More than 60 students from seven high schools traveled to WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus on Thursday, November 19, to compete in the University’s 28th annual Math and Science Bowl.
Students competed in teams of five in the double-elimination tournament, where they worked together to answer timed questions from a broad mix of mathematics and science disciplines.
“The students who participate are usually among the brightest at their school,” said Dr. Susan Barton, a mathematics professor at WVU Tech. “This event allows them to challenge themselves in ways that are not available to them inside the classroom. To challenge themselves against different opponents. The Math and Science Bowl is a fun way for students to challenge themselves academically.”
Barton said that hosting the Bowl at WVU Tech is also a great way to connect the University to area students.
“It is a chance to introduce talented high school students to WVU Tech and some of its faculty. It is a chance for WVU Tech to show that it values academic achievement. The faculty at WVU Tech that participate get to see the talent that comes out of our local high schools,” she said.
Twelve teams from Bluefield, James Monroe, Liberty, PikeView, River View, Woodrow Wilson and Wyoming East high schools competed in the Bowl. River View’s #1 team captured first place, James Monroe second and Woodrow Wilson #1 took third.
The top-finishing teams received trophies and will advance to the Regional Science Bowl to be hosted in Morgantown, West Virginia in early February.
On Saturday, November 14, students from local high schools visited WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus to compete in the University’s High School Programming Competition.
Hosted by the WVU Tech Department of Computer Science and sponsored by the BrickStreet Foundation, the event drew seven teams from George Washington and South Charleston high schools 17 students in total to compete for cash prizes and WVU Tech scholarships.
The day-long competition saw teams write computer programs to tackle ten different problems, all of which tested the students’ programming, problem-solving, teamwork and critical thinking skills.
Dr. Matthew Williamson, professor of computer science and information systems at WVU Tech, organized the event. He said that with two or three programmers per team and a single computer between them, the competition is also an exercise in time and resource management.
“You may have one student writing up the code for one program, another student writing the algorithm for another and another student debugging code that isn’t working correctly. They need to play to their strengths to solve the problems as quickly as possible,” he said.
Leslie Pearcy and Matthew Sivaprakasam (George Washington High School) took first place in the competition. Michael Blessent, Alex Casto and Alex Sanchez (South Charleston High School) finished a close second, while Ryan Mears and Danya Shere (George Washington High School) placed third.
Each person on the first place team received a $300 cash prize and a $3,000 renewable scholarship to attend WVU Tech. The second place team was awarded $200 cash and a $2,000 scholarship, and members of the third place team received $100 cash and a $1,000 scholarship.
While prizes are an attractive benefit to student competitors, Williamson said that every student walks away having something to show for their work.
“Competitive programming exposes the students to different types of problems they may not see at the high school level. If you expose them to something new, they’re going to be interested in it,” he said. “I think the competition also builds that passion for programming. They’re studying how to write programs, and the competition provides another way to test that knowledge.”
“I spoke with one team that didn’t place in the competition. Despite the result, they said they had a lot of fun, and they’re eager to prepare for next year’s competition. That’s what we want to see. We want them to become even more interested in programming,” he said.
The competition has grown in popularity since its launch last year, and Williamson said that he hopes to increase the size of the competition to 10-20 teams. He also said he’s grateful for the work of the Computer Science Department and its students, the WVU Tech chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery and the Golden Bear E-Sports Club for their help with the event.
By Rubhi Garcia
Photography by Jolita Dural
On Wednesday, November 11, the WVU Tech Student Activities Board hosted sociology professor Dr. Janis Rezek for her lecture entitled, “Life is Either a Daring Adventure or Nothing at All” in the Tech Center Ballroom.
In her entry in the Last Lecture series which invites professors to present what they would share if it was their last chance to deliver a message to students Dr. Rezek shared her personal experiences with the audience with the intent of delivering a powerful message: that life is about creating opportunities and following the desired paths in life.
Dr. Rezek, an advocate for education, explained that she views education as the key to success. Continuing the topic of positivity and education, Dr. Rezek quoted one of her heroes, Nelson Mandela: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
She also encouraged attendees to surround themselves with a support group where positive advice and wisdom are being shared and where students can focus on the paths they want to follow in life.
Students shared that they found the lecture beneficial, particularly Dr. Rezek’s message that life is more entertaining and fulfilling if the paths taken create joy and students find enjoyment out of every aspect of it.
Overall, positivity was one of the main terms in the lecture, which taught students and other members in the audience that anything done with passion will be more effective and rewarding.
More than 550 students from 13 West Virginia middle and high schools visited WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus for the annual Engineering and Sciences Open House on Tuesday, November 10.
Despite the weather, WVU Tech’s engineering facilities were buzzing with activity as attendees moved from one presentation station to the next, working with WVU Tech students to learn about everything from biology and chemistry to engineering and computer science.
Students drove remote controlled vehicles, caught t-shirts fired from a canon, operated a massive steam-powered train whistle, watched the SAE Baja Buggy race around campus and learned about concepts such as electromagnetism, programming, robotics and chemical distillation.
Josh Watson, a teacher at Guyan Valley Middle School in Lincoln County, attended the open house with a group of more than 80 students. He said the event was an opportunity for students to explore fields they may never have considered before.
“We’ve been trying to get our students more involved in STEM education and show them that going into these fields is not just about burying yourself in textbooks or sitting through lectures all day. They’re seeing that there’s more to it than that. They’re seeing that students who were just like them a few years ago are doing some very exciting things in their studies,” he said.
The open house was also a chance for students who have already chosen a STEM field to see what opportunities college holds for them.
Jonathan Blalack, 17, travelled from Jefferson County to attend the open house. He said he’s interested in studying engineering in college and thought the event would be a great way to get a glimpse of college life.
“It’s interesting to see what the mechanical and electrical engineering students have been working on. I’m glad we came. We’ve seen a lot of experiments and demonstrations, and the labs here are really impressive,” he said.
Check out photos from the open house on Flickr.
WVU Tech alumni visited the University’s Montgomery campus on Thursday, November 5 to conduct mock interviews with a group of students gearing up for their job searches.
During the session, students met with alumni from both the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and the WVU Tech College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences to interview for hypothetical positions, go over their resumes and receive advice on how to improve their standing in a real interview setting.
Dr. Kimberlyn Gray, assistant professor of chemical engineering, organized the event. She said that the interviews were the result of a drive among WVU Tech’s faculty and staff to help students develop the soft interview skills they’ll need to put their degrees to work.
“We found that our students have a fantastic grasp on the subject matter they’re studying and a balanced background of coursework and practical experience that makes them stand out on paper,” she said. “We can talk about our capable students all day, but in an interview, it’s up to them to sell that experience and education, so we’re giving students advice on how to approach interviews and a chance to connect with alumni who have been where they are now.”
Wesley Cunningham, a junior chemical engineering major, said he’s already engaged in the interview process and that his participation in the mock interview session was welcome practice.
“They gave me examples of the kinds of questions that might be asked and the topics that come up in face-to-face and telephone interviews the kinds of skills you need to be confident when you’re talking about yourself and what you do,” he said. “Just being able to sit and talk to someone has been very helpful.”
Beyond mock interview sessions, WVU Tech faculty and staff organize a number of career-focused events throughout the year to help students and alumni plan their next steps, including regular career fairs, graduate program information sessions and on-campus professional development seminars.
On Saturday, November 7, the Golden Bear E-Sports Club (GBE) will participate in a 24-hour livestream gaming event designed to raise money in support of the WVU Medicine Children’s, the University’s children’s hospital. The event is part of Saturday’s Extra Life Con 2015.
The livestream will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and play will go on until 9 a.m. Sunday morning. Those who wish to watch the livestream or make donations can do so through the Extra Life website.
Dakota Knotts, a WVU Tech information systems major and secretary for GBE, said that the event aligns with the club’s mission to bring gamers together under a common goal.
“I believe that getting involved in this event was a great opportunity for us to support those who need it. There are many people who have supported us and now it is our time to show support and give back in any way we can. This event has done a great job of bringing the club together. Every member has shown so much initiative and determination to do the best they can,” he said.
Dr. Matthew Williamson, WVU Tech professor of computer science and information systems and faculty advisor to GBE, said the club which has only been in operation for two semesters is heading in the right direction.
“They already have teams set up. Some of our teams are either participating in collegiate events, have participated or will be participating,” he said. “The group has also been running tournaments in partnership with some of the campus organizations, such as ACM, American Institute of Chemical Engineers and Sigma Pi.”
Williamson said the group is particularly keen to ply their skills in fundraising efforts, like last semester’s TechLan event with the Association for Computing Machinery, which raised more than $1,200 for the American Breast Cancer Foundation.
“Participating in fundraising events, such as Extra Life, shows that GBE is not just about playing games or competing in tournaments. This is about being part of something that can make a huge impact on children’s lives. When GBE was asked to be part of Extra Life, they said “Yes” without hesitating; not because this was another event that they could host, but because it’s an opportunity to help save lives,” he said.
“We just need everyone to spread the word,” said Williamson. “Tell your friends, tell your neighbors, tell your Facebook friends. I’d love to see this group say they were able to raise an enormous amount of money for such a great cause.”
WVU Tech’s 2015 Homecoming theme was “Around the World,” but could just as easily have been “Togetherness” as students and alumni gathered in Montgomery to celebrate their common ties to the University.
Students participated in a variety of themed activities throughout the week, including spirit week, campus cup, late night movies and an International Student Organization luncheon where they experienced food from throughout the world.
Kylie Lang, a sports management major and runner for WVU Tech’s cross country and track and field teams, spent the week photographing events for the Tech Media Crew. She said the student body, which represents more than 20 countries and 30 states, was eager to celebrate the close-knit community at Tech.
“Students are really spirited here and they’ve been having a lot of fun this whole week,” she said. “We all come from different places and we’re into different things. These events bring us all together to celebrate our school and the way we feel about it.”
Sophomore chemical engineering major and WVU Tech wrestler Tristan Bean agreed.
“We’ve had a lot of fun this week with the activities, with people wearing pajamas and Halloween costumes on campus and that sort of thing. The activities are fun, but it’s more than that, too,” he said. “Homecoming is about gathering the whole student body and the community and building relationships on the idea that we’re all part of the same thing.”
On Friday evening, alumni gathered in the WVU Tech Center for a reception and dinner honoring this year’s WVU Tech Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, Jim Longest, ‘91, Rodney Mayes, ‘05, and Kelly Weikle, ‘04.
On Saturday morning, the volleyball team kicked off the day with an early morning Color Fun Walk/Run to raise money for the CAMC Cancer Center. Donations and race fees will be used for women in need of breast cancer screenings.
“It was a great run. It’s early and a little cold, but we’re here doing a good thing with our friends and having fun. The volleyball team is doing a great thing by showing their support and we wanted to participate and show our appreciation for what they’re doing,” said Pieter Lubini, a former Civil Engineering student at WVU Tech who participated in the run.
Saturday’s activities also included a town parade, an outdoor tailgate and an alumni association meeting where alumni planned activities for the coming year and elected alumnus Hank Wright, ‘68, to the position of association president.
Men’s and women’s basketball opened their seasons during Homecoming weekend. The women’s team trumped Northwestern 75-49 and the men were edged out by West Virginia State at 85-82. During the games, WVU Tech senior History and Government student and U.S. Navy veteran William Hughes presented campus president Carolyn Long with a coin to commemorate the University’s dedication to the 5 Star Challenge, Students Raul Torres and Ashley Burns were crowned Mr. and Mrs. Golden Bear. The day also saw graduates face off in an alumni basketball game.
Alumnus Robin Davis, who graduated in 2013 with a degree in mechanical engineering technology, attended the day’s festivities. He recently joined the board of the Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association and traveled to Montgomery from his current home in Kentucky to participate in Homecoming.
“It’s good to come back and get that feeling of nostalgia, see how Tech is doing and reconnect with the family that you make at Tech when you’re here. We’ve done so much catching up that we haven’t been able to get to everything on the schedule, and it’s been a lot of fun remembering the people, the personalities, the way you’re treated and the way you feel here. It’s the people that make Tech, and it always will be the people that make Tech,” he said.
Visit WVU Tech on Flickr to see photos from the week’s activities.
Photography by Adam Cunningham, WVU Physicians of Charleston
West Virginia University had a strong presence at Charleston Area Medical Center’s Teddy Bear Fair last Saturday with representatives from WVU, WVU Tech and WVU Physicians of Charleston providing fun and educational displays for attendees.
Each year, more than 1,000 people attend the fair to engage with a variety of educational displays, play games and win prizes. Children who visit are given a teddy bear to take from station to station to learn about many health and hospital-related topics.
Dr. Evelyn Klocke, Chair of WVU Nursing at WVU Tech, has been involved with this event over the years, first as a CAMC employee and now as a faculty member at Tech. Klocke shared that the event provides the additional benefit of allowing children and their families to experience the hospital in a non-threatening, comfortable way.
“Connecting with the community in this fun way allows us to educate families about healthy lifestyle habits while helping children feel comfortable around health care professionals, so that when they do need support or treatment, they won’t be afraid,” she said.
This week, WVU Tech student organizations and student-athletes are teaming up to raise funds for the CAMC Cancer Center in Charleston to support women who cannot afford breast cancer screenings.
The newly established Black Student Union and WVU Tech’s Sports Studies Club are hosting a Pink Out Volleyball Night on Tuesday, October 27 at 7 p.m. The Golden Bears will face off against Emory and Henry College, where players on both teams will be wearing pink in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Attendees are also encouraged to wear pink, and the groups will be selling t-shirts for $15 and long sleeve shirts for $20 in advance of the event starting Monday, October 26 in the Engineering building and at other spots around campus. Supporters may also purchase shirts at the game in addition to $1 pink ribbons to wear at the event. Proceeds from shirt and ribbon sales will be given to the cancer center.
“We put our minds together and created this event with the hopes of getting both of our names out there and for students to see what both organizations are about and what we do here on campus,” said Janay Wright-Parks, a WVU Tech Health Services Administration major and President of the Black Student Union. “This is just a fun event for people to support one of our sports teams here on campus and to help save lives with early detection for breast cancer.”
The WVU Tech volleyball team is also hosting a Color Fun Walk/Run on Saturday, October 31 during Homecoming weekend. Check-in begins at 7:45 a.m. and the walk/run starts at 9 a.m.
Participants in the walk/run will cover a two-mile route that starts in the parking lot behind Martin Field and ends at the grassy area between Maclin and Ratliff residence halls. The participants clad in white will move through color stations where they’ll have colored powder tossed at them.
Participants can sign up by contacting Chelsea Dean or Keyonna Marrow. Early registration costs $5 and the fee to enter the walk/run on the day of the event is $7. Registration fees and donations from this event will also go to the cancer center to help fund breast cancer screenings.
“We chose CAMC Cancer Center because there are many out there who cannot afford early screening, who, with this donation, will be able to walk in and work with doctors and nurses to ensure that they can receive the medical assistance they need to continue leading a healthy lifestyle,” said forensic science major and volleyball player Chelsea Dean, who organized the run.
Dean stressed that all participants should wear white and that the walk/run is open to anyone.
“Remember that this is not just a run. It is a fun walk/run. We are supporting a great cause that will benefit a lot of people. There will also be baked goods at the finish line, so after some exercise, you can reward yourself with a little treat,” she said.
If you cannot participate in the run, but would like to donate to the cause, you can do so through the event’s GoFundMe fundraiser.
After the success of last year’s event, the Tech Madness winter sports kickoff will return on Thursday, October 22 at 7 p.m. in the Baisi gym.
The WVU Tech Sports Studies Club event will mark the opening of the winter sports season, recognize student-athletes and celebrate the 2014-2015 record-smashing athletic season.
Last year, the Golden Bears posted the most successful across-the-board athletic season in the University’s history (read more about the record-setting year in the latest issue of Bear Tracks). Tech Madness will recognize the teams, coaches and standout All-American players who made the season a success.
The club will also recognize senior student-athletes and announce the winner of the coveted WVU Tech Coach of the Year Award.
The event will feature a men’s basketball dunk contest with celebrity judges and attendees will be able to participate in a 3-point contest, half court shootout, WVU Tech athletics trivia and a relay race for prizes.
Tech Madness is free and open to the public.