22 Apr
Design Expo 3

On Thursday, April 21, nearly 150 students, staff, faculty, alumni and members of industry packed the WVU Tech Center Ballroom for the 2016 WVU Tech Design Expo.

Now in its second year, the expo allows students from various disciplines to share their senior design projects. Attendees discussed 31 student projects ranging from automated golf carts and concrete canoes to smart house technology and portable solar power.

Tavon Johnson, a senior mechanical engineering student and expo co-founder, said this year’s expo drew in twice as many attendees as last spring’s inaugural event.

“When we first opened up, people were excited and ready to see what our students have been working on all year. We had a line,” he said.

Johnson said this year’s expo was about more than showing senior projects. For him, it’s about an exchange of ideas.

“This allows students to see projects from other disciplines and to see how their work might fit those projects. For example, I’m working with wind turbines and my project is oriented towards mechanical engineering. There are a lot of electrical components though, and so someone with an electrical engineering background can put their knowledge to work when they’re exploring my project,” he said.

Design Expo 2

This year’s expo also invited member of industry to review research and serve as project judges.

“It’s a good way to build connections and show what we’re doing here on campus,” said Johnson. “Hopefully, we’re also finding research that matches the interests of companies in the region. Together, maybe we can make something great out of these projects.”

Alan Comer, ‘03, was one of these attending industry professionals. A graduate of WVU Tech’s mechanical engineering program, Comer works for a Denmark-based oilfield manufacturing company out of Cranberry, Pennsylvania. He also serves on the mechanical engineering department’s advisory board at Tech. He said he was impressed with the work of the students featured in the expo.

“They’ve been great. What I’ve learned as an engineer is that communication skills can be as important as your engineering skills when it comes to these projects. This is enabling the students to go out and present their work in an intelligent way. It’s valuable practice,” he said.

Hannah Atkins, a junior chemical engineering major from Sissonville, West Virginia, presented her group’s research on methods for separating natural gas byproducts. She agreed with Comer on the value of practicing the project pitch.

“It’s important because if I can’t sell my project or myself as an engineer to a company, I’m going to miss out on opportunities. Part of my career has to be explaining and justifying my work and how the projects I want to work on will have a positive impact on the people around me,” she said.

Design Expo 1

The expo wrapped up with a social event and an awards ceremony. Civil engineering students Joseph Caudill, James Ramsey and Michael Powell received the “Most Visually Appealing” award for their concrete canoe presentation. Mechanical engineering majors Joel Kouakou, Jon Ball, Brendon Rankou and Jerod Taylor’s “Design and Fabrication of Microalgae CO2 Capture System” won “Most Outstanding Content.” Electrical engineering students Daniel Noel and Dwight Wilson received the “Most Innovative” award for their automotive waste energy systems project. The “Best Presentation” went to engineering technology students Ronald Harper, Lionel Waters and John Canteberry for “Sludge Removal Efficiency.”

Mechanical engineering professor Dr. Farshid Zabihian served as a faculty advisor for the expo. He said that the event’s success stemmed from the fact that it’s student-driven.

“This is all student work and it’s led by students. They do everything. It is a young event, but even in the second year, we’re so very happy with the way it has been done,” he said. “We’re definitely on the right track.”

Johnson organized the expo alongside WVU Tech students Alex Perry and Yazid Amrani. Johnson graduates this spring, but said he’s excited to see how the expo will grow in the coming years.

“We’re hoping to make this a permanent thing and even to draw in non-engineers and the community. We’d like to see this grow into something amazing,” he said.

Check out photos from the expo on Flickr.

21 Apr
2016 STEM Awards

The 19th Annual STEM Awards Banquet was held on Monday, April 18 in the Tech Center Ballroom. More than 140 students, staff, faculty and family members gathered to celebrate the achievements of 41 WVU Tech students.

Students were recognized for their academic work as well as their service to the college and community outside of the classroom.

“We’re pleased to acknowledge these promising students and we’re proud to say that we’ll one day send out into the STEM industries because they’re driven, well-trained and passionate about their fields,” said Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

“They are doing great things here, and we know they’ll continue that trend and carry these accomplishments with them into their academic and professional careers,” he said.

New inductees and current members of the WVU Tech Chapter of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society were also recognized at the event

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

Janet Morst Cunningham – Biology Service Award
Destiny Morgan Deyton – Senior Academic Excellence Award
Seirra Marie Seay – First-Year Student Academic Excellence Award
Christina Frances Stover – First-Year Student Academic Excellence Award

Kendra J. Monnin – Outstanding Sophomore Award
Wesley A. Cunningham – Outstanding Junior Award
Logan M. Efaw – AIChE Leadership Award
Matthew Resendez – Outstanding Senior Award

Salem M. AlEidan – Outstanding Civil Engineering Sophomore Award
Adam J. Oldaker – Outstanding Civil Engineering Junior Award
James R. Ramsey – Outstanding Civil Engineering Senior Award
Dakota R. Smith – Outstanding Civil Engineering Freshman Award

Adam Cantrell – Outstanding Information Systems Student
Jackie Keiffer – Outstanding Computer Science Student
Joshua Keiffer – Outstanding Computer Science Student
Gregory Hughes – Outstanding Computer Science Student
Joshua Massy – Outstanding Information Systems Student
Jeremy Ruth – Outstanding Computer Science Student
Mardigon Toler – Outstanding Computer Science Student
Cody Zackoski – Outstanding Information Systems and Computer Science Student

Shella “Gabi” Kelley – Outstanding Computer Engineering Senior Award
Brooklynn Meadows – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Senior Award
Daniel Noel – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Senior Award
Benjamin Petry – Outstanding Service Award
Felipe Sozinho – Outstanding Electrical Engineering Senior Award

Cameron M. McKimmie – Outstanding Academic Performance (Engineering Technology – Mechanical Emphasis)
Lionel L. Waters – Outstanding Academic Performance (Engineering Technology – Civil Emphasis)
Dustin Shumaker – Outstanding Academic Performance (Electronic Engineering Technology)

Takoda Grove – Outstanding Sophomore Award
Adam Teator – Outstanding Junior Award
Charles Westfall – Outstanding Junior Award
Juliet Zimmerman – Outstanding Sophomore Award

Yazid Amrani – Outstanding Contributions to the WVU Tech Chapter of American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Brett A. Floyd – Outstanding Contributions to the WVU Tech Phi Tau Sigma Honorary Society
Corey M. Hall – Outstanding Contributions to the WVU Tech SAE Baja Team
Andrew V. Lytton – Outstanding Academic Achievement Award
Courtney R. Shumate – Outstanding Contributions to the WVU Tech Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration
Lyang Suan Wang – Outstanding Contributions to the WVU Tech SAE Aero Design Team

Kaylah Bovard – 2015-2016 Student Outreach and Service Award
Richard Aaron Murdock – 2015-2016 Student Outreach and Service Award

14 Apr
LaKisha Adkins Award Golden Bear LaKisha Adkins was selected as a SHAPE America Major of the Year.

Senior athletic coaching education major LaKisha Adkins was named a SHAPE America Major of the Year. The recognition is awarded to outstanding junior and senior students in health, physical education, recreation and dance fields who have excelled academically and have provided a service to the school or community.

Adkins is active in the University’s Sports Studies Club and was a starter in women’s basketball at WVU Tech, where she played all four years. In her time at Tech, Adkins was awarded the Champion of Character Award in basketball as a freshman and was named to the Second Team All-Conference during her senior year. She was also a Dean’s List student during her junior and senior years.

The Huntington, West Virginia, native graduates in May and plans to pursue a master’s degree in early childhood education. She also hopes to serve as an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball assistant coach.

Adkins said she’s humbled by the award from an organization she deeply respects.

“The importance of SHAPE America is to get everyone involved in physical activity for a healthier lifestyle. Physical activity provides numerous benefits as well as creating lifelong skills,” she said. “Receiving this award was very special to me. Only one student from every school with a physical education program is selected, so I am honored to have won this award and to represent WVU Tech as the major of the year.”

Adkins traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota, to receive the award on Thursday, April 7 at the SHAPE America National Convention.

14 Apr

On a chilly April Wednesday, members of the WVU Tech Society of Automotive Engineers Baja Buggy team packed up the racing buggy they’ve spent months building from scratch and set off for Cookeville, Tennessee for the first of three spring semester competitions.

Starting on Thursday, April 14, the group will spend four days putting that buggy to the test in everything from braking, suspension and maneuverability events to hill climbs and a four-hour endurance race. They’ll also have to justify their design choices in a business-style presentation.

After months of fundraising, design and construction, the team will be showing off their most ambitious build yet. For Dr. Winnie Fu, engineering technology professor and advisor to the group, this year’s built is the most advanced she’s seen in her years overseeing the project at WVU Tech.

“This vehicle has the most engineering it’s ever seen, and so the team hopes to bring home their best finish ever. Because of that, they have been working around the clock on weekends and many evenings. It is even difficult for me, as the advisor, to comprehend the amount of work and dedication that has gone into this year’s build,” she said.

For this year’s buggy, weight was a primary challenge. Since each buggy is required to run on the same 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, weight becomes a primary barrier to higher performance. A decrease in weight means the engine has less to move. As senior mechanical engineering major Corey Hall puts it, “the less weight we have in the buggy, the more power we can put to the ground.”

Hall said that the top competitors often weight in between 300 and 350 pounds. Last year, the Tech buggy sat at 400 pounds. The year before, it weighed a full 550 pounds. This year, however, the team has worked diligently to simplify the buggy and bring that number down.

Team member Vicente Porcar said he thinks they may have built the lightest buggy in school history.

“I can tell you it can be lifted from the ground by just two people. We made big efforts in fundraising that allowed us to buy better and lighter parts. In the design stage, we kept the buggy as small and light as possible. Even the tabs used for the mounting of body panels have been analyzed and reduced in size and weight to meet our goal,” he said.

The team also focused on increasing maneuverability and stability. They narrowed the frame, shortened the wheelbase and extended suspension components for an overall wider, more stable build.

Team members also built many of the buggy’s components from scratch, including student-designed and built custom front and rear suspensions, custom shocks and a custom one-speed transmission. Team even members learned how to cast aluminum to build their own lightweight parts, dressed the buggy with advanced composite bodywork and outfitted the vehicle with two-way communications and a data acquisition system.

“This year we’ve made more parts than ever before,” said Hall. “We’re making revisions and optimizations to our design from last year. There’s been a big push to build things that in previous years we would have just bought.”

The group is confident in the buggy they’ve put together. At this stage, they’ve put the vehicle through rigorous testing (check out a video of the buggy in action) and they’re anxious to see what it can do in Tennessee.

“The team is extremely excited to be running three competitions this year. They feel that this vehicle will be a contender in all events this year. The team has spent countless our on this vehicle, and is ready to show what they are capable of,” said the organization’s president and team leader, Jason Browning.

Browning said that the team’s advances were enabled in large part by the project’s sponsors. One of the buggy project’s major hurdles is cost, and the team spends time working with sponsors to use professional equipment, secure construction materials, employ machining services and secure funding for parts and travel.

“All of our sponsors are extremely important to us and we couldn’t do what we do without each one of them,” said Browning. “The biggest benefit to sponsors is the opportunity to directly invest in future Southern West Virginia engineers. Their sponsorship permits students to gain engineering knowledge and learn the hands-on skills that Tech is so famous for. Over time, they will see these benefits pay dividends when they hire Tech students to work for them. It is an investment in Tech students and West Virginia.”

After Tennessee, the group will compete in California in mid-May and New York in June.

“We are excited and anxious about Tennessee since it is the first competition and the first time we get to test our buggy against others buggies,” said Porcar. “After Tennessee, we come back, retune for California and shoot for the top places again, but this time with a better idea of what needs to improve. After California, we should have our best version of the buggy to run in Rochester.”

For the group’s seniors, this year’s competition series marks the culmination of years of working on the project. It was also a valuable chance for students like Browning to pass on their knowledge and experience to those who will take the reins in the coming years.

“It has been very exciting watching the team grow and become stronger over these last four years,” said Browning. “It’s unbelievable what we have been able to accomplish. My first year there were four of us with a shoestring budget. Now we are 17 strong with the potential to be a top contender. This goes to show that with lots of hard work and dedication to something that anything is possible.”

Follow the team’s progress throughout the season and check out photos on the group’s Facebook page. For photos from this year’s build, visit WVU Tech on Flickr.

This year’s buggy sponsors are Toyota, March Westin, the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech, the WVU Tech Student Government Association, Constellium, Brickstreet Insurance, NGK Spark Plaugs, American Electric Power, the Crossroads Mall, James Giuliani, Global Procurement, Aircon Engineering, West Virginia Manufacturing Solutions, the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, Snap-on, Jarvis Hardware, P3, QA1 and Tilton Engineering.

11 Apr

Kelly Hudgins, director of WVU Tech’s Student Success Center, was among four WVU advisors honored with the Nicholas Evans Excellence in Advising Award.

Hudgins has been with WVU Tech for three years. At the SSC, she oversees academic advising for all incoming first-year and transfer students, new student registration events, new student orientation, peer tutoring and academic intervention. Her work has been instrumental in the success of the center, which sees more than 10,000 visits each year.

For Hudgins, that success stems from her department’s focus on ensuring students have access to the resources and opportunities best suited to them on a personal level.

“Good advising meets students exactly where they are when they step on campus and takes the time to examine their academic backgrounds and career goals. Most importantly, good advising seeks out the person behind the student and supports his or her needs in and out of the classroom,” she said.

In addition to recognizing Hudgins’ service to the students of WVU Tech, the award comes with $1,250 in funds for professional development projects.

Hudgins and her fellow awardees were recognized at a dinner event in Morgantown on Wednesday, April 6. Read more about Hudgins and the award in this story from WVU Today.

8 Apr

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. Richard Squire (Chemistry) presented at the Sanibel Symposium sponsored by the University of Florida in February. At the symposium, which drew in attendees from 26 countries, Dr. Squire presented his research, “Proof that the Photosynthetic Synthetic Complexes B850 and B875 are Coherent.” On March 30, Dr. Squire presented his lecture “Does Photochemistry from the Past Provide a Link to the Photosynthetic B850 / B875 Complexes?” during a seminar at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Dr. Yadi Eslami (Electrical Engineering) and Dr. Asad Davari (Computer Engineering), in collaboration with Dr. Kourosh Sedghi from California State University (CSUN), had their research paper, “A Real Time HIL Testbed for Distributed Energy Generation Penetration Analysis,” accepted in the IEEE Energy Conference 2016. Dr. Eslami or Dr. Sedghi will present the paper at the conference in Belgium this month.

Dr. Rachel Bragg (English) presented her research, “Creating Tattoos and Re-creating Invention: Stasis Theory as Collaborative and Social Invention,” at the College English Association National Conference in Denver, Colorado March 31 – April 2.

Dr. Houbing Song (Electrical and Computer Engineering) collaborated on and published eight peer-reviewed journal papers in IEEE Transactions on Services Computing, IEEE Internet of Things Journal, IET Communications, IEEE Access, Sensors (MDPI), Journal of Network and Computer Applications, Journal of Medical Systems (Springer), and Annals of Telecommunications.

Dr. Cortney Barko (English) attended the College English Association annual conference in Denver, Colorado on March 31. At the conference, she presented her paper, “Creating a more vibrant history for West Virginia’s Women Writers.”

Mark Wilson (Economics) presented his paper, “Bretton Woods and the World Monetary Order,” at the April meeting of the Virginia Association of Economists at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia.

1 Apr

A reminder about campus safety

Zachary | April 1st, 2016

WVU Tech Community,

Last night, there were shootings off campus in the city of Montgomery. Based upon investigative reports, there was no threat to the University campus. Local police agencies are investigating, and as a precaution, University Police increased police staffing and patrols on campus throughout the night and will do so at least throughout the weekend.

While these incidents didn’t involve the campus community, this incident serves as a reminder of the importance of using good judgement and being observant of safety and security issues in our daily lives.

If you observe something unusual or suspicious or are concerned for your or others’ safety, you can use the LiveSafe App to alert University Police. For more information and to download the app to your mobile phone, visit our LiveSafe webpage.

WVU Tech also sends out text alerts to warn those who are subscribed to the service about emergency situations on and around campus. If you are currently not receiving WVU Tech text alerts, please sign up for the service today.

As always, members of the University community are encouraged to report suspicious behavior to University Police by calling 304-442-3101 or 911.

For more safety resources, visit the University Police webpage.

28 Mar

Spring Break is often a chance for college students to visit home and catch up with friends and family. This year, a group of seven Golden Bears wanted to make sure others had a place to call home, so they teamed up with Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam to help with one of the organization’s projects in Charleston.

20160324_122736 WVU Tech volunteers spent time landscaping at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Charleston

The group spent two days working at Habitat’s ReStore location. The ReStore sells donated furniture, appliances and building materials at discounted prices, and proceeds from the store help to fund local Habitat projects. At the ReStore, the group helped to clean and organize portions of the store and prepare donated items for sale.

Volunteers also spent their time working at one of the organization’s construction sites in Charleston. Students worked with Habitat volunteers to provide landscaping around one of the houses and ensure proper yard drainage. The group also worked to lay down mulch and straw.

Student volunteers included Igor Pereira, Brenda Rivera, Ana Flavia Monteiro, Vinicius Kawamukai Rios, Scotty Stone, Patrick Gnagbo and Mark Magallanes.

“Spring Break is an important time for all students, either to rest from school or to go visit their families,” said Pereira, a junior chemical engineering major from São Paulo, Brazil.

“Habitat for Humanity is a pretty awesome project made by people who care about others. I chose to be a volunteer because we are all part of the same community and I feel that I can help a lot of people, even if I don’t know them. I feel really good knowing that with this kind of job I’m being a part of a change in someone’s life,” he said.

WVU Tech resident director Michael Sheldon organized the volunteer trips and said he was impressed with the students who participated.

“I think it is great that the students spend time here during their Spring Break to help with the community. They are learning important skills and also about the Habitat for Humanity program, such as the process one goes through to get a house,” he said. “I can’t give them enough credit. They have worked incredibly hard this week and deserve as much thanks as they can get.”

For more information on Habitat for Humanity or the ReStore, visit the Habitat for Humanity of Kanawha and Putnam website.

17 Mar

WVU Tech was among a dozen schools featured in Newsweek’s “The Best of ABET’s Accredited Programs 2016” list in early March.

The Newsweek piece was created in partnership with ABET. The article includes a description of ABET’s process and the importance of individual program accreditation. WVU Tech maintains nine ABET-accredited programs in engineering, engineering technology and computer science.

Read more about ABET and the best ABET-accredited schools in America below, and be sure to check out the full article at Newsweek.

From Newsweek Educational Insight, March 3, 2016:

ABET is the global accreditor of nearly 3,600 technical programs at over 700 colleges and universities in 29 countries. The work that we do influences programs all over the world. From Lima to Manila and Miami to Honolulu, the quality we guarantee inspires confidence in the programs we accredit.

Our accreditation is proof that a program has met standards essential to produce graduates ready to enter the critical fields of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. Graduates from an ABET-accredited program have a solid educational foundation and are capable of leading the way in innovation, emerging technologies, and in anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.

Our focus is strictly on the education students receive. The global standards that we set and the review process that we employ are rigorous, yet flexible. Our program evaluators look at outcomes—what students are actually learning from courses rather than what they are being taught—because those are the real indicators that a graduate has the professional and technical skills that employers demand. Sought worldwide, ABET’s voluntary peer-review process is highly respected because it adds real value to academic programs in disciplines where quality, precision, and safety are of the utmost importance.

This process is the culmination of a practice of ongoing self-assessment and continuous improvement, which assures confidence that ABET-accredited programs are meeting the needs of their students, preparing graduates to enter their careers, and responsive to the needs of the professions and the world.

We accredit college and university programs, not degrees, departments, colleges, institutions, or individuals. This allows us to be single-minded in our commitment to determine that a program fully prepares a student to enter the workforce.

We accomplish this through the work of our Experts—professionals from industry, academia, and government. They are recruited and assigned by leading professional and technical societies, such as IEEE, ASME and ASCE. Virtually every team includes executives from companies such as Boeing, Caterpillar, DuPont, GM, IBM, Raytheon, and UPS.

Responsive to increasing globalization, we work to ensure that the graduates of ABET-accredited programs can employ their talents internationally. We do this by signing agreements with educational quality assurance organizations in other countries and jurisdictions. Not only does this allow ABET-accredited program graduates to use their skills around the world, but it also raises their value to employers. The U.S. Government, for example, and many multinational corporations seek employees with degrees from ABET-accredited programs that translate globally.

When ABET’s quality standards are applied and promoted around the globe, the results are a better-educated, geographically mobile, diverse technical workforce well prepared to advance innovation and excel professionally in fields of critical importance to society.

Students and their families choose schools for many different reasons, but one thing they all seek is a solid quality education. ABET accreditation allows families to be confident that their students are attending a program that will give them the knowledge and skills to continue their education or enter the workforce.


West Virginia University Institute of Technology (Montgomery, WV)

Pennsylvania College of Technology (Williamsport, PA)

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise (Wise, VA)

Loyola Marymount University Frank R. Seaver College of Science and Engineering (Los Angeles, CA)

Texas A&M University-Kingsville (Kingsville, TX)

University of Colorado Denver, College of Engineering and Applied Science (Denver, CO)

The Citadel (Charleston, SC)

University of New Haven (West Haven, CT)

Grove City College (Grove City, PA)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette College of Engineering (Lafayette, LA)

The University of Texas at San Antonio College of Engineering (San Antonio, TX)

University of South Florida (Tampa, FL)

11 Mar

West Virginia University Institute of Technology is pleased to announce the 2016 Alumni of the Year: David F. Meadows, ‘74, from the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and Deborah Hill, ‘86 and ‘87, from the College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Meadows, of Culloden, West Virginia, received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Tech in 1974. He also hold a Master of Science degree in Engineering from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and a Master of Engineering degree from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Meadows is the Chief Technical Officer and Southwest Regional Manager for Triad Engineering, Inc. In this capacity, he is responsible for the technical expertise, quality and risk management of Triad’s services as well as day-to-day operations of the region. He is a member of the WVU Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Board.

Hill, of Mt. Nebo, West Virginia, is a graduate of Tech with both an associate’s degree in Nursing in 1986 and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Services Administration in 1987. She also hold a Master of Science degree in Health Care Management from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies.

As an experienced healthcare professional, Hill has 28 years of health care management experience and is currently the Director of Long Term Care for Montgomery General Hospital. She serves on several state and community boards, including the WVU Tech Health Service Program Advisory Board.

Since 1949, it has been a tradition for WVU Tech to honor graduates from each college by selecting outstanding alumni for the Alumni of the Year Award. To be selected for this honor, alumni must have achieved recognition in their chosen profession, have a strong commitment to service and have given their time, talent and treasure to Tech by serving as a role model of loyalty and service for all alumni.

On Saturday, April 23, 2016, Meadow and Hill will be recognized as the newest members of this distinguished group at the Alumni of the Year Awards Dinner at the Marriott Hotel in Charleston. To purchase tickets to the dinner, go online to alumni.wvutech.edu or call the Office of Alumni Relations at 304.442.3131.

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