Geoscientist named Virginia's 2010 outstanding scientist
Virginia Tech University Distinguished Professor Robert J. Bodnar's work has led Gov. Bob McDonnell and the Science Museum of Virginia to name him Virginia's Outstanding Scientist 2010. Bodnar, the C.C. Garvin Professor of Geochemistry in the College of Science, is internationally recognized as a leader in his specialized field of fluid inclusions, which are microscopic droplets that are trapped in minerals when they form beneath Earth's surface. He uses fluid inclusions to study volcanic eruptions and to predict the explosiveness of future eruptions. His work focuses on the formation of and exploration for economically important mineral deposits of copper, gold, lead, zinc, silver, and uranium.
Tech remains among best values in public higher education
Virginia Tech continues to rank among the top public colleges and universities in the nation for offering a high-quality educational experience at an affordable price, according to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine. The magazine's "100 Best Values in Public Colleges" list, which appeared in the February issue, ranks Virginia Tech 16th among 100 institutions "that combine outstanding economic value with a first-class education." The university continues to increase funding for student financial aid, with more than 70 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid.
Grant funds genetic therapy research
The National Institutes of Health has awarded a $2.3 million grant to a Virginia Tech research team led by Theresa Reineke, an associate professor of chemistry in the College of Science, to continue the team's biomedical research into new medicines. The group is creating carbohydrate-based polymers for the delivery of genetic drugs to combat cancer and heart disease. The New Innovator grant supports research in its earliest stages and holds potential for exceptionally high impact. The awards are designed to stimulate highly innovative research and promising new investigators.
Four teams of students from the Industrial Design Program in the School of Architecture + Design swept the five award categories at an international design competition sponsored by Ardica, which received more than 100 submissions. Eight finalist groups gathered in San Francisco, charged with designing and creating an outdoor product that integrated the Moshi Power Pack, which is a flat, flexible battery system. The team of Kyle McCrory, Patrice Hsia, and Greg Lefevere designed the first-prize winner, the "Voltage" sleeping bag. Second prize and the People's Choice Award went to the "Aeolus" coal-mining respirator, designed by Matt Saunders and Tony Smith. Danny Calabrese, Brad Johnson, and Matt Manganti designed the third-prize winner, the "Photogenesis" backpack. The Student Design Award was won by Crosby Reinders for his ski-patrol vest design.
Students sweep design competition in San Francisco
Virginia Tech research expenditures grow
Virginia Tech reported $396.7 million in expenditures for fiscal year (FY) 2009, which ended June 30, 2009, to the National Science Foundation. The figure represents an increase of $23.4 million or 6.27 percent over FY 2008, when the university ranked 46th in the country. Federal funding grew, as did institutional funding and other revenue streams, such as cost sharing and foundation funding. Industry, state, and local funding dropped slightly.
Pamplin College, College of Engineering launch two-degree program
Students will have the opportunity to earn both the master of business administration and the master of industrial and systems engineering degrees within the same two-year period in a new cooperative program established by the Pamplin College of Business and the College of Engineering. The program, which begins this fall, will replace the existing M.B.A. concentration in systems engineering management. Students will complete the core requirements for the M.B.A. and dedicate their elective credits to completing the requirements for the master of science in industrial and systems engineering. The program comprises 53 credit hours, three more than is required for an M.B.A.
Graduate student wins Golden Key scholarship
Seungmoon Song, a graduate student in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been awarded a $10,000 Ford engineering scholarship from the Golden Key International Honor Society. The organization awards only four such scholarships annually. Song's research focuses on humanoid robotics locomotion and on maximizing the power production of solar cells. Song is a member of RoMeLa's Team DARwin, which actively participates in RoboCup, an international autonomous robotic soccer competition that seeks to develop robots capable of competitively playing against humans by 2050.
University receives $2.5 million for Mali mission
Management of university's endowment ranks No. 2
The 24/7 Wall St. website cites Virginia Tech as having one of the best-managed endowments of colleges and universities for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009. In an article appearing on the widely utilized site for investment information, the Virginia Tech endowment was ranked second among the nation's 17 best-managed endowments.
More hybrids added to "Green Fleet"
Virginia Tech's Fleet Services is continuing its "Green Fleet" efforts by replacing older models with five new Honda Insights. These new cars join the Ford Escape Hybrids and the Chevy Malibu Hybrid acquired over the past four years. The Honda Insight has several features that allow the driver to take control over how "green" his or her driving is. The additional hybrids reflect the dedication to the Green Fleet Initiative implemented by Fleet Services in May 2007.
University takes gold in Best Workplaces for Commuters Race to Excellence
Virginia Tech is one of three higher education institutions in the nation to receive a gold award for its alternative transportation programs in the Best Workplaces for Commuters Race to Excellence. The Race to Excellence encourages sustainable transportation and recognizes organizations that have taken steps to offer transportation alternatives, thereby reducing air pollution, traffic congestion, and fuel consumption. Twenty-seven companies, institutions, and individuals nationwide competed in the event in 2009.
Engineering team to build battlefield robots for competition
A team of robotics researchers from the College of Engineering will build a team of fully autonomous cooperative battle-ready robots as part of a 2010 international war-games challenge that could spur real-life battle robots. The team, led by Tomonari Furukawa, associate professor of mechanical engineering, will create robots that coordinate, plan, and execute a series of timed tasks. The top three winners will receive cash prizes worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and the chance to work with defense agencies to develop robotic designs that one day may fight alongside soldiers in combat.
Undergraduate students win Associated Schools of Construction competition
A team of five students from the College of Architecture and Urban Studies and the College of Engineering won first place in the 2009 Associated Schools of Construction-Associated General Contractors Region II Heavy-Civil competition in Jacksonville, Fla. The team--Jason Lieb, Stephanie Savoia, Josh Zilke, Vaibhav Gupta, and Gavin McDuff--was given a construction problem statement at 7 a.m. and had until 8 p.m. that day to develop a solution, an estimate, and a construction schedule.
Chemist elected international fellow
Judy S. Riffle, professor of chemistry and director of the macromolecular science and engineering program at Virginia Tech, has been elected a Fellow in the Polymeric Materials Science and Engineering (PMSE) division of the American Chemical Society. Riffle was one of only three chemists worldwide to be named a PSME Fellow for 2010. She was recognized for making significant contributions to the science and engineering of polymeric materials. Her research has led to the development of materials used in heart transplants, arterial grafts, and contact lenses.
Tech spearheads $3.8 million jobs-creation effort
A Virginia Tech-led team of almost 20 partners has won $3.8 million in federal stimulus money to train workers for green jobs in the construction industry. The project is expected to train some 400 workers over two years. College of Engineering and College of Architecture and Urban Studies faculty members will work with three community colleges to develop green curriculums in communities that have been hit hard by job losses. Community Housing Partners in Christiansburg, Va., is managing the U.S. Department of Labor grant, which will include a $474,000 outlay to Virginia Tech, as well as almost $2 million to the community colleges.
Corps participates in governor's inaugural events
The Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets was well represented at the Governor's Inaugural Parade on Jan. 16 in Richmond, Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell invited the Highty-Tighties, the corps Regimental Band, and the corps color guard to march in the parade. In addition, 20 cadets served as VIP escorts during the parade and swearing-in ceremony. All participating cadets voluntarily returned to campus five days early from winter break to practice and prepare for the event.