20 Oct

“What we want to do is train you to be investigators, and a good investigator is nothing more than an effective critical thinker. Someone who can solve problems.” – professor Andrew Wheeler addresses students from Independence High School.

On Wednesday, October 20, a group of nearly 60 students from Independence High School visited WVU Tech’s Beckley campus to tour the school and explore the Forensic Investigation program. The students also visited the university’s crime scene house where they examined a mock crime scene, learned about bloodstain pattern analysis and explored the science behind fingerprint and footprint investigation.

Check out local media coverage of the visit from The Register Herald and WVNS.

20 Oct

West Virginia University and WVU Tech have announced the schedule for two days of family-friendly activities for Gold & Blue Weekend on October 28 and 29, 2016. All events are free except for the men’s exhibition basketball game.

NOTE: The schedule has changed since the previous announcement. For full event details and schedule, visit goldandblueweekend.wvutech.edu.

18 Oct

Registration for spring and summer 2017 semesters is open. This is the first time students have been able to register for both upcoming semesters in the fall, so plan ahead and get the courses you need.

Visit with your advisor to ensure you’re planning your schedule in the best way possible, then access STAR through the portal (portal.wvu.edu) to get registered.

If you need help registering, visit the registrar’s website for instructions or call 304.442.3151.

10 Oct

WVU Tech Facultivities: October 2016 Edition

Zachary | October 10th, 2016

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. Fahad Gill (Economics) published “Earnings disadvantage of immigrants: are we comparing apples to apples?” in Migration Letters.

Dr. Houbing Song (Electrical and Computer Engineering) gave an invited talk on September 30 to graduate students in the Department of Computer Science at the George Washington University (GWU). He collaborated on and published four peer-reviewed journal papers in IEEE Internet of Things Journal, Computers & Electrical Engineering and KSII Transactions on Internet and Information Systems. He also published a textbook entitled “Cyber-Physical Systems: Foundations, Principles and Applications.” In December, Dr. Song will serve as the technical program committee chair of the fifth IEEE CCSNA workshop in Washington D.C.

Dr. Mark Wilson (Economics) presented a paper, “West Virginia’s Nobel Laureates: Pearl Buck and John Nash,” at the Pearl Buck Gateway Conference at WVU in September.

Dr. Richard Squire (Chemistry) collaborated on an article, “The B850/B875 Photosynthetic Complex Ground and Excited State are Both Coherent,” which was recently published in the Los Alamos Archives, an extension of the Cornell University Library system.

13 Sep

WVU Tech is once again listed on the top 100 undergraduate engineering programs on U.S. News & World Report’s annual college rankings list. Released today, the rankings list considers institutions, including military and private schools, that offer only bachelor’s or master’s degrees in engineering. The new rankings show that WVU Tech’s program is ranked #25 (tie) in the United States among public institutions.

“We’re beyond proud to find recognition among such well-known peer institutions. We know that this recognition comes from our students, graduates and faculty, who are out there doing quality work on a national level and living up to the standards we set for them here,” said Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

The ranking is another high mark in the college’s push for national recognition as a top-quality engineering school. WVU Tech’s engineering faculty spend time outside the classroom promoting research in their fields (read more: wvu.tech/2c66Cvx). As part of that push, two members of the college were recently named Golden Bear Scholars in the university’s newest initiative to increase faculty engagement in research, scholarship and creativity (read more: wvu.tech/2cRALfv).

The university has also worked in recent years to increase the number of ABET-accredited programs within the college. With the addition of computer science to that list in 2015, the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences now offers nine ABET-accredited engineering, engineering technology and computer science degree programs.

See U.S. News & World Report’s full 2017 rankings list at wvu.tech/2cnvXzg

12 Sep

WVU Tech’s faculty members are more than professors. They’re writers, artists, musicians and tinkerers with great stories to tell. They’re scientists and engineers with storied careers in the industries that run the world. When they’re not in the classroom, they’re sharing their work with the world.

That’s why WVU Tech created the Golden Bear Scholars program. The new program recognizes two faculty each academic year for their “exceptional record or nationally visible achievement in research, scholarship or creativity.”

This year, those scholars are Dr. Houbing Song, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Dr. Deborah Chun, assistant professor of mathematics.

Being selected as a Golden Bear Scholar means more than a title. Scholars receive an award of $2,500 that can be used towards research support, research salary or academic travel. (WVU Tech faculty members spend a lot of time sharing their work with the world – read more about that on the Facultivities page.)

In addition to the funding award, selected professors are relieved of one course for the academic year, which means more time to spend on research projects.

Dr. Nigel Clark, provost at WVU Tech, said the program is part of the university’s push to keep faculty engaged in research initiatives.

“The Golden Bear Scholar program not only honors faculty, but provides resources to encourage scholarship in new areas and allows faculty to consider initiatives that involve several disciplines,” he said.

“Immersion in research creates teachers who are more current in their area and more connected with their field. It also boosts recognition of the institution – great scholarship sets great universities apart,” he said.

Dr. Deborah Chun, assistant professor of mathematics, matroid master

Dr. Chun grew up in New Jersey and headed west to California, where she double-majored in mathematics and engineering at Harvey Mudd College. She landed a job working for the Department of Defense in Washington, D.C. after undergrad, but it wasn’t long until her fascination with solving puzzles got the best of her.

“While I was there, I found that I missed school, so I started taking classes at Johns Hopkins Whiting College. I completed a master’s degree in applied and computational mathematics, which made me realize there was more math that I wanted to learn,” she said.

Soon after, Chun enrolled in a Ph.D. program in mathematics at Louisiana State University. She finished her doctorate in 2011 and, ten days after she was awarded her degree, started teaching mathematics at WVU Tech.

“When I was looking for a job after my Ph.D.,” she said, “I was looking for somewhere that was a small school that focused on technical subjects – somewhere like Harvey Mudd. I felt really lucky to find WVU Tech.”

At Tech, Chun has instructed almost every mathematics course the college offers. Her favorites? Discrete Mathematics and Probability and Statistics, because they work most closely with her interest area.

Her research focus is on matroid theory. It’s an area of deep mathematics that studies the properties of unique mathematical sets in vector spaces and impacts fields like coding theory and graph theory. Work in matroid theory feeds into the larger mathematics fields of combinatorics, which has applications in everything from computer science to engineering.

Chun plans to use her scholarship to focus on a few independent projects she’s working on, including collaborations with researchers at Wright State College in Ohio, Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the United States Naval Academy in Maryland.

She said the work will help keep her sharp in the field. It’s a sharpness she can use in the classroom.

“I think there are a lot of benefits to faculty engaging in research. Research helps me connect better to students. At the same time as my calculus students are struggling to understand new concepts in my course, I am struggling as fervently in my field,” she said.

“I expect my students to stay intellectually curious so I stay intellectually curious. And these are just side effects to the results produced along the way,” she said.

Dr. Houbing Song, Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, cyber-physical guru

Dr. Song grew up in China, where he worked as an assistant research scientist and earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in electrical engineering. Song came to the United States in 2005 to pursue a graduate degree in civil engineering in Texas. He earned his master’s and went on to complete his Ph.D. in electrical engineering at the University of Virginia.

Song was drawn to WVU Tech in 2012 after researching the university’s engineering programs. Now he teaches courses in signals and systems, communications systems and software tools.

When he’s not instructing, Song is a prolific researcher. His area of expertise is cyber-physical systems, an area of engineering design that integrates software and hardware so that operating systems – like those found in smart grids, robotics and transportation – work seamlessly. It’s an emerging field that Song said holds immense potential to change lives.

“This will drive innovation in sectors such as transportation, energy, healthcare, building design and automation, agriculture and manufacturing,” he said.

Song is currently working on a number of projects involving the design and verification of various cyber-physical systems in transportation, healthcare and energy. In addition to designing these systems, he also has a special interest in the ever-evolving issues of cybersecurity and privacy.

He said he plans to use his time as a Golden Bear Scholar to develop several grant proposals to federal agencies and to find ways to engage with other researchers on collaboration in the field.

“This support grants faculty the time and resources to undertake exploratory investigations, acquire and test preliminary data, develop collaborations within or across research disciplines, which may lead to improved capacity to write successful proposals in the future,” he said.

He also plans to continue his work promoting the field of CPS. Song participates regularly in National Science Foundation workshops and events covering cyber-physical systems. He’s served as an expert panelist in conferences throughout the nation and organized a number of workshops on the subject.

A widely published scholar in the field, Song is attached to a broad range of peer-reviewed publications and books on CPS. He has also served as guest editor for several scholarly journals on the subject. You can see more of his work on his SONG Lab website.

Song said he’s also excited about the potential for the Golden Bear Scholars program to keep faculty engaged.

“By encouraging and supporting faculty to conduct extraordinary research, the Golden Bear Scholars Program is expected to stimulate faculty research activities across Tech and attract more exceptionally talented students,” he said.

7 Sep

WVU Tech Facultivities, September 2016 Edition

Zachary | September 7th, 2016

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:

Anthony Amendarez (Music) premiered his film “Who Am I” on Wednesday, August 31 at the Huntington Music and Arts Festival during the 72-hour-film challenge.

Dr. Deborah Chun (Math), co-organized the session “Matroid Theory” for SIAM’s Discrete Mathematics conference in Atlanta, Georgia in June. Dr. Chun was also selected as one of WVU Tech’s first Golden Bear Scholars.

Dr. Tyler “John” Moss (Math) presented a paper on June 8 entitled “Bicircular matroids representable over GF(4) or GF(5)” at the SIAM Discrete Mathematics conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Houbing Song (Electrical and Computer Engineering) collaborated on and published seven peer-reviewed journal papers, two peer-reviewed conference papers and one editorial. His publications were featured in IEEE Communications Magazine; Neurocomputing; Personal and Ubiquitous Computing; Future Generation Computer Systems; IET Image Processing; Security and Communication Networks; Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies; IEEE Access; and the 2016 IEEE 29th International Symposium on Computer-Based Medical Systems.

In addition, he was selected by IEEE Access as the Associate Editor of the Month for June 2016. He served as the general chair of the International Workshop on Big Data Analytics for Smart and Connected Health in Washington, D.C. on June 27-29, 2016. Dr. Song was also selected as one of WVU Tech’s first Golden Bear Scholars.

Explore more faculty work at wvutech.edu/facultivities.

23 Aug

On Tuesday, August 23, representatives from WVU Tech, West Virginia University and L&S Toyota met on the grounds of the L&S dealership in Beckley, West Virginia.

The event brought together Shawn Ball, owner and general manager of L&S, WVU president Gordon Gee and WVU Tech campus president Carolyn Long. The trio exchanged a check to acknowledge and celebrate financial contributions from the Ball family totaling $110,000 in scholarship funds for resident students earning their degrees at WVU Tech on the Beckley campus.

In 2015, the Ball family donated $50,000 to establish two endowed scholarships for both WVU Tech engineering and nursing students in Beckley. This academic year, the Ball family has contributed an additional $50,000 to those endowments, plus $10,000 for general scholarship funds for West Virginia students.

“We want to be supportive of WVU Tech coming to Beckley. That’s the biggest thing,” said Ball.

“It’s a very, very important thing for this town. We need it. We’ve had a decline in coal jobs. We’ve had a decline in jobs period. It’s important right now that we have something that we can rely on. We’re going to be creating a workforce. Hopefully, we’re going to have businesses follow, and so West Virginia University coming in is huge.”

Tuesday’s check presentation recognized the sum of L&S’s investments in the students of WVU Tech in Beckley. Gee said the investment marked the beginning of an era of new and longstanding relationships between the WVU system and the businesses and industries of the region.

“I believe that our opportunity to come to Beckley and have a wonderful campus here will be one of the most transformative activities undertaken by the University in the state forever,” said President Gee.

“This helps us – it does more than help us – but the spirit of this family is what really helps us. He didn’t have to do this. He did this because he believes in his community,” he said.

For Long, the day’s activities were an extension of the warm welcome WVU Tech has experienced in Beckley. She said the contributions to the students in the region would have a far-reaching impact.

“I can’t begin to say how much we appreciate them for what they’re doing and the difference they will make in a student’s life. When we make a difference for a student in a positive manner, we make a difference in the town of Beckley, in the state of West Virginia and in our country,” she said.

During the event, Ball announced the winners of L&S Toyota’s recent Facebook student essay challenge, where the company asked college students from the region to write about their plans to better the communities where they live and work. Students Logan Crowe and Jonathan Duesing took third and second place, respectively, taking home monetary prizes for their work.

WVU nursing student Jessie Kuhn was selected as the winner of the challenge. The Beckley area native was awarded a 2016 Toyota Yaris subcompact, valued at $18,000. Kuhn said that the vehicle will help her travel to complete her nursing clinicals and visit home more often.

Ball also announced the presentation of $20,000 to the United Way of Southern West Virginia. The donation includes a $10,000 donation from L&S and an additional $10,000 through Toyota’s dealer match program.

For more information or to contribute to WVU Tech scholarships, contact Susan Shew, Development Director at WVU Tech, at tech-development@mail.wvu.edu or 304.442.1078.

Check out photos from the L&S event on Flickr. Read local coverage from WVVA, WVNS and The Register-Herald.

17 Aug

It’s been a busy week for new WVU Tech students. They braved 90-degree heat to move into residence halls on Saturday. That afternoon, they attended the university’s official convocation ceremony with more than 300 fellow newcomers, family and friends.

In the days since, they have participated in dozens of events, explored campus, met with staff members, purchased books, smiled for student ID photos and spent their free time getting their proverbial collegiate ducks in a row.

It would have been easy to call it a day on Tuesday, the last day of WVU Tech’s orientation program and the day before school started for all students in the WVU system. No one would blame a new student for wanting to kick off their shoes and spend the day relaxing, but that’s not what they did on their last day of the summer.

Instead, more than 80 new WVU Tech students from both campuses laced up their shoes, rolled up their sleeves and traveled a combined 230 miles to lend their time in service projects aimed at helping those impacted by recent flooding in Southern West Virginia.

They called the project Golden Bears Give Back.

“The WVU Tech community has a long history of volunteerism and service,” said Candice Stadler, director of Career Services at WVU Tech and service project organizer.

“The Golden Bears Give Back project communicates to students that as a member of the WVU Tech community, we expect you to be academically, socially and civically engaged.”

Taking care of the little things
28930477782_97408b85d3_o-2 WVU Tech students spent the day at a warehouse in Belle, West Virginia sorting, testing and assembling supplies for flood victims.

On Tuesday morning, 20 student volunteers gathered in the old Magic Mart in Belle, West Virginia. Inside they found a sprawling warehouse packed with toiletries, cleaning supplies, clothing, water, furniture and other provisions destined for flood relief agencies.

Within minutes, those 20 students were cleaning the loading dock for new deliveries, checking and assembling donated furniture and testing small appliances like lamps and irons.

“We thought it was important for the institution to give back after the flooding because so many of our students, their friends and families were impacted,” said Scott Robertson, Assistant Dean of Students for TRIO programs at WVU Tech.

“Those impacted people have had a hard time getting back on their feet and we want to make sure that they understand that the WVU Tech family appreciates and cares for them,” he said.

Volunteers also spent time putting together family kits – bundles of basic cleaning supplies and other household essentials – for displaced families living in temporary FEMA housing.

David Hoge, director of the Homeland Security State Administrative Agency in the department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, is currently overseeing the distribution center. He said he was pleased to see so many college students getting involved.

Optimized-IMG_4114 New students inspected and assembled donated furniture for families impacted by flooding.

“I think when you help someone else who has experienced a disaster, it helps you appreciate the generosity of our society and it helps you understand some things that you personally can do to be more prepared,” he said.

“This is also a great experience for new college students. Being able to find ways to meaningfully engage with the community is such a productive thing to do at that stage,” he said.

Among the young students finding that sense of community engagement in Belle was Austin Nettleton, a cross-country runner and Athletic Coaching Education major from Seattle, Washington. He said that moving from the big city meant he didn’t know anyone yet, but that the project was a great way to find a place in his new community.

The group also brought along upperclassmen like junior forensics major Tyeshea White. The New York native served as an orientation leader and plans to put the skills she’s learning to work in the United States Army.

The project garnered support from local students, too. Mary Morrison is a chemical engineering student from Huntington. As a West Virginian, she said getting involved was personal.

“We’re helping these people out because it’s the right thing to do. I got involved because I live here and this means a lot to me to see people here who are actually helping. They’re helping my people,” she said.

Cleaning up community spaces

In White Sulphur Springs, students spent their time in the sun, stooping to uproot weeds or dropping handfuls of collected river stones into plastic buckets. This group worked on a number of locations in the town, which had been severely impacted by the flooding in June.

28413526983_4c3f346be0_z Volunteers pulled weeds, removed old fences and spent the day restoring a community garden space in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

The volunteers split up into groups to clean debris and restore community spaces. They removed thousands of stones from baseball fields that sat under six feet of floodwater. They cleaned out a community garden space that had been damaged in the floods, tearing out old fencing and planting beds, cutting away damaged bushes and spreading new mulch.

That focus on community spaces was intentional.

“It was an opportunity for us to bring back a little normalcy for people in the area,” said Stadler. “Even now, they’re trying to get back on their feet, so this helps to make things look a little more normal for folks. It’s a way to reach out and help them where we can.”

Nicolas Binfield came to WVU Tech from from Cleveland, Ohio. He’s studying environmental engineering technology and has a passion for environmental work. He said he was glad to see so many people his age spending time on the project.

“It makes the community look better and, hopefully, that will make some people in the community feel better. It lets the community know that people still care about them and that we’re thinking of them every day and that they’re not alone in this world after such a devastating tragedy,” he said.

A different kind of lesson plan

The service project is a new component of the orientation program at WVU Tech. Driven by stories of West Virginians rising up to meet the needs of those impacted by June’s flooding, the department of Student Life worked with the West Virginia University Center for Service and Learning and local contacts to find areas of need that students could address.

28925841742_4099521813_z New students tackled community spaces, like this community garden, in the hope of bringing some normalcy back to the hard-hit region.

“This is the beginning of our developing an enriched culture of service on our campus,” said WVU Tech dean of students, Richard Carpinelli.

“We wanted to get new students used to the concept. There will be many more opportunities now for new students – and for everyone in the WVU Tech community – for projects that can give people hope and that can help in times of need. This is important to us,” he said.

For Stadler, students experience the sense of community that comes with his kind of service, but they also learn skills and develop civic mindsets that can change their careers.

“Volunteerism engages students in our campus and community. The experiences associated with volunteerism build civic engagement skills as well as assist students in identifying career goals,” she said.

“We would like for students to begin engaging in experiences early on in their career at WVU Tech, so that they have an opportunity to build their resume, fulfill requirements for service and develop career and self-awareness.”

Hilary Tepdjip Padjip, a junior civil engineering major from Cameroon, watched the new students tackle the projects with enthusiasm. As an upperclassmen, she sees the value in getting to work at an early stage of the college experience.

“It’s one thing to be in a classroom or studying, but then it’s another thing to be in the field, so students getting involved have a way of seeing what’s it’s like to be coordinating and working on actual projects in the real world,” she said.

Stadler said the project would not have been possible without support from Student Life staff members and WVU Tech Dining Services. WVU Tech’s athletics department was also crucial in arranging travel for the volunteers.

In all, the group completed more than 250 hours of service, which will count toward WVU’s Million Hour Match service project. The service initiative tasks the WVU community with completing a million hours of community service by 2018 and challenges West Virginia residents to do the same.

View photos of the day’s service activities on Flickr, and be sure to check out local coverage from The Register-Herald.

15 Aug

On Saturday, August 13, more than 300 WVU Tech students, staff, faculty, friends and family gathered in Montgomery for the institution’s 2016 convocation ceremony.

The ceremony served as the official welcome for new students from both the Montgomery and Beckley campuses. It also marked the start of WVU Tech three-day orientation program.

In the Baisi gymnasium, campus president Carolyn Long addressed the crowd, offering words of encouragement and advising them to use their time at WVU Tech to find what makes them happiest.

“This is a campus of diverse young men and women and you’re going to learn alongside one another in the years ahead,” she said.

“Many of you will go down paths you never envisioned. My advice to you is that, whatever path you choose, it’s got to be something you have a passion for.”

Dean of students Richard Carpinelli told new students – many of whom had just spent the afternoon moving into their residence hall rooms on both campuses – that they were part of a new collegiate family.

“For many of you, your journey at Tech may be your first time away from home. And while this may be your first time away from home, know that you are not alone. You are now a member of an academic community that cares about you,” he said.

Miriam Cortez, a first-year biology student from Houston, Texas, said had already experienced that family atmosphere for attending convocation.

Cortez spent the previous week on the Beckley campus training for pre-season with the women’s soccer team. She’s been pleased with her experience working with the university and meeting fellow students.

“It’s like they’re introducing us to the school. The coaches are helpful and they bond with us really well. Everybody here has been really nice. They’re good people and they want to make sure we’re all set for the year,” she said.

Optimized-IMG_3981 Students pose for photos during a picnic on the WVU Tech mall after convocation.

Michael McKay, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and a business owner from Cumberland, Maryland, visited campus with his son, Mason. The younger McKay starts his career in civil engineering at WVU Tech this semester.

Michael said his son was attracted to the low student-to-faculty ratio and the national rankings of the university’s engineering programs.

“He was looking for a smaller school. He came from a smaller school setting. He really missed the one-on-one attention and so he was excited about coming here,” he said.

McKay said that traveling into Southern West Virginia, an area known for its coal industry and for the hardworking nature of its people, was symbolic of the experience he expects for Mason.

“Coming from Western Maryland, we have an emphasis on being hardworking,” he said. “I think WVU Tech is going to work very, very hard to put out a quality student.”

During orientation, new students will participate in a number of activities and events designed to get them accustomed to college life and familiar with campus. They attend sessions on academic policies and procedures, managing college stress, campus safety, career readiness and even finance management. They mingle with other newcomers at social events, order books, meet with academic advisors and register for classes.

The program is a welcome to WVU Tech and a welcome home for Will Van Hoose, an incoming freshman with an eye on a mechanical engineering degree and a spot on the WVU Tech wrestling team.

Van Hoose grew up in Ravenswood, West Virginia and moved to South Carolina a few years before graduating high school. Now he’s back in the Mountain State where he’s preparing to launch a career in the racing industry.

“The engineering program at WVU Tech was a big draw for me and I also get the opportunity to wrestle, so it’s perfect. I want to become a mechanical engineer and then I want to go into NASCAR and work as a team engineer. They work on the body and engine to fine-tune the car for each individual track it will race on” he said.

He said he’s excited for the coming days as he becomes acquainted with the campus and meets other students in the program.

“As I’m going through orientation, I’m learning how the flow of campus works and it’ll make getting through the transition from high school to college a little easier,” he said.

Orientation runs until Tuesday, August 16. On the last day of the program, new students will travel in groups to White Sulphur Springs and Belle, West Virginia to assist in flood relief service projects. In Belle, students will assemble furniture donated to flood victims while students in White Sulphur Springs will help with a cleanup and rehabilitation project.

Check out coverage of orientation activities from The Register-Herald and WVNS. Find out more about the program at studentlife.wvutech.edu/orientation and be sure to check out photos on Flickr.

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