Page 1





DEAN Eugene V. Cilento gene.cilento@mail.wvu.edu / 304.293.4157 DIRECTOR Marketing and Communications Mary C. Dillon mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu DESIGN COORDINATOR Marketing and Communications J. Paige Nesbit CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brittany Furbee / Patrick Gregg / Marissa Sura PHOTOGRAPHY M.G. Ellis / J. Paige Nesbit / Alex Wilson ADDRESS West Virginia University / Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources / PO Box 6070 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6070 statler.wvu.edu CHANGE OF ADDRESS WVU Foundation / PO Box 1650 Morgantown, WV 26504-1650 Fax: 304.284.4001 / e-mail: info@wvuf.org mountaineerconnection.com



Mission Space happened on Jan. 24. This year, fourth- and fifth-grade students and their parents from six elementary schools had the chance to attend two exciting presentations: “space nerd” Breanne Sutton from Oribital ATK Missile Products and a presentation by the West Virginia University Robotics Team.


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

Engineering West Virginia is published twice each year, in spring and fall, for the alumni, friends and other supporters of the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Copyright ©2017 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 director for permission to reprint entire articles. The WVU Board of Governors is the governing body of WVU. The Higher Education Policy Commission in West Virginia is responsible for developing, establishing and overseeing the implementation of a public policy agenda for the state’s four-year colleges and universities. WVU is an EEO/Affirmative Action employer — Minority/ Female/Disability/Veteran.









12 WVU and Marshall create cost-effective bridge construction system

22 COVER STORY: The evolution of a major

16 WVU researchers join national program to develop technologies to enhance natural gas utilization

40 In the spotlight: Statler college faculty

38 ABET accreditation renewed

43 SWE wins top award at national conference

44 WVU sending two teams to first-ever NASA Mars Ice Challenge 50 Wuest, Savage named Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u



dean’s message

The film,

“Hidden Figures,” which details the lives of three

African-American women who worked at NASA and helped the U.S.

progress in the space race, was released nationwide in January.

One of those women—

Katherine Johnson

—is a native West Virginian

and was the first woman


to desegregate


the graduate school at WVU.

We honored her legacy during this year’s Engineers Week by naming a conference room in her honor. The room is adjacent to the NASA Space Consortium office, which we


host in the College. The story of Katherine Johnson will help to inspire and pave the way for future generations of students seeking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In January, I hosted a group of students to a showing of the movie, which served as a reminder of just how far we … and engineering … have come. And it also reminded me of the astonishing advances in technology society has made; much of it comes courtesy of the work of engineers.

That work continues today in the Statler College.

There is exciting news on the research front as well. In December, WVU was part of a $140 million award from the Department of Energy that will create a manufacturing institute known as RAPID— Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment. Under the guidance of John Hu, the inaugural Statler Chair in Engineering for Natural Gas Utilization, the team will integrate catalysis, reactor design and product separation into one unit of operation to achieve process intensification. Compared with conventional approaches, the productivity per unit volume is expected to be significantly increased. Faculty have received several awards that will enhance STEM education in the College and at the K-12 level in the state. Ordel Brown, associate teaching professor in our Fundamentals of Engineering program, led a team of faculty that received a nearly $1 million award from the National Science Foundation that will provide five-year merit scholarships to students enrolled in our Academy of Engineering Success. AcES is an academic success and professional development bridge program designed by Brown for first-time freshmen in the FEP. Natalia Schmid and Kevin Bandura, faculty members in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, were awarded an NSF grant of about $578,000 that allows them to team with the WVU Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology and

the Green Bank Observatory to create a research experience for teachers. The teachers, who will be recruited from schools involved in Project Lead the Way, will gain experience in the research, design, development and prototyping of digital signal processing techniques and applications targeted for the next generation of radio telescopes. WVU is the only university to have two student teams selected to participate in the first-ever NASA-sponsored Mars Ice Challenge. The teams, eight in all, must develop methods to drill into and extract water from simulated Martian subsurface ice stations. And, in another out-of-this-world effort, WVU was one of only 11 teams selected to experience the excitement of talking with crew members on the International Space Station through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. Joining our students will be students from Morgantown High School, which recently launched a new Earth and Space Science program. Above all, students remain at the center of all our academic and research programs. Our faculty want to inspire them to achieve even greater things in the years to come. America needs these future engineers to keep the U.S. competitive in a rapidly changing global environment. So, like Katherine Johnson—who proved that nothing is unachievable—the efforts of our faculty and students are on the way to proving that Mountaineers truly do #GoFirst.

Eugene V. Cilento Glen H. Hiner Dean and Professor

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

In this issue of EngineeringWV, you will read about the continued evolution of our academic programs as highlighted by changes in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering. Under Chair Ken Currie, who earned his degrees from the department, IMSE has accomplished major changes in a little more than two years. From hiring new faculty, to renovating existing labs into state-of-the-art spaces, to launching an online program in safety management, Currie and his faculty are creating an environment that will allow our students to master the tools to meet the changing needs of society in a 21st-century workplace.





research and development


WVU team transitions robot from rover to pollinator

Pollinators play a significant role in the production of more than 150 food crops in the United States, with almost all fruit and grain crops requiring pollination to produce their crop. Pollinators come in all shapes and sizes and if a research team from West Virginia University has its way, they may also one day come in the form of a robot.

Yu Gu, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will lead a team of researchers that includes faculty from the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design as they attempt to turn the robot into a precision pollination robot. The three-year study is being funded by a more than $700,000 grant for the first two years from the National Robotics Initiative, a multi-agency effort that includes the National Science Foundation, NASA, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

And it’s not just any robot; it’s Cataglyphis, winner of the Sample Return Robot Challenge, part of NASA’s Centennial Challenge.




“This intelligent system will allow more selective, consistent and uniform pollination, which has the potential of leading to better fruit set and production at a large scale.” —Yu Gu

navigation, mapping and localization of individual flowers within complex greenhouse environments will be provided through a sensor fusion algorithm. “A database will be automatically generated and updated by the robot, recording the history of flower development and pollination status,” Gu said. “This intelligent system will allow more selective, consistent and uniform pollination, which has the potential of leading to better fruit set and production at a large scale.” According to Gu, robot experiments will be performed with incremental difficulties.

The former collection basket on Cataglyphis will be turned into a robotic arm that will be used for precise flower manipulation, including pollination. It will be tested in a greenhouse environment on bramble fruit, most notably blackberries and raspberries.

“Approximately $24 billion worth of crops per year in the U.S. rely on pollination by various pollinators,” said Park. “However, the recent decline of honey bees has greatly threatened productivity and the shortages of pollinators in the U.S. have significantly increased the cost of farmers’ renting them for pollination services. ”The pollinator robot design will support four main functions: robot navigation and mapping; flower detection, localization and evaluation; flower manipulation for pollination; and human-robot interaction. Through the use of computer vision algorithms, which use image and video data to control the robot’s function, the robot will be able to estimate the flower’s position, size, orientation and physical condition, and to guide the robotic arm to capture and interact with flowers. A set of soft brush tips, mimicking bee’s hairs and motion, will then be used to pollinate the flowers. The design parameters of the delicate robot-flower interface will be driven by a series of insect pollination experiments. The precision rover

The final evaluation of the prototype pollinator robot’s effectiveness will be performed in WVU’s Evansdale Greenhouse during the third year of the project. “Blackberries and raspberries will be grown in the greenhouse under ambient light,” Gu said. “Four methods of pollination—bee pollination, manual pollination, autonomous robot pollination and mixed humanrobot teaming on pollination—in addition to no pollination, will be performed and the efficiency of each pollination method will be compared.” The effectiveness of pollination will be evaluated by determining the fruit yield per plant, fruit size, fruit weight, harvest time and overall distribution of fruit across a plant. “Although the proposed experiments will only be focused on pollination, the technology can be further adapted for many other precision agriculture applications,” Waterland said. “Toward the end of the project, we will identify and work with 17 commercial partners to transition the developed precision robotics technology into real productivity in the agriculture field.” Consulting on the project are Aaron Dollar, associate professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Yale University, and Bob McConnell, grower, with McConnell Berry Farm, in Independence.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

Other members of the research team from WVU include Jason Gross, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Xin Li, professor of computer science and electrical engineering; Giacomo Marani, research engineer with West Virginia’s Robotic Technology Center; Yong Lak Park, associate professor of entomology; and Nicole Waterland, assistant professor of horticulture.

“The first two years of the project will be spent achieving precision autonomous robot navigation and mapping inside a greenhouse and identifying and cataloging the flowers through computer vision,” he said. “In year two, we will begin using the robotic manipulator, which will initially be fixed to a bench top, to pollinate flowers.”







Through a six-week summer program and academic year followup, the teachers will gain experience in the research, design, development and prototyping of digital signal processing techniques and applications targeted for the next generation of radio telescopes. DSP computing power allows much of the information that is crucial to radio astronomy—i.e., beam forming, imaging, radio frequency interference mitigation and wide-band high-resolution spectroscopy—to be done in real time. The chance to conduct that research at Green Bank, home to the world’s largest fully steerable radio telescope, is icing on the cake. “Teachers will work in small groups to complete one of two research projects, which they will continue with interested students when they return to their classrooms in the fall,” said Schmid. “Teachers will also collaborate with project staff to develop digital signal processing classroom projects that involve an entire classroom of students in DSP activities.” For the first project, teachers will develop a neutral hydrogen spectrometer for radio telescopes. The systems will be used on the telescopes at Green Bank to observe hydrogen from the Milky Way. Participants will then devise the rotation properties and inferred mass of the Milky Way and compare that to the known mass of gas and stars to illustrate the presence of a “dark matter” component that dominates the dynamics of galaxies.

In Project Two, teachers will process large datasets to search for radio transients. They will develop tools using data recorded from previously detected fast radio bursts—or FRBs—to enhance and automate future searches for transients. While the exact nature of FRBs is still unknown, they are currently believed to be of extragalactic origin. Efficiently finding more bursts will unlock their cause and may enable the use of FRBs to probe the universe. According to Bandura, three cohorts, each composed of 10 high school teachers, two graduate students and undergraduate students, will be engaged in a shared learning community, over the three-year course of the project. “Our goal is to prepare teachers to implement DSP projects with their students, thus exposing them to exciting STEM career opportunities, which we hope they will one day pursue,” Bandura said. Collaborating with Schmid and Bandura on program implementation are Richard Prestage and Sue Ann Heatherly from GBO. Teachers will be recruited from school districts involved in Project Lead the Way, including Greenbrier, Mingo, Mineral and Marshall county school districts in West Virginia. PLTW, a nonprofit organization that provides science, technology, engineering and math curriculum and professional development opportunities to K-12 teachers, is a perfect fit for this program, said Robin Hensel, assistant dean of Fundamentals of Engineering at WVU and PLTW West Virginia affiliate director. “This type of research experience engages teachers with real-world data, expands their science and engineering knowledge, builds their confidence in a new skillset and increases their excitement for the work that scientists and engineers do,” said Hensel. “They bring that confidence and passion into the classroom as they teach and inspire their students.”

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

Natalia Schmid and Kevin Bandura, faculty members in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, have been awarded a grant of $577,815 from the National Science Foundation that will allow them to team with the WVU Center for Gravitational Waves and Cosmology and the Green Bank Observatory in Green Bank to create a research experience for teachers. The program—Digital Signal Processing in Radio Astronomy—will provide high school teachers with hands-on experience using highquality, open source software development tools, in both research engineering and educational settings.



WVU AND MARSHALL CREATE COSTEFFECTIVE BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION SYSTEM A civil engineering professor from West Virginia University and one of his former students teamed up to create a costeffective bridge construction system for short-span steel bridges. Karl Barth, Samples Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at WVU, and his former doctoral student, Greg Michaelson, now an assistant professor in the Weisberg Division of Engineering at Marshall University, introduced a new type of tub girder that requires less fabrication and installation time than conventional bridge systems. The duo are working in conjunction with the Short Span Steel Bridge Alliance. According to Barth, the technical working group, which is made up of more than 30 partners from the steel industry, academia, government organizations and bridge owners, took the KARL BARTH pressed-brake-formed tub girder system from idea to reality within three years.


“The Federal Highways Administration issued a challenge to us in 2009 to develop a cost-effective accelerated bridge construction system for steel bridges 140 feet or less,” Barth said. “This led to the development of an online tool, eSPAN140, which has been successfully employed for a number conventional bridge designs. We also explored a variety of concepts for accelerated bridge construction and settled on the tub girder system because it requires none of the expensive fabrication of traditional systems and uses less material.”


The system uses modular galvanized trapezoidal boxes fabricated from cold-bent structural-steel plates that can be constructed using either galvanized or weathering steel. The concrete deck is precast on the girder, and the modular unit is shipped by truck to the bridge site. The system offers several advantages over traditional short span steel bridge solutions.

“The girder itself, which is available from the steel mill in standard plate thicknesses and widths, is simple to fabricate, requiring very little welding. One girder can be produced in 45 minutes,” Barth said. “Because of the system’s modular composite design, there is a reduced need for additional details such as stiffeners or cross-frames. Due to its modular nature, the composite unit can be easily shipped to the bridge site.” One of the challenges the research team faced before initial testing could be conducted was that they had to develop preliminary girder capacity predictions and evaluate potential efficiencies for a variety of potential configurations. “This took some time before we were able to arrive at our final recommended designs and test specimen configurations,” Barth noted. The experimental testing was conducted at WVU. Michaelson continues to collaborate on these efforts, assisting with data analysis, modeling and fieldtesting efforts.

“The most satisfying aspect of the project is the reception from the industry,” said Michaelson, who earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in civil engineering from WVU in 2010 and 2014, respectively. “It’s exciting to see all the interest in the system from owners, fabricators and engineers. One of the key strengths of the system is its ability to be standardized. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but the system has remarkable advantages in mass applications.” According to the SSSBA, the system offers as much as a 50 percent reduction in fabrication costs, compared to proprietary cold-formed box-girder systems.

A grant from the FHWA’s innovative bridge research program funded the first PBTG bridge in Buchanan County, Iowa; it was completed in January. The bridge is providing valuable data to the research team, which is conducting additional testing to measure performance and identify further efficiencies that can be realized for future designs. Barth noted that three additional bridges are planned for 2017, with two scheduled for West Virginia, in Monongalia and Wayne counties, and one in Ohio in Muskingum County. “There are others on the horizon as well,” Barth said. “We have also had discussions regarding deploying this system in both Canada and Mexico.”




This is an all-too familiar sight to frequent travelers. The plane you are scheduled to fly on has a technical or maintenance issue. The airline is scrambling to find another plane despite the fact that one of its partners has a plane sitting idle at the next gate. Thanks to West Virginia University Teaching Assistant Professor Pete Gall, that may be coming to an end for the world’s largest airline group.


“American Airlines has 6,700 flights a day to 54 different countries,” said Gall, himself a former American Airlines (formerly USAirways) pilot. “By merging, airlines gain the synergistic benefits from merging operations. Instead of competing against each other, they are now on the same team. Airline A might have an airplane that’s sitting in an airport for half a day without being used. By merging systems, you could get another crew onsite and get another eight hours of productivity out of that aircraft.”



Working with a team of WVU students, Gall developed a sophisticated mathematic model—dubbed the Gall Hybrid Methodology—which allowed American Airlines to integrate the flight operations of three major airlines (American, USAirways and American West Airlines), more than 15,000 pilots and nearly 1,000 jet aircraft. It seems simple, unless you’re a pilot, and then seniority becomes a factor. Forbes magazine is quoted

as saying, “Pilot integration is the stickiest wicket in the airline business.” American Airlines, for example, had 454 Boeing 777 captains, which Gall said is a very coveted senior position. “When you merge all of these groups together you can imagine the amount of animosity that can be created,” Gall said. “For example, if a pilot from America West, which has never operated an aircraft as big as the 777, has more seniority than a senior 777 captain at American Airlines, that person is booted out of the captain’s seat.” And then there are furloughed pilots, many who don’t have to come back to work when recalled. “They can bypass the recall, which causes the airline to hire new pilots to make up for the furloughed pilots

Vince Spada, a graduate student in aerospace engineering from Buffalo, New York, worked as part of Gall’s team, creating an easy-touse graphic user interface for the Gall Hybrid Methodology. “Dr. Gall and I worked closely together to convert his method into a computer algorithm made up of complex calculations,” Spada said. “I have gained an incredible amount of programming experience during this project, which will directly benefit the research for my master’s and eventually doctoral degrees. I have also

developed vital leadership skills while working with other WVU engineering students on the project. The team spent many months looking at the age, date of hire, the plane the pilot was currently flying, the seat the pilot was holding and any periods of furlough that may have occurred during the pilot’s career. Each pilot was given a longevity, status and category score, which required layers of complex calculations. These calculations dictated their place on the seniority list.

merged entities must be integrated in a “fair and equitable” manner, which can mean different things to different people. Union members of the acquired airline must be integrated into the seniority lists for the surviving entity and its unions, not just placed at the bottom of the list.

The merger of these lists is also covered by law.

“The amendment requires that a board of arbitrators be appointed and they hold a series of federally mandated hearings, where they hear from all the interested parties,” said Gall, who spent several weeks testifying before the board during hearings that took place in 2015 and 2016. “When it’s all over, the board makes the decision, adopts an approach on how the operations will be merged and it becomes law.”

The McCaskill-Bond Amendment to the Federal Aviation Act states that when airlines merge into a single carrier, the seniority lists of the

The arbitration board issued its final report, which supported Gall’s methodology, in September 2016.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

that are declining recall,” Gall explained. “How do you treat those pilots? How do you dictate where they should fall? There were American West pilots who were furloughed, then hired at American, placing them are on two different seniority lists.”




West Virginia University has joined a national effort to turn natural gas into valuable products and do it at the well. This serves a real-world need for many production locations in the Marcellus Shale, especially those in West Virginia, where some shale gas resources are stranded without pipeline infrastructure, affecting access and price.


The University has joined the newest branch of the United States Department of Energy’s National Network of Manufacturing Institutes. The Rapid Advancement in Process Intensification Deployment institute, or RAPID, will focus on using advanced manufacturing to develop breakthrough technologies to boost the productivity and efficiency of some industrial processes by 20 percent in the next five years. “RAPID is fast-tracking research that will directly increase the productivity of industry manufacturing processes while simultaneously lowering energy costs, lowering capital equipment costs and making higher gains in overall efficiency,” said John Hu, Statler Chair in engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources and one of the lead researchers involved in the project. DOE has asked the American Institute for Chemical Engineering to coordinate the new institute and bring together more than 130 partners from academia, industry, government laboratories and non-governmental organizations across the country. The team will leverage DOE’s $70 million contribution plus $70 million in private cost-share commitments from partners in the institute.


Hu and Hanjin Tian, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, will address two main questions: how to turn natural gas into more valuable chemicals and plastics using advanced manufacturing technologies and how to develop ways in which these processes can be conducted at the wellhead.


The abundance of natural gas in West Virginia has led to growth and opportunity for the state; however, much of the resource is “stranded.” Because of the geographic terrain of the state it is difficult to build pipelines to extract the resource to process it in a centralized location. In other areas of the country, natural gas is simply burned off because of the relatively low economic value associated with distributed and stranded resources. Engineers can convert natural gas and other hydrocarbons into petrochemicals in a large refinery, but these processes are not as economical for smaller quantities of natural gas that are scattered throughout different geographical locations. Using smaller, modular reactors may help address this problem. In modular manufacturing smaller reactors with innovation designs can be deployed to different locations and reassembled. These reactors can accelerate or intensify the chemical reactions resulting in significantly higher productivity and lower capital costs. It is what Hu refers to as “1+1=3.” “One more way to gain even higher levels of productivity is to combine multiple complex processes such as mixing, reaction and separation into single steps,” he said. “This approach—called process intensification—could result in 10 times increase in the efficiency.” Rakesh Gupta, chair of the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, likened the solution to restaurant catering. “This research will develop technology necessary for mobile factories,” Gupta said. “It is similar to the way in which a caterer is able to set up a mobile restaurant at an event with fewer staff and kitchen equipment, and is still able to provide large quantities of food in a short amount of time. “WVU’s work here creates a direct link between research and stimulus of the economic outlook in both West Virginia and across the globe.”

For years WVU faculty members have worked on natural gas conversion technology research and translation into real manufacturing processes. The research of Hu and Tian is an integral part of WVU’s Center for Innovation in Gas Research and Utilization and the WVU Energy Institute. Their work will now play a key role in RAPID’s On-Site Natural Gas Utilization focus area.

“WVU has a unique opportunity to collaborate with a large group of institutions and companies,” said Fulay. “Our expertise is critical for the successful translation of industry research into process intensification.”

Faculty projects related to natural gas conversion to value-added products via process intensified modular production, such as plasma catalyst conversion of natural gas and micro-channel oxidative dehydrogeneration for olefin production, have already received strong interest from industrial partners.

Through its National Network of Manufacturing Institutes DOE’s aim is to double U.S. energy productivity by 2030 through the development of public-private partnerships—each with specific areas of focus—all working toward securing America’s future through manufacturing innovation, education and collaboration.

Beyond economic gains, RAPID also provides valuable educational opportunities and instructional programs for undergraduate and graduate students who will be the engineers of the future.

RAPID is the 10th institute, and with its addition DOE and the American Institute for Chemical Engineering will determine specific research projects and form collaborative teams of academic institutions, companies and laboratories.


In addition to WVU, participating members include Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Tech, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, University of Pittsburgh, Idaho National Laboratory, National Energy Technology Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Dow, DuPont, ExxonMobil and Shell.

WVU was invited to be part of the core team that began initial planning with the American Institute for Chemical Engineering more than 18 months ago, working closely with Darlene Schuster, a graduate of WVU’s chemical engineering department and director of the institute’s Center for Energy Initiatives and Institute for Sustainability. “This partnership is a perfect example of the Connect, Collaborate and Innovate approach that we have been working hard to grow,” said Pradeep Fulay, associate dean for research in the Statler College. “Immediate interactions are very important, but in the next five to 10 years we will see dividends from our collaborations within RAPID. It will open up a wealth of other opportunities that will expand on this effort.” In addition to the work of Fulay’s office and Statler College, the WVU Research Corp. and the WVU Energy Institute provided strong support to the projects proposed by WVU. In addition, the West Virginia Technology Park provided facilities and space.


“Our investment in this cross-cutting technology is an investment in the future of manufacturing in the U.S.,” said David Friedman, DOE acting assistant secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “As we expand the Manufacturing USA network, we provide greater opportunities for businesses of all sizes to solve their toughest technology challenges and unleash major savings in energy-intensive sectors like oil and gas, pulp and paper-making and other industries.”

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u




Natural gas-fueled vehicles are expected to play an increasing role in meeting future transportation fuel needs. By relying on a cleaner-burning fossil fuel, natural gas engines can produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than diesel—but only if methane emissions are kept low. Researchers with the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions recently published a report that greatly expands on very limited data on methane emissions from natural gas-fueled vehicles. They are applying the study’s data to develop models to forecast methane emissions from the future heavy-duty transportation sector. This data and forthcoming report can help the industry target improvements in engine technologies and fueling operations, and identify best practices for minimizing emissions.





Malware—software that deliberately fulfills the harmful intent of an attacker—has been used as a major weapon by cyber-criminals to launch a wide range of attacks that cause serious damages and significant financial losses to many internet users. To protect legitimate users from these attacks, the most significant line of defense is antimalware software products, which predominately use signature-based methods to recognize threats.

Yanfang (Fanny) Ye, assistant professor of computer science and electrical engineering, has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation in support of her work to develop intelligent malware detection and resilient techniques against cyberattacks. Ye will focus her efforts on the development of new techniques that are designed to be arm race-capable, and can be used in other cyber security domains, such as anti-spam, fraud detection and counter-terrorism.


ACES GETS FUNDING BOOST FROM NSF WVU’s Academy of Engineering Success, or AcES, an academic success and professional development bridge program designed for first-time freshmen in the Fundamentals of Engineering program, can now provide fiveyear merit scholarships to enrolled students thanks to a grant of nearly $955,000 from the National Science Foundation. The program was established in 2012 by Ordel Brown, teaching associate professor, as a way to help freshmen who are at-risk academically develop a set of skills that will help them succeed in the College’s engineering programs. Students enrolled in AcES come to campus one week ahead of other freshmen for a weeklong series of activities designed to acclimate them to campus life. Once the semester begins, they are enrolled in a two-hour AcES Orientation course, which allows them to explore career options in engineering. They also receive one-on-one peer and faculty mentoring as well as customized academic counseling. Through the grant, Brown will work to enhance AcES curricular and co-curricular student support services, strengthen its partnerships with local and regional engineering companies and assess the impact of curricular and co-curricular activities of student success.

ANOTHER “OSCARS OF INNOVATION” AWARDED TO WVU Debangsu Bhattacharyya, associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering, and David Mebane, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, lead a team from WVU that won an R&D 100 Award, known as the “Oscars of Innovation.” Organized by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory, the Carbon Capture Simulation Initiative—or CCSI—Toolset consists of a suite of computational tools and models to accelerate the development of carbon-capture technology for manufacturers and businesses. The toolset is critically important because carboncapture pilot projects represent an expensive, limited opportunity to collect the data necessary to move to commercial scale. Each module in the toolset is specifically tailored to properly guide experimental and pilot-scale testing to acquire important data.


While extensive research has been done to mitigate the external factors that cause rocks to fail, very little is known on where the failure initiates and how it propagates into a large failure, said Brijes Mishra, associate professor of mining engineering. Along with Edward Sabolsky, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU, Mishra will investigate rock at the micro-level in hopes of understanding how it transforms at the macro-level.




s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

A team of researchers from WVU, with support of a $1.2 million grant from the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, are conducting a study to determine the fundamental mechanisms behind roof falls, which have accounted for more than 450 injuries over the past three years.

This is the third R&D 100 Award won by researchers in the Statler College.




For the second straight year, researchers at WVU have received a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration to study the use of composite materials for pipe design and gas transport. The research team—civil and environmental engineering professors Hota GangaRao and Udaya Halabe and John Zondlo, professor of chemical and biomedical engineering—will work to develop glass fiber reinforced polymer composite pipes including a range of joining systems, which are less corrosive and of higher strength when compared to traditional steel pipes.







Fernando Lima, assistant professor of chemical engineering, has been awarded $110,000 from the American Chemical Society’s Petroleum Research Fund to improve natural gas utilization processes. He will study the design of membrane reactors, a device for chemical reactions and gas separations, for the direct methane aromatization conversion to chemicals and fuels. Methane aromatization is a chemical reaction that creates hydrogen and benzene, important elements in producing complex chemicals and fuels.



The Manufacturing Extension Partnership of West Virginia is a partner on a grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership and Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization initiative. The grant comes a year after the EDA officially designated a 20-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia as the Greater Pittsburgh Metals Manufacturing Community. Companies and workers in several northern West Virginia counties affected by downturns in the coal sector will receive assistance transitioning into opportunities in the region’s growing manufacturing sector.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

The Department of Mining and Industrial Extension has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Mine Safety and Health Administration that will allow it to enhance its training for fire brigade and mine rescue teams. WVU was one of only six organizations nationally to receive the award, which was established as a provision in the Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006. The funds, which total more than $171,000, will be used to develop and implement enhanced training that integrates the efforts and capabilities of fire brigades and mine rescue teams when responding to a mine emergency involving fire and trapped miners.


cover story




Simply put, industrial engineers figure out ways to do things better. When Ken Currie returned to West Virginia University in 2014 to lead the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, he put those skills to work, realizing that he had a long road ahead of him. How much he would accomplish in two short years has surprised everyone, including him.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

Currie brings new thinking to alma mater


cover story

From facilities renovations to new online programs, Currie, who earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from WVU, has been busy positioning the Department as one that is able to meet the changing needs of society and the workplace, as well as its students.

Q: When you took the job of chair, what was the first thing that went through your mind? A: The Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at WVU has always produced really great engineering professionals, but to stay relevant both internally and with our peers across the country, we needed to change. We needed to demonstrate that our students, faculty and facilities are relevant to the everchanging needs of today’s workforce.


Change has to be managed and it’s a collaborative process among all the stakeholders to both prioritize and to set the right direction.


Q: Candidates for election talk about what they will do in their first 100 days. Did you have an agenda for what you wanted to accomplish right out of the gate? A: Our manufacturing processes lab was one of the first things that I wanted to bring up to date. There is so much that has changed in manufacturing that involves

digital models. We had some very limited 3-D printing capabilities and some antiquated computer numeric control machining capabilities. Beyond that however, there is a movement in this country to unleash the creativity of student innovators by allowing them to prototype new product ideas through a makerspace. I saw an opportunity to couple these two ideas together to have a dual-purpose digital manufacturing teaching lab with an open-concept makerspace. This has taken quite a bit of energy to bring to fruition; but I’m happy to say that we will bring this digital makerspace online later this year. Q: What do you see as the strengths of this Department, and where do you envision growth? A: Our core strength is the quality of our students; they are intelligent, hardworking and they are highly motivated to learn. Coupled with the talents and expertise of highly

qualified faculty, our graduates are entering the workplace or graduate school with skills well beyond their peers. We are not merely training engineers, we are developing profession-ready engineers to make a difference on day one in their organizations.

positions in smart manufacturing, healthcare systems engineering, energy systems and occupational health and safety. Industry experience would have been nice, but we managed to attract faculty who have worked on doctoral research that was industry-motivated.

Our growth process is built into our ABET process to continuously improve the curriculum and our instructional methods through assessment by both internal constituents (faculty and students) and external constituents (employers and alumni).

Q: Are you looking to add any new courses or programs to the Department?

A: In an environment where federal funding of university research is more and more scarce, I particularly looked for faculty candidates who have the technical expertise to address multiple social and/or industrial problems, which gives them multiple sources of funding to solicit. I was also looking for faculty who understood the importance of an open network, which brings people with unique relationships, experiences and knowledge to a project. We interviewed several candidates who made it clear that their research programs were singular and closed to collaborations. The faculty we hired have started their research and academic careers committed to an open collaboration. We also had broad industrial engineering techniques that we were looking for. In Thorsten Wuest’s position it was advanced manufacturing; in Leily Farrokhvar’s position it was decision systems. But more specifically, I was looking for faculty who could help meet our research

Perhaps the most important program we’ve added is our online degree program in safety management. This has been in the works for several years, but we are finally getting each course approved with Quality Matters to allow the program to receive Southeast Regional Education Board approval for in-state tuition for distance learners. This can be a major growth area for our Department. Q: In two years, the Department has not only moved from its offices in MRB but it has also renovated a number of facilities, most notably those on the ground floor of ESB. What facilities or upgrades were needed immediately? A: Without question, the renovation of the Manufacturing Processes Laboratory, located on the ground floor of the Engineering Sciences Building, was most needed. In the spirit of cross-disciplinary collaboration, we are planning to open this renovated space to other student design teams as well as student entrepreneurs from across campus.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

Q: When faced with new hires, what were you looking for? Was it people with a specific research focus? Was it people with industry experience? A combination of both?

A: Our new faculty are adding elective courses that address entrepreneur activities, i.e., product service systems and distribution systems, and transportation and logistics. These two areas are becoming more important in our economy as more of our gross domestic product is comprised of innovation and the warehouse, distribution and transportation of globally produced products. We are beginning discussions with other Statler College departments to investigate a cross-disciplinary certificate or concentration in smart manufacturing systems.


cover story

“... the other unique advantage, IEs tend to be on a faster track than most other engineers into managerial and positions of immense responsibility.” —Ken Currie Q: With all of these changes, why is now the right time for a student to study industrial engineering at WVU? A: In a recent Forbes list of professions with the most vacancies, industrial engineering was listed fourth. Routinely the starting salaries that IE graduates command is comparable to other engineering professions; however, the career path for IEs is usually broader and has a faster ascent to management than any other discipline. Industrial engineers are found in virtually every organization throughout the U.S., from distribution companies like FedEx and Amazon, to nonprofit organizations like the American Red Cross, to manufacturing companies like General Electric and TE Connectivity, as well as retail outlets, hospitals and financial institutions.


Q: You’ve also launched two new student-centered facilities: the collaboratory and the makerspace. Have you noticed a change in the mindset of your students as a result of these additions?


A: It’s a bit early to tell, considering that we are still working on the ESB ground floor renovation and purchasing equipment for the lab. However, the student collaboratory vs. the old space in MRB is three times larger. We have seen more students working together, and student teams now have a better space to meet.

Because IEs are found in such a diverse set of organizations, students can customize their career to fit their passion and their interests. Our curriculum promotes the skills and techniques that give students real-world experiences in working in teams and solving complex problems. I think the other unique advantage that IEs have is that they tend to be on a faster track than most other engineers into managerial and positions of immense responsibility. Many of our alumni are serial entrepreneurs, generating a great deal of wealth and providing jobs in the economy.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u



cover story

The idea that manufacturing in the United States is dead is dead wrong. According to the National Association of Manufacturers, in 2015, manufacturing contributed $2.17 trillion to the United States’ economy. The average manufacturing worker in the U.S. earned $81,289 annually, including pay and benefits, and over the next decade it’s anticipated that 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will be needed.


Gone are the days of assembly lines and mass production in dank, oftentimes unsafe factories. Most of today’s manufacturing spaces include computers and robotics that play a major role in the development of everything from automobiles to airplanes to appliances and chemicals.


Add sensors and software to the equation and you have what’s known as smart manufacturing.


“At the core of smart manufacturing is information and data and all that comes with it,” said Thorsten Wuest, assistant professor of industrial and management systems engineering at WVU. “With advanced sensors and always-connected devices widely available, the data streams are increasing rapidly. This presents a never-before-seen

potential to better understand the manufacturing processes and provide the relevant addressees with the information they need. The applications are endless, from energy savings and quality improvements to better scheduling practices.” Previously, manufacturers relied on the intelligence of the people working in specific areas. Smart manufacturing can empower these experts by providing the relevant information at exactly the right time. “The feedback and data gathered via multiple sources and types of sensors can be processed in real-time to make certain decisions,” said Leily Farrokhvar, assistant professor of industrial and management systems engineering. “In some cases these decisions can be made automatically using machine learning algorithms, such as adjusting temperature and light in sensitive manufacturing environments. In other cases, the person responsible for that part of the LEILY FARROKHVAR manufacturing process could be alerted to issues before they occur allowing them to further analyze the situation.” “The benefits of smart manufacturing are manifold, and new solutions are developed every day,” Wuest said. “Allowing crossdomain sharing of knowledge, information and services and solutions, for example, is an added advantage. A manufacturing company solving a quality issue in their process through a new predictive algorithm could then provide this solution to other companies either as a paid service or as a vehicle to show their technological capabilities.” Implementation starts at the top, Farrokhvar said, and it can be disruptive.

“Smart manufacturing strategies allow for a faster flow of information within and between organizations ...”

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

“Smart manufacturing strategies allow for a faster flow of information within and between organizations, which helps companies make more informative decisions and more accurate predictions,” she said. “But at the same time, since smart manufacturing is an organization-wide strategy, it will require some time for acceptance and adoption. In less automated stages of manufacturing, change will take a longer time.

—Leily Farrokhvar


cover story

“Smart manufacturing is not a silver bullet, and it will not replace the expertise of the workers but support them to do their job better.”


­— Thorsten Wuest


While jobs in manufacturing are expected to be plentiful, qualified workers are a different story. NAM estimates that nearly 2 million jobs are expected to go unfilled due to the skills gap. Nearly 80 percent of manufacturers report a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly-skilled production positions.

That’s where WVU comes in. “While smart manufacturing does not change the necessity to understand the main principles and processes of manufacturing, we are currently redesigning some of our manufacturing courses,” Wuest said. “The content is being updated to include new processes, like additive manufacturing, as well as the shift toward a more data-focused environment and the challenges that come with it. Many of our students have already experienced this shift during their internships and are very interested in these topics.” WVU is currently working to create a laboratory space that focuses on smart manufacturing, with Wuest calling it one of the most advanced in the country. “The lab will have a multi-stage manufacturing process chain that is fully capable of integrating smart manufacturing through an open manufacturing execution system solution,” Wuest said. “With this system as its core, it can be expanded through the use of Internet of Things technologies or advanced picture recognition to capture additional data that allows us to explore new opportunities. State-of-the-art visualization that directly benefits the operator at the line is envisioned as well. On the data analytics side, the new set-up will allow us to create our own data sets and test our algorithms in a real-world environment.” One student who is anxiously waiting for this lab to come online is industrial engineering major Garret Carden, who got a small glimpse into what smart manufacturing can do for a company when he worked as an intern at Mar-Bal, Inc., a plastic

injection molding company in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. “Mar-Bal has created small projects incorporating sensors into their manufacturing processes to potentially decrease scrap, monitor the process, etc.,” said Carden “They are an innovative and forwardlooking composites company GARRET CARDEN and interning with them was definitely a great experience, which led to a further thirst for acquiring knowledge on smart manufacturing. “The new lab facilities that implement smart manufacturing into the curriculum will give students a great advantage and an idea of what the here and now of manufacturing looks like,” Carden continued. “With the experience and knowledge from this integration of smart manufacturing into the curriculum, both current and future students will have the ability to think outside the box and provide innovative solutions to projects at their internships, co-ops and in their careers that they would not have necessarily thought of before.” The interdisciplinary effort, Wuest said, will involve faculty and students from WVU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Also involved are representatives from the College of Business and Economics, which offers a degree in global supply chain management. “In the case of supply chain management, companies have been storing inventory based on historical data and simple prediction algorithms,” said Farrokhvar. “Now using several sources of input working in sync with each other and more advanced prediction algorithms correcting themselves over time with more data, companies can reduce their inventory levels and save millions of dollars, while reducing under-stocking. In transportation, the realtime tracking allows for more efficient utilization of resources.” “Smart manufacturing is not a silver bullet, and it will not replace the expertise of the workers but support them to do their job better,” Wuest concluded. “The interdisciplinary exchange of ideas we are creating at WVU will allow us to further grow our research in this area and better educate the next generation of manufacturing engineers.”

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

“Management needs to clearly communicate the purpose at all stages to ease the adoption,” Farrokhvar continued. “They need to clarify that this shift is not about replacing people, but empowering them to be better at what they do.”


cover story

WVU team repeats as winners of supply chain competition BY PATRICK GREGG


There’s nothing more the supply chain management competition team from West Virginia University wanted on October 15 than to keep the Race to the Case crown in Morgantown.


That goal became a reality for the four-member team from WVU, as two students each from the College of Business and Economics and the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources again captured first place in the Race to the Case Supply Chain Management competition at the University of Pittsburgh.


The win in a field of seven teams from four universities marks the second consecutive year WVU has won the event. The competition is modeled after the Emmy awardwinning TV show “The Amazing Race,” and incorporates teams comprised of both business and industrial engineering students. In the three years the competition has been held, WVU has won twice. “It’s so exciting for the WVU team to have won this competition again,” said Ednilson Bernardes, associate professor of global supply chain management at B&E and faculty advisor of the supply chain team. “The talents of this Statler-B&E team are remarkable, and their ability to make intelligent, well-thought-out decisions on the go is a tribute to both of these colleges and to WVU. The collaborative skills they exhibited were excellent.” WVU’s winning team included Clay Chipps, a senior industrial engineering student from Morgantown and a member of the WVU Honors College; Denna Davari, a senior industrial engineering student from Charleston; Kristen Slater, a senior global supply chain management student from Wheeling; and Robert Tierney, a senior global supply chain management student from

“To have the team from WVU win this competition for the second straight year speaks volumes about the quality of our students and their educational experience.” —Ken Currie arrive at the next location. Only three teams with the highest scores from the first two rounds advanced on to the third and final round. In the final round, teams are challenged to prepare a presentation for a panel of judges in response to questions that might be asked in an executive management setting. Penn State placed second in the competition, while Pitt placed third.

Erie, Pennsylvania, Chipps was also on last year’s championship team. Bernardes said the competition is designed to mirror the real world, where global supply chain management professionals and industrial engineers are faced with solving problems. They must rely on the talents of each team member and demonstrate teamwork—all in a timely manner. “To have the team from WVU win this competition for the second straight year speaks volumes about the quality of our students and their educational experience,” said Kenneth R. Currie, chair and professor, Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering at the Statler College. “The competition allows engineers to work side-by-side with their colleagues in the business school, which mimics what they will face in the real world. It’s a great proving ground for our students, and I’m incredibly proud of their success.” Teams had an hour to complete the challenge provided in the first round and arrive at the next location, and then had an hour to complete the second-round challenge and

Part of the team had just returned from the global General Motors supply chain competition, where they represented WVU well. Statler’s Chipps and B&E’s Tierney participated in the General Motors/Wayne State University Supply Chain Competition earlier this month, when they were challenged, through a realistic case study designed by GM, to source a critical item as part of the development of an electric and autonomous vehicle. “During a trip to the GM plant in Detroit, our students had the opportunity to see critical demands firsthand when hurricane Matthew hit a GM supplier in the south,” Bernardes said, “getting multi-functional teams scrambling to solve the potential disruption to a production line. Therefore, there is a growing need to incorporate this reality in our curriculums. It is becoming critical that our students have an understanding about how their work and decisions impact other functional areas, so they can interact effectively and function successfully in teams. Valuable, organized experiential learning opportunities such as this extend the educational experience of our students.”

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u


Bernardes added that the U.S. and other countries are already seeing major improvements in the revitalization of manufacturing, and that there is currently a strong demand for talented college graduates who know how to get goods and services to the geographical locations where they are needed. That demand, he said, will prove beneficial for students just like members of the WVU team. Cross-functional cooperation and teamwork, he said, will continue to challenge professionals, and students, as digital manufacturing starts to reshape supply chains.


cover story


Department launches online degree program in safety management In the fall of 2016 the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering joined an exclusive group of colleges when it launched an online version of its ABET-accredited master’s degree program in safety management.


The goal of the program is to train students to become safety professionals who make sure organizations are able to recognize and manage risk, as well as follow regulations to ensure that employees leave job sites unharmed. Safety managers plan, organize and lead the safety function within an organization by using a variety of management, engineering and scientific skills in hopes of preventing injuries. “Most importantly,” said Elyce Biddle, associate teaching professor and program coordinator for the online degree, “we are training our students to save lives.”


Biddle arrived at the University a little more than a year ago and was given the task of connecting the final pieces necessary for the program to launch online. While the College already offered an on-campus master’s degree program in safety management, it needed to align the coursework for the online program. Biddle collaborated with a team of WVU faculty and worldwide

Elyce Biddle, associate teaching professor and program coordinator

“... we are training students to save lives.”

experts in the field to polish off the modified online curriculum in time for the program’s fall launch. “Students now have the option to complete their degrees completely online or they can choose a blended path of online and on-campus courses, which makes the program appealing to students who may work fulltime jobs, have families or even serve in the military,” Biddle said. “The online program allows students to completely customize their educational experience to fit their needs. They can choose between three coursework options

to complete their degree: coursework only, a project report or a thesis option.”

According to Biddle, all the options share the same entry requirements, tuition and fees and curriculum, but offer students benefits that they had not seen in the past. One of the most notable perks of the online program is that students receive in-state tuition regardless of location, which allows the program to expand its recruitment pool. “Online learning is the wave of the future, and we were looking to accommodate those who are wanting to get their degrees but can’t come to campus for various reasons,” said Biddle. “We can recruit nationwide and internationally because our students never have to set foot on campus if they don’t want to. That gives us an advantage over most other programs, which require students to show up on campus at least once in order to graduate.”

Andy Peters,

senior vice president, AECOM

“The safety management program hits the sweet spot for my company.”

Students completing the program also earn a graduate safety practitioner certification offered by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals, which makes them highly sought after by Fortune 500 companies. Some companies, such as AECOM, the largest design, engineering and construction firm in the world, routinely recruit from WVU. Andrew Peters, chief safety officer and senior vice president at AECOM, is a WVU alumnus who has hired more than 15 graduates of the program.

“The safety management program hits the sweet spot for my company,” said Peters. “As an engineering firm, it is great to be able to recruit students with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in safety management from one of the few ABET-accredited programs in the United States.” Being able to conduct internships during the school year is also a notable benefit to students in the program, with many receiving job offers from those companies. Having the ability to continue pursuing a degree online while participating in internships means that students won’t have to miss out on valuable opportunities that could lead

to job offers. Ted Grigorieff, an industrial hygienist at Marathon and a 2013 Statler College alum, sees the launching of the online program as a mutually beneficial recruitment opportunity. “The safety management program allows students to pursue internships outside of the summer,” said Grigorieff. “Many employers offer internships year-round. Enabling students to accept fall and spring internships while continuing to pursue a degree is a benefit for both the companies and the students.”

Ted Grigorieff,

industrial hygienist, Marathon

“... the program allows students to pursue internships outside of the summer.”

Carl Heinlein, a 1992 graduate of the program, credits his personal success in the safety field to the education he received at WVU. He believes that offering the safety management program online will create opportunities for students who do not live close to campus Carl Heinlein, to attend a worldsafety consultant, ACIG class program.

“... the program “The WVU program is well respected, is well respected, both here and both here and abroad,” Heinlein abroad.” said. “Being a student and then a graduate of the program offered me an opportunity to work for top companies such as Federal Express, Associated General Contractors of America, FDR Safety and American Contractors Insurance Group.” Biddle and her team have worked hard to ensure that students in both versions of the program have opportunities to attend career fairs and recruitment opportunities as well as join students groups such as the WVU Chapter of American Society of Safety Engineers. “Whether our students are here on campus or online, they are all part of the same WVU family,” Biddle said, “and we want to make sure they have access to the same opportunities.” Biddle added that a team of faculty and safety professionals will update the curriculum every three to five years to ensure students are receiving the best educational experience possible.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

“Students now have the option to complete their degrees completely online or choose a blended path ...”


cover story

WVU receives DOE award to conduct assessments for small and medium-sized enterprises BY MARY C. DILLON


Everyone looks for ways to do more by using less and businesses are no exception, especially when it comes to things like energy and water use.


A 2015 report by the International Energy Agency noted that small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, consume more than 13 percent of total global energy demand, and that cost-effective energy efficiency measures could shave off as much as 30 percent of their consumption. Thanks to a more than $1.5 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy, researchers at West Virginia University will assess regional SMEs

to find ways to be more efficient, productive and sustainable. The assessments will focus on waste reduction, opportunities for smart manufacturing and potential enhancements to cyber security in addition to energy efficiency and water conservation. The Industrial Assessment Center, housed in the Statler College, expects to conduct 85 assessments for SMEs

and other institutions. Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, professor of industrial and management systems engineering and director of the IAC, expects participating businesses to save at least five percent of energy and water use per facility. Joining Gopalakrishnan on the project are Ashish Nimbarte, associate professor and associate director of the IAC, Ken Currie, chair of industrial

Since opening in 1993, the WVU IAC has conducted 527 assessments and recommended nearly 6,000 measures that could save businesses $89 million if implemented.


Security Evaluation Tool, provided by Idaho National Laboratory, will be used for this purpose.

Energy data for various manufacturing and enterprise support energy systems such as motors, process heat, compressed air, steam, HVAC and lighting will be collected by using diagnostic instruments, Gopalakrishnan said.

For the smart manufacturing assessment, data and information will be collected regarding sensor communication and network configuration, mode and type of data transfer between operating machines and design stations, existing data storage and retrieval capabilities and the degree of automation practiced.

Data related to water and wastewater flows in various equipment and the corresponding energy use, blower controls, biological treatment methods that utilize aerobic and anaerobic digesters and chlorine and ultraviolet disinfection will be collected using a supervisory control and data acquisition system. “We also anticipate that the participating SMEs will reduce productivity losses through the adoption of smart and advanced manufacturing techniques and increase revenues by mitigating cyber security threats,” Nimbarte said. “For the cyber security assessments, data and information will be collected as it relates to the network configuration, data storage and electronic repositories, access nodes and privileges.” The Cyber

According to U.S. Census Bureau Data from 2012, SMEs account for 99 percent of all firms in the U.S. and 48.4 percent of total employment, making them hugely important for economic growth, innovation and diversity. The new award, which runs through 2021, will allow these organizations to take advantage of these cost-saving services. “The IAC will provide extensive training for undergraduate and graduate engineering students in industrial processes, energy assessment procedures and energy management systems,” said Gopalakrishnan. “This will enable students to gain real-world experience and knowledge in these important focus areas.”

The IAC at WVU is one of 28 centers around the country, funded by the DOE, to provide no-cost energy assessments to SMEs. The team performs detailed process analyses to generate specific recommendations with estimated costs, performance and payback times. Within 60 days, the plant receives a confidential report detailing the analysis, findings and recommendations. Since opening in 1993, the WVU IAC has conducted 527 assessments and recommended nearly 6,000 measures that could save businesses $89 million if implemented. This is the latest in a series of recent grants received by the IAC that focus on energy consumption. In June, Nimbarte and Gopalakrishnan received a $100,000 grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America program to help rural businesses and farm owners reduce energy consumption and increase profit margins. Additional support will be provided by Industries of the Future—West Virginia and the West Virginia Division of Energy.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

and management systems engineering, and 50 undergraduate and graduate students.


engineering 360˚

ABET accreditation renewed The Statler College has received renewed accreditation for its undergraduate and graduate programs from ABET, the global accreditor of engineering programs. Undergraduate programs that received renewed accreditation include aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, mining engineering and petroleum and natural gas engineering. Accreditation was also renewed for the College’s graduate programs in industrial hygiene and safety management. The ABET team of external experts met with faculty, administrators, students and alumni and inspected classroom and laboratory facilities during a site visit in October 2015. Reviewers examined each program’s processes for continuous improvement of the curriculum based on assessment of student learning outcomes. WVU Provost Joyce McConnell praised the Statler leadership, faculty, staff, students and alumni for the key role they played in securing renewed accreditation. “Our programs are accredited because they are excellent,” McConnell added. “We offer an exceptional engineering education to students from around the world.”

Software engineering 10th in U.S. News rankings WVU’s online graduate program in software engineering has been ranked 10th by U.S. News & World Report in its Best Online Program Rankings. In just two short years, the software engineering program, which began in 1997 as an extended learning program for working professionals in northcentral West Virginia’s High Technology Corridor, has gone from never being ranked to being 30th in 2016 and 10th this year. The program has graduated more than 350 students who work in every industry, from aerospace to defense to education and entertainment.


Tops in value


For the third straight year, the Statler College has been ranked in the top 25 of all engineering schools in the country for offering the best value for the money for undergraduate degree programs in engineering, according to rankings released by College Factual, an online guide to the college selection process. The College ranked 24th out of 293 engineering schools for offering a “quality education at a price that will keep student debt to a minimum.” It was also ranked as the 40th most popular school in the nation for engineering (out of 553) and in the top third overall in the site’s rankings of engineering schools that provide graduates with a quality education.

Anderson selected to “Most Loyals” Dianne Anderson, a 1983 civil engineering graduate, was named Most Loyal Alumni Mountaineer at WVU’s annual Mountaineer Week celebration.

From early 19th century factories in the northern panhandle to artisans making decorative glass today, West Virginia’s glass industry has played a key role in the state’s industrial and economic development. A new exhibition at West Virginia University’s Watts Museum showcases that history. “Molded in the Mountains: The Glass Industry in West Virginia” explores how glass manufacturing had lasting impacts on the people and economy of the state. Large deposits of sand, minerals and fossil fuels helped make West Virginia an important glassmaking center in the 19th and early 20th centuries, and the industry attracted both glass companies and glassworkers to the state. In the latter half of the 20th century, however, depleted natural resources and increased competition and costs led to a decline in West Virginia glassmaking. Paper, plastics and aluminum began absorbing much of the market share, and many glass factories closed or moved elsewhere.

Statler appointed to Board of Governors


Siriwardane named interim chair of civil and environmental engineering Hema Siriwardane, professor of civil and environmental engineering, was named interim chair of the department, effective August 16. He replaces Radhey Sharma, who was recently named associate vice president for Global Strategy and International Affairs at WVU.

Benjamin M. Statler, a retired energy executive and renowned philanthropist, was named to WVU’s Board of Governors. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1973, Statler joined Consolidation Coal in 1969, retiring as senior vice president of mining for CONSOL Energy in 1999. He then formed his own mining consulting company. BENJAMIN STATLER PHOTO: M.G. ELLIS

In 2003, Benjamin M. Statler LLC and Questor Management Co. LLC acquired the assets of U.S. Steel Mining and founded PinnOak Resources LLC. Statler sold the company in July 2007 to Cliffs Natural Resources. In October 2007, Statler and his wife, Jo, announced a $25 million commitment to WVU, the single largest gift to the University. Then in 2012, an additional gift brought the total commitment to $34 million, and the engineering college was named the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in his honor.


Siriwardane has conducted extensive research in geotechnical engineering and geomechanics. He has experience in both computer modeling and laboratory research work and has served on a number of national and international committees dealing with geomechanics. Siriwardane has supported and advised numerous graduate students at WVU and he has won many awards for his teaching, research and service. HEMA SIRIWARDANE

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

Watts Museum exhibition explores state’s glass industry

Anderson, who currently serves on the WVU Alumni Association Board of Directors and as chair of the advisory committee for the Statler College, retired from her position as executive director of the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University in 2015. Previously, Anderson served as president of U.S. West of Rockies Fuels for BP. She has 25 years of experience as a BP executive.





POWSIRI KLINKHACHORN and XIN LI, professors in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, have been named Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


Klinkhachorn, a member of IEEE for 40 years, was selected for his contributions to engineering education through international technical competitions, many of which can be attributed to his advisory role with West Virginia University’s robotics initiative. Li, a member of IEEE for 19 years, was recognized for his contributions to image coding, restoration and interpolation. His research focuses on using image/video coding and processing to find ways to improve image restoration techniques, resolution quality and compression for storage space.


IEEE is the world’s largest technical professional organization whose mission is to encourage its members to revolutionize technology for the benefit of humanity. Each year less than 0.1 percent of IEEE’s 400,000 members worldwide are honored as Fellows.

VLADISLAV KECOJEVIC, Massey Professor of Mining Engineering, was awarded the 2017 Erskine Ramsay Medal from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration. The award, which was presented at SME’s annual conference in February, was established in 1948 to recognize distinguished achievements in the coal mining industry. Kecojevic earned the award “for his outstanding contributions to the research, education and service in surface coal mining and for his international recognition as a researcher, teacher and academic leader.” AARON NOBLE (not pictured), assistant professor of mining engineering, has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical and Petroleum Engineers Rossiter W. Raymond Memorial Award. The award was established in 1945 in honor of one of the Institute’s founders and honorary members. It recognizes the best paper published by AIME societies’ members where the lead author is under 35 years of age.

Noble was also named a Henry Krumb Lecturer for 2016-17 by SME. He was one of only 10 selected for the honor from the more than 750 professionals who presented technical papers at the SME Annual Conference and Expo. KENNETH MEANS (not pictured), professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was presented with the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying’s Distinguished Examination Service Award at the organization’s annual meeting held in Indianapolis, Indiana. Means began volunteering with NCEES in 1982, helping to develop the Fundamentals of Engineering exam then the Principles and Practice of Engineering Mechanical exam two years later. For 34 years, Means continued to support engineering licensure exams by writing professional engineering mechanical exam items, taking part in preliminary item analyses to assess the quality of exam items and participated in studies to update exam specifications.

GangaRao Smith


UDAYA HALABE received the 2016 West Virginia ASCE Outstanding Civil Engineering Educator of the Year Award in recognition of excellence in teaching civil engineering and positive impact in the civil engineering profession. PATRICK BROWNING (not pictured), assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at West Virginia University, was selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s eighth Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium.

FOEE brings together some of the nation’s most engaged and innovative engineering educators in order to promote effective, substantive and inspirational engineering education through a sustained dialogue within the emerging generation of innovative faculty. During the two-and-a-half-day symposium, participants engage in discussions and workshops focused on approaches to classroom, laboratory, project, experiential, computer-based or other modes of preparing engineering students to work and lead in the 21st century. Browning, who earned his bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in aerospace engineering from WVU, has developed new introductory courses for mechanical and aerospace engineering and unmanned aerial systems. He also serves as the faculty advisor for the Beta Xi chapter of the engineering fraternity Sigma Phi Delta and as a workshop mentor for the West Virginia chapter of the Expanding Your Horizons Network, which focuses on inspiring young women to pursue careers in STEM.

Browning’s primary focus on innovation in engineering education has been in the area of introduction of new media formats into the classroom, specifically utilizing smartphones for instructional use. JAMES SMITH, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, has joined the ranks of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of his contributions to innovation in areas such as patents and licensing, innovative discovery and technology, impact on society and support and enhancement of innovation. Smith has spent his 40-year career focused on the areas of health, communications and energy. His inventions have been used as training tools for students who often share in his inventions and the resulting start-up companies. He holds 36 United States patents, several international patents and is the co-founder of five start-up companies.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

HOTA GANGARAO, the Maurice and JoAnn Wadsworth Distinguished Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, received the 2016 West Virginia ASCE Civil Engineer of the Year Award. The award is given to a distinguished civil engineer for sustained outstanding civil engineering performance.



Statler College researcher and students receive mining awards from SME A post-doctoral researcher and two graduate students in the Department of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University have received awards from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration.

Ridenour named to national student advisory council

Qingqinq Huang, a post-doctoral researcher from Haubei, China, has been selected for the SME Rong Yu Wan Dissertation Award. The award is presented to recent Ph.D. graduates with outstanding dissertation research in the area of metallurgical engineering and comes with a $1,000 prize. Huang’s dissertation, “Rock dust surface chemistry modification for eliminating cake formation and improving dispersion in coal dust explosion mitigations,” focuses on processing rock dusts in the wet form using various surface chemistry methods and active reagents to reduce the risk of mining explosions. This method greatly improves the dispersal of rock dust particles and reduces the potential for mine explosions by up to 83 percent. She is advised by Assistant Professor Aaron Noble.


Sabrina Ridenour, a senior from Frostburg, Maryland, is one of only 10 women nationwide selected to serve on the American Association of University Women’s 2016-17 National Student Advisory Council. The council consists of students selected to become AAUW’s ambassadors for on-campus issues related to their mission of promoting equity and education for women and girls.


Ridenour, a mechanical engineering major, decided to apply for the Student Advisory Council after seeing the impact the organization was able to make on a local level and saw the council as an opportunity to expand her reach.


“We’ve grown our chapter and have led our members in advocating for women’s issues on campus,” said Ridenour, founding president of WVU’s AAUW chapter. “I will be working with AAUW staff in Washington, D.C., to advise them on important women’s issues that WVU and the state of West Virginia currently face. “I am most looking forward to making an impact on the gender wage gap,” Ridenour said. “It is disheartening to see our state at the very end of the list when it comes to comparing the United States’ gender pay gaps. WVU does a wonderful job of providing an excellent education, but I want to make sure that women are compensated for equal jobs that men also hold.”

Yuting Xue and Prasoon Garg were both awarded the Syd S. and Felicia F. Peng Ground Control in Mining Scholarship. This $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to encourage students to pursue careers in ground control engineering, which focuses on being able to predict and manipulate stressors that jeopardize the safety of underground mines. They are advised by Associate Professor Brijes Mishra. Xue’s, a doctoral student from Shandong, China, is researching the timedependent deformation and failure of roofs in underground coal mines, a topic that has rarely been investigated in previous studies. The study focuses on determining factors that induce stress on roofs in underground mines, which allows engineers to predict when roof failures may occur. Through laboratory test, theoretical analysis and numerical simulation, Xue hopes to discover mechanisms that can predict and prevent these failures in underground coal mines, thus improving mine safety. Garg, a graduate student from Uttar Pradesh, India, is currently conducting a study on the behavior of laminated or weak roofs in mines under high stress and its contributions to cutter roof failure. Cutter roof failure is a common issue in coal mining that initially begins as a fracture plane in the roof rock at one or both corners that then extends deeper into the roof, which causes the roof rock to lose its load bearing capacity and can lead to collapses. Garg will be using a combination of modelling techniques and laboratory test to find and simulate the exact stress conditions that cause laminated roof cutter failure which will allow engineers to predict and prevent roof collapses, a leading cause of injury and casualties in mining.



Doctoral student selected for P&G FIRST Conference Juan Carlos Carrasco-Moraga, a chemical engineering doctoral student, attended the P&G FIRST Conference, a three-day, all expenses paid program primarily intended for African American, Hispanic and Native American doctoral and postdoctoral scientists. “I am very grateful to have been invited to participate in the FIRST Conference,” said Carrasco-Moraga. “I enjoy participating in events where I can learn about research and development from top research groups in academia and industry, and this was a perfect platform to share my own research findings.” Carrasco-Moraga is researching the improvement of natural gas utilization processes. His focus is on the development of computational approaches for optimizing the process design and intensification for the production of chemicals, fuels and power generation.

Society of Women Engineers section wins top award at national conference The student organization was awarded a Gold Award for Outstanding Collegiate Section. The award recognizes sections that demonstrate the ability to share SWE’s mission of empowering female engineers through campus and outreach events. The WVU SWE section hosts a variety of outreach, professional development, community service and social events throughout the year. Their largest event, Girl Scout Day, brings more than 300 participants to campus to participate in STEMrelated activities and to help recruit the future generation of female engineers to WVU.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

West Virginia University’s section of the Society of Women Engineers received top honors during the 2016 SWE conference, the world’s largest conference and career fair for women in engineering, hosted in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


WVU sending two teams to first-ever NASA Mars Ice Challenge BY MARY C. DILLON

Two teams from West Virginia University have been selected to participate in the first-ever Mars Ice Challenge, a special edition competition under NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts—Academic Linkage brand of competitions. The Mars Ice Challenge is a technology demonstration competition that seeks revolutionary methods to drill into and extract water from simulated Martian subsurface ice stations. To participate, interested teams submitted project plan proposals containing innovative designs for drilling and water extraction systems on Earth that could be modified for use on Mars.


Only eight universities in total were selected to participate, and WVU is the only university to have two teams chosen.


Joining them in the competition are teams from Alfred University, Colorado School of Mines, North Carolina State University, University of Tennessee, University of Texas and University of Pennsylvania.

The teams must demonstrate appropriate progress and successfully pass a mid-project review in April to be invited to the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, for three days next June. While at NASA, teams will test their drilling systems on simulated Martian subsurface ice stations, solid blocks of ice covered with a mixture of clay and gravel approximately one meter deep. Teams will compete to extract the most water from the ice station. A familiar face, Powsiri Klinkhachorn, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, leads the first team from WVU: MIDAS, the Mountaineer Ice Drilling Automated System. Klinkhachorn and his students are veterans of RASC-AL competitions, having competed five consecutive times in the Robo-Ops Challenge, finishing first in 2014 and second in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Team lead Eric Loy, a master’s degree student in electrical engineering from Keyser, said team members were looking for a challenge when they heard the Robo-Ops Challenge was on hiatus.

Joining Loy on the team are David-Michael Buckman (computer engineering and computer science, WVU Honors College) from Inwood; Devyn Gentzyel (computer engineering and biometric




systems) from Enterprise, Alabama; Matt Gramlich (electrical and computer engineering) from Hurricane; Maneesh Chandu Jasti (graduate student, electrical engineering) from Telangana, India; Zephaniah Kraus (mechanical engineering, Honors College) from Independence, Pennsylvania; Nicholas Mireles (computer engineering) from Fredericksburg, Virginia; Keegan Mueller (mechanical engineering, Honors College) from Shady Spring; Nathan Owen (mechanical engineering) from Fairfax, Virginia; Karan Sah (mechanical and aerospace engineering, Honors College) from Lexington, South Carolina; and Bertrand Wieliczko (electrical and computer engineering) from Holderness, New Hampshire. Co-advising the team is Ilkin Bilgesu, associate professor of petroleum and natural gas engineering. “Dr. Bilgesu and his team won the international Drillbotics Competition in 2016,” Klinkhachorn said. “We asked them to join the team and give us some suggestions on the best way to drill into the Mars surface.” Klinkhachorn noted that while the system developed for the Drillbotics Competition isn’t suitable for the Mars environment, they did provide ideas related to the incorporation of automated drilling and water recovery into the proposal. “I would also like to acknowledge, John Quaranta, assistant professor of civil engineering, and students from the WVU Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers for helping us prepare and test simulated Mars soil samples as per ASTM International testing standards,” Klinkhachorn said. Thomas Evans, research associate professor in mechanical and aerospace engineering, leads the In-Situ Resource Extraction System team. Team members include graduate students Wesley Edge (mining engineering) from Belmont, North Carolina; Drew

Goodman (mechanical engineering) from Scott Depot; Sean Lantto (aerospace engineering) from Manassas, Virginia; Grant Speer (mining engineering) from Shippensburg, Pennsylvania; and Chris Vass (mining engineering) from Summersville. Undergraduate Matt Morrow (mechanical and aerospace engineering) from Ellicott City, Maryland, rounds out the team. The team is co-advised by Brijes Mishra and Aaron Noble from mining engineering. “We are very excited to be selected and look forward to competing in NASA’s Mars Ice Challenge,” Evans said. “This is a great group of students that have also worked on multiple research programs at the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center. They did an



excellent job developing a unique concept and presenting our approach in the proposal. They developed an innovative design that could meet system-level constraints of power, mass and volume in order for the technology to be applicable for NASA missions to Mars.” Recent discoveries of what are thought to be large ice deposits just under the surface on Mars have NASA engineers working on ways to extract water from the ice deposits, which could enable a sustained human presence on Mars. “NASA’s philosophy for quite some time in selecting destinations for human exploration is to ‘follow the water’,” says Robert Moses, aerospace engineer at NASA’s Langley Research Center. “Results of our Mars mission campaign studies continue to illustrate how critically important the water is on Mars for making the fuels and crew consumables (including spare parts) needed on Mars and when returning to Earth. Any mission to Mars without the ability to access the water is simply unsustainable and too risky.” “Exploring and demonstrating methods to extract water from Mars ice deposits is the heart of this competition,” says Patrick Troutman, human exploration architecture integration lead at NASA Langley. “Participating team members will take on the role of astronauts on Mars who monitor and control drilling operations for water extraction. We are thrilled with the creative designs proposed by these eight teams and are excited to see their various methods and approaches in action.” The teams are sponsored by the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, the West Virginia NASA Space Grant Consortium, the Lane Department, the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering and the West Virginia Robotic Technology Center. The teams also receive a stipend from the National Institute of Aerospace, which co-sponsors the competition.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

“News of the Ice Challenge sparked the enthusiasm of the team, and we began preparations for entry,” Loy said. “I was really proud that the team was able to come together as a whole to create a proposal that made us stand out among the many applicants. For me, it is such an honor to be competing in another prestigious RASC-AL challenge. We value our relations with the RASC-AL committee members, and look forward to seeing them again next year in Virginia.”


WVU team selected for contact with crew aboard the International Space Station BY BRITTANY FURBEE




A proposal submitted by a collaborative team of student organizations from the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University was one of only 11 selected to advance to the next stage of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, program. ARISS allows students worldwide to experience the excitement of talking with crew members on the Space Station in hopes of inspiring them to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

“The team was elated to hear that we were accepted,” said Kenneth Hite, a doctoral student from Summit Point, and WVU’s Amateur Radio Club president. “This was the first proposal many students on the team have ever written, so it was especially exciting for them.” The team, led by WVUARC, submitted a proposal to demonstrate the educational benefits of an ARISS radio contact. With the assistance of WVU’s student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Student Partnership for the Advancement of Cosmic Exploration, the students proposed a plan to offer grade school children the opportunity to participate in several events featuring amateur radiobased projects. “It’s difficult trying to recruit younger students into amateur radio,” said Jessica Liu, an electrical engineering student from Columbia, Maryland. “So what better way is there to promote it than having an opportunity to speak with an astronaut?” WVUARC and IEEE plan to partner with the outreach department in the Staler College to promote STEM education through summer engineering science camps that will feature projects like communicating using Morse code and controlling robots via satellite. They plan to extend these programs to communities and schools throughout the state. They have already partnered with University High School in Morgantown on their recently launched new science program, Earth and Space Science. The organizations will prepare presentations and projects on topics such as orbital mechanics, broadcasting basics and elevation antennas that will be incorporated into the UHS curriculum.

“I wanted to get involved with the ARISS project because communicating with the ISS allows us to learn how the processes work between Earth and space,” said Katie Warner, an electrical engineering student from Morgantown. “Having the opportunity to speak with crew members of the ISS through the ARISS project is a perfect way to apply the knowledge I have gained about electrical engineering here at WVU to a real-world application.” Before contact with the ISS is scheduled, the team must submit an equipment plan that demonstrates their ability to successfully carry out the amateur radio contact. “This is also a rather technical challenge,” said Heston Van Evera, an electrical engineering major from Shepherdstown. “Talking to the ISS will require not only proper antenna and radios, but also the equipment required to track the Space Station while it orbits. This is a challenge that will allow our club to gain a solid understanding of communication systems that only comes through actual application.” The team will be granted a technical mentor within the next month and plans to work with the Monongalia Wireless Association to raise funds for the new equipment and improvements necessary to meet the technical requirements. Pending approval, the contact will be carried out from the WVUARC’s home base on the 11th floor of the Engineering Science Building on WVU’s Evansdale campus. NASA will provide scheduling opportunities for those who successfully complete an equipment plan during the second half of 2017.

The acceptance of their education proposal with ARISS will not only allow them to expand their current educational outreach efforts in the community but also expand their reach here on campus. For the past year, WVUARC has put a lot of effort into reviving their membership numbers, and are excited to see increased interest in the group.


s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u




WVU donors surprise engineering dean with gift in his honor BY MARY C. DILLON

Two longtime supporters of West Virginia University have found yet another way to honor the institution that has given so much to them, while surprising one of its deans in the process.


Glen Hiner, who earned a degree in electrical engineering at WVU, and his wife, Ann, donated $225,000 to name the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources’ Freshman Engineering Learning Center. While the Hiners’ generosity was not a surprise, the name on the wall was: Eugene V. Cilento.

“Ann and I wanted to recognize Gene’s long-term dedication and commitment to the College, as we feel his leadership has been instrumental in its growth,” Hiner said. “Gene has played a key role in the nurturing and inspiration of the culture of the College along with its values, and for the development and adoption of its long-term strategic vision.

1992, he became chief executive officer of Owens Corning, where he introduced new products, built new manufacturing facilities around the world and oversaw many major initiatives. When Hiner took the reins, Owens Corning sales hovered at $3 billion. When he retired in 2002, sales had grown to $5 billion, with operations in more than 30 countries on six continents.

“I’m a proud West Virginian,” Hiner, a Morgantown native, added, “and giving back has always been a significant part of the way Ann and I want to live our lives and the heritage we want to pass on to our family.”

Over the years, Hiner has served the University and the Statler College in many ways. In 2005, he funded the College’s deanship that carries his name. In his honor, the College established the Glen H. Hiner Distinguished Lecture Series, which brings business leaders to campus to share their experience and knowledge with students and faculty. His many honors at WVU include induction into WVU’s College of Business and Economics Business Hall of Fame, the Distinguished Alumni Academies for the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering, and WVU’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni. He was awarded an honorary degree in 1989.


To say Cilento, who serves as the Glen H. Hiner Dean of the College, was at a loss for words would be an understatement.


“I am truly honored and humbled by this announcement,” Cilento said. “This Center is special; it epitomizes our College philosophy for engineering education, just as Glen epitomizes what it means to be a loyal Mountaineer. This wonderful gift will show future generations of our students how Glen and Ann felt about the importance of providing them with the tools needed for a quality education.” Upon graduation from WVU, Hiner embarked on a successful and innovative 35-year career with the General Electric Company. In

Cilento began his career with the Statler College in 1979. He served as a professor, researcher and the department chair for the College’s Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering. He was named dean of the College in 2001.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u

“Ann and I wanted to recognize Gene’s long-term dedication and commitment to the College, as we feel his leadership has been instrumental in its growth.” —Glen Hiner


Two assistant professors have been named the inaugural J. Wayne and Kathy Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering. KATHY AND WAYNE RICHARDS

Thorsten Wuest, from the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, and Saiph Savage, from the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, were appointed to the three-year positions, which provide funds to support and grow their respective research programs. The Fellowships are the result of a $1 million gift made in 2014 by alumnus J. Wayne Richards and his wife, Kathy. The first-of-its-kind endowment at WVU provides flexible funds to allow the College to hire, retain, reward and recognize faculty members who have not yet achieved tenure. “Kathy and I are honored to have the ability to support and recognize these two outstanding young faculty members as they work to grow their research profiles,” Richards said. “We congratulate them and we look forward to seeing how the fellowship help them bring their research to fruition in the years to come.”


“In a short period of time, Thorsten and Saiph have made significant contributions to the future of the Statler College and West Virginia University,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Thorsten has advanced the College’s research work in smart manufacturing, while Saiph has achieved international notoriety in the field of social engineering. I believe they epitomize the types of leaders Wayne and Kathy envisioned as being Richards Faculty Fellows in Engineering.” Noting the “supportive culture and collaborative spirit at WVU,” Wuest said he was honored and humbled by the trust put in him by WVU from the start.


“After meeting Wayne, it became directly apparent that he not only truly cares about the future of the state and the well-being of its citizens but that he is also a great benefactor of WVU, our students and our faculty,” Wuest said. “I plan to honor Wayne and Kathy’s legacy by strategically using the additional flexible funds to further develop my research program in smart manufacturing with the goal of contributing to make West Virginia’s manufacturing landscape more resilient and better prepared for upcoming challenges.”



Savage concurred noting, “It feels very empowering to be recognized. Receiving the funding will enable my human-computer interaction laboratory to start exploring new areas, such as creating tools that bootstrap on social networks

in memoriam Robert E. Boone Robert E. Boone, 88, passed away in Greenville, South Carolina, on September 14, 2016, after a brief illness. A 1950 graduate of WVU with a degree in electrical engineering, Boone retired after working more than 40 years in industry. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, his son, Douglas, and his daughter, Linda.

to improve engineering systems, which range from smart and connected health systems to efficient energy platforms. The funding will give us the resources we need to conduct impactful research and place WVU as one of the top universities in human-computer interaction.” Wuest came to WVU in 2015 after serving as a post-doctoral research fellow at BIBA, a scientific engineering research institute at the University of Bremen. He earned his doctorate in production engineering in 2014 and his master’s degree in industrial engineering and management in 2009, both from the University of Bremen. Savage earned her master’s and Ph.D. in computer science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been recognized with the ConacytUC MEXUS Doctoral Fellowship, Google Anita Borg Scholarship, and is also currently a member of Microsoft’s BizSpark and director of the Anita Borg Community powered by Google. Natives of South Charleston, the Richards have a history of support to the Statler College and to WVU Athletics. In 2012, the pair pledged $250,000 to the Statler College Building Fund to help fund construction of its new Advanced Engineering Research Building. In 2013, they pledged $1.25 million to the Mountaineer Athletic Club for enhancements to the football complex. A member of the Statler College’s Advisory Committee, J. Wayne Richards has spent his career in the oilfield services sector. After earning his bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from WVU in 1981, he spent 25 years in a number of senior operational and sales and marketing positions with Schlumberger. He currently serves as president and CEO of GR Energy Services in Sugar Land, Texas. Kathy earned her degree in dental hygiene at WVU Tech in Montgomery.

Sean Michael Guthrie Sean Michael Guthrie, 20, of Toms River, New Jersey, died on October 19, 2016. An industrial engineering major at WVU, Guthrie was a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and a student representative to the Greek Council at WVU. He is survived by his parents, Daniel and Michelle Guthrie, and his sister, Taylor.

James Lee “Jim” Konchesky, Sr. James Lee “Jim” Konchesky, Sr., 82, of Morgantown, passed away January 25, 2017, in Kingwood. After earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering at WVU, Konchesky worked at the Bureau of Mines, the Mobay Chemical Co. and the U.S. Department of the Interior. He is survived by his wife, Stella, two children and several grandchildren.

Albert Massullo Albert Paul Massullo, 83, of Morgantown, passed away September 9, 2016. A native of Uniontown, Pennsylvania, Massullo graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, Massullo spent most of his career in the Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., area, working for Glenn L. Martin Aircraft, Westinghouse Electric, the Navy Yard, the Defense Logistics Agency, Defense Management Commands and the Air Force Systems Command. He is survived by three brothers and four sisters.

Andrew Modzik Sr. Andrew Modzik Sr., 90, of Morgantown, died November 29, 2016. An alumnus of the mining engineering program, Modzik spent most of his career in service to the U.S. Air Force, working in the Air Defense Command. He was a veteran of three wars: World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He retired as a chief master sergeant in 1969, but continued working in federal government positions with the postal service and later with the Department of Energy as a federal mining inspector. He is survived by his wife, Billie, their three children and four grandchildren.

Wayne Allen Muth Wayne Allen Muth, 84, formerly of Morgantown, died October 6, 2016, in Charlotte, North Carolina. A native of Denver, Colorado, Muth was professor emeritus of computer science at WVU and was inducted into the Lane Department’s Distinguished Alumni Academy in 2001. After completing active duty in the U.S. Navy, he worked for Martin-Marietta as a research scientist on the Titan missile and went on to establish the computer science department at Southern Illinois University. He came to WVU in 1969 as director of the computer center and eventually became chair of the Department of Statistics and Computer Science. He is survived by his three children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

s t a t l e r. w v u . e d u




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

WV V requested AddressV correction ENGINEERING WEST VIRGINIA





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

EngineeringWV Spring 2017  

Statler College's spring issue of EngineeringWV is focusing on the evolution of a major, researchers turning robots into pollination tools,...

EngineeringWV Spring 2017  

Statler College's spring issue of EngineeringWV is focusing on the evolution of a major, researchers turning robots into pollination tools,...

Profile for wvucemr