Christy Bragg came to WVU Tech as a nontraditional student. The Cowen, West Virginia native spent 17 years in the healthcare industry as a positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT) technologist before deciding to go back to school in 2010.
“When we had breakdowns on the equipment, we would call an engineer who would walk us through troubleshooting and help us get it back up and running. I thought what they did was so cool and could be something I wanted to do, so that is how I decided to go back to school to be in electrical engineering,” Bragg said.
Dr. Kimberlyn Gray, Associate Professor
of Chemical Engineering, is teaching her students chemical engineering
applications through a staple of many college students’ diets: coffee.
Students in her Introduction to Chemical Engineering class spent several weeks roasting, extracting and testing to produce the best tasting coffee with the lowest energy consumption. Each team started with the same coffee beans, but everything else was up to the students.
“The idea is to give our students a way to learn chemical engineering in a way that’s really accessible. They learn things like heat and mass transfer. There are a lot of processes used in making coffee that are used in chemical engineering, so it’s a good way to introduce students to the concepts and terms of chemical engineering,” Gray explained.
Groups experimented with hot and cold brewing methods to reduce the energy output. Students explained they changed the brewing ratios, extraction time, brewing methods and ways to reduce the acidity of the coffee.
The project finished with judges rating the coffees in a blind taste test. Judges rated each coffee based on aroma, flavor, body, balance and acidity. Faculty and staff from across campus served as the judges.
Sydney McGraw, a freshman chemical engineering major from the Beckley area, said the project was a fun experience.
“The ability to experiment with the energy outputs and work together in groups is something I know will help me in the real world,” she said. “It was an interesting and fun experience with a real-world application,” McGraw said.
The four presenters were assisted by Caroline McKelvie, a fourth year visiting instructor in the Sport and Recreation department at WVU Tech. Stephen Bjork, a senior and member of the WVU Tech baseball team, Spencer Dean, a senior and former member of the WVU Tech men’s basketball team, Kobe Rozell, a junior and member of the WVU Tech men’s basketball team and Gunner Short, a junior and member of the WVU Tech men’s basketball team were enthusiastic about being able to present on the state level. Their presentation, titled “WVU Tech Sport Management Student Perspective: A Discussion on the Current Issues Impacting Sport and Society” allowed them to reflect on topics that they have studied in their coursework at WVU Tech.
Shawn and Angela Ball of Ball Toyota and L&S Toyota established nursing and engineering scholarship funds at WVU Tech in 2016 and will continue their support to these two funds with an additional contribution of $40,000 ($20,000 to each fund). A gift of $10,000 will continue the Ball family’s support of the WVU Tech President’s Fund to provide assistance to students who have emergency needs.
Additionally, Ball Toyota will present a monetary gift to the nonprofit West Virginia Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization providing support and collaboration among ten (10) local CASA programs across the state.
New River Transit Authority (NRT) operated by Raleigh County Community Action Association, Inc. (RCCAA) is an urbanized public transportation system. NRT provides safe, affordable, courteous and dependable public transportation within Raleigh and Fayette Counties. NRT is located under the Beckley Intermodal Gateway at 360 Prince Street, Beckley WV. The fleet consists of 18 vehicles that range from mini vans to 16 passenger buses. Each of the buses are equipped with wheelchair accessibilities.
After dropping out of high school and obtaining his GED, Beckley, West Virginia native Alan Reed moved into the workforce, where he began working road construction and mining industry jobs. Alan was great at his work, but he knew there was more that he had to offer, and his interest in engineering was piqued after watching the engineers on the jobs where he was working. After taking night classes at the former Beckley College (now home to WVU Tech’s Beckley campus), he made the decision to enroll full time at WVU Tech as a civil engineering major.
Alan was 32 at the time, a nontraditional student. The class work was hard, and there were times, especially during his second year, that challenged him. But he persevered and graduated with his civil engineering degree in 1996.