but that some resources particularly access to heavy machining equipment are harder to come by. The group works with local businesses and sponsors to carve out time on lathes and milling machines to save on costs. It’s also a great way to learn some new skills along the way.
“It takes general engineering skills, but it’s also a lot of shop work. Things like coping tubes, welding and machine work with mills and lathes,” he said. “A lot of engineering students have never touched a machine. They’ll design a part that’s wonderful on paper but it can’t be made. Learning about these machines and what they can and can’t do is helpful with becoming a good engineer.”
One of those integral devices is a five-axis milling machine that a sponsor in Beckley is allowing the team to use. The machine lets the team create custom parts from scratch.
“People gain real skills working with that kind of equipment,” said Zac Lockhart, Baja team captain and a sophomore mechanical engineering major from New Martinsville, West Virginia.
“We spent more than $9,000 dollars last year just on machining, so being able to work with a sponsor in Beckley with that five-axis machine definitely helps our budget and gives us a chance to learn some of those new skills.”
The team started fabrication in December after months of concept work and design. Once the frame is constructed, it’s all hands on deck, putting together the vehicle as quickly as possible so the group can start testing and fine-tuning the build.
Thomas Hughes is the current president of the SAE student chapter. The senior mechanical engineering student wants to go into a career in racing and has a particular fascination with composites; lightweight materials that can significantly decrease the overall weight of the vehicle.
“We’re using fiber composites. The fiber is lightweight and it’s very strong. They give everyone the same 10-horsepower motor, so if it’s as light as it can be, you can go faster than everybody else. It sounds simple but it requires a lot of thought in the design process to make it happen,” he said.
The team skews younger this year, but that doesn’t mean they are waiting around for someone to show them what to do. Fu said she’s proud of how the group is banding together to address gaps in skill and teach one another new concepts.
“They are learning how to design and analyze vehicle components in Solidworks and many of the senior members are teaching necessary fabrication skills such as turning on lathes, milling and welding to junior members. As a result, I’m very pleased with what has happened so far,” she said.
“By coming together as a team, sharing their knowledge with each other, passing it onto new freshman team members, they are able to work together and move forward really well.”
The team will first race next month at the unsanctioned Winter Baja 2017 event in Houghton, Michigan. Last year, nearly 40 teams from throughout the country competed in the event. The group will race last year’s blue vehicle at Winter Baja in the hope of gaining some time behind the wheel.
That experience will come in handy this May as the team travels nearly 850 miles west to compete in Baja SAE Kansas. At the Kansas event, the new build and the team’s year-long effort will be put to the test.
As of this writing, the new frame is almost complete. The team has started working on the composite body and is creating a new hold model to fit the frame design. A few students are looking to implement a new sway in the suspension and the team is considering an overhauled transmission.
The group hopes to be tearing up dirt in the new build by the end of March.
On Monday, January 16, more than 40 WVU Tech students, staff and faculty gathered on the Beckley campus. After a brief meeting, the group received their assignments and broke off into teams, heading out into the Beckley area to spend their day off giving back to the community.
The group tackled five community projects in the region in honor of the national Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
“The MLK Day service projects are opportunities for students to interact with the Beckley community, build civic responsibility and do something for others,” said Candice Stadler, director of WVU Tech’s department of Career Services and Cooperative Education.
“Since a major component of Dr. King’s work was to alleviate poverty, we were very intentional in setting up the projects with organizations that work to alleviate poverty in southern West Virginia,” she said.
The Women’s Resource Center in Beckley is a non-profit that provides shelter, counseling, advocacy and other services for those impacted by domestic and sexual violence in Raleigh, Fayette, Summers and Nicholas counties. WVU Tech volunteers spent their time helping staff clean, organize and perform general maintenance work at the center, which is the largest of its kind in the state.
“Any time you can get college students invested in the community and lending their time and talents to someone less fortunate is a good thing,” said Dee Sizemore, who serves as the WRC’s public relations and volunteer coordinator. “Community service opens up opportunities and eyes for people. Until you put yourself out there, you don’t realize what kind of difference you can make in the world.”
Volunteers also worked for the WRC at a local antique shop, Tickety Boo Mercantile. The business provides storage space for items donated to the WRC and will serve as a storefront for clients transitioning out of the shelter. Volunteers there helped to sort and inventory donated items and set up the new space.
“It’s an empowering thing. With this new setup, clients in need get to go into the space and have choices as they select items that will help them get reestablished.”
Hannah Gibson, a junior biology major from Frazier’s Bottom, West Virginia, helped out at the shop. She said it was eye-opening to think about how something so simple as dishes or home décor items are taken for granted in everyday life.
“I think it makes you a well-rounded person to be in this environment to see what it’s like for other people in the world. I want to go into social work, even though I’m studying biology. This kind of atmosphere make me want to use my skills to help people,” she said.
Another Beckley-area organization, One Voice, maintains a community closet that provides essential items like clothing and blankets to people in need. The group also runs a backpack program called Food for Angels that sends non-perishable food home with low-income elementary school children from three of the region’s schools. Volunteers from WVU Tech helped to organize donated items for the community closet, packed snack boxes for the Food for Angels program and provided help with general maintenance and organization.
A group of volunteers also met at the Pine Haven Center emergency shelter to provide general help with maintenance, painting, cleaning and organizing. The center offers shelter and support services to the region’s homeless population.
The WVU Tech women’s soccer traveled south of Beckley to Mullens, West Virginia to lend a hand at the Itmann Food Bank. The team helped to organize and inventory donations for the bank, which services the Wyoming County region.
Tyler Graves, a health services administration major from southern Maryland, was part of the group.
“We’re very privileged with what we have, and it’s a humbling experience to see what other people go through and at the same time realize what you can do to help,” she said. “It shows us that there’s always something we can do. I think it’s also important to show how we can make a positive impact on the community as a school.”
Stadler agreed that the sense of community is an important part of the university’s transition to the Beckley area.
“It is important for WVU Tech to be involved in the greater Beckley community. This is our community. We contribute to its overall health and wellbeing, so what better way to begin being a part of Beckley than through service,” said Stadler.
WVU Tech has increased efforts to keep students engaged in the community, and the day’s projects were a component of that push. The projects also contributed to WVU’s Million Hour Match initiative.
written by Olivia Mantohbang, business management major and University Relations intern
On November 10th, 2016, The Charleston Light Opera Guild joined us at WVU Tech for a preview dinner theatre performance of their latest production, Jesus Christ Superstar.
The musical tells the story of the last seven days of Jesus Christ’s life using the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Christopher Conard, who started doing musicals when he was nine years old, played the prophet in the Guild production. “I want people to see that communities can come together and create something beautiful and fun. It is nice to come and be around people who love and share,” he said.
Sophomore forensic major Tyesha White stated, “It is important because it is another way for us to express ourselves. Due to classes and other responsibilities, we are restricted but they are no restrictions in art. You can dance, sing or paint and it’s a good expression. The show was good and very emotional. I had chills. I felt really connected with the performance. I am fortunate that I got to watch their performance.”
The musical was just one of the ways students are entertained on campus. Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli shared, “I think it is always great when we can bring cultural activities to the campus and have students enjoy something out of the norm. We want students to be interested in the cultural arts and make good use of performances around the area.”
To learn more about The Charleston Light Opera Guild, visit charlestonlightoperaguild.org.
On Thursday, November 17, WVU Tech students, faculty and staff met on the Beckley campus to celebrate the opening of the university’s Student Success Center.
Originally launched on the Montgomery campus in 2013, the SSC is a popular resource for students. The center offers a wide range of academic support services, including first-year advising and free on-site peer tutoring. The SSC also provides students computer access and a place to hold study or group project sessions.
The SSC has become an integral part of the WVU Tech experience for many students transitioning into college life. It’s also a powerful tool for keeping current students on the right track.
“We’ve seen a small, steady increase in retention since we started the program, and we think it’s due in large part to the kind of treatment we’re providing first-year and new students,” said WVU Tech Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli.
The SSC’s director Kelly Hudgins said that the center was serving students on the Beckley campus since before the semester started. Beckley students have been working with tutors in math, psychology and pre-nursing courses. SSC advisors worked with Beckley students at four registration events over the summer and connected with more than 100 students before the school year began.
“This fall, SSC staff have conducted 400 individual student meetings on the Beckley campus. We advise 178 students in Beckley, and are pleased to report that 77 percent of them are already registered for spring term classes,” she said.
As the university transitions to the campus full-time, Hudgins expects the SSC to see continued growth.
“In Montgomery, we have logged 12,000 student sign-ins during each academic year. We expect this trend to continue in Beckley,” she said.
“It was absolutely a natural fit that we replicate the program here in Beckley,” said Carpinelli. “I think we’ll see it continue to grow in the Learning Resource Center because this really serves as a central point of activity for the campus.”
WVU Tech Campus President Carolyn Long addressed attendees at the grand opening. She shared that the SSC’s mission is a part of the university’s overall push to help students realize their academic goals.
“This is one more step in making sure that our students are as successful as humanly possible. We tell students that they can be successful here, but that they have to work at it. We tell them that we will give 100 percent, but you’ve got to give 100 percent, too. This is part of making sure they meet those expectations and find success,” she said.
WVU Tech is pleased to share that Candice Stadler, director of WVU Tech’s office of Career Services and Cooperative Education, was awarded the Stella Cooksey Distinguished Service Award by the West Virginia Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
The award is given annually to a student affairs professional from WVASPA each year. Recipients are selected for their service to a West Virginia higher education institution, commitment to WVASPA and “contributions to the field of student personnel through teaching, administration, or research.”
Stadler served as a board member of the organization for four years and was a member of the conference steering committee. She served as WVASPA’s president in 2013 and as its historian the following year.
She said the work has been a rewarding experience because she believes in the organization and its mission.
“In this region, we don’t have a lot of resources to go to national conferences or to engage in that kind of professional development. WVASPA fills that void,” she said.
“It provides networking. We do an annual conference. It’s about getting these professionals connected to one another and to resources to help them in their careers.”
Stadler received the award during WVASPA’s fall conference earlier this month. She said she was surprised to have been selected for the honor.
“All of this is a team effort. Education is a team effort. Student affairs is a team effort. There is no one person that does it all,” she said. “I consider student affairs my life’s work, so this is very special to me. This is a tremendous honor from a tremendous organization. I’m very thankful and humbled by it.”
Immediate Past President of WVASPA, Dr. Sarah Beasley, said Stadler played an instrumental role in reviving the group, which had faced a few years of uncertainty.
“The WVASPA organization had once been a vibrant community of student affairs professionals but experienced several years of stagnation. As president, Candice inspired a small group of institutional representatives to revive WVASPA. Thanks to these individuals’ dedication and, in particular, Candice’s energetic, take-charge leadership, WVASPA has once again become a thriving organization,” she said.
Though Stadler has rotated off the group’s board to allow others the opportunity to serve, she said she plans to continue working with WVASPA and that she’s excited about the organization’s days ahead.
“I think WVASPA has a really bright outlook. It’s a very vibrant organization and it’s growing. I think there are a lot of good things in the organization’s future,” she said.
At WVU Tech, Stadler has overseen the successful expansion of the university’s career services and cooperative learning offerings. She has also been instrumental in organizing service learning volunteer opportunities for students and forging new partnerships with community organizations.