19 May
IMG_5097xx WVU Tech’s Dr. Hasan El-Rifai holds a ball of flame during a chemistry presentation for visiting Tolsia High School students.

Thirteen juniors and seniors from Tolsia High School in Wayne County, West Virginia, visited WVU Tech May 14-15 for two days of classroom, laboratory and field demonstrations.

The students – pupils of Tolsia’s AP biology and genetics courses – participated in biology, mathematics, ecology, chemistry, computer science and robotics activities while on campus.

Roger Spry, an AP biology and AP physics teacher at Tolsia, said the event is a way to give these bright students both exposure to high-tech laboratory equipment and a chance to work in the field.

“We’re working on upgrading our own equipment, but we currently don’t have access to the types of lab equipment available at WVU Tech,” he said. “Our students are doing new things in these labs, like staining bacteria and using powerful microscopes to examine their sizes and shapes.”

IMG_5009 Tolsia High students wrap up a biology course in WVU Tech’s Orndorff Hall

“We’re also visiting an acid mine drainage site to look at the ecology of the stream and how they’re trying to reclaim that area. An outdoor field environment where students can work with the actual insects they’re studying and where they can see how tools are used in the field is an awesome experience for them, and there are a lot of real-world applications to what they’re doing here,” he said.

For visiting AP biology student Annalyse Mann, the experience was also a glimpse into the future.

“I’ve always liked science since I was young, so it’s nice to be able to have this kind of experience. Just being able to experience college classrooms and labs is great. A lot of the students plan to study biology in college and they get a chance to work in a setting they will be seeing in the future,” she said.

Spry said that the two-day visit is an extension of the longstanding partnership between Tolsia and WVU Tech’s Dr. Kimberlyn Gray, who organizes the annual event.

“I can’t express how thankful we are for the partnership with WVU Tech and Dr. Gray, who is great about working with our students throughout the year,” he said.

View photos from the visit on Flickr.

11 May
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WVU Tech’s 116th Commencement Ceremony honored nearly 200 graduates on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at the Baisi Athletic Center in Montgomery.

Local media covered the event, including the following from WSAZ:

MONTGOMERY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – Nearly 200 students at WVU Tech turned their tassels Saturday during the school’s 116th commencement ceremony.

One of the speakers at the graduation was U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin.

“To anyone who says that America in a nation in decline and our young people are soft and uncompetitive, I would say this – come to WVU Tech and I’ll introduce you to a 190-plus graduates who I guarantee will change your mind,” said Goodwin in his address.

Campus President Carolyn Long also spoke, advising students to take what they’ve learned during their years at WVU Tech, and use it to make positive changes.

“Some of you may wander the planet in search of your passion while others will find it right here at home,” Long said. “Wherever you land and wherever you go in the months and years ahead, know that you have everything you need to make a better life for you and the ones you love.”

“WVU Tech has prepared us with the knowledge to go out and face the world – to not just challenge it, but to improve it,” said Amy Haddix, graduate and President of the WVU Tech Student Government Association.

Read more coverage of the ceremony from WOAY and WCHS.

During the weekend, local media outlets also covered the story of WVU Tech graduate Jermaine Gadson, who overcame a devastating coma in 1998 and completed his degree after 16 years.

From The Charleston Gazette:

On Dec. 14, 1998, doctors told Johnnie Gadson to come to Cabell Huntington Hospital, and to come quickly. Gadson’s son, Jermaine, a freshman at Marshall University, was in a coma and was not expected to wake up.

On Saturday, Jermaine Gadson graduated from the West Virginia University Institute of Technology, in Montgomery.

“I don’t think I’m the oldest graduate in this walking class, but I’m up there,” Jermaine, now 35, said.
He can’t remember how he ended up in the hospital. He had been at a party drinking when something happened.

Johnnie said campus police never did determine exactly what happened to his son. About all he knows is that Jermaine ended up in the hospital, where his condition kept getting worse.

Doctors said Jermaine was brain-dead, and would probably never recover.

“They wanted to know if I’d donate his organs,” Johnnie recalled.

About all family members could do was pray. Johnnie prayed a lot. Then, 28 days later, Jermaine Gadson came out of his coma.

Within a week, he drove himself to a basketball game.

“His short-term memory wasn’t that good, but everything else was fine,” Johnnie said. “Even the doctor admitted they had no medical reason for his recovery.

“I believe God can reverse any situation.”

Jermaine tried to go back to college in 1999, but the effort proved too much for him. He just couldn’t remember things.

But he stuck to it. He worked for a while, tried school again, then went to work again.

He had to relearn how to learn. But he refused to give up.

“I knew I’d be able to graduate,” he said. “It wasn’t something I was going to be denied.”

Jermaine Gadson now has a degree in sports management.

“Never give up hope,” he said. “Never give up faith. That’s what got me through it.”

Read more about Jermaine at The Herald-Dispatch, The Exponent Telegram and Daily Journal.

To see photos from WVU Tech’s commencement weekend, visit the WVU Teck Flickr page.

Graduates who want to order portraits taken during the commencement ceremony can do so at Grad Images.

7 May
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On Tuesday, May 5, a group of more than 15 students, faculty and staff represented WVU Tech at the Junior League of Charleston’s Women on the Move event at the Women’s Club of Charleston.

The networking event featured a panel of female professionals from STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) fields to discuss the important role of women in these growing industries.

WVU Tech Campus President Carolyn Long served on the panel alongside Kathy D’Antoni, Assistant Superintendent of Schools, West Virginia Department of Education, Division of Technical and Adult Education Services; Betty King, Vice President of Operations and Education, West Virginia Symphony Orchestra; Sherry Cole, Electrical & Instrumentation Engineering Team Leader, DuPont, and Dr. Christen Simpson Raynes, Dentist, Simpson Dental.

Optimized-2W1A0444 WVU Tech students and faculty attend the second annual Women on the Move event.

During the panel, attendees learned about advances in STEAM education, the power of mentorships and the importance of integrating educational subjects so that students might better understand the connections between them.

“STEAM is important because it helps students learn how to think. It’s more than just knowing the right answer, it’s about knowing how to learn and find the answer,” said President Long.

Panelists also provided words of encouragement to students studying STEAM disciplines.

Sherry Cole, Electrical & Instrumentation Engineering Team Leader at DuPont, said that women in STEAM fields should not be afraid to go after the career of their dreams.

“Don’t give up. If there’s something you want to do, do it,” she said.

“Make sure you love what you do, else you will just walk through life – and you want to be able to fly,” added President Long.

View photos from the event on Flickr.

6 May

R. Booth Goodwin II, United States Attorney for the Southern District of West Virginia, will address the graduating class of 2015 on Saturday, May 9 during the 116th annual West Virginia University Institute of Technology commencement ceremony.

“We’re very pleased to have Booth Goodwin as our guest for this year’s commencement ceremony,” said WVU Tech Campus President Carolyn Long.

“We work very hard to instill in all of our students a commitment to lifelong learning and a sense of community before they head out into the working world. Booth is a fantastic example of those principles in action and our graduates are fortunate to be able to hear from him.”

Goodwin will join President Long in sending off nearly 200 graduates from engineering, business, humanities and social science programs.

Commencement is set for 10 a.m. in the gymnasium of the Neal D. Baisi Athletic Center, followed immediately by a reception in the Tech Center Ballroom.

The ceremony will also announce the recipients of WVU Tech’s prestigious Presidential Leadership and First-Year Student Excellence awards, and the university will honor Golden Alumni from the graduating class of 1965.

For more information and to view a live stream of the event, visit commencement.wvutech.edu.

5 May

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 were up to this month and what they’ll be getting into over the summer:

Dr. John Neary (Biology) collaborated on an article in Infection and Immunity entitled “Role of the Carboxy Terminus of SecA in Iron Acquisition, Protein Translocation, and Virulence of the Bacterial Pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii.”

Dr. Horng-Jyh “Tigra’ Yang’s (Civil Engineering) paper “Online Resources Utilization in Geotechnical Engineering Laboratory for Undergraduate Civil Engineering Students” was accepted in the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference. Dr. Yang was also invited for a section presentation on April 18.

Dr. Z. Torbica, Dean of Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences, has been invited to be one of the Keynote Speakers at the 8th International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century (CITC-8), to be held in Thessaloniki, Greece from May 27-30, 2015.

Dr. Mark Wilson (Economics) has been chosen as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar for 2015. He will participate in a month-long Institute at Michigan State University entitled “Development Ethics and Global Justice: Gender, Environment and Economics.”

Dr. Wilson also had his review of Benn Steil’s “The Battle of Bretton Woods” published in the Journal of Economic Issues.

Dr. Deb Beutler (Biology) gave a presentation, “The Effects on Macroinvertebrates of using Limestone Fines to treat AMD in Morris Creek, WV,” at the West Virginia Academy of Sciences at West Liberty University. She also served as the moderator for a session of presentations on stream ecology and as a judge for undergraduate presentations.

Dr. Yogendra Panta (Mechanical Engineering) is now serving as a campus representative for the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA), of which Dr. Panta helped WVU Tech become an official member. WVU Tech’s membership will open opportunities for faculty and students to do collaborative work with NFPA, NFPA members and industrial partners in industry-driven fluid power-related research projects.

Dr. Panta, along with Dr. Ganesh Kudav of Youngstown State University in Ohio, was issued a U.S. patent for “Solar Panel Wind Deflector,” a unique finned aerodynamic wind deflector designed to reduce wind uplift and drag forces on pitched and horizontally mounted solar panels.

Dr. Melissa Sartore (History) will present her lecture “Outlaws in West Virginia: War, Whiskey and Wonder – and not a Robin Hood in Sight” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, May 5 at the West Virginia Culture Center.

Dr. Rachel Bragg (English) presented her paper “Invention Just Got Inked: Tattooing a New Understanding of Rhetorical Theory” at the Southwest Pop Culture Association Conference on February 13 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Dr. Houbing Song (Electrical and Computer Engineering) participated in the 2015 National Science Foundation Early-Career Investigators’ Workshop on Cyber-Physical Systems in Smart Cities during CPS Week, which was held in Seattle, WA, April 13-17, 2015.

Dr. Song’s recent research on cyber-physical systems was published in the May 2015 issue of IEEE Communications Magazine.

Dr. Andrea Kent (Political Science) was selected to attend FACDIS Scholar-Diplomat program in Washington, D.C. April 8-10 at an event entitled The Pacific Pivot: Overdue Recalibration or Utter Illusion? Dr. Kent also presented a paper on her research at the annual meeting of Midwest Political Science Association in Chicago, Illinois April 16. Read more here.

Dr. Farshid Zabihian (Mechanical Engineering) and three students from the Mechanical Engineering department presented three papers at the 2015 ASEE North Central Section Conference, April 17-18, 2015, in Cincinnati, Ohio. Read more here.

Dr. Kenan Hatipoglu (Electrical and Computer Engineering) attended the NSF/NAE – sponsored workshop on Reforming Electric Energy Systems Curriculum at the National Academy of Sciences Building in Washington, D.C.

In mid-April, Dr. Hatipoglu presented two papers and chaired one technical presentation section at the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference at Cincinnati, Ohio.

29 Apr
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The WVU Tech Student Government Association hosted its last meeting of the 2014-2015 academic year on Tuesday, April 28 to wrap up the year’s business and thank the 2014-2015 officers for their work.

“We’re proud to mark another successful year of fulfilling our commitment to student leadership opportunities and engaging student activities, and are grateful for the work of student leaders in SGA and other campus student organizations,” said Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli.

The meeting also saw the swearing in of new officers to serve in the 2015-2016 academic year, including Rob Leibel as President, Janet Cunningham as Vice President, and Tavon Johnson, Christian Strickler, Gaetan Tchewa, Shella (Gabbi) Kelley, Hannah Gibson, Lesli Taylor, Stephanie Seewer, Jacob Lovejoy and Barbara Smith as senators.

Afterward, the dean and the SGA recognized students and WVU Tech employees for their work with the SGA and the student body.

“The outstanding students, faculty and staff honored at the leadership recognition ceremony were selected for their leadership, dedication to student life and their unwavering pride in what it means to be a member of the WVU Tech community,” he said.

The following students, faculty and staff were recognized during the ceremony:

DEAN OF STUDENTS OUTSTANDING STUDENT LEADER AWARD
Brittany Doran
Amy Haddix
Rob Leibel
Lindsay McDowall

DEAN OF STUDENTS OUTSTANDING STUDENT ORGANIZATION AWARD
Student Government Association
Student Activities Board

STUDENT GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION AWARDS
Deb Beutler – Outstanding Student Organization Advisor
Karen Skaggs – Outstanding Golden Bear

WVU Tech would like to congratulate the SGA’s new officers and all those honored at Tuesday’s meeting.

Visit WVU Tech on Flickr to see photos from the final meeting.

27 Apr

Throughout the month of April, students and faculty travelled the country to represent WVU Tech at conferences where they shared their work, entered student competitions and discussed political and educational issues.

The WVU Tech Chapter of the ASCE visited Lexington, Virginia, for the 2015 Virginias Conference while chemical engineering student Amy Haddix traveled to Arlington for an ASEE Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering workshop.

On April 10-12, a group of eight students travelled to Columbus, Ohio, for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Region 2 Student Activities Conference at The Ohio State University.

IEEE 2015 WVU Tech’s Kayla Hoff (left) and Jenn Lyons (second from left) join their teammates to claim first place in the IEEE Region 2 SAC Conference Ethics Competition.

At the conference, WVU Tech’s Ethics team, which included electrical engineering majors Jenn Lyons and Kayla Hoff, faced off against multi-school teams to take home the first place title.

“I always encourage my students to participate in conferences and competitions that can broaden their vision about life and the field they are studying by meeting with new people, visiting new campuses and cities, and being exposed to new ideas and challenges,” said Dr. Kenan Hatipoglu, assistant professor in the WVU Tech Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and advisor to the IEEE WVU Tech student chapter.

Also in April, Dr. Andrea Kent, assistant professor of political science in the Department of Social Sciences, travelled to Washington, D.C. for the West Virginia Faculty and Course Development in International Studies (FACDIS) Scholar-Diplomat Program.

Dr. Kent joined six other faculty members from across West Virginia to meet with 10 scholars and political officials from around the world to discuss the implications of the United States’ deepening economic, military and diplomatic ties to the Pacific Rim region of Asia.

The following week, Dr. Kent attended the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago on April 16-19, where she presented a research paper and served on a panel discussing political mobilization and support for democracy.

Three hundred miles southeast of Chicago, a group of eight WVU Tech students and faculty gathered at the University of Cincinnati on April 17-18 for the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference. There, the group presented a total of ten research papers authored by more than 15 students and faculty members.

ASEE 2015 From left to right: Joel Kouakou, Aaron Paynter, Dr. Farshid Zabihian, Dr. Kenan Hatipoglu, Dr. Tigra Yang, Sebastian Cousin, Dr. Yogendra Panta and Raul Torres attend the 2015 American Society for Engineering Education North Central Section Conference.

“These events are the perfect opportunity to present student and faculty work. For some of these students, this is their third or fourth conference and I can see how they have developed as they continue to present. They’re much more self-confident. This reflects in their employability and it’s good practice for them as they learn to communicate effectively,” said Dr. Farshid Zabihian, assistant professor in the WVU Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Students Joel Kouakou, Raul Torres, Sebastian Cousin, and Aaron Paynter attended the conference with faculty members Dr. Yogendra Panta, Dr. Kenan Hatipoglu, Dr. Farshid Zabihian and Dr. Tigra Yang.

23 Apr
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WVU Tech’s Amy Haddix is no stranger to advancing the field of engineering.

The chemical engineering major from Elkins, West Virginia, has served as president of WVU Tech’s Student Government Association for the past two years. She also serves as secretary of both the WVU Tech chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, Or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME) – promoting engineering education is just a part of who she is.

This month, her passion for the field and leadership experience allowed her to represent WVU Tech at the American Society for Engineering Education’s “Insights from Tomorrow’s Engineers” workshop in Arlington, Virginia.

Haddix was one of more than 40 engineering students from schools throughout the nation to attend the event.

“Only a small percentage of engineering schools in the country were present at this conference. Being able to say that WVU Tech was represented brings a chance for others to hear about the school and all it can do” said Haddix.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and ASEE, the event was the second phase of the “Transforming Undergraduate Education in Engineering” initiative, which is designed to determine the types of qualities engineering graduates should possess in the modern engineering environment.

The ultimate goal of TUEE is to create recommendations that colleges and universities can follow to instill these qualities in their engineering students.

The multi-year series of meetings completed its first phase in 2013, where students defined 36 Knowledge, Skill and Ability traits (dubbed KSAs) that would prepare future engineers to address modern engineering challenges.

“These were things such as good communication skills, self-drive and motivation, and the ability to identify, simulate, and solve engineering problems,” said Haddix.

During the phase 2 workshop, Haddix said students worked in teams to discuss the importance of these KSAs within the engineering profession and determine how each KSA was being promoted in the more than 70 colleges and universities represented.

For Haddix, the workshop was an opportunity to exchange ideas with students from colleges and universities of all sizes; ideas that she could bring back to WVU Tech.

“Every school operates differently. However, we can still experience some of the same problems and want the same solutions,” she said. “The big thing that I took away is a national need for practical application in hard science and math classes and projects in classes that apply classroom principles at an earlier level.”

She said she’s in the process of sharing what she learned, and that WVU Tech is producing graduates who can work effectively and confidently in the engineering industry.

An example of this herself, Haddix will graduate in May and has already committed to a production engineer position with the Dow Chemical Company in South Charleston, West Virginia.

23 Apr
STEM Awards 2015

On Tuesday, April 21, more than 150 students, staff, faculty and family members gathered in the WVU Tech Ballroom for the 18th annual STEM Awards Banquet.

At this year’s event, more than 40 students were recognized for their academic work as well as their involvement in student organizations.

“This is a group of students who are very bright and very committed to their academic pursuits, the research they undertake and the student organizations they devote their time to,” said Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

“They have consistently exceeded expectations throughout the year and we honor them for both their work and for the way their efforts help to define the unique culture of the engineering and science programs at WVU Tech.”

The ceremony also recognized new inductees and current members of the WVU Tech chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society.

Check out photos from the event on Flickr, and be sure to congratulate this year’s STEM Awards recipients:

BIOLOGY
John Swain – Biology Research Award
Neal Allen Edwards – Senior Academic Excellence Award
Ashley Watson – Excellence in Service Award
Erin Light – First Year Academic Excellence Award

CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
Angel Thompson – AIChE Leadership Award for outstanding service to the student chapter
James Ingles – Outstanding Senior Award for having the best academic record in his graduating class

CHEMISTRY
John Swain – Outstanding Research Achievement Award
Andrew Lester – Outstanding Research Achievement Award
Kalen Bentley – Outstanding Research Achievement Award
James Ingles – Outstanding Research Achievement Award

CIVIL ENGINEERING
Kyle Diem – Outstanding Civil Engineering Senior Award
James Ramsey – Outstanding Civil Engineering Junior Award
Taofik Mudasiru – Outstanding Civil Engineering Sophomore Award
Zachary Carnahan – Bryan Bills Award

COMPUTER SCIENCE & INFORMATION SYSTEMS
Adam Cantrell – Outstanding Information Systems Student Award
Chedli Ben Hassine – Outstanding Information Systems Student Award
Benjamin Culkin – Outstanding Computer Science Student Award
Caleb Dingus – Outstanding Computer Science Student Award
Jeremy Ruth – Outstanding Computer Science Student Award
Joshua Keiffer – Outstanding Computer Science Student Award
Kiarash Tirandazi – Outstanding Computer Science Student Award

ELECTRICAL AND COMPUTER ENGINEERING
Karen Pratt – Outstanding Service Award
Matthew Cook – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student Award
Joseph Ferguson – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student Award
William Higginbotham – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student Award
Brandon Cole – Outstanding Computer Engineering Student Award
Dustin Sauriol – Outstanding Computer Engineering Student Award
Kiarash Tirandazi – Outstanding Computer Engineering Student Award

ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY
Amber Wall – For Contributions to the Engineering Technology Department
Michael Mullins – For Dedication and Academic Accomplishments
Thurman Honaker – For Dedication and Academic Accomplishments
Daniel Hull – For Contributions to the Engineering Technology Department

MATHEMATICS
Charles Westfall – Outstanding Freshman Award in Mathematics
Branden Frazier – Outstanding Senior Award in Mathematics
Dustin Sauriol – Outstanding Senior Award in Mathematics
Kyle Diem – Outstanding Senior Award in Mathematics

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING
Gregory Anderson – Outstanding Academic Achievement & Contribution to Baja Buggy Project
Zachary Dixon – Outstanding Academic Achievement
Tavon Johnson – Leadership in Organizing LCNCES Engineering Design Exposition and Technical Conference
Raul Torres – Outstanding Academic Achievement and Leadership in Organizing LCNCES Engineering Design Exposition and Technical Conference

20 Apr

On Thursday, April 23, more than 20 teams of WVU Tech engineering students will showcase a variety of design projects during the first WVU Tech College of Engineering Design Exposition . The event will be hosted in the WVU Tech Ballroom beginning at 1 p.m.

The expo will feature class and senior capstone projects – some of them more than a year in the making – from mechanical, chemical, electrical and civil engineering students. Attendees will be able to visit poster displays and discuss project plans, models or prototypes with exhibitors.

Dr. Farshid Zabihian, the expo’s organizer and assistant professor in the WVU Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering, said that the goal of the exposition is to recognize students for the time and work they put into these important projects that often serve as the culmination of an engineering student’s undergraduate career.

“Many of our students are doing very good work that goes well beyond expectations for a student capstone project. Outside of the classroom, many of these projects are unnoticed,” he said.

“Another part of this is generational. Freshmen, sophomore and junior students have an opportunity to visit this expo to see what others are doing, hopefully get inspired, make more informed decisions and prepare themselves for the topics they find interesting,” he said.

Dr. Zabihian said that he hopes to continue the expo on an annual basis and incorporate more elements, such as high school visits and award categories, into future expositions.

The exposition is hosted by the WVU Tech Department of Mechanical Engineering and coordinated by students Raul Torres and Tavon Johnson.

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