24 Jun

STEM branches out: Camp broadens students

Jennifer | June 24th, 2014

Charleston Gazette – Monday, June 23, 2014
by Mackenzie Mays, Staff writer

Blood was splattered on the wall.

The footprints linked back to a size-10 pair of Reeboks.

The scene was the West Virginia University Institute of Technology.

But there was no real crime — it was a forensic science course on Monday afternoon as part of WVU-Tech’s Camp STEM.

“That’s one of my favorite parts — the gory stuff,” said Teagan Waugh, a 14-year-old from Princeton.

Waugh was among about 70 high school students from across the state at the week-long camp on the Tech campus, where faculty teach a range of courses from biomedical engineering and “unusual chemistry” to auto repair and computer science.

The camp is sponsored by such companies as AT&T, Toyota and Dow and is an attempt to get more young people interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields of study while also giving them a glimpse into the college experience.

For Waugh, who wants to major in forensic science when she goes off to college in a few years, it doesn’t take much convincing.

“I don’t want to have one of those boring, typical office jobs,” she said. “I really love math, but most kids don’t. I think fun camps like this can change that.”

That’s the goal, said Camp STEM director Kimberlyn Gray.

“We’re doing more and more in the STEM fields. Engineering is still one of those fields where we’re retiring more people than we’re graduating. We’re holding more and more up in the sciences, but the interest rates in those fields is still hovering around 4 to 5 percent,” Gray said. “It’s something I think that people don’t know what it is, and it’s hard to get interested in it because they don’t see it.

“So we’re trying to provide them more opportunities to do those things,” Gray said.

Twenty classes are offered during the camp, and students are encouraged to try as many out as they can, regardless of their preferences, Gray said.

“This isn’t something that’s easy to experience. They’re not subjects. Outside of biology and chemistry, [students] don’t really get to see that in high school. And I think that’s why this is a really good thing,” she said.

Millie Marshall, president of Toyota West Virginia, which is also a sponsor of the summer program, said getting young students interested in STEM fields is a way to improve the state as a whole.

“There is no better time than now for ambitious students to enter STEM-related fields as demand across our country rises in many areas,” Marshall said. “I learned early in my Toyota career about the importance of STEM and how it helps us continuously improve our safety and quality. I encourage students who are interested in STEM fields to learn the fundamentals, hone their skills and seek a mentor who can always help you improve. There’s no best way — only a better way of doing things.”

The camp ends Friday with a final project that will challenge students to design and build a cardboard canoe that can carry a student across the WVU-Tech swimming pool.

For more information on the camp, visit www.wvutech.edu.

Charleston Gazette Article: http://www.wvgazette.com/article/20140623/GZ01/140629761/1101

23 Jun

WCHS TV – June 23, 2014

MONTGOMERY, WV – High school students from around the state are at West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery this week exploring science, technology, engineering and mathematics through hands-on activities.

The camp offers students a chance to explore fields such as robotics, biology, forensics, civil and electrical engineering, computer programming, mathematics, chemistry and automobile technology, according to a news release from the university.

During the week-long camp, attendees participate in interactive, hands-on classes where they will manipulate genes in bacteria, create electrical circuits, document mock crime scenes, build lasers, program basic computer games, learn about EEGs or find out what it takes to build a bridge.

Dow employees will provide an interactive chemistry presentation and students will work in teams on the camp’s final project, the cardboard canoe. AT&T and DOW representatives will judge the competition, which challenges students to design and build a cardboard canoe that can carry a student across the WVU Tech swimming pool.

Camp attendees also will take a day-long field trip to visit the Green Bank Telescope and the Cass Scenic Railroad State Park.

This year, Camp STEM will welcome a group of Toyota Scholars – high school girls who are interested in studying STEM fields and will attend the camp on Toyota-sponsored scholarships.

The camp is made possible by contributions from AT&T, Toyota, DOW and AEP [American Electric Power Foundation].

23 Jun

WVU Tech students enrolled in 6 or more credit hours beginning Fall 2014 will be automatically enrolled in the WVU Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan. However, students who are already covered under a parent’s or spouse’s health insurance policy – or who have adequate health insurance coverage via another plan, including plans purchased through the West Virginia Insurance Exchange – may waive the student health insurance plan by answering a few simple questions.

The Student Health Insurance Waiver Application site is active and can be accessed at studentinsurance.wvu.edu.

Waiver applications must be completed NO LATER THAN August 8, 2014. Waiver applications will not be accepted after August 8, 2014.

For questions and complete information about student health insurance for WVU Tech students, please review the WVU Student Health Insurance website at studentinsurance.wvu.edu or contact the WVU Student Insurance Office at sio@mail.wvu.edu or 304.293.6815.

23 Jun
Optimized-Little Stars Group Shot 1

This week, 50 young basketball players will meet in Montgomery for the 2014 Little Stars Basketball Camp at the WVU Tech Baisi Athletic Center. Open to boys and girls ages 6-15, the camp runs from Monday, June 23 until Friday, June 27.

The camp offers basic individual improvement drills and features 3-on-3 play and 5-on-5 play in addition to 3-point and free-throw competitions for prizes. Attendees will focus on fundamentals such as shooting, dribbling and passing, defense and on-court attitude. Each camper will receive a basketball, Little Stars t-shirt, trophy, player photo and evaluation.

“We’re looking forward to the Little Stars Basketball Camp this summer. We enjoy working with youngsters to improve their knowledge and skills, and we promote a positive attitude that helps young players become winners on and off the court,” said camp director and WVU Tech men’s basketball head coach, Bob Williams.

Williams has coached the WVU Tech men’s basketball team for 12 seasons where he led the Golden Bears in a 2012 Mid-South Conference Championship season, posted back-to-back 20-win seasons from 2011 – 2013, and was named Mid-South Conference “Coach of the Year” in 2009. At camp, Coach Williams will be joined by assistant men’s basketball coach David Rawlinson (All-American ‘13), WVU Tech men’s basketball players and area coaches.

Camp days will run from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Friday.

[Photo: 2014 Little Stars Basketball Camp attendees and staff gather for a group shot.]

UPDATE – June 29, 2014

Check out photos from this year’s camp on the WVU Tech Flickr page.

19 Jun

Five WVU Tech communications projects were recognized at this year’s Public Relations Society of America Crystal Awards in Charleston on Wednesday, June 18.

Hosted at the Edgewood Country Club by the West Virginia chapter of the PRSA, the Crystal Awards recognize outstanding communications and public relations campaigns throughout the state.

The university received a Crystal Award for its 2013 “Holiday Celebration” card featuring a panoramic shot of WVU Tech staff, faculty, alumni and students enjoying holiday festivities. The photograph was taken by talented photographer Chris Gosses of Gosses Photography with art direction provided by WVU Tech Graphic Designer Katrina Baker. The card was released with an accompanying website and social media campaign detailing campus success stories from the year.

WVU Tech’s 2013 recruitment and USCAA National Soccer Tournament campaigns were also recognized, receiving honorable mentions in the categories of Integrated Communications and Special Events, respectively.

In addition to the Crystal Award, the university was selected for two Awards of Merit at the PRSA district Diamond Awards level for the 2012 “Recipe for Success” holiday card and 2012 Integrated Recruitment Campaign. The PRSA’s East Central District includes 16 PRSA chapters in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky.

Wednesday’s event recognized communications teams from a variety of industries and allowed groups to meet and share successful campaign stories.

“We’re a small team and we stay busy, so it’s nice to have a night to reflect on what we’ve accomplished over the last year and be in the company of so many highly respected communications professionals,” said Baker.

WVU Tech’s awards represent the work of University Relations team members Katrina Baker, Bok Kwee Toh, Tara Hines and WVU Tech student Angel Thompson.

WVU Tech’s 2013 “Holiday Celebration” card, winner of a 2014 PRSA Crystal Award.

WVU Tech’s 2012 “Recipe for Success” holiday card received a PRSA East Central District Award of Merit.

6 Jun

West Virginia University Institute of Technology received high marks on Payscale’s 2014 College Return on Investment Report, ranking in the top 10 percent of public schools in the nation for students paying in-state tuition and highest overall return on investment in West Virginia.

“This report shows what we already know – that an education from WVU Tech is a worthwhile endeavor. And our graduates are seeing more than financial benefits. Our students are educated in an inclusive and supportive environment that creates knowledgeable and civic-minded graduates,” said WVU Tech Campus President Carolyn Long.

Payscale, Inc., which collects an analyzes compensation data, releases an annual report that ranks institutions based on the financial gain a graduate can expect to see from an investment in a bachelor’s degree at that college. The ranking provides return on investment statistics for colleges and universities throughout the United States, including private schools and the Ivy League.

The report provides a number of statistics, including average starting salaries for ranked institutions. On average, graduates from the WVU System make $7,000-15,000 more in their starting salaries than graduates from other West Virginia institutions. Over 20 years, WVU Tech graduates can realize more than 2 and 1/2 times their return on investment than from non-WVU system institutions in the state.

Payscale also provides an annualized return on investment based on what graduates can expect to earn over 20 years. WVU Tech is nationally ranked #11 in annual return on investment (10.4%) in public schools for students paying in-state tuition. The annualized figure allows a graduate to compare their annual financial return to what they would see if they had invested in stocks or bonds rather than a degree.

The report relies on data collected from 1.4 million graduate compensation surveys and factors in the cost of attending college, financial aid and the average salary for high school graduates of the same age.

For the full report: wvute.ch/ROI2014

6 Jun

The West Virginia University Board of Governors approved tuition and fee schedules for the WVU system, including West Virginia University Institute of Technology, on Thursday, June 6.

Students attending WVU Tech will not pay more in academic program fees or on-campus housing for the 2014-2015 academic year. However, tuition will increase by four percent, an increase of $120 for in-state students and $288 for out-of-state students per semester.

“WVU Tech remains a wise and affordable investment. Our students receive high quality instruction with individualized attention on a close-knit campus from faculty and staff who genuinely care about student success,” shared Campus President Carolyn Long.

The value of a WVU Tech degree is nationally recognized. The institution received high marks on Payscale’s 2014 College Return on Investment Report, ranking in the top ten percent of public schools in the nation for students paying in-state tuition and highest overall return on investment in West Virginia.

Meal plan rates will also increase modestly by three percent, or approximately $50 per semester, as the new “Tech Spot” café opens in the fall to bring students additional dining options.

21 May

This week, a group of West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) students will make an 850-mile trip to Pittsburg, Kansas to participate in the 2014 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Baja series hosted at Pittsburg State University, May 22–25.

The WVU Tech SAE team and their Baja racing buggy will compete against more than 1,000 students in dynamic events such as a sled pull, suspension/traction course and a four-hour endurance race.

The team started work in January, installing a brand new transmission, mounting a suspension system, designing and cutting panes for the buggy’s body and fine-tuning the vehicle for its various performance tests.

“We’ve put a lot of work into the build, spent a lot of late nights working on the buggy. We’re learning a lot about welding, machining and design,” said WVU Tech SAE member, Jason Browning.

The WVU Tech buggy is equipped with a 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, weighs in at around 500 pounds and can reach a top speed of 25 mph. Built on the frame from last year’s competition, the buggy’s motor is the same model Briggs & Stratton donates to each team in the competition.

“SAE students build the buggy from top to bottom with a focus on the design process. The project is both an opportunity to practice the skills students are learning in the classroom and a chance to work on areas where they’re weakest,” said Dr. Winnie Fu, WVU Tech Assistant Professor of Engineering Technology.

The SAE Baja series consists of three competitions in April, May and June. Each competition features 100 schools and buggies undergo a rigorous technical inspection before they are permitted to compete. Teams also provide a cost report, design report and sales presentation where students pitch their project to fictional clients.

This year’s WVU Tech SAE sponsors include spark plug manufacturer NGK, Hidden Trails Motorsports, Jarvis Hardware, March Westin, CM&I Products, the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering at WVU Tech, the WVU Tech Student Government Association and a few dedicated parents.

“Our sponsors directly support the development of these future engineers,” said Dr. Fu. “SAE students are sought out by employers and often find work right out of school because of their technical and design abilities and the practical experience they get from these competitions.”

The SAE is always looking for new support. Interested sponsors can contact Dr. Fu at Winnie.Fu@mail.wvu.edu.

For more photos of the Baja buggy, visit WVU Tech on Flickr.

19 May

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014, great young minds in chemistry gathered in Charleston for the Kanawha Valley Section of the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) annual awards banquet.

The event recognized first and second-year high school chemistry students for their achievements in the 2014 ACS High School Chemistry Olympiad.

“We’ve got students who have excelled both in team and individual competitions. We’re here to recognize their outstanding achievements in chemistry and have some fun along the way,” said David Haas, Chemistry professor at the University of Charleston and President of the Kanawha Valley ACS section.

The ACS Chemistry Olympiad encourages achievement in high school chemistry. Students begin the Olympiad by taking an initial achievement (first-year students) or local (second-year students) exam. High-scoring students can then move on to the National exam and, if he or she does well, they may be one of the top four students in the nation that will represent the United States in the International Chemistry Olympiad in Hanoi, Vietnam this July.

Olympiad participants took initial exams at WVU Tech, West Virginia State University and the University of Charleston in March. Four top-scoring students from Oak Hill, George Washington and Riverside high schools visited WVU Tech in late April to take the national exam, administered by Dr. Rana Jisr, WVU Tech professor and local Olympiad coordinator.

At Tuesday’s event, top finishers in the local and achievement exams were awarded WVU Tech scholarships. George Washington High School student, Jay Sheth, received the first-place scholarship award. Jacob Pino of Oak Hill High School and Capitol High School’s Issac Liu took home second and third scholarship awards, respectively.

“Congratulations to all of the awardees and to all of the wonderful teachers whose results are these intelligent students,” said Dr. Z. Torbica, Dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech. “And, of course, congratulations to the parents for supporting these students and helping them to succeed.”

In addition to dinner and the awards ceremony, attendees participated in an interactive chemistry presentation from Dr. Hasan El-Rifai, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physical Sciences at WVU Tech.

Visit the ACS website to learn more about the Chemistry Olympiad, and check out WVU Tech on Flickr to see photos from this year’s awards event.

[Photo: Students (from left to right) Logan Flint, Chris Kelly, Dhruva Gupta and Arka Gupta visit WVU Tech to take the ACS Chemistry Olympiad National exam on April 25, 2014.]

12 May

WVU Tech Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadets Ashley Burns, Christopher Jenkins and Tori Bragg were recognized for their contributions to the program at an ROTC event at the WVU Tech Student Center on Friday, April 25.

Cadet Burns received the National Sojourners Award for patriotism and excellence while Cadet Bragg was recognized with the Superior Cadet Decoration Award – the second highest Army medal awarded to ROTC cadets – for high academic standing and demonstrated officer potential. Cadet Jenkins received the Scottish Freemasonry Award for high academic standing and outstanding contributions in extracurricular activities or community projects.

Cadets from the University of Charleston, West Virginia State University and Glenville State College were also recognized at the event.

Though the spring semester is over, ROTC instructor Staff Sgt. Timothy Hatcher said many cadets will travel to Fort Knox, Kentucky to undergo additional training during the summer months. Sophomore students can attend a Leaders Training Course (LTC) to gain firsthand military life and leadership experience, while junior-year cadets will attend a month-long, intensive Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). The LDAC trains and evaluates cadets on their skills in navigation, tactics, first aid, weapons training and cultural awareness while assessing the cadet’s potential to become an Army officer.

West Virginia State University serves as the host school for the local Army ROTC program, which includes the University of Charleston, Glenville State College and WVU Tech. Students interested in ROTC can visit the program’s website or contact Recruiting Operations Officer, Bill Kinsey by email or at 304-766-3295.

[Photo: From left to right, Pvt. Tori Bragg, Pvt. Christopher Gonzales, Cadet Christopher Jenkins, ROTC instructor Staff Sgt. Timothy Hatcher, Cadet Kodie Halstead, Pvt. Deonte Hill and Cadet Ashley Burns attend a recognition dinner on April 25, 2014.]

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