BEARTRACKS THE WVU TECH MAGAZINE
ISSUE 05 FALL 2016
A BOLD NEW ADVENTURE
Tech Adventures takes campus life outdoors
A look at the new Beckley campus and our transition timeline
The solar system just isn’t big enough for Tech grad Bruce Wiegmann
Alumni of the Year: Get to know Deborah Hill and David Meadows
The Best of ABET
Alumni of the Year
Celebrating National Engineers Week
The Beckley Campus
ON THE COVER: Mountaintop Chat Students discuss college life atop Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.
Catch up on events from the 2015-2016 academic year
Remembering those Golden Bears we lost this year
WVU Tech recognized in national Newsweek listing
Senior design students create first Bears Den online ordering system Deborah Hill and David Meadows show the world what a Golden Bear can do
Eleven engineers who are putting their WVU Tech education to work A look at the new campus and the future of WVU Tech in Beckley Tech Adventures program connects students to the great outdoors
Tech Grad Bruce Wiegmann is working to expand NASAâ€™s reach
A Message from the President I wanted to start this year’s magazine with a thank you for your loyalty to your alma mater and for your support of our faculty, staff and students. I’ve seen how many of you have forged connections with one another in your fields, and how you’ve taken new grads under your wing. I’ve seen how, each day, you go out into the businesses and industries of the world and show folks what it means to be a Golden Bear. It’s more than support you’re providing. You have helped us build an environment where students feel welcome and empowered. It’s an environment we’re proud to say is a big draw for new students. As you know, we’re in the middle of a transition to our campus in Beckley, where we’ll continue to nurture that supportive environment. We’re very excited about the new opportunities this move will afford WVU Tech, our students and our alumni. We’ve got a lot planned for the new location, and you can see a snapshot of some of that activity on page 10. Since the last issue of Bear Tracks, we’ve seen the WVU Tech community grow in wonderful ways. Students have launched new organizations that focus on the passions and interests that matter to them. We’ve rolled out new academic programming designed to draw in students from throughout the nation and marked our ninth ABET-accredited program with the addition of Computer Science to that growing list. We’ve been busy building out our career services programming so that our students are better prepared for the job hunt. We brought on a new director of career services, Candice Stadler.
West Virginia University Institute of Technology ISSUE 05 FALL 2016
CAMPUS PRESIDENT Carolyn Long EDITORS Jen Wood Cunningham, ’01 Zac Carrier DESIGN Daniel Holstine PHOTOGRAPHERS Rick Lee James Holloway Michael Meador Zac Carrier
In the last year, we’ve hosted a number of oncampus job fairs, mock interview sessions with WVU Tech alumni, seminars and skill-building workshops on everything from resume writing to interview etiquette. We’re also connecting with placement resources from WVU in Morgantown so that our students have access to the very best full-time positions, internships and co-ops in the region. Over the summer, we hired our new development director, Susan Shew. We’re excited to have her on board as we continue our fundraising efforts. Her department will be partnering with alumni, donors and the WVU Tech community to find new and exciting ways to enhance the student and faculty experience and provide scholarships to deserving students. It’s been quite a year here at Tech — a year marked by change. It’s been packed with success stories of students who are taking on unique research and experiences in the field. It’s been a busy year for faculty as well. They’re working hard to carry the WVU Tech story out into the world. We know that we’ll see more incredible years to come because of our bright students, our brilliant faculty, our dedicated staff and the support of our Golden Bear alumni. I hope you enjoy this issue of the magazine — thank you again for your support of WVU Tech!
OFFICE OF UNIVERSITY RELATIONS Old Main 201 Montgomery, WV 25136 wvutech.edu TechRelations@mail.wvu.edu CHANGE OF ADDRESS WVU Foundation PO Box 1650 Morgantown, WV 26504-1650 wvuf.org
CLASS NOTES WVU Tech Office of Alumni Relations 304-442-3131 Tech-Alumni@mail.wvu.edu alumni.wvutech.edu
West Virginia University Institute of Technology is governed by the West Virginia University Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. WVU Tech is an Equal Opportunity /Affirmative Action Institution.
Back in March, Newsweek’s Educational Insight released a list of “The Best of ABET’s Accredited Programs 2016.” Those familiar with WVU Tech weren’t surprised to see the school listed among the handful of institutions in the nation recognized in the feature for academic rigor in engineering.
ABET-Accredited Programming Garners National Recognition ACADEMIC SEAL OF APPROVAL
Accreditation is important to colleges and universities because it serves as an academic seal of approval. Accredited institutions offer programs that have been found to meet certain academic quality criteria. The United States Department of Education recognizes non-governmental agencies that focus on regional or national accreditation. Colleges and universities request an evaluation from these agencies and, if they meet the
The Newsweek piece includes a description of ABET’s process and the importance of individual program accreditation. In the article, the organization shares the value of such accredited programs: “Our accreditation is proof that a program has met standards essential to produce graduates ready to enter the critical fields of applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology. Graduates from an ABETaccredited program have a solid
The college has been working diligently in recent years to promote WVU Tech within the engineering and academic communities. Faculty and administration have been travelling the world to share their research, attend conferences, participate in competitions and promote the work of WVU Tech’s students. Torbica said that faculty buy-in has also played an important role in boosting the renown of the college’s programs. Faculty members work regularly to update programs so that they incorporate the cutting edge into their fundamental, practice-oriented coursework.
“Our faculty and staff work tirelessly to ensure that both the curricula and the student experience we deliver are held to the highest standard of quality,” said Torbica.
LEONARD C. NELSON COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND SCIENCES criteria, those schools become accredited as an institution. WVU Tech, for instance, is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. However, specialized accrediting bodies — like ABET — apply their expertise in certain fields to accredit individual programs. These specially accredited programs are subjected to an additional layer of scrutiny from within the fields where they are applied.
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educational foundation and are capable of leading the way in innovation, emerging technologies, and in anticipating the welfare and safety needs of the public.”
TECH ON THE NATIONAL STAGE
Dr. Zeljko “Z” Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences, said WVU Tech’s inclusion in the list is welcome news.
“It’s that passion for quality that drives our reputation as a college. It’s that passion that makes us stand out in the academic and engineering worlds. By securing ABET’s seal of approval for our programs, we’re showing students that we take that reputation seriously.” In September of 2015, computer science became WVU Tech’s ninth ABET-accredited program. Tech’s chemical, computer, electrical and mechanical engineering programs are accredited by ABET, as are the civil, electronic and mechanical engineering technology programs. For more information on accreditation and how it plays a role in WVU Tech’s programming, visit academics.wvutech.edu/accreditation.
Time-Starved Students Create
Sandwich Ordering System WVU Tech students Aaron Murdock and Thomas Baker were tasked with using their skills to solve a real-world issue for their senior design course. What they came up with will change the Bears Den experience forever.
The WVU Tech Bears Den serves up delicious, made-to-order sandwiches. They’re a great grab-and-go option for busy students. Everyone knows it. Sometimes, that means the line to get one of these delicious sandwiches can get a little crowded. “You want to order a sandwich, but everyone else has the same idea. Sometimes you can wait for a while and you have to go back and forth trying to figure out what you want on it. So we got the idea to do a sandwich ordering system,” said Murdock. Inspired by popular kiosk ordering systems, the two decided to create their system, dubbed the “SOS,” to allow students to order their sandwiches remotely. The SOS is available online and it’s fully mobile-responsive. Users log in with their standard WVU-issued identification, order a sandwich from anywhere with an internet connection, set a pick-up time during business hours and pay when they pick up. On the face of it, the system is simple. “It’s one page,” said Baker. “You log in, order and get a confirmation. That’s it.” But on the backend, the system required hundreds of hours of coding, trouble-shooting, testing and general trial and error.
“There was a lot of networking to figure out. The server is in our e-lab building and the thermal printer is across campus in the Bears Den. We had to figure out how to make them communicate. It’s not like printing off a normal document on your computer,” said Baker. After getting the system up and running, the team conducted beta testing and ran a live test on campus for two weeks leading up to graduation. In just four weeks of testing, the system saw more than 120 unique visitors to the page and processed nearly 600 orders. The process wasn’t without a few bumps. “We had one user that wasn’t seeing a confirmation, so they ordered again and again,” said Murdock. “There were something like 20 orders just from that one instance.” “We fixed it so that once you submit, the submit button just goes away. That was on us, and we had to learn that the hard way,” said Baker. The two graduated in May. Murdock works for the West Virginia State Office of Technology in Charleston as a programmer analyst. Baker owns a server rental and web hosting company called AMG Network Hosting, LLC. He plans to keep growing his business while pursuing a career in IT. Even so, the team has plans for the project at WVU Tech long after their departure. They’re still adding features. They also developed a user manual and incorporated Google Analytics into the system so the University can track user metrics. Looking back on a year of work, they’re proud of the system. “We both learned a lot on this project. We have not been able to find any similar system already in place like this anywhere,” said Murdock.
Since 1949, WVU Tech has honored outstanding alumni who have achieved
recognition in their chosen profession, have demonstrated a strong commitment
to service and have served as a role model for all alumni. This year, those standout Golden Bears are Deborah Hill, ’86 and ’87, and David F. Meadows, ’74.
Alumni of the Year, DEBORAH HILL, of Mt. Nebo, West Virginia, is a graduate of WVU Tech with both an associate’s degree in nursing (1986) and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration (1987). She also holds a master’s degree in health care management from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies. Hill’s 28 years of health care management experience includes ten years as the CEO of Summersville Regional Medical Center in Summersville, West Virginia. There, she completed an eight million-dollar modernization project, developed new strategies for rural physician recruitment and worked with the local hospital board to change the culture to a regional hospital. Now she serves as Director of Long Term Care for Montgomery General Hospital. Hill oversees admissions coordination of long term care units, fulfills licensed nursing home administrator duties for the extended care department and works with the administrator of elderly care. “I feel like Tech prepared me very well for the working world. The variety of courses prepared me to organize workflow, because in a small organization you have to multitask and you need a little bit of information about a lot of things,” she said. “You have to understand finances, the law, human resources and communications. I think the curriculum was well-rounded to enable me to just step right in and move through these things.” Hill serves on several boards, including the WVU Tech Health Service Program Advisory Board. She has also taught as an adjunct faculty member at WVU Tech and has developed practicum experiences for Tech students. She is the Certified Nursing Assistant Education Program Coordinator and an instructor for Certified Nursing Assistants at Valley High School. “I think it’s really important to engage students, to bring them in to understand what the job is really like,” she said. “They’re the future. They’re the people we’re going to be hiring — they’re the people that are going to replace us someday, so I think it’s really important to take these students under your wing and give them a chance to see what the real world is.” Hill is part of a family of WVU Tech graduates. Her mother and aunt earned their education degrees at the University. Her sister attended WVU Tech. Her son Jordan, a member of the West Virginia House of Delegates, is also a graduate. Her oldest daughter attended WVU Tech and her youngest son is starting his career in computer engineering at Tech this fall.
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DEBORAH HILL, ’86 & ’87 Director of Long Term Care, Montgomery General Hospital
Careers of a Lifetime
DAVID MEADOWS, ’74
Chief Technical Officer and Southwest Regional Manager, Triad Engineering
DAVID MEADOWS, P.E., P.S., of Culloden, West Virginia, received his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU Tech in 1974. He also holds master’s degrees in engineering from West Virginia College of Graduate Studies and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. As Chief Technical Officer and Southwest Regional Manager for Triad Engineering, Inc. in St. Albans, West Virginia, he oversees the technical expertise, quality and risk management of Triad’s services as well as day-to-day operations of the region. “We cover everything from getting the lights turned on to locking the doors at night and all the business activities in between. As CTO, I try to help bring consistency and quality to our service lines across the company. It’s a challenge and it’s fun. I really enjoy the work I do,” he said. Before joining Triad in 2013, Meadows served as Chief of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Hydrology & Hydraulics and Technical Support Division of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Dam Safety Production Center and Dam Safety Modification Mandatory Center of Expertise in Huntington, West Virginia. He directed dam safety modifications and conducted engineering assessments throughout the infrastructure portfolio of the Corps. Meadows said his storied career in engineering started in the classrooms at WVU Tech, where he worked one-on-one with professors who shared their own experiences in the field. “They had a passion for engineering. They helped to build confidence in their students and shared what they had been through as professionals. They prepared me for what to expect as I went forward in my career,” he said. That passion enabled and encouraged him to mentor others along the way. He says Tech alumni have the power to impact students in the way his professors impacted his career. “WVU Tech supplies the technical knowledge, but as alumni, we can help with practical knowledge, share our experiences and help further prepare them as they follow their careers,” he said. Meadows is a Registered Professional Engineer and Professional Surveyor. He is a member of the WVU Tech Civil Engineering Advisory Board and the Marshall University Engineering Advisory Board. Meadows is a Fellow in the Society of American Military Engineers, Treasurer of the Huntington Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers and a member of the various professional engineering organizations.
AND FUTURE CAREERS
OF GOLDEN BEARS
NEAR AND FAR
National Engineers Week was February 21-27, 2016. To celebrate, we talked to WVU Tech students and alumni from various engineering disciplines about where they came from, where they’re headed and what they see in the future of engineering.
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MECHANICAL ENGINEERING NATHAN STARK, P.E., MBA, ’07
Nathan grew up in Wirt County, West Virginia, where he discovered his love for mechanical engineering among the gears and bolts of his father’s log mill. He followed that interest to the chemical industry, where he works as a Project Engineer on plant projects for Dow Chemical. “Everybody is working very hard to do more with less resources. Every project is unique, so doing this is not as easy as you would think. I believe this will be one of the big differentiators in project management in the coming years.”
TAVON JOHNSON, ’16
Tavon launched a popular student design exposition and worked as an intern at a cybersecurity firm during his years at WVU Tech. Now, he’s using that experience in Pittsburgh as a field engineer working on power plant and water treatment projects. “I think that’s one of the most fascinating things, not only about mechanical engineering, but about engineering in general — being able to make people’s lives so much easier just because you’re able to see complex problems, see how things are working and how to make them work in a better way.”
CIVIL ENGINEERING JOHN JARRETT, P.E., ’84
After graduation, John built a career in construction and engineering in Washington, D.C. He brought that experience back to West Virginia where he built his own successful construction company, Jarrett Construction Services, LLC, from the ground up. “The rush that gets me going is seeing the delight in our clients’ eyes when we turn their new building over to them. Helping our clients determine what they need, how they can afford it and then bringing it all together is still what charges me up the most.”
Cody started his career as a kid, overseeing construction projects in his back yard. At Tech, he’s gaining experience so he can take on the real thing after graduation. He plans to go into the construction industry and work to make our lives a little safer. “Civil engineering is important in today’s world because everything is changing constantly. To me, that makes it our responsibility to be as safe and efficient as possible and to improve the quality of infrastructure for everyone.”
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING LORI SHAFFER, P.E., ’94
Lori works at Columbia Pipeline Group as Lead Gas Quality Engineer, where she monitors gas quality in more than 15,000 miles of pipeline. She says her time at WVU Tech taught her to work effectively. “I have to apply my chemistry and chemical engineering education because I have to understand the chemistry of all of the impurities that come up from the ground in natural gas and how those constituents interact with each other. I also have to understand fluid dynamics, so this job is calling on everything I learned at Tech.”
Harrison has always been fascinated with how chemicals play a role in our everyday lives. He’s in his senior year and he’s earning experience through research and internships that will help him put that fascination to work. “The thing I find most exciting about my field of study is the fact that I will always have something to do. There will always be projects that I can work on. There will always be new technology, and new experiences.”
ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING HANK WRIGHT, P.E. ’68
An accomplished electrical engineer, Hank has experience in a wide range of industries on projects ranging from simple process control systems to massive, multimillion-dollar international facilities. He says he’s happy with the path he’s taken. “There’s this thing about experience — you can’t get it until you get it. There are no shortcuts, so you need to find a career that can offer you a variety of opportunities. Engineering is a career that can do that.”
FELIPE SOZINHO, ’16
Felipe chased his love for electrical engineering to Montgomery from Brazil. At Tech, he learned his trade while playing soccer and leading student organizations. Ultimately, he wants to work in power generation, connecting the world to renewable energy. “Engineers are responsible for putting in place great advances we have in technology. I’m excited about electrical engineering because of the fact that it is always evolving, that there is always new technology being developed and that one day I might be part of something great.”
COMPUTER ENGINEERING & COMPUTER SCIENCE TOM THOMPSON, PH.D., ’92
Tom grew up writing code by hand and tinkering with Radio Shack microcomputers. Since then, he’s built an impressive career in the film and video game industries, working on popular Disney films like Frozen and building artist tools for video game giant, Blizzard Entertainment. “When I started, computers were like toys. They weren’t that powerful. Now they’re everywhere. It’s hard to do anything without touching upon a computer at some point. There’s no shortage of ways to get involved in that field.”
GABBI KELLEY, ’16
Gabbi wears a lot of hats. She’s an entrepreneur with a small jewelry business. She’s an outdoor adventure enthusiast. She’s a natural leader. She’s also an up-and-coming computer engineer who is looking forward to a career where small is the new big. “In the next few years, I see computer engineers creating devices on a smaller and smaller scale. I’m excited to see how these new technologies can be applied to the medical field, the aerospace industry and in our day-to-day lives.”
A born tinkerer, Jeremy has spent his life figuring out how things work. He’s fascinated with the intersection of computer science and electrical engineering — so fascinated, in fact, that the double-major is working on a degree in each field. “Ideally, I would like to be in a situation where the goal is to solve problems by developing new devices or hardware. Something where I can mix research and design and really put what I’ve learned in both fields to work.”
You can read the full feature articles for each of these Golden Bears at WVUTECH.EDU/MAGAZINE
WVU Tech in Beckley In early 2015, WVU finalized the purchase of a campus in Beckley, West Virginia, about forty minutes away from our campus in Montgomery. Now, the University is in the middle of a historic transition to the Beckley Campus, where WVU Tech will continue its operations alongside other WVU programs.
The Beckley campus is situated in a region that offers a wealth of opportunities for students in the form of increased avenues for employment, entertainment, outdoor adventure and access to expanded research and experiential learning activities. It’s a great place for the Golden Bear community — a community built on a passion for learning, inclusivity, diversity and generosity — to thrive.
TRANSITION TIMELINE 2016-2017 ACADEMIC YEAR Students will be on both the Beckley and Montgomery campuses. In Beckley, our first freshman cohort has begun their studies in select programs, including accounting, physical sciences, business management, forensics, computer science, pre-nursing and psychology. Engineering students, athletes and new transfers will remain in Montgomery.
FALL OF 2017 WVU Tech will fully transition to the Beckley Campus. All programs, athletic teams and students will move to the WVU Beckley Campus.
Welcoming WVU Tech students to Beckley As we begin the transition process, members of the community have already started reaching out to help WVU Tech students in Beckley. Local businesses are offering special promotions for WVU Tech students, and the University is working with regional chambers of commerce and visitor’s bureaus on ways to further connect students to the community. A number of local businesses and “L&S Toyota’s scholarship philanthropic organizations have also begun donation shows that we’re offering scholarship money to recruit students to the new campus. not the only ones who Shawn Ball, President of L&S Toyota of Beckley, and Angela R. Jones-Ball have donated see great potential in the $110,000 to the WVU Foundation. Those students of Southern West funds established two endowed scholarships Virginia, and it marks the for nursing and engineering students at WVU Tech in Beckley. start of what we know “L&S Toyota’s scholarship donation will be long and fruitful shows that we’re not the only ones who see great potential in the students of Southern relationships with the West Virginia, and it marks the start of what we know will be long and fruitful relationships businesses and industries with the businesses and industries of the of the Beckley area.” Beckley area,” said campus president —Carolyn Long Carolyn Long. The Maier Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to educational philanthropy in West Virginia, has also established the West Virginia Emulation Endowment Trust. Valued at more than $230,000, the fund will provide scholarships for students enrolled on the Beckley campus.
Interested in supporting WVU Tech students?
Use the attached donation envelope to make your tax-deductible gift.
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Built in 2011, this 67,000-squarefoot residence hall will house more than 200 students. Students enjoy single rooms in four-room suites. 4 University Hall offers students a modern residence life experience just steps away from campus dining, student support programs and the Beckley Campus library.
The Physical Sciences Building will house laboratory space for biology and chemistry students in addition to a general research lab.
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Known on campus as the “LRC,” the building houses WVU Tech’s library, the Bears Den dining hall and the Student Success Center (SSC). The One Stop Shop, a single location that provides 3 students access to financial aid, student accounts and Registrar services, is operating in the LRC. The LRC is also the future site of the WVU Tech Alumni Hall.
ROBERT C. BYRD LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER
The Innovation Building houses classroom spaces and is home to the LaunchLab, a small business accelerator and resource center. The building will serve as a hub of entrepreneurial activity for the campus and the city at large.
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Want to learn more about WVU Tech in Beckley? Visit WVUTECH.EDU/BECKLEY
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WE’RE ON THIS ADVENTURE TOGETHER New Tech Adventures program connects students to the wild and wonderful.
he natural world is a classroom all its own, packed with lessons to be learned and concepts to unlock. There’s no better place to earn that education than in West Virginia, and WVU Tech’s new Tech Adventures program is poised to connect students to that temple of learning. Based on the popular Adventure WV program, Tech Adventures offers students, faculty and staff access to guided outdoor excursions, local adventure recreation resources and even academics courses. Based out of the “Adventure House” on the Beckley Campus, the program will be helmed by director Steve Storck, who brings with him decades of adventure reaction experience. 12 BEARTRACKS FALL 2016
The Virginia native spent his youth hiking the Appalachian Trail and paddling the waters of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s in recreation. He spent years leading outdoor expeditions, overseeing collegiate adventure recreation programs, teaching adventure sports and working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Education in Washington, D.C. He’s built a career on connecting people to the outdoors, and he hopes to do just that through Tech Adventures.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF STUDENT LIFE
On the student life side, Tech Adventures will be offered in three parts: Tech Outdoor Orientation (TOO), organized outings throughout the year and equipment rentals. TOO is a six-day orientation program available to all WVU Tech incoming freshman. Led in groups of 25, TOO excursions will see new students team up to tackle everything from challenge courses and whitewater rafting to communications skills and community service. In the evenings, the group reflects on their adventures and discusses college life, goal-setting and balancing school with a social life. “Tech Outdoor Orientation is all about giving these students a community to start the school year with and about strengthening that community through adventure activities,” said Storck. “We camp together. We cook together. We do ropes courses, rock climbing and rafting. We do a service project. But it’s really about working together and knowing each other and relying on one another that brings out confidence and shows students that they’re not in this alone.” The program is more than a simple ice-breaker. It’s also a powerful retention tool. “One of the reasons we’re so excited about this program is that the students who have gone through it — particularly first-generation or otherwise at-risk students — tend to have a five to six percent higher graduation rate than those who do not participate,” said Storck. While TOO lasts less than a week, the program has plans to connect students, faculty and staff to the great outdoors throughout the year. Tech Adventures will offer short, non-credit classes during the school year and outings such as day hikes, rock climbing, paddling, skiing and rafting trips. The Adventure House will also feature an equipment rental program where the WVU Tech community will be able to borrow non-technical equipment like camping supplies and find trip-planning resources.
AN ADVENTURE IN ACADEMICS
The academic side of Tech Adventures will include credit courses available to WVU Tech students. The first course, Essential Skills, is designed to give students all the basic skills they would need to plan and execute an outdoor excursion. The course looks at trip planning, risk assessment, route finding, map and compass, outdoor cooking, basic first aid and weather forecasting.
In the Adventure in Society course, students will study the history of adventure activity from the golden age of mountaineering to the counterculture movement and the post-World War II era where the Baby Boomer generation embraced outdoor adventure on a grand scale. Students also study the impact of video and social media on adventure sports. Storck plans to expand the program to include more courses within Adventure Recreation Management, offering students more opportunities to tie their interest in the outdoors to their academic pursuits.
IN THE HEART OF THE WILDERNESS
The program’s Beckley headquarters puts Tech Adventures in a prime location for outdoor adventure. The area is known for its paddle sports, rock climbing, hiking, mountain biking and aerial sports — a newer breed of outdoor adventure that includes zip lining, ropes courses and canopy tours. “West Virginia is one of the wildest states on the east coast, and Beckley is a great access point for all that wilderness,” said Storck. “We have the New River Gorge National Park within nine miles of campus. There are hiking and mountain biking trails. The rock climbing is world-class. The whitewater boating is world-class. The Gauley and the New are known internationally as some of the most challenging rivers in the world. It’s a major destination,” said Storck. The program will also expose students to the 900,000acre Monongahela National Forest. Storck is particularly interested in opportunities offered by the forest’s Cranberry wilderness area, a nearly 50,000-acre preserve with more than 70 miles of hiking trails. “You have to go north all the way to Maine or south all the way to the Everglades to get anything that wild — and we have it right here,” he said. This location also opens up opportunities to partner with area resources, including local outfitters, tourism organizations and the Boy Scouts of America’s Bechtel Family Summit Reserve. “I think this program is a really important partnership for the region. We’re new in Beckley and we already have our efforts out in the community in the adventure recreation arena. We’re promoting the positive assets of the region, and we’re doing it in a way that can have a powerful impact on students,” said Storck.
Keep up with the new Tech Adventures program at studentlife.wvutech.edu/adventure
NASA ‘Gearhead’ Bruce Wiegmann Developing Revolutionary Propulsion Technology By Brian C. Massey, Media Specialist, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center Growing up in the Ohio River Valley region of West Virginia’s Northern Panhandle in the 1960s, Bruce Wiegmann, an engineer in the Engineering Directorate’s Advanced Concepts Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, could never have imagined a life that didn’t revolve around the area’s booming steel mills. Steel was one of the first steps in the production line that embodied the American spirit of his youth — the automotive industry. “In a steel mill town, the zenith was to be part of the automotive industry,” said Wiegmann. “Building and developing technologies to drive the next great American cars was an exciting idea for me as a kid.” During his childhood, the country was also enthralled by the space race. The automotive industry even took inspiration from space technology — aerodynamic fins were the rage, while headliners with crater-like texture were tabbed as “moon crater” headliners and instrumental panels were “aviation inspired.” Wiegmann was equally as enthralled. “One of my earliest memories is sitting around a RCA black and white television set in 1965 and watching Ed White’s space walk on Gemini 4,” he said. “And then years later, watching the moon landing. I even carried my model Saturn V to school as a kid and made a presentation to the local PTA meeting. The entire nation was captivated.” Today, Wiegmann is working to develop a transportation system that makes automobiles, and even rockets, look old school. In Marshall’s Advanced Concepts Office, he is developing the Heliopause Electrostatic Rapid Transit System, a revolutionary propellant-less propulsion system, which will harness the solar wind to travel to interstellar space. “I’m a gearhead at heart,” he said. “But my efforts are applied to a different field of dreams, a much more exciting
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“The desire to better yourself while working hard — both at school and work — to earn what you desire is something I still value about my experience at Tech.” avenue. Instead of a drag strip or tri-oval, I’m developing technologies to send spacecraft racing to the edge of our solar system faster than ever before.” “I’m not sure you can revolutionize the V-8 engine, but with the technologies we are developing at Marshall, we can profoundly enhance space travel. The HERTS E-Sail has the potential to reduce trip time to the edge of our solar system by 60-70 percent over the chemicallypropelled rockets that inspired me as a kid.” The HERTS E-Sail development and testing is funded by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which encourages visionary ideas that could transform future missions with the creation of radically better or entirely new aerospace concepts. Selected for a NIAC Phase II award earlier this year, the HERTS team qualified
for additional funding to further develop the E-Sail, which will use an array of very long, very thin, positively charged aluminum wires to harness protons in the solar wind to propel a spacecraft to the edge of the solar system in less than 10 years. In 2012, NASA’s Voyager 1 became the first spacecraft ever to cross the heliopause, the edge of our solar system. Launched in 1977, Voyager 1 took almost 35 years to make its journey. Doing so in less than one-third that time the HERTS E-Sail could revolutionize the scientific returns of such a spacecraft. Wiegmann credits his education for allowing him to work on such revolutionary technology. The son of a Weirton Steel mill worker and a fifthgrade public school teacher in Weirton, WV, education was lauded in Wiegmann’s childhood as the opportunity to reach his dreams. He attended the West Virginia
Institute of Technology in Montgomery, West Virginia, where he earned his degree in mechanical engineering while working at a local steel mill. For years, the tri-state region of the Upper Ohio River Valley served as a destination for immigrants in search of the American dream. Work could be found in the steel mills and coal mines for those willing to work hard and earn a better life. The blue-collar values were evident in Wiegmann’s childhood and education. “West Virginia Tech wasn’t an Ivy League atmosphere,” he said. “I spent time in the steel mills and many of my classmates worked nights in the coal
mines. Some would even come to class still partially covered in coal dust. The desire to better yourself while working hard — both at school and work — to earn what you desire is something I still value about my experience at Tech.” After graduation, Wiegmann found himself in a different West Virginia than where he had grown up — the steel mills and coalmines were quickly downsizing or disappearing. He had to find a new path, but he was given an opportunity that many people years earlier could only have dreamed about — an education. It was through his education that he found his way to NASA, where for the last 33 years he has worked in nearly every
area of aerospace engineering at Marshall and NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. “My education in engineering has allowed me to live my dream of creating and innovating,” said Wiegmann. “When I look back at where I grew up, and how jobs in the steel and coal industries in the United States — things people thought would last forever — are greatly reduced, it really drives home the fact that the only thing that is forever is your education.” WVU Tech would like to thank NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for allowing us to use their words and images to share this story with our alumni.
▲ The High Intensity Solar Environment Test system is used to improve modeling of the HERTS E-Sail technology, which will use solar wind to travel into interstellar space. Photos courtesy of NASA
WVU Tech celebrates history and community at first major Beckley Campus event On Saturday, October 3, 2015, WVU Tech and WVU representatives spent the day meeting with thousands of potential students, community members, business leaders and local officials for tours, a ribboncutting and the celebration of the city’s popular Beckley Chili Night event. The University started the day with an Open House for prospective students and tours for current students and alumni. That afternoon, the University welcomed more than 150 guests to a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the donation of Nick
J. Rahall’s congressional papers to WVU. The collection, which includes 2,000 boxes of testimony, speeches, news releases and other documents from Rahall’s 38 years in office, will be curated and maintained on the WVU Beckley campus. “What is important about this collection is what it will offer the students of West Virginia. They can learn things they won’t find in history books or from a Google search. This collection will tell a story that is transformative — they’ll see the living history that will shape policy moving forward,” said
Rocky Goodwin, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic and Public Policy Strategy at the John D. Rockefeller IV School of Public Policy and Politics at WVU. WVU Tech faculty, staff and students greeted thousands of attendees that evening for the 25th annual Beckley Chili Night, where they hosted family activities, information booths, a pop-up bookstore and a t-shirt giveaway. WVU Tech Dining Services also competed in the chili cook-off.
“WHAT IS IMPORTANT ABOUT THIS COLLECTION IS WHAT IT WILL OFFER THE STUDENTS OF WEST VIRGINIA. THEY CAN LEARN THINGS THEY WON’T FIND IN HISTORY BOOKS OR FROM A GOOGLE SEARCH.” — Rocky Goodwin
▲ Mr. Rahall addresses a crowd at a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the WVU Beckley Campus.
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May commencement sends off 170 new grads More than 170 graduates from the WVU Tech class of 2016 were recognized on Saturday, May 7 at the institution’s 117th Commencement Ceremony. At the ceremony, graduates and their families heard from campus president Carolyn Long and WVU Tech alumnus Mickey Reeves, ’78, Vice President and Managing Director of Jacobs Consultancy, Inc. in Houston, Texas. Long said it was bittersweet to send off the graduating students, who had become a source of pride and inspiration for the University in their time at WVU Tech. “You find something you’re passionate about or something you want to stand up for and you go for it. You don’t hold back,
and that’s a powerful trait for the trained problem-solvers we’re sending into the world today,” she said. Reeves — who oversees a 140-employee practice covering the worldwide petroleum, chemicals and energy consulting for Jacobs — shared how a series of phone calls led him to follow job opportunities across the country, shaping his career and guiding him to the work he loves. “While you may know where you will be next week or next month, you don’t have a clue where you will be five, ten, twenty years from now. And you know something? That’s
okay. Any and everything is possible. It’s up to you,” he said. “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Take those calls. Go somewhere you’ve never been.” Graduates Tavon Johnson from the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences and Jacqueline Carroll from the College of Business, Humanities and Social Sciences were awarded the University’s Presidential Leadership Awards. The ceremony also recognized four visiting Golden Alumni from the graduating class of 1966.
Charleston alumni chapter seeks new members Reestablished in March 2015, the Charleston Chapter of the Tech Golden Bear Alumni Association has been hosting activities, holding elections and recruiting new members throughout the region. In January, the group hosted a networking event at the Venture Lanes bowling alley in St. Albans. The evening’s activities served as an opportunity for Charleston-area alumni to network and reconnect. The chapter plans to hold additional events throughout the coming year. The chapter also held open elections in May. Amy Haddix, ’15, of the Dow Chemical Company is now serving as president. Tim O’Neal, ’97, also of Dow, will serve as the chapter’s vice president while Sally Smith, ’73, of Bowles Rice LLP, will fill the role of secretary.
INTERESTED IN JOINING?
Email us at TechAlumniAssoc@mail.wvu.edu
Homecoming weekend celebrates global Golden Bear community In late October, the Montgomery campus celebrated the global diversity of the WVU Tech community with an “Around the World” Homecoming week. Students participated in a variety of themed activities throughout the week, including spirit events, campus cup, late night movies and an International Student Organization luncheon where they experienced regional cuisine from throughout the world. On Friday, October 30, alumni gathered in the WVU Tech Center for a reception and dinner honoring Athletic Hall of Fame inductees, Jim Longest, ’91, Rodney Mayes, ’05, and Kelly Weikle, ’04. The volleyball team kicked off Saturday morning with a Color Fun Walk/ Run to raise money for the CAMC Cancer Center. Saturday’s activities also included a town parade, an outdoor tailgate and an Alumni Association meeting where alumni planned activities for the coming year and elected alumnus Hank Wright, ’68, to the position of president. Men’s and women’s basketball opened their seasons on Saturday afternoon. The day also saw graduates face off in an alumni basketball game. During the games, WVU Tech student and U.S. Navy veteran William Hughes, ’16, presented campus president Carolyn Long with a specially made coin to
ABOVE: Students walk alongside a float during the 2015 Homecoming parade in Montgomery. BELOW: Alumni face off in the Baisi gymnasium for the annual alumni men’s basketball game.
commemorate the University’s dedication to the 5 Star Challenge. Students Raul Torres and Ashley Burns were crowned Mr. and Mrs. Golden Bear. Alumnus Robin Davis, ’13, traveled to Montgomery from Kentucky to participate in the Homecoming festivities. He said the experience was a great opportunity to reconnect. “It’s good to come back. We’ve done so much catching up that we haven’t been able to get to everything on the schedule, and it’s been a lot of fun remembering the people, the personalities, the way you’re treated and the way you feel here. It’s the people that make Tech, and it always will be the people that make Tech,” he said.
UPC O MING EV ENTS Mark your calendars — we’ve got some great fall events planned on the Montgomery and Beckley campuses. Visit WVUTECH.EDU for updates and more upcoming events.
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BECKLEY CHILI NIGHT October 1
GOLD & BLUE WEEKEND October 28-29
HOMECOMING November 11-12
Music, family fun and the best chili in town. It’s Chili Night in Beckley, and everyone’s going to be there.
WVU Tech will face WVU basketball in a men’s exhibition match, plus other Tech events throughout the weekend.
Parades, athletics, food and friends both old and new — it’s our last Homecoming in Montgomery. Don’t miss it!
EILEEN E. HOLLIDAY, ’43, of Gainesville, FL, April 18, 2016
EUGENE N. HESS, ’56, of Montgomery, WV, April 10, 2016 SAMUEL V. EPLING, ’57, of Scott Depot, WV, April 2, 2016 STANLEY KALINOSKI, ’59, of Dry Creek, WV, January 13, 2016
LARRY W. SHYBLOSKY, ’61, of Crossville, TN, December 26, 2015 W. LAWRENCE STOWERS, ’62, of Washington, D.C., April 6, 2016 JAMES D. LITTLE, ’63, of Elkview, WV, May 29, 2016 LEWIS E. STOTTS, ’63, of Marietta, GA, October 26, 2015 EMMA L. VANDELL, ’63, of Manning, SC, September 5, 2015 BLAIR J. WEESE, ’63, of Parkersburg, WV, June 2, 2016 SAMMY L. MARTIN, ’64, of Salt Lick, KY, April 13, 2016 SUZANNE M. RIGGIO, ’65, of Wauwatosa, WI, May 10, 2016
JACK L. SALMONS, ’68, of Hamlin, WV, October 17, 2015 JAMES L. WARD, ’68, of Spencer, WV, January 23, 2016
ODIN S. SMITH, ’90, of Henrietta, NY, November 17, 2015 RONDAL J. BOYCE, ’91, of Sutton, WV, February 25, 2016
FREDERICK W. DENT, ’70, of Fayetteville, WV, August 1, 2015
SONYA L. RATLIFF, ’93, of Rupert, WV, April 11, 2016
ELIZABETH A. KENWORTHY, ’70, of Manassas, VA, August 12, 2015
AARON MODLISZEWSKI, ’97, of Montgomery, WV, April 29, 2016
JOSEPH L. BARLEY, ’71, of Waynesboro, PA, August 5, 2015
STACY J. ENGLE, ’98, of Butler, PA, August 8, 2015
RODNEY D. BUSCHMAN, ’71 & ’70, of Chesapeake, VA, October 11, 2015 PATRICK M. FRAZER, ’73, of Nitro, WV, March 20, 2016 RANDOLPH E. SLONE, ’74, of Shady Spring, WV, April 18, 2016 JOHN L. BOYCE, ’75, of Elizabeth, WV, February 25, 2016 DAVID M. NICHOLS, ’75, of Tazewell, VA, January 22, 2016 DAMON R. HANSHAW, ’78, of Canvas, WV, October 30, 2015 JOHN W. KENNEDY, ’79, of Charleston, WV, May 27, 2016
JEFFREY B. FAWCETT, ’80, of Charleston, TN, May 27, 2016
JERRY P. ANDRICK, ’66, of Flintstone, MD, September 2, 2015
DEWEY E. KEIPER, ’81, of Summersville, WV, March 31, 2016
LEE SQUIRES, ’66, of Parkersburg, WV, August 30, 2015
STEVEN C. MCCLUNG, ’80 & ’81, of Jacksonville, FL, November 12, 2015
GARY T. LILLY, ’67, of Daniels, WV, April 5, 2016
MARVIN L. STARCHER, ’86, of Mount Zion, WV, February 27, 2016
WILLIAM L. GIACOMO, ’68, of Boomer, WV, April 28, 2016
JUANITA K. GRAY, ’87, of Lady Lake, FL, April 12, 2016
CHRISTOPHER A. JOHNSON, ’02, of Handley, WV, April 26, 2016 EDWARD L. GROSS, ’03, of Martinsburg, WV, March 3, 2016 JUSTIN M. HINES, ’03, of Pratt, WV, February 16, 2016 BRANDON S. WOODIE, ’08, of Peytona, WV, June 2, 2016 DEANNA J. WHITLEY, ’12, of Cabin Creek, WV, May 17, 2016
Faculty and Staff ED YOUNG, Retired mechanic, February 3, 2016
PATRICIA DOUMAUX, Retired chemistry faculty member, April 16, 2016 EUGENE HESS, Former adjunct instructor/assistant football coach, April 10, 2016
405 Fayette Pike | Montgomery, WV 25136-9980 1.888.554.TECH | wvutech.edu
WE CALL THEM
ALUMNI OF THE YEAR, and it’s time we created
a place for them. FOR SEVEN DECADES, we’ve honored Alumni of the Year. Now, we’re designing a space on WVU Tech’s Beckley campus that will honor every one of our award recipients. This Alumni Hall project will blend the history of WVU Tech with its future in a way that highlights the achievements of its graduates and encourages the success of new generations of alumni. It will serve as a hall of honor, a place of inspiration and a space to reflect on the many ways alumni have impacted the industries and communities they touch. To find out more or to support the project, visit ALUMNI.WVUTECH.EDU
Published on Aug 18, 2016
Bear Tracks is published annually by the WVU Tech Office of Relations & Communications for alumni, friends and supporters of the University.