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Students showcase innovation and entrepreneurship across the Mountain State

A student stands next to a racing vehicle on display. He's motioning to the vehicle as he chats with a man in a suit.

Thursday, April 25 turned out to be a big day for Golden Bears as dozens of WVU Tech students showcased their work at events in Beckley and Morgantown.

On campus, more than 40 students shared their senior design and research projects at the fifth-annual WVU Tech Student Design Expo.

Hosted in the WVU Tech Learning Commons, the event drew in students, faculty, staff and members of the local community to see what kinds of work Golden Bears have been up to this year.

Drew Hiskins, a mechanical engineering major from Australia, organized the event.

“I believe that the event went really well, he said.

“Having it in the library meant that lots of students just walked through to have a look at what is possible. There were a few people from industry that had a look through the expo and showed some interest in the projects that were presented.”

Projects in the Expo ranged from steel bridge and concrete canoe design to a fluid-powered bicycle and an emergency portable rafting pump.

Eight students and faculty stand for a photo at the second-annual Demo Day. The well-dressed crew is celebrating a win.

Meanwhile, 170 miles north in Morgantown, the second-annual Demo Day event saw more than 1,600 participants.

Among them were 14 WVU Tech students who made the three-hour trip to showcase their work.

Christina Stover, a biology major from Whitesville, West Virginia, shared her project during the Demo Day Expo.

“I am a certified pharmacy technician, so I have seen first-hand the issues surrounding diabetic monitoring and wanted to give patients an easier option for testing, she said.

“What I demonstrated at Demo Day was a new take on a diabetic test strip that will allow patients to monitor glucose levels pain free.”

Her work landed her more than interest in the project. Stover also won $1,000 for her entry.

“Participating in Demo Day was awesome; a room full of innovative ideas and students who have worked very hard. It was such an inspiring, almost infectious feeling of success. I felt so honored to be a part of it and competing with such outstanding projects,” she said.

WVU Tech computer science student Nima ShahabShahmir also landed third place in the “Is there an app for that? Pitch Challenge for his idea for an augmented reality education app sponsored by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium.

“The idea is to use augmented reality technology to enhance the students’ experience and to guide them to understand complex scientific ideas much easier. I have developed a prototype version of this application before signing up for the business pitch competition, and this gave me the confidence that working on this project is possible,” he said.

The challenge was a culmination of an eight-session workshop.

“WVU Launch Lab’s app workshop definitely taught us to think about our application not as another app being installed on a smartphone, but to fully understand why someone will decide to use our app. The pitch competition itself was very exciting and unique experience. I’m sure it has motivated all of us to follow our app ideas,” he added.

ShahabShahmir also demonstrated an organic mushroom leather product he developed as part of his ongoing Future Fungi project.

View local media coverage of the Student Design Expo from the Register-Herald and from WVNS. Read more about Demo Day from WVU Today.