3 Feb
Girls Day

On Tuesday, February 3, a dozen student and staff volunteers from the WVU Tech Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, Or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME) joined more than 200 middle and high school girls in the state’s Capitol Complex for the inaugural Girls’ Day at the Legislature.

Sponsored by the West Virginia Women’s Commission and the Girl Scouts of the Black Diamond, the first-ever Girls’ Day was organized to allow young women from around the state to meet with legislators, speak in a youth forum, hear from guest speakers and sit in on a live legislative session. The event brought in students from 18 West Virginia counties.

AWESOME, a group dedicated to supporting students in STEM fields and sharing STEM science with girls in grades K-12, set up a series of activity stations in support of the event. Participants built towers using marshmallows and spaghetti noodles, crafted keychains that spelled out their names in hexadecimal computer code, learned about automobile systems and explored the principles behind chromatography as they tie-dyed AWESOME t-shirts.

Girls Day 2 Girls’ Day visitors build bridges and towers out of marshmallows and spaghetti noddles.

Volunteers also shared their experiences studying STEM disciplines at the college level and encouraged attendees to chase those careers that interest them, no matter the field.

“AWESOME was excited and honored to participate in the Girls’ Day at the Legislature,” said Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph, AWESOME advisor and professor in the WVU Tech department of Computer Science and Information Systems.

“One of our primary goals is to help recruit and retain future generations of women into the STEM fields. Currently, the number of women in STEM is extremely low and, through events like this, we hope to assist young women in discovering the wonderful world of STEM and the possibilities for them within these fields.”

Libby Salyers, a language arts teacher at Logan Middle School, brought 23 students to the event, where they heard from students their age in the youth forum, toured a C-SPAN media bus and visited with AWESOME. She said the trip was a hit.

“Some students in our group had never been to Charleston before,” she said. “We get to bring these students here to experience a place that many of us take for granted. It’s an important opportunity for them to see other young ladies who share their interests. If they like science, math and technology, they’re not alone. If they’re interested in what our leadership has to say, they’re not alone.”

AWESOME will be continuing the group’s momentum throughout the month, where they will feature a guest speaker from the Ford Motor Company on Thursday, February 12, and will participate in Discover Engineering Day at the Clay Center on Saturday, February 21, to kick off National Engineers Week.

Check out photos from Girls’ Day on Flickr.

21 Jan

Nearly 30 WVU Tech students volunteered their time and talents to three different local service projects during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service on Monday, January 19.

In Charleston, a group of students spent the day preparing and serving food at Manna Meal, which offers free meals to the area’s hungry seven days a week. Volunteers spent the day cleaning and setting up dining areas, prepping and serving food, and spending time with those who stopped by for a meal.

WVU Tech Electrical Engineering student Felipe Sozinho was among the group.

“I have been wanting to get involved with community service activities for a long time now and this was a good opportunity to get started. Events like this help us grow as a person. They allows us to realize that it is a tough world out there, so we need to be grateful for the opportunities we have and help others whenever we can,” he said.

“Serving others allows you to see how other people live and what affects them,” said Emily Sands, WVU Tech’s Director of Student Activities. “It helps us realize that, while we may take things like eating three meals a day for granted, there are many people that are thankful to receive just one hot meal a day.”

taylor At the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Society shelter, WVU Tech student Taylor Miltenberger spends time with a dog in need of a home.

A second group of students headed to the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association animal shelter in Charleston, where they helped to re-organize storage areas and spent time walking and playing with the shelters dogs and cats.

When accounting major Hunter Moles heard about the project, he knew it would be a great way to give back.

“I signed up to help the shelter because I love animals and know how hard the shelter works. Volunteers and donations are what keep it running,” he said. “Students should get involved as much as possible. It is a great thing to do not only for yourself, but for those organizations that need help.”

In Montgomery, WVU Tech students teamed up with students from BridgeValley Community and Technical College and volunteers from the Morris Creek Watershed Association. The three organizations have been working together to design and test methods to treat acid mine drainage and improve water quality in the nearby Morris Creek watershed.

Volunteers removed litter along the creek, toured MCWA’s ongoing projects to improve stream quality and helped to add limestone to mitigation ponds and Nelson tanks, which help to neutralize acid mine drainage in the stream. The group also cleaned the MCWA’s headquarters and installed a wood-burning stove so that the building could keep operating in the cold winter months.

Biology professor Dr. Deborah Beutler said that the day’s activities served as a learning opportunity for students, some of whom were unfamiliar with creek and its history.

“When they come to the watershed, they learn about the threats to the creek, how those threats are being addressed and how the creek has improved because of the efforts of the MCWA,” she said. “But most importantly, they learn that concerned citizens can make a difference.”

Sands said that service opportunities like these are an extension of WVU Tech’s goal to create well-rounded, civic-minded graduates.

“WVU Tech offers these opportunities to our students to help them understand that the world is a large place made up of a lot of different kinds of people, and that we need to help those in need. Our students are attending college to improve their lives and society. This is just a reminder that people and animals from all different walks of life need help.”

For students interested in volunteer opportunities, West Virginia’s Commission for National and Community Service, Volunteer West Virginia, is a good starting point. WVU Tech also sponsors an alternative Spring Break each year that pairs student volunteers up with Habitat for Humanity to work on a local project.

15 Jan

Comedian Adam Grabowski Returns to WVU Tech

Zachary | January 15th, 2015

The WVU Tech Student Activities Board will host comedian Adam Grabowski on Thursday, January 15 at 7:30 p.m. in the WVU Tech Center Ballroom.

Best known for his humorous charts and Disney-themed jokes, the 27-year-old comedian has headlined more than 400 college shows in 42 states and often gives small gifts – such as slap bracelets and Fruit Gushers candy – to his audience.

Adam’s humorous observations on life and animated style have earned him a number of accolades on the college comedy circuit. Campus Activities Magazine has ranked him #1 among comedians four years running and he was named comic of the year in 2013. In 2014, the magazine selected Adam as runner-up for Entertainer of the Year.

Thursday’s visit will mark the comedian’s second trip to Montgomery. He first performed at WVU Tech in the fall of 2011. Visit Adam’s website for more information and to see performance clips.

Adam’s visit is one of the many SAB activities planned for the semester, including the current SAB skiing trip season, which runs every Wednesday in January and on February 5 and 12. Keep an eye on the WVU Tech Calendar for more upcoming events.

15 Dec

Internships are a major part of the learning experience at WVU Tech. As real-world working experiences, they provide a level of professional development and workplace readiness employers value in college graduates.

WVU Tech student Haley Pauley knows that value firsthand.

Originally from Milton, West Virginia, Pauley will graduate this month, finishing her degree a semester early. She came to WVU Tech to chase a career in nursing, but changed her major to Health Services Administration after she quickly found herself drawn to the business side of healthcare.

“I want to help people, and I’m fascinated with the way hospitals and healthcare policy works,” she said.

Pauley has led an active campus life, playing volleyball, working as a Resident Assistant, and serving as treasurer of the WVU Tech Student Healthcare Association. Off-campus, she coaches two volleyball club teams in Charleston while working a part-time job.

As with all students in the WVU Tech College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences, Pauley had to balance that busy life with an internship as part of her degree path. In 2013, she applied to the prestigious West Virginia Governor’s Internship Program, where she was selected to work in the Health Policy Unit of the West Virginia Offices of the Insurance Commissioner in Charleston.

She enjoyed the internship experience so much that she successfully reapplied for the position in 2014 and spent another summer working for the Health Policy Unit as part of her senior capstone project.
During her 2014 internship, Pauley took on a variety of duties and responsibilities where she regularly attended meetings, conducted research on health insurance and the Affordable Care Act, produced newsletters and worked with other departments on malpractice and workers compensation paperwork.

She also helped to enter survey information that showed trends in healthcare throughout the state, participated in weekly calls with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to share and compare initiatives with states like Hawaii and New York, and attended meetings with practicing physicians to discuss how they were rolling out new programs in their hospitals.

“The health policy unit kept me very involved and I got to be part of some pretty exciting things,” she said. “If there was a meeting, I went. If there was something that needed to be worked on, I got to see how it was handled. I learned a lot about how health insurance works and why it’s so important, and that’s something that’s going to play a big part in my career.”

Dr. Janis Rezek, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the WVU Tech Department of Social Sciences & Public Administration, said that Pauley’s internship is a prime example of why the practice is so important.

“To me, an internship solidifies everything that students have learned and it shows them where their strengths and weaknesses are. It’s such an essential, hands-on part of the experience here and many of these experiences lead to full-time employment,” she said.

As a requirement for the senior capstone course, Pauley submitted an in-depth portfolio detailing her experience in the internship, which included everything from meeting and research notes, photos and newsletters to an activity log and detailed descriptions of the events she attended.

“They really put her to work in a lot of different areas and she earned a great deal of experience,” said Rezek. “That’s the kind of thing we like to see in our internships. We put interns in hospitals, non-profits, government agencies and prisons all over the state because it exposes them to so many different experiences.”

With her capstone finished and graduation just days away, Pauley has already started the process of applying to jobs with the state government. She wants to stay in the Charleston area and eventually complete a master’s degree.

She said her training at WVU Tech and in the Governor’s Internship Program have given her confidence as she prepares to take on life after college.

“The jobs I’m applying for want people with experience,” she said. “If I hadn’t done these internships, I wouldn’t have any kind of experience and that’s really something jobs are pushing for. If you don’t have experience, an internship is a great way to get some before you go out into your career.”

“I feel ready for this,” she said.

8 Dec

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 were up to in November:

Andrea Kent, Ph.D. (Political Science), presented a research paper, “Democracy and the Winner-Loser Effect: A Comparative Study of the Americas,” at the Northeastern Political Science Association’s 46th Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts in mid-November. Her paper was part of a panel of papers on Latin American Politics.

Dr. Kent said she is grateful to the WVU Tech College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences for helping fund her trip to the NPSA conference: “This is a tremendous opportunity to share my research agenda with the political science community and to get high-quality peer feedback on my project as I work towards publication,” she said.

Mark Jones, (Sports Studies) gave two presentations – “ABC’s of Negligence” and “Branding Your Organization Through Social Media” (with WVU Tech senior sport management student, Aquila Fox) – at the 2014 West Virginia Association for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance Convention on November 1.

Dr. Janis Rezek (Sociology), Dr. Mark Wilson (Economics), Dr. Martha Maus (Spanish) and Dr. Andrea Kent (Political science) were selected by the West Virginia Consortium for Faculty and Course Development for International Studies (FACDIS) to attend the annual faculty development workshop in Morgantown, West Virginia, November 6-7. Tom McGraw (Health Services Administration) was also selected, but was unable to attend.

This year’s workshop, entitled Global Climate Change: Science Meets Society, focused on different ways to approach the issue of climate change in the classroom. Dr. Kent attended the panel “Climate Change and Security: Research, Policy, and Teaching,” led by Dr. Idean Salehyan from the University of North Texas. Dr. Wilson’s panel was headed by Dr. Kendra Sweeney from The Ohio State University, entitled “Climate Worlds: Geographies of a Changing Planet.” Drs. Rezek and Maus attended the panel “Living Climate Change: Using Anthropological Encounters and Actions in Teaching,” headed by Dr. Susan Crate from George Mason University.

The purpose of FACDIS is to provide resources and training to university faculty members and secondary school teachers in the state in order to add and expand upon international content in the classroom. Find out more about FACDIS.

3 Dec
Nester-Thornton From left to right: Ed Robinson, Stafford Thornton, Susan Nester, and Dr. Steven Leftwich exchange a check issued from the Nester-Thornton Civil Engineering Faculty Endowment.

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.

2 Dec

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.

18 Nov

Image Literary Magazine Launches 2014 Issue

Zachary | November 18th, 2014

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.

17 Nov

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.”

15172422133_9710883cf8_z Hall of Fame inductee Mike Morrison, ‘64, shares stories from his years at 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.”

15179135963_37da6dffec_z Students scale a climbing wall during Saturday’s tailgate.

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.

15620539887_8eaa532d8d_z Golden Bears posted wins in wrestling and basketball during Homecoming weekend.

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.

17 Nov

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.

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