Marshall University engineering complex breaks ground

Inclement weather did not deter the attendance, nor demean the importance of the Arthur Weisberg Family Applied Engineering Complex groundbreaking on Monday afternoon.  


Despite the last minute venue change due to weather conditions, Marshall University’s Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center housed a crowd at Monday’s groundbreaking for the $50 million engineering complex on Huntington’s campus.


The applied engineering complex has been a steady work in progress ever since passage of Senate Bill 448 in 2004, which helped relaunch Marshall’s engineering program.


Sen. Plymale, chairman of the Senate Education Committee, was the lead sponsor of legislation in 2004 that led to the revitalization of Marshall’s engineering program.  


“Of all of my initiatives I have worked on state-wide, this is probably one of my proudest days seeing this project finally come to fruition,” Plymale said.


The engineering program is now one of the fastest growing baccalaureate programs offered at Marshall.


“You are going to be able to remember that you were apart of perhaps the most important part of the revitalization of Huntington and this university, which will catapult us up into the age of technology and knowledge where the brightest and best people not only come here for an education, but more importantly to stay here and make a difference,” Marshall University Board of Governors Member Emeritus, A. Michael Perry, said.  


Of the six contractors who submitted bids to build the new complex, BBL Carlton of Charleston was chosen to construct the multi-story facility.


Bastian & Harris of Charleston, W.Va. and Hastings & Chivetta of St. Louis, Mo. were the design firms chosen for the complex construction and Terradon Corporation of Charleston, W.Va. was the landscaping firm chosen.  


Once completed, the complex, which will be located on Third Avenue between the Arthur Weisberg Family Engineering Laboratories and the Robert C. Byrd Biotechnology Science Center, will be one of the largest academic buildings on campus.


Occupants of the new facility will include the College of Information Technology and Engineering, which includes divisions of engineering, computer science, applied science and technology.  Mechanical, electrical engineering and bioengineering research laboratories will also be integrated into the new facility.


Other occupants include: departments of mathematics and computational science, computer modeling and digital imaging/simulation resource facilities, a transportation research center and Marshall University’s research corporation.  


“The applied engineering complex is a culminating project that literally will transform what we can do with not only engineering but also technology, science and mathematics and integrating those interestingly enough with the arts,” President Stephen J. Kopp said. “We are now shaping a landscape of opportunity that is unprecedented and unparalleled here at Marshall University.” Weisberg, president of Arthur’s Enterprises, made a large gift pledge to the Marshall University Foundation this past summer.  His contributions, along with funds from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission lottery, Marshall’s bond issue from last fall and other private donations will pay for the complex.


Monday’s ceremony honored Art and Joan Weisberg and their family for their many contributions to Marshall University, especially the applied engineering complex, which will bear the family’s name.


 Additionally, the ceremony offered keynote speakers the chance to discuss the process behind bringing the complex to Marshall and their hopes for the engineering program’s future.


Keynote speakers included A. Michael Perry, W. Va. Sen. Robert H. Plymale, Arthur Weisberg, and Marshall University President Dr. Stephen J. Kopp.  Because they were unable to attend, individuals were designated to speak on behalf of U.S. Sen. Rockefeller and Manchin, as well as Congressman Rahall.  

Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony shows how much the engineering program has expanded in a relatively short amount of time.


Dr. Wael Zatar, dean of Marshall’s College of Information Technology and Engineering, said many engineers in the state are close to retirement, causing a gap in engineering employment.  With the help of the new engineering complex, Marshall’s engineering students will become versatile, skilled graduates, able to fill the gap in employment.


“There is a huge need for engineering graduates, last month alone engineering jobs increased by 17 percent,” Zatar said.  “I think with the additional facility and with the expansion of our program, within a five to ten year period I think we would be able to fill in the huge gap that is needed at this point for the state and region.”


Construction on the 145,000 square-foot, four-story complex will begin this week and is estimated to be finished in 28 months for the February 2015 opening.  

source: http://www.marshallparthenon.com/new-engineering-complex-breaks-ground-despite-inclement-weather-1.2785694#.UJBeRBzO75m

Two WV teachers awarded STEM grants by FirstEnergy

West Virginia school teachers Gabrielle Rhodes and Brooke Scott have received Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education grants from FirstEnergy, the utility company announced Oct. 18.

"The projects funded by these grants help students discover different career paths in the STEM fields of study," said Holly Kauffman, president, FirstEnergy West Virginia Operations. "We remain committed to supporting our educators as they help our community flourish and grow and prepare students for future careers."

These grants are for teachers in FirstEnergy's Mon Power service territory.

The two teachers are both employed in Buckhannon schools, Rhodes at Upshur County Schools and Scott at Union Elementary School. The grants, up to $500 each, can be used for a variety of creative classroom projects, workshops and teacher development programs.

FirstEnergy's STEM grants are awarded to individual teachers and administrators at schools served by FirstEnergy's electric utility operating companies and where it has facilities. Grant recipients are recommended by local educators who make up the company's Educational Advisory Council. As part of the program, recipients must furnish a written summary and evaluation of their projects that can be shared with other educators in FirstEnergy's service area.

More than 1,000 STEM grants have been awarded by FirstEnergy to educators and youth group leaders since 1986.



source: http://www.wboy.com/story/19853461/two-wv-teachers-awarded-stem-grants-by-firstenergy

Bluefield State College awarded $1.2 million federal grant for education, technology

Bluefield State College has been awarded a $1.2 million federal grant to help enhance technology and educational programming on the school’s campus.


U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va. said Wednesday the college was awarded a five-year federal grant and will receive $1,209,548 for the first year. As part of the five-year grant, additional funding will be received by the school in the next four years.  The grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education to strengthen academic resources, management capabilities, and education programs.


Bluefield State President Dr. Marsha Krotseng said the funding will not only help Bluefield State but students across southern West Virginia.


“We are just thrilled at this announcement because it will provide the college with an exceptional opportunity to enhance the quality of education to current students and expand access to students across southern West Virginia,” Krotseng said. “The funding will allow us the ability to use the technology we already have in our classrooms as well as help us continue what we are doing for our students.”


The grant funding will be used to enhance Bluefield State’s upgrades to computer literacy and technology programs by providing computers, networking, distance learning technology, support services and training opportunities. Additionally, the upgrades will benefit other technologies already in place at Bluefield State including electronic classrooms, professional development, student leadership development, institutional research, academic outreach, tutoring, and library resources.


Krotseng said technology is now an integral part of higher education.


“Technology is playing a much larger role in education,” Krotseng said. “As we look at higher education around the world, classrooms are connected through students using the Internet, Skype and other sites. You can connect to anywhere in the world. It is important to educate our students before they go out into that world of work where they are connecting with people in other parts of the country and other parts of the world. We want them to learn here how to connect through all means of technology as that is important in all work places. Employers are looking at technological skills, so that makes them part of the education we need to provide.”


Rahall said Bluefield State has used technology to work with many students in the past to secure educational opportunities and continues to work with initiatives like Reconnecting McDowell.


“Opening doors is a tried and true tradition at Bluefield State,” Rahall said. “This federal investment opens classrooms and ultimately jobs for any student who can access a computer. When you hear talk about Reconnecting McDowell County, know that Bluefield State is walking the walk. With Gov. (Earl Ray) Tomblin’s recent announcement about Shentel providing broadband throughout the county, this grant will work hand in hand with that improved access. The whole region will benefit from the advances Bluefield State will be making.”


Dr. Felica Wooten Williams, executive director of academic outreach programs at Bluefield State College, said the funding will help enhance the institution.


“This grant will enhance Bluefield State College’s ability to provide equality educational opportunities by strengthening academic quality, institutional management, technology upgrades, and fiscal stability,” she said. “We appreciate our congressional delegation for working to sustain this vital program at Bluefield State. I am particularly pleased with Rahall’s efforts to bring high-quality programs, like this one, to the citizens of southern West Virginia.”


The funding was awarded through the U.S. Department of Education’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program for equalizing educational opportunities and ensuring access to post-secondary education and lifelong learning.


source: http://bdtonline.com/local/x2056654457/Bluefield-State-College-awarded-1-2-million-federal-grant-for-education-technology 



West Virginia University is committed to promoting innovative education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. A group of West Virginia educators will have the chance to explore these disciplines through an unexpected lens in the upcoming Summer Agricultural Institute for Educators, to be held June 14-15.

“Agriculture is a natural springboard for studying the STEM disciplines,” said Debby Boone, WVU associate professor of agricultural and extension education and one of the event’s organizers.

“Science, technology, engineering and math have always been integral components of any agricultural endeavor.”

The 67 K-12 teachers participating in the institute will be given tools to better communicate accurate information related to agriculture to their students.

Nineteen instructors from the WVU Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, WVU Extension Service, and partner agencies will learn about innovative lesson plans and teaching techniques that bring the STEM disciplines to life through agriculture.

“We are not asking them to add more to their plates, just giving them new ideas to teach the STEM concepts using agricultural-related topics,” Boone explained.

She hopes the teachers also walk away with a better understanding of the depth, breadth and complexity of agriculture.

“Agriculture touches every individual every day in numerous ways that most folks take for granted and do not even recognize,” Boone explained.

“That meal you had today was brought to you through the collaboration of many agricultural scientists, engineers, mathematicians and a wide variety of applied technology. Agriculture by its nature is the ultimate STEM discipline to which everyone can relate.”

Sessions will focus on everything from poultry to popcorn and water quality to wool. Teachers will also hear about children’s and young adult literature that offers the most accurate portrayals of agriculture, and enjoy a keynote address from Robert Morris, WVU alumnus and West Virginia Teacher of the Year. Most sessions will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn in Morgantown.

The institute is sponsored by the WVU Davis College, WVU Extension, and the West Virginia Farm Bureau.

For more information on the institute, contact Boone at 304-293-5450 or debby.boone@mail.wvu.edu.

source: http://www.fayettetribune.com/local/x1570620750/STEM-institute-introduces-state-teachers-to-agriculture

West Virginia Expands STEM Education With ESRI Software


The adoption of ESRI's geographic information system (GIS) software statewide marks the next step for West Virginia in doing its part in the national effort to expand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Many policy makers, researchers, and educators are concerned about the lack of STEM-oriented subjects taken by today's high school students as they prepare to enter college or the workforce. State and district education agencies, as well as private educational organizations, are boosting their effort to address STEM content and skills.
According to Charlie FitzpatrickK–12 education manager at ESRI, "More and more states see value in GIS for all students, in all grades and subject areas, because it fosters integrative thinking, analysis, problem solving, and communication. These are critical skills students must master not only to make the most of social studies and STEM education but also to become effective workers and informed citizens."
During the past few years, West Virginia's Department of Education has conducted GIS seminars for its teachers at its Social Studies Summer Institute and annual Teacher Leadership Institute. In addition, the West Virginia Geographic Alliance regularly offers seminars and classes in ArcGIS software.
"We are excited about the prospect of providing GIS instruction throughout our elementary and secondary schools," says Regina Scotchie, social studies coordinator for the West Virginia Department of Education. "We are focusing our attention on grades 6 through 12; however, we have not limited the use of GIS to any particular grade level."
For more information about ESRI's GIS for Schools program, visit www.esri.com/schools.

Technical educators to be rewarded in West Virginia
The West Virginia branch of Career and Technical Education is set to hold an award ceremony during its 2012 Summer Conference, which takes place from July 23-25. Nominees will be considered for awards in the categories of:
  • School with Most Outstanding Business and Industry Involvement
  • School with Most Outstanding Community Service and Involvement
  • Best Performing Concentration in a School
  • Best New Teacher
  • Best Teacher Leader
  • Best Veteran Teacher
  • Best Support Staff
  • Best Academic Partnership
  • Best Career and Technical Facility
The CTE addresses the modern market's demand for specifically educated skilled workers in a number of different industries. Students in West Virginia can focus themselves in a wide array of career pathways. Some of these concentrations include agribusiness systems, health occupations science technology, child development specialist, marketing, and automotive technology. These classes are available in a number of different middle and high schools throughout the state. The CTE and similar organizations are  having their impact felt in West Virginia, where 160,000 high school students and 170,000 adults are enrolled in technical classes