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Student News

The SAE Baja buggy catches air during a race.


The WVU Tech student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers builds a Baja-style racing vehicle from the ground up – every year. The team competed in Budd’s Creek, Maryland in April where they marked their best finish in more than a decade, placing 27th overall. The team went on to compete again in Pittsburg, Kansas in May.

Haley Mounts is a first-year mechanical engineering major from Matewan, West Virginia. She also drove the Baja SAE vehicle in a record-setting, four-hour endurance race. 

“This team is one of the best I’ve ever been a part of and I can’t wait to see where this program goes as I continue my time here at Tech. We worked incredibly hard this year and the results prove it. I can’t thank the team enough for everything they’ve taught me this year, all the memories we made together, and for letting me be a part of the team,” she said.  

“When you’re able to put your heart and hard work into a project and see it perform better than you expected, there’s nothing that compares to that feeling.” Baja SAE driver Haley Mounts


The SAE Aero team poses with their 2018 build

The WVU Tech SAE Aero team built their first remote-controlled plane in a small workshop in Montgomery, West Virginia. That was a handful of students. Just four years later, the Aero team is set for some high-flying competition. The team is now 16 members strong, and where you could hold that original plane in one hand, today’s build weighs 40 pounds and boasts a wingspan of 12 feet. Next year’s build is going to be even better.

“We will be building a new plane for the 2019 competition with a similar airfoil design on the wing but a newer fuselage design, which should make a more efficient use of space for our passengers,” said team captain and pilot, Morgan Smith.

Passengers? Yep. They’re tennis balls.


The WVU Tech Garden and Agriculture Club at the farmer's market.

As one of Tech’s newest organizations, the Garden and Agriculture Club has been making waves in its first year of operation. WVU Tech’s move to Beckley included a greenhouse, and the club has already grown bumper crops of flowers and produce, which they sold at the local farmer’s market (they even landed on TV). In their spare time, they did some volunteer gardening for Harper Mills, a regional nursing center.

The steel bridge team showcases their build.


Almost two dozen Golden Bears traveled to Washington, D.C. in March to compete in the 2018 Virginia’s Regional Student ASCE Competition. They took first place in the concrete Frisbee competition, second in the balsa wood bridge competition, second in the steel-concrete hockey shootout and the accolade of maximum loading capacity in the steel bridge competition.

“The competitions allow students to put their knowledge from the classroom to work in real-life applications. Not only are we being competitive, but we are absorbing the ideas and methods that other chapters use to complete the same tasks we are striving to complete.” Civil Engineering major Dakota Smith

The IEEE crew at competition


The student chapter of the Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers showcased their small devices in a big way this year at the Region 2 Student Activities Conference in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team’s micro mouse earned second place for its ability to autonomously (autono-mouse-ly?) learn and complete a maze. 

The Micromouse robot Want to see some behind-the-scenes footage of how a micromouse robot comes together?  Check out this video from Tech grad Corbin Adkins.

Then they put their sumo bots to work pushing the competition out of the ring for a third-place finish in scratch, where students built the whole bot from scratch, and a fifth-place wrap up in the kit competition. In physics, the team brought home a fourth-place finish.

But it’s not all about competition with this crew. Last year, students took technical tours of wind farms and automation facilities. They presented technical talks, hosted campus events and participated in a number of events within the community, including the popular Discover Engineering Day at the Clay Center in Charleston, West Virginia. 

Robotics club


A team of WVU Tech students spent months designing, programming, calibrating, tinkering and testing the University’s first VEX-based competition robot – Monty1. In March, the team put their machine to the test at the West Virginia 2018 VEX U Regional Qualifier at Fairmont State University.


Jordan Bowen works with students.

WVU Tech student Jordan Bowen didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up, until she discovered her love for computer science in college. Now she’s helping middle school girls get a jump start on their STEM exploration with her program GIRLS – Girls Interested in Robotics Lego and Scratch. The hybrid face-to-face and online program teaches girls to program Lego-based robots using the drag-and-drop Scratch language.

“They have the ability to do these types of careers, even if they don’t think they can or that it looks too complicated. They truly do have the ability to do whatever they want.” Computer science major Jordan Bowen

Students and staff pose for pictures at the 2018 commencement ceremony


On Saturday, May 12, students, faculty, family and friends gathered in the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center to celebrate more than 170 graduates of the WVU Tech class of 2018. What symbolized the last time these seniors would stand together as students also marked the University’s very first commencement ceremony in Beckley.

View photos from the big day


Psychology students stand for a photo at a regional conference.

Students in the WVU Tech Psychology Club and Psi Chi honors society put in some serious academic work in the field this year. They published papers and presented their work at conferences, covering topics like approval seeking, self-worth among college students in Appalachia, psychopathy among students in different majors, the negative perceptions of female vocal fry (creaky voice), loneliness and paranoia, Machiavellianism, social sensitivity and a host of other topics that take a look at how humans think and interact. 


Put WVU Tech’s Biology Club students under a microscope, and you’ll see they can’t stop moving. The group recently received an Outstanding Student Organization award for their activities on and off campus. Students raised $600 for local organizations. They’ve worked with local environmental associations on cleanup projects and helped the city mark storm water drains. 

They’re also big fans of community critters, spending lots of time volunteering for the Raleigh County Humane Society. They even raised six and half tons of supplies (that’s 13,000 pounds!) for the organization.