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Spring 2015

466 Books

Carolyn Atkins

Graham Curry

Carolyn Peluso Atkins, professor of speech pathology and audiology, wants kids to consider a future with college in it. So she wrote the book “Living Life the West Virginia Way,” to help young readers learn more about the state, the concept of attending college and the importance of good character. Then she donated copies to each of the state’s 466 elementary public schools. 

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Star Studded

Ben Reed

Photograph Submitted

When audiences across the world sat down this winter to see the hit film American Sniper, they also got to see a WVU alumnus in action. Former Mountaineer quarterback Ben Reed, BS ’88, Sport and Exercise Studies, played the role of sniper Chris Kyle’s father in the Academy Award-nominated film starring Bradley Cooper and directed by Clint Eastwood. An actor for more than 20 years, Reed played quarterback at WVU in the 1980s between the eras of Kevin White and Major Harris. 

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The Body Electric

Robot hand

Up until now, the complete merging of biology and technology in a prosthetic was consigned to fictional characters like RoboCop. Now that idea is looking more like reality. Sergiy Yakovenko, assistant professor of exercise physiology and neuroscience, and his colleagues are developing an algorithm for prosthetics that could offer amputees an artificial hand that feels and responds like a real hand. “To operate the prosthesis the user will think about moving their prosthetic hand, much as if it were a real hand,” Yakovenko said. “Because we hope to recreate a closed-loop sensorimotor experience, the user will also feel the sensation of ‘hand’ movement and touch. It’s a full sensory experience as if it’s your own hand.” 

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Students Come from All Over for Forensic Program

The Forensic and Investigative Science program is quite the draw, attracting students from 25 states and FOUR countries outside the U.S. 

Map of U.S. Forensics.wvu.edu

Truth in Justice

Gavel

As forensic evidence becomes more important in determining justice, this fall WVU will start offering the nation’s first accredited master of laws degree in forensic justice. The WVU College of Law and the Department of Forensic and Investigative Science are partnering to offer this one-year program for judges and lawyers interested in learning about the forensic sciences and their use in the civil and criminal justice systems. 

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Quote Solo

“This allowed our farmers to stay on the farm. It allowed them to be with their family, have that connection and keep our way of life the way we like it.” – John Spangler 

Spangler, president of the Monroe Farm Market, praised the state’s first online farmer’s market, created with the help of the WVU Extension Service. This online market allows Monroe County’s abundance of fresh produce to be sold in the more densely populated city of Charleston. 

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I Love Wildlife

Hannah Clip

Scott Lituchy

As a child, Hannah Clipp loved wildlife so much that she was briefly separated from her family while watching ducks at the National Zoo. Now Clipp, 20, from Bel Air, Md., is one of the nation’s top students pursuing a career in wildlife biology. She received the national Goldwater and Udall scholarships, which recognize students working in science, technology, engineering and math for the Goldwater, and the environment or Native American issues for the Udall. 

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Using Industry for Art

3D Art

Raymond Thompson

Ceramics has come a long way since its birth in China thousands of years ago. Where once WVU students used their hands, the wheel and molds, they now also use printers to make ceramic art, molds and tools. WVU has one of the first 3-D printing ceramics programs in the nation. Associate professor and ceramics coordinator Shoji Satake says his students are making their artistic dreams come to life and getting a jump on the latest technology. Watch a video here: go.wvu.edu/3DCeramics

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Physics Lives Here

Isaac Newton

If you sense a little more gravity on your next visit to the downtown campus, there’s a reason for that. Between the Downtown Campus Library and White Hall is planted a Newton apple tree, a descendant of the legendary tree that inspired Sir Isaac Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation. The tree is a gift from retired Sen. Jay Rockefeller who was recently awarded the tree by the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

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Everyday Jam Session

Mon Hills Logo

They’ve been making music for years. Now it’s time to make records. The College of Creative Arts has launched a new independent, student-run record label known as Mon Hills Records. And the label is already producing albums for three artists. The first artists to sign on are country music performer Steve Smith, the new WVU Bluegrass Band and The High Street Jazz Band, made up of former members of the Mountaineer Marching Band. The initiative is strengthening the region’s music industry while giving students practical experience. 

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Welcome to the Family

WVU is moving forward on the purchase of the former Mountain State University in Beckley, W.Va., for $8.5 million. Once the deal is finalized, the University expects to begin offering classes on the campus starting in fall 2016. “This is a significant move,” President E. Gordon Gee said. “It’s a unique opportunity for the University to open up many more of our great academic programs to that part of the state.” 

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A Warning Lead

Vulture

San Francisco Zoo

Birds in eastern North America are exposed to more lead than anyone knew, which could have profound implications on human health. Shannon Behmke, graduate student in Wildlife and Fisheries Resources, led a study whose results were published in Environment International on lead poisoning in vultures, which was traced to sources that include rifle ammunition and lead emitted from coal-fired power plants and zinc smelting operations, all common in this region of the country. 

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Space to Innovate

Innovation Lab

Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering engineers will have more space to build that new rocket pack or space age-car with the new Advanced Engineering Building. Steps away from WVU’s existing engineering buildings, this new space is already home to faculty and will greet students in the fall. 

Construction Updates

Moving Forward

Magazine spread

We got a huge response to our cover story “Where We Go From Here” in the fall issue of the WVU Magazine. Most of the commenters were eager to see progress in a change in culture surrounding alcohol and destructive behavior in Morgantown. After the magazine went to print, the University brought in two nationally known consultants to lead a forum for the 30 fraternities and sororities at WVU, as well as the InterFraternity Council, National Pan-Hellenic Council and Panhellenic Council. In the months following the meeting, Greek life leaders helped develop a Greek Community Improvement Plan. Incoming Student Government Association leaders campaigned on the issue of creating a culture change and recently spoke at the Morgantown City Council to discuss strengthening the relationship between students and the city. The leadership of the official student section Mountaineer Maniacs, the largest student organization on campus, is eager to create positive sports celebrations that respect the community. And individual students continue to write in to University officials expressing their commitment to building a safer community.

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As Seen on TV

Emily Shaffer

Photograph Submitted

If you’re a fan of the NBC show Chicago Fire, you probably saw a WVU alumna on screen without even knowing it. Emily Shaffer, BFA ’08, Acting, played Dr. Diane Claman in Episode 19, Season 3, this April. The Clarksburg, W.Va., native got her start in 2011 playing Brianna on HBO’s How to Make It in America

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Say It With A Tweet

Tweet

If you aren’t following WVU President E. Gordon Gee on Twitter, you should be. When he’s not sharing selfies taken with everyone he meets, he’s showing off his bowties, issuing fun and serious challenges, posting his Gee Mail videos and continuing to pester the Mountaineer to let him shoot the rifle for once. Someday he’ll wear the Mountaineer down. 

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Second Chance

Turn This Town Around logo

When people think about community development, they sometimes overlook the need for marketing. Three West Virginia communities are getting assistance in revitalization as part of a Reed College of Media project offering marketing communications campaigns and branding services. The project, funded by the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation, will support Matewan, Ripley and Whitesville, all winners of the “Turn This Town Around” contest created by media and community development organizations in the state. 

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New Beginnings

Shane Lyons, Dr. Clay Marsh, William D. Shafer

Three major areas of the University have new and eager leaders. Shane Lyons, former deputy director of athletics at the University of Alabama, is the new director of Intercollegiate Athletics and associate vice president at WVU. He was named to the post following the announcement that Oliver Luck was taking a job with the NCAA. A national leader in healthcare, Dr. Clay Marsh was named as vice president and executive dean for health sciences. Marsh, a WVU alumnus, was formerly a director and professor at The Ohio State University. He takes the role following Dr. Christopher C. Colenda being named CEO of the West Virginia United Healthcare System. William D. Schafer has filled the post of vice president for Student Life at WVU. Schafer was vice president for student affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology for more than a decade. He takes on the role following the retirement last year of Ken Gray. 

Shane Lyons Dr. Clay Marsh William D. Shafer

Mastering the Biz

Students holding trophy

Photograph Submitted

Ten teams had one day to prove they could make it big in business. And when the strategizing was over and presentations were made, the WVU team at the 2015 Big 12 MBA Case Competition was the winner for the first time. Four Master of Business Administration students – Christina Burke Cudney of Beaver Falls, Pa.; Ed Chambers of Morgantown, W.Va.; Nicole Sangid of Charleston, W.Va.; and William Espanol of Fairmont, W.Va. – showed their business acumen, teamwork and confidence to representatives from companies such as Deloitte and F rito-Lay as they parsed the future of mobile payment products like Apple Pay. 

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Third Time Gets the Degree

Tony Brutto

This May, Anthony “Tony” Brutto, RBA ’15, became one of the oldest students to graduate from WVU, at the age of 94. The Morgantown resident first attended the University in 1939, majoring in physical education and industrial arts. But Brutto was forced to leave his classes when he was drafted in 1942 during World War II. After three and a half years in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he returned to take classes at WVU but left when his wife became ill. Long after he retired as a machinist in the 1980s, Brutto’s daughter, a WVU employee, told him about the Regents Bachelor of Arts degree, which allowed him to use the credits he already earned to help him finally complete his path to graduation. 

Chronicles.wvu.edu

For the Health of It

Children raising hands

Scott Lituchy

One West Virginia county known for poor health is trying to turn the tide with help from the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences. In its first year, McDowell CHOICES, funded by the Highmark Foundation, worked with all 11 McDowell County schools to create comprehensive school physical activity programs and provide children opportunities to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The program provided new equipment and resources for each school, funding for after-school programs such as archery and Zumba, and introduced new and fun sports such as Sweden’s tchoukball to McDowell County schoolchildren. This year, the program is continuing with a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

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Fueling Dreams

The University is establishing the $50-million “Dream First” scholarship campaign to keep the cost of attending WVU affordable and enable students to achieve their dreams. The University, in an effort to balance quality with affordability, is establishing the fund during a difficult but necessary tuition increase. “West Virginia University remains extremely cognizant of our students and their families as they face the financial aspects of obtaining a college education – and we want to do right by them,” President E. Gordon Gee said. “At the same time, there is a level of quality that students and families expect when they come to West Virginia University for an education. We will never sacrifice the quality of our University. In fact, we must continue to invest in the very institution that will work hard to ensure a student’s success – both while on campus and in his or her future career.”

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Matter of Fact Archive

Fall 2014

From the new art museum to acupuncture to shoe research, there’s a lot happening at WVU.

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Fall 2015

The WVU Beckley campus opened, an alumna took a case to the U.S. Supreme Court and new students prepared for zombie wars. Catch these and so much more in Matter of Fact.

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Fall 2016

WVU surpassed $1 billion in its State of Minds campaign and the robotics team was again the only team to win NASA's competition.

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Spring 2015

A 94-year-old grad. An artificial hand that works like a real one. A tree from Isaac Newton’s backyard. Learn about these and more.

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Spring 2016

This issue, the WVU Heart and Vascular Institute prepares to open, a professor takes cameras into classrooms and Morgantown breaks ground on a new $30-million swimming, diving and track complex.

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Spring 2017

We bid farewell to Arnold Hall, "meet the press" and applaud WVU's online grad program in software engineering.

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Summer 2016

Mountaineers went first in assisting with flood relief efforts in West Virginia this summer.

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Summer 2017

An ice drilling team took home top honors in a NASA competition, the sports management graduate program is ranked 10th in the U.S., and an alumna wrote the book on pepperoni rolls.

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