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Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


WVU’s Anderson Receives Presidential Early Career Award



WVU Researchers Awarded Grants to Study Mine Safety, Training, Health Through Alpha Foundation


WVU Receives NSF Grant to Study Chemical Leak’s Impact in Charleston Area


Cover Feature Wall-to-Wall People, Wall-to-Wall Opportunities: the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair


Dean and Publisher / Eugene V. Cilento gene.cilento@mail.wvu.edu / 304.293.4157 Editor / Mary C. Dillon / mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu Contributing Writers / Anastasia Burpee / Bart Keeler Deb Miller / Jake Stump


Design Coordinator / J. Paige Nesbit Photography / Greg Ellis / Dan Friend / Halley Kurtz J. Paige Nesbit / Brian Persinger / Raymond Thompson RileySnyderPhoto.com Address West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources PO Box 6070 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6070 www.statler.wvu.edu Change of Address WVU Foundation / PO Box 1650 Morgantown, WV 26504-1650 Fax: 304.284.4001 / e-mail: info@wvuf.org www.mountaineerconnection.com Engineering West Virginia is published twice each year, in spring and fall, for the alumni, friends, and other supporters of the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Copyright ©2014 by the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Brief excerpts of articles in this publication may be reprinted without a request for permission if EngineeringWV is acknowledged in print as the source. Contact the Editor for permission to reprint entire articles. The WVU Board of Governors is the governing body of WVU. The Higher Education Policy Commission in West Virginia is responsible for developing, establishing, and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the state’s four-year colleges and universities. West Virginia University is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.


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Gov. Tomblin Honors Engineering Students Who Earned Buick Scholarships


WVU Researchers Develop Artificial “Dancing” Leaf for Harvesting Solar Energy


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WVU Solar Decathlon team learns lessons for next time around

WVU receives third straight invitation to compete in NASA/NIA robotics competition WVU alumnus named to Popular Mechanics’ “10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013” Wife Honors Late Husband’s Passion for his Profession With Gift to WVU


The Statler College mission is to prepare students for success in their professional careers; to contribute to the advancement of society through learning, discovery, extension, and service; and to stimulate economic wellbeing in West Virginia and the world through technical innovation, knowledge creation, and educational excellence.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Message from the Dean Dear Friends U.S. News & World Report’s 2014 Best Colleges guide included a listing of 11 hot college majors that lead to jobs. The list was welcome news to students in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, since more than half are available at West Virginia University. Leading the list was biomedical engineering, a degree program that was recently added in our Department of Chemical Engineering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the field will see a 62 percent growth in jobs between 2010 and 2020. Coming in second was biometrics, a field that teaches students how to build automated identification devices, such as facial recognition systems. As biometric readers replace photo IDs and passwords in both the public and private sectors, the industry is expected to grow to $363 million by 2018, according to New Yorkbased Transparency Market Research. The article recognized WVU as a pioneer in the discipline. The global market for video and online games is expected to reach $82 billion by 2017, according to DFC Intelligence, a San Diego, Calif.-based market research company. The College currently offers a graduate certificate program in interactive technologies and serious gaming through the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Large companies and governments are moving aggressively to protect their computer systems. Between 2014 and 2016, the Pentagon plans to add more than 4,000 experts at its Cyber Command. Specialists in cybersecurity can also expect to find openings in healthcare, energy, and at security services firms.

New technology has opened up shale formations thought unproductive 10 years ago. A new crop of petroleum engineers will be needed to tap these reserves; half of the current supply is expected to retire in the next decade. Grads, who can expect to earn excellent starting salaries, will find employment in three areas: as drilling engineers, as production engineers, and as reservoir engineers. Between 2012 and 2020, robotics could create between 2-3.5 million new jobs, according to Metra Martech, a London-based market research firm. This number is hardly surprising in a field helping to expand human capabilities across every walk of life. Students and faculty in both the Lane Department and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering have made WVU a force to be reckoned with in international robotics competitions. Representatives from all of these industries and many more were out in force this past September for the Statler College’s annual Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair. Nearly 130 companies attended over two days, and the halls were packed with students looking for everything from full-time employment to internships and co-ops. The fair was an opportunity to welcome some old, familiar friends back to the College, as well as welcome many new ones to our campus. It was also nice to see so many alumni behind the tables helping to recruit the next generation of Mountaineer engineers to their respective companies. We welcome you to be part of the excitement! Eugene V. Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean and Professor


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Research news

WVU receives NSF grant to study chemical leak’s impact in Charleston area By Mary C. Dillon

photos: URNews, Raymond Thompson

When a chemical spill contaminated the water supply for thousands of West Virginians, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at West Virginia University quickly sought–and received–a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to collect and analyze samples with an eye to ensuring such hazards do not turn into disasters. “There is a dire need to assess the extent of contamination in both drinking water and riverine systems in order to take proper immediate measures to remediate the contamination and devise intelligent strategies to handle such disasters in the future,” said Jennifer Weidhaas, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering in WVU’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. About 10,000 gallons of 4-methylcyclonehexane methanol, or MCHM, plus about 300 gallons of a second chemical–PPH, a mixture of polyglycol ethers–leaked into the Elk River on January 9 from a storage tank owned by Freedom Industries. The site is about a mile upstream from a West Virginia


| Spring 2014

American Water Co. treatment facility providing water to about 300,000 people. Citizens within nine counties were encouraged to not use their water for days, and distribution of bottled water continued through January 27. The grant “will help our faculty to develop more comprehensive, interdisciplinary, and innovative research approaches that could, for example, lead to cost-effective, remote, and largely autonomous cyber physical systems monitoring of infrastructures that would protect our water supplies from such chemical contamination,” said Pradeep Fulay, Statler College’s associate dean for research. “We also hope that technologies that could make use of chemicals/surfactants that are environmentally

more friendly could be developed to minimize the impact on the availability of fresh water resources,” he said. The $50,000 grant comes from the NSF’s Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems division’s Environmental Engineering program. “This is one of the largest human-made environmental disasters in this century. In instances such as this, where the situation is still developing and public health is involved, timing is everything,” said the NSF Program Director William Cooper. “RAPID grants give researchers the support they need to be on the ground and to collect data immediately.”

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Ultimately, the purpose is to develop more resilient water infrastructure systems and enhance our ability to respond to these types of disasters in a timely manner so that the human health and environmental impact is minimized.

Brady Gutta, from the West Virginia Water Research Institute, leans off a boat dock to collect a water sample from the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va.

Little is known about the extent of the contamination and potential risks to public health and the environment, so under the NSF grant, WVU scientists immediately traveled to the area to begin sampling the water to determine concentrations of the chemical in the water, how effective flushing the chemical from home systems is, and how to prevent an incident in the future. “Ultimately, the purpose is to develop more resilient water infrastructure systems and enhance our ability to respond to these types of disasters in a timely

manner so that the human health and environmental impact is minimized,” Weidhaas said. The research team will be led by Weidhaas and Lian-Shin Lin, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering. Collaborators are James Anderson, director of the Environmental Research Center, housed in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; Leslie Hopkinson, hydraulics/hydrology; Antarpreet Jutla, hydroepidemology; Radhey Sharma, sediment pollution; Kung Wang, organic chemistry in the

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Stuart Welsh, fish and wildlife services; and Paul Ziemkiewicz, director of the West Virginia Water Research Institute. Sample and data collection will be coordinated with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection and the Bureau for Public Health. Intensive sampling efforts have already begun and will continue at the affected water treatment continued on page 6...


Volume 10 Issue 1 |


Research news

Ben Mack, from the West Virginia Water Research Institute, collects soil from the Elk River for testing.

Brady Gutta, Jason Fillhart, and Ben Mack, from the West Virginia Water Research Institute, collect water samples from the Elk River in Charleston, W.Va.

... continued from page 5

plant and various locations in the water distribution system, including cold water taps, water fountains and hot water systems of public buildings such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, hotels, and gas stations. Exterior water spigots at private residences will also be sampled. “In addition, water and sediment samples will be collected at various locations of the Elk River including near the water intake structure,” Lin said. “Given the chemical properties of MCHM, samples at both the river surface and different depths will be collected.” Sampling frequencies will continue for an extended period of time to be determined after the results from the initial effort are generated and analyzed. Once the sampling is complete, a geographic information systems-based map of chemical exposure throughout the water distribution system will be produced from the estimations. These exposure evaluations are a first step toward a full-risk assessment to the affected population. The team will also assess the chemical fate and removal results throughout the water treatment processes. The results will be used to develop short- and long-term treatment strategies in the event of similar chemical spills, such as switching to an alternative water source, implementing a temporary treatment measure, and building in redundancy.


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WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Wu’s breakthrough research on solar energy appears in Nature Communications

WVU researchers to investigate methane emissions from dual fuel engines in shale gas development

When most people think of rust, a naturally occurring byproduct of iron or steel interacting with water, they don’t see it as good thing. West Virginia University’s Nick Wu isn’t most people. “While most people see rust as an everyday nuisance, scientists have shown that by reengineering its structure, it can become a very powerful material for splitting water to generate hydrogen gas,” said Wu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “Solar-to-hydrogen conversion is very similar to a solar panel creating electricity, only now the final product is hydrogen gas, which can be easily stored and transported for long-term use.” According to Wu, while it’s easy to coerce water to split and release its oxygen to iron to form rust, it’s very difficult to trick the rust into further breaking down water molecules into hydrogen molecules. “When rust absorbs sunlight it can create the energy necessary for the reaction, but unfortunately this energy is lost within one billionth of a second or less,” said Wu, whose research group, which includes postdoctoral fellow Jiangtian Li and graduate student Scott Cushing, recently had its work published in Nature Communications. To overcome this, Wu and his team did two things. First, they made hematite, which is a crystalized form of rust, on the nanometer scale. This small size, Li explained, allows the energy to be absorbed immediately at the surface without having to transport through the bulk of the material. This allows the resulting solar energy to immediately start the watersplitting reaction and makes up the difference in time, raising efficiency. The group’s second innovation was to use a gold nano-hole array, which looks much like a tiny fishnet, as a template for hematite fiber growth. “The gold nano-hole array has a special property that allows the material’s electrons to oscillate together, resulting in an enhanced and focused transmission of sunlight through the small metal holes within the larger pattern,” Cushing explained. “The hematite becomes like an optical fiber, just like those used in telecommunications, only now the sunlight is being trapped and transported. The optical fiber effect means the sunlight bounces around inside the rust fiber until it is absorbed, increasing the amount of light absorbed without increasing the overall size of the structure.” The combination of the two effects, Wu said, greatly increases solar energy conversion efficiency and could someday lead to solar-to-hydrogen energy stations replacing gas stations on the world’s street corners.

One of the biggest costs associated with shale gas development and utilization comes from the use of diesel fuel. Diesel engines power everything associated with well development from the trucks that move equipment to a well site, to the drilling rig itself, to the compressors used for the hydraulic stimulation of wells. Many companies are examining the possibility of converting these engines to a mix of diesel and natural gas—or dual fuel—in an effort to reduce operating costs while utilizing

Nix Photo: URNews, Greg Ellis

a domestic source of fuel. Since methane is a powerful greenhouse gas, however, this conversion may come at a cost to the environment. But just how much is being emitted is unknown. A team of researchers at West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions (CAFEE) will look to quantify the amount of fugitive methane emissions associated with implementing dual fuel and dedicated natural gas technologies, thanks to a $2 million grant from the Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory. The CAFEE team, led by Andrew Nix, principal investigator and assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will collect data from in-use equipment operating in the Marcellus shale region. “This collection will help us identify and quantify in-use fugitive methane emissions,” Nix said. “Our next step will be to develop test cycles to conduct additional laboratory testing at CAFEE’s Engines and Emissions Research Laboratory to mitigate fugitive methane.” The testing will include examinations of the benefits of dual fuel and dedicated natural gas engines as well as the effects of natural gas composition on exhaust emissions. The team will also look at catalyst formulations for reducing methane from engine exhaust and other technologies to reduce fugitive methane emissions. CAFEE will collaborate with researchers from Fyda Energy Solutions, Hypercat ACP, and other industry partners. According to Nix, the results of the research will benefit the industry by producing data, technologies, and practices that allow for the responsible increase in shale gas utilization. This type of research is second nature to the CAFEE team, which has a long history of conducting alternative fuels research. Joining Nix on the project team are Derek Johnson, Arvind Thiruvengadam, Daniel Carder, Greg Thompson, Nigel Clark, Hailin Li, and Scott Wayne.


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Research news

WVU Researchers Awarded Grants to Study Mine Safety, Training, and Health Through Alpha Foundation By Mary C. Dillon


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WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Research teams in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University will have the opportunity to conduct research related to the safety, training, and health management of miners, thanks to awards made by the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health.







Photo: URNews


Despite the record of progress achieved in reducing fatal and non-fatal mining injuries in the United States, both the number and severity of these injuries remain unacceptable. A persistent area of concern in mine safety continues to be related to mining equipment. A team led by Vlad Kecojevic from the Department of Mining Engineering will work to design and deploy an integrated safety system to help reduce equipment-related fatal and nonfatal injuries in surface mining operations. The research team, which includes Bojan Cukic and Vinod Kulathumani of the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and Ashish Nimbarte of industrial and management systems engineering, will work to design a largescale sensor network system. “The proposed system will include features such as existing proximity warning systems and non-invasive eye detection and tracking systems for driver fatigue,” said Kecojevic. “It will also include a vehicular motion profile, illumination on the site, critical intersections in the mine, reduced visibility due to factors such as dust and fog, speed of the vehicle, and warning signals if maintenance of the equipment is not conducted after a certain number of miles and/or hours. “As opposed to leaving individual sensing sub-systems disconnected, all components will be integrated into a common information management system, thus simplifying installation, maintenance, data retrieval, and user interface design,” Kecojevic added. “This type of integrated system will also enable the data from multiple sensing sub-systems to be fused, thus facilitating more comprehensive hazard monitoring, risk analysis, and long-term data analytics for risk management.” Jim Dean, director of mining and industrial extension, will be part of two research teams that were awarded grants from the foundation. Dean will lead an effort to create an experiential training program that will address mobile equipment injuries and fatalities in the mining industry.

much on this technology and neither represents a failsafe system. “An assessment of the technology currently in use, coupled with realistic experiential training for operators and apprentice miners, is needed to fully impart the dangers presented by mobile equipment, the limitations of any technological aids, and best safety practices by everyone to reduce the number of accidents involving mobile equipment,” Dean said. Also working on the project are WVU mining extension agents George Rannenberg and Joshua Caldwell. Dean and Gary Winn, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, will partner with researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center on the establishment of the Mining Healthy Workplace Program. The proposed program will work to introduce a workplace health participatory program that can be introduced successfully to West Virginia’s mining community, which can produce health improvements in a costefficient manner. “At a minimum, our project will revise the apprenticeship and recertification requirements for safety for West Virginia miners by introducing a more robust and integrated health-related curriculum for the apprentices,” Winn said. “For more than 100 years, WVU has been training not only the next generation of mining engineers but also offering training and certification programs for miners already working in the industry,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Their safety is of our utmost concern. Research awards such as these from the Alpha Foundation allow us to continue and expand that important work. I would like to congratulate the members of our faculty and staff on earning this award, and I look forward to the impact their work will have on the industry in the coming years.”

“According to the Mine Safety and Health Administration, between 2000 and 2010 nearly 800 miners were injured and 16 were killed in accidents involving shuttle cars and scoops in underground coal mines,” Dean said. “Most of these accidents occurred because the equipment operator was not aware of the presence of personnel near the mine equipment.”

In January 2013, the foundation, which was established in April 2012 pursuant to a non-prosecution agreement between Alpha Natural Resources and the United States Attorney’s Office, issued a call for concept papers, which resulted in 160 submissions. Following an initial phase of review, a number of the concept papers were selected for development into full research proposals. Sixteen were then approved for funding by the foundation’s board of directors.

Machine-mounted cameras and proximity detection systems can improve the ability of equipment operators to know when individuals may be in harm’s way, but without proper training, Dean said, there may be a tendency for operators to rely too

“The foundation has been most pleased with the depth of research and innovation evident in the proposals and the potential impact on safety and health needs in the mining industry,” said Michael Karmis, president of the foundation.

statler.wvu.edu Rannenberg

Volume 10 Issue 1 |


Research news



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WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

WVU Researchers Develop Artificial “Dancing” Leaf for Harvesting Solar Energy By Mary C. Dillon

When you look at a leaf, the first thing that comes to mind may not be its ability to harness solar energy. In fact, the surface area of a leaf, with its inherent curves and waves, makes it perfect for the absorption of sunlight, which a plant then uses for growth. Probably the last thing that comes to mind is its ability to “dance.” A team of researchers from West Virginia University are taking both ideas a step further in an effort to create an artificial leaf that can be used to harvest solar energy. Nick Wu, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Alan Bristow, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy, are using the latest advances in nanotechnology and optics to mimic and improve on the leaf. The team’s research is being funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. The abundance and renewability of sunlight make it a primary source for meeting the world’s growing energy needs, without further harm to the environment. However, previous attempts to create artificial leaves, which basically mimic photosynthesis, have been mixed. “To date, only low conversion efficiencies have been obtained, primarily because most of the materials used to create artificial leaves have been able to absorb less than five percent of the available solar spectrum,” Bristow explained. “The current goal of our research is to extend that range.” The team’s approach to extending the conversion range involves using light to stimulate a collective movement—or dance—of electrons, known as a localized surface plasmon resonance. “When sunlight hits on very tiny gold nanoparticles, which are 10,000 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair, the electrons on the gold nanoparticle surface can dance hand-in-hand,” Wu said. “This united rhythm can then store the solar energy inside the gold nanoparticle as if it were hundreds of times its actual size. “We can also choose what ‘music’ the electrons will dance to by changing the particles shape, allowing them to pick what part of the solar spectrum is converted to energy,” Wu continued. “Normally, it is difficult to extract the energy stored in the dancing electrons to create the all-important chemical reaction. This difficulty has prevented localized surface plasmon resonances from effectively being used in solar light harvesting technology.” “In our studies, we are able to grow great materials to test our ideas,” Bristow said. “We are also able to use extremely short pulses of laser light—similar to flash photography— to actually capture the electrons’ dance.’ The research team’s discovery of this “dance” has been well received in the scientific community, having been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society as well as highlighted at the annual meeting of the American Physical Society and featured in Nature Communications.


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Research news

WVU Researchers Participate in Methane Quantification Campaign By Bart Keeler

As shale gas drilling continues to expand across the United States, the study of its utilization and potential climate implications associated with methane leaks and losses has ramped up across the country. Researchers from West Virginia University’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions (CAFEE) are teaming with the Environmental Defense Fund to conduct comprehensive methane leak and loss audits at five sites in the Barnett Shale near Fort Worth, Tex. The two teams from WVU, who did much of their work this past October, were led by Derek Johnson, principal investigator and research assistant professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering. “As the industry grows, it must grow responsibly,” explained Johnson. “Since methane is a potent greenhouse gas, we must conduct this and similar research to help minimize or mitigate its loss across the supply chain. “The responsible use of shale gas is a research focus for WVU,” Johnson added. “This type of research can help to better understand the methane loss associated with the growing natural sector, which includes natural gas used for power generation and as a transportation fuel.” The audits are based on a measurement campaign conducted in the active shale producing basin in Texas. These sites included pipeline compressor stations and injection well sites. These measurements will help to compare bottom-up and topdown methods for regional methane loss quantification. CAFEE researchers used high-volume sampling systems and greenhouse gas analyzers using cavity-enhanced absorption to quantify leaks and losses at these sites in real time. Researchers also used an infrared camera from the National Energy Technology Laboratory to spot and record leaks. The team also collected bag samples for hydrocarbon measurements with gas spectrometers. Exhaust samples were also analyzed to determine the amount of methane slip from the dedicated natural gas fueled engines that power transmission line and storage well compressors. WVU will produce a report on their findings to contribute to a paper that will summarize results from the various measurements taken as part of the coordinated campaign. A combination of teams from top industry and academic research institutions from around the country worked in tandem to collect methane emissions data using ground-based, vehicle and aircraft measurement tools. CAFEE researcher Derek Johnson uses a hand-held methane dictator to identify leaks.


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The CAFEE team was funded by the EDF, WVU’s Energy Council, and funds from WVU’s George Berry Chair endowment.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

WVU Solar House to be Integrated Into Curriculum Through NSF Award By Mary C. Dillon

While the immediate use for the solar house built by students from West Virginia University was determined more than a year ago—it was entered into the 2013 U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon in October—its future use was recently secured, thanks to a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Co-principal investigators (PI) Konstantinos Sierros, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and Dimitris Korakakis, associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, will work with an interdisciplinary team of students and faculty to use the home as a test-bed for the use of nanotechnology in developing sustainable, healthy, and smart indoor environments. Participating faculty include representatives from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; P.I. Reed School of Journalism; and the College of Education and Human Services. The project, known as NanoFit, which is short for nanosystems fabrication, integration, and testing, will seek to create a number of projectbased opportunities for students to combine cutting-edge nanotechnology research and product development, device integration, and system performance testing in an innovative environment. “The three main research areas covered in the grant—energy harvesting, storage, and management; indoor health monitoring; and smart living—make the solar house an ideal test-bed facility,” Sierros said. “Examples of

research projects that could be conducted include the fabrication, integration, and testing of nanostructured flexible solar cells, solarpowered water treatment systems, and smart biometric sensors.” The $200,000 grant, which was one of only nine funded by the NSF, leverages the existing framework of WVU’s new nanosystems minor. Students pursuing a minor in the discipline are required to complete a capstone requirement by engaging in interdisciplinary nanosystems research within host faculty labs. The minor was established, in part, through support provided by a previous NSF Nanotechnology Undergraduate Education, or NUE, award made to WVU in 2008. “The idea of using the solar house as the centerpiece for the capstone projects, where students can utilize their knowledge of nanotechnology and implement nanosystems and devices in a hands-on manner, was viewed as highly innovative by the NSF review panel,” said Korakakis, who served as the PI for WVU’s entry into the Solar Decathlon. “The house can also be used as a community learning studio for educating the local community on the benefits of sustainable, smart-home living. “Our goal is for WVU students to grow together as collaborating professionals using this unique environment,” said Korakakis. The NUE program is designed to address a critical need for workers in nanotechnology industries; there is a projected global demand for 6 million workers by 2020, with only 400,000 currently in place.


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Cover feature

It was a Thursday afternoon in mid-September 2013. The labor crew from Facilities Management was removing the last few tables and chairs from the Engineering Sciences Building (ESB) ground floor hallways. Except for a few empty boxes stacked against the trash cans, it was impossible to detect that just an hour or so earlier, more than 100 eager recruiters and nearly 1,000 well-dressed Statler College students were making the best of the organized chaos that is the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair. As I sat with three thumb drives full of student attendance data to process, I couldn’t help but reflect on how dramatically this event had changed in the past 12 years. Perhaps more profound are the changes that have been realized in the lives of hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of students who have benefited from the success of this event. In the fall of 2001, the first Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair was held on the ground floor of the ESB. The fair was scheduled prior to a Mountaineer home football game in


| Spring 2014

hopes of enticing regional employers to attend. Eighteen companies participated in the event. Within three years we were forced to add a second day to accommodate the 100-plus employers—many of which were multinational corporations—that now attend regularly. The fair has also outgrown the halls of ESB and now extends into the atrium of the Mineral Resources Building. What started as a small program to informally expose students to employers has evolved into the largest—and arguably the most successful and effective—career event in the state. Perhaps one of the most beneficial and unanticipated features of the event is the large number of loyal WVU alums who return to campus to represent their respective employers at the fair. Nearly 40 percent of the recruiters attending are WVU alumni and are welcomed back to campus with a gift and an invitation to attend a faculty-recruiter reception. The career fair continues to be held prior to the first home football game in September and has become a tradition for many participating recruiters.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Because of its success and due to space limitations, we created a spring career fair program to bring employers to campus that we could not accommodate in the fall. The spring event is comprised of a series of five “mini” career fairs starting in late January running through February, with a maximum of 20 employers attending each week. The fair has become an integral part of the College culture. However, with opportunity comes challenge. With world-class employers coming to campus, many of the opportunities are more competitive, and employers have much higher expectations of our students. In response, our focus has turned toward improving students’ understanding of the job search process and how to better compete for nationally advertised jobs.

Through classroom presentations and open seminars, emphasizing resume writing, professional ethics, and interviewing skills, Statler College students are now among the nation’s best in career readiness. Students graduating from the Statler College have long been equipped with the academic knowledge and unique skills and abilities necessary to compete successfully. Now, thanks to the national exposure created by the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair, an engineering degree from WVU is no longer “the best-kept secret” in engineering education.

To meet this challenge, the College enlisted the help of the WVU Career Services Center.

ctor nter e r i m, D ices Ce a h r Du r Serv d i v Da Caree WVU Photo: URNews, Raymond Thompson


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Cover feature


| Spring 2014

On any given day during the week, you can walk through the buildings that comprise the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources to find round, wooden tables, surrounded by chairs occupied by students busily preparing for the day’s classes. But for two days during the month of September, the round tables were replaced with long, white ones and the chairs were occupied by representatives from businesses from around the country. And while there is always a fair amount of foot traffic, for 48 hours visitors were met with a solid wall of people, which can only mean one thing. The Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair had begun. On September 25-26, representatives from more than 125 companies attended the fair (see page 18), seeking students for full-time employment opportunities, internships, and co-ops. “FirstEnergy companies have been attending the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair for about 10 years,” said corporate recruiter Chuck Critchfield. “Over that time, we have recruited upwards of 20 graduates from West Virginia University. That number rises quite a bit if we add in the number of co-ops and interns we hire each semester.” Critchfield noted the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair is different from others he attends in the fact that it is held in the hallways of the College, providing student’s direct access to the recruiters. “We see a lot

of candidates just in the time they change classes,” he said. “This format seems to be convenient for students, which is a plus.” “Arch and its subsidiaries have more than 30 WVU grads working in everything from mining engineering, to safety management, to business administration, and accounting,” said Charles Dunbar, project manager with Arch Coal, Inc. “Our recent WVU hires in mining engineering came to us with two or three summer internships already under their belts, most of which were at our operations. They had already been contributing members of our team, knew our systems, and could really hit the ground running.” While some companies are familiar faces at the career fair, others are relative newcomers.

“This is our second year attending the Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair,” said Stephany Lowe, recruiting coordinator for Calfrac Well Services Corp. “On average we attend about 25 career fairs each year, and we currently have five WVU grads working on our team.” Seniors Corey Hartley and Brandon Kania qualify as career fair veterans. “I’ve been to every Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair since I was a freshman,” said Hartley, a computer engineering major from Greensburg, Pa. “I was told early on by my teachers in the Statler College what to expect at the fair and how best to prepare for it. The experience has always been great; there are so many companies to talk to.”


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Accenture Access Midstream Partners Advanced Acoustic Concepts Aera Energy LLC Aerotech Agile5 Technologies, Inc. Agr International, Inc. Alarm.com Altec Industries Appian Arch Coal Inc. ATK Atlas Railroad Construction Axiall Corporation Bayer Business and Technology Services LLC Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation Bechtel Plant Machinery, Inc. Belcan Engineering Booz Allen Hamilton Bowman Consulting Group Braskem BrickStreet Insurance Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement Calfrac Well Services Canon Virginia, Inc. Carlisle Construction Materials Carlson Software CDI ENGINEERING GROUP Celanese CGI Civil & Environmental Consultants clearAvenue, LLC CME Engineering Cogent Info Tech Connors Group Constellium Rolled Products Ravenswood Dawood Engineering, Inc. DCS CORPORATION Deloitte Dominion DTE Energy EarthRes Group, Inc. Eaton Corporation EMERSON PROCESS MANAGEMENT Energizer FedEx FirstEnergy G3 Technologies GAI Consultants Gateway Engineers, Inc. General Electric Aviation and Transportation General Electric Energy Management Giant Eagle, Inc. Gilbane Building Company Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company GORDON Gyrodata, Inc. Halliburton Hatch Mott MacDonald HCL Global Systems Inc. Herbert, Rowland & Grubic, Inc. Highmark Health Services Honda R&D Americas, Inc.


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participating companies

The following companies participated in the 2013 Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair:

HSC IBM InCadence Strategic Solutions Incept Solutions Inc. Intermountain Electronics IPS Engineering/EPC Jacobs Engineering Group, Inc. KeyLogic Systems, Inc. Kokosing Construction Company, Inc. Kollmorgen LANtek M&S Consulting Manhattan Construction Company ManTech International Maryland State Highway Administration Matrix PDM Engineering Mellott Company MetroStar Systems Metso Milliken & Company Multivision Inc. MWV-MeadWestvaco Mylan, Inc. Nalco-an Ecolab Company NAVAIR Navy Officer Recruiting Newport News Shipbuilding NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage Olin Corporation Optimal Satcom, Inc. Oshkosh Corporation Peabody Energy Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Pittsburgh Technology Council P.J. Dick Incorporated/Trumbull Corporation PPG Industries, Inc. Rexnord Industries RoviSys Rummel, Klepper & Kahl, LLP SAI Consulting Engineers, Inc. Schaeffler Group Schlumberger Shockey Companies Smith Micro Software Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative Stanley Electric US Steel of West Virginia SWIFT-Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication TE Connectivity The MITRE Corporation The PBE Group Thrasher Engineering, Inc. Triad Engineering, Inc. Turner Construction Company United States Air Force Officer Accessions United States Steel Corporation Universal Blastco University of Akron Verisign Weatherford International, Ltd. West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection Williams WillowTree Apps

Be a part of our next Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair!

The Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair is a great way to recruit interns, co-ops, and entry-level engineering, computer scientists, and safety professionals for your company. Register in MountaineerTRAK (www.myinterfase.com/wvu/ employer). For more information, contact Sarah Glenn at sarah. glenn@mail.wvu.edu or Lloyd Ford at lloyd.ford@mail.wvu.edu.

Maggie Schlegel

“Job searching is work. I’ve learned that if you are truly serious about seeking an opportunity to gain experience in an engineering field, you must be prepared to put in the effort.” Kania, who also has attend each year, concurred noting, “I find them to be a great way to network and meet with company representatives. Just going up to an employer and talking to them makes a statement. Even if you don’t land a job, it could create something down the road.” The fair isn’t just for seniors. According to Lloyd Ford, corporate relations and career assistance coordinator in the Statler College, students at all levels, including freshmen, are encouraged to attend. “We encourage students of all levels to attend, but for different reasons,” said Ford. “For freshmen, it’s a wonderful opportunity to begin networking, become comfortable with the process, and to a slightly lesser extent look at possible internships and co-ops. For sophomores and juniors, it’s an opportunity to build upon that initial networking experience, as well as actively seek internships and co-ops. For seniors and graduate students, it’s for finding that job out of college.” “Attending the career fair as a freshman was quite an intimidating experience,” said Wheeling, W.Va., native Maggie Schlegel, a sophomore majoring in industrial engineering. “While many companies were simply not interested in hiring freshmen because of our lack of experience, it definitely helped me prepare for this year. I got a pretty good idea of what companies look for in a candidate for an internship.” In preparation for the fair, Schlegel revised her resume several times and had it reviewed by her advisor and several of her peers. She also met with her advisor to review the list of companies attending the fair and highlighted some she might be interested in working for.

brandon Kania

“While I had a list, I went into the fair with an open mind,” she said. “I didn’t have my heart set on working for a specific company, although working for General Electric (GE) would be a treat!” Corey Hartley

Over the two days, Schlegel met with a number of companies, including GE, OshKosh Corporation, and Deloitte. “Job searching is work,” said Schlegel. “I’ve learned that if you are truly serious about seeking an opportunity to gain experience in an engineering field, you must be prepared to put in the effort. Leave no stone unturned when it comes to seeking out and taking advantage of the opportunities that are presented to you.” ali Kowalski

After meeting with GE, Schlegel started turning over some of those stones. She e-mailed the company’s representative, thanking him for his time and patience when talking with her about the company. She also expressed her interest in working for them. That extra effort earned her an interview with GE, which landed her a summer internship with GE Aviation. “It was nerve wracking,” Schlegel said. “I had no idea what to expect, and I felt so unprepared! Once I was in the interview, however, everything went smoothly. The wait to hear back from them was agonizing; those six days felt like several months.”

Kevin Peake

“WVU is one of GE’s top universities for recruitment,” said Johnny Shields, sales engineer, industrial solutions with GE. “We have many businesses that recruit at WVU, including GE Healthcare, GE Aviation, GE Transportation, GE Appliances, and GE Energy. Over the past 10 years, we have hired more than 40 WVU students for fulltime and internship positions across the many GE businesses. Nick Underwood


Volume 10 Issue 1 |


Cover feature

“WVU does a great job preparing their students in the classroom, but WVU does an even better job of preparing their students to represent themselves professionally at the career fair and in the interviews,” Shields added. “This is what sets WVU students apart from students at other career fairs where we recruit.” At the fair, Kania, who majors in petroleum and natural gas engineering, was encouraged to attend an information session to be held later in the semester by Halliburton, one of the world’s largest providers of products

Four weeks later, Kania was offered a position as a wireline and perforations engineer, which he accepted on December 19. Upon graduation, he will head to Houston, Tex., for training and will return to the Carmichaels location. Also landing an interview was senior Alicia Kowalski, a biometric systems major from Wilmington, Del. “I met with representatives from a number of companies and was offered an interview with M&S Consulting about a week after the fair,” she said. “The interview consisted of questions about my current status in school, my extracurricular activities, my future plans and goals, and what I wanted in an internship.”

“... WVU does an even better job of preparing their students to represent themselves professionally at the career fair and in the interviews.”


and services to the energy industry. He attended the event and was offered a chance to interview with the company at its Carmichaels, Pa., location.

During the interview, Kowalski was thrown a few curveballs she hadn’t expected. “They asked me several questions that I had never been asked in previous interviews. The first was if I read for fun and, if so, what types of books or authors interested me. They also asked who my best friend was and how that person would describe me. I was also asked to describe an accomplishment I was proud of that didn’t involve work or school.”

“During the two-day interview, I learned about job opportunities, working conditions, and benefits,” said Kania. “On the second day, there was a more comprehensive interview where I was asked engineering-related questions. I also got the chance to tour the shop and see the equipment and tools they use.”

While M&S Consulting has been attending the WVU Career Fair for a few years, this was their first visit to the Statler College event. According to Ashok Aggarwal, co-founder and partner at M&S, the company looks for people who have a drive to solve business problems and a passion for technology.

| Spring 2014

“The ability to think clearly, quickly, and in a personable way goes a long way in our field.” “We get thrown curveballs on almost a daily basis,” said Aggarwal. “The ability to think clearly, quickly, and in a personable way goes a long way in our field. We have also worked hard to create a unique culture at M&S, so we ask questions to get a more robust view of who we are talking to.” Kowalski also took the opportunity to volunteer with WVU Career Services to help break down the booths. “It gave me an opportunity to talk to the companies again, but on a more comfortable level. It gave me a chance to ask about their time at the fair, and several even asked for my resume.” Due to his class schedule, junior Kevin Peake, a mechanical and aerospace engineering major from Fairfax, Va., only got to attend the fair for a short time. But one company impressed him over the others he spoke with. “The company that impressed me the most was Honda,” Peake said. “They had jobs building and designing all-terrain vehicles, which is something I did this past summer. Each company was interesting, and I would be happy to get the opportunity to work with any of them.”

“This experience allowed me to reflect on how I approach potential employers, and will certainly help me in the future.”

While Peake did not receive any offers at the fair, he kept in touch with several of the companies he spoke with. His persistence paid off in December, when he heard from Honda, which offered him an opportunity to interview. Nick Underwood, a senior from Beaver, W.Va., not only got to meet with all the companies on his list, but he also got the chance to spend some time on the other side of the table. “One of the companies I met with was TE Connectivity, who I interned with this past summer,” Underwood said. “They allowed me to help them out by talking with students interested in the company. Suddenly I was on the opposite side of the equation. Looking at students’ resumes, asking them questions, being the recruiter … it gave me a completely different perspective on the whole thing. I was now the guy students anxiously walked up and introduced themselves to. Some were nervous, while others were overly confident. This experience allowed me to reflect on how I approach potential employers, and will certainly help me in the future.”


Volume 10 Issue 1 |


Cover feature

Williams Hosts Resume Workshop, Tailgate for Students By Bart Keeler

Many companies come to West Virginia University for the two-day Engineering and Computer Science Career Fair to find bright, young, potential employees. However, some companies come to WVU with more on their mind than just finding students to fill employment needs. Williams, an energy infrastructure company, came to help Statler College students with the whole career fair and job search process.

did and learned during those experiences. Most companies want a potential employee to explain what they did that makes them a good hire. Students are “big on buzzwords, like, ‘I’m a self-starter,’” and Cole. “I encouraged them to go back and put an example of how they were a self-starter instead of telling me that. It’s more meaningful.”

“We have found some students on LinkedIn, but it’s still kind of new in the industry at least.” On Tuesday, September 24, Williams hosted a resume workshop for students in the Statler College. Paige Cole, college relations function manager at Williams, gave a 20-minute presentation on what makes a good and bad resume. She spent the next two hours going through the resumes of students in attendance.

Cole also talked about the changing nature of the hiring process. Companies don’t just want to hire students with the highest GPAs, but look for wellrounded students coming out of college who fit the culture of the company. That is why the resume is so important; to show the future employer not only what a student has done, but how they have learned.

“Some of them needed a lot of help, and some of them looked really good,” said Cole. “I think it was beneficial to them … They asked really great questions.”

“We hire for our culture,” explained Cole. “We need somebody who has good people skills, good communications skills, etc.”

Cole was able to give students advice on how to create a resume that doesn’t just tell a potential employee about their professional experience, but shows what they

Williams uses social media to engage with students looking for internships. Cole uses Facebook and Twitter to search specifically for college students who are

Companies don’t just want to hire students with the highest GPAs, but look for wellrounded students coming out of college who fit the culture of the company. interested in finding internships. The company has a “Williams Careers” Twitter profile and Facebook page and posted on both about the resume workshop and career fair at WVU. Cole explained that, though LinkedIn is the professional networking site, the company uses it mainly for full-time position searches because many students have not embraced the opportunities LinkedIn provides. “We have found some students on LinkedIn, but it’s still kind of new in the industry at least,” said Cole. “It’s something I’d like to see us do more of, but I think it’s going

a tailgate prior to the WVUOklahoma State football game on Saturday, September 28. The tailgate was another way for students to connect with the company and work on professional networking skills in a friendly environment. The company’s headquarters are in Tulsa, Okla., but it is growing in West Virginia, with an office in Moundsville, a cryogenic plant in Fort Beeler, and a processing plant in Oak Grove. A team from its home state playing in the area of its growing Pittsburgh and West Virginia offices was a perfect combination for Williams to network with students in this area.

“We hire for our culture.” to have to require some additional education of students. “I just finished putting together an 18-page PowerPoint on things like what’s a connection, how to use recommendations, how not to use recommendations, and ways to use the job portal to find internships.” Williams provided another way for students to gain professional networking experience by hosting

“We purchased assets here a year ago April,” said Cole, “We expect, between West Virginia and our Pittsburgh office, to be the size of our Tulsa headquarters within five years.” Cole said the company likes to “recruit close to our large employee populations. We really try to keep West Virginia students in the West Virginia area.”

“We need somebody who has good people skills, good communications skills, etc.” 22

| Spring 2014

Social Media: Not Your Father’s Help Wanted Ads By Mary C. Dillon

Not so long ago, job applicants and human resource professionals had just a few ways to connect with each other. While newspaper and journal ads, along with word-of-mouth referrals, are still commonplace, more and more companies are turning to social media to find qualified applicants. A recent report issued by Jobvite, a social media recruitment platform, found that social recruiting

is an essential practice used by 94 percent of surveyed recruiters across industries, up

from 78 percent in 2008, the first year the survey was conducted.

LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter continue to be the most used channels by recruiters. With nine out of 10 surveyed companies using social media in their recruiting strategy, candidates and companies are now in direct communication, all the time.


large number of employers advertise their internship and career opportunities on social media,” said

Sarah Rotruck Glenn, assistant director for West Virginia University’s Career Services Center. “Many even have separate Facebook fan pages for their campus recruiting efforts. Also, many employers use LinkedIn to search for and identify prospective candidates.” Glenn noted that the Center uses these same social media tools to post an internship and job of the day; link to career-related articles; and promote career fairs, events, and on-campus interviews. “I have seen companies look me up on LinkedIn and I definitely think everyone searching for a job should have an account on the site,” said Corey Hartley, a senior computer engineering major from Greensburg, Pa. “It’s like an online resume.

Some jobs allow you to apply directly through LinkedIn, which is so much more effective and less time consuming.” Qualified job seekers, Jobvite warns, should note the increasing importance of their total social presence beyond LinkedIn. Ninety-three percent of recruiters report reviewing candidates’ social profile in the hiring process, while 42 percent have reconsidered a candidate based on content from social profiles.

knowledge on what to look for in my search,” said Maggie Schlegel, a sophomore industrial engineering major from Wheeling, W.Va. “However, I would


strongly advise against using mainstream social media sites to search for positions, as opposed to professional sites, simply because certain social media sites can be unreliable and misleading.”

some instances, your posts and pictures will never be completely deleted, and it is easy to post an unprofessional status or picture and quickly regret it.”

According to Jobvite, an emerging platform for job seekers is Pinterest, a contentsharing service that allows users to “pin” images, videos, and object to a pinboard. “Pinterest provides

is critical to maintain a professional online presence,” said Glenn. “In

“I briefly scanned Facebook to get an idea of who my fellow engineering majors were interning for; this way I could gain some kind of

great info graphics related to industry trends and other career related facts and statistics,” said Glenn.

“It is also a good way to find job search tips and tricks.”

Volume 10 Issue 1 |


college news WVU System, West Virginia State University Sign Articulation Agreement Furthering its mission of offering service to the state, the West Virginia University System entered into an articulation agreement in November with West Virginia State University (WVSU). According to the agreement, students could complete two years of general engineering curriculum at WVSU before transferring to the WVU System, where they would complete their final two years. Upon graduation, students will receive a bachelor of science degree from the WVU System. “Agreements such as this are important because they ease the transition for students coming to us from WVSU,” said WVU Provost Michele Wheatly, who signed the agreement along with Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Benjamin M. Statler

College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and Carolyn Long, campus executive officer at West Virginia University Institute of Technology. “These students now have a clear roadmap of what they need to take in their first two years at State as well as what they need to take and when they need to take it in the WVU System in order to earn their degree,” Wheatly said. WVSU leaders Charles Byers, provost and vice president for academic affairs; T. Ramon Stuart, assistant provost and assistant vice president for academic affairs; and Katherine L. Harper, dean of the college of natural sciences and mathematics traveled to Morgantown to sign the agreement.

“With support of local stakeholders, WVSU has sought to restore its engineering program in a cost-efficient manner to meet the interests of our students and the growing demand for engineers,” said Harper. “As a fellow land-grant institution in the state of West Virginia with a stellar engineering program, WVU was the obvious choice for WVSU to partner with.” WVSU will begin offering engineering courses in the fall of 2014 and according to Harper, there are already 10 students at WVSU interested in pursuing an engineering degree via the new program. The WVU System currently has articulation agreements in place with multiple other colleges and universities in the United States.

Back L-R: Myers, Torbica, stuart Front L-R: harper, Wheatly, byers, Long, cilento

Photo: URNews, Brian Persinger

Team From Suncrest Middle School Wins 26th Annual Pumpkin Drop With temperatures hovering around freezing all day and snow falling in the morning, 74 of 300 pumpkins survived the 11-story drop from the top of West Virginia University’s Engineering Science Building. Team 79 from Suncrest Middle School had the best result, landing just four inches from the center, the closest result on record. “The Pumpkinators” were made up of Nicholas Stout, Brevin Morris, Raimah Hossain, and Josh Constantine. The team took home the $100 first prize.


| Spring 2014

Second place was claimed by team 223, from Morgantown High School, landing 11 inches from the mark. Alex Stanesco and Cryus Shahnan walked away with $50 for the runner-up spot. In third place was team 72, from Suncrest Middle School. “P Dizzle” was made up of Finnegan Thornton, Maxwell Kemp-Rye, and Hazen Powell and won $25. The event was sponsored by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers chapter at WVU. Proceeds benefited the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

College News in Brief \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Cynthia J. Atman, BSIE ’79, the inaugural holder of the Mitchell T. & Lella Blanche Bowie Endowed Chair in Human-Centered Design and Engineering at the University of Washington, delivered the annual Gochenour Lecture in West Virginia University’s Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, on October 25. Atman is the founding director of the Center for Engineering Learning and Teaching and the director of the Center for the Advancement of Engineering Education. Her research focuses on engineering design learning, and students as emerging engineering professionals. A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Atman earned her doctorate in engineering and public policy from Carnegie Mellon University. She joined the University of Washington in 1998, after serving seven years on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh. Atman is the 2002 recipient of the ASEE Chester F. Carlson Award for Innovation in Engineering Education, and received the 2009 David B. Thorud Leadership Award, which is given to University of Washington faculty and staff for demonstrating leadership, innovation, and teamwork. James Dean, director of mining and industrial extension at West Virginia University, received the “Because of You” Safety Professional Award at the 2013 Spirit of the Coalfields Miners’ Celebration, held October 3, at Tamarack Conference Center, in Beckley, W.Va. The award recognizes individuals or groups that make a significant contribution to coal miner safety, safety innovation, and implementation. Charles Dunbar, BSME ’80, acquisitions project manager for Arch Coal, Inc., delivered the Department of Mining Engineering’s annual William N. Poundstone Lecture in September. Dunbar is a fourth-generation coal miner who has worked in the industry since 1977 on both surface and underground mining operations in Utah, Virginia, Kentucky, and West Virginia. He has held various production and management positions from coal crew, to chief engineer, to general manager and company president with companies including Leckie Smokeless Coal Company, Atlantic Richfield, Westmoreland Coal Company, Peabody/Eastern, Anker Energy, Alpha Natural Resources, ICG, and Arch Coal. As part of Diversity Week, the Statler College hosted Irving Pressley McPhail, president and chief executive officer of the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME), Inc., who delivered a lecture entitled, “Confronting the ‘New’ American Dilemma; The NACME Strategy.” McPhail was named the sixth president and chief executive officer of NACME in 2009, after having served as its executive vice president and chief operating officer since 2007. NACME received the 2012 Claire Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET.

U.S. Steel’s Surma Delivery 2013 Hiner Lecture L-R: Clements, Ann Hiner, HIner, Surma, and Cilento

John Surma, executive chairman of United States Steel Corporation, spoke in September as part of the Statler College’s Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series. Surma’s lecture was entitled, “Steel: The Material of Modern Society and an American Company That Makes it.” Surma, who earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Pennsylvania State University, joined Price Waterhouse LLP in 1976, and in 1981 he served in the Manchester, England, with the Office of the Price Waterhouse United Kingdom firm. In 1987, he was admitted to the partnership. In 1983, Surma participated in the President’s Executive Exchange Program in Washington, D.C., where he served as executive staff assistant to the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. In 1997, he joined Marathon Oil Company as senior vice president, finance & accounting. Surma was appointed president, Speedway SuperAmerica LLC in 1998, and senior vice president, supply and transportation for Marathon Ashland Petroleum LLC (MAP) in 2000. He was named president of MAP on January 1, 2001. Effective with the separation from USX Corporation, he became vice chairman and chief financial officer of United States Steel Corporation on January 1, 2002. He was named president in March 2003, and president and chief operating officer in June 2003. He was elected president and chief executive officer in 2004, and chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer in February 2006. Surma retired as chief executive officer in August 2013. He served as executive chairman of the board of directors until December 31, when he officially retired from the company and the board. A native of Pittsburgh, Surma is a member of the board of directors of Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Ingersoll Rand, the National Safety Council, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the president’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and currently serves as vice chairman. The Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series is named in honor of the outstanding alumnus who, in 2005, established an endowment to support the deanship of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU. Glen H. Hiner graduated from WVU’s Department of Electrical Engineering in 1957, and then embarked on an outstanding 35-year career with General Electric. In 1992, he became chief executive officer of Owens Corning. He has served on several Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ advisory committees, as a visiting professor in the WVU College of Business and Economics, and as a member of the WVU Foundation Board of Directors.


Volume 10 Issue 1 |


faculty news

WVU’s Anderson Receives Presidential Early Career Award Brian Anderson, GE Plastics Material Engineering Professor of Chemical Engineering at West Virginia University, has been selected as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Anderson was nominated for the award by the Department of Energy, one of 13 federal departments and agencies that join together annually to nominate the most meritorious scientists and engineers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for assuring America’s preeminence in science and engineering and contributing to the awarding agencies’ missions. “I am truly honored to be chosen for the PECASE and to represent WVU and the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources,” said Anderson. “It is very important to me to carry on the long and distinguished legacy of energy research at WVU. As both a graduate of the Statler College as an undergrad and now as a faculty member, I am excited to be able to bring this award back to my alma mater. I am also very grateful for the ability to work with the researchers at National Energy Technology Laboratory and for the nomination.” Anderson has conducted extensive research in the areas of natural gas hydrates, thermodynamic modeling, and sustainable energy and development in the area of geothermal systems. He was the recipient of the 2011 DOE Secretary’s Honor Award for his work in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and was selected to the National Academy of Engineering’s 2010 Frontiers of Engineering Education Workshop. Anderson was named the Statler College’s Teacher of the Year in 2010. In addition to

By Mary C. Dillon

his teaching responsibilities, Anderson serves as coordinator of strategic research in energy for WVU’s Research Office. “By virtue of this award, Brian Anderson has positioned himself as a rising star in the field of energy research and education,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “He will be a key player in WVU’s plans to play a leadership role in the energy arena.” “In the short time that Brian Anderson has been on the faculty at WVU, he has made major technical advances while working closely with other universities, industrial companies, and national laboratories,” said Rakesh Gupta, Professor and George and Carolyn Berry Chair of Chemical Engineering. “The Presidential Early Career Award is well-deserved recognition not only of his current contributions but also of his future potential.” “The impressive achievements of these early-stage scientists and engineers are promising indicators of even greater successes ahead,” President Barack Obama said. “We are grateful for their commitment to generating the scientific and technical advancements that will ensure America’s global leadership for many years to come.” A native of Ripley, W.Va., Anderson earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from WVU in 2000, and his master’s and doctoral degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2004 and 2005, respectively.

Faculty in News Brief \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Richard Bajura, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was presented with the Sen. Jennings Randolph Lifetime Achievement Award by the Washington Coal Club. Bajura also serves as director of WVU’s National Research Center for Coal and Energy. Chris Bise, Robert E. Murray Chairman of Mining Engineering, has been named chair of the engineering ethics division of the American Society of Engineering Education for 2013-2014. He also served as the editor of the textbook, Modern American Coal Mining: Methods and Applications, which was published in November by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.


| Spring 2014

Vlad Kecojevic, Massey Professor of Mining Engineering, received the Stephen McCann Memorial Award for Educational Excellence from the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America. He was also named chair of the coal and energy division of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration for 2013-2014. Victor Mucino, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and associate chair for education, earned top honors for his paper, “Bridging Academia and Industry Gap, Through Global Competencies: Industrial Outreach Program US-Mexico,” from the Process Industries Division at the ASME 2012 International Mechanical

Engineering Congress and Exposition. The award was presented at ASME’s annual conference, held in November in San Diego, Calif. A paper authored by Guodong Guo, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, was selected for publication in a special issue of the Image and Vision Computing Journal on the theme “The Best of Face and Gesture 2013.” He also participated in the National Science Foundation’s Change the World: Science and Engineering Careers Fair held last September in Dulles, Va.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

New Faculty Patrick Browning


Photo: URNews, Brian Persinger

Assistant Professor Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Education: Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2009 B.S., West Virginia University, 2005 A.A., Potomac State University, 2003 Teaching Interests: aerodynamics, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics Research Interests: unmanned aerial vehicles, micro air vehicles, unmanned aircraft systems

Jason Gross


Assistant Professor Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Education: Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2011 B.S., West Virginia University, 2007 Teaching Interests: statics, dynamics, mechatronics Research Interests: high-precision kinematic positioning, fault tolerant navigation systems

Yanfang Ye


Assistant Professor Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Education: Ph.D., Xiamen University, 2010 M.S., Fuzhou University, 2006 B.S., Fuzhou University, 2003 Teaching Interests: cyber security Research Interests: intelligent malware detection

Liu Named Innovator of the Year at State Conference Xingbo Liu, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was named the 2013 Innovator of the Year at the TechConnectWV Spirit of Innovation Awards Banquet held in October. Liu was recognized for his productivity in energy research and innovation, particularly in developing solid oxide fuel cell interconnect coatings and in improving the cells’ cathode performance, as well as for his research on superalloy castings used in advanced electric power systems and for a new program to develop advanced, utility-scale battery technologies. Liu edged out 11 other nominees throughout the state for the award.

“Dr. Liu not only embodies the spirit of innovation himself, he imparts that spirit to others through his love of science, his dedication to its practical application, and his devotion to research and teaching in the service of humanity,” said Trina Wafle, associate director of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU, who nominated him. “I thank my wonderful research colleagues at WVU, at the National Energy Technology Laboratory and at Faraday Technology, Inc., and my graduate students who collaborate with me to create cleaner energy technologies,” said Liu. “It’s a great honor to be named TechConnect’s first Innovator of the Year.”

TechConnectWV is an economic development organization that promotes innovation and entrepreneurism throughout the state. The group held its Spirit of Innovation Awards in Morgantown to showcase successes in technology innovation in West Virginia. Five awards were presented at the October event. “The 33 nominations received for this inaugural awards program demonstrate that in West Virginia, the innovation economy is not just a concept– it’s a reality,” said Anne Barth, executive director of TechConnectWV. “We were thrilled to honor all of them.”


Volume 10 Issue 1 |


student news

Gov. Tomblin Honors Engineering Students Who Earned Buick Scholarships By Jake Stump


| Spring 2014

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

One student’s a champion archer. The other has an interest in 3D printers and prosthetics. Their commonality? Both are engineering students at West Virginia University, and each will receive a $25,000 scholarship annually from the Buick Achievers Scholarship Program. Jeremiah Parsons, of Vienna, W.Va., and Julie Peng, of Culloden, W.Va., were honored for that achievement in September at the West Virginia Capitol Complex by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Parsons and Peng are two of 100 students nationwide to receive the scholarship, intended to reward students who succeed inside and outside the classroom and may need financial assistance. “This is wonderful news for Jeremiah and Julie, as well as West Virginia University, which has a tradition of providing our youth with the knowledge and skills to succeed,” Tomblin said. “I’m grateful the General Motors Foundation has recognized the importance of supporting our nation’s future leaders as they aspire to become the best in their fields of study.”

Buick Scholars (Photo courtesy of West Virginia Governor’s Office) — Ray Magee (far left), district sales manager for Buick/GMC, poses with Buick Scholarship winners Julie Peng and Jeremiah Parsons and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin at the State Capitol.

Parsons is right on target, in more ways than one, when it comes to a potentially successful future. The Parkersburg High School graduate has established himself throughout West Virginia as a skilled archer, earning back-to-back high school state championships and a four-year all-state team placement in archery. He’s currently a member of the WVU archery team and is coaching a junior Olympic archery team.

In the classroom, Parsons plans to major in computer engineering and minor in criminal justice. “I feel very honored to receive this award,” Parsons said. “As one of thousands of people who applied, it is very humbling. This award will help me finish my degree at WVU and ultimately help secure our country working at the Department of Defense or National Security Agency.” His parents are James Parsons and Stephanie Myers. WVU’s second recipient, Peng, had already made a splash at the University before her first day of class this fall. Peng was named one of WVU’s 2013 Foundation Scholars last spring, an award reserved for the best and brightest West Virginia high school seniors. She had given 2,000 community service hours by the time she graduated from Hurricane High School, where she was president of the National Honor Society and secretary of the Student Council. Now, at WVU, she is a member of the Society of Women Engineers, Engineers Without Borders, and Campus Crusade for Christ. She is also secretary of the WVU Government and Politics Association. Peng plans to pursue a chemical engineering degree and hopes to attend medical school. Among her interests are 3D printers

and prosthetics, combining the engineering and medical technology fields. She believes that she can create innovative medicines, and as a doctor be able to serve people, as well. “Receiving this scholarship is truly a blessing, and I could not feel more humbled to be a recipient,” she said. “As I pursue my chemical engineering degree this scholarship opens vast opportunities to participate in service learning and community activities, and the ability to focus on earning summer internships. Most importantly when I am applying for positions in industry I will have experience in the field and be able to more efficiently benefit people worldwide.” She is the daughter of Susan Peng. The Buick Achievers Scholarship Program offers up to $25,000 per year for 100 first-time freshmen or existing college students, renewable up to four years and one additional year for those entering a qualified five-year engineering program. Consideration is given to firstgeneration, female, minority, and military students. “To have not one but two winners of the Buick Achievement Scholarship in the Statler College is recognition of the quality of our students,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean. “I congratulate Julie and Jeremiah on this well-deserved recognition. We look forward to following their achievements throughout their academic careers.”


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student news



If at first you don’t succeed—so the adage goes—try, try again. Which is exactly the mantra from West Virginia University’s first-ever foray into the Solar Decathlon. The Mountaineers hope to see you back in 2015! While the WVU Solar Decathlon team did not win the competition, it did bring home first place in the Integration of Nature and Technology category.

member of the 2013 WVU team. “We got the house done. We represented WVU. That was our full intent.”

More importantly, however, the team fulfilled what it set out to accomplish: building a solar-powered, energy-efficient house from the ground up.

The team got off to a sluggish start in California, where the contest was held this year, as it was penalized for plumbing issues and trucks hauling materials from West Virginia arrived out of order.

The Solar Decathlon is a design-and-build contest sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Team Austria, consisting of the Vienna University of Technology, claimed the top spot in the international competition. Still, WVU students learned a valuable lesson or two from the experience, and being selected to participate in the competition alone is an accolade itself. “We feel accomplished,” said Sharrafti Kuzmar, a computer science student and


| Spring 2014

Students still managed to top the house off with some Mountaineer charm. The WVU house was the first log-style home accepted into the Decathlon. It relied on natural resources to control temperature and incorporated a smart home system that utilized sensors for various features. Plus, it was “homey” and smelled like white pine. In other words, it didn’t resemble what you would envision as a futuristic home, or something out of the Jetsons. “People walked in and said, ‘I could live here,’” Kuzmar said. “This actually looks like a house.”

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

The WVU team consisted of about 50 students across multiple disciplines, including the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources; the College of Creative Arts; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism; and the College of Business and Economics.

“Come next competition, we’ll have a different mindset,” she said. “We’ll be ready.”

Provost Michele Wheatly, who joined the team in California, said the University is proud of the students.

“Our students want hands-on, practical, goal-driven learning,” Wheatly said. “This is real-world learning, and it’s the future of learning. With the Solar Decathlon they worked the way they will in their careers, in a diverse team from a wide variety of intellectual and personal backgrounds, with a series of looming deadlines—and they excelled.

“What they designed—and what they executed—was an extraordinary achievement,” she said. “All of the teams in the Solar Decathlon should be congratulated, but our team, who constructed entirely on site, really stood out. Even many of their competitors were cheering them on during the competition, marveling at the from-the-ground-up construction they achieved.”

Wheatly believes this will give students valuable practice—and allow them to continue working among a diverse group.

“I feel compelled—and energized—by the impetus that this event provided to WVU, to generate more learning opportunities like the Solar Decathlon for all our students,” she said.

Several teams’ houses had prefabricated sections, making assembly generally easier. Count that as one of the things the WVU team learned. They’ll have even more time to learn and relearn from their own experiences as they plan to rebuild the house at a location yet to be determined on campus. A National Science Foundation grant will enable the rebuilt house to be used as a testbed for the use of nanotechnology in developing sustainable, healthy, and smart indoor environments. Kuzmar expects students will rebuild it by the end of the academic year.


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student news


By Bart Keeler


| Spring 2014


WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Most sophomores at West Virginia University are busy just trying to juggle their classes, a social life, and maybe a side job. Kyle Gillis, a sophomore industrial engineering major, and his cousin, Garrett Yurisko, a sophomore broadcast journalism major, have decided to add starting a company to their plate as well. Day One is an urban clothing brand that aims to inspire those who wear it. But Gillis wants people to know that their brand isn’t just about the clothes. “We want to inspire people to do what they love,” explained Gillis, a Wheeling, W.Va., native. “We want them to like the style, and then be inspired.” Gillis and Yurisko want people to be the “same old kids from day one” and to pursue the things they’ve always loved doing. This also led the duo to turn their company from just a clothing brand to a lifestyle brand. “It’s not about clothing,” said Gillis. The website, which launched in January 2014, will feature the clothes, but will also focus equally on music videos and minidocumentaries produced by Yurisko and a blog that will tell the

the business with a 13-hour time difference will really build our communication skills as a small, new company,” he said. “We will be holding weekly conference calls online for everyone involved to keep the ideas flowing.” Making Day One happen, as Gillis and Yurisko were quick to point out, has been a team effort. “We don’t see the company in tiers,” said Gillis. “No one piece is more valuable than the others.” Yurisko comes up with the ideas for the designs and helps craft them to look the way he wants them to. He works with a graphic designer back in Wheeling on this function. He also produces much of the website content, especially the videos that feature Day One lifestyle brand members. Gillis, on the other hand, uses the skills he’s learning as an industrial engineer at WVU to lead the business and production side of the venture. One of his many functions is to choose the fabrics for the shirts. “I pick out the best quality; I don’t think of the price,” he said.

I love inspiring people to do what they love. stories of people who wear their clothes and are inspired to do what they love. “We want people to put on our clothes and create their own identity,” said Yurisko, from Moundsville, W.Va. The idea started in December 2012 and the two have been working with friends to make it happen. They first started to just make T-shirts they thought were cool, but it snowballed and became a way to inspire people to “do what they love from the get-go,” similar to how Gillis and Yurisko live their lives. The apparel is meant to be the catalyst for living the wearers’ dreams. For Gillis, part of that dream includes the opportunity to study abroad. “When I arrived in Morgantown for my freshman year, great things began to happen for me,” he said. “Seeing a larger, more active city really brought out a different side of me. A few months into the school year, I thought that if Morgantown could do this to me what would happen if I were to go to one of the largest cities in the world?” Gillis is spending the spring 2014 semester in Hong Kong, studying at Hong Kong Baptist University. But his work with Day One won’t end just because he’s out of the country. “Running

Gillis said this experience has taught him a lot about management and leadership. He also said he learned more about logistics and budgeting than he could have ever learned in a class. The hardest part, he said, was starting, which required a business plan. “I learned that business plans change,” he said. “I actually came up with a business map. It’s a general idea that becomes more specific as we move along. A business plan would have restricted growth.” Gaining the capital to start was also hard. Gillis recounted that they suffered four loan denials before his dad put in a line of credit for them. “We actually ran out of money before we got the loan,” said Gillis. “We rethought it and started to involve more people. We probably got ahead of ourselves.” “We realized we had to go 100 percent,” said Yurisko. Gillis, however, said that his goal is not to make money in this venture. “Honestly, if I look back on this and don’t make any money, I won’t regret it. It’s not about that. I love doing this and I love inspiring people to do what they love.”


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student news WVU Receives Third Straight Invitation to Compete in NASA/ NIA Robotics Competition By Mary C. Dillon

For the third time in three years, a team of students from West Virginia University will put its engineering skills to the test when it competes in the Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts-Academic Linkage Exploration Robo-Ops Competition. Sponsored by NASA and organized by the National Institute of Aerospace, the competition will be held in June at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “We are honored and excited to be part of an elite group of eight universities selected to compete again this year,” said Powsiri Klinkhachorn, professor of computer science and electrical engineering and team advisor. “To be selected three years in a row speaks well for the ability of our students. They have designed and built some of the best robots in the past, and we are hoping our previous experiences will help our team excel in 2014.” The rovers compete on a planetary analog environment under the supervision of NASA judges. Up to three members of the team, plus the faculty advisor, travel to Johnson Space Center for the on-site testing. The remaining team members stay behind at their respective universities to conduct “mission control” tasks. The prototype rovers will be tele-operated by the university team and must negotiate a series of obstacles while accomplishing a variety of tasks. Sample tasks include negotiating upslopes and downslopes, traversing sand and gravel pits, picking up specific rock samples and placing them on the rover for the remainder of the course, and driving over rocks of specified diameter. In 2013, the WVU team overcame some lastminute technical issues to finish fourth, while earning top honors for the best technical paper, the best looking robot, and winning the slalom Olympic Challenge. Joining WVU in the competition will be teams from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Buffalo, University of California-Berkeley, University of Maryland, University of Utah, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Virginia Tech. The teams each receive a $10,000 stipend from NASA/NIA to partially offset the cost of rover hardware and transportation costs to attend the event. Additional support for WVU’s team is provided by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.


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Grad Student Awarded Ruby Fellowship for Innovative Doctoral and Graduate Work Brandon Kelly was one of three graduate students who were recently named to the second class of Ruby Scholars—graduate fellowship awards designed to assist talented graduate students pursuing degrees in predominantly energy-related or science and engineering disciplines. In addition to graduate and tuition fee waivers, Kelly, of Wheeling, W.Va., will Kelly receive a $30,000 stipend and a $2,000 travel grant for professional development opportunities as part of the 2013-2014 Ruby Scholars Graduate Fellowship Program. The program, which was established two years ago with a $5 million gift from the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust and matched by the West Virginia Research Trust Fund, bringing the total value of the fellowship program to $10 million, is designed to attract and assist talented graduate students from across the country to further develop their talents, benefiting the people of West Virginia, the nation, and the world. Kelly has already earned three degrees from WVU—bachelor’s degrees in both computer and electrical engineering, as well as a master’s in electrical engineering. As a Ruby Fellow, he will be pursuing his doctorate degree with the goal of designing biologyinspired, energy-efficient analog and mixed signal systems. “No task gives me a deeper level of satisfaction than creating something new,” Kelly said. “This is why I became an electrical engineer.” The fellowship will give Kelly the resources to continue his research on low-power electronics while exploring the integration of biological concepts into electronic design. With such a significant need for technology that can last for long periods of time out in the field, Kelly believes his work will have a transformative impact on multiple areas of research. In addition to his doctoral studies, Kelly hopes to become more involved in outreach activities to first generation students from rural Appalachia. Along with his contributions to the local community, he has participated in both undergraduate and graduate research resulting in various presentations and publications. Upon completion of his studies at WVU, Kelly aspires to continue his research as a professor at a university. The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust was established by Mrs. McQuain, a renowned WVU and community benefactor, who died in 2002 at the age of 93. The retired president of Ruby Enterprises Inc., Mrs. McQuain engaged in philanthropic endeavors of benefit to the University and local organizations for more than 20 years, including an $8 million gift toward reconstruction of Ruby Memorial Hospital, which was named after her late husband, J.W. Ruby.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Freshman Engineering Students Present Final Projects for Semester

By Bart Keeler

What do Angry Birds, charcoal biomass briquettes, and zip lines have in common? Redesigns of each were just part of what were on display at miniconference that closed the fall semester for students in West Virginia University’s Engineering (ENGR) 101 introductory course. The course, which is taken by all students in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, teaches students project management, teamwork, technical report writing, and other skills to help the students become successful engineers. “The goal for the final project is to bring all of these skills to bear on an interesting and challenging realistic engineering problem,” said Todd Hamrick, teaching assistant professor and academic advisor in Freshman Engineering. A total of seven different project topics were decided on by the Freshman Engineering staff: real-life Angry Birds game, biomass charcoal briquette maker, sea water desalinator, hardware nut sorter, solar oven, wind powered turbine, and handicappedaccessible park.

Nick Buser, Steve Bruno, Eric Bowles, and Grant Stokes used the opportunity to design a zip line for people in wheelchairs. “We wanted to provide an environment for disabled children to be able to enjoy something the rest of their family can too,” said Buser, from Culpepper, Va. Bolwes, who is from Huntington, W.Va., and plans to study petroleum and natural gas engineering, said he learned a lot about how to design the structure, including the finer details in project planning, “like supplies and regulations.” A popular project was to build a real-life Angry Birds game. Ivy Kwan and Alexis Blevins had worked on previous projects in the semester and were paired again for the final project. “We had tons of fun making it and tons of fun testing it,” said Blevins, from Hermitage, Pa.

This was the third group project the students have completed in ENGR 101 this semester, but this one was the first where they had a choice in what they wanted to do.

Kwan, from Morgantown, W.Va., said that it took a lot of brainstorming and math to determine which method the team would use to launch the birds—which were plastic ice cubes—and build the apparatus and Styrofoam pigs. “We chose a catapult over a sling shot or crossbow because it was easier to build and use,” she explained.

“We believe that offering a choice in the final project gives the students some investment in the project,” said Hamrick.

The duo said the biggest challenge they faced while building the game was that it had to be done in the dorms.

“The people on our hall weren’t too happy about it,” said Kwan. Another popular project was designing a device to create charcoal biomass briquettes. Students had to research and test which biomass mixture would work best. “Our biomass was made mostly out of sawdust, with a little bit of shredded newspaper and flour,” said Molly Banfield, from Charles Town, W.Va. Her team created an Ethiopian press to create the briquette. “We found that the flour made it stick together. We found that coal and wood-based charcoal are pretty similar in heating value, but biomass-based charcoal is more environmentally friendly.” All projects were evaluated by the professors and fellow students. The teams had to answer questions about the cost, efficiency, design processes, and materials used for their designs. “These projects help them not only as students, but in their engineering careers,” said Hamrick. “They learn how to plan multi-step projects, how to work with other engineers who sometimes have different work habits and priorities and how to apply what they learn in different courses to new problems.”


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student news

Student Turns Passion for Snowboarding Into a Career By Bart Keeler

When asked what he does, Josh Zerkel, a senior industrial engineering major at West Virginia University, will tell you that he is a full-time student and an amateur snowboarder. But he quickly adds that snowboarding is his life. That is the mindset the Morgantown, W.Va., native has taken for much of his life and it has continued during his time here at WVU. Zerkel has been sponsored by Pennsylvania’s Seven Springs Mountain Resort for four years and is featured in many of the promotional videos produced by the resort. Zerkel’s love for the snow-covered mountains started when he was just a toddler. His parents both worked at Seven Springs, so he basically “grew up” at the resort and learned to ski there. Zerkel’s childhood friends were all a bit older than he was. Growing up, he saw them all snowboarding and he “wanted to be cool like them,” so he taught himself how to do it. “I’m a huge nerd with this stuff,” he said. “When I was a little kid, I had a couple (snowboarding movies) on VHS and DVD and I’d just watch them thousands of times. I would watch the pros in the video and go out and try to do what they did.”

photos: RileySnyderPhoto.com


| Spring 2014

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

One of his friends bought a camera, and the group started filming their runs on the mountain and rails for personal use. Then Zerkel’s friends had the idea to send one of the videos of him to Forum Snowboards.

and did some research to freshen up, I learned twice as much.”

“They really liked it, and they got me in contact with their southeast sales rep,” said Zerkel. “He came and talked to me, and we hit it off. Then they started sending me boards.”

“I thought, ‘I have 14 years of useless snowboarding knowledge; it would be stupid not to work in snowboarding,’” he said. One of Zerkel’s current sponsors is Burton Snowboards, for whom he currently does research and testing of their bindings. Zerkel hopes to combine his engineering education with his snowboarding passion in a full-time position with Burton after graduation.

Those same connections in snowboarding also led him to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at WVU. “I had several friends who came to WVU to study engineering,” Zerkel said. “I chose industrial engineering so I could tailor it to my passion for snowboarding.”

Zerkel now plans to turn that passion into a career.

Zerkel had an opportunity to share that passion when he gave an out-of-class experience lecture to freshmen about snowboard design and material science. “It’s amazing how much you learn when you’re teaching,” said Zerkel of his experience. “I thought I knew a lot about board design, but when I went back


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student news Student-run Startups Recognized at TransTech Energy Conference Two startup companies run by graduate students in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources were among six winners named by a panel of experts at the Second Annual TransTech Energy Business Development Conference. The conference, which focuses on technologies that can transition today’s economy to energy with fewer greenhouse gas emissions and greater efficiency, was hosted by the Energy Efficiency Division of the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU. Twenty-three TransTech concepts were pitched to panels of investors and industry experts who judged the presentations according to the investment attractiveness of the company, the level of innovativeness, and competitive potential. WindPax LLC,

of Glen Dale, W.Va., and Aspinity, Inc., of Morgantown, W.Va., were named the top WVU student-run companies, each receiving a $2,500 grant. WindPax LLC is seeking to market portable collapsible power generation and energy storage wind turbines. Company president Justin Chambers demonstrated the lightweight, easy-to-assemble devices for the judges, saying his product is ideal for outdoor recreation, military operations, and emergency preparedness situations where power is not readily available. Chambers is a graduate student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Aspinity, Inc. is developing an analog signal processing technology that enables ultra-low power consumption for wireless sensing and communication devices. Company president Brandon Rumberg, a graduate student in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, said the technology is well-suited for industrial and residential automation systems wherever batterypowered monitoring devices are prevalent. Aspinity’s technology can increase battery life tenfold.

Student News in Brief \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Milford, W.Va., Bright’s research is focused on nanomaterials for solar energy harvesting and conversion.


Joeseph Bright, a doctoral student in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was named the recipient of a Statler College Ph.D. Fellowship. The award, which was made possible as a result of the $34 million gift made by Benjamin M. Statler and his wife, Jo, in 2013, provides an annual stipend of $5,000, which is renewable for up to four years for students in the B.S./Ph.D. track, as well as up to $8,000 in total support for research-related supplies, equipment and travel. A native of West


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Jonathan Moore, a junior civil engineering major from Wyoming, Del., received the 2013 Herman L. Moses Scholarship from the West Virginia University Division of Student Affairs. The scholarship benefits one male and one female undergraduate or graduate student employed as student workers in Student Affairs. Moore is a second-year resident assistant at Pierpont Hall. Matthew Robinson, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, is the recipient of Provost Graduate Fellowship. The fellowship provides $16,000 to first- and second-year graduate students to allow them to establish their research, scholarship, and creative endeavors. A native of Center Point, W.Va., Robinson’s research focuses on advanced energy conversion, specifically the conversion of chemical to electric energy in linear engines.




Jon Salazar, a junior civil engineering major, was awarded a $1,000 scholarship from the Society of American Military Engineers. A native of South Charleston, W.Va., Salazar is active in the University’s Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. He maintains a 3.62 grade point average in his major and was inducted into the Scabbard and Blade Army ROTC Academic Honor Society this past year. Salazar is also a member of the ROTC Ranger Challenge Team.

alumni news

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Tim Kesecker, who earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from West Virginia University in 1985, was recently named to Popular Mechanics’ list of “10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013,” for his work on the X-47B, an unmanned aircraft that can take off and land on aircraft carriers out at sea.

resulted in the U.S. Navy and Northrop Grumman continuing to fly the aircraft to further technology development and perform additional demonstrations. The technology demonstrated by the X-47B will be the basis of the U.S. Navy’s future Unmanned Carrier-Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike system.

The project was part of the U.S. Navy’s Unmanned Combat Air System, or UCAS, demonstration, and was spearheaded by Northrop Grumman. Most runways are fixed, but the carrier is movable, not just geographically, but also physically. Not only can it be in a location one day and then move, but it is also being tossed by the ocean at all times.

Kesecker started working with Northrop Grumman Corporation in Melbourne, Fla., primarily focused on U.S. Air Force programs and transferred out to San Diego, Calif., in 2010 to work in the company’s Unmanned Systems Division on the UCAS-D project. His work with the Air Force’s projects gave him the knowledge he needed to lead the team on this project.

“It was always very challenging,” said Kesecker. “There was always a question of whether it could be done.” In order to meet the ultimate project goal, Kesecker’s team mixed new technology with existing aircraft components. They developed a precision navigation system that sends information via transponders on the aircraft carrier to the plane so it knows where the carrier is at all times, down to an inch. These detailed positions are sent at a rate of 100 messages per second, which allows the plane to adjust its attitude as quickly as it would with a pilot. The aircraft design was based on previous Northrop Grumman prototype aircraft for a single-engine “cranked kite” and incorporated landing gear and other aircraft components from existing systems. Kesecker led the team when it was time to start flight testing the aircraft. He brought the project to the Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Md. There, the team used the replica carrier runway to test the plane and its technologies. However, until the actual demonstration events on the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush in May and July 2013, the plane had never had a sea-based takeoff or landing. “Everything was a first,” said Kesecker. “Defining naval aviation history was the motivation for our team.”

Kesecker used the skills he learned at WVU to apply a systems engineering approach to the program management functions of monitoring, reporting, budgeting, and scheduling the execution of the project. He was responsible for integrating 12 integrated product teams, which designed, developed, integrated, and tested the system and led the team through the relocation to Maryland for final flight testing. A Martinsburg, W.Va., native, Kesecker said that the honor “represents the work of the entire team … it’s a springboard to more responsibility and leadership.” Being able to represent his home state on the Popular Mechanics’ list, “means a great deal to me. West Virginia is part of me … I wear my WVU colors often, that’s something everyone knows about me.” But more than just representing West Virginia, Kesecker said he and his team understood the greater honor of working with the military in “preserving freedom and advancing human discovery.” “It’s not the same as other jobs. It gives a different meaning to what we do every day.”

The plane, which was purely experimental, was intended to be retired in October 2013. However, the success of the demonstration events has


WVU Alumnus Named to Popular Mechanics’ “10 Innovators Who Changed the World in 2013” By Bart Keeler


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alumni news



Pair of Recent Grads Recognized at State of the State Address West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin recognized two recent graduates of West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at his annual state of the state address in January. In an effort to lure companies to the Mountain State, Tomblin led a 13-day investment mission to Europe in October 2013 that included stops in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. A highlight of his trip was a visit to Pietro Fiorentini, a global leader in designing and construction of components and systems for natural gas control, metering, and treatment, in Italy. “During my visit, I met with Robert Morehead of Bridgeport and Michael Powell of Parkersburg, both recent WVU engineering grads hired by the company to help run its West Virginia operations,” said Tomblin. “They were in Italy as a part of their four-month training program. These two young men are living examples of why we made our trip and why we make job opportunities our highest priority. Robert and Michael are two young West Virginians who have worked hard, earned degrees


| Spring 2014

in engineering, and are now using their education to create good-paying jobs here in the Mountain State. “My thanks goes out to the Italian company for placing its trust in West Virginia and West Virginians like Robert and Michael, who are with us here in the chamber this evening,” Tomblin continued. “Robert and Michael, you are our future. Gentleman, please stand so we may thank you for showing the world that West Virginians can compete.” While Pietro Fiorentini has 11 international production units, its Wheeling, W.Va., operation is its first in the United States. Morehead, who earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from WVU in May 2013, and Powell, who earned his degree in mechanical engineering that same year, are working as production engineers at that location. “We were delighted that two of our students were recognized by the governor for carrying the message and possibilities of West Virginia University throughout the world,” said WVU President E. Gordon Gee.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

International Students Laud WVU Professors’ Knowledge, Students’ Kindness By Bart Keeler

Pursuing a master’s degree is hard work for any student. Add on learning in a foreign country and from professors speaking a different language and the degree of difficulty increases significantly. Maria Torres Arango and Karen Flores De Jesus accepted this challenge and graduated from West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in December 2013. Torres Arango earned her master’s degree in aerospace engineering, and Flores earned hers in mechanical engineering. Torres Arango, a native of Medellin, Colombia, lauds the friendliness of WVU students and faculty. “I have always felt I am welcome,” she said.

Flores De Jesus

“The students are really friendly and highly motivated,” said Flores, who is from Queretaro, Mexico. Flores first experienced WVU in the summer of 2008 when she was selected to participate in the interchange program through the mechanical and aerospace engineering department. This program puts WVU Torres arango students in Queretaro and brings students from Mexico to WVU and sets up projects for each team to work on in their new locations. Victor Mucino, associate chair for education and professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, directs the program and was impressed by Flores’ capabilities, performance and aptitude for technical work. The two remained in contact, which was the catalyst for Flores to study at WVU. “He offered me a full assistantship to come to WVU and study in the master’s degree program upon the completion of the interchange,” said Flores. She was awarded a teaching assistant position in the College; because of that, Flores was able to seize her “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity.

Torres Arango learned of WVU through classmates at Pontificia Bolivariana University in Medellin. She was told of the great opportunities WVU had to offer and decided to apply. “Luckily, I got accepted,” she said. “I feel this experience has changed my life.” Flores appreciated WVU’s top-level programs and extracurricular activities. “In addition, it has a beautiful infrastructure with a lot of state-of-the-art equipment in the laboratories, conference rooms, and classrooms,” she said. “The faculty is always willing to share their time and knowledge,” said Torres Arango. “The staff is also there to help you in any way possible.” Flores said she has “always been impressed by the tremendous diversity of international students on the WVU campus from every country, culture, custom, and religion. To learn from such a diverse and vibrant group of international students should not be missed.” “The students are so diverse and friendly that you cannot avoid being amazed by their culture,” said Torres Arango. “The experience at WVU has broadened my expectations and has also brought a new level of conscience of the responsibilities and opportunities I have as an engineer.” Mucino praised both, noting, “Being a woman in a field that is predominantly male and being from foreign countries could have been seen as too much to overcome. Both Maria and Karen have proven to themselves and to those around them that they have just as much potential as anyone else in their field. They are wonderful examples of what international students can achieve at WVU.” Both Flores and Torres Arango stayed in the United States after graduation. Torres Arango is continuing her studies at WVU, working toward her doctorate in aerospace engineering. Flores was offered a position at the Schaeffler Group in Troy, Mich., as an application engineer in the chassis division.


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Alumni News in Brief \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Madison Andreini, BSIE ’11, is completing a twoyear leadership training program offered by General Electric. The program has taken Andreini from Arizona to Connecticut to North Carolina. Chad W. Davis (BSCS ’02, MSEE ’04) was named director of Backbone Security’s Steganography Analysis and Research Center. The center, headquartered in Fairmont, W.Va., focuses exclusively on the research of digital steganography, the practice of concealing information within computer files in such a way that the presence of the information itself is hidden. At the joint fall meeting of the Kentucky Coal Association and the Central Appalachian Section of Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, three mining engineering graduate of the 2013 class—Michael Corley, Mitch McBrayer, and Zach Purdy—finished second for the 2013 Carlson Senior Design Award. They presented a pre-feasibility analysis on Kanawha Valley Energy’s Port Amherst No. 1 Mine in the No. 2 Gas Seam of southern West Virginia. Caraline Griffith, BSMAE ’13, is pursuing her master’s degree in integrated marketing and communications from West Virginia University. She is also serving as a teaching assistant to Mario Perhinschi in advanced mechatronics in the Statler College. Mining engineering graduates Jason Grimm, Mitchell Hankinson, and Lance Kolbush won the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America/ Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration Pittsburgh Section Student Design Award for their pre-feasibility analysis on White Horse Mining’s Mustang Mine in the Herrin No. 6 Seam of Illinois. The trio graduated in 2013. Steven Miller, BSCPE ’07, is a full-time adjunct faculty member at Brown Mackie College’s San Antonio campus. He is teaching courses in information technology. Jason Williams, BSChE ’05, is a student in the MBA program at Harvard Business School. Upon completion of his degree in May 2014, he will be a strategy consultant with Bain and Company at its offices in Atlanta. Williams also earned a master’s degree in engineering from Virginia Tech and completed active duty service in the United States Navy in 2012.


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Gift Provision Ensures Financial Assistance for Future Generations of Engineers By Deborah Miller

“In today’s world, with the constant changes in technology, health, and safety, the need for good engineers in all areas will continue to grow,” is the viewpoint of Ron Weaver ’79. “When I was a senior in high school, I received a WVU scholarship for mining engineering,” said Weaver. “I would not have been able to attend college otherwise. It would have been a financial hardship on my parents.” “And we want other West Virginia high school students to have the same career opportunities Ron did,” said Weaver’s wife, Toni Morris, who earned degrees from West Virginia University in nursing, rehab counseling, and theatre in 1982, 1988, and 1999, respectively. To carry out their plans for an engineering scholarship, gift provisions for the WVU Foundation were included in their wills. The wording specifies the scholarship terms they want. Both have also joined the Irvin Stewart Society, which recognizes and honors those providing future support for WVU. Other options for carrying out future gift plans include income-producing gifts for retirement security; designating the Foundation as the beneficiary of an IRA, life insurance, or annuity policy; and real estate gifts. These gifts will count in A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University as long as the donor will be age 70 or older by December 31, 2015, to help reach the College’s goal. Weaver’s career included working for CONSOL Energy while still a student at WVU. He moved up to superintendent in the years that followed. In 1994, he formed his own company and now manufactures sawmill blade bits. His customer base is nationwide. Morris is an assistant professor on the WVU School of Public Health faculty and volunteers as the artistic director of the M. T. Pockets Theatre group in Morgantown, W.Va. She recalls, “My grandmother raised me and had only a third grade education. She struggled very hard to make a living because of her lack of education.” Weaver said, “We know that many struggle to afford college today. With our backgrounds, helping others with scholarship support through our wills made a lot of sense to us.”

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources


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Alumna Gives Back to her Alma Mater, Honors Family Through Employer Gift Matching Program By Anastasia Burpee

West Virginia University alumna Rhonda Radcliff is passionate about helping students while paying tribute to her family’s legacy. Since graduating from WVU in 1989, Radcliff, of Mountain View, Calif., has created five endowed scholarships and two fellowships through her employer’s gift matching program. All provide assistance to students in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, and are named after members of her family. Radcliff earned her degree from WVU in chemical engineering and immediately went to work for ExxonMobil where she continues her employment today. She became excited after learning about ExxonMobil’s Educational Matching Gift Program.

“It was created to encourage contributions to higher education by ExxonMobil employees, retirees, and surviving spouses. Each eligible donor may give up to $7,500 per year in gifts to U.S. colleges and universities and be matched by the ExxonMobil Foundation. The matching ratio is $3 for every $1 contributed by the donor,” she said. Radcliff hopes the seven scholarships and fellowships she has created at WVU to date will make it easier for students to focus on their studies rather than worrying about finances. “As a student, concentrating on studies is hard enough,” said Radcliff. “I hope these scholarships can help students that are pursuing engineering degrees to solve problems, help society, have a successful career, and give back to their university, too.”

Alumnus Endows Scholarship to Give Back By Bart Keeler


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Radcliff has named the endowments after family members to honor her lineage, including her parents, grandmother, aunt, uncle, sister, husband, and in-laws, who have all impacted her life in a significant way. “Some of them don’t have any children,” said Radcliff, “so I thought this would be a great way to preserve their legacy.” Radcliff ’s most recent gift of $25,000 created an endowed scholarship fund at the Statler College in the name of her great uncle and aunt, Harold and Helen Shamberger of Morgantown, W.Va., who have been very involved in the WVU community for years since their undergraduate days in the 1940s.

While looking back at his long and enjoyable career, Bill Powell, vice president of member relations at AEGIS, thought it was time to give thanks to the program that started him on his lifelong career path. Powell recently pledged $25,000 to West Virginia University’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources to fund scholarships for graduate students studying in the safety management program, from which he graduated in 1975. Powell says his career in safety management has been “very rewarding and wonderful” and owes it to the education he received at WVU.

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Family Ties at the Heart of Gift to Civil Engineering By Bart Keeler

Since 1902, Hornor Brothers Engineers has served the state of West Virginia in the fields of civil and mining engineering, making it the oldest engineering firm in the state. Now, thanks to a gift from Paul Allen Hornor, Jr., former president of the firm, and his wife Lucy, future civil engineering students at West Virginia University will benefit from their generosity.

Hornor, who still serves as the company’s chairman of the board, said he wanted to give preference to students from Harrison County for receiving the award because the firm has been located there since its inception. “This is our home, and all of our practice in West Virginia begins here.” He is hoping to make it more affordable for West Virginia students to work and live in the state as he has done.

The $30,000 scholarship was given by the Hornors because of the family’s ties to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Hornor earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1961. His son, Paul Allen Hornor, III, better known as Trey, graduated with a degree in civil engineering in 1982, and his grandson, Cameron, a freshman at WVU, is also pursuing an engineering degree.

Though Hornor earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering, Hornor Brothers now primarily works on civil engineering projects. That was the motivation for providing the scholarship to civil engineering students. Hornor said he “grew up thinking I’d be an engineer. I worked for the firm in high school and during the summers when I was home from college.” When he graduated from WVU, he went to work for Duquesne Light in

Pittsburgh. However, he soon felt the call to Paul Hornor return home and began working for the family-owned business in 1963. “This gift is a major boost to our efforts to provide our students with a quality education while keeping it affordable,” said Radhey Sharma, chair of civil and environmental engineering. “Paul Hornor is a member of WVU’s Civil Engineering Academy and is a big supporter of the Department. I am grateful to him and Lucy for their generous gift.”

Gifts acknowledged in this issue were made to the WVU Foundation as part of A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University, a $750 million fund-raising effort the Foundation is conducting on behalf of the University. For more information on A State of Minds visit www.astateofminds.com.

“I really owe it to the master’s program for getting me started,” he said. “I have had a working life of challenges and rewards that I have really enjoyed in the field of occupational safety and risk management.”

His almost 40 years in safety management and risk management have mostly been in the energy industry. Powell said part of his motivation is his belief that his industry needs “academically trained safety professionals.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in political science from WVU, Powell said he needed a direction for his career. He chose safety management because he had seen fraternity brothers go through the program and quickly find successful jobs.

Powell is very thankful to WVU for the experience he had in Morgantown. Here he met his wife, Karen, who also graduated in 1974.

The scholarship is to “pay it forward by helping another student who could have an equally rewarding career.”

“WVU provided me with a great college experience all around. It gave me a great education, great lifelong friends, and led me into a great career,” said Powell.

In turn, WVU is thankful to Powell for his support of future generations of students. “The generosity of our alumni has helped the Department and the students over the years,” said Wafik Iskander, chair of the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. “Mr. Powell’s endowment will provide safety management students with scholarships to help them with their education expenses. It will also help to attract good students into the program.”


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Wife Honors Late Husband’s Passion for his Profession With Gift to WVU By Mary C. Dillon

Honoring her late husband’s passion for his chosen profession as a civil engineer is at the heart of a recent gift made by Rebecca Menear Kona to West Virginia University. “This gift is being donated in memory of my beloved husband, Charles ‘Sonny’ Kona, who was awarded his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from WVU in 1971 and 1974, respectively,” said Rebecca, who is also a WVU graduate (HRE ’70, ’74). “His beloved vocation as a civil engineer afforded him the opportunity to fulfill his life’s passion of formulating and constructing well-crafted, aesthetically practical structures.” Kona passed away in 2013. The sale of the home Chuck built in Hampshire County, W.Va., valued at $359,000, will help to create the Charles and Rebecca Menear Kona Civil Engineering Scholarship. The endowment will provide scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students who are residents of the state studying in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “As Chuck’s widow, it is my sincere wish to be able to provide the same type of opportunity for future West Virginia students majoring in civil engineering to carry forward a similar sense of passion and dedication, which so characterized Chuck in all of his life’s endeavors, not the least of which was his career as a civil engineer,” said Rebecca, a Morgantown, W.Va., native. “These scholarships will support our goal to attract and retain top-quality undergraduate and graduate students pursuing civil engineering,” said Radhey Sharma, Department chair. “On behalf of our faculty, students, and staff, I would like to extend our appreciation to Mrs. Kona for this generous gift.”


| Spring 2014

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

American Gas Association Makes Inaugural Gift to WVU By Mary C. Dillon

Through involvement in a recent global gas conference, the American Gas Association was looking for a way to leave a legacy on the industry. The result was a scholarship program to help advance the future natural gas industry workforce. The Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering at West Virginia University was chosen as its inaugural recipient. “Natural gas is the foundation fuel for a clean and secure energy future and an economic revitalization for our country,” said Dave McCurdy, president and chief executive officer of AGA. “Through this scholarship program, AGA is making an investment in helping to develop a skilled natural gas workforce capable of maintaining the 21st century technology that transports and utilizes this clean energy source, and serving the needs of more than 177 million Americans. Our commitment will help ensure the continued vitality of the American workforce and solidify the legacy of this new era of energy in America.” The $50,000 gift will provide scholarships to undergraduate juniors and seniors in the Department. “By the time a student becomes a rising junior, he or she has determined their field of study and committed to education excellence in that area of focus, which is why we selected that timeframe,” said Lori Traweek, senior vice president and chief operating officer. “On behalf of the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and our Department, I would like to extend our thanks and sincere gratitude to the American Gas Association for this generous donation, which will enable us to retain high-ability students, and provide training for the industry’s future workforce, not only for the great state of West Virginia but the entire country as well,” said Samuel Ameri, chair of the Department. “Strong partnerships such as this one with AGA enable us to consistently produce the industry’s top talent and brightest minds. We are thrilled to be selected as AGA’s inaugural scholarship recipient.”


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In Memoriam Richard L. Armentrout, ’73 BSEE, of Keyser, W.Va., passed away suddenly on February 21, 2013, in a skiing accident. Armentrout had retired after almost 30 years as a project engineer from MeadWestvaco Corp. and later NewPage Corp. During his career, he contributed to more than 60 projects totaling over $22 million in capital improvements. He is survived by four children, Amy Hutcherson (’96 BSChE), Heather Dyer (’98 BSJ), Thomas Armentrout (’01 BSME), and Rachel Armentrout. Richard Bailie of Fairfield Harbour Community, N.C., passed away on January 4, 2014. A professor in chemical engineering for several years, Bailie was an Emeritus Professor and a ChE Academy honorary member. He is survived by his wife, Judith; four children; eight grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. William Comstock, 61, of Morgantown, W.Va., died on December 8, 2013, at Monongalia General Hospital. A veteran of the U.S. Army, Comstock was a laboratory instrumentation specialist in the Office of the Associate Dean of Administration in the Statler College. He is survived by three sons, a brother, two sisters, and two granddaughters. Thomas W. Howard, 91, of Mt. Hope, W.Va., passed away on November 25, 2013, at his residence. Howard, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mining engineering from West Virginia University, served his country in World War II, fighting in the Pacific theatre aboard the LST 880. In 1961, he formed his own consulting engineering firm, which served clients in West Virginia, surrounding states, and abroad. In 1970, he became general manager of the Beaver Coal Company, Ltd., and served in that capacity for more than 20 years. In 2010, he was inducted into the West Virginia Coal Hall of Fame.

included stints as plant manager of the Reese Plant and vice president of human resources for Hershey Chocolate U.S.A. Maloy is survived by his wife, Rose Ann; two daughters; two sons; and eight grandchildren. Barbara Ann McBee, 80, of Morgantown, W.Va., died on September 21, 2013. A longtime employee of West Virginia University, she retired from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. She is survived by her husband, Morley “Jim” McBee; her daughter and son-in-law; two sisters and their husbands; a sister in law; and many nieces, nephews, and their families. Thomas J. Nypaver Jr. of Uniontown, Pa., passed away September 10, 2013. Nypaver, who earned his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from WVU in 1975, worked for the United States Steel Corp., General Electric, and Alstom, often at international sites. He is survived by his mother, Helen; his two brothers, Timothy and Terence (BSEE ’77); and his uncle, Frank (BSEE ’59). Olufemi Olajide, 61, of Morgantown, W.Va., died on January 24, 2014. A native of Nigeria, Olajide worked in the Statler College at WVU for a number of years as a research assistant in the Department of Chemical Engineering. He is survived by his wife, Patricia; three children; three grandchildren; and several brothers and sisters.


Richard W. Lee, 93, of Fairmont, W.Va., died at his home on October 29, 2013. Lee earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from West Virginia University after having served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He retired from mining engineering after stints with CONSOL and Globe Brick. He is survived by his two daughters, a son, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. Edward Maloy, Jr., 76, of Hershey, Pa., passed away on June 27, 2012. Maloy earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in industrial engineering from West Virginia University. After serving in the United States Air Force, Maloy went on to a distinguished career with the Hershey Corporation, which


| Spring 2014

Robert H. Quenon, 85, of Ladue, Mo., passed away on November 19, 2013. A native of Clarksburg, W.Va., Quenon earned his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from West Virginia University after having served with the U.S. Army in Korea. His first job out of college was as a mine superintendent for Consolidation Coal Co. He later worked as manager of deep mines for Pittston Co., then general manager of Riverton Coal Co., before joining a division of Exxon and subsequently, Peabody Coal. Quenon became president and chief executive officer of Peabody Energy in 1978; five years later he was named CEO of Peabody Holding Company, the coal corporation’s parent. He received an honorary degree from WVU in 1988, was named a Distinguished Engineer of Mines by the Department of Mining Engineering in 2001. He was also a member of WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni and the College of Business and Economics Hall of Fame. Quenon is survived by his wife of 60 years, Jean; his two sons, Robert and Richard, and a daughter, Ann; as well as several siblings and six grandchildren. Olajide

Photo: URNews, Greg Ellis

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Stuart K. Tewksbury, 71, of Middletown, N.J., died on December 27, 2013. Upon completion of his doctoral degree in physics from the University of Rochester in 1969, he joined the research division of AT&T Bell Laboratories, in Holmdel, N.J. He retired from Bell Laboratories in 1990 and went on to serve as professor of electrical engineering and computer science at West Virginia University until 1998, and then as professor and department chair of electrical and computer engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology, in Hoboken, N.J., retiring in 2012. Charles M. Vest, 72, of Arlington, Va., died on December 12, 2013, from pancreatic cancer. A native of Morgantown, W.Va., Vest earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from West Virginia University in 1963 and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1968 he joined the faculty of the University vest of Michigan, rising through the ranks to full Photo: URNews, Brian Persinger professor in 1977. In 1981, he turned much of his attention to academic administration, and served as the university’s associate dean of engineering and dean of engineering before becoming provost and vice president for academic affairs.

Vest was on the board of directors of DuPont for 14 years and of IBM for 13 years, and vice chair of the U.S. Council on Competitiveness for eight years. He also served on various federal committees and commissions, including the President’s Committee of Advisors on Science and Technology during the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction, the Secretary of Education’s Commission on the Future of Higher Education, the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Transformational Diplomacy, and the Rice-Chertoff Secure Borders and Open Doors Advisory Committee. He served on the boards of several nonprofit organizations and foundations devoted to education, science, and technology. He authored a book on holographic interferometry, and two books on higher education. He received honorary doctoral degrees from 17 universities. He was awarded the 2006 National Medal of Technology by President Bush and received the 2011 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board. Arguably one of the most illustrious alumni of WVU and the Statler College, Vest was a member of WVU’s Board of Governors, its Academy of Distinguished Alumni, and the Academy of Distinguished Alumni of Mechanical Engineering and Mechanics. He received an honorary degree from WVU in 1994. Vest is survived by his wife, Rebecca, two children, and four grandchildren.

In 1990 Vest was elected president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and served in that position until December 2004, when he became professor and president emeritus. He is credited with steering MIT through a dynamic period during which it expanded its reach in brain science, nanotechnology, genomic medicine, biological engineering, and other fields and grew its endowment from $1.4 billion to $5.1 billion. He also pushed to end discrimination against female scholars and approved an innovative plan to make the university’s teaching materials available for free online, which became the model for other universities in developing massive open online courses. He went on to serve as president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) from 2007-2013. Under his leadership the NAE raised the visibility of the Grand Challenges for Engineering, a set of 14 critical challenges for engineers in the 21st century, which, if achieved, will improve the quality of life for humankind.


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Job search websites for students and alumni MountaineerTRAK is WVU’s job search portal for students and alumni. www.careerservices.wvu.edu/mountaineertraklogins If you are looking for opportunities, or would like to post opportunities for students and alumni, please send an e-mail to Lloyd.Ford@mail.wvu.edu. Another resource is the WVU Statler Group at LinkedIn www.statler.wvu.edu/linkedinwvucemr If you have any questions, please contact Lloyd Ford at 304.293.4370.

Your News Send your professional news, photos, and/or contributions to engineeringwv@mail.wvu.edu, or to Alumni Notes, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University, PO 6070, Morgantown, WV 26506-6070. You also may give online at www.statler.wvu.edu/contribute. Name_______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Address______________________________________________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip__________________________________________________________________________________________________ E-mail_______________________________________________________________________________________________________ Graduation Year(s)_______________Degree(s)____________________________________________________________________________ q Yes, I want to support the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Enclosed is my contribution of: $___________________ Thank you for your support. My news_____________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________ EWV2014Spring


| Spring 2014

WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and mineral resources

Alumni: We Need Your Help!

The WVU Alumni Association and the Office of Admissions jointly coordinate an international network of volunteers that assist the University with the recruitment of prospective students. We would like to invite you to join the National Alumni Recruiting Network (NARN) to help spread the word that WVU offers a unique, student-centered educational environment. As a NARN member, you will be invited to participate in various recruitment activities. You can also identify prospective students in your area and help to influence their decision to make WVU their college of choice. If you are interested in joining our volunteer network, please visit narn.wvu.edu and complete the membership form. For more information, contact Danielle Linsenbigler at 304.293.8629.

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Volume 10 Issue 1 |


Non-Profit Organization US Postage PAID Morgantown, WV Permit No. 34

West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources PO Box 6070, Morgantown, WV 26506-6070 Address correction requested

Save the Dates Statler College Commencement May 10, 2014

Statler College Visiting Committee September 25-26, 2014

Faculty Hiring 2014–2015

Alumni Weekend June 6-7, 2014

Football Tent WVU vs. Kansas October 4, 2014

The Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is recruiting for open faculty positions in the 2014-2015 academic year. For more information visit: www.statler.wvu.edu/news/jobs.php

West Virginia State Fair August 8-16, 2014

Football Tent WVU vs. TCU November 1, 2014

Engineering and Computer Science Engineering High Career Fair School Visitation Day September 17-18, 2014 December 6, 2014

Photo: URNews, Dan Friend

EngineeringWV Spring 2014  

The Bi-Annual Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources magazine highlights the many opportunities and experiences from the Fall...

EngineeringWV Spring 2014  

The Bi-Annual Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources magazine highlights the many opportunities and experiences from the Fall...

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