In 2013, the Nester-Thornton Civil Engineering Faculty Endowment was created to support WVU Tech’s civil engineering department and to recognize two distinguished professors, Dr. Ernie Nester and Stafford Thornton, for the legacy of dedication and innovation each man left after a lifetime of service to WVU Tech.
On Monday, December 1, WVU Tech President Carolyn Long welcomed Stafford Thornton and Susan Nester, widow of the late Dr. Ernie Nester, to the Robinson House for a check presentation ceremony and to discuss future plans for the fund.
Endowment founder and member of the WVU Tech Board of Visitors, Ed Robinson and Dr. Steven Leftwich, Chair of the WVU Tech Department of Civil Engineering, addressed visitors and presented gifts to Nester and Thornton.
“I can say that both Stafford and Ernie have had a profound impact on the civil engineering department in laying the foundation and building the department into what it is today,” said Leftwich.
Dr. Ernie Nester began teaching at WVU Tech in 1966 and continued until his retirement thirty years later. He became chair of the civil engineering department in 1979 and was appointed dean of engineering in 1986. He served as Dean of Engineering until 1993, when he went back to teaching full-time until his retirement. He was awarded emeritus status in 1997. Nester passed away in March 2013.
Stafford Thornton began his WVU Tech career as a civil engineering professor in 1964, where he served for 36 years until he retired and was granted emeritus status in 2000. During his time at WVU Tech, Thornton moved from professor to associate dean of engineering. In 2008, the West Virginia Outstanding Civil Engineering Senior Awards were permanently renamed the Stafford A. Thornton Awards in his honor.
The Nester-Thornton endowment, which provides unrestricted funds for the civil engineering department, is intended to support the department by covering financial needs ranging from materials and lab equipment to programming and conference fees.
“We’re thankful for the generosity of our alumni and donors,” said Leftwich. “These funds are crucial to the continued success of our department and will be used to purchase needed equipment or provide students with materials for projects such as the concrete canoe and the steel bridge for competition in the ASCE Virginia’s Conference.”
During the event, Nester and Thornton shared stories of their experiences at WVU Tech before signing and presenting a check in the amount of $4,392.06, or one year’s interest on the endowment. Including an anonymous donation in the amount of $20,000 – $10,000 in honor of each professor the endowment currently stands at more than $124,000 and is continually growing as fundraising efforts continue.
If you would like to make a gift to the endowment, contact the WVU Tech Development Office at 304.442.1078 or by email at Tech-Development@mail.wvu.edu.
View photos from the event on Flickr.
More than 40 students from Bluefield, Pikeview, River View, Woodrow Wilson and Wyoming East high schools visited Montgomery before the holiday break to compete in the regional Math & Science Bowl at WVU Tech.
On Thursday, November 20, Participating students competed in teams of four, tackling oral math and science questions in a timed, double-elimination tournament. WVU Tech faculty administered competition questions and WVU Tech students volunteered to run the bowl’s new buzzer system, which was paid for by funding from Dow Chemical.
WVU Tech mathematics professor and bowl organizer, Dr. Susan Barton, said the visiting students represented some of the best and brightest young minds in the region.
“These students are ones who are focused on learning math and science. The event gives students a chance to compete academically, to see that students from other high schools also care about their education. It helps focus students on learning in general and not just knowing enough to get an A in a course,” she said.
The team from Woodrow Wilson won the competition, with Pikeview and Wyoming East finishing second and third, respectively. All three teams will move on to compete in the state tournament hosted in Morgantown, West Virginia, this February in the hope of advancing the National Championship held in Washington, D.C. in the spring.
WVU Tech literary magazine, Image, has been in production since 1965 and features written work and visual art from student, faculty and staff contributors.
The magazine launches its newest issue today, November 18, at 6 p.m. in COBE 117. Contributors will read excerpts from their submissions and discuss their art during the event, which is open to all members of the WVU Tech community, their friends and their families.
The 2014 issue features the written and visual work of 19 contributors, including essays, poems, photographs and visual art.
“It remains one of my favorite projects here as an English professor because it allows me to appreciate the very talented writers and artists at our institution,” said Dr. Barko in a foreword to the 2014 issue. “I am so proud of all the students who have work published in the magazine this year, and I hope they will all pursue their artistic talents beyond the publication of this magazine.”
Even as the magazine’s newest issue starts circulation, Image is accepting submissions for the 2015 issue. Students, faculty and staff are welcome to submit works of nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, class essays, creative writing, paintings, sculpture, drawings, photos or any other creative written or visual work. Submissions should be emailed as attachments to Dr. Barko.
Contributors can work with Dr. Barko or Rachel Bragg, English professor and Image co-editor, on written submissions. Students hoping to submit written work can also see a writing specialist in the Student Success Center for help with their submissions.
Image features a wide variety of student work, but Dr. Barko stressed that the magazine is open to faculty and staff as well.
“We want more faculty and staff involvement with the magazine, too. It would be wonderful to have more submissions from these folks,” said Dr. Barko.
Readers can pick up a copy of the magazine at COBE 340.
WVU Tech alumni, students, faculty, staff and friends of the university gathered in Montgomery on November 14 and 15 for Homecoming 2014.
On Friday afternoon, President Carolyn Long delivered the State of Tech address, where she outlined the immense progress WVU Tech has made in the last two and a half years. Since then, the institution has seen a 14.1 percent increase in enrollment and has decreased the budget deficit from $5.7 million to less than $1 million.
Her address discussed the completion of a variety of physical campus improvements, the addition of a popular forensic investigation degree program, a new nursing training center in Montgomery General Hospital, a 4+1 MBA pathway agreement with WVU and a successful first year for the Student Success Center, which saw 10,000 visits in its first year of operation.
Long also challenged faculty, staff and students to help continue the positive trend.
“Instead of only worrying about tomorrow, we need to start planning for what we want to be, what we want to be known for and what we look like in 10, 15 or even 20 years,” she said. “We must start to plan, dream and work for the future of WVU Tech.”
On Friday evening, WVU Tech hosted an alumni cocktail reception and a banquet to honor Alumni of the Year recipients, Sarah “Sally” Smith, ‘74, and Aaron Morris, Ph.D., ‘01, and five WVU Tech Athletic Hall of Fame inductees: Dr. Leonard C. Nelson, Douglas Epling, Damieon Mills, ‘02, Mike Morrison, ‘64 and Ronald K. Rice, ‘59.
During the banquet, honorees addressed the crowd of more than 200.
“The most important thing you’ll never forget about a Tech grad is how they made you feel,” said hall of fame inductee Mike Morrison. “My Tech experiences brought out the best that I had to give. Tech gave me a life rather than a living.”
Saturday’s festivities included a parade, athletic events, laser tag and a tailgate featuring food, live music and a rock-climbing wall. That afternoon, WVU Tech students Rob Leibel and Kat Lively were announced as Mr. and Mrs. Golden bear.
WVU Tech’s wrestlers kicked off the day’s athletic events at noon, out-grappling Southern Virginia University (NCAA DIII) in 49-6 victory. Women’s basketball followed suit, beating out Virginia University of Lynchburg at 115-35, and men’s basketball rounded out the day with a 97-76 victory over Ohio State University Newark, earning their fifth consecutive win in a currently perfect season.
More than 100 prospective students and their families (262 guests in total) also got a taste of the Golden Bear life, visiting campus for WVU Tech’s open house event on Saturday. Attendees toured campus, met with current students for a Q&A panel and participated in academic sessions to learn more about the areas of study they’re interested in pursuing.
WVU Tech Alumni Relations Coordinator, Tara Hines, ‘03, said this year’s Homecoming was a success.
“All of the progress being made on WVU Tech’s campus gives alumni a reason to be excited for the future of our alma mater. Homecoming serves as a way for us to come together and celebrate all of the many great reasons to be a Golden Bear,” she said.
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:
Cortney Barko, Ph.D. (English) presented a paper, “Visual Depictions of the First Female Paleontologist, Mary Anning, in Children’s Literature,” at the 2014 Midwest Popular Culture Association conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 4. She also gave an invited talk on succeeding in academic job interviews at the same conference.
Paul Rakes, Ph.D. (History) will be featured in an episode of PBS’ American Experience covering the Coal Mine Wars. Dr. Rakes worked with the show to provide guidance in historical research, help separate legends from historical facts and connect the shows with other scholars.
Melissa Sartore, Ph.D. (History) presented “This Book Will Change Your Life, The Broader Narrative of Religious Conversion in the Book of Mormon” at the 2014 Midwest Popular Culture Association Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 4.
Dr. Sartore also presented “Outlaws of War: Royal Pardons of Outlawry in Exchange for Military Service in Medieval England” at the Southeast Medieval Association Conference in Atlanta, Georgia on October 17.
Houbing Song, Ph.D. (Electrical Engineering) published a paper in the IEEE Internet of Things Journal (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers):
Yuan Zhang; Limin Sun; Houbing Song; Xiaojun Cao, “Ubiquitous WSN for Healthcare: Recent Advances and Future Prospects,” IEEE Internet of Things Journal, vol.1, no.4, pp.311, 318, Aug. 2014 doi: 10.1109/JIOT.2014.2329462
Dr. Song also gave an invited talk, “Cloud-Assisted Mobile Crowd Sensing for Urban Transportation,” at the National Science Foundation Workshop on Large-Scale Traffic and Driving Activity Data (DriveSense ‘14) in Norfolk, Virginia, October 30-31. His travel was fully supported by the foundation.
Mark Wilson, D.A. (Economics) gave a presentation, “Revisiting Bretton Woods,” at the Kentucky Economic Association Meeting held in Frankfort, Kentucky in October.
Farshid Zabihian, Ph.D. (Mechanical Engineering) traveled with four WVU Tech students to Birmingham, Alabama between October 31 and November 3 to attend the Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference. The group presented six papers involving 13 students:
Lytton, Andrew; Torres, Raśl F.; Hawk, Greg; Zabihian, Farshid, “Study of Wave Energy in the USA by Dividing American Coasts to Six Regions”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Ross, Garron; Zabihian, Farshid; Davari, Asad, “Design and Commissioning of Hybrid Photovoltaic and Wind Turbine System for Future Undergraduate Student Research Capabilities”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Perry, Alex; Johnson, Tavon; Zabihian, Farshid; Thaxton, Andrew, “Application of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines in West Virginia”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Zabihian, Farshid; Bowen, Jacob D., “Geothermal Heating and Cooling from Abandoned Coal Mines in West Virginia”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Zabihian, Farshid; Rine, Justin; Flores, Gerardo, “Experimental Analysis of Downdraft Gasifier”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
Zabihian, Farshid; Brenner, Andrew; Ballard, Haylie; Acree, Kaleb, “Improving Compressors’ Efficiency through Modernization”, Fourteenth Annual Early Career Technical Conference, November 2014, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
As WVU Tech kicked off a weekend of Homecoming festivities, students, faculty, staff and community members gathered for the annual State of the University address from Campus President Carolyn Long on Friday, November 14. Her message outlined the institution’s growth over the last few years and a long-term future set to continue the trend.
In the last two-and-a-half years, WVU Tech has seen a 14.1 percent increase in enrollment and decreased the budget deficit from $5.7 million to less than $1 million. The university has also seen an increase in student-focused and academic initiatives, with the launch of a new nursing training center in Montgomery General Hospital, successful accreditation visits with the Higher Learning Commission and ABET, a 4+1 MBA pathway agreement with WVU, and a successful first year for the Student Success Center, which saw 10,000 visits in the 2013-2014 academic year.
The steadily growing student body has been busy, enjoying increased entertainment and sporting events, forming active student organizations like the Association for Women Engineers, Scientists Or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME), and reaching out to K-12 students to share the joys of STEM fields and space sciences.
Long said these stories share a common thread of progress and reinforce WVU Tech’s identity as a civic-minded, community-oriented and academically innovative institution.
“We must talk about what a special place WVU Tech is to receive an education. Our high-ranked academics, along with our very personal style of education is not the norm, and we must continue to foster our unique ability to educate the whole person,” said Long.
Through a detailed revitalization plan and support from WVU, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission and the West Virginia State Legislature, WVU Tech has also updated the Montgomery campus. Long detailed an impressive year of on-campus physical projects ranging from paving and sidewalk work to residence hall renovations and the addition of a new dining facility, the Tech Spot.
President Long ended her address with a challenge to the WVU Tech community to think big.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us. Institutions and organizations do not grow if they only plan and worry about tomorrow. Instead of only worrying about tomorrow, we need to start planning for what we want to be, what we want to be known for and what we look like in 10, 15 or even 20 years. We must start to plan, dream and work for the future of WVU Tech.”
The WVU Tech student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Department of Civil Engineering will host the 50th annual ASCE Fall Technical Conference on Thursday, November 20, 2014, on WVU Tech’s Montgomery campus.
The one-day conference is an opportunity for engineering professionals, students and faculty to meet, exchange ideas and hear presentations from professionals in the field. Guest speakers, including representatives from engineering and construction firms, the West Virginia Division of Highways, WVU Tech and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, will discuss ongoing projects and research in the industry.
“Civil Engineering in the 21st Century is right on the cutting edge. This continued technical learning increases professional awareness of new technological trends, which can improve our modern civil infrastructure in a way that’s safer, cheaper, more reliable and greener,” said Dr. Tigra Yang, ASCE faculty advisor and assistant civil engineering professor.
The conference is also great way for WVU Tech students to network with area professionals and find out about major projects happening in the state. For WVU Tech’s ASCE student chapter president, Haylie Ballard, the event is one of the many benefits of belonging to the organization.
“In my opinion, being part of ASCE is the absolute best decision that a civil engineering student can make,” said Ballard. “Not only do you get to connect with classmates that have similar interest, but you also get to network with professionals that are still involved in ASCE. These are connections you will keep for the rest of your life.”
The conference offers a variety of pricing packages with deep discounts for students, faculty and retired professionals. Proceeds from the conference will directly fund the ASCE’s upcoming activities.
“The money raised by the Fall Technical Conference helps us fund multiple events that we will participate in throughout the school year, including WVU Tech Engineering Open House, West Virginia Engineering and Science Day and, most importantly, the Virginia’s Conference held in April,” said Ballard.
For more information or to register for the conference, visit: wvute.ch/ASCECon2014. Conference attendees can earn up to five professional development credits. For questions, contact Dr. Tigra Yang at 304-442-3834.
Campus President Carolyn Long and the WVU Tech Student Government Association are reaching out to veterans this week in honor of Veterans Day, Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
Tuesday morning, President Long will meet with veterans from within the WVU Tech community for an appreciation breakfast in the Bears Den. During the day, the SGA will host tables in the Engineering Building and the Tech Center where students, faculty and staff can stop by to create cards that will be delivered to the Huntington VA Medical Center in Huntington, West Virginia.
The SGA will sponsor two trips to the hospital one on Wednesday, November 12 and the other on Monday, November 17 to visit with veterans and deliver the cards. Students interested in participating in the visits should email Amy Haddix to reserve a seat on the van. The van will depart from behind Maclin Hall at 3:15 on November 12 and at 2:15 on November 17.
WVU Tech Career Services will host a Nursing Career Fair this Tuesday, November 11 from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. in the second floor hallway of Orndorff Hall.
The fair is open to all students interested in health care career opportunities, including students who are enrolled or who are planning to enroll in WVU Tech’s Nursing or Health Services Administration programs. The event provides students a chance to network with area employers and discover full-time employment and nurse externship opportunities.
Employers include the Charleston Area Medical Center, Princeton Community Hospital, Golden Living of Glasgow, Meadowbrook Nursing Center, Genesis HealthCare and Federal Correctional Institutions.
Students should dress professionally, bring updated resumes and be prepared to talk about themselves and their experience.
WVU Tech’s campus was a flurry of activity on Thursday, November 6, as 900 area students from ten West Virginia counties visited Montgomery for the annual Engineering & Sciences Open House.
The half-day event allowed middle and high school students to visit dozens of presentations conducted by WVU Tech professors and students. Covering fields such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, robotics, physics, computer science and engineering, these presentations offered attendees a chance to see the exciting things STEM students and professionals get to do in their fields.
“Our faculty and students have come up with a series of outstanding, high-end presentations that are well-designed and entertaining. These exercises are a lot of fun for visiting students and they showcase the things that we actually do, the real exercises we get to perform in ours labs every day,” said Dr. Z. Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.
Visiting students learned about stream ecology and soil science, how steam turbines and power plants produce electricity and how air conditioning works. They saw a student-built racing buggy, watched a distillation column in action and fired t-shirts and tennis balls from a pressurized air cannon. Students also got a taste of college life on guided campus tours.
“We want students to see that they can study these fields right here, but our motivation goes beyond WVU Tech. It’s a bigger mission to promote STEM in general and help students at these early ages to understand the beauty of STEM fields. If we can open the eyes of a student so that he or she finds something interesting in one of these fields, it may motivate them to seek a four-year degree and eventually make a great scientific contribution later on,” said Torbica.
WVU Tech has hosted the open house in its current form for nearly two decades, and previous versions of the event go back even further. The open house has become so popular that the college had to put a cap on attendance so participants can experience everything the day has to offer.
“This is something that we truly enjoy doing. The feedback we’re getting is wonderful and students are always excited to be here. It’s a tradition we want to continue for a very long time,” said Torbica.
Check out photos from this year’s open house on Flickr .