14 Apr

In early April, West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) student W. Blake Engels traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut to showcase his research at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference at the University of Bridgeport. He didn’t come home empty-handed.

A mechanical engineering student at WVU Tech, Engels won third place in the undergraduate student paper competition for his paper, “Principal and Preliminary Calculation of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion,” a study on an energy production method known as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).

“OTEC is a renewable energy source that does not involve the use of fossil fuels,” said Engels. “Essentially, it works by employing an ocean’s natural thermal reservoir to produce work.”

The paper was written as part of an Applied Thermodynamics course taught by WVU Tech professor Dr. Farshid Zabihian last fall. Dr. Zabihian’s courses require students to complete a research project, and the professor encourages students to showcase those projects whenever possible.

“Dr. Zabihian is good about pushing his students to conduct research and attend engineering conferences. He encouraged me to go to this conference and it was a great experience,” Engels said. “Through his influence, students feel empowered to share their work.”

Of the 230 research papers submitted to the conference, WVU Tech students provided 13 papers on topics ranging from small-scale water turbines and natural gas compressor efficiency to electric motorcycles and spaceflight design. WVU Tech papers received two nominations, including Engels’ third-place finish.

For Engels, the trip north was worth the chance to represent WVU Tech and meet with other engineering students.

“For me, this was a great accomplishment. Engineering school is consistently difficult and challenging. If you keep your eye on the ball and work hard, success will be a side effect,” he said.

Engels plans to continue his research on OTEC and is considering summer research projects to take on as he prepares to enter his senior year at WVU Tech.

10 Apr

The WVU Tech International Student Organization (ISO) will bring the campus community together to share meals from around the world as they host the annual ISO dinner on Thursday, April 17 from 4 – 6 p.m. in the Bears Den.

The event will feature 13 dishes from nine different countries. Students will prepare the meals themselves, introducing dishes such as Brazilian pao de queijo (cheese rolls), Scottish shortbread, Spanish paella, Australian Anzac biscuits, Venezuelan arepa (flat bread) or Virgin Island pea soup. The ISO will also ornament the Bears Den in international decorations and attendees can win prizes by participating in trivia and other activities.

ISO President Joe Jackson said the popular event is an experience both new and nostalgic.

“It reminds international students of the dishes they are familiar with in their home country and it provides a unique taste of different cultures for students who attend the dinner. It’s a big fan favorite and allows students to share a little bit of home,” he said.

In previous years, the ISO hosted the meal in the WVU Tech Ballroom. Bringing the event to the Bears Den will give the group an opportunity to serve more students.

“We hope that by putting on the dinner, students, faculty and staff will be able to have a more global experience,” said WVU Tech Resident Director Michael Sheldon. “It’s one of my favorite events and brings out a lot of students to experience foods and cultures they may not have heard of before.”

The dinner is just one part of International Student Week at WVU Tech. The ISO will team up with the Student Activities Board to show the French film “Amelie” on Tuesday evening and the organization is working on other events throughout the week.

WVU Tech fosters an inclusive, diverse campus and its student body represents more than 20 countries.

9 Apr

Golden Bears Dress for Success

Zachary | April 9th, 2014

On Monday, April 14, WVU Tech students, faculty and staff will show attendees what – and what not – to wear to job interviews in the 2014 Dress for Success Fashion Show.

Student models will receive support from staff mentors in pulling clothing from their own wardrobes to demonstrate appropriate interview attire. Faculty and staff participants will show off “what not to wear” for an interesting and humorous twist to the event.

“We think this event will be a fun and entertaining way to demonstrate some of the “dos and don’ts” of how to dress for success and make a positive impression on future employers,” said WVU Tech Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli.

The show is part of WVU Tech’s effort to provide professional development opportunities that prepare students for the transition into the workforce.

“First impressions are everything,” said WVU Tech criminal justice major, Dan Eisenberg. “If a student can have the means to walk into an interview and make a positive first impression before they open their mouths, that’s powerful.”

Janet Cunningham, a third-year biology major at WVU Tech, has attended a number of professional development events on campus and said the fashion show is a welcome addition.

“This semester, students have had the opportunity to learn about business etiquette and what to expect from a job interview. Learning how to dress the part is just another piece of the puzzle,” she said.

The show kicks off Monday, April 14 at 12:00 p.m. in the Bears Den. Radio personality Morgan Robinson of Electric 102.7’s morning show will serve as emcee.

Dress for Success Fashion Show Participants:

Dean Richard Carpinelli
Paul Rakes
Barb Douglas
Sam Gardner
Matt Williamson
Ranjith Munasinghe
Dean Zeljko Torbica
Stephanie Kot
Ashley Ziegle

Haley Pauley
Dan Eisenberg
Jenn Lyons
Chedli Ben Hassine
Deonte Hill
Sydney Shaffer
Janet Cunningham
Rob Leibel
Amy Haddix

9 Apr

WVU Tech students are participating in a Habitat for Humanity Shack-a-Thon, a week-long fundraising event that exposes students to some of the realities of housing insecurity.

Organized by WVU Tech resident assistants, Zach Carnahan and Dan Eisenberg, Shack-a-Thon is designed to raise cash donations for Habitat for Humanity and increase awareness around homelessness and housing insecurity among students as they spend a week with only some plywood or cardboard between them and the elements.

“In the United States, it is estimated that 48.5 million people are living in poverty and are struggling to find stable housing,” said Carnahan. “We just want to do our part to try to help these people.”

Participating organizations were given eight hours to build their shelters using only scrap wood, cardboard and tarps. Students are allowed no electricity during the event – although there are a few battery-powered radios – and shelters are manned around the clock.

“Of course we’re having some fun during the day or in between classes, but at night, or when it rains, it gets pretty real,” said WVU Tech freshman Robert “Ranger” Patterson. “Having to deal with this every day would be devastating.”

Other groups are chipping in, and local response has been positive. The WVU Tech theatre department donated old set materials that Phi Kappa Tau used to make their shack. A local family stopped by with cookies and spent time speaking with participating students.

Nearly 40 students from Phi Kappa Tau, Sigma Pi, WVU Tech men’s soccer and the WVU Tech wrestling team have participated in the event.

“Since we’re a small school, we thought it might be tough to get organizations to come out and participate. But so far, we’ve had a lot of students committed to the project,” said Eisenberg.

The event raised $40 in its first two days and students will be accepting donations until the closing ceremony on Friday, April 11 at 7:00 p.m.

Check out photos from Shack-a-Thon on the WVU Tech Flickr page.

8 Apr

West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) students Haylie Ballard and Tanner Boster were awarded Contractors Association of West Virginia (CAWV) Scholarships during the 35th Annual West Virginia Construction and Design Exposition in Charleston.

First-place scholarship winner and WVU Tech junior civil engineering student Haylie Ballard is an active member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Organization where she has served as Secretary her sophomore and junior years. She regularly participates in events such as Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, ASCE Section Meetings and the ASCE Virginias Conferences.

Haylie interns with the Columbia Pipeline Group in Charleston and spends her free time playing sports and spending time with friends and family.

WVU Tech civil engineering major Tanner Boster was awarded the second-place CAWV scholarship. A graduate of Hurricane High School, Tanner maintains a strong desire to work in the construction industry and has engaged in part-time and summer work as an accomplished finish and framing carpenter.

Tanner’s work in general construction has given him an insight into civil engineering and construction that most students have not yet experienced. In addition to his work experience, Tanner has attained the rank of Eagle Scout in the scouting program.

WVU Tech would like to congratulate Haylie and Tanner on their scholarship awards. Keep up the great work, Golden Bears!

3 Apr

This March, members of the WVU Tech women’s soccer team participated in the Tap Project, a digital campaign designed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to raise funds and provide clean water access to children around the world.

The viral campaign worked by tracking the minutes a user would intentionally leave their phone untouched. A timer would count the minutes and provide interesting statistics about Tap Project users or social media post volumes around the world. For every ten minutes a user left their phone alone, the project’s national sponsor, Giorgio Armani, donated enough to cover a day of clean water.

“It started as something the team would participate in during practice. The girls would line their phones up and let the website run,” said WVU Tech Assistant Coach Stephanie Kot. “After that, they took it upon themselves to participate outside of practice, in study hall, during their free time and even late in the evening.”

“For a while we, as a team, have looked for something positive, helpful and unique that we could all do and I think this presented a great opportunity for us,” said WVU Tech student Sierrah Soto.

In just one week, the 11 participating WVU Tech students logged enough minutes to cover 889 days of donations – nearly two and a half years of clean water access for a child in need.

“It was a simple challenge,” said Coach Kot. “Can you put your phone down for ten minutes and help somebody else in the world?”

And it seems the challenge was accepted. According to UNICEF, the project logged in more than 200 million minutes.

3 Apr

This week, West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) students and faculty members will travel to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville to compete in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2014 Virginias Student Conference April 3 – 6.

In all, 19 WVU Tech students will compete in six events, showcasing skills in research, engineering and construction as they contend with hundreds of students from schools in Virginia, West Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area.

“The conference is an important opportunity for students to meet students from other universities and regional professionals who they may be working with after college,” said WVU Tech Civil Engineering professor Dr. Tigra Yang. “These competitions teach students to work together and it gives them practical engineering and presentation experience.”

WVU Tech will compete in the popular concrete canoe competition which tasks students with designing, constructing and racing a concrete vessel that is both effective on the water and in engineering design. Students began preparation in the fall and will provide a paper and presentation on their project in addition to racing the canoe.

The steel bridge competition asks students to construct a 1:10 scale steel bridge that will be load-tested and judged on weight, construction speed, economy, structural efficiency, and display. Working within the bounds of a 40-page rulebook, the WVU Tech team began the project at the beginning of the semester.

WVU Tech will also enter student research in the Hardy Cross Cup and Marr Technical Paper competitions. Civil engineering student Rachel Facemire will present her research paper “Geosynthetic Reinforced Soil-Integrated Bridge Systems,” a study on a new engineering method that makes short-span bridge construction cheaper, faster and more efficient.

Additional WVU Tech teams will present storm water runoff management plans in the environmental competition and test their observation and measurement skills in the surveying competition.

“We have strong teams all around and we’re expecting to do very well this year,” said Dr. Yang. “Most importantly, we’ll present ourselves well and let everyone know what WVU Tech can do.”

WVU Tech would like to congratulate participating students on their hard work and wish them the best of luck at this week’s conference. Go Golden Bears!

2 Apr

The Student Success Center (SSC) at West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) will celebrate its first anniversary on Friday, April 4, 2014. The SSC gives WVU Tech students an academic edge by providing a quiet place to study, grab a bite to eat or participate in services such as free peer tutoring, freshman advisement or skill-building workshops.

“In its first year of operation, the Student Success Center has proven to be a game-changer for how we serve students on campus,” said WVU Tech Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli. “The SSC provides a wide range of educational resources for all WVU Tech students and has become one of the most popular places on campus.”

And indeed it has – in its first year of operation, the SSC has seen to more than 10,000 visitors and its new Vending Café has served more than 5,000 meals, averaging more than 200 meals per week.

In its second semester of operation, the SSC saw an increase in free peer tutoring participation. With 14 tutors on hand covering topics ranging from math and chemistry to English and psychology, it’s easy to see why.

The SSC also hosts a variety of presentations and seminars throughout the semester that provide advice on time management, effective reading tactics, financial information, stress relief and note-taking.

For freshman, the SSC has been a particular boon. The first-time freshman retention rate from Fall 2014 to Spring 2014 was at its highest in five years and is attributable to the SSC’s focus on providing advice and registration assistance for first-time freshman.

To celebrate its anniversary and a year of outstanding student success, the SSC will host a gathering on April 4, 2014 at 1 p.m. Visitors can enjoy cake and enter a drawing for a 2014-2015 parking permit.

[Photo at top by Rick Lee Photography]

1 Apr

WVU Tech’s campus leadership role, formally known as the Transitional Campus Executive Officer (CEO), has changed to Campus President.

The result of the passage of Senate Bill 483 during the legislative session, the title change aims to provide consistency within higher education naming conventions and eliminate confusion.

The title change affects both WVU Tech and Potomac State College leadership positions and, with approval from West Virginia University President Gordon Gee, took effect on Tuesday, April 1.

WVU Tech students, faculty and staff gathered in the Bears Den this afternoon to celebrate President Long’s announcement.

“We know you prefer to shine the spotlight on your students, but it is only fitting that today the spotlight shine on you,” said President Gee in a letter to WVU Tech President Carolyn Long. “Your commitment to education is one that I value and respect. And I thank you for your dedication to this University and your students.”

For President Long, the new title doesn’t change her outlook on her work at WVU Tech. As she shared in her comments to the campus during today’s celebration, “I’m no different today than I was yesterday. What an honor it is to be here with the people that help us do everything we do here but, most importantly, the real reason I’m here is each and every one of you.”

“I am honored to be a member of the WVU Tech community and to continue our efforts to recruit, retain, and rebuild,” she said in an email to WVU Tech faculty and staff. “We will work together to continue our commitment to students and the high quality of education and service they receive.”

Check out a video from today’s announcement on Instagram.

PICTURED ABOVE: Campus President Carolyn Long hugs SGA President Amy Haddix at the campus celebration while Dining Services Director David Templeton serves cake to guests.

31 Mar

Author and professional speaker, Emily Bennington presented at West Virginia University Institute of Technology (WVU Tech) on Thursday, March 27.

Author of “Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out, and Move Up at Your First Real Job,” Bennington is the founder of AWAKE EXEC mindful leadership coaching for women and has led training programs for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

Her presentation, “What Your First Boss Wants You to Know,” provided advice for students entering into the workforce and discussed topics such as building personal credibility and integrating into established work teams.

“Students can be intentional about establishing their reputation and hit the ground running from day one,” said Bennington. “We talk about how to manage the anxiety associated with transitioning into the career field and how anxiety about the future prevents us from showing up in the present.”

Bennington also asked students to identify the values they want to live by and provided advice on how to apply those values in the workplace.

“It’s about figuring out who it is that you want to be professionally and living in alignment with those values every day,” she said. “When you do that well, you’re on the fast-track. When you’re on the fast track, the sky’s the limit for your career.”

“Emily’s visit is part of our effort to offer our students career development opportunities,” said WVU Tech Dean of Students Richard Carpinelli. “This type of training will help prepare students for the workforce and ensure continued success long after their days at WVU Tech.”

For more information, visit Emily’s website and check out photos from Thursday’s presentation on WVU Tech’s Flickr page.

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