5 Sep

Young football fans will have an opportunity to exhibit their football skills as WVU Tech sports studies students and faculty host a local NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition on Saturday, September 20, 2014 from 8 a.m. until noon at WVU Tech’s Martin Field. The competition is free and open to boys and girls ages 6-15.

The popular event allows youngsters to showcase their talents with a single punt, pass and kick, and competitors are scored on distance and accuracy.

The top finishers from each age group at the local competition will advance to a sectional competition. Winners at the sectional competition will have their scores compared with other sectional champions. The top four scorers from the pool of sectional champions will advance to participate at an NFL game.

Entry forms are available at NFLPPK.com or at registration on the day of the event. Participants should wear comfortable athletic attire and gym shoes (no football shoes, turf shoes or cleats). To find out more about competition rules and age classifications, visit http://www.nflppk.com/competition_rules.

The event will be hosted rain or shine. Contact Mark Jones at 304-444-1926 or by email at mark.jones@mail.wvu.edu for more information.

Update – September 22, 2014

The NFL PP&K event brought in nearly 40 area players to showcase their football skills on WVU Tech’s Martin Field.

Four of those participants will move on to the sectional NFL Punt, Pass & Kick competition on Saturday, October 18 at the University of Charleston’s Laidley Field.

A dozen WVU Tech sports studies students hosted Saturday’s event, which met with outstanding weather.

“It was a great day to work with these young athletes and an excellent opportunity for WVU Tech students to connect with the community,” said WVU Tech physical education professor Mark Jones, who organized the event.

2 Sep

There is a village just outside of Jérémie, Haiti the locals call Premiere Source. It’s a small jungle town 1,400 miles and two flights from Montgomery, West Virginia, and it’s where WVU Tech civil engineering student Nathan McNeil called home for two months this summer.

Nathan traveled to the Caribbean nation as part of a missionary program run by the Gateway Christian Church in Saint Albans, West Virginia. The program sends volunteers to Haiti every few months where they maintain a church and a school that services 150 children sponsored by U.S. families. Some volunteers also provide medical services in clinics around Jérémie.

“I arrived with a group in May, and we started construction on a building to add classrooms to our school. The group left after a week, but I stayed there with a friend for the next two months to work on the building every day and help take care of the people in our village,” said Nathan.

DSCN0517 WVU Tech student Nathan McNeil visits with Premiere Source residents outside of Jérémie, Haiti.

According to World Bank, a United Nations lending institution, Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. Nearly 80 percent of the nation’s 10 million inhabitants live on less than $2 a day, and Haitians face threats of widespread famine and infectious disease.

“These people fight every day to survive. There is no work in the city, so people are trying to survive by learning agriculture,” he said. “How strong these people are to live like they do every day amazes me.”

During his visit, Nathan spent time connecting with the young residents of Premiere Source. A member of the WVU Tech men’s basketball team, he brought his love for the game with him to Haiti, where he built a basketball hoop and mounted it to a tree in the village. In a country where soccer is the sport of choice, Nathan said he was surprised to find so many people interested in the game.

“Three days a week, I invited anyone around to come learn about the game,” he said. “More and more people came to play every week, and I taught them the basics like dribbling, shooting and how to play a game against one another. By the end of my time there, I had so many people asking me to play that I left five basketballs at the school.”

DSCN0827 McNeil shares shooting pointers with young players in Premiere Source.

Nathan said he learned more than a few valuable lessons during his time in Haiti. While walking through the village to say his goodbyes, he said he couldn’t help but see the stark contrast between the world he was leaving and the one he was returning to 1,400 miles away.

“I realized how much these people needed us and how much I needed them. There are people who would risk their lives just to have the little things that are given to us,” he said. “This was one of the toughest things I’ve done, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It’s important for us to help others fighting to survive.”

Since his return, Nathan has been in contact with village leaders through Facebook. He said the new building is progressing, and the school children are still practicing the basketball skills he left behind, with older students playing regular three-on-three games.

26 Aug

The Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences and the WVU College of Business and Economics signed an agreement establishing a 4+1 MBA degree pathway on Tuesday, August 26.

The pathway program will allow WVU Tech engineering, engineering technology, computer science and information systems students to complete a WVU Tech Bachelor of Science and a WVU Masters of Business Administration degree in a five-year period.

Students pursuing the pathway will complete their B.S. at WVU Tech. Those students who meet prerequisite requirements, maintain a GPA of 3.0 and score at least 600 on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will be guaranteed admission into the WVU MBA program.

“WVU Tech graduates are sought after by employers for their experience-focused education and work-ready professionalism,” said WVU Tech Campus President Carolyn Long. “This pathway program offers a seamless route for students to combine their WVU Tech education with WVU’s distinguished MBA and positions graduates to enter into their careers at a level where they can further impact business and industry in West Virginia and beyond.”

Pathway students will receive the benefit of GMAT preparation materials, opportunities to apply for graduate scholarships and access to the WVU College of Business and Economics Career Services Center. Eligible students may also take approved MBA elective courses during their undergraduate studies, thereby reducing their graduate credit requirements.

Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean of the WVU College of Business and Economics, said the pathway will give engineering graduates a competitive edge.

“Students coming from engineering programs at WVU Tech and WVU can add to their technical base some business credentials. These are two degrees that are extremely valuable in the marketplace, and there’s no question that this is a combination employers want to see,” he said.

Explore WVU Tech’s degree programs at wvutech.edu, or find out more about WVU’s top-ranked MBA program at be.wvu.edu/mba.

Photo: (Left to Right) Carolyn Long, WVU Tech Campus President; Dr. Jose V. Sartarelli, Milan Puskar Dean of the WVU College of Business and Economics; Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, Dean of the WVU Tech Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences; Dr. William Allen, WVU Tech Provost; Dr. Elizabeth Vitullo, Director of Masters Programs for the WVU College of Business and Economics.

25 Aug

WVU Tech Recognizes Scholarship Recipients

Zachary | August 25th, 2014
Scholarship Group

On Friday, August 22, WVU Tech recognized more than 50 scholarship recipients at a luncheon hosted in the Student Success Center. During the event, students wrote messages to donors, signed a thank-you banner and heard from Campus President Carolyn Long.

Mary Cunningham, a nursing student at WVU Tech, attended the event. Mary, who balances her studies with an externship at the CAMC Memorial Hospital cardiac catheterization lab and a busy family life with five brothers and sisters, was awarded the Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship for full-time nursing students. She said the scholarship will allow her to concentrate on finishing out her senior year.

Scholarship 2 Students write thank-you cards to scholarship donors.

“This is a real blessing. I want to be a nurse and a servant to the community, and this will help me get there when I may not have been able to otherwise,” she said. “It’s also helping my classmates – who are mothers, full-time workers and students – continue to be amazing.”

President Long said students like Mary are why scholarship funding is so important.

“Our scholarship program is much more than financial support. Awarding a scholarship shows faith and trust in our students, encourages continued academic success and enables students to focus on an education that will allow them to change their very futures,” she said.

View more photos on Flickr.

WVU Tech would like to thank our scholarship donors for their investment in our students and congratulate the following scholarship recipients:

Adam Westwick – Alan M. and Evelyn G. Simmons Scholarship
Alexandra Flores – William A. Bragg Scholarship
Allison Kincaid – Brigit Laird Memorial Nursing Scholarship
Andrew Thaxton – Bryan Bills Scholarship
Brandon Cole – James Edward “Eddie” Kenyon Memorial Scholarship
Brandon Frazier – Westmoreland Coal Scholarship
Brendon Rankou – Thad Epps Memorial Scholarship/Richard C. Flint Scholarship
Brittany Doran – Hungate-Thyuson Civil Engineering Scholarship
Brittany Doyle – Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship
Bryana Christian – Brigit Laird Memorial Nursing Scholarship
Chelsie King – Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship
Cortes Torres – Nora Goad Endowed Scholarship
Crystal Spurlock – Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship
Daniel Hull – Westmoreland Coal Scholarship
Diantha Ray – Alva W. and Irene May Orndorff Scholarship
Dustin Sauriol – Nelson Endowed Scholarship
Emily Fontalbert – Alva W. and Irene May Orndorff Scholarship
Erica Johnson – Otis. K. Rice Endowed Scholarship
Erica Johnson – William A. Bragg Scholarship
Hailey Ballard – Ammy Michelle Webb Civil Engineering Scholarship
Jacob Harper – Bryan Bills Scholarship
Jacob Riggins – Ruth Watson Memorial Scholarship
Jacqueline Carroll – Virginia P. Toney Presidential Honorarium
James Waldeck – Alva W. and Irene May Orndorff Scholarship
Janet Cunningham – Pamela and Sewell Preston Champe Scholarship
Jonathan Clark – Westmoreland Coal Scholarship
Jorge Zapata – H.M. McSurley Endowed Scholarship
Joseph Caudill – Harvey R. Chapman Memorial Scholarship
Joseph Ferguson – Alex Walmsley Memorial Scholarship
Joshua Keiffer – Leonard R. and Farrell Kirk Computer Science Scholarship
Kaleb Acree – Bryan Bills Scholarship
Kiarash Tirandazi – Leonard R. and Farrell Kirk Computer Science Scholarship
Kyle Diem – Bryan Bills Scholarship
LaShae Edmonds – William A. Bragg Scholarship
Loren Jackson – Richard Ridgeway Moore Memorial Scholarship
Mary Cunningham – Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship
Matthew Caton – H.M. McSurley Endowed Scholarship
Matthew Cook – Henry C. Skaggs Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Miranda Morrison – Laird Memorial Nurses Alumni Association
Nia Nolan – Nora Goad Endowed Scholarship
Nicole Pennington – Fitzwater Sisters Scholarship
Roger Pettit – William A. Bragg Scholarship
Sara Brown – Clonch Family Scholarship
Shannon Wiercioch – Orndorff Freshman Scholarship
Shella Kelley – James Edward “Eddie” Kenyon Memorial Scholarship
Sheridan Satokao – J.A.B. and Verna Veaszey Holt Scholarship
Tammy Skidemore – Brigit Laird Memorial Nursing Scholarship
Teresa Purdue – Virginia P. Toney Presidential Honorarium
Tiffany Humphery – Valley Emergency Medical Services Scholarship
Tory Raynes – Patsy Sizemore Scholarship
Tyler Williams – Virginia P. Toney Presidential Honorarium
Tyrelle McLeod-Bentley – Pitsenberger Family HHJ&L Endowed Scholarship
Vanity Harrah – Alva W. and Irene May Orndorff Scholarship
Zachary Hornsby – Westmoreland Coal Scholarship
Zachary Riggins – Patsy Sizemore Scholarship

25 Aug

WVU Tech and Montgomery General Hospital hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly established Nursing Training Center on Tuesday, August 19.

A joint effort between Montgomery General Hospital Health Care Systems and the WVU nursing program at WVU Tech, the full-service center will provide nursing students with access to specialized medical equipment, two training areas and six patient rooms where they can learn and practice nursing fundamentals using medical manikins in a true hospital setting.

“Simulation-based learning not only provides an avenue for students to learn key skills and practice care in a ‘safe’ environment, it also has been associated with increased self-confidence and safety behaviors in patient care settings,” said Dr. Tara Hulsey, Dean of the WVU School of Nursing. “Faculty are integrating simulation-based learning activities into the curriculum, and I am thrilled that we are able to add this component to our program at the WVU Tech campus.”

Evelyn Klocke, Chair of WVU Tech Department of Nursing, said the partnership will serve as a springboard for additional opportunities to work with hospital staff.

“Through this partnership, our students’ educational experience will be enhanced because they will be learning in an actual hospital environment. We hope to build on this opportunity to develop additional educational interactions between the students and nurses at the hospital,” she said.

Robin McDaniel, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President of Patient Care Services at Montgomery General, said the arrangement is just as important to hospital clinicians as it is to nursing students.

“Montgomery General Hospital is pleased to collaborate with WVU Tech on the training center, which will provide both nursing students and clinicians an opportunity to learn and practice new skills, expand upon current knowledge and maintain medical competency,” said McDaniel. “Healthcare is forever changing, and healthcare providers must keep up with those changes to enhance the well-being and quality of life for the patients and community we serve.”

See photos from the ribbon-cutting on Flickr.

22 Aug

WVU Tech senior, Thy Dinh, knows a thing or two about aerospace studies. A triple-major in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and mathematics, Thy serves as the president of WVU Tech’s S.P.A.C.E. Club (Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration) and as a member of the Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT).

Thy’s activities, however, aren’t just limited to the academic year. This summer, he was one of only 15 students in the nation selected to attend the inaugural Aircraft Readiness Engineering Workshop sponsored by the North Carolina Space Grant Consortium and hosted at North Carolina State University in Havelock, North Carolina.

Designed to put students in direct contact with aircraft engineers, pilots and manufacturers, the workshop provided students with opportunities to attend lectures and presentations, fly helicopters in a flight simulator and run analytical tests on aircraft materials.

ThyARW Thy Dinh (at right, wearing black) works on a remote-controlled UAV.

Workshop attendees also toured the Cherry Point and New River Marine Corps air stations, visited a flight mishap investigation facility and toured an aircraft operations line to see engineers and maintenance personnel at work.

For Thy, visiting the investigation facility was particularly impactful. The facility was investigating the crash of a Marine Corps heavy transport helicopter. The incident, which cost the lives of the helicopter’s entire crew, is thought to have been caused by an error during a routine pre-flight check.

“As a veteran, that really hit home. It was an experience none of us will ever forget and it showed that what we do as engineers will affect others, even if we don’t see it,” he said. “Our men and women in the armed forces risk their lives for our freedom, so it’s up to us to engineer something better and consider who’s going to be involved directly and indirectly.”

For their final project, students worked in teams to design and construct an unmanned aerial vehicle. Thy’s team, which included students from Texas A&M and the University of North Carolina, designed their remote-controlled plane to look like an F-22 fighter and dubbed it the Barking Spider.

The Barking Spider was the first plane to successfully takeoff and was the victor in a three-plane aerial dogfight staged at the end of the final competition.

Barking Spider The Barking Spider takes flight.

“It was exhilarating to see something we built actually take flight. We placed third overall, but our plane outlasted the others and that’s a great feeling,” said Thy.

Thy said his participation in the workshop would not have been possible without the students and faculty he met in student clubs and organizations. He recommends that students interested in similar opportunities get involved in the S.P.A.C.E. club or in state space grant consortiums. In fact, it was the West Virginia Space Grant Consortium’s Dr. Majid Jaridi that encouraged Thy to apply for the workshop.

“Last semester, Dr. Jaridi told me that this was an opportunity worth taking. So I took it, and it was the experience of a lifetime,” he said.

Thy will share his experience with first-year student classes during the fall semester.

15 Aug

AST Chapter Receives National Award

Zachary | August 15th, 2014

WVU Tech’s Gamma Mu chapter of the Alpha Sigma Tau sorority was honored for its active campus presence at the AST National Convention in Atlanta, Georgia in late June.

The chapter received the prestigious Edward Jervey/Martha DeCamp Award for exhibiting the “highest adherence to the ideals and integrity of Alpha Sigma Tau’s Creed.” The award included a certificate and a $2,000 check for upholding the sorority’s values through individual and group activities.

“This award means so much to the chapter,” said WVU Tech chapter Vice President of Operations and Growth, Nikki McCarthy. “It shows that even with a few women, we can conquer anything. We work hard and our hard work pays off.”

The biennial AST National Convention brings in hundreds of collegiate and alumnae sorority members to participate in workshops and the sorority’s national business meeting where members vote on modifications to governing documents. At this year’s convention, sorority member and American Idol contestant, Rachel Hale, performed for attendees.

“National Convention gives us the chance to meet other members and make connections we probably would not otherwise have made. We get the opportunity to learn about challenges other chapters have encountered and how they successfully addressed them. It’s a great networking opportunity,” said McCarthy.

The Gamma Mu chapter of AST has been active since 1990 and is one of 87 chapters in the United States. Gamma Mu’s active members are a close-knit group, participating in organization fairs, WVU Tech open house events, the annual Campus Cup, campus carnivals, Light Up Old Main, Greek Week and local Homecoming and holiday parades.

“Alpha Sigma Tau isn’t just a social sorority – we are a family,” said chapter president, Brittany Doran. “We look out for each other and care for one another.”

Interested in becoming a part of Alpha Sigma Tau at WVU Tech? Recruitment week begins August 24 and all female students are invited to visit the group’s booths at the campus carnival on Sunday, August 17 and at the student organization involvement fair on Thursday, August 21.

14 Aug

WCHS-TV8 – August 12, 2014
By Stefano DiPietrantonio, WCHS-TV8

Columbia Pipeline Group Announces $1.75 Billion Pipeline Project

(Watch Video)

Charleston, Kanawha County, West Virginia

With big coal about to take a big hit with potential layoff, Columbia Pipeline Group is investing 1-point-75 billion to move all of the natural gas being mined from the Marcellus and Utica production areas, building a 160-mile pipeline in Ohio and West Virginia. This is a huge investment for West Virginia.

Columbia said it will enhance their already existing gas supply lines in Western Pennsylvania, Northern West Virginia and Eastern Ohio, and they will be hiring for all sorts of high-paying engineering and project management positions. The second part of the investment involves a long-term shipping agreement from the Appalachian basin to the Gulf of Mexico.

Columbia Pipeline Group and its parent company Nisource, are going to pump 1.75 billion dollars into the region. It’s the single biggest investment Nisource has ever made.

“The demand is greater than we have the capacity for right now and that’s why we’re adding this new pipeline,” said Scott Castleman, who is a spokesman for the Columbia Pipeline Group.

It’s called the Leach Express Pipeline and will demand a lot of people to get it built.

“It’ll start in Marshall County, West Virginia, travel to Southeast Ohio, and into Kentucky,” said Castleman.

And it will move 1.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas a day. The project is still in the early stages. Columbia is working with Feds to get final approval on details. Construction should start in 2016 and be completed sometime in 2017.

“This is the largest project in our company’s history,” said Castleman. We’ve been in this area over a hundred years now.”

And it’s not just construction jobs. There are plenty of permanent positions as well.

“Engineers, project managers, project schedulers, high-paying jobs right here in Charleston,” said Castleman.

Jobs that are open right now. And with so many coal miners facing layoffs, it could be an outlet for a career change.

“Is this the kind of work that somebody who was released from a coal mine, could either be retrained or jump into this kind of work?,” we asked Castleman. “That’s a great question. Absolutely! With the engineering, project management, project scheduling, with experience and with training, those are things you can actually jump into,” he replied.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity for WVU Tech and our students and graduates,” said Jen Wood, who is Director of University Relations at WVU Tech.

Local graduates are looking for work and hoping to stay at home.

“For engineers who get their degree here in West Virginia, many don’t stay in West Virginia after they get it!,” we said to Wood. “That means jobs for our new grads, also opportunities for our recent grads or past grads to move up into higher-level positions,” said Wood, “It also makes it also makes it much more attractive for students to come to Tech, and to West Virginia to study here.”

Nisource said the number of construction jobs will be significant. The engineering jobs will require a college degree. If you’d like to see if you meet the requirements for any of the open positions and to fill-out an application, just go to: www.nisource.com/careers.

Full article at WCHS-TV8: http://www.wchstv.com/newsroom/eyewitness/140812_27208.shtml

13 Aug


With a water crisis impacting more than 300,000 people and a record-setting winter still fresh in the minds of Kanawha Valley residents, WVU Tech is taking steps to ensure students, faculty and staff have a back-up plan for emergency events.

The university’s Division of Student Life and Dining Services created a three-day emergency plan that includes a surplus of food and water to keep students fed and hydrated during an emergency situation.

To satisfy the three-day requirement, Dining Services purchased 5,000 ready-to-eat meals and more than 10,000 bottles of water.

WaterMoving WVU Tech soccer players pitch in to help Dining Services move 10,000 bottles of water.

The emergency meals, which have a shelf-life of 25 years, are of a higher quality than the military-style MREs most people are familiar with. Dining Services even conducted student taste tests to determine which products would go over well.

“It was important for us to find high-quality products that students would actually enjoy,” said David Templeton of Dining Services. “We looked for a product that was not only nutritional but also tasted good.”

The water has a shelf-life of two years and will be routinely rotated so that the stockpile remains fresh.

On Tuesday morning, nearly 30 WVU Tech men’s soccer players pitched in to help move the 10,000 bottles of water into secure storage.

“We’re in our first week of pre-season, so the extra workout fits right into our schedule,” said Shinya Turley, WVU Tech men’s soccer Associate Coach. “Dining Services does a lot for us. They stay late and get here early to keep us fed, so we’re here to help out with anything we can.”

Templeton said that working with students was a big help and that, with a plan in place, Dining Services staff can breathe a little easier about keeping the campus fed during an emergency.

“We put in the work and we’re certainly ready now,” he said. “The hope is that we’ll never need to use any of this.”

Check out more photos on the WVU Tech Flickr page.

12 Aug

WVU Tech chemical engineering student Lindsay McDowall discovered her love for NASA’s space program at the age of 13. Between attending a space camp and reading Homer Hickam’s 1998 memoir “Rocket Boys,” which inspired the film “October Sky,” it wasn’t long before McDowall became fascinated with engineering, rocketry and space exploration.

Now in her early twenties, McDowall is turning that fascination into real career experience. In the spring of 2014, she chased a rare opportunity 1,200 miles from campus to participate in a NASA Education Internship at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas – a hub of astronaut training activity and home to NASA’s Mission Control.

In Houston, McDowall worked on sustainability projects in the Design and Analysis Branch of NASA’s Crew and Thermal Systems Division. The division designs and tests environmental and thermal control systems that allow astronauts to live in space.

Kranz McDowall meets with Apollo 13 flight director, Gene Kranz.

“My projects focused on engineering and environmental sustainability. I was tasked with writing a paper on all renewable energy projects JSC had done for the past ten years, and in that I was to include my recommendations for future projects as well as things I thought could have gone better or should have been done differently,” she said. “I presented my work to the JSC Sustainability Partnership Team and the JSC Energy Managers, who will use the recommendations from my paper when working on future projects.”

McDowall created six posters for a Houston area awareness campaign centered on the JSC’s six sustainability focuses: water, air, energy, people, materials/waste and land. She also designed the cover of the JSC 2013 Annual Sustainability Report.

The internship wasn’t all papers and presentations. McDowall repaired an electrolyzer – a machine used to break down water into its constituent oxygen and hydrogen – and helped to prepare a hazard analysis for the equipment.

“I was 21 at the time of my internship and I did something that will help to further NASA’s research on renewable energy systems on Earth and in space. I know that what I did was impactful to the organization and that it was taken seriously,” she said. “There’s no better feeling than that.”

Super Guppy Lindsay McDowall tours NASA’s Ellington Field to see the “Super Guppy” over-sized cargo plane.

During the program, McDowall met Apollo 13 flight director Gene Kranz, skyped with “Rocket Boys” author Homer Hickam and met with astronauts Karen Nyberg and Chris Cassidy, who had recently returned from the International Space Station.

Astronaut Serena Auńón took McDowall on a tour of the Ellington Airfield where she saw NASA’s reduced-gravity aircraft, known as the “Vomit Comet,” and the “Super Guppy” over-sized cargo transport plane. McDowall also toured Mission Control, the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility where astronauts train on actual ISS modules and NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory where astronauts train on ISS module mockups while submerged underwater to simulate weightlessness.

McDowall said that seeing everything in action taught her that it takes all kinds of backgrounds to make the space program a success.

“You don’t have to be an engineer to work in spaceflight. NASA needs business men and women, medical professionals and technicians – anything you can think of. You just have to want it bad enough to work for it,” she said.

McDowall plans to graduate in 2015 and apply to the NASA Recent Graduates program. She’s currently deciding whether to pursue a renewable energy engineering graduate degree or a global energy law degree. She was selected to address the incoming freshman class at WVU Tech’s New Student Convocation on Thursday, August 14, 2014.

For more on Lindsay’s NASA experience, check out her MyTech blog posts here and here.

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