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SPRING 2013 Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Spring 2013



Volume 9 Issue 1

MESSAGE FROM THE DEAN Dear Friends: It’s not every day that an alumnus of a university rises to the top of the ranks to lead what is widely regarded as his or her discipline’s top leadership organization. But that very thing happened to Charles Vest—who earned his bachelor’s degree from our College’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering—who, since 2007, has served as president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE). Dr. Vest has made many contributions to science, engineering, and education over his 40-plus year career and has sought to strengthen national policy in these areas. He will retire from his post with NAE in June of this year. I am honored to call him my friend. In this issue of EngineeringWV, Dr. Vest graciously agreed to an interview on the future of engineering education. In it, he touches on such areas as entrepreneurship, energy, biomedical technologies, national security, and interactive learning, all areas supported by the efforts of our

FEATURES Spring 2013












faculty and alumni in the Statler College as you will read on the pages ahead. Of special note is recognition we received late last year from the NAE, which recognized the Statler College as one of 29 programs in the nation that effectively incorporate real-world experiences into engineering education. The timing of this interview couldn’t be more appropriate as this issue rounds out our year-long celebration of 125 years of engineering education at West Virginia University. During the fall semester, we hosted two corporate giants—Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, and Wes Bush, chairman, CEO, and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation—as part of the College’s Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series. The celebration will continue in the spring, with a number of guest speakers, conferences, and special events scheduled. This issue also focuses on research efforts in the College. As noted in the introduction written by Pradeep Fulay, who joined us this past summer as our new associate dean for research, the Statler College is home to some of the most prolific researchers on WVU’s campus. In this issue, you’ll read about our efforts to play a leadership role in shale gas utilization. This effort is part of a larger WVU commitment to help advance the technology to increase its demand and utilization. The University is adding seven new faculty positions to address industry needs in this area. Other areas featured include work being done in biomedical engineering, hydrology, and the emerging field known as “Big Data.” As Dr. Vest said, “Crystal balls are rarely good. The real transformations come from unexpected directions,” and that is certainly true for the Statler College. As we look back on these 125 years, it’s hard to predict what the next 50 or even the next 25 years will hold. But I can assure you that our students, faculty, staff, and alumni stand ready to meet whatever challenges lie ahead. And I have no doubt they will meet them with great success.

SPRING 2013 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 / Pradeep Fulay / William Nevin / Debra Richardson / Dan Shrensky / Jake Stump Design Coordinator / J. Paige Nesbit Assistant Design Coordinator / Halley Kurtz Photography / Greg Ellis / Halley Kurtz / J. Paige Nesbit / Brian Persinger 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.

Eugene V. Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean and Professor

Copyright ©2013 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. West Virginia University is governed by the WVU Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. WVU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.


125th Commemorative Insert



Volume 9 Issue 1


featuring an interview with WVU Alumnus and NAE President Charles Vest






The mission of the WVU 3 Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources is to prepare students to practice their profession and to contribute to the well-being of society through academic study, research, extension, and service.


WVU President Jim Clements congratulates representatives from WVU and Ohio State University after he signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the two land-grant universities establishing a joint shale research center.


Spring 2013

Officials at Ohio State University and West Virginia University have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) creating a shale energy partnership between the two schools, agreeing to work collaboratively to develop a joint program of research in the Appalachian Region’s developing shale energy industry.


As each state’s land-grant institution, Ohio State and WVU share a mission to serve the people of their respective states through research, on-campus education, and outreach. Consistent with this mission, Ohio State and WVU will collaborate on scholarly work and instruction focused on shale energy. Together, these institutions will address the complex issues related to shale development, including the economic implications of natural gas and other hydrocarbons, as well as the possible impacts of such development efforts on the environment, local communities, and public health. “This singular partnership demonstrates the wisdom of universities collaborating with one another,” said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. “West Virginia University and Ohio State have complementary research strengths in this area. Working together, our faculty will take a unique leadership role that will advance our shared, scientific understanding of the complex environmental and economic issues in shale energy.” The MOU acknowledges that research and education related to shale energy development must be of high value to students, faculty, and the public. The two schools will exchange information and jointly explore funding of shale energy and related environmental studies before, during,

and after the development of the Utica and Marcellus shale plays, including the possibility of developing shale energy field laboratories. “I am very excited about this partnership between two land-grant, flagship, research universities on an issue that is of great importance,” WVU President Jim Clements said. “By working together we will enhance our capacity to do cutting-edge research, high-quality teaching, and effective outreach on shale energy. This partnership will also enhance our ability to serve the energy needs of our states, nation, and world.” The idea for the collaboration began with conversations between Ohio State and WVU officials attending the “2012 Public and Land-Grant University Conference on Energy Challenges,” held at Ohio State in April 2012 and co-sponsored by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and Colorado State University. The conversations and subsequent MOU centered on a potential collaboration between the research universities, recognizing that combining efforts on shale energy research, education, and outreach would be of great benefit to the respective universities and states, the Appalachian Region, our nation, and the world. “Energy from shale is a huge resource of vast regional importance that will be tapped and how we do it will have lasting effects,” Peter McPherson, APLU president, said. “I am pleased that these two premier land grant universities are available to take a leadership role in increasing our knowledge of the correct way to harvest this resource.”



A recent study conducted at Kyoto University in Japan and published in the online version of New Scientist, claims compressed carbon dioxide may be more suitable for fracturing methane-rich rock than water. Shahab Mohaghegh, a professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering at West Virginia University and an expert in well modeling, says the study may hasten the development of large-scale carbon sequestration.

build surrogate reservoir models or SRMs, which replicate the extremely large models, but run in real time.

Natural gas production has soared worldwide in recent years as a result of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a process of injecting pressurized water into shale formations to fracture the rock and release the massive amounts of natural gas trapped inside. The more extensive the network of fractures created in the shale, the more pathways are available for the gas inside it to escape. Researchers at Kyoto University have now found a way to greatly extend that network of fractures by replacing pressurized water with liquid or supercritical CO2.

Shale, Mohaghegh said, has a greater affinity for CO2 than methane. When CO2 is injected into a depleted shale formation—even one that has previously been fracked—the rock will release more methane because pockets of the gas chemically trapped within the shale will be released in favor of the more chemically attractive CO2.

Mohaghegh is studying the technical and economic viability of using CO2 to remove methane from shale, but from a different perspective. “We have very limited hands-on experience injecting CO2 into shale formations, so most of what we do has to be simulated through modeling studies,” Mohaghegh said. “And these types of models tend to be extremely large, made up of millions of grid blocks or cells. Each question or run that is proposed through traditional modeling techniques would take a day at least to answer.”

“Instead of it taking a day to make a run, it happens instantly,” Mohaghegh said. “We can literally make millions of simulation runs and show the benefits or the limitations to injecting CO2 into the formation.”

“Shale is an incredible storage source, and carbon sequestration can help us release more methane,” Mohaghegh said. “If you can also use carbon dioxide to fracture the rock, that would add a third dimension that could be more significant than sequestration or enhanced recovery.” The technology, which is still in its infancy, is being developed as part of a grant Mohaghegh received from the Department of Energy through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. New Scientist notes that a 2006 study by the U.S. Department of Energy assessed geologic sequestration options in the midwest. It found that saline aquifers offer by far the greatest potential carbon storage capacity, with shale beds that have been fractured for methane production coming in second.

Using a technique he developed, which involves artificial intelligence and data mining, Mohaghegh and his team of student researchers have been able to

WVU’S LIU EARNS DOE GRANT TO STUDY NEXT GENERATION OF FUEL CELL CATHODES West Virginia University’s Xingbo Liu is the recipient of one of seven grants recently handed out by the Department of Energy to study the development of low-cost solid oxide fuel cell (SOFCs) technology for environmentally responsible power generation. Liu

Liu, an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, will be working to advance cathode performance in SOFCs. The cathode is a thin, porous layer on the electrolyte of a fuel cell where oxygen reduction takes place, thus generating a form of flameless combustion that is more energy efficient than electricity generated through coal-fired technology. “A cathode accounts for about five percent of the cost of a fuel cell,” said Liu. “But unfortunately they currently account for about 50 percent of the

total efficiency lost, also known as over-potential. There have been strategies developed to improve cathode performance but many have not been compatible with current SOFC manufacturing processes. This has made it difficult for industries to adopt them.” Liu’s goal for the project is to provide a pathway to the development of the next generation of cathode, which will offer better performance and stability and be cost-competitive with currently used power generation technologies. The three-year grant, totaling $499,953, was made by the DOE through the Solid State Energy Conversion Alliance (SECA). Founded in the fall of 1999, SECA is a collaboration between the federal government, private industry, academic institutions, and national laboratories devoted to the development of low-cost, modular, and fuel-flexible solid oxide fuel cell technology suitable for a variety of power generation applications.

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Taking a “better safe than sorry” approach, professors involved in a new research project plan to extract vital information related to drug reactions from social media chatter.


By creating computer algorithms, which can detect key patterns or relationships within online chatter on social media, the researchers can catalog the complaints about a drug and monitor them until they reach a high enough level to require regulatory attention.

Spring 2013

“The idea is for drug manufacturers, federal regulatory agencies, healthcare professionals, and the public to be aware of such potential problems for a given drug, and perhaps take a deeper look at the drug,” said Donald Adjeroh, a professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, who is working with a team of researchers studying the problem.


Normally, patients report negative reactions to their physicians, who in turn report them to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and pharmaceutical companies. But are all the reactions being reported and is the FDA receiving the information quickly enough? In a preliminary study involving 20 drugs already on the market, the researchers were able to detect potential adverse drug reactions 80 percent of the time. Adjeroh said they detected these drug reactions significantly earlier than the FDA-issued warnings. In more than 50 percent of the cases where adverse reactions were detected, the detection was more than three years before the FDA warning.

The National Science Foundation recently awarded the team of researchers from West Virginia University and the University of Virginia a $130,000 grant to launch a larger project, which will identify key patterns and relevant information through a coding system, capable of deciphering drug-related information from randomly posted comments. “There are unusual side effects with reported incidence of less than 1/1,000, but they may lead to life-threatening conditions,” said Wanhong Zheng, psychiatrist and clinical assistant professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, who is also involved in the project. “There is no doubt that some side effects may be over- or misreported, mainly due to different confounding factors,” said Zheng. “A patient may report diarrhea as a side effect of a new medication but actually they started having this symptom after eating a bad salad. I believe the pieces can always be put together if enough information is provided and good computational methods are used.” But how do you decipher which reported side effects are caused by the medication and which are caused by external, unrelated events? How about intentionally misleading postings? According to Adjeroh, “We have used control cases to check how often the method reported signals when none was expected. Ultimately, the system aggregates various pieces of information from online sources to generate hypotheses about potential adverse drug reactions. These are expected to be further studied by interested parties, such as regulatory agencies, or drug manufacturers.” Adjeroh noted that at this time, their work does not focus on the actual cause of the adverse event, and the researchers do not necessarily look for intentionally misleading comments online. “However, Ahmed Abbasi, our collaborator and project co-leader at University of Virginia, has developed a method for fraudulent website detection, which will be leveraged in this project,” he added. Marie Abate, professor in the WVU School of Pharmacy and director of the statewide West Virginia Center for Drug and Health Information, will monitor current medical literature for newly published reports of adverse drug reactions during the development phase of this project to determine the extent to which similar reports may appear on the Internet. Richard Beal and William Mensah, two of Adjeroh’s graduate students, are also involved in the project. Adjeroh and his partners hope this research will lead to the population of a large database the medical community and pharmaceutical companies can tap into. The database will provide more information in a timelier manner so that if investigations of the drugs are necessary, all parties involved have a much larger dataset to work with. According to Adjeroh, the Federal Drug Administration and some large pharmaceutical companies are already indicating interest in the research.






Gyungsu Byun, an assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, received a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Broadening Participation Research Initiation Grants in Engineering, or BRIGE. Byun will be conducting research to improve energy efficiency and bandwidth in mobile devices, such as smart phones or ultraportable computing systems.

“Microprocessors are the ‘brains’ of mobile devices and we ask them to multitask: display images, transmit and receive audiovisual information, play video or audio, and analyze and compute data,” Byun said. “However, this multitasking requires high power consumption, which can rapidly drain batteries.” The goal of the research, according to Byun, is to significantly improve the energy efficiency, bandwidth, and multitasking abilities of mobile computing between microprocessors and memories. Any significant reduction in power consumption will make devices such as smart phones, tablets, and electronic readers, lighter and slimmer, and will enhance battery life. This type of research, which is aimed at developing a powerful personal computer-like gadget that fits in your palm, is critically important and is being tackled by such major chip developers as Intel.

“As a key objective of the NSF BRIGE program, the project will also help develop a globally competitive engineering workforce by training WVU students who will be capable of integrating the knowledge and insights they gain from working on this project,” Byun said.

Does all of this technology also make them safer than their predecessors? Not always, according to West Virginia University Assistant Professor Yu Gu, who will be working to understand the adverse impact these technologies may have on aviation safety, thanks to a $500,000, threeyear cooperative agreement with NASA. Gu, an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and his team will be working on two tasks. The first, which is mathematical, is to develop tools for evaluating the stability of information fusion algorithms that are commonly used in aircraft health management systems. The second is to develop a better understanding of the pilotvehicle system, which could become unstable due to a number of factors, including human error or stress. “Imagine you’re driving on a road and the lane you’re in narrows,” said Gu. “You change the way you’re driving, perhaps slowing down or trying to pay more attention to accommodate the changes in the environment. Similar changes also occur in the air, where changes in human control behavior may lead to reduced pilot-vehicle system stability, which could be highly dangerous.” According to Gu, new methods, tools, test beds, and metrics need to be established for understanding phenomena that cannot be thoroughly evaluated using existing methods. “These new methods will be validated through simulation studies and sub-scale aircraft experiments under potentially problematic conditions, which will aid in exposing system deficiencies and limitations,” said Gu. “These methods will enable researchers to predict future problems and provide innovative solutions, even though the specifics of future technology are still unknown.”

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The BRIGE program offers research start-up funding opportunities with the goal of broadening participation to all engineers, including members of minority groups, in the engineering disciplines.


Today’s modern aircraft come equipped with advanced systems for fault detection and prognostics, known as aircraft health management systems, which can monitor and predict when a system or component will no longer perform its intended function. They also come with increased on-board autonomy, allowing them to perform many functions required for safe flight with reduced human intervention.




Medical science has grown increasingly sophisticated and ambitious. But despite technological advances and global collaboration, researchers today are still seeking answers to cure common diseases and disorders.

body and their surrounding environment. Human blood vessel cells and native tissue materials will be used to fabricate it. The dimensions of the created artificial vessels will be similar to those found inside the human body, and we will run solutions through the vessels to mimic actual blood flow.”

Yuxin Liu, assistant professor of

“Once the model is created, it can be put under


computer science and electrical engineering, will be conducting research on controlling endothelial permeability, which is linked to tumor growth, diabetic retinopathy, and chronic inflammation. Blood vessel walls are lined by a single layer of endothelial cells. Endothelial permeability is characterized by a blood vessel wall’s capacity to allow for the flow of small molecules, like ions, water, and nutrients, in and out of the vessel. During traumatic situations, infections, or metabolic dysfunction, as often occurs with chronic diseases, controlled vessel permeability has beneficial effects, such as an increase in oxygen and nutrients to the effected tissues and an increase in immune cells in response to inflammation. The problem occurs, however, when the permeability becomes uncontrolled.

Spring 2013

“Uncontrolled and lasting increases in permeability frequently cause a loss of electrolytes and proteins, as well as an insufficient volume of both in the circulatory system,” explained Liu, who secured a $174,982 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct this research. “It can result in extensive cell and tissue damage.”


While Liu knows that persistent permeation plays a role in many diseases, she needs to identify exactly what that role is. “Understanding the processes involved in continuous vascular permeability is critical for creating more affective preventative and therapeutic treatments for related diseases,” Liu said. So how does she plan to identify the processes? “The objective of this research is to create a human microvessel model and allow simultaneous real-time imaging and measuring of permeability under the effects of permeability increasing agents,” said Liu. “The model will mimic the smallest blood vessels inside the human

an optical microscope to monitor different tests agents’ diffusion through the microvessel wall.” The set-up will use time-lapse imaging technology for long-term observation and continuous monitoring. Liu plans to use the microvascular model to mimic and control the environment inside or outside of the microvessel. This will allow her to test different drugs to see if any of them have an effect on increasing or decreasing the permeability. This will help identify drugs already on the market as having the potential to increase permeability while also searching for drugs that can decrease it. Liu hopes this research will provide insight to allow scientists to better predict microvascular permeability associated pathologic conditions.







Udaya B. Halabe, professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at West Virginia University, was recently selected as a Fellow by the American Society for Nondestructive Testing (ASNT), Inc. The award

is given to members of the society who “have demonstrated outstanding professional distinction and have made continued significant contributions to the advancement of nondestructive testing (NDT) in areas such as management, engineering, science, education, administration, or planning.” Halabe joined the faculty at WVU in 1990 after earning both his master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering and a master’s in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a recognized expert in the field of nondestructive testing of civil infrastructure, which is defined as testing of an object or component without destroying it or impairing its future usefulness. “I am deeply honored to receive this recognition from an esteemed society such as ASNT,” said

Halabe. “This is a validation of years of hard work and expertise developed in the area of nondestructive testing. I would like to continue to share my knowledge in this area with my students for many years to come.”

Education: Ph.D. – University of Texas at Austin, ’10 M.S. – Georgia Institute of Technology, ’07 B.S. – Georgia Institute of Technology, ’05

ultrasonics, ground-penetrating radar, infrared thermography, and vibration-based technologies.

Teaching Interests: space systems, spacecraft navigation, and estimation theory

The recipient of numerous awards, Halabe won Departmental teaching excellence awards at WVU and was named the Benjamin M. Statler College’s Outstanding Teacher in 2010. In 2012, he received the Chi Epsilon National James M. Robbins Excellence in Teaching Award.

Research Interests: spacecraft navigation, design, and performance; optical navigation; attitude estimation; non-linear estimation; navigation sensor modeling; image processing and pattern recognition; orbital mechanics; and astrodynamics

Halabe is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and is a member of both Chi Epsilon and Tau Beta Pi honorary societies. No more than 15 Fellows are selected by ASNT in any one calendar year. Candidates must have at least 15 years of professional NDT experience and 10 continuous years of ASNT membership in order to be considered.

FERNANDO LIMA Assistant Professor


of Energy’s Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineers, was the recipient of the 2011 DOE Secretary’s Honor Award for his work in response to the Deepwater Horizon Incident, 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. A native of Ripley, W.Va., he 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.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Education: Ph.D. - Tufts University, ’07 B.S. - University of São Paulo, Brazil, ’03 Teaching Interests: applied mathematics and methods for chemical engineers, probability and statistics, process dynamics and control, transport phenomena, and energy and sustainability Research Interests: process design and operability; model-based control and optimization; state estimation and process identification; emerging energy systems; and sustainable processes

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An associate professor Anderson in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Anderson has conducted extensive research in the areas of natural gas hydrates; thermodynamic modeling; and sustainable energy and development, most notably in the area of geothermal systems. He has been nominated for the 2013 Department


Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Halabe has numerous publications to his credit in the area of nondestructive evaluation of timber, steel, concrete, and composite structural components. His expertise includes the use of several nondestructive techniques, including

ANDERSON NAMED TO ENDOWED PROFESSORSHIP Brian Anderson was recently named the GE Plastics Material Engineering Professor at West Virginia University.

Assistant Professor



Spring 2013




Some of the most prolific researchers at West Virginia University can be found in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. In this issue of EngineeringWV, we focus on the work being done by them in four areas. Many of our faculty are involved in innovative research related to shale gas extraction and utilization. The availability of shale gas in the United States and other parts of the world has altered the energy landscape dramatically and changed the conversation to the possibility that, in the near future, the United States will become a net exporter of energy in terms of oil and gas production. Even though coal remains an important source, many power plants are switching to natural gas for electricity generation. The industry is also looking at modifying or developing new technologies for small and large engines, including automobiles and other equipment that would run off natural gas. There are many research opportunities and challenges associated with the


WVU BENJAMIN M. STATLER COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND MINERAL RESOURCES conversion of natural gas-to-liquids that can be used as chemical precursors for plastics or fuels. This is good news for West Virginia and especially the Kanawha Valley, which was once known as the chemical center of the world. Interdisciplinary research aimed at using engineering and science concepts to advance medical technologies and create new breakthroughs for higher-quality and lower-cost healthcare is also an important area of interest for the College. Advances such as ultrasound imaging, implantable devices, tissue engineering, and accurate detection of cancer have greatly benefited from advances in nanomanufacturing technologies, especially those that were originally developed for computer chips. The work of Yong Yang and Yuxin Liu captures some of the exciting biomedical-related research being done at WVU. With significant advances in computing power, high-performance computing hardware, and miniaturized sensors and sensor networks,

Our faculty—working side-by-side with our students—are hard at work developing new research directions and programs aimed at creating new knowledge and technologies for the benefit of all mankind. Their efforts bring great pride to our University and our state.


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we now have significantly large volumes of data available. These large data sets—known as Big Data—can be useful in advancing science and technology in a number of different ways. Many Statler College faculty members have been engaged in mathematical modeling and simulation research that is related to this topic. Antarpreet Jutla is using mathematical modeling techniques to track the spread of waterborne diseases, such as cholera, in an effort to predict future outbreaks. Big Data can also be used for developing new, engineered materials. The research programs of Terry Musho and David Mebane are directed at developing new, more efficient thermoelectric materials, which convert heat into electricity, as well as carbon capture technologies.







In the heart of West Virginia lies what was once one of the world’s most recognized valleys: chemical valley. Local resources, in the forms of salt brine, coal, oil, and natural gas accounted for Union Carbide Corporation building the world’s first petrochemical plant in Clendenin, W.Va., in 1920. After a move to South Charleston, they were later joined by such companies as Monsanto, DuPont, Westvaco Corporation, and U.S. Rubber Corporation. The Kanawha Valley quickly became known as the chemical center of the world, and South Charleston was nicknamed “Chemical City,” employing nearly 38,000 people at its peak in 1954.

Spring 2013

“The initial raw material used in chemical processing was wood,” said Rakesh Gupta, Berry Chair and professor of chemical engineering at West Virginia University. “Then companies switched to coal and oil and later to natural gas.” Then came the turn of the century, and natural gas prices rose dramatically thanks, in part, to deregulation and increased global competition. By 2001, only about 14,000 people were employed statewide in the chemical industry in about 40 plants. According to Gupta, many U.S. companies found it cheaper to move their operations offshore to sources of “stranded” gas. All of that may be about to change.


In a recent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC), it was stated that by 2025, shale gas could add more than 1 million workers to the U.S. manufacturing industry. For chemical companies, the impact of shale gas has led to decreased costs of both raw materials and energy. PwC estimates that the U.S. chemical industry has invested $15 billion in ethylene production, increasing capacity by 33 percent. “As more of these investments take hold, yielding more supply,” the reports suggest, “the United States could become a major, global, low-cost provider of energy and feedstocks to the chemicals industry. … Lower natural gas prices could provide a strong economic incentive for U.S. manufacturers to reverse offshoring of manufacturing activity and build production facilities in the United States.” This is good news for West Virginia, which sits squarely atop the Marcellus and Utica shale plays. In March, Gupta will lead a panel discussion at the second West Virginia Marcellus to Manufacturing Ethane Development Conference, sponsored by the West Virginia Manufacturers Association, the West Virginia Construction and Design Expo, and the West

WVU BENJAMIN M. STATLER COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AND MINERAL RESOURCES Virginia Department of Commerce. The panel, “Shale Gas: Conversion to Industrial Chemicals,” features three speakers with ties to WVU. Ed Crowe, BSEE ’71, an engineering scientist with the Industries of the Future team in the National Research Center for Coal and Energy at WVU, will lead a discussion on “Natural Gas to Chemicals: Opportunities and Research Challenges,” while Jessica Hoover, an assistant professor of chemistry at WVU, will lead “Gas to Chemicals and the Role of Catalysis.” “Future Chemical Process Characteristics to Utilize Shale Gas” will be led by Jean Cropley, a member of WVU’s Academy of Chemical Engineers. Cropley has a long history in the industry, retiring from Union Carbide’s South Charleston Technical Center in 1993 as a corporate research fellow. A specialist in real process chemical reaction engineering, Cropley is past chair of the Union Carbide Corporate Fellows Task Force on Education and its 300-member Education Volunteers Group of the Kanawha Valley. “I have been consulting with Jean and other members of our Chemical Engineering Visiting Committee and Academy on ways in which anticipated additions to our department faculty can best have an impact in the area of shale gas utilization,” said Gupta. In the meantime, he has been working with Crowe and Sushant Agarwal, a research assistant professor of chemical engineering, to explore ways of converting shale gas into the basic building blocks of the chemical industry. Initial experiments have been conducted, which appear promising. Results of these experiments may guide some of the

research to be performed at WVU in the future on the topic of shale gas utilization. Additional efforts are under way to form teams to seek competitive funding for what must be a collaborative effort. This effort is part of a larger WVU commitment to help advance the technology to increase demand and utilization of shale gas in the state and to establish itself as a leader in this area. The University is providing seven new faculty positions this year to address industry needs in this area. One of the endowed chairs funded through the historic gift made by Ben and Jo Statler in 2012 will be recruited to help lead this shale gas utilization effort campus wide.

a partnership with International Green Power, which is building a pilot plant in China for the conversion of natural gas into a liquid, n-Butanol,” said Prucz. “This is the closest alternative fuel to gasoline, and it can replace it without the need to retrofit engines or build new storage and distribution infrastructure.” Advanced modeling and analysis, Prucz added, could enable the optimization of

In addition to the work being done in chemical engineering, the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) will play a role as well. “In my opinion, there are three main challenges that are critical to removing barriers and expanding the demand for utilizing natural gas,” said Jacky Prucz, MAE chair. Even though the combustion of natural gas is inherently cleaner than coal, Prucz said, methane gas could leak from gas wells or be released during combustion, which is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, because it has a higher global warming potential on an equivalent mass basis. Gas-to-liquid technology is essential for rapid and economical expansion of natural gas utilization, since it eliminates major barriers associated with the storage, distribution, and safety of utilizing natural gas under pressure in its gaseous state. “We have been exploring

1920s Union Carbide

combustion parameters for natural gas as the sole fuel or in various blends (in optimal proportions with biomass, coal, or other types of fuel) to maximize energy efficiency and power plant durability. “All of this can be accomplished while minimizing the emissions of harmful pollutants, such as methane gas, nitrogen oxides, or secondary aerosols,” Prucz said. As the University effort expands, the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; and the colleges of Law and Business and Economics will all be involved, helping to ensure the state of West Virginia plays a critical role in the future of the natural gas industry in America.





H20 H20




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Information taken from “How Petrochemicals are Made,” by Shell Chemicals.







The 21st century continues to bring many advances to the fields of science and medicine. These advances have given rise to multidisciplinary research in which biomedical engineers use engineering concepts to address medical problems by scaling the human body down to micro- and nanosize to enable research of the smallest unit of life, a cell. “Traditionally, engineers only worked on engineering issues, and medical professionals relied entirely on medical professionals,” explained Yong Yang, assistant professor of chemical engineering in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “We have seen the wisdom in combining these two fields and now multidisciplinary approaches are used to solve larger issues.”

Spring 2013

Yang has begun conducting research on central nervous system diseases by building a model through a new approach, called a cell-on-a-chip.


This model is the size of a computer chip but with less visible parts. The model, mimicking the 3-D microenvironment, contains organized cells and allows for precise control. The model also allows researchers to test multiple drugs for diseases at one time. The cell-on-a-chip is becoming increasingly popular among researchers because it is inexpensive to produce and researchers can manipulate the chips in their own labs to mimic an individual’s specific needs. Yang has partnered with Laura Gibson, associate director for cancer research at the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center, to conduct cancer research

associated with the central nervous system. Yang’s students learn to fabricate these models in the laboratory and then conduct research on their models in Gibson’s lab alongside medical students.

Yuxin Liu, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, has been working diligently to expand on the current research of a cell-on-a-chip. Liu’s research has broadened to include developing an organ-on-a-chip. The concepts of the cell chip and organ chip come from the integrated lab-on-a-chip, which was originally developed in the 1990s. But the past 10 years have brought huge advances in biology and biomedicine. “Animals as research models have been widely used for biological applications, such as in the pharmaceutical industry for drug development,” Liu said. “However, animal models can be expensive, difficult to manipulate, highly variable, and experimental results can often be challenging to interpret because of species-specific variations between human beings and experimental animals. “Artificial surrogates, such as the organ-on-a-chip, enable the precise manipulation of specific cell microenvironmental parameters, such as manipulating blood flow conditions to mimic the human microvasculature. “Once we determine that the device is stable and meets the specified requirements, we can then begin to develop products to make this technology available to medical and biological professionals,” explained Liu.




Like Liu, Yang is also using the lab-on-a-chip technology, but instead of researching it, he’s using it to address environmental concerns, or specifically, toxins. “Nanoparticles can accumulate in large amounts in humans and this accumulation may cause cancer,” Yang said. “The human body has nanoscale features that may affect the cells from sensing toxins, so we’re trying to generate a variety of nanoscale features, such as size and shape, on the chip for cell growth. We then load the toxin on the chip to determine which of those features will make the cell more sensitive to the toxins.” If successful, this chip can be made into a portable device for detecting various toxins to ensure a safe working and living environment for humans throughout the world.

“We can test tens of thousands of cells for various toxins at the same time with this process,” said Yang. “We are still modifying our prototype and comparing the results with results from animal labs, but this research is very promising. “It’s not like we do our engineering portion and then we’re done,” explained Yang. “We’re needed so we can keep optimizing and tailoring the systems in

Both Yang and Liu involve undergraduate and graduate students in their research. Liu mentors students over the summer through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates and the STEM SURE programs. She also teaches a biomedical microdevices course to graduates, which focuses on microfluidics and labon-a-chip technologies, and teaches students how to apply that knowledge to the medical field. Yang teaches a course in biomedical nanotechnology, showing students how it can be applied to advance biomedical research.

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Once portable, a patient’s cells can be injected into the chip, and the cells’ behaviors will determine if they are affected by toxins. The cells’ behaviors will actually work as an identification method to alert medical professionals to the exact toxin associated with the patient’s cells.

order to provide personalized healthcare and receive the most accurate results. By studying these models, we can have a better understanding of both the diseases and treatments and actually shorten the gap between laboratory approaches and clinical trials.”



Spring 2013

Goes Scientific BY MARY C. DILLON




It’s true that many companies, like IBM for example, have launched platforms that provide businesses with ways to harness data obtained from such sources as social media sites, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to help them better address customer needs. But when the federal government announced $200 million in research programs for Big Data computing, engineers took notice and turned their attention to ways in which this evolving set of technologies might aid in scientific discovery.


Two such researchers, Terence Musho and David Mebane, both new hires in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at West Virginia University, are employing techniques associated with Big Data computing in their work in the area of materials research. “While many people working in Big Data are focused on information produced from individual use of the Internet and cell phone networks, we’re focused on physical science,” Mebane said. “A lot of people know how to create all this data, but there’s less of an understanding of how to harness it and use it.” Using principles of quantum mechanics, Musho is responsible for the calculations or generation of data, and the subsequent development of a model to predict the properties of thermoelectric materials from a first-principles point of view. Mebane follows with data analysis, which is used to evaluate the model’s properties.

Traditionally, information about this previous iteration is lost or does not directly influence the final solution. This an area Musho and Mebane are targeting by accounting for data from all iterations and incorporating this into the overall modeling process. By developing first principle transport models, Musho said he can now calculate the electrical and thermal properties of new, more complex materials. “Now you can look at tailoring new materials for a specific

This validation, according to Mebane, is an integral part of the process. “One of the early ways of doing things in data-driven materials research was to just make the sort of predictions you would make using quantum chemistry without really focusing any attention on the uncertainty of those predictions. That was left to an experimentalist,” Mebane said. “Our paradigm is a bit different. What we want to do is use these computational methods, because they are quite powerful, but at the same time we want to integrate the experiments into the database, which is a new idea.” But there’s a difference between prediction and reality, which brings uncertainty into the equation. Mebane is also working as part of a research team on the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative, which has a goal of providing technology developers and power plant operators with a validated suite of models and simulation tools to enable the rapid development and deployment of new carbon capture technologies. Part of Mebane’s role in the project is quantifying the uncertainty in multiscale models of carbon capture systems. His collaborators include researchers from Los Alamos National Lab, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the National Energy Technology Laboratory. “This is a big new development, which ties in with the theme of Big Data,” Mebane said. “It’s theoretically possible to build an entire model of a carbon capture plant based on quantum mechanics and fundamental fluid flow models. We know how to do that. But we could run every computer we have on the planet for the next thousand years and still not have enough time and power to solve that problem.” The key, Mebane said, is using approximations in the team’s quantum calculations that can provide useful information, then using statistical methods to

filter that information when moving up to the next scale of simulation. “We want to figure out what’s important and keep that but at the same time quantify the uncertainty that results from leaving information out.” In traditional engineering practice, all the parameters of a model that are unknown are fit to experimental data, adjusting them to get the model as close as possible to the data. If the fit is close enough, the model is then thought of as validated and it can be used to make predictions. But, if the extrapolation goes too far, the prediction might be way off the mark. “We know that even if we had the exact right answers for the parameters and we input those in our model, there would still be some difference between what the model predicts and what the experiment says,” said Mebane. “But we don’t want to adjust the parameters to make up for that difference.” Instead, a special function, known as a model discrepancy or model error, is introduced. “This enables us to use both theory and experiment to make predictions, which are probabilistic; it’s not just one answer, it’s a distribution of answers,” Mebane said. “Because we have taken pains to try and characterize the uncertainty in our model where we have experimental data, we can make predictions on how well … or how badly … we may be doing when we extrapolate.” Being able to make these types of predictions can yield big benefits to the companies involved, in this case, utilities. “Utilities are very conservative,” Mebane said. “They want to be certain that when they start using a new technology it’s going to be able to run for two years, constantly, before shutting down for maintenance. So it usually takes them quite a while before they can have that much confidence. “We’re not saying that we can short circuit the whole process; that just by conducting some bench-scale experiments you can build a carbon capture plant. But what we are saying is by using these techniques you may be able to do it faster, and less expensively, because time is money.”

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“I’ve developed a model to specifically calculate the thermal conductivity and electrical conductivity of materials from as close to first principles as possible in an effort to predict engineering quantities or properties,” Musho said. “When you describe things at an atomic scale, it becomes very computationally intensive and involves the generation of a large quantity of data. A lot of my research has involved trying to run high productivity computer systems and dividing the model across hundreds of processors to try to accomplish this in a reasonable amount of time, like a week. But when you tweak an attribute or a parameter, you change the environment on an atomic scale, and you have to run the calculations again.”

application, for example thermoeletrics. You could pick a handful of elements off the periodic table and combine them into a solid solution and predict their properties before ever stepping into the laboratory, as long as your model is validated.”



Jutla Explores LINK Between





Around the world, scientists are documenting warmer temperatures, faster seasonal changes, and rising sea levels. But can we link climate change to the spread of certain water-borne diseases or the increased frequency of disease outbreaks? A West Virginia University professor claims the answer is yes.

Spring 2013

“When I first began researching, I discovered that the health community has a good understanding of the pathobiology of disease-causing bacteria,” said Antar Jutla, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. “But there was a knowledge gap on the environmental conditions that are conducive for these bacteria to multiply and cause a disease outbreak. I became interested in determining what happens before the outbreak takes place.”


“An epidemic is caused by a combination of warm temperatures followed by rainfall. As rainfall increases, the region is flooded, leading to cross-contamination of freshwater resources with bacteria. Right now, there is no known way to predict an outbreak of epidemic cholera.” Jutla has found a way to predict endemic cholera by monitoring coastal conditions via satellite images.

“We’ve found that if a region has large rivers that bring nutrients from inland to coastal areas, you get an increase in coastal plankton,” said Jutla. Dormant cholera Cholera-carrying copepods bacteria hide among the phytoplankton and can contaminate untreated on tiny crustaceans, known as copepods, and water supplies. when flooding occurs, the coastal waters are pushed back up through the rivers and streams, where locals retrieve their drinking water Jutla has an ambitious goal: to develop an instrument using satellite and eventually ingest the bacteria. data to predict water-borne disease outbreaks one or even two months “We have identified specific factors that contribute to disease outbreak, in advance. He has fine-tuned his research prototype by working on but we’re not in a position to use our model to notify health officials yet,” cholera exclusively. explained Jutla. “We have a prototype ready, but we want to test it on In an age when America has landed a robot on Mars, 1.8 million people other regions first so we can say with confidence that our predictions are still at risk annually to contract cholera. Cholera, which is caused by are accurate and reliable.” drinking bacteria-contaminated water, leads to severe sickness in the Even though Jutla is only working with data from Bangladesh, he thinks form of diarrhea and, left untreated, can result in death within 24 hours. it will probably take another three to four years before he has confidence “Cholera wasn’t reported in Haiti for hundreds of years, and then, out in his research and has proven his prototype. of the blue, it emerged in 2010,” said Jutla. “So what conditions were “Our research has demonstrated strong relationships with our data conducive for that disease to appear? Why isn’t this disease in the and there is a definite possibility that we can save lives, and reduce United States? If we can build adequate sanitary and safe drinking water the economic burden caused by these diseases,” said Jutla. “Our systems, we can prevent those outbreaks worldwide. But the sheer cost cholera research builds on collaborative research being conducted at of building that infrastructure isn’t plausible right now.” the University of Maryland, Tufts University, and the International Centre So if you can’t eliminate it, Jutla said, predict it. for Diarrhoeal Disease Research in Bangladesh. We are exploring collaborative opportunities with WVU’s Health Sciences Center to study Using his knowledge of the two forms of cholera, Jutla is researching a how climate change affects such regional health conditions as West Nile way to track and predict potential outbreaks worldwide. Virus and heat stress, among others.” “There are two forms of cholera, endemic and epidemic,” Jutla explained. “Endemic is where you have cholera present all year long. Epidemic is where you have sporadic cholera outbreaks, like Pakistan in 2008 and Haiti in 2010.

Jutla firmly believes the first line of defense against cholera outbreaks is for countries to invest in smart water sanitation and safe drinking water. Until then, providing health officials with outbreak predictions will help researchers fight cholera on a larger scale.

A conversation

125th Anniversary commemorative issue

Future of engineering


with Charles M. Vest When planning this commemorative section on the future of engineering, Charles Vest was an obvious choice of someone to interview. Vest is the president of the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and president emeritus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has authored multiple books and received honorary doctoral degrees from 17 universities. He received the 2006 National Medal of Technology and the 2011 Vannevar Bush Award. Luckily for us, Vest is also a Mountaineer and a friend. We are excited to share some of his experiences and thoughts with our alumni and friends. Charles Vest speaks warmly about growing up in Morgantown in the 40s and 50s, then a very small town. “It was a wonderful place to grow up,” he recalls, “with great social and economic diversity and a beautiful environment.”

long run, however, Vest said that another teacher who influenced him, WVU mechanical engineering Professor Bob Slonneger, convinced him to major in mechanical engineering.

Vest said he got interested in science very early in life, thanks, in part, to the ready availability of surplus electronics— microphones, headphones, and radio components following World War II.

Vest knew early that he wanted to go into education. “I loved teaching from a young age,” he said, “and I found universities to be exciting places that created opportunity for young people. These really were the driving force of my career.”

“I got interested in tinkering with these small electronics that were everywhere,” he said. “I also loved reading Popular Mechanics and Scientific American; looking at color photos of planets and galaxies; reading science fiction about trips to the moon and to Mars. Later, of course, came the excitement inspired by Sputnik.” Vest’s parents were major influences on him in differing ways. “My father, M.L. Vest, was a mathematics professor at WVU, a very precise mathematician as well as an extraordinary classroom teacher. I had him as a teacher later on at WVU. My mother, Louise Vest, passed on to me a great interest in history, art, and people. Looking back, I see much of what I have done as reflecting a combination of their influences.” After high school, Vest attended WVU and says he considered majoring in physics, in which department Professor Harvey Rexroad was a favorite professor. In the

By any measure, that career has been a resounding success. After graduating from WVU, Vest earned master’s and doctoral degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan, where he worked under Professor Vedat Arpaci, whom he calls “an extraordinary mentor.” He then joined the Michigan faculty, where he rose to full professor, and moved into administration, serving as associate dean of engineering, dean of engineering, and, finally, provost and vice president of academic affairs. He was named president of the MIT in 1990 and held that position until 2004. He became the president of NAE in 2007.

Throughout the insert are some things Vest had to say in our conversation about the future of engineering, with supporting stories of our alumni and faculty, who are contributors.

Q: As a society, how do you think we can inspire the children and young adults of today to get excited about science, innovation, research, engineering, entrepreneurship? What will it take— at the individual level, but also at the societal level?

VEST: It may reflect my age, but I worry that many young kids today are so inundated with sound, fast-paced visuals, formalized activities, and information overload, that developing deep thought is very difficult. However, the generation in college now is very idealistic and creative. Entrepreneurship is also very popular; we need to supply them with the right tools and encourage them to be entrepreneurs with serious purpose. I think the key is for society to send messages that it will take science and engineering to make the world better.

Christopher Finds Rewards in Career Change Although Gary Christopher did not venture into entrepreneurship until well into his career, he is a strong proponent of the spirit he said helped make America what it is today. “From the days of our Founding Fathers, this nation has been an incubator of the spirit to explore and test new frontiers in business, the professions, and the unknown,” he said. “Entrepreneurship has been critical historically to our growth and well-being as a nation and our capacity to serve other nations.” A native of Morgantown, W.Va., Christopher earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from WVU in 1974, then a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Florida in 1975. He soon joined Parsons—one of the largest private engineering and construction firms in the world, with industrial, federal, and municipal clients—and moved quickly into management and up the ladder. “I was always interested in prototyping, solving complex problems, and implementing focused solutions,” he said. Christopher rose through the ranks at Parsons, leading successful start-ups, turnarounds, and growth operations, and spearheading strategic planning and other efforts. His hard work and leadership skills were rewarded, and in 1997 he became senior vice president. But at a certain point, Christopher said he began to think about making a change, mainly because he wanted to spend more time at home with his wife and children. “Increasingly, my job required extensive travel around the world,” he said. “With three boys, I

needed to be home more often, and weekends in Abu Dhabi; Cork, Ireland; and London made that challenging. I was torn between leaving collaborative relationships and friendships and a job that had allowed me to be strategic and focused on execution and the need to be around more for my family. “Yet, I realized during this thought process that what really stirred me up was to see people grow and businesses grow profitably,” he added. “The technical side of things was fun and rewarding, but what really charged my batteries was seeing people find and develop in their sweet spots and helping businesses grow with purpose.” So, in 2000, Christopher joined partner Mike Baer with The Jholdas Group, and founded a management consulting practice serving mainly architectural, engineering, and construction firms. In his role as company president, Christopher has led numerous strategic planning efforts, provided a wide range of executive and management consulting and mentoring services, and—for select clients—functioned as an interim CEO or COO. “I enjoy helping dysfunctional teams become functional,” said Christopher, “and helping people learn to tap the potential that exists in any organization. It is rewarding to see people step up to the next level of leadership in business and to help companies achieve goals they thought were impossible. “I especially enjoy helping entrepreneurial startups transition and mature their businesses and become more professionally managed, while maintaining an entrepreneurial bent,” he said.

“Rather than focusing on making our company great, we are investing in others that they may build great companies. It has been so rewarding.” A believer in giving back, each year Christopher leads several teams of business coaches to Nepal, Jordan, and Egypt, where they work with entrepreneurs seeking to start and grow microenterprises in those countries. He said he thinks entrepreneurship is critical not only to our own societal health but to the rest of the world as well. “Entrepreneurship has been critical to our growth and well-being as a nation and our capacity to serve other nations,” he said, “and it remains fundamental to our health and to our ability to meet the needs of an increasingly challenged world. We are at a critical point in our nation’s history with the trend to increasingly burden small businesses with regulations and higher taxes. If we limit small businesses by overregulating and over-taxing them, we will discourage entrepreneurship and damage the very core of the spirit of this nation.” Universities can also help support entrepreneurship, he said. “Universities should provide more entrepreneurship courses as electives for students in technical majors, closely integrated with business colleges; encourage more successful entrepreneurs to visit and speak to students; and facilitate internships and co-ops with entrepreneurial organizations. Further, universities can play a more significant role in facilitating small business incubators.”

entrepreneurs with serious purpose


“Entrepreneurship has been critical historically to our growth and wellbeing as a nation and our capacity to serve other nations.” —Gary Christopher

entrepreneurs with serious purpose JIM KUTSCH

Jim Kutsch: Innovator, Educator, Advocate A yellow Labrador retriever named Colby sits under Jim Kutsch’s desk as he works. Colby is Kutsch’s Seeing Eye dog, the seventh he’s had since an accident blinded him as a high school senior in the late 1960s. The Wheeling, W.Va., native and West Virginia University graduate gives his dogs a lot of credit for his success. “My Seeing Eye dogs have facilitated every major accomplishment in my life,” he said. By any measure, those accomplishments have been many. In 2006, after pioneering innovations in the early days of computer science and a successful career in the telecommunications industry, Kutsch became president and CEO of The Seeing Eye in Morristown, N.J., the oldest guide dog school in the world. After an accident like the one Kutsch had, which—besides leaving him blind, also caused him to lose part of his right hand—some might have given up. Instead, he left for WVU as planned. There, in spite of the fact that there were few assistive technologies at the time, Kutsch overcame the obstacles and discovered a newfound love of learning. “Although I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do at first, I got very interested in all the different opportunities.” Kutsch first became aware of the fledgling field of computer science while spending a month at The Seeing Eye after his freshman year at WVU, when he received and trained with his very first guide dog. “One of my fellow students at The Seeing Eye was a computer programmer,” he said, “and I got excited about the field.” At WVU the following year, he started taking computer science courses and, although he ended up earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, he took enough computer science courses to enter the master’s program. He also worked part-time as a programmer in WVU’s

new Computer Center, and first began putting his ingenuity and skills to work helping blind people. “Previously, in order to get output from computers, I had to pay someone to read it to me,” he said. “I wanted to figure out an independent way for blind people to get computer output. Braille printers cost tens of thousands of dollars. So, in addition to experimenting with some other techniques, I ended up adapting a regular printer to print Braille.” After earning his bachelor’s degree, Kutsch earned a master’s degree in computer science from WVU, then a Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Illinois, where he continued his innovations in computer technologies. “In the early 1970s, we were starting to see interactive computer terminals, so Braille was no longer as useful,” he said. “It was clear that the ultimate solution would be speech output, so I took this on as my dissertation topic.” Using an early microprocessor and keyboard, coupled to a mainframe computer via modem, Kutsch developed the first talking computer terminal for the blind, a development at the forefront of technology. He was named a national lecturer for ACM (formerly the Association for Computing Machinery) and spent two years traveling the country to speak about the work. After completing his Ph.D., Kutsch returned to WVU where he took a faculty position in computer science and taught for three years, before undertaking what would become a successful, 28-year career in management with AT&T. Throughout his corporate career, he remained active with nonprofits, including serving 10 years on the board of trustees of The Seeing Eye. When the president’s position opened up, Kutsch took his present post.

“This school has meant so much to me over the years,” he said, “and makes such a difference in people’s lives. I am very happy to contribute to its continued success.” New students at The Seeing Eye spend four months in residence, said Kutsch, being matched and then trained with specially bred and trained guide dogs. “They start out walking a few blocks working closely with an instructor,” he said, “and by the time they finish, they are navigating Times Square in New York City. The streets, the stores, the people in the city, all become the classroom. It is gratifying to see what an incredible difference Seeing Eye dogs make in people’s lives.” Kutsch said his philosophy has always been to remain curious and continue learning throughout his life. “There is always something new to learn, something new to accomplish,” he said. “One of the most important things I gained at WVU was academic curiosity. It is really important to be a student throughout your own life.” In addition to his work for The Seeing Eye, Kutsch was chairman of the board of directors of National Industries for the Blind, and currently is president of the Council of U.S. Dog Guide Schools, and on the boards of the Morris Animal Foundation and the International Guide Dog Federation. He is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Alumni of the WVU Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Kutsch and his wife, Ginger, live in Morristown, New Jersey, with their Seeing Eye dogs, Colby and Pixie.

“One of the most important things I gained at WVU was academic curiosity. It is really important to be a student throughout your own life.” —Jim Kutsch

entrepreneurs with serious purpose


“We need to fill the pipeline with new technologies, concepts, and products to keep our global advantage.” —Ron Simonetti

Hard Work Key to Successful Entrepreneurship First and foremost, being an entrepreneur takes hard work, said Ron Simonetti, and poses constant challenges, but also many rewards. In 2007, Simonetti, a WVU chemical engineering graduate, founded Modular Carpet Recycling (MCR) and Waste Carpet Depot (WCD), a waste fiber processing company and waste carpet recycling company, respectively, both headquartered in New Castle, Del. He is now owner and CEO of both companies. Simonetti, a native of Follansbee, W.Va., said he always enjoyed a challenge, even in his student days. “I greatly enjoyed my chemical engineering classes,” he said. “They were very difficult, but they taught me how to work hard to get great results.” After completing his bachelor’s degree, Simonetti went to work for DuPont, where he held positions in sales, marketing, and finance. While at DuPont, he also earned a master’s degree in business administration finance and international business from Drexel University. Over the years, Simonetti gained a wealth of industry experience that helped give him the confidence and inspiration to start his own company. In addition to his work with DuPont, his career has included stints with GE Plastics, ChemConnect.com, and Foamex (now FXI). He also previously ran his own consulting company, LF Logistics. It was Simonetti’s work with FXI, a foam manufacturer, that sparked the idea for the carpet waste recycling business. “I was doing global sourcing for FXI in the foam business,” he said. “We kept running into waste carpet, and no one knew what to do with it. This sparked the idea for the business.” WCD collects used carpet in the mid-Atlantic region from companies that install new carpet, charging the companies less than they would pay to landfill the material. Then, using patented mechanical and chemical technologies, MCR processes and cleans the nylon fibers from the old carpets for reuse in fiber, carpet, and plastics applications. With more than four billion pounds of post-consumer carpet ending up in U.S. landfills each year, waste carpet recycling has the potential to make a significant dent in the solid waste stream, said Simonetti, not to mention creating other energy savings from using recycled fibers versus producing new ones. Recycling 100 percent of the waste carpet has an equivalent value of heating two million homes annually.

“We are confident that MCR is poised to become a leader in carpet recycling solutions,” he said, “as no other existing solution is as effective at converting waste carpet into such high-purity forms of nylon as our patented methods.” Simonetti has ambitious plans for the company. “I hope to grow the business first to a multi-location U.S.-based operation, then expand internationally to Europe and possibly Asia. My goal is to achieve 100 million pounds of production by 2018.” The challenges involved in running his own business have been many, said Simonetti, and include raising enough capital, allocating ample time for process development, expanding capacity, and hiring and keeping good people. “You can never have enough capital or enough time. When starting up a new business or process, generally it takes twice as long and twice the money as you planned. If we had the money to expand our capacity, we would have the sales. And, finding great people is always a challenge, as this is key to building a great company,” he said. Simonetti seems to enjoy the challenges, however, and finds them rewarding in themselves. “Managing all aspects of the business is very rewarding to me, from raising capital, managing the technology development, process build-out, and dealing with suppliers and customers,” he said. Being a successful entrepreneur takes drive, energy, experience, and resilience, said Simonetti. “My advice to anyone who wants to succeed is simple. Don’t ever give up. Keep learning, building, and growing.” Simonetti sees entrepreneurship as immensely important to the prosperity of our country. “We need to fill the pipeline with new technologies, concepts, and products to keep our global advantage,” he said. “Creating an environment that fosters entrepreneurship is key.” He also would like to see universities provide opportunities for students to learn more about entrepreneurship. “This is very hard to teach,” he said. “You really have to live it. But universities could bring in more entrepreneurs to interact with students, and could perhaps offer the subject as a minor, with five or 10 classes in finance, marketing, and law.” Simonetti lives in Unionville, Pa., with his wife, Jennifer, and their six children. When not managing his companies, he’s active with his children—coaching their sports teams—and in the family’s church; he also enjoys playing basketball.

convergence of life science and engineering “It is quite a thrill and very rewarding to be in a hospital and see your invention or development going into a human being for the first time,” said G. Ray Martin. “I never realized that an engineering degree would enable me to affect the lives of so many people.” Martin, a Parkersburg, W.Va., native and 1986 chemical engineering graduate of WVU, is president and CEO of Altura Medical, a medical device manufacturer focused on novel approaches for treating aortic aneurysms (a weakened area in an artery) with endovascular grafts (tubular devices placed inside a blood vessel to reinforce it). Early clinical results are encouraging, he said. Martin has been in the medical device industry for 20 years. After graduating from WVU, he received a DuPont Fellowship and earned a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and bioengineering from Carnegie Mellon University. Since then, he has held technical and executive positions in large companies as well as venture-backed start-ups, including WL Gore and Associates, CR Bard, Trivascular, Boston Scientific, NovoStent, and Altura. He has particular expertise in endovascular grafts and stents to treat vascular disorders. Why would an engineer go into the medical field? It is challenging and incredibly rewarding, said Martin. “The environment is different, but the tools are the same,” he said. “When looking at the human body, an electrical engineer can see a brain as a signal processor; a chemical engineer can see a cell as a reactor; and a mechanical engineer can see a bone as a beam. The same fundamental engineering principles still apply.” The convergence of life science and engineering opens up many opportunities, said Martin. “It has driven the development of biomedical engineering. The ultimate benefit of the convergence is better quality of life, resulting from improved diagnosis, treatment, and prevention. This should also lower healthcare costs. The challenge is that problems are very complex and take years to solve.”

An elegant

Q: Which areas of scientific and engineering innovation, possibly in their infancy now, do you think hold the most exciting prospects for future entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development in the coming decades? Can you provide any specific examples?

VEST: Crystal balls are rarely good. The real transformations come from unexpected directions. Nonetheless, I would look for huge new possibilities in the convergence

Martin cited drug-coated stents now being used to treat coronary artery disease, the narrowing or blockage of the arteries of the heart, as an example of a life science/engineering collaboration that has improved healthcare. Traditionally, a balloon would be used to enlarge the area, or a stent would be implanted to hold it open, but an artery often renarrows with cells growing back into it. In the newer approach, Martin said, drugs that control cell growth are placed on the stent to minimize re-narrowing. “The selection of the drug is critical, as is the way it is mixed with other materials such as biodegradable polymers to temporarily bond the drug to the stent and release it into the body at a therapeutic rate,” he said. “As if this weren’t a big enough challenge, the materials must be stable and mechanically strong enough to remain intact when the stent is being enlarged to about three times its size. “The whole process is an elegant blend of cell biology, surface science, polymer chemistry, mass transfer, and mechanical engineering, just to name a few,” he continued. “The amazing thing is that with this technology, the number of patients that need retreatment can be reduced by a factor of 10.”

of life science and engineering for both medical and nonmedical uses ranging from synthetic biology to efficient ways of growing new materials and systems. There currently

Many other potential medical developments are on the horizon that will necessitate collaboration between life sciences and engineering researchers, said Martin. “A few that come to mind,” he said, “are drug delivery, especially coupled with devices for improved diagnostics and therapy; nanotechnology to miniaturize devices to go deeper into the body or modify material surfaces for better healing or drug delivery; genetic sequencing for disease prevention and tailored/customized treatment; and neurologic control mechanisms for a variety of related conditions. “All of these need research investment,” he said, “but they hold the keys to the treatment of major health issues, from neurological disorders to cancer and cardiovascular disease. A big challenge from a research investment perspective, but also a huge opportunity for society, is tackling how the natural sciences integrate with the applied sciences and engineering to solve these problems.”

is a huge investment and momentum in neuroscience that may ultimately stimulate radical new approaches to learning, communication, and health.

level, said Martin. “This includes curriculum development, establishing or advancing departments like biomedical engineering, featured topics guest lectures across departments, joint research, and research consortia with other universities on focused topics, to name a few. Beyond execution of the integration, universities must inspire young minds to tackle the world’s heath issues.” Government also must play a role, Martin said, mainly in providing research dollars. “I believe that government must look at research funding as a business investment and make decisions based on the potential return on that investment­—how research will improve people’s lives. While the challenges are complex and some must be viewed as long-term, interdisciplinary approaches minimize the investment risk by ensuring that issues are analyzed from several perspectives.” Martin lives in Redwood City, Calif., with his wife, Gail, son Cameron, and daughter Sydney.

Universities bear the responsibility for integrating multiple disciplines at a research and teaching

“I never realized that an engineering degree would enable me to affect the lives of so many.” —G. Ray Martin


Chemical engineering grad finds rewards in healthcare industry

convergence of life scie YONG YANG

Researching Clues to Fighting

Alzheimer’s Disease Yong Yang, an assistant chemical engineering professor at WVU, is creating a system that mimics the human brain’s cell function to help unlock the clues to curing Alzheimer’s disease. It’s all about being able to replicate the soft tissues of the human brain, and how things form and drugs behave, without actually using a human brain. It’s an in vitro system—an artificial environment occurring outside a living organism—funded by a $175,000 grant from the National

“We’re engineering a platform that has similar cues to what we have found in the human brain,” Yang said. “We may be able to show how the amyloid plaque forms outside the human body so we can test drugs and facilitate the drug testing in humans through clinical trials.” Although millions of cells and therapies will need to be tested to form conclusive evidence of success, an in vitro system is the first important step to finding a cure.

“Eventually we can eliminate these (amyloid) plaques and maybe we can cure the patient with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.” —Yong Yang Science Foundation. But more than a working model, it is a bridge to a more precise way of studying the formation of amyloid plaques, which trigger Alzheimer’s and other diseases of the brain. Scientists traditionally have studied human brain cells in culture dishes, such as plastic Petri dishes and tested treatments on animals. But a system similar to human function is necessary to help analyze plaque and, eventually, discover which drugs best combat the disease, Yang said. “We know about the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain by studying animal models,” Yang said. “For humans, we’re still not clear how it happens, and we cannot perform tests directly on

“In the brain, the environment where cells reside is very soft and cellular behavior is totally different (than in a culture dish), which is very rigid. How can we use the results based on the Petri dish to humans? There’s a huge gap,” Yang said. “Eventually we can eliminate these plaques and maybe we can cure the patient with Alzheimer’s or other neurodegenerative diseases.” Allison Bruce and Xiaoyan Yu, chemical engineering graduate students, will be assisting Yang in this research, along with researchers at WVU’s Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center. Yang has been involved in biomedical research since 1999 and is helping his department establish an expanded program of similar

nce and engineering humans. We need something similar to the human body with which we can do some of the drug testing. That’s a key.”

research. The goal is to “train students to use engineering principles and biological training to contribute to healthcare research,” he said.

Still in its conceptual stage, the model will incorporate an elastic material that is much softer than that found in a culture dish, comparable to the material of a contact lens. It will contain micro scale channels, each 50 microns in depth, or roughly 50 percent of the width of a human hair, that will simulate the flow of fluids in the human body. The channels are designed to induce a variety of behaviors in cells being studied, such as different speeds of flow. The design of a variety of nanoscale features will enable scientists to study different cell behavior within a single model.

This project will help other researchers and medical professionals understand how cells interact in their environment, and can also be extended for stem cell and cancer cell research in the future. Fewer than 10 proposals out of 100 receive NSF funding, he said. “We’re building this model at a low cost,” Yang said. “It’s affordable and easy to use—that’s how we as engineers can contribute to human healthcare. The NSF can see the potential for healthcare.”

Biomimetics is a rapidly growing, interdisciplinary field that involves studying the structure and function of biological systems and using them as inspiration and models for the design and engineering of materials and devices, explained Robin Hissam.

In a project with drug delivery applications, Hissam is working with a temperature-sensitive biopolymer to create drug delivery vehicles that will travel to certain higher-temperature areas of the body. “This will limit the effects of the drug on healthy tissues, providing a more targeted effect. Also, by changing the chemical composition of the material, we can manipulate its shape and size, increasing its potential usefulness.”

Biomimetics: the Convergence of

Another project Hissam is working on involves biomineralization, the process through which living organisms produce minerals, often to harden or stiffen tissues.

Biology and Engineering “Biological materials are excellent at organizing themselves into intricate and well-defined structures, and scientists are attempting to mimic this behavior with synthetic and biological polymers,” she said. “Biological materials offer a starting point to modify and mimic natural processes and design new structures for wider applicability.” Hissam, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, is currently working on three separate but related research projects focused on creating and optimizing biomimetic systems with many potential applications.

In biology, biomineralization takes such forms as sea creatures’ shells or the bones of mammals and birds. Researchers are attempting to mimic the ways that living organisms produce minerals to produce useful materials with various applications. Hissam’s work in biomineralization is aimed at the development of a material with antimicrobial properties that may be effective in wound healing. A mix of biological understanding and engineering skill is critical to the field of biomimetics, said Hissam.

In one project, Hissam is collaborating with Charter Stinespring, associate professor of chemical engineering, and Edward Sabolsky, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, to develop a new generation of high-speed, high-sensitivity chemical and photo biosensors to meet the needs of the defense, intelligence, and medical communities. The project involves the use of graphene—a substance made of carbon, but in a one-atom-thick sheet—and certain polymers.

“The need to draw from physical and life sciences, as well as health sciences, for the development of biologically based engineering projects is essential,” she said. “The fundamentals of biology and chemistry drive our manipulation of systems to create more complex or more applicable materials. For example, the structural behavior of proteins drives our drug delivery project, which is derived from biochemistry.

“Because of its unique characteristics, graphene has the potential to revolutionize the field of solid-state electronics and sensors,” said Hissam. “Using biological systems for inspiration, we hope to develop a sensor platform that is highly sensitive but also highly selective in detecting certain target molecules.”

“Biology has created optimum, complex systems,” she added, “and the field of biomimetics is allowing researchers to create systems that—in the future— will approach this level of perfection.”


“Biological materials offer a starting point to modify and mimic natural processes and design new structures for wider applicability.” —Robin Hissam

This project has potential applications in the energy field, said Hissam, and also, at the fundamental level, is important for increasing scientists’ understanding of how polymers interact with electronic materials. There may be other potential applications in healthcare, for the detection of toxins, and others.

convergence of life science and engineering

Interactive online learning Q: Which areas of scientific and engineering innovation, possibly in their infancy now, do you think hold the most exciting prospects for future entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development in the coming decades? Can you provide any specific examples?

VEST: I also am particularly excited about the potential of really high-quality interactive online learning. If successful, it could improve learning, lower costs, and spread advanced learning and opportunity around the world in a highly democratic fashion. This is not a foregone conclusion, but the potential clearly is there and things are moving extremely fast.

What is the future of online learning in engineering? A conversation with three faculty members Can engineering be taught—and taught well—online? Brian Anderson, associate professor of chemical engineering; Cerasela Zoica Dinu, assistant professor of chemical engineering; and Gregory Thompson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, participated in the NAE Frontiers of Engineering Symposium, and shared some of their insights.

Online engineering education is in its infancy but appears to be a growing trend, especially in the area of graduate programs. Institutions such as MIT, Stanford, and Harvard are collaborating to provide online programs worldwide. ABET, the international accreditation agency for college and university programs in engineering and technology, is encouraging innovation while working to ensure quality. The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE) at WVU is beginning to offer some courses online, said Thompson. “We are pursuing the delivery of specific courses online,” he said. “Providing traditional lecture-based instruction through streaming video or developing more interactive online courses appeals to certain students who may learn and retain information better with this method.

“Presently, the only challenge we are facing is ensuring that quality control procedures are in place to be sure that the student who receives the credit is the student who did the work, and that courses taken outside of the WVU system can be counted as credit with ABET recognizing the transfer credit,” Thompson added. Dinu sees advanced three-dimensional (3D) virtual reality technology as an exciting aspect of interactive, online learning. “Advanced 3-D virtual reality technology, similar to that used by the film and gaming industries, can facilitate the creation of realistic virtual environments in real time,” she said. “This can promote online learning by enabling new ways of thinking and learning, and can become the new direction in engineering education. I believe that there will be a steady increase in the quality of online learning in engineering programs, and

this will be correlated with the evolution of better simulations tools, improved virtual infrastructure, and interactive methodologies for studying and evaluating engineering skills and faculty development.”


Anderson emphasized that interpersonal relationships between faculty and students are critical to student success in engineering, and that this poses a challenge for the adoption of online education. “In the Statler College, we pride ourselves in knowing our students and developing good interpersonal relationships with them,” he said. “That way we can tailor our instruction to the individual student as they approach us for help. This is one of the major difficulties in providing an online education, one that will require innovative methods in instruction to overcome.” Dinu said a strong teaching support system must be developed to help fill students’ needs. “Transferring the well-established traditional engineering content is not enough to make online education successful,” she said. “It needs to be solidified through the design of a unified, grounded, and proved teaching support system. The online teacher will need to develop optimal interactions with students, give them advice, and help them develop interpersonal and teamwork skills.” How well laboratory experiences can be reproduced in the online environment may depend on the subject. “Our programs in mechanical and aerospace engineering rely heavily on hands-on laboratory involvement,” said Thompson. “Laboratory work provides invaluable teaching points—the physical feel of the equipment, the layout of the systems, and the interaction with lab partners—that would be difficult to simulate through an online course.” “Nothing can ever replace hands-on laboratory experience,” said Anderson, “but with creativity and ingenuity one can develop laboratory experiences that are safe for students to do in a remotely taught environment. Students in the remote setting must be willing to spend a little more of their own time building and developing their own experiments, while in an in-person education, we provide those. Many fundamental science experiments, such as those in first-year chemistry, however, may never be replicated outside of a safe, laboratory environment.” “In my field, biomedical engineering,” said Dinu, “many resources can provide virtual experiences for teaching. In my Cellular Machinery class, I worked with Professor Eva Toth to incorporate

“Providing traditional lecturebased instruction through streaming video or developing more interactive online courses appeals to certain students who may learn and retain information better with this method.” —Gregory Thompson

a virtual laboratory and inquirybased evaluation, with great success. I personally like using online resources to help students grasp concepts otherwise difficult to assimilate. I am seeing that using interactive learning environments and interactive multimedia systems increases student interaction and engagement in the classroom.” All three faculty members said they believe interactive, online engineering education will grow in the coming decades. “The world needs more engineers,” said Thompson, “and there are limitations in the number of classrooms and faculty to teach those classes. We are experiencing these problems today in MAE. Without significant new hires and infrastructure development, online courses will be one means to provide instructional content to students.”

“Through a virtual space, online experiences will allow remote access to quality education and resources otherwise not available to the participants, such as participants from remote regions or underdeveloped countries.” —Cerasela Zoica Dinu

“Online programs will not only eliminate the physical barriers associated with students having to be present on a college campus,” said Dinu, “but will also increase the number of students that participate in education while promoting interactive international collaborations. Through a virtual space, online experiences will allow remote access to quality education and resources otherwise not available to the participants, such as participants from remote regions or underdeveloped countries.” Ensuring academic integrity is a major factor when discussing online courses, said Anderson.

“Instead of being a one-way street, education becomes a two-way street in which students and faculty alike embark in a process of fun discovery.”


—Cerasela Zoica Dinu

Interactive online learning

“Each student, whether in the classroom or online elsewhere, has a webcam, a microphone, and a ‘raise hand’ button. When the instructor calls on a student, all of the other students, whether in the classroom or online, can see the student’s face and hear the question. This type of technology would greatly improve the ability to do distance learning at WVU.” —Brian Anderson

“There BRIAN ANDERSON have been some advances in software methods to ensure that students are not collaborating during remote exams; however, this is easier to control in a classroom setting,” he said. “However, one can envision remote computer classroom environments that provide external access to remote exams. With creativity and ingenuity, I think that most things are possible.”

“There need to be policies from within the academic community and from accreditation boards, like ABET, that provide guidance concerning academic integrity,” said Thompson. “There is some level of comfort to accept online course transfer credit from ABET-accredited institutions where it is assumed that they have internal controls in place to ensure adequate safeguards to ensure integrity. However, the rise of non-ABET accredited online courses is a concern that needs to be addressed before transfer credits from these entities can be accepted.” Anderson mentioned that he would like to see WVU invest in high-tech distance learning technology classrooms that would facilitate remote learning.

“Many institutions have converted regular classrooms to interactive distance-learning environments,” he said. “Each student, whether in the classroom or online elsewhere, has a webcam, a microphone, and a ‘raise hand’ button. When the instructor calls on a student, all of the other students, whether in the classroom or online, can see the student’s face and hear the question. This type of technology would greatly improve the ability to do distance learning at WVU.” Dinu said it is the interactive nature of online learning that she thinks is critical to its benefits.

“Interactive learning engages the student in new ways of thinking and problem solving,” she said. “Students increase their fundamental cognitive abilities so that learning becomes more efficient, more meaningful, and, why not, more fun! Instead of being a one-way street, education becomes a two-way street in which students and faculty alike embark in a process of fun discovery.”



Q: When you look in your crystal ball—knowing all you know about engineering, engineering education, and the world in which we live—how, overall, do you think the world of engineering will look different in 20 or 25 years than it does today?

VEST: Of course it will change dramatically, just as it has during the last 25 years. For example, 25 years ago there was no World Wide Web or human genome. Advanced technology will change in ways that we can’t predict. I also think that we have a good chance of advancing strongly toward a more sustainable, low carbon economy; spreading education and knowledge to millions more young people around the world; providing much better wellness and healthcare in affordable ways; and making the world more secure. But none of this will happen if we don’t focus our best talent on it and support them appropriately.





Our Ene Sustainable Design for our Energy Future Sustainable design and construction means different things to different people, says Bob Doeffinger, but offers such important benefits that, more and more, it is becoming the norm.

term financial savings or gains, it takes into consideration how a project will affect people, the planet, and the economy. It is a long-term investment we make for future generations.”

Doeffinger is president of ZMM, Inc., a 40-person architectural engineering firm in Charleston, W.Va. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from WVU and a master’s degree in architectural engineering from Penn State and is a registered professional engineer in several states.

The concept is not new, said Doeffinger, but has become much more mainstream since the late 1990s, when the U.S. Green Building Council developed Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings for sustainable design construction and operation.

ZMM is an important leader in sustainable or “green” design.

“The LEED guidelines laid the groundwork for what would become an intense focus on green building design, and there is now a lot of real-world evidence to back up the concepts and technologies,” said Doeffinger.

“Sustainable design and construction is also known as ‘green’ or ‘highperformance’ design,” said Doeffinger. “Instead of focusing solely on short-

Solar energy is an area in which technology is evolving and becoming more cost-effective than some people realize, he added. “There are now many ways of providing solar energy, and many of them are not expensive,” he said. “The first cost of solar technology, particularly photovoltaic, will continue to come down. Plus, solar is now viable in many locations that aren’t considered to be sunny all the time.” Another technology Doeffinger thinks will be important in years to come is vegetative roofs. “Vegetative roofs are going to be increasingly important in areas where combined storm water/sewer lines are an issue,” he said, “or where


rgy Future stricter storm water guidelines are in place. Although not practical for many structures, vegetative roofs can capture more than 50 percent of rainwater runoff from buildings, while providing other benefits.”

“I’ve found that most people are open to new ideas,” he said. “So if a new concept or technology is presented in a factual, objective manner, people will listen and perhaps be swayed to try something new that ultimately benefits them.”

“Model Building Codes are catching up by adopting these strategies and standards. In the near future, what we now call ‘sustainable design’ will simply be called ‘building design and construction.’”

He also sees lighting and air conditioning as important areas for significantly reducing overall energy use.

Many people believe that sustainable design will be more expensive than traditional methods, said Doeffinger, posing a challenge to designers.

Doeffinger lives with his family in Point Pleasant, W.Va., where he has also served on the City Council for the past 20 years. He gives back in other ways as well, including, recently, by getting involved with WVU’s Solar Decathlon team, helping them meet the Department of Energy’s standards for a successful project in 2013. He said he is glad to see WVU and other colleges and universities throughout the state begin integrating sustainability into their programs.

“When you reduce your energy use, you reduce the burden on all energy sources, both renewable and non-renewable,” he said. “The energy savings with new lighting sources are significant, and translate to air conditioning savings. Also, high-efficiency air conditioning systems that include new control hardware and methods are contributing to energy savings.” Doeffinger takes a practical approach to introducing new, more sustainable technologies.

“There are numerous sustainable design strategies available to the designer,” he said, “and many cost nothing at all. With proper planning, sustainable design can be a part of most projects.” In fact, said Doeffinger, sustainable design and construction is more and more becoming the norm. “Sustainable rating systems and standards continue to push the envelope and drive the industry forward,” he said.

“New graduates must lead the way as businesses look to implement these principles to remain competitive,” he said.

ZMM has sponsored several events aimed at helping West Virginia businesses understand and capitalize on the advantage of sustainable technologies, including “Making the Business Case for Sustainability” at the University of Charleston, and “Sustaining Lean” with Bridgemont Community and Technical College. A new energy code passed by the West Virginia legislature will help to improve the overall sustainability of many new buildings throughout the state, said Doeffinger.

Our Energy Future

Energy Future Will Be a Mix, Investment Needed, Faculty Researchers Say Between them, longtime WVU professors Ismail Celik, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and John Zondlo, professor of chemical engineering, have conducted countless energy-related research projects; collaborated with experts from a wide range of institutions on a variety of investigations; and, along the way, educated hundreds, if not thousands, of students. When asked what our energy future will look like, both predict that it will be a mix of available technologies, and that finding the answers to our current energy challenges will depend on our willingness, as a society, to invest in research and development and thus ensure a safe, clean energy future for our society. A WVU faculty member since 1985, Celik directs both the Computational Fluid Dynamics and Applied MultiPhysics Center and the National Institute for Fuel Cell Technology; the latter is focused on developing solid oxide fuel cells that run on coal-derived syngas and even solid forms of carbon. Celik is also one of the task leaders of the Advanced Coal Technology Consortium (ACTC), which is part of the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Center, a joint U.S.-China program to accelerate clean energy research. Jerald Fletcher, chair of resource management in the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural

Resources, and Design, is the principal investigator for the ACTC. Celik’s group is looking at using coal to generate liquid fuels and high-quality products. Chemical engineering professor Richard Turton leads another group within ACTC that is conducting research on process/ system simulation. As a member of WVU’s chemical engineering faculty since 1982, Zondlo has been one of the leaders of a research group that has conducted many projects focused on using coal to develop carbon-based materials and liquid fuels. The group’s efforts have yielded promising results, including developing coal-derived carbon fibers, carbon foam, industrially relevant pitches and cokes, and other value-added materials, Zondlo and his colleagues have successfully collaborated with industry to produce useful products from the coalderived materials. In fact, some of this patented technology has recently been licensed and is going commercial. Zondlo is also currently involved with WVU forestry researchers in a project that is focused on producing fuels from the liquefaction and gasification of wood and coal. Celik and Zondlo said that renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal,

biomass, and others are important and will increasingly play a part in the energy mix of the future. But, both of these longtime researchers said they believe that fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas will continue playing a critical role long into the future. They also agreed that more investment is needed into research aimed at developing ways to use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently. “Renewables are very important,” said Zondlo, “but currently, 50 percent of our electricity comes from coal, and renewables are simply not going to be able to replace that overnight.” “We need to see diversified investment in clean coal technology,” said Celik, “in order to improve our ability to cleanly use coal and natural gas. There is a great deal of potential for converting coal to liquids and to using coal to develop high-quality products.” The Marcellus shale, an abundant source of natural gas centered in the Appalachian basin, has provided an important boon to the natural gas industry and to the state of West Virginia, said Zondlo. Natural gas offers certain environmental benefits, as it does not produce as much carbon dioxide as coal when it is burned. He also said that nuclear energy will remain important, but

that more safety research is needed in that area before it receives public acceptance. Fuel cells are an important component in research being conducted by Celik, Zondlo, and others at WVU and elsewhere. Both researchers agree that fuel cell technology has the potential to become a key element in our energy future, but more research is needed to improve the affordability and reliability of fuel cells. Asked what other areas will require greater investment in research, Celik emphasized, among others, the need to increase efficiency and reduce waste. “A lot of the energy we burn to heat our houses or run our cars goes into the atmosphere because cars and buildings are not as energy efficient as they could be,” he said. “A lot of the products, even foods we produce, end up in landfills. The more efficiently we use energy, and the less we waste it, the less we will need to produce.” Zondlo and Celik both agree that a clean energy future is an achievable goal, but that more investment must be made in research in order to achieve that goal. “Whether or not we realize the potential that exists will depend, in large part, on how much the federal government invests in research and development,” said Celik. “Research investment is the key.”

Making the World More Secure Cybersecurity Critical Field, Says Computer Science Professor Cyber warriors wanted. Flyers on the walls outside Roy Nutter’s office promise scholarships and fellowships from the U.S. Department of Defense for students willing to enlist in the battle against cybercrime. Cyber attacks against our society— whether from multinational organized crime syndicates aimed at stealing credit card numbers, or from nation-states bent on disruption and destruction—are a serious threat, said Roy Nutter, computer science professor and an expert on cybersecurity. “Cybercrime is big business,” said Nutter, “and it is going on all over the world, with hotbeds of activity in Russia, Eastern Europe, South America, China, and Iran.” Some groups specialize in writing and selling computer viruses and malware, said Nutter, which they then sell to others to use in phishing schemes. Phishing involves sending someone an e-mail or other message that seems to be from a trusted individual or organization. The e-mails often contain viruses or malware that install themselves on the victim’s computer once the recipient clicks on a link. In this way, thousands of people’s passwords, credit card numbers, expiration dates, even PINs are stolen. From there, it is simple to print cards and send other employees out to withdraw cash from all of those accounts, said Nutter.

Phishing schemes can become even more elaborate and serious, he said, luring victims to travel overseas in search of an imaginary windfall, only to lose everything. “It is a large and complex syndicate aimed at separating people from their money, and anyone can become a victim,” he said. An even more nefarious threat to our cybersecurity lies in the area of statesponsored espionage and terrorism, said Nutter, posing a real and serious threat to the nation’s infrastructure, including the electric power grid, water and sewage systems, stoplights, etc. “We are vulnerable to this kind of attack because, today, everything is controlled by computers,” he said. “If the Internet goes down, all of those systems would go down. An attack could cripple our economy in a matter of minutes.” As an example, Nutter referred to the 2010 discovery that a new, complex computer virus, Stuxnet, had penetrated computers controlling Iran’s nuclear program; the attack appeared to come from a nation-state. This is just one example of how nations are engaging in Internet-enabled espionage and

attacks against other countries or institutions within them, he said. The computer science program at WVU is doing its part to help combat cybercrime, said Nutter. In addition to taking classes, some students work in the Lane Department’s Systems Group running the Departments’ computers, while others get involved with a West Virginia State Police project to fight child pornography and fraud. “Our graduates get great experience and are snapped up for excellent jobs in business, industry, and government,” said Nutter. “And we need them to be out there. Our students are our best hope of defending ourselves against these kinds of threats in the future.” It is difficult to predict what the future holds in any area relating to computers, said Nutter, as technology is changing so rapidly, and the rate of change is continuing to increase. He hopes, though, that the United States will strengthen its response to cybercrime. “We don’t want to be like China, where the government has its thumb firmly on the Internet,” he said. “But in this country, the Internet is the ‘Wild, Wild West.’ We are not effectively protecting ourselves against the threats that exist.


“The U.S. government needs to decide what it means to be a government. Congress has been trying to pass new legislation for four years, but can’t seem to agree. If we are going to protect ourselves, putting significant protections in place has to become a higher priority. Every one of us must do our part.”


Sarah Soliman—Making the World a Safer Place with Biometrics

Making the Wo Like most of us, Sarah Soliman will long remember the September day in 2001 when terrorists flew hijacked jets into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Soliman was a high school senior in Martinsburg, W.Va., at the time, and weighing her future. She had always loved math and science, but on that day, her interests turned quickly to making the world a safer place. “Living through September 11 heavily influenced my decision to enter the new, one-of-a-kind biometrics program at WVU,” she said. WVU’s bachelor’s degree program in biometric sciences was just getting off the ground when Soliman enrolled as a freshman. Involving the collection of unique traits such as fingerprints, faces, irises, DNA, gait, and others to establish human identity, biometrics is an increasingly important tool for protecting people’s identities in a wide range of civilian and military settings. Soliman spent a busy five years at WVU, earning bachelor’s degrees in biometric systems and computer engineering as well as a political science minor. She also studied abroad in Morocco and did two internships—one in the White House and one with the Department of Defense. After graduating from WVU, Soliman earned a master’s degree in technology policy from the University of Cambridge. She explains her shift to the “softer” sciences thusly: “I could make the most successful biometric system in the world, but if I fail to address the underlying societal concerns, then

my efforts will go nowhere, as underlying privacy and ethics questions must be addressed prior to implementing biometric applications.” In 2009, Soliman became a Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Fellow to the National Academy of Sciences, where she worked under Dr. Charles Vest. “It was inspiring to mix and mingle with others who are passionate about the application of science and technology to policy issues,” she said. But it is was her next move—working in active combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan—that Soliman said was her most rewarding so far. Working with the Department of Defense’s Tactical Biometric Systems in Iraq, she helped promote the use of biometrics technology for the military. “I helped train soldiers on how to use the equipment, talked to military leaders about its benefits, and helped make hardware and software fixes or upgrades. Every day was different and exciting.” Next, Soliman worked with identity operations in Afghanistan, sometimes flying out by helicopter to remote military bases in the aftermath of IED bomb blasts or other attacks, where she helped collect DNA evidence to help with identification. “It was rewarding to help soldiers through the process that would close the loop on traumatic experiences through which they and Afghan civilians have lived,” she said. Soliman said her experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan were gratifying because she got to use her education to make a difference. “Biometric systems are definitely helping to keep our military safer,” she said.

Biometrics technology is constantly changing, said Soliman. “Fingerprinting and iris recognition have been the most common technologies, but we are seeing major advances in voice recognition, DNA examination turnaround times, and biometrics at a distance. As digital domains become more widespread, keystroke patterns may become more important. Continued research and development in these areas are crucial.” Soliman’s primary interests lie, though, at the intersection of technology and policy. “We must examine the policy questions surrounding biometrics and other advanced technologies that we have come up with to enhance our security,” she said. “What are the legal, political, and ethical implications? Once we collect all this biometric data about people, for example, how should it be controlled and maintained? Who should have access to it? “Also, the laws of armed conflict need to be reevaluated to reflect the technological leaps we have made,” she said, “such as cyber warfare and drones. These new technologies raise issues that were not contemplated when current policies and agreements were put into place.” Soliman hopes to investigate questions like these, as she heads back to school— King’s College London this time—to pursue a Ph.D. in war studies.


FirstEnergy Executive Discusses Security Concerns, Future of the Grid

rld More Secure Jim Haney, an executive with FirstEnergy, says that extreme weather systems like the derecho that caused extended power outages for hundreds of thousands of West Virginians last year, are always a concern to people in his profession. Another major challenge, he said, is to protect our infrastructure from cyber attacks and other physical threats. A WVU graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, Haney is vice president for compliance and regulated services, and chief FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) compliance officer for FirstEnergy. He joined the company in 1978 as an engineer and rose through the ranks to his current post. “FirstEnergy is one of the largest electric utilities in the nation,” said Haney. “With power plants and electrical infrastructure stretched across six states— many in remote locations—monitoring and protecting the system is daunting. FirstEnergy has more than 20,000 megawatts of capacity and nearly 220,000 miles of transmission and distribution lines serving more than six million customers over 65,000 square miles. We have an obligation to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers. “The grid is a massive, interconnected network,” he added, “so any threats to the system can threaten the nation’s security. We have comprehensive programs to detect and defend against both physical and cybersecurity attacks. Our challenge is to continue to stay ahead of emerging threats.”

Haney said much has been done by government and industry over the past few years to protect against cyber or physical attacks, including the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which gave the FERC authority to establish and enforce reliability standards for physical and cybersecurity. FERC also recently established a new office focused exclusively on potential cyber and physical security risks. In addition FirstEnergy has its own cybersecurity programs and is active in collaborative efforts to keep abreast of the latest threats and methods to detect and defend against those threats. Maintenance and modernization of the nation’s electrical infrastructure is another important concern, said Haney. “Much of the grid is already state of the art,” he said, “but other parts need to be modernized as that becomes cost effective for customers. Research and development for those areas is where the government can, and in many cases does, play a key role.” Haney said the nation’s electric system will change a great deal in the next 20 years, becoming more self-healing and more reliable, but the biggest changes will likely be in the way companies interact with their customers. “The Internet will play a much more significant role in that interface,” he said. “How we pay bills, how we read meters, how we control systems in our homes will all change dramatically. All of that will be for the better, but at the same time, will cause issues that we haven’t even considered. Change is constant, and this

will be a challenge for students who will be graduating from WVU over the next decade or so.” Universities can and do play a major role in the evolution of the electric grid, said Haney, citing as an example a Department of Energy-sponsored electric grid research project that FirstEnergy and WVU are working on together. “These collaborative efforts help ensure that utility companies have the latest tools to best serve our customers,” he said. “Nearly everything that we touch—from our cars to our homes to the handheld devices in our pockets—is far more automated than it was 15 years ago. I am certain we would be amazed if we could look ahead 15 years and see how yetto-be-developed technologies will change our reality. One thing will remain unchanged, however; electricity will be the lifeblood that powers these innovations. And our electric transmission and distribution systems will need to evolve to power that new world.” A registered professional engineer, Haney serves on the boards of the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Leadership West Virginia, the West Virginia High Technology Consortium Foundation, and the Marion County Chamber of Commerce. He is also a member of the Statler College’s Visiting Committee.

Q: What role do universities have to most effectively attract and recruit the scientists and engineers of the future to succeed and compete in the global economy?

VEST: Clearly, universities are the single most important portal to the future for students and societies. They have the primary responsibility of educating the next generation and developing the new basic knowledge and technologies. If they are not well supported, the future is bleak. Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “We cannot prepare the future for our children, but we can prepare our children for the future.” It is one of the most fundamental responsibilities of societies and governments.

“We cannot prepare the future for our children, but we can prepare our children for the future.”

—Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Q: What role do land-grant universities such as WVU have to most effectively engage in discovery that will lead to the important innovations of the future needed to support U.S. economic development?

The articles in the Future of Engineering special section were written by Susan Case. The article on Alzheimer’s research was written by Dan Shrensky. Editorial support was provided by Mary C. Dillon and Kathy Deweese.

VEST: Land-grant universities are, in my view, the most important innovation the federal government ever made. Our land-grant universities have the same basic mission as any other public or private research university, and they educate a huge fraction of our young people, especially those coming from families of modest means. But they also have a social contract to focus a significant fraction of their research and professional education on their state and region. Today, this local responsibility can only be met if they are also networked around the globe.


COLLEGE NEWS The National Academy of Engineering has named the Benjamin M. Statler College at West Virginia University as one of 29 programs in the nation that effectively incorporate real-world experiences into engineering education. The report, “Infusing Real World Experiences into Engineering Education,” was sponsored by Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. in support of the AMD NextGen Engineer Intiative.

course, the students write a final report and provide a presentation to the plant managers and engineers.

to program implementation. The most frequent obstacles cited include lack of funding and financial support, faculty workload concerns, and challenges encountered with partners.

“The Statler College, and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in particular, goes to great lengths to provide a rewarding and challenging environment to our students,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean. “The Projects with Industry and Building

The NAE’s Real World Engineering Education committee received 95 nominations for inclusion in the report from accredited four-year undergraduate schools with engineering or engineering technology programs. Submissions

Statler College Recognized in NAE Report for Offering Real-World Experiences to Students BY MARY C. DILLON

“This nation’s prosperity, security, and quality of life are direct results of leadership in the engineering achievements that drive society forward,” said Charles M. Vest, president of the National Academy of Engineering and a Statler College alumnus. “These programs are strategically preparing students to become the engineers who will tackle the technical and social complexities that lie ahead in the 21st century.”

The projects deal with a wide variety of topics including energy efficiency, heat recovery, building energy efficiency, manufacturing efficiency, and robotics. For example, in the industry section, student teams go into plants and factories to meet with company officials, become acquainted with common problems in the plant, and take measurements associated with that problem. The students then spend the remainder of the semester developing designs to resolve the problem. Toward the end of the

“Simply mastering technical engineering is no longer enough to successfully compete and lead in today’s marketplace,” said Mark Papermaster, AMD’s senior vice president and chief technology officer. “We see firsthand at AMD that our engineers must also be able to solve complex problems, communicate clearly, and collaborate globally. The innovative approaches taken by these leading engineering schools will help prepare our future engineers.” The best practices outlined in the report include incorporating multidisciplinary team-based projects into curricula to help students develop skills in decision-making, leadership, written and oral communication, organization/time management, cultural awareness, and problem-solving. The report identifies frequent impediments to infusing real-world experiences into engineering programs and suggests ideas for overcoming these barriers

were reviewed by the committee and judged based on seven factors: program creativity, innovation, attention to diversity (including geographic, institution, racial/ethnic and gender), sustainability plan, assessment of student learning, level of real-world experience, and anticipated versus actual outcomes.

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WVU was recognized for its Projects with Industry and Building Energy Use, which is housed in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The program, which is designed as a capstone design experience for senior mechanical engineering students and is directed by Professor Kenneth Means, is supported by the state’s Division of Energy with the purpose of helping West Virginia industries, schools, and institutions to become energy efficient and competitive.

Energy Use program is just one such example of the impact our faculty and students have not only in the classroom but in the state at large.”




Hiner Lectures Highlight Fall Anniversary Events Chief executive officers from two of the nation’s most respected companies delivered lectures that served as cornerstones to the Statler College’s celebration of 125 years of engineering education this past fall. Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric, and Wes Bush, chairman, CEO, and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation, spoke to packed crowds in September and October, respectively, as part of the College’s Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series. Immelt’s visit also kicked off the 2012-2013 David C. Hardesty Jr. Festival of Ideas. In his lecture, “Globalization and the Lessons of Leadership,” Immelt discussed the economy and what American business has to do to regain its leadership and competitiveness. “… Everybody in the United States goes to bed every night and wishes it could be 2006 or 1998 again,” Immelt said. “It’s not going to happen. So if you’re ready for the environment we’re in today, you’re going to be competitive and successful in the future; that takes stamina, it takes discipline, and it takes purpose. And those are the attributes and traits with which we run GE.”

Spring 2013

According to Immelt, the culture of GE is based on four principles. “We are mission based,” he said. “We believe that the products we make and sell change the world. The second principle


is that we’re constantly searching for a better way. We don’t think we’re the best in the world at anything. We promote a learning culture, a humble culture; it’s very much a working person’s company. “Thirdly, we’re working on solutions for our customers and our society. We work on affordable healthcare, clean energy, the big problems that shape the 21st century—GE wants to be there. And we are a ‘we’ company, not a ‘me’ company. If you walk through the doors at GE, the company comes first. We believe in teamwork. We really believe the collective is what makes the company.” Immelt pointed to several steps he believes the country needs to take to become more competitive.

The United States, Immelt said, needs to be a country that leads in science and innovation and values education. “We graduate 135,000 engineers every year. We have to double that number as a country in the next few years. We have to value engineering; we have to value science. It is the only sustainable competitive advantage through generations. We’ve let it slide for the last 30 or 40 years; this is something that has to change.”

in the audience to be human. “That’s what people want to see in their leaders: a sense of humanity, which to me means an openness of spirit,” Immelt said. “It means transparency of action. It means an ability to build unity and teams. It means walking the talk. Be open. Be transparent. Be authentic. Be yourself. Build teams. Be unified.”

The United States also needs to be a country that manufactures. Immelt noted that GE, who once had outsourced its appliance business to Mexico and China, brought the entire production back to the United States, investing $1 billion over the past three years in products. “We’re now launching two new products every quarter,” Immelt noted. “Our manufacturing plants are all lean. Our cost positions are good, our people are engaged. And that’s given me incredible self-confidence about what can be done when technology and manufacturing and work processes all come together.” Immelt

The U.S. economy also needs to embrace globalization. “There’s going to be three billion new middle-class consumers by 2030. Almost none of them live here. We have to be an economy that thinks we can compete. We have to have more self-confidence as we approach the world.”


Immelt pointed to energy independence as playing a key role in America’s future. “We live in a country that could … be energy independent within the next 10 years,” he said. “We are the Saudi Arabia of natural gas. We have as much natural gas as anybody in the world. We have great renewables. We’ve got some of the best wind corridors in the world. We’ve got great universities that do research and development in the energy space. We have good conservation. We have patents and technology. And the one thing we don’t have, which I’m not sure we’ll ever have, is an energy policy.” While Immelt pointed to a number of things leaders can do to affect the future of the company, he closed by advising students

A NEED FOR BRIGHT, INSPIRED ENGINEERS Echoing sentiments made by Immelt, Morgantown, W. Va., native Bush told the standing-room only crowd that the world is going to “really need bright and inspired engineers in the coming years now more than ever.”


Pointing to such areas as climate change, medical technology, and world security as opportunities, Bush focused most of his talk on the defense and security industries, which make up the bulk of the work done at Northrop Grumman. “Part of the fun of the defense industry is really being at the very leading edge of technology because ultimately, that’s what creates, strategically, a military advantage for

civil air space. “We routinely launch unmanned systems into hurricanes, because those are the systems you want to send in the middle of the hurricane with the sensors to figure out what’s going on,” he said. “We want to monitor what’s going on with crops and understand how we need to better manage the production of food here in the United States. These can be great assets for that application.” Cyber-security, especially as it relates to world security, “is a heck of big deal,” Bush said. Within the United States, it is estimated that the number of cyber-attacks just on the Department of Defense and the government networks is about “400 million annually.”


How common is the threat? Bush noted that a team of engineers at Northrop Grumman did an experiment three years ago. After purchasing a computer at a local big-box store and loading it with the best in commercially available protection software, they hooked it to the Internet. All purchases and connections were paid for in cash, in an effort to disguise all ties back to the company. “Within four hours, the first hacking attempt happened on this little computer,” said Bush. “Within a day, the entire hard drive had been completely read out; remember this is with all this protection software on there. Within a

Bush foresees growth in the area of unmanned systems, including applications outside the defense realm, noting that Congress recently passed a set of regulations that instructed the FAA to start developing protocols, procedures, and regulations to use these systems within

Bush also pointed to growth opportunities in the area of the civilian space program. Northrop Grumman is building the James Webb space telescope, which will be launched in 2018 as a replacement for the Hubble telescope. This “time machine” as Bush described it, will be able to see even further back in time, and it will fly in an orbital node about a million miles away from Earth.

Using cyber-attacks as an example, Bush noted that Northrop Grumman employs cyber-security specialists, network specialists, economists, and attorneys. “So the teams that we develop that have been the most effective in the cybersecurity arena are truly multidisciplinary teams and require our engineering teams to be very comfortable working in that environment; reaching out, hearing ideas, and figuring out how to take that broad collective set of information and turning it into solutions.” At the end of the day, however, a key component to addressing some of the world’s most pressing challenges, Bush said, are morals and ethics and the way an engineer approaches what he or she is doing. “The products that we build defend our nation and our allies and the ways we get that done … have a lot to do with the safety of the men and women who use our products and ultimately the safety of the populations of our country and our allies,” Bush said. “We have to take that very seriously. If you’re misleading in the way that you describe the technological capabilities that you’re going to be able to deliver, there are a lot of ways to violate that trust. It only takes one of those examples to ruin the reputation of a company, to ruin the reputation of a team, and to really impact the integrity of the science and the engineering process that goes into bringing these remarkable capabilities into reality.”

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our country and our allies,” said Bush. “So, for those of you that love the leading edge of technology, this is an industry that has a great deal of opportunity.”

week, someone had installed a root kit, which essentially allows a hacker to control the computer remotely. Within two weeks, this poor little computer had been taken over by a server in Canada, which we were able to trace to a server in Singapore, which it turned out was being run by a server someplace else, which we couldn’t figure out. So this little computer all by itself had been enslaved in two weeks.”

Bush noted several things that the engineers of the future will need to be successful in these burgeoning fields. “Every one of these challenges requires that engineers be able to work in a truly multidisciplinary way; to be very comfortable working with people from other fields who have ideas, who have insights, and perspectives that can help the engineering teams and can help the collective teams solve problems,” he said, adding that engineers also need to be comfortable working as part of a big team in a global environment.



New Engineering Building Will Provide Opportunities for Education, Discovery BY DAN SHRENSKY

West Virginia University officials and friends broke ground for the new Advanced Engineering Research Building in September but, more than a brick and mortar structure, the group opened a portal to discovery. The building will be a hub of research and education, not only from all disciplines of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, but from other areas of the campus. The facility is expected to open in 2014 and will house offices, classrooms, computer classrooms, a learning center, and graduate student space as well as a clean room to meet the needs of hightechnology learning and discovery. “When we open the doors of this new building in late 2014,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College, “it will become a beacon that will call students and faculty from all disciplines to come together to solve the technical problems of today and tomorrow. “Those problems will be the ones that society faces today in energy, water, cyber-security, life sciences, and healthcare but we will also be addressing the challenges of the future,” he said. WVU President Jim Clements said the new facility will build on the University’s original land-grant mission and fulfill several strategic goals,

Spring 2013

Digging in—Participating in the groundbreaking for the new Advanced Engineering Research Building were: Randy Hudak, associate vice president of facilities and services ; Alex Wing of the Stantec architectural firm; Cody White a junior majoring in mechanical engineering and Russian studies; Benjamin M. Statler; WVU President Jim Clements; Cerasela-Zoica Dinu, assistant professor of chemical engineering; Andrew A. (Drew) Payne, III chair of WVU’s Board of Governors; and Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.


including building a world-class energy research program; providing students with a top-notch educational and research experience in science and engineering; and helping faculty and students pursue research that addresses critical national issues, from energy to sustainability, to security. “This building will be a game-changer,” Clements said. “It will help our talented faculty propel WVU to new heights of international leadership in engineering and energy research.” Benjamin Statler and his wife, Jo, both natives of Monongalia County, pledged $34 million to the College, and the engineering school was renamed in their honor earlier this year. Part of that gift, made through the WVU Foundation’s A State of Minds campaign, is being used to construct the building. Ben Statler told the audience “History can be made with buildings but buildings don’t make history. Bricks and mortar won’t do research. Steel and glass won’t discover new technologies. That will be done by you.” The new engineering building is part of WVU’s multiyear, $159.5 million building plan that is remaking the Evansdale campus.


James William Harvey Delivers Poundstone Lecture


James William Harvey, former managing director and senior vice president of the Energy and Mining Group at Wells Fargo Insurance Services of West Virginia, Inc., delivered the Department of Mining Engineering’s annual William N. Poundstone Lecture on September 13. The lecture was entitled, “My Career in the Energy-Focused Financial Service Industry: An Alternative use of a Mining Engineering Education.”

A native of Oak Hill, W.Va., Harvey attended WVU and West Virginia Institute of Technology from 1973-1979, earning bachelor’s degrees in mining engineering and industrial management. He then worked for eight years in the state’s coal mining industry before returning to WVU to earn his MBA in 1988. Harvey led the Wells Fargo Insurance Services energy and mining team, which provides property and casualty, employee benefits, surety, and

financial services to the energy and mining industry worldwide. His team was named the most profitable operation in the mid-Atlantic region five times since 1997, and was twice recognized as the most profitable operation within Wells Fargo Insurance Services countrywide. Harvey, who recently retired, started the Wells Fargo Energy Group Scholarship within the Department of Mining Engineering. A Life and Old Gold member of the WVU Alumni Association as well as a member of the Marmaduke Dent Society, Harvey serves as treasurer of the Association. He serves on the board of Coal Education Development and Resources, which works with teachers in grades 1-12 to help educate students in West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky about the facts as they pertain to coal, the coal mining industry, and its importance to the region. The Department of Mining Engineering established the William N. Poundstone Lecture Series in 2000 to honor Poundstone, a distinguished alumnus of the Department, and to bring mining industry experts to campus to share their expertise with students and faculty.

Team from Summersville Middle School Wins 25th Annual Pumpkin Drop

The team, made up of Jacob Grose, Jackson Reed, Jeff Rader, and Eric Castle, engineered the win, with their pumpkin landing 3-feet, 5-inches away from the target. The winners walked away with a check for $50. Second place went to team number 202 from Richwood Middle School, comprised of Justin Ritchie and

Brandon Amick, whose pumpkin landed 3-feet, 10-inches away from the target. Team number 216, “Boom Goes the Silly Goose,” from Suncrest Middle School, finished third, with their pumpkin landing 4-feet, 7-inches from the target. Prizes for second and third place are $25 and $10, respectively. The event is sponsored by the WVU student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Proceeds from the event benefit Ronald McDonald House of Morgantown.

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On a day when 41 out of 284 pumpkins survived the drop off of West Virginia University’s 11-story Engineering Sciences Building, it was team number 196 from Summersville Middle School who ended up closest to the target, winning the 25th annual Pumpkin Drop.




Senior capstone classes are commonplace in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. In the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, the senior design course features a unique opportunity for each student to practice his/her profession in an internship experience. Each senior works with an organization where the students develop recommendations for the project and present them to the management of the organization.

Spring 2013

2012 was no different and eight students—Alek Farkas, Kyle Bandy, Carl Burr, Benjamin Sencindiver, Sandra Buckler, Candice Cuppett, Jenna Dolinar, and Shaun O’Connor—made a significant impact on the future of operations in companies both in the United States and abroad. The eight are just a handful of the approximately 85 senior who take the senior capstone course each year. According to Jack Byrd, professor of industrial and management systems engineering, the students are


responsible for finding their own internships, and the work highlighted here is indicative of what he sees annually as a result of the class.


Alek Farkas, Crayola,

Carl Burr, Mon

Easton, Pa.

General Hospital, Morgantown,

For more than 100 years, Crayola has been helping to make the world a bit more creative through its portfolio of innovative art tools, crafting activities, and creative toys. Farkas, of Bath, Pa., used his continuous improvement internship as a way to help the company improve its pallet program.



Farkas worked to create a waste implementation program for the company’s in-store pallet program, which makes the creative floor displays used by the company in large retail stores. “Crayola has seen about a 500 percent growth in output per year from 2006-2012,” said Farkas. “But floor space had not been adjusted for growth. We needed to work to reduce the cost per unit of the pallets and implement and sustain LEAN principles and tools in the program.” Over a seven-month period, Farkas was able to teach LEAN skills to Crayola’s resource coordinators. He provided flexible floor plan layouts for its new distribution center and strengthened communication lines between departments. It is estimated that his efforts saved Crayola more than $100,000 per year.

Kyle Bandy, Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Va.

“I created monitors that displayed current wait times in an effort to better communicate with the park’s patrons,” said Bandy. “I was then able to create a correlation between launch and dispatch times, line length, and guests per launch.” The internship, Bandy said, allowed him to employ “real-life industrial engineering techniques” and gave him valuable face time with park leadership. His projected was completed at 10 percent of the cost of an alternative proposal that was under consideration by Busch Gardens.

“We are in the process of implementing online forms for patient registration and pre-procedure information,” said Burr. “We are providing instruction and functional ability to the website for patients when dealing with surgical services and, as a result, are able to direct them to perform certain activities in advance of their visit.” Burr also worked to standardize a structured process for nurses working in the main and endoscopic surgical units. Burr, who plans to attend medical school, said the internship gave him an insider’s view into the workings of a community hospital and will serve as good preparation in his future career.

Benjamin Sencindiver, General Electric Appliances, Louisville, Ky.


General Electric (GE) produced the first of many modern conveniences in homes today, including the first electric toaster and the first Hotpoint electric range. Martinsburg, W.Va., native Sencindiver spent his internship helping the company direct new dishwasher pilot builds.

“The assembly lines had 91 operators, and the final goal was to produce 1,250 dishwashers per day,” Sencindiver said. In addition to ensuring conveyors and machinery worked properly before start-up, Sencindiver was responsible for filling vacancies on the assembly line, and solving problems that directly affected production rates. “We were constantly looking for improvement opportunities,” he said. To that end, Sencindiver established a dynamic changeover method that helped increase the number of units produced by 100 per week. He also carried out the installation of static-eliminating air blades on the assembly line, which helped reduce electrical component failures of control boards by 85 percent. During his time with GE, there were no Occupational Safety and Health Administration-recordable injuries.

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Busch Gardens Williamsburg is a 383-acre theme park owned by SeaWorld Parks Bandy & Entertainment. Bandy, a native of Coral Springs, Fla., spent a large portion of his internship doing time studies in an effort to decrease wait times on the park’s most popular rides.

Mon General Hospital, the cornerstone of Monongalia Health Burr Systems, has evolved from a small county hospital into a regional provider of both inpatient and outpatient services. The hospital recently expanded its menu of surgical services and Burr, from White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., was charged with looking at processes and metrics in an effort to ensure patients received a better overall experience.


STUDENT NEWS Sandra Buckler, Harley Davidson Motor Company,

Jenna Dolinar, Walt Disney

Menomonee Falls, Wis.

World, Orlando, Fla.

It’s doubtful that William S. Harley, who drew up plans for a small engine to fit a pedal-style bicycle in 1901, knew his name would become synonymous with American-made motorcycles 110 years later. The company’s 849,000 square-foot Pilgrim Road Buckler Powertrain Operations facility is home of the “Big Twin” engine, and employees produce engines and transmissions for final assembly plants in York, Pa., and Kansas City, Mo, for Touring, Softail, and Dyna model families. Buckler, of Brookfield, Wis., spent her time at the plant working as part of the company’s international division, which ships parts to Brazil and India.

The world’s most-visited entertainment resort, Walt Disney World is comprised of four theme parks, two water parks, and 24 resorts. Its 65,000 employees welcome an average of 45 million guests annually. Dolinar, of Irwin, Pa., spent her internship analyzing and redistributing staff across the property to assist with expansion needs.

“Parts are shipped to the international facilities in ‘play pens,’ which hold enough parts to build two complete engines,” Buckler said. “We were finding that the shipping bill of materials did not match the parts in the play pens, which led to errors on the production line.”


“I analyzed each location’s labor data across the property and developed a wrench number specific to each location,” Dolinar said. “From there, I created a new staffing model, presented it to management at each respective location, and then assisted with the redistribution of the staff.” Dolinar found that, on average, each location had an excess of five staff members. By redistributing them across the properties, she saved the company more than $1 million.

Shaun O’Connor, ODIN Technologies, Ashburn, Va.

Buckler created a parts visual index to help packers ensure the right parts were contained in the pens, a reformatted pick list for the pens, and implemented scan-able labels that will appear on each piece of equipment needed for the engine. The project, which is currently being used in Harley Davidson’s Missouri and Pennsylvania plants, is estimated to save the company $250,000 annually.

Candace Cuppett, Special Metals, Huntington, W.Va.

Spring 2013



Special Metals is a world leader in the invention, production, and supply of the high-nickel, highperformance alloys used in engineering. A native of Bruceton Mills, W.Va., Cuppett worked as part of a team of seven in the company’s Continuous Improvement and Process Engineering department. Their goal was to get materials through testing and to the customer.

“I worked with the safety department to create hazard maps,” said Cuppett. “I also helped to implement A3 problem-solving tools, which reports an entire problem, proposed solutions, and actions required to resolve the problem all on 11x17 or A3-sized paper, for material certification, which resulted in faster invoicing, and H1988 (material test fails and re-tests) tracking, which helped to increase throughput.” Special Metals estimates that Cuppett’s suggestions will result in about $230,000 per year in savings. Upon graduation, she will begin her professional career with Johnson Controls.

ODIN Technologies provides radio-frequency identification software and solutions for the aerospace, government, healthcare, financial services, and social media markets. One of its clients, EuroCopter, the largest helicopter manufacturer in the world, was facing O’Connor production problems. In stepped West Dummerston, Vt., native O’Connor, who found himself in desperate need of a passport since he was headed to France within days of starting his internship. “EuroCopter was falling behind on quota, and had no equipment accountability,” O’Connor said. “I helped find the causes of the company’s production and accountability problems and worked to create a revamped inventory management system.” EuroCopter, which now keeps a running inventory that has reduced time spent by employees on unnecessary actions, implemented the solution across multiple hangars in its European fleet. On average, the solution saved each worker six hours per week resulting in millions of dollars in increased revenue. Eurocopter has now begun rolling out this solution across more hangars in their European fleet. O’Connor’s experience with ODIN didn’t stop there. He spent time working with Nintendo, Lexus, Cadbury, Raytheon, and Mercedes Benz. He even managed to collect a few more frequent flyer miles with project work across the country and internationally.


WVU Grad Students Awarded First Ruby Fellowships for Innovative Doctoral Work BY WILLIAM NEVIN Derrick Banerjee of Parkersburg, W.Va., left, and Thomas Devine of Fairmont, W.Va., are the first to earn WVU’s Ruby Scholars graduate fellowships

Two West Virginia University doctoral students are the recipients of the first Ruby Scholars graduate fellowships—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, Derrick Banerjee of Parkersburg, W.Va., and Thomas Devine of Fairmont, W.Va., will each receive a $30,000 stipend and a $2,000 travel grant for professional development opportunities as part of the 2012-2013 Ruby Scholars Graduate Fellowship Program. The program was established last year 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. “These two scholars are the first of many who will build a proud legacy for the Ruby Fellowship program at WVU,” said President Jim Clements. “I want to again thank the Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust for giving us this unprecedented opportunity to support outstanding graduate students. It was a historic day when we announced the endowment, and it is very exciting to now see the impact of the Trust’s vision for this program.

The program 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. “The selection committee has found two outstanding people in this first class of Ruby Fellows,” said Stephen B. Farmer, member of the Hazel Ruby McQuain Trust board. “We have great hopes for you in your endeavors, and wish you wonderful success in your life.”

and has earned bachelor’s degrees in philosophy/ history of science and mathematics, mathematics, and computer science from other schools.

Banerjee already has earned two degrees from WVU: a bachelor’s and a master’s in mechanical engineering. As a Ruby Fellow, he will be pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering, focusing on materials research.

“This is a childhood dream come true. The fellowship is allowing me to continue my education and quest to make an impact on the world,” Devine said. “I am so appreciative and thankful for the support from the McQuain Trust, WVU Foundation, teachers and my family.”

“I’m really excited about the opportunity. The fellowship provides me with flexibility in my academic and research pursuits,” Banerjee said. “It allows me to take more risks on my research direction and really delve into problems of my interest. I wouldn’t necessarily be able to do that if I were funded differently. It really allows me to have a lot of academic freedom.” This flexibility will allow Banerjee to continue his outreach to high schools within the state, teaching and promoting the subjects of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to students and teachers. Along with outreach to high schools, he has also taught an undergraduate course, supervised the day-to-day research of undergraduate students, and worked as a tutor throughout his high school and undergraduate education. All of these experiences have led him to his passion of working in academia. “By receiving a fellowship this prestigious, I’ve seen that hard work does pay off and that you can accomplish your goals,” Banerjee said. “I want to teach others of their potential broader impacts and inspire underrepresented groups including women and first-generation college students to study in the STEM fields.” After finishing his doctorate, Banerjee hopes to continue working in academia so that he can pursue his research interests while teaching and recruiting others. Devine already holds four degrees. He has a master’s degree in computer science from WVU,

He is pursuing a doctorate in computer science, while focusing his research on computer science issues within the astrophysics industry.

For Devine, the fellowship offers something more than just an education. “I have worked my entire life for my education. I’ve made countless sacrifices and worked multiple jobs to pursue my dream of making significant contributions to mankind,” he said. “This program is offering me the chance to pursue that dream without having to constantly worry about finances. It will provide me a whole new focus and clarity of vision.” After completing his doctorate, Devine plans to continue working in computer science, specifically within the astrophysics industry. He hopes to advance both fields of science and ultimately contribute to our understanding of the universe. The Hazel Ruby McQuain Charitable Trust, a renowned WVU and community benefactor, was established by McQuain, who died in 2002 at the age of 93. The retired president of Ruby Enterprises Inc., McQuain engaged in philanthropic endeavors of benefit to the University and local organizations for more than 20 years, including an $8 million gift toward construction of Ruby Memorial Hospital, which was named after her late husband, J.W. Ruby. The gift establishing the fellowship program was made through the WVU Foundation, the private nonprofit corporation that generates and provides support for West Virginia University.

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“Both Derrick and Thomas will be able to pursue their dreams of advancing the world of science and their successes will bring honor to WVU, and our entire community. I wish them the best in their graduate studies and congratulate them on the distinction of being a Ruby Fellow,” Clements said.

The program requires that the student be pursuing a graduate degree in a field that focuses on research in energy and environmental sciences; nanotechnology and material science; biological, biotechnological and biomedical sciences; or biometrics, security, sensing, forensic sciences, and related identification technologies.


STUDENT NEWS A team made up of graduate students from West Virginia University and the University of South Alabama competed against more than 1,000 teams from around the world to win top honors in their division in the 2012 Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center Digital Forensics Challenge. The annual online competition serves as a call to the digital forensics community to cultivate new cyber-professionals and pioneer new investigative tools, techniques, and methodologies. WVU computer science majors Raymond Borges, Jarilyn Hernandez, and Omar Aragon joined their colleague, Joshua Cazalas from South Alabama, in besting 83 teams, 44 of which were from the United States, in the graduate competition. The graduate division was




sponsored by the SANS Institute and Best Buy. The winners received passes to an upcoming Hacker Halted Conference, valued at nearly $1,700 per person; $100 Best Buy gift cards; access to International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants courseware; and a trip to the 2013 DC3 Conference.

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“The competition was a great way to learn the skills needed for cyber security in the real world,” said Borges. “The challenges were developed by professional investigators from the Department of Defense, and it allowed us to measure ourselves against the best private companies, military organizations, civilians, and academic teams in the world. It’s also an excellent project-based learning experience that I believe more universities should integrate into their educational programs. The competition also gave us the opportunity to develop connections with other students who had skills in some areas we were lacking and learn from each other.”



The first-time competitors from WVU didn’t think they had much of a chance in this year’s competition and were planning to use it as a learning experience. “When the competition progressed and we started making progress we thought, ‘hey maybe we should actually try to win’ so we stepped up our efforts,” Borges said. “Next year we will try again and we’re looking for people with good programming skills from across the University to help us out.” Now in its seventh year, the DC3 Challenge, comprised of 23 individual progressive-level challenges, has exercises ranging from basic digital forensics to advanced tool development. The objectives are to establish relationships, resolve issues, and develop new and creative tools and techniques. Each team is challenged on five different levels. The levels, according to team advisor and Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering Roy Nutter, become progressively more difficult in the development of the solutions for each given scenario. “The first levels are relatively easy,” said Nutter. “But by the time they get to level five, they encounter unsolved, real-world scenarios that not even the designers of the competition have figured out.” Teams can register and submit their solutions throughout the context, which begins on December 15 of each year and runs through November 2. Teams solve the DC3 Challenge on their own and submit their solutions back to the DC3 Challenge team to be graded. The joint WVU-South Alabama team scored 4,474 points. “Although the DC3 Digital Forensics Competition is in its seventh year, this is the first time students from WVU have competed,” said Nutter. “Since we began our digital forensics graduate certificate program in 2002, this program has grown to incorporate more and more students and more and more interest. Raymond, Jarilyn, and Omar have been outstanding students in our graduate program. They dedicated an unbelievable amount of time to solving the conundrums of this competition.”

For the second straight year, the Mountaineer Robotics team from West Virginia University has been selected to participate in the 2013 Robo-Ops competition to be held at NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s (JSC) Rock Yard in June 2013. This year’s team will be partnering with students from Bluefield State College. Joining WVU in this year’s national competition will be teams from Arizona State University; a joint team from Florida A&M and Florida State University; University of NebraskaLincoln; University of Maryland; University of Massachusetts, Lowell; University of Utah; and Worcester Polytechnic Institute. The teams were selected from an applicant pool, which doubled in size from last year.

“We are very excited and honored to be selected for this competition once again, and we will do our best to showcase WVU as one of the top robotics programs in the country,” said Powsiri Klinkhachorn, professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and advisor for the team. “Last year, we finished fourth overall, despite unforeseen



When Ben Statler made his historic gift to name the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, he noted that West Virginia University should lead the nation in areas such as energy research and engineering. A group of students took his charge to heart by forming the University’s first Energy Club. Carl Fast, a junior majoring in chemical engineering, was interested in working on the WVU Biodiesel project, which performed a market and cost analysis for biodiesel production from dining hall waste vegetable oil. That project has been handed off to the WVU Office of Sustainability, so faculty advisor and chemical engineering Associate Professor Brian Anderson urged him to think more broadly. “I wanted to start a bigger project that could promote alternative energy resources,” said Fast, who has served as one of the leaders of the ChemE Car Team and as vice president of the College’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. “Dr. Anderson and I talked about creating a more comprehensive energy club that would take on multiple projects at once and grow over time.” Fast added that they used MIT’s Energy Club, which was formed while Anderson was doing his postgraduate work at the institution, as their inspiration. “Their club has grown exponentially and holds a huge conference every year,” Fast said. “We are hoping ours can grow to that size and level of national stature.”

This is familiar territory for Anderson, who is a recognized expert in the area of geothermal energy and natural gas hydrates. “My goal is to produce an involved and knowledgeable student body when it comes to energy issues that face our state, nation, and world,” said Anderson. “I want them to understand the many complex issues that are inherent in our energy portfolio and to use fact-based energy decisions. There is no better way to educated students than to get them involved.” Anderson noted that the Club has a goal to perform energy projects across campus, such as energy audits and conservation projects, biofuels production, and solar installations, as well as have an interdisciplinary group of students who are ready to enter national and international student energy competitions. The Club is also planning to run a series of discussion groups called Energy 101. Fast said it is their hope to bring guest speakers to campus to present on energy-related topics and to involve WVU experts in this series as well to show the diversity of knowledge on campus.



sand and gravel pits, picking up specific rock samples and placing them on the rover for the

better understanding of the competition and have developed some new techniques that will hopefully allow us to perform better this year.”

remainder of the course, and driving over rocks of a specified diameter.

The competing teams each receive a $10,000 stipend to partially offset the development costs of a Mars rover, materials, testing equipment, hardware, and software. Rovers will compete on a planetary analog environment under the supervision of NASA judges. Up to three members of the team (plus the faculty advisor) will travel to JSC for the on-site testing. The remaining team members will stay behind at their home university 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 specified upslopes and downslopes, traversing

Each rover will be required to be controlled from the home university campus via a commercial broadband wireless uplink. The only information available to the rover controller to perform the required tasks will be information transmitted through on-board rover video camera(s) or other on-board sensors. The competition is sponsored by Revolutionary Aerospace systems Concepts. The WVU team is sponsored by the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, in addition to in-kind support from the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

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technical issues in our first year of competition. With one year under our belts, we feel we have a




Within a month, West Virginia University students competing in the 2013 Solar Decathlon will be truly put to the test.

Through October, they will tear down the house and rebuild it, again and again.

The WVU team recently got the green light to start building the home after the United States Department of Energy, which hosts the Decathlon, approved its design documents. The WVU team consists of about 50 students across multiple disciplines, which include 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.

Think of it as Legos, only bigger and more complex, said Kenneth Hite, a graduate electrical engineering student spearheading the project.

The team hopes that practice will make perfect come competition time in California, where the construction and design of the house really matters.

“It allows time for errors and will give us time to perfect it,” Hite said. “We’ll put it together a few times like Legos, and we’re going to make mistakes. We’d rather make those mistakes here than in California.”

“We want to do as many practice runs as possible,” said Branden Bellanca, team student project leader and computer engineering major. “In California, we’ll have only seven days to build it.”

The Decathlon, a collegiate design-and-build competition among 20 international teams, is slated for October 3-13 at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif. Each team will strive for one thing: to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, and energy-efficient solar-powered house.

The WVU house is the first log-style home accepted into the Decathlon.

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On property near the Student Recreation Center on the Evansdale campus, they will start piecing together a solarpowered, log home.


The log home will include solar panels and rely on natural resources to control temperature.


Students are even developing an app that will allow them to control temperature, lighting, and other systems in the home from a mobile or electronic device. “We’ll be able to monitor which lights are on and how much power is consumed,” said Tyler Steele, a computer engineering student. “A biometric system will be included to control the locks in the home.” The Department of Energy is providing each team with a $100,000 grant. Teams can also raise their own money for the project. That’s where Stephen Rebinski and other business students come into play. Rebinski helps with the fundraising aspect of the project, whether it involves meeting with CEOs of companies or sending e-mails to alumni.

WVU students are also reaching across international borders to collaborate on the project. Students in Morgantown are working with representatives from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, which has a research agreement with WVU. Faculty advisors are Dimitris Korakakis, faculty project principal investigator; LaRue Williams, faculty project manager; and Vincenzo Mulone and Stefano Cordiner, both University of Rome faculty principal investigators. According to the Department of Energy, the winner of the competition is the team that best blends affordability, consumer appeal, and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The first Solar Decathlon was held in 2002; the competition has since occurred biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011.

This work has helped sharpen his communication skills with a diverse selection of people. “As a public accountant, you talk to a lot of different clients and industries,” Rebinski said. “People in different industries have their own different languages. I’ve learned to communicate with professionals and students. Engineers talk differently than business students, but you can still collaborate.”

JMT The Mills Group MountainView Solar MyEDU National Research Center for Coal and Energy

PanelWrights RS Means

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The WVU Solar Decathlon team would like to thank the following companies for providing support to the project:

Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge

Sip School Thermal Energy System Specialists Papa Johns ZMM Architects & Engineers Donations are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to contribute to the project can contact Stephen Rebinksi at srebinsk@mix.wvu.edu.




uriosity did not kill the cat, if you ask a pair of West Virginia University engineering alums now NASA scientists. In fact, “Curiosity killed the cat” may be the most ill-advised, self-limiting proverb—an expression that goes against the livelihood of Dan Moyers and Steven Mikes. Without curiosity, there is no exploration, discovery, or progress. Perhaps that’s why NASA aptly named its latest rover project “Curiosity.” Moyers and Mikes work at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and have had a hand in the development of the Curiosity rover, a car-sized robotic currently roaming around the surface of Mars. Curiosity made headlines when it landed successfully on the planet after a 354-million-mile journey August 6. The rover will investigate the

Martian climate and geology, the role of water, and whether the planet has ever offered environmental conditions suitable for life. Not only will it collect information that tells the history of Mars but it could provide “insight into what might happen on Earth and how to prevent it.” Exploration. Discovery. Progress. “You’re always motivated to do this job,” said Moyers, 33, a spacecraft systems engineer who helped build and test the rover. “The chance for discovery keeps you interested.” Moyers, a Bruceton Mills, W.Va., native, graduated from University High School in 1997 and from WVU in 2002 with two degrees, in mechanical and aerospace engineering. His own curiosity as a child lives on today through his work on the Curiosity rover.

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“As a kid, I was always interested in space,” Moyers said. “I’d see the moon and all of these weird shadows. I learned those were craters. So I got more and more curious, asking myself many questions including, ‘What are the odds there could life on another planet or galaxy?’”




Moyers attributes the molding of his success to the education he gained at WVU. One person in particular, John Kuhlman, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, helped Moyers catch his first big break. During his sophomore year, Moyers was approached by Kuhlman, who told him about an open internship at NASA. Moyers ended up earning that internship with NASA in Virginia, an experience that surely helped propel him to his future career with the agency.

Mikes began working at NASA in October 1989, just months after graduating from WVU. And like Moyers, Mikes doesn’t consider his job “work,” as in a four-letter dirty word.


“Dr. Kuhlman got my foot in the door with NASA,” Moyers said. “What I like about WVU is that the professors are incredible and they’re not there just to teach class and get a paycheck. They really are interested in the careers of their students. You don’t get that at bigger schools.”

“It doesn’t feel like work,” Mikes said. “After all these years, I still enjoy going to work.”

Moyers went on to earn his master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University while working full-time at NASA.

Mikes helped build software for the one-ton rover, allowing it to cruise to Mars, descend safely, and scuttle around the planet. It approached Mars at about 13,000 miles per hour before slowing down via a deployed parachute.

After graduating from WVU in 2002, he served as a research intern with NASA until September 2003, when he was offered a job as mission systems engineering in Pasadena.

Moyers and Mikes are just two of several WVU grads who’ve worked on the NASA rover project. They include Jeremy Deskins, Eric Gorb,

Curiosity made headlines when it landed successfully on the planet after a 354-million-mile journey August 6. The rover will investigate the Martian climate and geology, the role of water, and whether the planet has ever offered environmental conditions suitable for life. Just as impressive is Mikes’ resume. Mikes, 48, is a senior engineer in avionics and flight systems. The Clarksburg, W.Va., native helped design and build software for Curiosity. That comes as no surprise for a guy who coded a computer operating system from scratch during his days at WVU. Plus, he earned not one, not two, but three degrees here—in electrical engineering, computer science, and mathematics.

Aaron Higgins, Frank Huy, Carol Lilly, Eileen Reiff, Neal Saito, John “Ryan” Schmidt, Zack Seamon, Jeffry Sincell, Dave Turner, Dustin Whitt, and Jeff Zemerick. The team is anxious for what Curiosity might discover. “From our previous rovers, we know that Mars used to be a wet planet,” Moyers said. “We’re hoping to learn things that could benefit and help protect earth. Volume 9 Issue 1

“We want to keep pushing the frontier into space. Each step is a stepping stone to discovering other life on other planets.”




Students in West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and Eberly College of Arts and Sciences will continue to gain industry-standard geology and geophysics software knowledge thanks to two major grants from Schlumberger with a combined commercial value of $17.8 million. Schlumberger, one of the world’s leading oilfield services company, is providing updated software plug-ins, licenses, and maintenance to WVU under the latest agreements. In 2007, the company made its initial in-kind software donation to the University in conjunction with the Schlumberger Worldwide University Software Program. The program was founded in 1998 and strives to provide students and faculty of Earth Sciences departments all over the world with hands-on experience through technology advancement.

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“Having software that is widely used in industry is a huge opportunity for our students and our researchers,” WVU President Jim Clements said. “We are very grateful for the generosity of Schlumberger in support of our petroleum and natural gas, as well as geology and geography programs. As a land-grant university, it is important that we provide


quality educational experiences for our students that will advance them as the next generation of scientists and engineers, and this support from Schlumberger is a tremendous asset in that mission.” The grants will specifically contribute to enhancing technology in the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering in the Statler College, and the Department of Geology and Geography in the Eberly College.

We are grateful to Schlumberger for their generous gift and continued support of our College.” Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Dean Robert Jones says the grant will allow the department to provide the highest-quality equipment for students to conduct research. “Schlumberger’s investment in the Department of Geology and Geography ensures that our students have access to the finest equipment available to the industry today,” Jones said. “We are extremely fortunate and grateful to Schlumberger for its long-term continued support of our programs.” “Providing our software to colleges and universities is an important part of our goal to actively contribute to advance research and education throughout the world,” said David Seabrook, vice president, North America, Schlumberger Information Solutions. “In addition, when students and researchers work with technologically advanced E&P software, they are able to make valuable contributions that increase the industry’s knowledge base.” Wayne King, president and CEO of the WVU Foundation, said, “We sincerely appreciate Schlumberger’s generosity and desire to see our students gain hands-on experience with the resources used in their future careers.”

Gene Cilento, Glen Hiner Dean of the Statler College, says the grant couldn’t have come at a better time for the department.

Schlumberger has become one of the world’s leading oilfield services company through supplying technology, information solutions, and integrated project management to customers working in the oil and gas industry. Founded in 1926, the company employs more than 115,000 people of more than 140 nationalities in approximately 85 countries.

“As a result of recent natural gas discoveries in the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering in the Statler College is growing in leaps and bounds,” Cilento said. “We have been using the Schlumberger geo-modeling software in the department for quite some time, albeit on a limited basis. This gift will now allow all of the students and researchers the ability to access this state-of-the-art reservoir simulation software.

The grant was made in conjunction with A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University. The $750 million comprehensive campaign being conducted by the WVU Foundation on behalf of the University runs through December 2015. For counting purposes in the campaign, the commercial value of the gift in-kind was significantly discounted, a common practice among university foundations across the country.


PRIVATE GIFTS MAKING A DIFFERENCE Donors to A State of Minds: The Campaign for West Virginia’s University are making a positive impact—contributing $605 million through December 31, 2012. Three such gifts were recently made by alumni to the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Ashok Sanghavi, and his wife, Kiran, have donated $26,000 to endow a scholarship to ensure students have the necessary resources available to earn their degree. Sanghavi, who graduated from WVU in 1970 with a master’s degree in civil engineering, is the president of S&S Engineers, Inc., of Charleston, W.Va. Founded in 1980, the company provides engineering and land surveying services. The Ashok and Kiran Sanghavi Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student with demonstrated financial need studying in the Statler College. “The education I received from West Virginia University, along with a research assistantship, gave me the tools I needed for succeeding in business,” said Sanghavi. “It was time for me to give something back. It is my hope that this gift will allow others to succeed as I have.” Sanghavi noted that his company has had “many interns and employees” who are graduates of WVU and WVU Tech, located in Montgomery, W.Va. Undergraduate students engaged in energy research in the Statler College will now have access to funds to support that research, thanks to a $25,000 endowment from Dianne Anderson.

We are grateful to our alumni and friends who have generously established endowments for student scholarships and to support our departments in teaching, research, and service. The following individuals and organizations have recently established new scholarships or other endowed funds:

Anderson earned her bachelor’s degree from WVU in civil engineering in 1983 and went on to complete senior-executive development programs at Harvard, Cambridge University, and Northwestern University. She currently serves as a member of the Statler College’s Visiting Committee. The owners of one of the leading engineering firms in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania have created an endowment to ensure future generations of civil and environmental engineering students have access to the tools they need to be successful.


Amy Veltri and John Nottingham, owners of Novel GeoEnvironmental, LLC, and graduates of WVU’s Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, made the $25,000 gift to provide support to the technical education system.

“One of the foundations of NGE’s success is the solid education both John and I received at WVU,” said Veltri, MSCE ’96, president of NGE. “We decided to provide an open-ended endowment to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, allowing the chair to use the funds at his discretion to best meet future needs.” Nottingham earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from WVU in 1987 and 1995, respectively. With offices in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, NGE offers a wide range of professional services, including environmental consulting, geotechnical engineering and environmental construction/ remediation. The firm has been recognized by Inc. Magazine on its list of 5,000 fastest growing firms and top 10 fastest growing environmental service firms.

SOCIETY FOR WORLDWIDE INTERBANK FINANCIAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS SCHOLARSHIP The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications established this scholarship in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering to support undergraduate students majoring in computer sciences with at least a 3.0 GPA, who have demonstrated leadership and are active in extracurricular activities.

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The Dianne Dubetz Anderson Scholarship is named in honor of Anderson, who serves as executive director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve Anderson University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has more than 25 years of experience in top-management positions in the energy industry, setting strategies in oil, natural gas, and electricitygeneration, and managing regulatory affairs with the U.S. and Canadian governments. Anderson held executive positions at British Petroleum (BP) from 1983-2008 and North American Gas & Power, BP’s marketer of natural gas products in North America.

“The gift made by Ben and Jo Statler in 2012 has allowed the College to focus on expanding its already strong energy platform,” said Anderson. “Dean Cilento was able to articulate ways in which an endowment of this nature could best serve future students. I’m very grateful for the educational experiences I received at WVU and I’m hopeful that funds from this endowment will provide extraordinary opportunities to future students.”



Rakesh Gupta, George B. and Carolyn A.

Robert Glessner, MSSM ’04, was named as one of the 2012 National Safety Council Rising Stars of Safety for his work in transforming his organization’s safety culture and for promoting continuous safety improvement. Glessner is a technical consultant, field operations, for Liberty Mutual Insurance in Bala Cynwyd, Pa.

Clement Solomon, MSME ’93, MSCE ’97, received the Distinguished Alumni Award for achievements in academics and research from Vellore Institute of Technology in Vellore, India. Solomon serves as West Virginia University’s sustainability director.

FACULTY Sam Ameri, chair of the Department of

Spring 2013

Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering, has been appointed to serve as a member of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology’s Finance and Budget Committee. Ameri, who was appointed from the Society of Ameri Petroleum Engineers, has served as a member of its board of directors since 2010. The finance committee is responsible for preparing ABET’s annual budget, reviewing the previous year’s budget performance, and for maintaining a five-year financial forecast. Ameri also received the Outstanding Faculty Award from West Virginia University’s Student Government Association. Governor Aziz Alsharmmari presented the award to Ameri, noting, “Professor Sam puts his heart and soul into his work, his students, and his University.”

Daniel Della-Giustina, professor of industrial and management


Berry Professor and chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering, is the co-editor with Prithu Mukhopadhyay, IPEX Technologies Inc., of Graphite, Graphene, and Their Polymer Nanocomposites, which was published in October. Gupta The book covers the entire spectrum of graphenebased materials topics and provides a point of departure for future polymer-based nanocomposites research. Gupta was also the guest of honor and a distinguished scholar at CHEMCON 2012, the 65th annual meeting of the Indian Institute of Chemical Engineers, held December 27-30, on the campus of the National Institute for Technology in Jalandhar, India. He presented a talk entitled, “A Regenerable Nano-Clay Based Solid Sorbent for Carbon Dioxide Capture.”

Melissa Morris, teaching assistant professor and academic advisor in the Statler College, was chosen as the John R. Williams Outstanding Teacher by WVU’s Honors College. Morris, who earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from WVU in mechanical and aerospace engineering, was selected by her students and peers to receive the award.

John Quaranta, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, was invited to dinner to meet with H.E. Ebrahim Rasool, the South African Ambassador to the United States, and The Hon. Susan Shabangu, the Minister of Mineral Resources of the Republic of South Africa, in November. The event was held in Washington, D.C.


systems engineering, is the author of Motor Fleet Safety and Security Management, which was published in May. Now in its second edition, the book provides an understanding of how to develop and manage

Elliot Roth, a doctoral candidate in chemical

a comprehensive motor fleet safety and instructional program. This is Della-Giustina’s 17th textbook.

MaterialScience Science and Technology Award for achievement. Roth, a native of Beverly, W.Va., served as a Bayer Scholar Intern with

engineering at West Virginia University, was part of a research project team that won the Bayer




the company, and was part of a project team that developed a measuring method for the company’s new composite products. The Bayer Scholars are members of WVU’s Center for ExtrusionCompounding of Additives for Superior Plastics Performance, a state-of-the-art polymer engineering facility in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Danielle Vincent, a senior majoring


in industrial engineering, was named the 2012 Homecoming Queen. Two other Statler College students, Joey West (MAE) and Rick Wright (PNGE), were members of the Homecoming court.

Homecoming King Steve Orlowski (left) and Queen Danielle Vincent were crowned during halftime of the WVU-Baylor football game.

Three students from the Department of Chemical Engineering won awards at the annual AIChE national meeting held in Pittsburgh, Pa., in October. Surya Manivannan captured top honors in the poster presentation, with Jonathan Yancey and Anna McClung finishing second and third, respectively.



Team Ramrod won top honors in the ENGR 101 Final Project Scholarship Competition. The team’s technical report on mouse trappowered catapults, earned each member a $200 scholarship. Team members included William Frazer, Travis Layton, David McNeil, James Measures, and Seth Theeke.

THOMAS R. LONG Thomas R. Long, 81, passed away unexpectedly from a heart attack on December 9, 2012, at Ruby Memorial Hospital. A native of Charleston, W.Va., Long spent 48 years in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, serving as a member of the faculty in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, as associate dean for academic affairs and budget, and as director of freshman engineering. He is survived by his wife, Patricia, four children, and six grandchildren.

DAVID A. ZAGEER David A. Zageer, 80, passed away on December 10, 2010. A native of Charleston, W.Va., Zageer earned a bachelor of science degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1944. After two years in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, he joined Consolidation Coal Company in Jenkins, Ky. The mines were sold to Bethlehem Steel in 1956, and he became division superintendent. He retired as manager of Beth-Elkhorn Corporation in 1977. Zageer was confirmed as assistant secretary of labor for the Mine Safety and Health Administration in 1983, serving in this capacity until retiring again in 1987 to return to private consulting.

BENJAMIN H. ULRICH Benjamin H. Ulrich, a former professor of aerospace engineering at WVU, passed away January 11, 2013, at the age of 90. A retired U.S. Navy Commander serving in World War II and in the Naval Reserve, Ulrich also taught at Ohio State University and was professor emeritus and former chair of aerospace engineering at Parks College of St. Louis University. He is survived by his wife, Phyllis, six children, 10 grandchildren, and four great grandchildren.

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55, passed away unexpectedly on October 12, 2012, at her home in Grafton, W.Va. A native of Bluefield, W.Va., LeMasters spent 25 years in the College, all with the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, serving first as administrative associate before LeMasters being promoted to office administrator in 2004. She was named outstanding staff member in the College in 2011. LeMasters is survived by her husband, Roger, four children, and four grandchildren.


You have teenagers thinking they’re going to make millions as NBA stars when that’s not realistic for even one percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is. —Dean Kamen

Make a Difference in the Lives That Follow He should know. Kamen is the inventor of the Segway PT, the electric, two-wheel, self-balancing human transporter used by warehouse workers, police officers, tourists on outdoor tours, and many others. His observation also reinforces the importance of the educational system in the United States. Who knows how many inventors will graduate in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resource’s class of 2012 and how farreaching their inventions will be. Private support for the Statler College is crucial in a world of ever-changing competitive forces. One direction is a gift provision included in a will or revocable trust that will benefit the engineering programs of the future. Have your attorney use the wording of “to the WVU Foundation for the benefit of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral

Resources [Department of __________].” You may also specify how your gift is to be used. Another suggestion is to create a gift with the WVU Foundation to provide income to you (and your spouse) for life or for a certain number of years, up to 20. Consider it an investment for your retirement and for the College’s future. You may choose how the remaining funds would be used after the income payout ends.



Engineering WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY, 1887-2012


Other ways to help are designating retirement funds to benefit the College or your department after you pass away, transferring a life insurance policy, or donating real estate while retaining a lifetime interest in the property. To assure the best results, please contact Robert Bragg, director of development, at (304) 293-4036 or robert.bragg@mail.wvu.edu. He can confer with you about legacy opportunities.

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____________________________________________________________

Spring 2013



E-mail_____________________________________________________________ Graduation Year_________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: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ EWV2013SPRING

JOB SEARCH WEBSITES FOR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI MountaineerTRAK is WVU’s job search portal for students and alumni. If you are looking for opportunities, or would like to post opportunities or 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.


LIKE us on Facebook facebook.com/wvucemr

WATCH us on YouTube youtube.com/wvucemr

FOLLOW us on Twitter twitter.com/wvustatler

CONNECT with us on LinkedIn statler.wvu.edu/linkedinwvucemr

BLOG with us on Tumblr tumblr.com/blog/wvustatler

The WVU Alumni Association and the Office of Admission 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.

Volume 9 Issue 1

Alumni: We Need Your Help!


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

Spring 2013

Save the Dates


Statler College Commencement May 18, 2013

West Virginia State Fair August 9-17, 2013

Football Tent WVU vs. Texas Tech October 19, 2013

Alumni Weekend June 7-8, 2013

Statler College Visiting Committee September 19-20, 2013

Football Tent WVU vs. Texas November 9, 2013

Faculty Hiring 2013–2014 The Benjamin M. Statler College of Enigneering and Mineral Resources is recruiting for open faculty positions in the 2013-2014 academic year. For more information visit: www.statler.wvu.edu/news/jobs.php

EngineeringWV Spring 2013, Special Commemorative Issue  

WVU Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources publishes a bi-annual magazine highlighting our research, faculty, students and alu...

EngineeringWV Spring 2013, Special Commemorative Issue  

WVU Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources publishes a bi-annual magazine highlighting our research, faculty, students and alu...

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