West Virginia University Institute of Technology’s Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences recognized 59 current students at the annual STEM Awards Banquet on April 18, 2013. Honorees were selected by their academic department based on academic accomplishments.
“This event recognizes the achievements of our College’s best and brightest students, and celebrates their outstanding accomplishments,” explained Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, Dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences. “I am extremely proud of each and every one of these students.”
Electronic Engineering Technology
West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) is proud to announce that West Virginia Secretary of Transportation and WVU Tech alumnus Paul Mattox, Jr., will provide the 2013 Commencement Address during the May 11 ceremony.
“We greatly appreciate Secretary Mattox’s ongoing support of his alma mater and look forward to having him back on campus,” explained WVU Tech CEO Carolyn Long. “It’s a pleasure to have a WVU Tech alumnus of his professional stature join us in celebrating our graduates’ accomplishments.”
Mattox was appointed Commissioner of Highways in January 2005 and Secretary of Transportation in January 2006. Since 2006 he has successfully managed the Division of Highways, with an annual budget of $1.1 billion, as well as the seven other agencies under the Department of Transportation. During his tenure, Secretary Mattox has overseen the administration of more than $4 billion in construction projects across the state. He has extensive experience in designing and managing public works projects for highways, bridges, water, wastewater systems and site development.
A 1982 graduate of WVU Tech, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He also has a master’s degree in engineering from Marshall University. Mattox is a graduate of Leadership West Virginia, and a registered professional engineer in West Virginia, Ohio, Virginia, Kentucky, Florida and Alabama. He is also a registered professional land surveyor in West Virginia.
He is the appointed chairman of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials’ (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Aviation. He sits on the AASHTO Board of Directors, serves as co-chair of the AASHTO/Federal Highway Administration/American Council of Engineering Companies Committee and serves on the Climate Change and Strategic Planning committees. He also serves on the WVU Tech Institutional Board of Visitors.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) held a ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the university’s new Student Success Center located on the third floor of the Vining Library. The center will coordinate all first-year advising, academic peer tutoring, and workshops covering topics such as study skills and time management.
WVU Tech faculty, staff and students from across campus gathered with Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) officials to celebrate the new center. Student leaders participated in a ribbon cutting to commemorate the event.
The center is one of WVU Tech’s newest initiatives to fulfill CEO Carolyn Long’s mission to Recruit. Retain. Rebuild. “Our number one priority is student success,” said Long. “They are the present and future of Tech.”
The center includes a computer lab, study rooms, a multipurpose conference room and office space for the director and academic advisors. The computer lab includes computers and specialized software, as well as laptop computers for student use in the library. The project, totaling more than $400,000, was funded by the West Virginia Legislature upon approval by the HEPC last May.
“The center is a comfortable place for students to gather, learn and access the resources they need to succeed. Academic advising and support services improve our students’ transition to college and offer them the tools they need to reach their personal and academic goals,” explained Kelly Hudgins, Director of Student Success Programs.
The center’s hours will be 8 a.m. 9 p.m. Monday thru Thursday, 8 a.m. 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 4 p.m. 9 p.m. on Sunday.
Dr. Ernest Nester, former Tech dean and professor emeritus, passed away earlier this week. A Virginia native, Nester was the first in his family to earn a college degree and went on to earn a doctorate in civil engineering from the University of Virginia. A strong believer in the value of education, he spent his professional life teaching others.
Nester started teaching at Tech in civil engineering in 1966 and continued until his retirement in 1996. He became chair of civil engineering in 1979 and was appointed dean of engineering in 1986. He served as Dean of Engineering until 1993, at which time he went back to full time teaching until his retirement. Nester was awarded emeritus status in 1997.
“He had taught an estimated 3000 students in his career at Tech,” commented Dr. Steve Leftwich, civil engineering chairman at WVU Tech. “Ernie was a great mentor and role model to the many who knew him.”
“While I did not personally know him, he was known for fondness for his students and his genuine desire to help them learn and succeed,” said Dr. Zeljko Torbica, dean of the WVU Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences.
On Friday, March 22, WVU Tech joined forces with more than 50 WVU and WVU Extension programs for WVU’s Day at the Legislature. WVU Tech provided hands-on, interactive presentations highlighting academic programs from across the University including chemistry, forensic investigation and nursing.
Tech’s representatives included Dr. Hasan El-Rifai, assistant professor of chemistry; Dr. Evelyn Klocke, nursing department chair; Andrew Wheeler, visiting associate professor of forensic investigation, along with admissions and administrative staff.
West Virginia 4-H’ers, Master Gardeners, Community Educational Outreach Service members, and WVU Extension volunteers from across the state attended the event. As WVU Tech CEO Carolyn Long explained, “This is a wonderful opportunity to introduce these individuals to the many academic opportunities available at WVU Tech.”
View photos from the event online.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) recently received a gift of $150,000 for the Bryan Bills Memorial Scholarship Fund from the estate of the late Rodney Cornell. The scholarship fund supports civil engineering students from West Virginia. The recipient must be an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and be at least a junior.
A native of St. Marys, W.Va., Bryan Bills received his associate’s degree in mechanical engineering technology from Tech in 1970 and earned his B.S. in civil engineering in 1977. While a student at Tech, Bills was the driving force behind Tech’s first concrete canoe an annual tradition that the WVU Tech student ASCE chapter continues to this day. After he passed away in 1987, his family and friends established the scholarship fund in his memory.
“[Bryan] worked his way through school. He always wanted to see the people who were struggling receive the help they need so they could get an education,” said Bills’ sister Denyse Cornell. “We love him and would like to see his scholarship continue since education was his big passion.”
The estate of Rodney Cornell, Denyse’s former husband, was settled in late 2012 and the gift has been sent to the Tech Foundation for the scholarship fund. Rodney Cornell and his wife, Joyce, agreed to keep the Bryan Bills Memorial Fund as a benefactor in their will. “I was so happy to hear that Rodney kept that in his will,” Denyse said recently. “It means so much that he cared about my brother.”
Along with the estate gift, other gifts were recently made in memory of Bills’ mother Jackquline Mathess Bills. Combined, these gifts bring the total of the scholarship fund to approximately $159,000, which will enable WVU Tech to offer more assistance to civil engineering students.
“Bryan planted the seed that grew into a favorite activity of the ASCE student chapter building and racing a concrete canoe in the Virginias Conference,” said Dr. Steven Leftwich, chair of the department of civil engineering. “It was students such as Bryan that have made WVU Tech a unique place to learn and have fun in such student traditions. Bryan’s memory lives on each time the students paddle to the finish line.”
Two student teams from West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) showcased their research at Undergraduate Research Day at the Legislature. Senior mechanical engineering students Kevin Goff and Paul Shaw and senior engineering technology majors Amy Young and Hannah Clutter presented their research at the State Capitol on Thursday, February 28.
Goff and Shaw presented their research poster entitled “Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cell and Electrolyzer Research,” which investigates the ability to convert solar energy into storable hydrogen energy. Goff is a resident of Charleston, W.Va., and Shaw is a resident of Williamstown, W.Va. Their research was completed under the supervision of Dr. Farshid Zabihian, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
The Young/Clutter research team showcased their research on the “Environmental Impact Study of the Morris Creek Watershed.” Under the supervision of Dr. Moayyad Al-Nasra, associate professor and chair of engineering technology, the students monitored the PH balance at Morris Creek Watershed and discussed the need to generate power for the devices used to measure the water quality. Young is a resident of St. Albans, W.Va., and Clutter is a resident of Charleston, W.Va.
“I’m so proud of our students and faculty. Their research is advancing our mission to serve the state of West Virginia, while providing our students with hands-on learning opportunities,” explained WVU Tech CEO Carolyn Long.
In conjunction with Undergraduate Research Day, the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC) recognized faculty from across the state that were awarded scientific research grants during the past year. WVU Tech faculty members Dr. Stephen Goodman, Dr. Mingyu Lu, Dr. Houbing Song, Dr. Baozhong Tian, Dr. Horng-Jyh Yang and Dr. Nan Wang were recognized during a luncheon at the State Culture Center.
Goodman received a $30,000 Innovation Grant for his project, “Field test bed of connected vehicle applications in the mountainous terrain of West Virginia.” Lu received $20,000 for an experimental test bed to study wireless communication in underground coalmines.
The Song/Tian/Yang/Wang research team received $100,000 for the development of the West Virginia Center of Excellence for Cyber-Physical Systems at WVU Tech. This Research Trust Fund Award was distributed as a result of interest earned on the “Bucks for Brains” account.
In applauding this achievement Dr. Z. Torbica, dean of the WVU Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences, added, “This accomplishment indicates the faculty talent that we have been able to attract to WVU Tech. These grants will significantly enhance the learning experience of our students, as they will be able to actively participate in real-life research activities.”
Four WVU Tech students received scholarships this week at the Engineers Week 2013 Scholarship and Celebration Dinner in South Charleston, W.Va. Award recipients included: Sophomore civil engineering major Haylie Ballard from Charleston, W.Va., senior civil engineering major Rachel Facemire from Elkview, W.Va., junior electrical engineering major Coty Lusk from Fenwick, W.Va., and senior civil engineering major Rachel Vass from Mount Lookout, W.Va.
Dr. Paul Steranka, associate dean of the College of Engineering and Sciences, exclaimed “Congratulations to each of our students chosen as a scholarship recipient this year. They are exceptional students and it is great to see their accomplishments recognized with these awards!”
The West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers, the Charleston Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the local section of the American Council of Engineering Companies provided the scholarship awards ranging from $500 to $600 each.
In honor of National Engineers Week, WVU Tech reflects on the last 60 year history of our engineering programs.
Long known for its academic prestige in engineering, West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) first received authorization from the State Board of Education to offer a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1952. Since then Tech has been an innovator in the various fields of engineering, establishing its reputation as one of the state’s leading ABET accredited undergraduate STEM institutions.
The first engineering degrees awarded by Tech were in electrical engineering in 1955. The class of five were the first-ever Tech engineering graduates. “Enrolling at Tech and in the electrical engineering program changed my life forever,” explained Tom Dressler, Class of 1955. Since then the university has awarded more 5,600 engineering degrees. Located in Montgomery, W.Va., the institution has historically served the students of West Virginia. Living proof of the university’s mission, many Tech graduates have chosen to stay, work and live in the state.
The current engineering building was completed in 1967, which houses all of WVU Tech’s engineering programs, with hands-on research being conducted in the labs in an adjacent building. The university’s civil, electrical and mechanical engineering programs have held accreditation since 1968. Tech’s chemical engineering and electronics engineering technology programs were accredited in 1972 and 1982, respectively. In honor of Tech’s longest-serving president, the college was officially renamed the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering in 1986.
As industrial needs have evolved, so too have WVU Tech’s academic offerings, including the introduction of a 2+2 aerospace engineering program in 1999 in collaboration with West Virginia University. Both the civil and mechanical engineering technology emphases received ABET accreditation in 2001. A separate computer engineering program was started in 2005 and accredited in 2007. The college currently offers nine ABET accredited engineering and engineering technology programs: aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, electronic engineering technology, engineering technology civil emphasis and engineering technology mechanical emphasis.
Named dean in 2012, Dr. Zeljko Torbica has been charged with leading the college into the 21st century. “One of our proudest legacies has been our strong traditional engineering curriculum with a practical orientation. This approach has served our programs and reputation well,” he explained. Torbica sees the future of engineering in integration, with many engineering and science sub-disciplines converging. “I also believe that in order to produce top-notch engineers of tomorrow, our curriculum needs to be carefully balanced to emphasize the development of both ‘how to produce’ and ‘what to produce’ capabilities. At WVU Tech, we are educating top-notch engineers, technologists, scientists and mathematicians who will go out into the world and have a positive impact on peoples’ lives.”
In recognition of National TRIO Day on February 23, WVU Tech is hosting an open house for its two TRIO programs on Wednesday, February 27 from 11am 3pm in Old Main. Staff and students from the University’s Upward Bound and Student Support Services programs will be available to talk about how these programs help students become academically prepared and motivated to achieve success.
WVU Tech Upward Bound has been serving high school students since 1965 and serves 90 students from Fayette, Clay and eastern Kanawha counties annually. “Upward Bound has helped me with college I really understood what to expect. The program helped me to understand how much time I would need to spend studying in college and what the college environment would be like,” said Christopher Merritt, 2011 Oak Hill High School graduate and computer engineering sophomore at WVU Tech.
Student Support Services (SSS) has been serving college students since 1968 and serves 215 students on the WVU Tech campus. Casey Orndorff, WVU Tech senior math major from High View, W.Va., explained, “Student Support Services has helped me in ways both in and out of academia. While in SSS, I have been a student tutor for seven semesters. This has given me first hand experience with interacting with other students while practicing teaching, which is going to look awesome for applying for a teaching assistant position in graduate school. If it weren’t for SSS, I don’t think I would be nearly as successful, or even have survived my freshman year.”
Patricia Hopkins, SSS director, explained, “We want more people in Montgomery and the surrounding area to know about the services of the TRIO programs.” Upward Bound Director Jennifer Bunner added, “We also want people to know that this program works and should be expanded to serve more students from low-income families across West Virginia.”
Today more than 1,200 colleges, universities, and community agencies host more than 2,800 TRIO projects that serve approximately 790,000 young people and adults. Thirty-five percent (35%) of TRIO students are White, 35% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 4% are American Indian, 3% are Asian-American, and 4% are listed as “other,” including multiracial students. Seven thousand TRIO students have disabilities. TRIO services include: assistance in choosing a college; tutoring; personal and financial counseling; career counseling; assistance in applying to college; workplace and college visits; special instruction in reading, writing, study skills, and mathematics; assistance in applying for financial aid; and academic support in high school or assistance to re-enter high school.