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Volume 8 Issue 1


Dear Friends: To say the first semester of the new year has been an exciting one in the College and University would be an understatement. First came the euphoria surrounding the football team’s convincing win in the Orange Bowl. But that would be eclipsed just days later by the announcement of the largest gift in the University’s history, made to the College by mining engineering alumnus Ben Statler and his wife, Jo. As I stood at the podium before a standing-room only crowd attending the press conference, I was filled with joy, emotion, and excitement for our great College and University. Words alone could not express the impact this gift will have on the future of engineering education and research at WVU.


Spring 2012


Their transformational gift of $34 million, which was matched with $11 million from the state’s Research Trust Fund, not only changed the name of the College but will serve to catapult it into the forefront among engineering and energy-research institutions. A perfect example is our research in areas related to the development of shale gas. The faculty and students in the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering (PNGE) are performing cuttingedge research to optimize well production and increase drilling safety. The enrollment in the Department has quadrupled, with students from around the world enrolling in the program. And our students are in high demand; many have offers of employment well before graduation. Our efforts in shale gas research are not limited to PNGE. In this issue, you will read about the efforts of students in chemical engineering that are working to develop a cost-effective alternative to a cracker plant, which processes the byproducts of shale gas. Faculty and students working with the Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines, and Emissions are also hard at work, helping a national grocery store chain convert some of its vehicles from diesel to lesspolluting compressed natural gas. In his remarks on January 12, Mr. Statler stressed the importance of collaborative opportunities for exploration and discovery that lead to efficient use of energy. Less than two weeks after he made that speech, we got our first attempt to honor his vision. A team of students, led by faculty mentor Dimitris Korakakis from the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, was one of only 20 teams internationally to be selected to compete in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, hosted by the U.S. Department of Energy. The worldwide competition challenges students to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, and energy-efficient solar-powered house. While this initiative started in the Statler College, it is truly a University activity, involving students from the College of Creative Arts; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism. To think all of that happened early in the new year is truly special. We capture some of the exciting moments in College history in this issue, so I hope you will enjoy it. The excitement will continue in 2012, as we kickoff plans to celebrate 125 years of engineering education this fall at WVU and break ground on our new Advanced Engineering Research Building. We hope you will join us as we continue to celebrate an exciting year of change and growth for the newly named Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

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

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












ON COVER / Pictured: Cross Lanes, W.Va., native Kimberly Larch has landed a job with Northeast Natural Energy, LLC upon graduation. INSERT

SPRING 2012 Dean and Publisher / Eugene V. Cilento gene.cilento@mail.wvu.edu / 304.293.4157 Editor / Mary C. Dillon / mary.dillon@mail.wvu.edu Contributing Writers / Scott Gillespie / Deborah Miller Debra Richardson / Dan Shrensky / Jake Stump


Address West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources PO Box 6070 / Morgantown, WV 26506-6070 www.cemr.wvu.edu Change of Address WVU Foundation / PO Box 1650 Morgantown, WV 26504-1650 Fax: 304.284.4001 / e-mail: info@wvuf.org www.mountaineerconnection.com Engineering West Virginia is published twice each year, in spring and fall, for the alumni, friends, and other supporters of the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Copyright ©2012 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 Engineering West Virginia is acknowledged in print as the source. Contact the Editor for permission to reprint entire articles. West Virginia University is governed by the WVU Board of Governors and the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. WVU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.


Volume 8 Issue 1

Magazine Design Coordinator / J. Paige Nesbit






The War on Terror did not stop with the death of Osama bin Laden.

Spring 2012


Although the U.S. Navy Seals’ raid last May marked a milestone in the ongoing conflict, it also served as a reminder that, for the foreseeable future, the battle is not over.


Crucial to U.S. efforts are technological advances designed to neutralize threats and minimize American casualties in Afghanistan, Iraq, and future battle zones. Rugged terrain, stealth, and technology have changed the nature of combat, requiring the United States to continually tweak its strategies and armaments. West Virginia University is poised to play a key role in these advancements, thanks to a multimillion dollar contract with the U.S. Department of Defense to upgrade some of its current weapons systems. The goal was to create a new line of smart munitions that would be ballistically fired like mortars or grenades but would transform into an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) capable of surveillance or payload delivery. The new devices would combine the best features of autonomous drones and conventional weapons while offering easier transport and more efficiency. Previous technology included the T-Hawk, a 17-pound, gasoline-powered micro air vehicle, not known for its stealth.

In 2009, WVU was awarded $2.2 million to work with the United States Army Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center, but more than research funding, the stakes WVU is playing for involve homeland security, freedom, and human lives. “I’m very proud of WVU and to be a part of this,” Wade Huebsch, an associate professor in WVU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and co-principal investigator of the project, said. “The ultimate goal is for the soldier – to give the soldier this unique weapon and increase his safety out in the field.”

THE CHALLENGE WVU’s challenge was multifaceted. Along with creating new munitions that had increased range and more precise strike capability, WVU had to match its creations to existing military weaponry. “The original idea is that the Army has all of these grenade, mortar, and shell weapons,” Huebsch said. “Could we take these existing weapons and make a massive leap forward in capability while still being able to use the same

gun systems to fire the weapons? If so, this would significantly reduce the cost and the training needed to field the new weapon. What we’re creating is an entirely new class of UAV, a transforming projectile.” WVU’s devices resemble 40- and 60-millimeter shells and can be fired using grenade or mortar launchers. Because of their size, the weapons are easily transportable, and their adaptability makes them capable of being launched and operated autonomously or with a guidance system, depending on the task. The shells’ fold-in wings deploy once airborne, and,


Shanti Hamburg, a mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, holds a 40-millimeter shell to demonstrate the size of one of WVU’s new smart munitions. (WVU Photo by Brian Persinger.)

“There’s not anything to compare it to at this point,” Huebsch said. “It’s a small size and it transforms in flight, which is unique. It’s ballistically launched, unlike other UAVs, and ultimately it will be at very low cost.” Mridul Gautam, principal investigator, predicts WVU’s devices will be invaluable as strategic tools. “They can provide you with unprecedented, beyond the line of sight situational awareness on the battlefield,” he said, “which typically wasn’t available, unless you called in bigger (aircraft) or have some other means of reconnaissance.” As crucial as WVU’s innovation was in creating a new defense tool, its personal connection was just as important.

although light and compact, they carry complex electronics, such as cameras and GPS and also weapons. WVU’s devices became known as transforming projectiles because of their versatility and unique ability to use armaments as propulsion.

To improve its munitions, the U.S. military had to find an organization that had expertise in a broad range of areas, including design, aerodynamics, structures, controls, propulsion, power and energy, electronics, and communications. WVU’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources not only has that expertise but it has developed a reputation for exceeding expectations on military contracts, according to Gautam. Gautam, associate vice president for research, initiated a relationship with the DoD in 2005 and won several research awards of approximately $100,000 each over the next few years. The

That’s just the beginning, according to Gautam, who hopes to establish deeper relationships with the U.S. military and intelligence agencies. “The DoD was an area we had never explored but had many opportunities,” Gautam said. “You do two or three things right, they come back to you. You do bigger things right and other agencies will look for you. This is what has happened in this case. “Our faculty have stepped up and just overwhelmed the sponsor with what they’ve delivered and delivered it in record time. The quality of their work has been outstanding.”

To view the video sidebar to the story visit: http://bit.ly/xoBHuT

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A group of WVU researchers and others pose during WVU UAV Week, an invitation-only exhibition at Louis Bennett Airfield at WVU Jackson’s Mill held last summer. From left to right are: Wade Huebsch, associate professor in WVU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Mitch Wathan of the U.S. Army Research Lab; Patrick Browning; a Statler College research assistant professor; Jay Wilhelm, a principal engineer in WVU’s Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; Mridul Gautam, associate vice president for research; and Alan Mollohan. (WVU Photos by Brian Persinger.)

DoD was impressed with WVU’s work and, with the help of former Congressman Alan Mollohan, landed the first of its current multimillion dollar contracts four years later.



Farmington. Sago. Upper Big Branch.


In West Virginia, those words draw mountains of sorrow and reflection from the state’s deep-seated coal mining family. Collectively, those three high-profile disasters snatched the lives of 117 miners. In a utopian world, the availability of adequate technology and equipment could have precisely pinpointed the location of those trapped miners and enabled a swift rescue. A mining engineering professor at West Virginia University is working on making that utopian world a reality for coal miners across the state, country, and world. Keith Heasley earned a $110,511 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a seismic system for locating trapped miners. The system is portable and can be set up within minutes of arriving at the accident site.

Spring 2012


It’s a project that stems from one of the previously mentioned mine disasters – Sago, in which an explosion trapped 13 miners for nearly two days in January 2006 in Upshur County, W.Va. Only one of the miners, Randal McCloy, survived.


“At Sago, they didn’t know if anyone was alive or where they were,” Heasley said.


The 13 men were trapped two miles inside the mine at about 280 feet below the ground. McCloy later recounted how he and his fellow miners took turns pounding at the mine bolts and plates underground with a sledgehammer, in hopes that rescuers above ground would hear those pleas for help. “No one heard them,” Heasley said. “It’s all hindsight and conjecture, but if they had a system like the one we’re developing, there may have been a quicker effort getting to them. It would’ve changed the dynamic of the situation.”


the accident and, crucially, where they are located. This is an unprecedented advance in mine safety technology, according to SureWave. Given the dangers of coal mining, why doesn’t this technology already exist? “Unfortunately, there’s not a big market for this type of mining rescue equipment,” Heasley said. “Each state might buy one, so that’s less than 100 units. In this case, it needs the support of federal funding for the health and safety of miners.” Heasley and SureWave will continue to test this system at mines over the next 15 months – the duration of the grant. They hope to test it at a deep mine out west, as well as a site with background noise in West Virginia. David Manning, director of business development in North America for SureWave, said the company’s managing director, Philip Shaw, has worked on this technology for 15 years. SureWave found out about Heasley when they discovered a report on him testing his system at a West Virginia mine.

Heasley said background noise, which can be anything from the wind, chatter, or trees rustling, can interfere with the signals that determine a miner’s exact location. “You can have rain, road traffic, rescuers drilling; there are a number of things that can impede the signals,” he said. But this system in development filters out the background noise. Last year, Heasley began collaborating with SureWave Technology, a United Kingdom-based company, to further develop this seismic system.

Since then, they’ve conducted field tests at two mine sites: The 4 West Mine in Greene County, Pa., and the Federal No. 2 Mine in Fairview, W.Va. With the aid of his graduate students and other mining engineering faculty, Heasley and SureWave successfully detected the location of individuals pounding with sledgehammers 800 feet below ground.

The tests have also given mining engineering graduate students an opportunity to participate in hands-on research and experiments in the field.

“We’re proposing to test this system up to 2,000 feet below ground, which would take care of 99 percent of mines in this country,” Heasley said.

“We had one student underground doing the pounding,” Heasley said. “There were several on the surface helping out – digging holes, running wires, and of course, analyzing the data. They enjoy that.”

The system consists of sensitive microphones called geophones that are placed onto the ground. Geophones can identify underground sounds, such as pounding. These devices are attached to a computer that uses an algorithm to filter out background noise and determine a precise location of the underground sound. The rescue response team should know within hours whether or not there are survivors from

But the purpose of the research bounces back to providing a safe environment for one of the grittiest jobs in the country. Once Heasley’s technology is in place, West Virginia may no longer be known for these unfortunate disasters. It may be known, instead, for helping save miners all across the globe.

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Several factors inhibited responders’ ability to locate and rescue the trapped miners. Traditional seismic systems used to locate trapped miners are limited in depth, Heasley explained. Most systems can’t locate miners more than 400 feet underground. Although the Sago miners were trapped within 280 feet, background noise interfered with the signals from the seismic system.

The tool could also be used for military and Homeland Security purposes, Manning said. Illegal immigrants, terrorists, or drug traffickers crossing the U.S. border from Mexico via underground tunnels could be caught with this technology, he said.







West Virginia has long been referred to as “coal country.” The nation’s annual coal production totaled one billion tons in 2009, and West Virginia alone produced 144 million tons of it. What many people don’t realize, however, is that the state produces nearly the same amount of coal from surface mining as it does from underground mining. Dr. Vlad Kecojevic, associate professor of mining engineering at West Virginia University, will be studying various surface mining systems over the next five years.


Future surface coal mining operations will be required to incorporate new design features and practices that will substantially reduce environmental impacts.

“New excavation technologies and systems need to be applied to minimize environmental disturbances during overburden handling and coal extraction and improve coal recovery while reducing waste generation, waste reactivity, and water impacts; ground vibration, air-blasts, and flyrocks; the emission of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide of mobile equipment; and noise and dust generation,” explained Kecojevic.

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Increased levels of research and development will be necessary to ensure that the coal industry can design, permit, build, operate, reclaim, and monitor mines in compliance with increasingly stringent environmental performance standards.


“We will develop and deploy an information-driven system that will help mine operators select the most productive, cost-effective, and eco-friendly surface mining systems,” said Kecojevic. “We will incorporate a hierarchical structure where attribute categories, such as production, cost, and the environment, and their importance, priority, or weight in the selection process will be determined. “With this research, we intend to introduce a step-change in how the mining industry addresses decision situations that feature multiple criteria for selecting the best alternative,” said Kecojevic. Kecojevic expects more than 50 overburden and 120 surface coal the mining systems will be analyzed during the duration of the research. There is a requirement for coal seams and overburden to be mined separately to prevent dilution of coal with inter-burden material, which is important for the coal mines in the state, where most of the coal seams are interspersed with inter-burden layers. “Special emphasis will be given to the ability of the proposed system to work selectively with high separation accuracy,” Kecojevic said. “The capability of the system to work selectively will provide better quality coal.” The system will be available to coal mining companies who have sponsored this $380,000 research. The WVU team will be working with the Appalachian Research Initiative for Environmental Sciences, or ARIES, which is a consortium of seven major universities with support from private industry.

Dr. Xueyan Song, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, recently received a grant from the Army Research Laboratory. The three-year project, totaling $150,000, will focus on miniaturizing power conversion units. “Mobile micro-systems that are palm-sized or smaller require ultra-compact power conversion units to convert multiple voltage levels from a single battery source,” explained Song. “This miniaturization may be achieved by increasing the switching frequency and single-chip integration of multiple passive devices comprising nanoparticles assembly.” Song’s research will consist of analyzing the assembly, shape, and fabrication of various devices to determine the key fabrication condition that will achieve the optimal distribution of nanoparticles. A nanoparticle is any microscopic particle whose size is measured in nanometers. “We look at the devices using various microscopes, including light microscopes, scanning electron microscopes, and transmission electron microscopes,” said Song. “For such single-chip integration of multiple passive devices with nanoparticles assembly to be efficient, the nanoparticles need to be uniformly distributed from the scale of nanometers to the several tens microns. We are looking for the structure features at a different scale level from millimeter to atomic scales.” Materials for various energy applications are becoming increasingly more prominent. “Collectively, the new knowledge and new technology gained from this research will have a positive impact on a variety of advanced technologies, including improving sustainability of the world’s electricity base,” Song said. “This newly funded research will provide excellent training to graduate students at West Virginia University and will foster the development of advanced specialists from the challenging research field of energy materials,” said Song. Song is a materials scientist and transmission electron microscopist with research interests centered primarily in energy related material systems for energy generation, energy conversion, and energy transmission. Her current research interest and projects also include thermoelectric materials and devices, fuel cells, refractory materials, superconductors, and semiconductors.



It’s no secret that things changed after September 11, 2001. Federal and state officials became concerned about the safety of America’s infrastructures, with tunnel safety near the top of the list. Underwater tunnels have long been recognized as being vulnerable in the event of an attack or other type of disaster.

gallons of water at a rate of one thousand gallons per minute were released into the plug. The closed end of the simulator behind the plug was also flooded and then water pressure was increased to simulate a flooding event. While the test was a success, Barbero still sees room for improvement.

WVU custom-built the facility in order to test the RTP. “Our testing facility is configured like a tunnel in a major metropolitan city,” said Eduardo Sosa, research assistant professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. “But it can be reconfigured as needed. It is the next-best thing to actually doing the test in a tunnel.” The plug, according to Ever Barbero, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at WVU, is 16.2-foot diameter x 32-foot long inflatable structure capable of blocking the flow of pressurized liquid and gas through a tunnel. After deployment, the RTP is pressurized to reach the desired operations conditions. At the January test, 35,000

“It leaves a few remaining things for us to do to make it truly operational in the field,” said Barbero. “We had some underwater leakage, which is manageable but we could still do better.” Next steps for the team include refinement of the design methodology so it can be tailor-made for specific locations. “The multidisciplinary team of engineers from WVU is extremely important to us on this project,” said John Fortune, project manager for DHS S&T. “Their creativity on how to design the system, test the system, and model the structures in which we might deploy the system has been critical to our success.” “The participation of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) has been important in the overall management and coordination of the project,” added Barbero. Development of the RTP technology is conducted in partnership with the PNNL and ILC Dover.

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Enter a diverse team of researchers from West Virginia University that has been working for several years on the Resilient Tunnel Plug project (RTP), under the sponsorship of the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate (DHS S&T). An earlier version of the tunnel plug failed during testing about a year ago. Since then, the WVU team has worked with industry partner ILC Dover to come up with a completely new design that recently underwent testing in a new flooding simulator in Morgantown in January.




For the remainder of this year, Drs. David Martinelli and Avi Unnikrishnan, professors of civil engineering at West Virginia University, will be busy researching three separate projects for the state and U.S. Department of Transportation. The professors received $500,000 to conduct research on fog detection, the state’s graduated driver licensing program, and school zone traffic control strategies.

Spring 2012


“These three projects address some of the emerging transportation issues and priorities in our state,” said Martinelli. “In general they are aimed at improving highway safety toward reducing accidents, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways.”


Fog is among the most dangerous weather conditions with respect to multicar crashes. “Fog events are known to either be recurring or nonrecurring,” Martinelli said. If it’s recurring, there is an opportunity to detect it with a high degree of reliability and warn drivers accordingly. The fog detection research will examine current technology for predicting and detecting fog events and make recommendations as to the type of systems to deploy, if any, at locations in West Virginia. The second research project involves researching and examining current laws associated with school zones. Emerging trends, such as fewer students walking to school, fewer students riding the bus, consolidated schools, and more teenagers driving, have led to major congestion and safety issues. “We will be researching different ways to alleviate the congestion and transportation hazards by looking at traffic devices, access layouts, and possible changes to drop-off hours and policies,” Martinelli said. A recurring problem among many consolidated schools built near major highways or active transportation routes is that they may not fall under the school zone law, making it difficult to implement a slower speed limit during school transportation hours. The third research project involves the graduated licensing (GDL) program in West Virginia and its effectiveness in promoting safety among younger drivers. While most states currently have some form of the program, there is no real evidence of whether it is working.

“The intent of GDL programs is to reduce accidents among young drivers by allowing them to accumulate driving experience under the safest conditions possible,” Martinelli said. For state residents, this means restrictions on night driving, the number of authorized passengers, and occasionally, specific highways are restricted. Martinelli and Unnikrishnan and their team of graduate students will be looking at the attitudes and level of awareness from teenagers, their parents, and local police officers. “In general, GDLs are difficult for police to enforce, but we believe that their effectiveness might lie more in empowering parents to impose restrictions and manage their child’s driving experience,” explained Martinelli. “There are existing pilot programs where parents and the teenager sign contracts agreeing to obey the designated restrictions,” Martinelli said. Researchers in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will be working closely with the School of Journalism to develop survey instruments as well as public awareness recommendations with respect to the GDL program and school zones. The duration of the research projects is approximately one year, and they will employ both graduate and undergraduate students. Martinelli is excited about involving undergraduate students in these projects, as they will gain valuable technical experience that goes beyond classroom learning. “It is always fun to include undergraduate students in our projects, but this is especially true for these projects since our undergraduate students are in the same age group as those we will be studying in two of the three projects,” said Martinelli. “Hopefully, they can relate to the issues and the implications of possible programs and changes.” Public reports from all three projects will be published through the West Virginia Division of Highways Office of Research.



In today’s highly competitive economy, a company’s ability to continue producing and delivering goods is not only imperative, but in many cases, is a matter of survival. Dr. Feng Yang, assistant professor of industrial and management systems engineering at West Virginia University, has been studying this phenomenon for a few years. Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, Yang and her team of WVU students will begin conducting in-depth research, which they hope will expose a new, innovative solution.

“Compared to other industries, semiconductor manufacturing is under particularly high pressure from rapidly changing market needs, short product life cycle, and increasing global competition,” said Yang. “So in this area, more so than others, the ability to respond and recover from a disruptive event is critical.” But this research will not be limited to only the manufacturing sector; it can also be applied to service sectors, such as healthcare, communication, and transportation. Yang is currently working with Dr. Peter Perrotta, the director of the clinical laboratory at WVU’s Health Sciences Center, to improve the efficiency of their labs. A doctoral student, Minqi Li, and two undergraduate students, Brittney Benchoff and Mathew Perrotta, all students in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, will be participating in the research.

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“Modern manufacturing enterprises experience disruptions on many levels: unexpected customer demand, supplier failures, a bomb explodes, and natural disasters,” explained Yang. “Currently, many companies simply leave the task of coping with these various disruptions to security and insurance professionals. However, building a resilient enterprise should be a strategic initiative that companies seek to increase their competitiveness.”

Semiconductor materials are the foundation of modern electronics, such as radios, computers, and telephones.


This resilience is the point of Yang’s research, which intends to develop a responsive production planning method. This system will allow for optimum re-planning of production activities within minutes, while the system is still fully capable of recognizing the current situation and product constraints.

“During the next three years, we will develop simulation-based statistical methods and apply those methods to address real-time decision making problems for both manufacturing and service applications,” Yang said.

“An industry of particular interest to this work is semiconductor manufacturing, which is among the most complicated and capitalintensive manufacturing processes in the world,” Yang said.

Yang has extensive experience in statistical modeling, design of experiments, and stochastic simulation of manufacturing and service systems. This is the second NSF grant Yang has earned as a principal investigator in 2011.


How is the gas extracted from the formation?

Spring 2012


How much gas is really in the Marcellus shale?


How much is located in West Virginia?

What is the

Is fracking Where is the Marcellus shale?

Is fracking regulated?

How many new jobs will be created in West Virginia because of the Marcellus shale?


The Marcellus shale, which some have called the “Saudi Arabia of natural gas,� is a geological formation of sedimentary rock that contains natural gas. Experts suggest that it may be one of the largest onshore natural gas fields in North America. The formation extends from southern New York state, through western Pennsylvania, into Ohio, Maryland, and West Virginia, comprising about 95,000 square miles or 60.8 million acres. Located about a mile beneath that rock is a veritable mother lode of natural gas. The natural gas extracted from the Marcellus play is estimated to be valued at $1 trillion. More than 2,700 wells in the state of West Virginia have been identified as targeting the shale formations that have the potential to recover more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. It is also estimated that an additional 19,000 jobs will be created in the state, thanks to the Marcellus play.

Marcellus shale?


How much water is used to drill and frack a well?

The process of fracking wells is nothing new. First used in the late 1940s, it is now used worldwide in tens of thousands of oil and natural gas wells annually. More than 99.5 percent of the fracking mixture is made up of water and sand. Other additives used are found in common consumer products. Fracking is regulated by federal laws, including the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. States may also enact their own regulatory programs, but they are subject to federal approval and must be at least as protective as the federal regulations.


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More than a mile underground, this once unreachable gas is now recoverable thanks to advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing technology. Horizontal drilling uses vertical drilling from the surface down to a desired level. A drill bit then turns at a near 90 degree angle and bores into a natural gas reservoir horizontally. Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, involves pumping fluids or water into the wellbore with enough pressure to create small microfractures, or fissures, in the rock formation to enhance recovery. This fracture allows the natural gas to move into the wellbore and then up to the surface.



The Two “Hs”:

Horizontal Drilling Hydraulic BY MARY C. DILLON

The drilling activity in the Devonian shale located in the Appalachians increased several fold in recent years, thanks to the Marcellus shale. Horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing have been the prime technological drivers for the growing importance of shale gas.

Spring 2012


“With innovative breakthroughs in fracturing and drilling technology, massive homegrown natural gas reserves can be brought to the surface,” said Sam Ameri, chair of the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. “The production of more than 100 years’ worth of inexpensive natural gas is clearly in sight.”


Horizontal drilling has revolutionized the way in which natural gas is extracted. Instead of needing one site per natural gas well, multiple horizontal wells can be launched from a single pad. This technology also allows multiple target zones to be reached from one surface pad. Hydraulic fracturing is a process using water, sand, and chemicals to open fissures in rocks to release natural gas.

Research is key to unlocking the vast quantities of natural gas that are found in the Marcellus play, gas once deemed too difficult to drill. Because of that, every faculty member in the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering at West Virginia University is actively engaged in research related to shale. In 2011, research expenditures in the Department were about $200,000 per faculty member, with most related to shale formations. Most drilling-related failures are caused by unstable boreholes in clay-rich shale formations. Associate Professor Ilkin Bilgesu’s current research focuses on the interaction between shale formations and different drilling fluids and ways in which to improve long-term borehole stability. “Experiments provide more insight to the formations in terms of their production potential,” said Bilgesu. “They can provide a window to these valuable resources and can help daily operations run without problems. The goal is to reduce, and if possible, eliminate

hole stability problems that can cause wellbore collapse, hole enlargement or reduction, stuck pipe, and even complete loss of the wellbore.” The reservoir structure in the Marcellus play is complicated by large fault networks. A reactivated fault can cause early aborting or failure of fracturing treatment and fluid leakage along the fault. Assistant Professor Yueming Cheng has been studying whether fracturing in horizontal wells will reactivate existing faults underground. “This research project will assess the reactivation potentials of faults by identifying the in-situ stress conditions of faults nearby fracture treatment wells,” said Cheng. “We will develop a multifracture propagation model coupled with the stress variation model. The goal is to optimize fracture design while avoiding or mitigating reactivation of faults.” WVU is partnering with Range ResourcesAppalachia, LLC, an independent oil and gas company, on the project. Range owns

Multiple horizontal wells drilled from a single pad. Multiple stages of hydraulic fractures are modeled in each of the lateral wells.


Fracturing interests in approximately 11,000 oil and natural gas wells and has a leasehold position of approximately 1 million net acres containing about 1,700 proved drilling locations. Estimating the economic potential of reservoirs is the specialty of Professor Shahab Mohaghegh. “Implementation of conventional numerical and analytical modeling on shale gas production in the past decade by the operators, service companies, and researchers has resulted in one major conclusion: The art and science, originally developed for carbonate and coal bed methane reservoirs, that have been integrated to model shale, cannot adequately model fluid flow in shale,” said Mohaghegh. Mohaghegh’s research shows that modeling of production from shale gets ever more complex with the implementation of hydraulic fracturing. Using a technique he developed called TopDown Modeling, Mohaghegh employs stateof-the-art artificial intelligence and data mining to build data-driven predictive models that can match the production history of Marcellus shale assets with accuracy.

Mohaghegh’s research is led by the Gas Technology Institute and also includes Pennsylvania State University, the University of Texas at Austin, Pinnacle Technologies, Inc., and ResTech, Inc. Funding for the project

Central to the research being done in the Department is the newly established Marcellus shale laboratory, which features state-of-the-art computer equipment designed for accurate measurements of shale petrophysical properties. “Accurate measurements of porosity and permeability of Marcellus shale from fresh core samples, as well as their integration with other information, can provide a basis for us to better understand the characteristics of the shale,” said Khashayar Aminian, professor of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. “This information is also needed for evaluating the potential for CO2 sequestration in Marcellus shale.” Aminian noted that capillary pressure measurements on shale samples may provide valuable information in conjunction with geochemical analysis of water samples to identify the potential source of the dissolved solids in the water. Aminian and Ameri are currently serving as co-principal investigators on three funded projects slated for study in the lab.


“The Marcellus shale can easily be characterized as the ‘gold rush’ of this century,” said Ameri. “The play has as many productive layers of gas-bearing formations as Saudi Arabia has oil fields.” And this is just the beginning. Many believe the Utica shale gas field, which is actually located beneath the Marcellus, may offer even greater potential for long-term development than the Marcellus. Stay tuned.

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“This success paves the way to build predictive models for production from shale formation, including the role of hydraulic fracturing in the operation,” said Mohaghegh. “By successfully modeling this complex phenomenon, we will be able to increase production from Marcellus shale while minimizing the environmental footprint of our operations.”

is provided through the Department of Energy and is funded from lease bonuses and royalties paid by industry to produce oil and gas on federal lands. The funding program was designed to maximize the value of natural gas and other petroleum resources by increasing supply by reducing the cost and increasing the efficiency of exploration while improving safety and minimizing environmental impacts.



A recent report in Fortune confirms what many at West Virginia University already suspected: petroleum and natural gas engineering graduates are in demand. With an average starting salary of $90,000, students from around the world are taking notice and enrolling in record numbers. “The Marcellus shale play has quadrupled our enrollment,” said Sam Ameri, chair of the Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. “Students from around the world are looking to our program, and our graduate program is totally full.”


Shale Gold Rush Brings Record

Number of Students to WVU According to the most recent estimate from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, taken in May 2010, there are approximately 28,000 petroleum engineers in the United States. That number is up from just under 15,000 six years ago. Cross Lanes, W.Va., native Kimberly Larch is just months away from earning her master’s degree in the discipline and has already landed a job with Northeast Natural Energy, LLC. She currently works as an intern with the company. “I grew up around drilling rigs,” said Larch, whose family has been involved in the state’s oil and gas industry since the early 1970s. “We owned a large, private drilling company and my father was the drilling superintendent. In 2005, he purchased some old production wells. As a result, I was directly exposed to the natural gas production process and became interested in the field.


“My father allowed me to do much of the production management and learn by doing things myself,” Larch said. “My advice to anyone interested in pursuing a career in petroleum and natural gas engineering would be to get involved with the industry as early as possible.” Larch earned her undergraduate degree in mathematics and chemistry at West Virginia Wesleyan College before starting her graduate studies at WVU in 2010. It was during that time that the Marcellus shale play became a prevalent source of natural gas in the region, causing what Larch terms as an “explosion” of jobs and technology in the Appalachian Basin.

Spring 2012

A report from WVU’s College of Business and Economics, Bureau of Business and Economic Research, notes that the state’s natural gas industry accounted for more than $12 billion in business volume and created nearly 25,000 jobs in 2009. The study’s author, Dr. Tom S. Witt, estimates that the Marcellus shale play accounted for the creation of 7,600 of those jobs. “Because of my family roots, I’ve always wanted to stay in or around West Virginia,” Larch said. “The opportunities provided by the Marcellus shale have made that possible.”



“A number of new companies are coming to the area for Marcellus shale projects, and from the recruiters I’ve spoken to, they are expecting this to be a well-sustained endeavor,” said Lloyd Ford, coordinator of corporate relations and career assistance. “This is leading them to want to recruit more locally in order to keep turnover down. Overall, it makes for some really great opportunities for WVU petroleum and natural gas engineering students who want to try and remain in the area for a good portion, if not all, of their professional career.”




Large volumes of water are required to aid in the extraction of natural gas from Marcellus shale. It has been suggested that each well requires approximately four to six million gallons of fresh water. Between 15 and 40 percent may be returned to the surface as “flowback” water, which must then be disposed. Flowback contains clay, dirt, metals, and chemicals used in the fracking process. Untreated flowback water from hydraulic fracking cannot be discharged into streams, lakes, or rivers. The water must be disposed of or treated, and companies can opt to dispose of the flowback water by transporting it to deep injection wells. The limited availability of injection wells and transportation costs make this option a very expensive one. Dr. Lian-Shin Lin, associate professor in civil and environmental engineering, is conducting research aimed at reducing the demand for fresh water in natural gas production. “Our approach is to explore alternative water sources for natural gas production and develop a treatment toolbox containing technologies that can be tailored and integrated to meet various treatment needs for different produced water sources,” said Lin. Developing a flowchart that accounts for all water flows from the sources, onsite uses and storage, evaporation, reuse, and disposal allows identification of opportunities and cost-effective strategies to minimize freshwater demands and brine volume, and to maximize reuse. To date, there is no single onsite treatment technique or treatment unit that could treat all parameters in flowback water. Therefore, a toolbox of treatment technologies is necessary to allow selection of appropriate methods for onsite treatment of flowback water to produce a usable treated stream.

Lin is researching portable treatment units that can be used to provide on-site treatment of the flowback water. This will substantially reduce off-site water hauling and the costs associated with the shipment of that water. Currently, Lin’s research group is conducting an evaluation of various treatment technologies, such as chemical precipitation, flocculation, filtration, bioelectrochemical treatment, thermal and mechanical desalination, and crystallization. Lin is in the process of applying for a Department of Energy research grant to continue his research on portable treatment units.

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“Treatment and reuse of flowback water are advantageous in regions where fresh water for hydraulic fracturing is scarce or disposal options are limited,” Lin said. “We are attempting to reduce the need for fresh water by evaluating water recovery and reuse while working to minimize the brine volume that requires disposal.”



Marcellus Shale may very well be the hottest topic of 2012 as West Virginia remains a contender for a multibillion-dollar chemical plant that will have the ability to create more than 12,000 jobs. This plant, deemed a “cracker” plant, cracks the molecules in a byproduct from Marcellus shale natural gas into a common chemical compound for distribution.

More than One Way to

Crack a Molecule


Spring 2012


As politicians in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio compete for this facility, a group of West Virginia University students are giving everyone a run for their money as they propose a different method for engineering companies that is not only cost-effective but is so innovative that the technology doesn’t even exist yet at the full plant scale.


Julian Bergstein, a senior in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, will be one of thousands of young engineers seeking employment in the new frontier of natural gas. For his senior project, Bergstein and his team of fellow seniors were asked by an imaginary company, “run by” their professor, Dr. Richard Turton, to advise him on how to process Marcellus shale gas for non-fuel uses. “Our senior design project is presented to us as an open-ended request from a client, Turton, to our engineering company, which consists of my classmates and I,” Bergstein said. “It is our job to narrow down the broad category of shale gas processing to something more specific. Last semester we spent our time researching different processes and making recommendations to our client as to which processing technology he should pursue. This semester, we are in the process of creating a detailed design and business plan for our recommended technology.” When narrowing down the technologies available, Bergstein and his group settled on a method even current engineering professionals haven’t yet implemented; an integrated ethoxene-vinyl acetate monomer process.

The ethoxene process was patented in the 1980s by Union Carbide and is a process for the production of ethylene via oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane with co-production of acetic acid. “In the ethoxene process, a feed of ethane is sent to a reactor packed with a catalyst that is specific to the product yields desired,” Bergstein said. The products from the ethoxene reactor would then be sent directly to a second reactor geared at making vinyl acetate monomers, or VAMs. VAMs are an essential building block used in a wide variety of industrial and consumer products and are also a key ingredient in emulsion polymers, resins, and intermediates used in paints, adhesives, coatings, textiles, laminated safety glass, and even packaging. “As opposed to traditional cracking, which is an endothermic reaction, requiring large amounts of steam and heat, the ethoxene process is exothermic, and the energy produced by the reaction can be used to create steam,” said Bergstein. “This technology is unique because it can be scaled to smaller sizes than cracking plants, which only come in large billion-dollar plants. “Our team chose this process because we thought it would be interesting, especially since there currently isn’t a full-scale ethoxene plant in existence,” said Bergstein. “We based our recommendations to our client on the information available, global market size,

reaction conditions, difficulty of separations, and modeling capability. “We have heard that an engineering company, Aither Chemicals, LLC, is looking at using this technology somewhere in West Virginia and we are excited to be working on something that is currently being developed commercially,” Bergstein said. “This year’s design group, led by Julian, has come up with a very innovative and clever approach to the conversion of ethane into a higher-value chemical,” said Turton. “I’m looking forward to seeing their progress throughout the remainder of the semester and to reading their final report.”



“Shakespeare once wrote

‘what’s in a name?’ In the case of the newly named Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources the name is steeped in the wonderful opportunities it will create for students and faculty for generations to come.” - Eugene V. Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean

“Because of their generosity, new opportunities will be created for our students, our faculty, and our staff, and WVU will become an even stronger world leader in energy research. So on behalf of the entire University community, I offer the Statlers my deepest gratitude and thank them for being great Mountaineers who truly, truly make a difference. “They have never ever forgotten their West Virginia roots, and I am pleased that their legacy will live on forever at West Virginia University.”

“The impact of this gift will be experienced by students and faculty now, and for many years to come. From scholarships, to advances in research, to improved facilities, the benefits coming to the College of Engineering and Mineral Resources from this donation will be far reaching. Leave no doubt, lives will be changed for the better because of it.”

- James P. Clements, WVU President

- Wayne King, WVU Foundation President

WVU Names Engineering and Mineral Resources


Alumnus Benjamin M. West Virginia University’s engineering and mineral resources school will be named the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in honor of businessman, philanthropist, and alumnus Ben Statler, WVU President Jim Clements and other officials announced Thursday, January 12, 2012.

Statler and his wife, Jo, both natives of Monongalia County, pledged $34 million to the College, the largest single gift commitment ever to the University and to a college at a special ceremony at Erickson Alumni Center; $11 million of the donation will qualify for a match from the state Research Trust Fund, making the total value of the naming gift $45 million.

“Words alone cannot express the impact this gift will have on transforming engineering education and research at this University and for the entire state. Ben, we are honored to carry your name forever and we pledge to honor you by providing exemplary opportunities to all who enter our halls to study and to contribute to advancement of technology in a global society. We can never say THANK YOU enough for what you have done, but on behalf of a very grateful college—the Statler College—thank you both for believing in our vision, mission, and values.”

“Our goal with this gift is not merely to provide financial support to the University and the state, but rather to identify areas that could have a meaningful and long-lasting impact on WVU and on the lives of West Virginians. We believe that our University should lead the nation in areas such as energy research and engineering. We’re confident that the faculty, staff, and students, whose efforts these funds will help support, are the ones who will turn the vision behind our gift into reality. “We have a deep love and care about the state of West Virginia, specifically the University. We’ve been blessed and that’s what allowed us to do this. We’re just very fortunate to be in a position do it.” - Benjamin M. Statler

- Eugene V. Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean


Statler With this historic gift, the College becomes only the third college at WVU to be named for a benefactor.


A celebration for students, faculty, and staff


Statler College Style

We can never say THANK YOU enough for what you have done, but on behalf of a very grateful college—the Statler College— thank you both for believing in our vision, mission, and values.


Creating a Greener

Grocery Footprint


West Virginia University engine emission experts were recently at work in Riverside, Calif., helping part of America’s largest grocery store chain research the conversion of some of its heavy-duty delivery trucks into greener energy vehicles. Ralphs supermarket chain, a California-based division of the Kroger Company, wanted to pursue a greener footprint by using cleaner fuels and engines to power its extensive fleet of delivery vehicles, which dot the highways from the Los Angeles’ freeways to the country roads of the California mountains.

data will help enable fleets such as Ralphs to have a better knowledge of the real-world emissions of the various heavy-duty vehicles.” Results of WVU’s work with Ralphs will be shared with both the California Air Resource Board and South Coast Air Quality Management District, which will provide a better understanding of the effectiveness of current regulations.

The company, researching the transition of a portion of its truck fleet from diesel to lesspolluting compressed natural gas or CNG, looked to WVU’s Center for Alternative Fuels, Engines and Emissions (CAFEE) to help turn those plans into reality. CAFEE was in the neighborhood anyway. Last fall, WVU researchers completed a cross-country road trip from Morgantown to Riverside, during which CAFEE became the first university-based research team to measure heavy-duty emissions compliance for 2,500 consecutive miles.

“Ralphs has been a great research partner for many years,” said Dan Carder, CAFEE director. “The company’s commitment to improving fuel economy among its fleet of vehicles is unparalleled and its generous lending of its Riverside distribution center, an ideal location for our type of research, helps our engineers and scientists tremendously.” WVU is nationally known for its engine emission research because it is home to both a highly trained cadre of experts, as well as the only mobile heavy-duty chassis

CAFEE scientists were busy helping with the Ralphs challenge and putting some of the results of their transcontinental experiments into real-world use. While at the Ralphs facility, WVU scientists chassis-tested heavy-duty vehicles to ensure the engines were compliant with emissions regulations by collecting and examining emissions data from diesel, CNG, and dual-fuel engines. Arvind Thiruvengadam, a Ph.D. candidate in charge of data collection, led the West Coast project. “With a huge thrust in natural gas vehicles in California, the current project will provide an excellent comparison of the benefits of advanced natural gas vehicles over older model year diesel vehicles,” said Thiruvengadam. “The comparative emissions

“The cross-country trip generated valuable real-time emissions data over a wide range of operating conditions, from flat roads in the midwest through the high altitudes of the Rocky Mountains, including 11,000 feet at Loveland Pass,” said Thiruvengadam. “The primary objective was to study the effect of road grade on emissions from advanced heavy-duty diesel engines, but we took the opportunity to collect as much seed data as possible for various other possible research endeavors,” he added. CAFEE has become a national leader in applied and fundamental research in heavyduty engine emissions. CAFEE works with fuel suppliers and vehicle manufacturers to produce products that comply with complex and changing federal requirements, with the goal of helping U.S. cities improve air quality while maintaining realistic technology costs.

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Once in California, CAFEE scientists set up shop at Ralphs massive distribution center in Riverside, where it established a staging ground for CAFEE’s mobile emissions laboratory.

dynamometer in the United States, which allows it to visit sites where vehicles are being used in real-world situations.

The five-day research trip to Riverside included a stop at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Denver. It was sponsored by the South Coast California Air Quality Management District, the California Air Resources Board, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.



Navigating the Ma

Legal Land


Most people agree that Marcellus shale drilling is an economic boom for the United States. And for many landowners, when opportunity knocked, they answered by signing multiyear contracts with drilling companies. While many saw dollar signs, others saw confusion … confusion over mineral rights vs. surface rights, federal regulations vs. state standards, and financial opportunity vs. ecological impact.

Sharon Flanery understands both sides of the equation. Flanery is a 1978 graduate of West Virginia University’s Department of Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering. She spent the first 10-plus years of her career as a reservoir and production engineer, working for such companies as Columbia Gas Transmission in Charleston, W.Va., and Aramco in Saudi Arabia. From there, Flanery headed to law school and she now leads the Energy Team at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC in Charleston.

Spring 2012


What is abundantly clear is knowing your legal rights and consulting an attorney is crucial to navigating the Marcellus shale landscape.

“Marcellus development has paved new paths and set benchmarks for other horizontal shale development in Appalachia,” said Flanery. “It has required industry stakeholders to revisit old assumptions and tackle new issues.”


Flanery agreed to answer a series of questions related to leasing, permits, and regulations. Q: What is the difference between mineral rights and surface rights? A: The term “mineral rights” refers to the rights of the mineral owner, which include the rights to lease, receive royalties, and use the surface to explore for and develop

those minerals. The term “surface rights” usually refers to statutory protections for surface owners, such as setback requirements, prohibitions on drilling in certain areas, and requiring compensation for certain surface damages. Q: How are mineral rights obtained? A: Mineral rights are most often created in deeds or wills when the owner of both the surface and minerals conveys away one and retains the other. This “severance” of minerals from the surface establishes property rights that permit the mineral owner the reasonable use of the surface. Q: Once the Department of Environment Protection (DEP) issues a permit, who is served notice? A: The following parties are entitled to notice by the applicant prior to filing its permit application or by the DEP upon issuance or denial of the permit: coal owners/lessees; surface owners impacted by the proposed well; mineral owners; surface owners/water purveyors who have wells, springs, or water supplies within 1,500 feet of the well pad center; and gas storage field operators. Q: Can a surface owner object to a permit? If so, on what grounds? A: Surface owners have the right to file comments, and in West Virginia for example, the state DEP takes those

comments into consideration in the issuance of a permit. Q: What is contained in a typical lease? What are the standard terms and what is negotiable? A: Unlike other parts of the country, there is no “typical” lease in Appalachia, and because Appalachian states have littledeveloped oil and gas laws, use of lease forms that work well in other states may lead to litigation in Appalachian courts. Leases are usually drafted by the lessee; however, in some areas, large groups of mineral lessors have started combining their lands to increase value, and they have drafted all or parts of their own lease forms. As in any other real estate development, negotiations are driven by location—the more important the land is in the drilling plan, the more likely lease terms are negotiable. The most often-negotiated terms are money terms (delay rentals, production royalty, shut-in royalty, and signing bonus) and clauses affecting the location of surface operations, especially when the mineral lessor also owns the surface. Q: Are there restrictions on where wells can be drilled? A: Most states have restrictions on well locations. West Virginia’s statute contains a series of well or well pad restrictions setting forth minimum distances required between


rcellus Shale

dscape construction and perennial streams, wetlands, or lakes; naturally reproducing trout streams, public water intakes, and water wells; or the nearest dwelling in existence when the application was filed.

Q: Are there well construction standards that companies are required to follow? A: Well construction standards vary from state to state, but each state does maintain standards by law, rule, policy, or guidance.

Q: What role do state and local regulatory agencies play and how have communities dealt with this? A: Pennsylvania and Ohio both have some type of “preemption” statutory language banning local regulation of certain oil and gas activities. In Pennsylvania, however, the law is uncertain due to recent court decisions. Communities there are passing zoning, safety, and health ordinances to stop development, and, in many cases, these ordinances are being challenged.

West Virginia has no explicit statutory preemption language; however, a local ordinance banning hydraulic fracturing within one mile of Morgantown was recently overturned as an improper intrusion upon the state DEP’s jurisdiction. Q: After the well is drilled and the gas extracted, what are drilling companies required to do when it comes to well site restoration? A: All states regulate restoration. In West Virginia, wells must be reclaimed within six months of drilling; however, partial reclamation is permitted for multi-well pads to allow for additional well development. Full reclamation on multi-well pads must occur within six months of the final well, but not later than six months after the five-year anniversary of pad construction. Q: Are there any bills in the federal pipeline that may affect drilling in the future? A: The proposed FRAC Act would remove the SDWA exemption and require an Underground Injection Control permit for fracturing. Further, it would require disclosure of fracking constituents. Some states, including West Virginia, have already passed such disclosure laws. Proposed or anticipated are EPA rules under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Toxic Substances and Control Act relating to air emissions, pretreatment standards for wastewater delivered to Publicly Owned Treatment Works, and disclosure of frack contents.

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Q: Is fracking exempt from federal regulations? A: Since the early 1970s, the process of injecting fluids into the ground for fracking has been exempt, by practice, policy, or rule, from Underground Injection Control permitting under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). This exemption was expressly contained in the 2005 National Energy Policy Act. Oil and gas exploration wastes are also exempt from the hazardous waste definition under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. However, the discharge of wastes to surface waters, air emissions from well sites, and improper handling/disposal of wastes are all subject to federal regulation if a spill, discharge, or disposal occurs without proper authorization.




Hackers, fraudsters, and sexual predators who use the World Wide Web for mischief: beware.


The West Virginia Cyber Crime Cooperative will track you down. A partnership between West Virginia University, the West Virginia State Police, and the National White Collar Crime Center, the Cooperative has grown from a room in Brooks Hall to a 4,000-square-foot facility in its nine-year existence. WVU, law enforcement, and various public officials celebrated the opening of this facility in September, at the Prete Building on University Avenue, with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Created in 2002, the Cooperative researches digital forensics and electronic crimes, such as hacking, fraud, and child pornography. WVU faculty and students in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering are heavily involved in the partnership. “West Virginia has a strong core of law enforcement research and development,” said WVU President James P. Clements. “We have very good West Virginia law enforcement organizations and academic research at WVU – all of which are helping brand West Virginia as a leading state for innovation, technologies, and strategies that make our nation safer from crime.” The partnership has produced many benefits for the University and its students, Clements said. WVU now teaches classes in computer incident response, digital forensics, and network forensics.

Spring 2012


The University also has developed a master’s-level graduate certificate in computer forensics. Sixteen students have already graduated from that program while 15 are currently enrolled.


Roy Nutter, a professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, leads a digital forensics research group in the Cooperative. WVU, law enforcement, and various public officials celebrate the opening of the West Virginia Cyber Crime Cooperative offices. Pictured (left to right) are: Sgt. Christopher Casto, of the West Virginia State Police; Col. Jay Smithers, superintendent of the West Virginia State Police; Don Brackman, director of the National White Collar Crime Center; WVU President James P. Clements; West Virginia State Auditor Glen Gainer; and Bill Ihlenfeld, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of West Virginia.

“We’ve expanded our abilities since 2002,” Nutter said. “We’re here to develop tools for law enforcement.” Through the partnership, WVU has received and managed more than $1.2 million in competitive grants in the field of digital forensics. This year, WVU has received subcontracts from both the state police and National White Collar Crime Center totaling more than $450,000. Some grants have exposed Nutter’s students to real-world experiences as they participate in partnership projects. “They’re our last and only hope,” Nutter said. “That’s the way I feel with these students. They need to learn the tools to counter the hacks, design secure software, and help law enforcement.” For more information on the Cooperative, go to www.wv3c.wvu.edu.



ACCOLADES WVU’S BISE AWARDED ERSKINE RAMSAY MEDAL Christopher J. Bise, professor and Robert E. Murray Chair of Mining Engineering at West Virginia University, has been awarded the 2012 Erskine Ramsay Medal from the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration. The award was established in 1948 to recognize distinguished achievements in the coal mining industry. Bise earned the award “for his distinguished leadership and achievement as an engineer, consultant, researcher, educator, author, and administrator,” said David L. Kanagy, executive director of SME. He was also recognized for his “ability to integrate various advances in science, engineering, and management for the betterment of the U.S. coal-mining industry.” Throughout his career, Bise has been associated with the planning, engineering, operation, management, teaching, and research aspects of mining and occupational and environmental health and safety. He is a registered professional engineer and a certified mine safety professional.

During his tenure, he created and chaired the Industrial Health and Safety Program. After resigning at the rank of professor emeritus from Penn State, Bise joined the staff at WVU in 2006. SME is an international society of professionals in the minerals industry with more than 13,000 members in nearly 100 countries. Recent Erskine Ramsay medal winners include Syd Peng, former chair of the Department.




Brian J. Anderson and Shahab D. Mohaghegh, engineering professors at West Virginia University, earned high achievement awards from the Department of Energy’s secretary, Steven Chu. Anderson and Mohaghegh were recognized recently for their efforts with the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), in response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The NETL team was recognized for estimating the rate of oil flowing into the Gulf and also for developing options to cap the well. This exhausting work led to effective analyses of raw data, which guided major decisions to help reduce the environmental cost of the disaster. According to Mohaghegh, it was a heroic process, involving 15 people who work as part of his research team, known as PEARL, or the Petroleum Engineering and Analytics Research Laboratory. “We worked on it around the clock,” Mohaghegh said. “We had many facts, but there were far more uncertainties than facts that we had to deal with if we were to estimate the actual rate at which the discharge was taking place.” Anderson and Mohaghegh worked as part of the Nodal Analysis Team, which used input from reservoir modeling and pressure and temperature conditions at the leak points on the sea floor, along with details of the geometries of the well, blowout preventer, and riser to calculate fluid compositions, properties, and fluxes from both before and after riser removal. “It was such an honor to be recognized for our efforts in response to the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster,” Anderson said. “The key component to our award is that it was a full-team effort and shows that across the Department of Energy, DOE labs, and the university partners, we can work efficiently and effectively together.” The award ceremony, held at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C., was actually the first time

Anderson and Mohaghegh met the members from Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Pacific Northwest National Lab face-to-face. This fact is a “testament to how well we can utilize technology to break down geographic barriers to collaboration,” said Anderson. “My research team’s contribution was one component of a vast, coordinated effort for which the team leaders are to be commended.” “Almost every day our calculations would go through a rigorous peer review that included first and foremost our contacts at NETL, Grant Bromhal and George Guthrie, and then the entire flow rate team,” said Mohaghegh. “Without their help and their detailed scrutiny and critics of every single calculation that we were making, our work would not have the accuracy that it did.” Mohaghegh also credited two WVU graduate students, Vida Gholami and Saeed Zargari, for their assistance in the project. During the ceremony, Chu remarked, “The employees recognized today have gone above and beyond the call of duty, demonstrating an exceptional commitment to public service. Their dedication, knowledge, and skills have served to strengthen our nation’s economic and energy security and the work of the Energy Department.”

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After earning his undergraduate degree in mining engineering from Virginia Tech, Bise worked for the Consolidation Coal Company as a resident engineer for two underground coal mines in eastern Ohio. He started graduate school at Penn State University in 1974 and joined the faculty in 1976. He rose through the professorial ranks and later became chair of the program.





The collaborative work of Dr. Rakesh K. Gupta, professor and chair of chemical engineering in West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, was published in the most recent edition of The American Oil and Gas Reporter. The article discusses Gupta’s collaborative research, which demonstrated the benefits of adding nanoclay and nanosilica to oil-based drilling fluids used for high-pressure/high-temperature applications. The article provides an in-depth explanation of the different uses for water and oil-based drilling. While water-based drilling is the most common and often the more preferred type of drilling fluid used, oil-based drilling is commonly used for more severe requirements of both hightemperature and high-pressure drilling (HT/HP).


Spring 2012




What does it take to give mine workers self-escape capabilities during a disaster? A committee made up of industry representatives and educators, including one from West Virginia University, will meet in the coming months to help answer that question.

James Dean, director of Mining and Industrial Extension at WVU, is one of nine people selected to participate on an ad-hoc committee appointed to study components related to “self-escape” in the mining industry, by the National Research Council. NRC and the National Academies serve as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. The study is sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s Office of Mine Safety and Health Research. “The work of this committee will focus on what is necessary for individual miners to self-escape, when possible, rather than await rescue teams,” said Dean. “Our departmental instructors are working cooperatively with mine safety personnel and labor representatives to ensure miners have the highest quality training experience possible. I am honored to be selected to serve as a member of this committee.” Dean has extensive experience working on mine safety-related issues. Following the Sago and Aracoma disasters in West Virginia, he served as acting director of the state’s Office of Miners’ Health, Safety, and Training at the request of thenGovernor Joe Manchin. During his tenure, he worked with all facets of the industry to develop consensus standards on requirements for self-contained self-rescuers, refuge chambers, and mine communication and tracking systems. The committees provided the template for new federal regulations implemented through the MINER Act of 2006. He continues to serve by gubernatorial appointment on the West Virginia Mine Safety Technology Task Force, which is charged with looking at new technology for improving mine safety and mine emergency operations in the state and nation. During his time at WVU, Dean has worked collaboratively to develop a mobile

SCSR training gallery for use at mine sites, in addition to a simulated underground mine for emergency response training for individual miners, mine emergency responders, and other mine training. “Jim has done an outstanding job of leading a very high profile outreach unit for the University,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “His vision and insight have led to the development of innovative facilities that directly contribute to important safety training and will lead to new cutting-edge applied research to support mining operations.” The ad-hoc committee will work under the oversight of the National Research Council’s Board on Human-Systems Integration to identify and synthesize the literature relevant to understanding “self-escape” in the context of mine safety. The committee will review literature in areas such as judgment and decisionmaking under conditions of uncertainty and stress, training of personnel in high-risk professions, technological advancements that may facilitate self-escape (e.g., signaling), physiological and biomechanical effects of stress, and systems approaches to improve the likelihood of successful self-escape. This study will focus on underground coal mining with the understanding that findings and recommendations for that industry will likely be informative to the underground metal/nonmetal mining industry. The committee, which will be chaired by William Marras, professor of industrial engineering at Ohio State University, is expected to meet five times in the coming months. The National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and National Research Council make up the National Academies. They are private, nonprofit institutions that provide science, technology, and health policy advice under a congressional charter. The Research Council is the principal operating agency of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering. Charles Vest, a 1963 graduate of WVU with a degree in mechanical engineering, serves as president of the NAE. Former chair of the WVU Department of Mining Engineering, Syd Peng, is also an NAE member. For more information, visit http://national-academies.org.



Cerasela-Zoica Dinu, assistant professor of chemical engineering at West Virginia University, was selected as one of 65 innovative early-career educators to participate in the National Academy of Engineering’s second Frontiers of Engineering Education symposium. Chosen from a highly competitive pool of applicants, Dinu was nominated by the Dean of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, Gene Cilento. “We are delighted that our early career faculty continue to be accepted into prestigious workshops and symposiums that help advance their careers and the education agenda of the College,” said Cilento. CERASELA-ZOICA DINU

Dinu joined young educators representing a variety of engineering disciplines at the conference held November 13-16 in Irvine, Calif. Participants familiarized each other with the educational innovation they developed, the underlying need that the developed method addresses, how it fits in the curriculum, and any progress made to date. Participants also exchanged ideas, learned from research about the best practice in education, and left with a charter to bring about improvement in their home institution. “The Frontiers of Engineering Education program creates a unique venue for engineering faculty members to share and explore interesting and effective innovations in teaching and learning,” said NAE President and WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources alumnus Charles M. Vest. “We want FOEE to become a major force in identifying, recognizing and promulgating advances and innovations in order to build a strong intellectual infrastructure and commitment to 21st-century engineering education.”

GOPALAKRISHNAN PRESENTS AT INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, professor of industrial and management systems engineering and director of the Industrial Assessment Center at West Virginia University, was selected by the U.S. Department of Energy to participate in the Third Energy Management BHASKARAN GOPALAKRISHNAN Action Network (EMAK) workshop, held in Guilin, China, during November 2011. Gopalakrishnan spoke at the session entitled, “Energy Management Practices by Small and Medium Sized Enterprises.” “It was truly an honor for me to be invited to speak at the Energy Management Action Network Workshop,” said Gopalakrishnan. “It was particularly gratifying to represent the United States in conveying information about the energy management practices of small and medium sized enterprises to representatives from other countries, such as India, Australia, China, Korea, and Japan.”

“I am honored to have been selected for this prestigious symposium in engineering education,” Dinu said. “We prepare every student for success in college, career, and life; I am excited to share my experiences with a larger audience, and gain knowledge from others as we take on the educational challenges in an ever more diverse environment.”

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This year’s program focused on teaching leading-edge engineering knowledge, project-based learning, active- and self-directed learning and assessment of student learning, and education innovation.

“Chemical engineering has a long tradition of innovative teaching sustained by award-winning educators,” said Rakesh Gupta, chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering. “Professor Dinu’s selection to participate in the FOEE symposium is recognition of both her talent and her potential. She has a very bright future ahead of her.”


Dinu earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Bucharest in Romania. She completed her doctorate at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics and Dresden University of Technology in Germany. Her research focuses on nano/micro devices and systems and biotechnology/bioengineering.

ACCOLADES PROFESSOR HONORED FOR EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH Arun Ross, associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, was recently recognized with a Claude Worthington Benedum Distinguished Scholar Award, which honors excellent faculty in creative research at West Virginia University. Ross was one of three honorees at WVU. “The Benedum Award recognizes distinction in research, scholarship, or creative activity,” said Provost Michele Wheatly. “The truly wonderful thing about Benedum professors is that they exemplify not only the excellence of our faculty but the diversity of that excellence across disciplines and departments.” The award, handed out this year in three categories—physical sciences and technology, biosciences and health sciences, and humanities and the arts—recognizes distinction in research, scholarship, or creative activity. Each recipient received $5,000 in professional support, provided by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

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When Ross came to WVU, he had already worked on fingerprint matching methods for his Ph.D. dissertation. At WVU, he and a student developed methods for reconstructing fingerprints from minutiae points—a task that was previously thought impossible. This work gained widespread attention since it challenged previously held beliefs about fingerprints.


Ross is an internationally known expert in the field of biometrics and has helped elevate WVU as one of the leading universities in biometrics research. His publications are heavily cited in research on the subject. Patrick Flynn, a professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame, said of Ross: “I believe his record of accomplishments bolsters my assertion that Dr. Ross is the leading biometrics researcher of his academic generation in the United States today.



In an increasingly energy-conscious world, reducing power consumption in any form is extremely important, and to do it without sacrificing performance is critical. A $400,000 Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award from the National Science Foundation will allow West Virginia University’s Dr. David Graham to create computationally efficient electronics to extend the lifetimes of wireless sensor nodes. “Users of battery-powered devices, such as consumer electronics and implantable biomedical devices, demand increased signal-processing performance and longevity of operation,” said Graham. “These demands have reawakened interest in analog signal processing for use in ultra-low-power systems. Significant advances in electronics design are expected to be achieved by using analog and digital systems to work cooperatively in a given signal-processing application.” Graham, assistant professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, is working with one of the most severely energy-constrained types of systems, wireless sensor networks (WSNs). WSNs consist of small electronic sensor nodes that can be placed in large quantities and in various locations in order to monitor the environment around them. The individual nodes communicate with each other in order to build a cohesive understanding of the system they are monitoring. WSNs hold great promise for use in applications such as environmental monitoring; border security; and monitoring critical infrastructures, like bridges and power grids. “One such example of where these nodes might come in handy would be in monitoring the ‘health’ of a bridge,” said Graham. “By placing many different types of sensors at various locations on, under, and around the bridge, you could detect a specific set of conditions, like unwanted vibrations, and alert officials before a catastrophic incident occurs.” The problem, according to Graham, is that sensor nodes are often placed in remote locations and in large quantities where changing batteries would be impractical. “These nodes must be able to operate for extended periods of time on very small power sources.”

“Relatively few researchers have opened up new problem domains in this area (which has been studied for decades), but Professor Ross has been responsible for defining and conducting the first significant work in areas such as fingerprint mixing, fingerprint distortion, and sensor interoperability.”

The focus of Graham’s research uses ultra-low-power analog circuitry to provide additional computational resources at each node while simultaneously reducing the total power consumed. “Analog signal processing will be used to perform pre-processing and compression of the raw sensor data, as well as energy management in the form of a ‘wakeup’ detector for the power-intensive digital portions of the sensor node,” Graham said.

His work goes beyond fingerprint identification and includes several other aspects of recognizing humans, including iris, face, ear, and gait recognition.

Preliminary results show that analog signal processing can extend the lifetime of a sensor node in a vehicle classification scenario to nine years, as compared to only four months for an all-digital approach.

“Biometrics is a fascinating area of research,” Ross said. “Using machines to recognize humans is important in many applications ranging from personal laptop access to border security systems. My students and I are fortunate to be conducting research in a field that has tremendous societal benefits.”

The CAREER Program offers the NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education, and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations.


STUDENT NEWS NASA Intern Has “Once-in-a-Lifetime” Experience BY DEBRA RICHARDSON

What do security clearances, telescopes, meteors, flag football, and white-water rafting have in common? They’re all components of an internship for NASA at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. Katherine Cruse, a computer science and computer engineering major at West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, spent 10 weeks last summer doing all that and so much more. “Every morning I would wake up around 5:30 a.m. and arrive at work around 7:00,” Cruse said as she explained a typical day in the life as a NASA intern. Cruse analyzed, compared, and evaluated two different meteor detection systems in order to determine which system is better suited for meteor observing stations for remote locations. “Each morning I collected the data from both cameras and manually analyzed the camera from one while the computer analyzed the data from the other,” Cruse said. “I had to check for false alarms, faulty settings, and analyze the success rate of each.”

“I monitored whether each system was picking up actual meteors or whether they were noting false alarms, such as stars or flickers from the International Space Station (ISS),” Cruse said. “Sometimes I had to adjust the pixel settings, and all of this was time-consuming work.” After analyzing the software and data, Cruse made a recommendation to NASA as to the preferred software choice. Her research was also presented at a NASA workshop: Meteor Video Observations and Analysis, which her office paid for her to attend.

The interns were offered various tours of all the facilities at the center, and Cruse’s most memorable tour was of the “Pitt”. “We got to see the Pitt where everyone communicates to the ISS,” Cruse said. “It was amazing being in that room, with all the equipment and technology and the big screen, knowing that this room was able to communicate to the ISS, which was thousands of miles away.” As much fun as work was, it wasn’t the only form of entertainment for Cruse and the other interns. The students took weekend trips, went white-water rafting, caving, and even took off work to watch the final launch of the space shuttle. “The launch was a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Cruse. “After it lifted off, you could still feel the shake and vibrations. We watched from seven miles away, and I was so excited. “We were a close-knit working group, and it was sad to leave,” Cruse said. “It was a great networking opportunity, and I encourage everyone to apply for a summer internship with NASA.”

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The cameras are designed to monitor meteor showers, and Cruse tested two different software packages to determine which would operate better with the least amount of human supervision or intervention.

The interns at the Marshall Space Flight Center created poster presentations, and NASA employees acted as judges. The poster presentations allowed the interns to learn from one another, and each presented an in-depth look at the valuable research being conducted.

While Cruse is undecided whether she wants to one day work for NASA or the Department of Defense, she does plan to apply for another NASA summer internship before she graduates in December 2012. “My summer internship was amazing, and it was a great opportunity,” Cruse said. “I look forward to completing another internship and meeting new people.”



They’re In!



COMPETING TEAMS Arizona State University and the University of New Mexico Czech Technical University Hampton University and Old Dominion University Middlebury College Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Norwich University Queens University, Carleton University, and Algonquin College Santa Clara University Southern California Institute of Architecture and California Institute of Technology Stanford University Stevens Institute of Technology


The Catholic University of America, George Washington University, and American University The University of North Carolina at Charlotte The University of Texas at El Paso and El Paso Community College University of Calgary University of Louisville, Ball State University, and University of Kentucky University of Nevada Las Vegas University of Southern California Vienna University of Technology West Virginia University

“WE’RE ONLY HALF-WAY THROUGH” Thursday, January 26, was a day for the students involved in the Solar Decathlon project to celebrate making it into the international competition. But those in attendance realize they still have a long road ahead of them. “From the get-go our enthusiasm was great,” said Ken Hite, president of WVU’s PEAK project team. “Once we found our niche, creating a smart, log-

cabin style home, we felt we had an excellent chance of getting in the competition. But we’re only half-way through. We know the teams we will be competing against will be good. But we will bring our ‘A’ game.” “It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” said Brian Neff, executive vice president for the project team. “There’s going to be a lot more work for us to do, but we’re ready for it.”


WVU Students Selected to Participate in DOE’s Solar Decathlon

A team of students from West Virginia University has been selected to participate in the 2013 Solar Decathlon, hosted by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The worldwide competition challenges 20 teams of college and university students to design, build, and operate the most affordable, attractive, and energy-efficient solarpowered house. Each team selected to participate in the competition receives a $100,000 grant from the DOE. The competition will be held at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., where the finished homes are built and displayed for judging. “I’m ecstatic for this team of students and everyone who has worked on this project,” said WVU President Jim Clements. “It is the epitome of interdisciplinary work that goes to the heart of what West Virginia University is all about – helping make the state and the world a better place through education, research, and service. Congratulations to the students and their faculty advisers on their remarkable achievements. I can’t wait to see the solar log cabin come together.” The interdisciplinary team was led by a group of students from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Students from the College of Creative Arts; the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Design; and the Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism came on board since the project started in 2009 and will be integral to making their efforts a success in the competition. Additional assistance was received from faculty and offices across the University. “I am very proud of the work of our undergraduate engineering students for the leadership they showed to make this happen,” said Warren Myers, associate dean for Academic Affairs in the Statler College. “This was a student-driven activity; it was their vision.”

When the project started two years ago, neither Hite nor Neff thought they would be around long enough to see it through to completion. Hite graduated this past December, and Neff would have graduated this spring. Both have changed their educational plans so they can continue to work on the PEAK team. Hite is pursuing his master’s degree in electrical engineering, while Neff has enrolled in the Davis College, where he will be working toward a minor in sustainable design.

The next steps for the team, according to Hite, will be to hold open forums to get more ideas flowing. The team plans to be in the design stage for about six months. Fund-raising is also a priority. The team still needs to raise cash or in-kind gifts to help build and transport the house. For more information on how you can get involved, contact Nicole Riggleman, assistant director of development for the Statler College, at 304-293-4257.

“Receiving this grant provides an opportunity for students in the Statler College, WVU, and Tor Vergata to experience working with interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, and international project teams,” said Myers. “This is an opportunity for us to show the world the quality of students at this university,” said Dimitris Korakakis, associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. “A small, dedicated team of students started this project. We will need hundreds of students from across the two universities to make it a success.” Korakakis serves as the project team’s faculty mentor. WVU’s entry in the competition, the Preserving Energy with Appalachian Knowledge project, or PEAK, will combine modern smart-home technologies into a rustic-style log home. This is the first time a log-style home has been accepted into the competition. “This is an incredible honor for our students and for this university,” said Gene Cilento, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “Their efforts on this international stage serve to position WVU among America’s elite energy universities.” The Solar Decathlon was established in 2002, with subsequent competitions in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The 2013 competition is the first that WVU has entered. The decathlon consists of 10 contests designed to gauge the environmental performance and livability of each team’s submission. The contests cover everything from architecture, market appeal and engineering to comfort level, appliances, and home entertainment. One of the key criteria for the winning team is that each home produces as much or more energy than it consumes. The maximum budget for the house is $250,000.

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According to Myers, this project offers exceptional educational opportunities to students in the College and across the WVU campus. In addition to their

colleagues in Morgantown, the students are working with representatives from the University of Rome Tor Vergata, which has a research agreement with WVU.


STUDENT NEWS Paper on Cancelable Fingerprints Earns WVU’s Othman Best Student Paper Award BY DEBRA RICHARDSON

In the 21st century, having your identity stolen is no longer just a fear; it’s a reality. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that as many as nine million Americans have their identities stolen each year. As technological innovation continues to evolve at an immeasurable pace, the fear of identity theft has evolved into a fear of stolen biometrics. Why fingerprints? Current access systems require an individual to place their finger on a fingerprint sensor at an access point, such as a door or computer. The sensor reads the fingerprint and transmits the image. Once the fingerprint is confirmed, the individual will be permitted access. Unfortunately, hackers adapt as quickly as technology, so now, these access systems are at risk as well.

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“A compromised fingerprint can be used to deceive a fingerprint scanner by creating a fake finger


Othman presented a paper, co-authored by Dr. Arun Ross, associate professor at WVU, at the 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Workshop on Information Forensics and Security that was held in Foz do Iguacu, Brazil. Othman’s paper, entitled “Mixing Fingerprints for Generating Virtual Identities,” proposes a method to mix two different fingerprints to create a new fingerprint and new identity, in the case of identity theft through stolen biometrics. The innovative paper earned Othman the best student paper award at the conference. “Asem and I were discussing the possibility of mixing a face image with a fingerprint image, or a fingerprint image with an iris image,” explained Ross regarding how the idea came about. “If a person’s face image and fingerprint image can be mixed

New Club to Take Part in National Design Competition BY SCOTT GILLESPIE

WVU’s new Human Powered Vehicle Club is looking to change the way people think about personal mobility, according to Dr. Kostas Sierros, team adviser. “We’re now designing an alternative, sustainable form of transportation that is practical, fast, durable, and can be used in rural areas, like West Virginia,” said Sierros. “It will be vehicle-like, but powered entirely by pedaling.” Only a semester old, the Human Powered Vehicle Club is already poised to begin national competition soon.

of gelatin or Play-Doh,” said Asem Othman, a Ph.D. candidate at West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. “The stolen fingerprint image can be directly injected into any communication channel to attack a system and access the user’s data.”

WVU’s first vehicle will compete in the American Society of Mechanical Engineers’ (ASME) Human Powered Vehicle Challenge at Grove City College in April 2012. Design, speed, and durability are the competition’s three criteria. That means WVU’s entry, which was on the drawing board and in early prototype stages in November, must be complete and ready for competition within the next few weeks.

and used for matching, then the originals can be discarded and the new hybrid image can be used for recognizing that person. “The first phase in testing this theory involved mixing two different fingerprint images,” said Ross. “When we tested the technique, we were pleased to find out that it actually worked!” This technique can also be used to mix images of your left and right index fingers to create a new virtual identity. “The technique can also be used to mix images of your index finger and your friend’s index finger to create a new identity that can be used for accessing a joint bank account,” Ross said. In both options, only the mixed fingerprint is stored, which adds to the security of the system. Othman received a travel grant for winning the award and hopes to have something new to present for the 2012 conference. “I hope that this idea will be used to conceal and protect the privacy of the user who participated in biometric databases,” Othman said. “I enjoyed researching this phenomenon and hope to continue working with Dr. Ross to improve our mixing technique.”

“We are designing a human-powered and selfcontained vehicle that is inexpensive and can be used in practical, everyday life by any member of the community. This is the vision,” Sierros said. The team, 20 students strong in its first semester, is sponsored by the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. Dr. Jacky Prucz, chairman, has been particularly supportive of the project, noted Sierros.

WVU’s human powered vehicle will be a tricycle design for stability purposes, said Sierros. It will have a hard exterior shell, or fairing, which enhances its aerodynamic qualities and protects the driver from outside elements.

For the spring 2012 semester, a new course, “MAE 472 – Human Powered Vehicles: Design, Fabricate, Compete,” is being offered. It will concentrate exclusively on human powered transportation. Sierros will teach the course.

WVU’s vehicle will also incorporate renewable energy devices, like solar cells, for powering interior and exterior LED lights. It will employ low-emissivity films on all vehicle windows, which keep riders cool in summer and warm in winter. The vehicle will feature storage space as well.

“We can’t rely wholly on cars and traditional types of transportation for much longer,” said Sierros. “I am inspired by new types of alternative transportation. This is my main interest.”


Students Have a Smashing Time at Annual Pumpkin Drop



More than 200 teams from across West Virginia and southwestern Pennsylvania converged on West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in late October for the 24th annual Pumpkin Drop. The event was sponsored by the student chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Students were tasked with constructing an apparatus to protect their pumpkin from being cracked or smashed after the fall from the top of the Engineering Sciences Building. Pumpkins had to be at least 10-inches in diameter, and the pumpkin and its protective structure weight was limited to 60 pounds. The team that could keep the pumpkin from breaking, and landed it closest to the target on the ground, won. Associate Professor Emeritus Wally Venable again served as judge for this year’s event. First place honors went to team number 144 from Gilmer County High School. The team, consisting of Elisabeth Cooms, Landon Gumm, Jessi Smith and Tyler Smith, landed their pumpkin intact about one foot from the target. Second place honors went to Connellsville, Pa., Junior High West, with Doddridge County Elementary School from West Union, W.Va., finishing third. The event generated $2,500 in proceeds from entry fees and T-shirt sales, which was donated to the Ronald McDonald House of Morgantown. Participating companies include the Hilton Garden Inn, which donated pumpkin pies, and Office Depot, which donated campus banners and provided candy to the students and pen packets to the teachers in attendance.


Former energy executive and CEO Charles Bayless, spoke in October at West Virginia University’s College of Law. The lecture entitled, “Climate Change: Our Biggest Challenge,” was co-sponsored by WVU’s College of Law and the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Bayless is the former chairman, president, and CEO of Illinova Corporation, which he merged with Dynegy Inc. in February 2000 to create a global energy company. In addition to his accomplishments in the private sector, he has become a respected leader and lecturer on climate change and global warming. Bayless alluded to how climate change is often mocked, but he says at this point, it is a problem and will affect people. “I think it’s really going to be the defining issue of this century,” said Bayless. “I mean, the greenhouse gasses we’ve already put into the atmosphere are going to lead to another 1.5-2 degree rise.” This knowledge is critical to an understanding of climate change. The energy coming into the Earth is different than the energy going out, and the atmosphere reacts differently to each.

There are ways for people to do their part and help out. Many small things can make huge impacts. “Start conserving,” Bayless told the audience. “There are so many ways we can conserve energy at home that people haven’t really looked at. Energy has always been cheap. But today, with new lightbulbs and energy-efficient appliances and energy-efficient motors, and energy-efficient cars, etc., we can do a lot.” The 24th annual Pumpkin Drop raised $2,500 for the Ronald McDonald House in Morgantown. Pictured, from left, are Dr. John Kuhlman, faculty adviser of the WVU Student Chapter or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers; Dan Griffin, service chair, WVU ASME Student Chapter; Matt Robinson, website chair, WVU ASME Student Chapter; Keith Jackson, development coordinator of the Morgantown Ronald McDonald House; Mike Vassilou, vice chair, WVU ASME Student Chapter; Daniel Whitlow, chair, WVU ASME Student Chapter; and Nate Price, secretary, WVU ASME Student Chapter. Officers not pictured include Steve Andursky, treasurer, of the WVU ASME Student Chapter.

Bayless has published numerous articles about electric competition and energy policy in both national and trade publications. He has received multiple business leadership awards and in 1996, was voted by his peers in the power industry as CEO of the Year in Financial World magazine. He received an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan, a law degree and a master’s degree in electrical engineering from WVU, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from West Virginia Institute of Technology.

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“Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there,” Bayless said. “Utilities use infrared cameras all the time to take pictures in the infrared region to see where heat is being lost.”





RESEARCH FELLOW BENEFITS FROM REAL-WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OPPORTUNITIES Mechanical engineer and National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) research fellow Clinton Bedick, who recently earned his doctorate from West Virginia University, is helping move oxy-combustion technology forward, allowing for cleaner emissions from fossil-fueled plants. Oxy-combustion is a relatively new technology in the energy arena that could be used to safely capture and store carbon dioxide emissions from these power plants.

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The novelty of this process requires continued improvement and efficiency before it becomes a reality, according to Bedick, who measures the radiative heat transfer properties present in oxyfuel flames and then compares them to model results and scientific literature.


“This data can be used to develop the more accurate modeling tools necessary for optimizing these systems and making oxy-combustion feasible,” he said. In addition to the hands-on research experience, the NETL fellowship has allowed Bedick a variety of professional development opportunities such as training for a simulation software package within NETL. “The training they offered was unique in that it was a very in-depth course. The instructors really took the time to explain things in great detail and worked one-on-one with people so we understood what was going on,” said Bedick. “I think those types of training experiences allow you to continue to develop new skills and improve as an engineer or scientist.” In addition to the training, he recently presented a paper entitled, “Radiative Property Measurements


Modern engineers exemplify the adage, “jack-of-alltrades.” Engineers are seemingly involved in every aspect of our daily lives, from construction to safety to computer hardware designs. Engineers are so versatile, they’re even involved in developing software for social networking sites.

of Oxy-Fuel Flames,” at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers conference and enjoyed the peer-review process as well as meeting with other presenters. “Any time you have a piece of technical writing reviewed by others, you can pick up tips and learn to further develop yourself as a writer,” he said. “Most of my previous conference presentations have been in poster form, so a full conference paper presentation was good practice.”

“The Turing Fellowship exposes college students, both undergraduate and graduate, to the startup scene in New York City,” explained Hussmann. “Students apply, and if selected for the finals, fly to New York City and spend a day interviewing with startups.”

While Bedick has a high interest in energy sciences, he also has another passion—internal combustion engines and high-performance vehicles. While this may seem unrelated to his current research, Bedick sees a correlation and is drawing from his experience as he looks toward a possible future in automotive science. “Combustion research in the energy field has a similar feel and involves much of the same science,” said Bedick. His graduate research involved diesel engine emissions, and he hopes to re-enter the automotive field some day in an industry, university, or national laboratory setting. Bedick is currently a fellow in the postdoctoral research associate program, which is managed for NETL by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE). As an undergraduate at West Virginia University, Bedick also participated in one of ORISE’s many internship opportunities for undergraduate students. NETL is the only national laboratory owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. Its mission is to strengthen the nation’s security, improve the nation’s environment and advance energy options that fuel the nation’s economy.

Ricky Hussmann knows all about the need to be versatile. Hussmann graduated from the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources in 2003 with a dual degree in computer and electrical engineering. After completing his master’s in 2011, he started his doctoral degree and applied for the New York City Turing Fellowship.

Hussmann interviewed with Foursquare, Etsy, Tumblr, SecondMarket, Aviary and several other startup companies. Accepted participants spend the summer working at an internship. “There is a mandated monthly stipend of $3,500,” Hussmann explained. “Upon completion of the threemonth internship, fellows are presented with a $5,000 fellowship award.” As part of his fellowship, Hussmann spent last summer interning with Foursquare, a location-based social networking application with 10 million users. “I worked with the iOS team to help develop what has become Foursquare radar, a technology used to alert users to friends and locations of interest when you’re near them, automatically,” Hussmann said. “Foursquare radar launched on October 12, 2011.” Hussmann has put his doctoral degree on hold and is now running his own consulting company focused on mobile development.

SUPPORT CERMINARAS ENDOW SECOND GIFT TO INDUSTRIAL AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS ENGINEERING An endowment to West Virginia University’s Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering will assist students interested in studying energy efficiency. Frank Cerminara, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Benjamin M. Statler College in 1970, and his wife, the former Susan Klatskin, ’69, have created the Frank and Susan Klatskin Cerminara Endowment in the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Their gift will be matched by funds from the Hershey Company and is expected to be matched by the West Virginia Research Trust Fund for a total of $100,000. Cerminara started his long career at the Hershey in 1972 as a budget analyst. Through the years, he was responsible for mergers and acquisitions as well as the procurement of all commodities. He retired as senior vice president and chief financial officer in December 2005.




“Susan and I are privileged to have attended WVU and are delighted to endow a permanent fund that will contribute to engineering students for many years to come,” said Cerminara. “We understand the value of our education from this fine University.” The couple met while working as resident assistants at WVU. This is not the first gift the Cerminaras have made to the IMSE Department. In 2003, they established the Frank and Susan Cerminara Opportunity Fund, the largest gift ever given to the Department. The gift provides recognition scholarships for sophomore, junior, and senior students, as well as supports the faculty in WVU’s IMSE Department. “This new endowment will enhance the educational experience of students in industrial engineering, especially in the area of energy efficiency,” said Wafik Iskander, chair of the Department of Industrial and Management

The J. Scott Freshwater Scouting Scholarship will provide scholarships for undergraduate students enrolled in the College. First preference will be given to students who have demonstrated need and are residents of Roane or Calhoun counties. Further preference will be given to students who are a current or former Boy or Girl Scout.


The scholarship is named in honor of J. Scott Freshwater, president of Contractor Services, Inc. and Reserve Oil & Gas, Inc. of Spencer, W.Va. Freshwater earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in civil engineering from WVU in 1994 and 1997, respectively.

Systems Engineering. “We are grateful to Frank and Susan for their continued support.” Throughout his distinguished career Cerminara served on various boards and has been honored with awards for his abilities in business as well as his work in the community. He served on the Board of Managers of the Coffee, Sugar, and Cocoa Exchange and on multiple committees of the Chocolate Manufacturers Association. Cerminara also served as president of the Hershey Area Kiwanis Club. In 2005, Cerminara was named among “America’s Best CFOs,” by Institutional Investor magazine. He was given a key to the city in his hometown of Follansbee, W.Va., in 2002, and also served as the grand marshal of the annual Community Days Parade. Cerminara was inducted into the Academy of Industrial Engineers at WVU in 1994 and the Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2006.

He is president of the Allohak Council of the Boy Scouts of America, which encompasses eastern Ohio and central West Virginia. “Although I didn’t quite become an Eagle Scout myself, I greatly value my time in Scouting and the values it instilled in me,” said Freshwater. “In my opinion, when you couple the principles taught in Scouting with those taught in engineering, the end product will be students better prepared to help lead this great country forward.”

Volume 8 Issue 1

A recent gift to West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources will assist students from Roane or Calhoun counties who have a relationship with Scouting and want to study engineering.


Following in the footsteps of his father, both 31 his grandfathers, and two great grandfathers, Freshwater began his oil and gas career in 1987, working in the field on CSi well servicing, pipeline construction, and well cementing projects. While attending classes at WVU, he spent his summers working at CSi and completed an internship with Columbia Gas/ Columbia Gulf Transmission Corporation.




CILENTO HONORS PARENTS WITH GIFT TO COLLEGE Gene Cilento, the Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University, knows the value of a quality education. With his recent gift to the WVU Foundation, Cilento honors his parents, who installed that value in him.

Spring 2012


Cilento’s $25,000 gift has resulted in the establishment of the Salvatore and Josephine Cilento Research Endowment, which will benefit broad-based research in the College, with first preference given to support research in the Department of Chemical Engineering. The gift is expected to be matched by the state’s Research Trust Fund, resulting in a total gift of $50,000.


“I established this endowment to honor my parents, who did not have the opportunity to study past the eighth grade,” said Cilento. “They always emphasized education and provided their children with the educational opportunities that brought me to where I am today. I want to honor their memory by helping provide the same opportunities for deserving students for generations to come.” A native of New York City, Cilento earned his bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He completed both his master’s and doctoral degrees in the same discipline at the University of Cincinnati with a focus on biomedical engineering research. In his 33-plus years with WVU, Cilento has been promoted through the ranks, from research instructor in anatomy, to professor and chair of chemical engineering. He has served as dean of the College since 2001.

Danrick Anderson, PhDMinE ’06, was awarded the Ivan B. Rahn Education Award by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME). The award recognizes distinguished contributions to the educational activities within SME. Anderson is a registered professional engineer and fireboss in West Virginia and a registered member of SME. Since 2007 he has worked in mine emergency escape and rescue, coal dust explosibility, and other projects at the NIOSH Office of Mine Safety and Health Research. He has authored more than 25 professional papers and presentations. David Barbe, BSEE ’62, MSEE ’64, director of the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, was named the 2011 Innovator of the Year by The Daily Record. The award honors Maryland businesses and/or individuals who have had a positive effect and tremendous impact in the state. He was also honored as a “Champion of Change” in America by the White House. Champions, according to the White House, are “… recognized for their work in helping to create highquality jobs in the United States. These are the leaders this country needs, people who are working to build in America and create jobs in America.” Raymond Bradbury, BSEM ’50, and his wife, Clara, celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary on November 28. They reside at Plantation Estates Retirement-Life Community in Matthews, N.C. Bradbury serves as president of the residents’ association. Carl Heinlein, MSSM ’92, was named the Council on Practices and Standards Safety Profession of the Year by the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE). Heinlein is active in developing future leaders within ASSE through involvement with student sections at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Slippery Rock University, and West Virginia University, serving as a mentor to guide young professionals.


Heinlein was also named board president of the Board of Certified Safety Professionals in January. He is a senior safety consultant with American Contractors Insurance Group. He sits on the advisory board for EHS Today, as well as WVU’s Safety and Environmental Management Graduate Program Advisory Board. He is an active member of the American Industrial Hygiene Association, Associated General Contractors of America, National Safety Management Society, and the National Safety Council.

Edwin C. Jones, Jr., BSEE ’55, university professor emeritus at Iowa State University, has been recognized by his students, who have created a scholarship in his honor. Melanie Moore, MSSM ’09, has been commissioned in the United States Public Health Service as an Environmental Health Officer. She is employed by NIOSH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Morgantown. Sisir Padhy, PhDME ’92, recently joined Verizon Communications as vice president of process excellence and innovation. He is headquartered in New Jersey. Kerri Phillips, PhDAE ’11, has written a series of articles for the website, americanspace.org, on WVU’s Microgravity Research Team. WVU’s team became the 11th team in school history to be selected to conduct an experiment in microgravity. Phillips is a past member of the team. Wade Thompson, BSIE ’83, was promoted to plant manager for Ronile, Inc., one of the world’s leading suppliers of custom-dyed accent yarns. He lives in Roanoke, Va.

FACULTY Bhaskaran Gopalakrishnan, director of WVU’s Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) and a professor in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering, was the subject of a case study written by the U.S. Department of Energy. The studies highlight individuals who have helped enhance and expand the reputations and reach of the IACs through their hard work and dedication. James Smith, director of the Center for Industrial Research Applications and professor in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, was a town hall panelist at the Western Pennsylvania Marcellus Shale Expo, held in October. The expo was presented by Range Resources. He was also selected as an award recipient by the National Association of Entrepreneurship. The NAE 250 Awards are presented annually to leaders who excel in free enterprise.



You have teenagers thinking they’re going to make millions as NBA stars


when that’s not realistic for even one percent of them. Becoming a scientist or engineer is. — Dean Kamen

Rafi Zeinalpour, 67, passed away November 9, 2011, at his home in Dallas, Tex. Zeinalpour emigrated from Iran to the United States in 1969 and he later graduated from West Virginia University with a master’s degree in minerals and resources. His career began in the Persian Gulf, with Pan American Oil Company. In 1981, he joined the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, where he worked until his retirement in 2009. He is survived by his wife of 35 years, Andrea Halterman Zeinalpour, and a son, Cyrus, also of Dallas.

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

Another suggestion is to create a gift with the WVU Foundation to provide income to you (and your spouse) for life or for a certain number of years, up to 20. Consider it an investment for your retirement and for the College’s future. You may choose how the remaining funds would be used after the income payout ends. Other ways to help are designating retirement funds to benefit the College or your department after you pass away, transferring a life insurance policy, or donating real estate while retaining a lifetime interest in the property. To assure the best results, please contact Robert Bragg, director of development, at (304) 293-4036 or robert.bragg@mail.wvu.edu. He can confer with you about legacy opportunities.

MOUNTAINEERTRAK IS WVU’S JOB SEARCH PORTAL FOR STUDENTS AND ALUMNI. TO GET ACCESS TO MOUNTAINEERTRAK, PLEASE SEND AN E-MAIL TO LLOYD.FORD@MAIL.WVU.EDU. Another resource is the WVU CEMR Group at LinkedIn www.cemr.wvu.edu/linkedinwvucemr. If you have any questions, please contact Lloyd Ford at 304.293.4370.

Volume 8 Issue 1



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

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

Save the Dates West Virginia State Fair August 10-18, 2012

YOUR NEWS Send your professional news, photos, and/or contributions to

engineeringwv@mail.wvu.edu, or to Alumni Notes, Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University, PO 6070, Morgantown, WV 26506-6070. You also may give online at www.cemr.wvu.edu/contribute.

Glen H. Hiner Lecture: Jeff Immelt, chairman and CEO of General Electric September 12, 2012

Name ____________________________________________________________

Career Fair September 26-27, 2012


Groundbreaking of Advanced Engineering Research Building 125th Anniversary of Engineering Education Celebration September 27, 2012 Statler College Visiting Committee September 27-28, 2012 Football Tent WVU vs. Baylor September 29, 2012 Glen H. Hiner Lecture: Wes Bush, chairman, president, and CEO, Northrup Grumman October 3, 2012 Football Tent WVU vs. TCU November 3, 2012

Address ___________________________________________________________

E-mail ____________________________________________________________ Graduation Year_________Degree(s) ________________________________________ q YES, I want to support the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Enclosed is my contribution of: $____________ Thank you for your support. My news: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ EWV2012SPRING

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EngineeringWV Spring 2012  

Bi-annual magazine of the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources that promotes, informs and boasts of all thin...

EngineeringWV Spring 2012  

Bi-annual magazine of the WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources that promotes, informs and boasts of all thin...

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