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Matter of Fact


WVU President Gordon Gee at the National Scout Jamboree.

At the 24th World Scout Jamboree, nearly 45,000 Scouts from all over the world gathered at the Summit Bechtel Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia – just over 12 miles from Tech’s campus. Students and staff across the WVU system were on hand to visit the site, meet with Scouts and share in an interactive series of demonstrations, including the science behind common sports. WVU President Gordon Gee, an Eagle Scout and member of the National Board of the BSA, visited with Scouts and spoke to the entire gathering: “The World Scout Jamboree was a fabulous opportunity to celebrate our state, our people and the thousands of Scouts from around the world who got to see West Virginia’s beauty firsthand.”


A crowd gathers in the Learning Commons.

The second floor of the Robert C. Byrd Learning Resource Center got more than a facelift by the WVU Tech Facilities Management team this year. The newly dedicated Learning Commons has become a colorful, lively hub of campus activities. Students use the Commons to study or hold meetings. The space is the new preferred location for student presentations and expositions. It’s also the home of the library, the bookstore and the Student Success Center, making it one of the most active (and valuable) campus resources for students.


Student ham it up for the camera at the elementary engineering challenge camp.'

Over the summer, WVU Tech hosted the first Elementary Engineering Challenge Camp on the Beckley campus. The WVU program brought kids grades 1-5 to campus to learn engineering concepts. Then they put those new skills to work solving problems that popular story book characters faced – like sorting toys for Dr. Seuss, cookie mining (because mice these days need way more than one) and developing a little electromagnetic engine that could.


Tech student Katie Stanley works with local conservationists in a local stream project.

WVU Tech student Katie Stanley loves to help out. So much, in fact, that she was named the Piney Creek Watershed Association’s Volunteer of the Year. Katie’s dream to become a vet includes a desire to keep natural habitats in great shape for all animals, and she spent more


Students watch a presentation during the engineering and sciences open house.

Hundreds of middle and high school students from six local schools spent a bright, spring day at the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences Open House. Visitors moved through more than 20 learning stations, exploring everything from how planes fly and racing buggies drive to biology, chemistry, mathematics and more. And working alongside college students and faculty meant they got to learn a little about what their educational future might hold.


The LaunchLab: a blue rocket shooting into the sky.
WVU Tech’s LaunchLab helps entrepreneurs get their big ideas off the ground – and they do that so well that the program was named WV HIVE 2019 Partner of the Year. The lab serves aspiring business owners and inventors in a 12-county radius, and it’s part of a much larger, university-wide IDEA Hub network. That network landed the prestigious Deshpande Symposium Rising Star Award for its commitment to encouraging entrepreneurship and innovation in West Virginia and beyond.


A panel discussion ayt the first women's leadership conference.

The inaugural Women’s Leadership Conference brought together more than 70 women to discuss career-building, professional development and how to carve out a niche in male-dominated industries. Students heard from experts in education, non-profit organizations, health care and industry. But the program doesn’t end there – it kicked off the WVU Tech Women’s Mentoring Program, which pairs students up with female faculty and staff throughout the year.


Appalachian author, Ann Pancake, poses for a photo against a lush, green background,

WVU Tech students got a rare chance to meet with renowned Appalachian author, Ann Pancake, during the Appalachian Writers’ Lecture this year. Pancake, a WVU grad, West Virginia native and WVU 2018 writer-in-residence, is an award-winning author of novels, short stories and essays. WVU Tech English professor Dr. Douglas Terry sums up the importance of Pancake’s work to the region: “Her award-winning fiction captures the complexity of life in Southern West Virginia. Set against the collision of nature and industry, her characters persevere amid the competing interests of family, community, religion and work. Their struggle, formed by looming forces, mirrors that of West Virginia itself, grappling with its own identity. As a nationally recognized writer, Pancake tells Appalachia’s story in a way that projects its humanity without turning a blind eye to its challenges.”



Kids conduct experiments at Monty's Arcade.

One of Beckley’s biggest and most popular events of the year is Chili Night. It brings thousands of visitors from the area to sample chili from restaurants, businesses and non-profit organizations. It’s some serious competition featuring some seriously good chili. This year, WVU Tech hosted Monty’s Arcade during Chili Night, where families could bring their kids to play games, explore STEM, investigate a mock crime scene and learn about what college students in their town have been working on.


A portrait of Dr. Afrin Naz against a white backdrop.

WVU Tech professor Dr. Afrin Naz has been working on programs to connect girls to STEM fields for years. She was awarded a grant last year from the Association of University Women to launch her STEM Ambassadress program in every high school in Fayette County. She also received another grant from the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium to expand the program to Raleigh and Kanawha counties. Since then, she has connected nine female WVU students in STEM majors with more than 100 mentees from high schools in Raleigh, Kanawha and Fayette counties. The program pairs female college students with high schoolers for tutoring and mentoring, allowing the younger students (and their families) to boost their interest and knowledge of STEM fields. It also helps participants improve their math and science grades.