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VT on beach When building construction assistant professor Walid Thabet and professor and department head Yvan Beliveau accompanied 17 students on a winter study-abroad trip, the students took time to etch the VT logo on a Portuguese beach. We hope the tide was going out.


Board enacts new tuition and fee rates

The board of visitors approved new tuition rates for the 2003-04 academic year, raising undergraduate tuition and mandatory fees 4.2 percent for in-state students and 3.8 percent for out-of-state students. Graduate tuition and fees will similarly rise, as will tuition and fees for the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. Tuition has increased over the past two years as a result of unprecedented losses in state funding, including $61.5 million in fiscal year 2002-03 and an additional $10.9 million in 2003-04. Despite these tuition increases, Tech's total cost is still competitive and remains lower than fees at comparable universities.


New dean joins College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Sharron S. Quisenberry, dean of the College of Agriculture at Montana State University and director of the Montana Agriculture Experiment Station, will become the first woman to serve as dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at Virginia Tech when she begins her new duties on Aug. 1. She replaces Gregory L. Brown, dean of the College of Natural Resources, who has also been interim dean of CALS since the retirement of Andy Swiger on Jan. 1. Quisenberry, who was recently appointed by President Bush to serve on the Board for International Food and Agriculture Development, has been the dean of agriculture and director of the experiment station at Montana State since 1999. She is a professor of entomology and a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America (ESA).


Watford wins national Minorities in Engineering Award

Bevlee Watford, associate dean for academic affairs and director of the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity in the College of Engineering, was selected by the American Society for Engineering Education to receive the 2003 Minorities in Engineering Award. Watford has received numerous awards for her work toward improving both the engineering college's recruitment and retention rates and the campus environment for underrepresented minority and women students.


Nominations sought for Aviation Wall of Fame

Since 1998, the Virginia Tech Aviation Wall of Fame has recognized alumni who have distinguished themselves in the fields of aviation or aerospace. Now, nominations are sought for alumni who have a record of heroism through aviation; leadership in the development of aircraft or spacecraft; accomplishments as an aviator; or significant contributions to aviation, aircraft design, or space travel. For more information, contact the Arnold Air Society, c/o Air Force ROTC, Virginia Tech, 288 Military Building, Blacksburg, VA 24061 (540/231-6406), or visit


You've got cattle?

For two days in April, the Dairy Club of Virginia Tech organized and ran the "Showcase Sale of Virginia Tech," a national online cattle auction, selling 60 cattle, which ranged from unborn embryos to mature cows, from 20 states. The program, which has been compared to e-Bay, used software developed by Alta Genetics in Calgary and was modified by a partnership of Virginia Tech students and industry professionals. This innovative format allows for increased bio-security and more comfort for the animals and buyers involved in cattle sales.


Forestry professor receives distinguished service award

Harry Haney, Garland Gray Professor and Extension Specialist in the College of Natural Resources, received the Virginia Forestry Association's 2003 Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his contributions to the conservation of Virginia's forest resources and the enhancement of its forest-based community. A fourth-generation forest landowner, Haney was cited for exemplifying the qualities of leadership, commitment, integrity, and good citizenship. Besides his teaching, research, and Extension work, Haney helps forest landowners manage their properties.


Students name favorite professor

Craig Brians, a professor of political science since 1998, garnered the most votes in the Virginia Tech Student Alumni Associates' competition for the Students' Choice Award. The group annually holds a vote among the student body to recognize and thank faculty. Brians, whose research focuses on elections and political participation, teaches courses in American politics, elections, public opinion, political communication, and research methods.


First Vecellio Professor named

A professor of civil and environmental engineering, Jess M. de la Garza was named the first Vecellio Professor in the Via Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Since joining the department in 1988, de la Garza has secured nearly $4.5 million in external research funding to study construction-related issues. The professorship, along with the Vecellio Construction Engineering and Management Program, was established with a $1 million donation from the Vecellio family, which operates the Vecellio Group, a group of contracting firms headed by Leo Vecellio Jr. (civil engineering '68).


Alumni honored on Founders Day

During this year's Founders Day ceremonies, the university recognized four alumni for their contributions to Virginia Tech. Ralph G. Roop (agricultural economics '36) was awarded the 2003 William H. Ruffner Medal, the university's highest honor, for his service to the Virginia Tech Foundation and the university. Roop worked for Southern States Cooperative from 1937 to 1966, and in 1954 founded Petroleum Markets Inc., serving as its CEO and chairman of the board until his retirement in 1987. He and his wife, Inez Graybeal Roop, are charter members of the Ut Prosim and Legacy societies.

James E. Turner (agricultural engineering '56) and Carlton Southworth (electrical engineering '51) received the 2003 Alumni Distinguished Award. Turner spent his career working for Newport News Shipbuilding Company of the Tenneco Corp. and Westinghouse Corp. In 1988, he was named corporate vice president and general manager of General Dynamics Corporation, from which he retired as president and chief operating officer in 2000. Turner has always taken time to support his alma mater, serving on the foundation board of directors and the board of visitors, of which he is the immediate past rector.

In 1955, after serving in the Korean War, Southworth began working in the mechanical contracting business and in 1983 founded Southern Mechanical Corporation. He has also maintained close ties with Virginia Tech over the years, particularly with the Richmond Chapter of the Alumni Association. For 10 years, he served on the chapter's board of directors and recently began another stint as chapter president. In addition, Southworth is a member of the Ut Prosim Society, the Class of '51 Reunion committee, and Hokies for Higher Education.

Ophthalmologist James Gills (biology '55) was given the 2003 University Distinguished Achievement Award, which recognizes national distinction in any field of enduring significance to society. He was the first doctor in the U.S. to dedicate his work to treating cataracts with intraocular lens implants and is the founder and director of St. Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute in Florida, the country's largest free-standing ambulatory eye care center. Gills also regularly works with organizations such as the Christian Blind Missions International and the Christian Medication Foundation.


Controversial board actions rescinded

At its March 10 meeting, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors passed a resolution modifying the university's non-discrimination statement and, in doing so, affected existing affirmative action practices. The resolution prohibited discrimination based on and preference given to disability, age, veteran status, political affiliation, race, color, national origin, ethnicity, religious belief, or gender in hiring, admissions, or financial aid. In addition, the new non-discrimination statement did not include "sexual orientation."

The resolution was triggered by a 24-page memo sent by the state attorney general's office in April 2002 to all colleges and universities in Virginia, stating that there was "no legal justification for race-based programs." Subsequent memos warned board members of personal legal liability if programs remained in place.

The board also banned appearances by any organization that promotes "illegal acts of domestic violence and/or terrorism" and required 30-day-advance approval by the president's office for on-campus student meetings. In February, a campus appearance by radical environmental group Earth First evoked complaints from leaders of the local timber industry. After the state attorney general's office deemed the resolution unconstitutional, the university returned to its original stance of not requiring pre-approval for speakers.

There was considerable campus and public reaction to and national media coverage of the new policy actions. Students, faculty and staff members, and alumni had mixed reactions to the board's actions. Some were concerned that discussions about these changes were not on the published meeting agenda and had taken place in closed session. Others were upset by the exclusion of sexual orientation from the new policy. Still others felt that the campus speaker ban was an attack on free speech. Many were worried about the future of diversity on campus in light of the changes made to the non-discrimination policy. Yet others approved of the actions. Reaction was not limited to the Tech community; Gov. Mark Warner and state newspapers, among others, were quick to criticize the move.

As a result of the ensuing public debate and private discussions, the board reconvened for a special meeting on April 6, when some members stated that they felt they hadn't been given the information they needed in March when voting for the resolutions. The meeting convened with board members voting 7-5 to rescind the March 10 resolution and rely on action passed in December 2002, when the board resolved to "at all times be in compliance with federal and state laws, regulations, rules, and opinions of the Office of Attorney General of Virginia in regard to recruitment, admission, and support of students, and in the application of its employment practices for faculty and staff." As a result, the existing non-discrimination statement stands as it has for the past decade. The university currently is working with the state office of the attorney general to ensure that all programs involving race-conscious elements will comply with state and federal laws and with the opinions of the Virginia Attorney General.


Making names for themselves

Over the past few months, Virginia Tech students have made waves across the countRobot Rivals teamry and around the world:

  • "Robot Rivals" team crushes Georgia Tech
    Mechanical engineering graduate students Chris Terwelp and Graham Henshaw and senior Ian Hovey beat their counterparts from Georgia Tech on the April 18 premiere episode of "Robot Rivals" on cable's Do It Yourself network. Assigned a robotics consultant and placed in a warehouse full of parts and gadgets, each team was given eight hours to build a remote-control soccer goal-scoring robot. The result? The Hokie robot scored three goals to Georgia Tech's none. In the next round, which will air on June 27 at 9 p.m., Tech will compete against Purdue to build a robot that can transport dirt. The "Robot Rivals" series will end with the championship competition on July 11 at 9 p.m.
  • Tech wins College Bowl Championship
    Tech's intercollegiate trivia team won the Region 5 College Bowl Tournament held at Clemson University in February against colleges and universities in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky. As Region 5 champ, the team advanced to the national championship held in April at the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Chicago took home the national title.
  • Student places in USA Memoriad
    Ram Prasad Kolli, a graduate student in computer science, placed second in the sixth annual USA Memoriad, a memory championship held March 1 in New York City. The competition required Kolli to memorize a shuffled deck of cards; a 1,000-digit number; 500 words; 99 names and faces; and an unpublished, unrhymed poem. Kolli has been invited to compete in the 2003 Worldwide Memory Games to be held in August in England.
  • Programmers win international Java challenge
    Challenged to complete a semester of computer programming in one afternoon, Tech students Adrian Porter, Alex Kalita, James Eckman, and reserve Joseph Green went head to head against 70 teams from around the globe in the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest sponsored by IBM. Tech's team placed first in the Java Challenge--a real-time design competition in which student wrote software for a rally car race--and 21st in the international competition. Among the American teams, Cal Tech and Berkeley tied for 13th place.
  • golf teamTech wins BIG EAST golf title
    Led by All-BIG EAST seniors Brendon de Jonge and Chris McKeel, the men's golf team captured the BIG EAST tournament for the third consecutive year, edging Notre Dame by two strokes in the two-day, three-round event in South Bend, Ind. The win gave the Tech team an automatic bid to the NCAA East Regional Tournament held May 15-17, where it finished 19th. De Jonge, Tech's all-time leading scorer, finished his college career by shooting a final round three-under-par 69. Despite the loss, Head Coach Jay Hardwick says, "the season was still a tremendous success."



Tech returns to top 50 in NSF rankings

Helping boost the university's goal of achieving top-30 research status, the National Science Foundation recently ranked Virginia Tech's research expenditures--$216.3 million in 2001--as 49th out of 601 universities and 34th among all public universities. Expenditures include research sponsored by state and federal agencies, private foundations, industry, and institutional investment for all scholarly fields. Tech's research expenditures reached $232.6 million for fiscal year 2002, with $157 million awarded to the university.


Driving simulator enhances biomedical research

A driving simulator developed in the Human Factors Engineering Center is being used by the U.Va. Behavioral Medicine Research Center to conduct clinical trials of the effects of certain medications and illnesses on driving performance. Tech's research team--John Casali, Grado Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE); Gary Robinson, ISE research associate professor; and two graduate students--created a simulator that features a fully functional driving console, a virtual reality head-mounted display, and an alternate 40-inch plasma screen display. The simulator was delivered to Daniel Cox, U.Va. professor of psychiatric medicine and internal medicine, and will be shared by both schools in a cooperative agreement.


Graduate engineering program ranked in top 30

The College of Engineering's graduate program was ranked 26th among 168 programs nationally in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Graduate Schools for 2004" released in April. Tech shares the ranking with the engineering schools at Columbia University and the University of Florida. Ranked 23rd last year, the program has likely suffered the effects of diminished state support. The industrial engineering program is ranked in the top 10.


Cottrell Scholar Award funds chemist's research

Chemistry professor Daniel Crawford received a Cottrell Scholar Award for both his research in theoretical and computational quantum chemistry and his proposal to implement a series of laboratory experiments involving computational chemistry in all undergraduate core chemistry cores. The Cottrell Scholar Awards fund research and experimentation at scholarly institutions annually, and this year's 12 Cottrell Scholar Award recipients were selected from 112 proposals. Crawford, the chemistry department's third recipient of the award, earlier received a National Science Foundation CAREER Award for young researchers.


Karmis wins coal and energy research award

Professor of mining and minerals engineering and director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research, Michael Karmis was selected by the Coal Industry Advisory Board of the International Energy Agency as the first recipient of the Award for Sustainable Coal Development. The award recognizes the contributions Karmis has made in mining education, mining technologies, mine health and safety, and environmental performance of coal mining.


Ultra-wideband communications to be studied

Michael Buehrer, William Davis, Ahmad Safaai-Jazi, and Dennis Sweeney in the Mobile & Portable Radio Research Group at Tech have received a $750,000 grant from the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency to study how ultra-wideband (UWB) pulses are transmitted and recognized by receivers. Because UWB transmissions typically don't interfere with narrow-band frequencies, which include AM or FM radio or cell phone signals, UWB technology could lead to undetectable military communications and advances in wireless devices. Buehrer was also awarded a university ASPIRES (A Support Program for Innovative Research Strategies) grant to establish a UWB laboratory at Tech.


On the Web

Virginia Tech Magazine's new online feature, "On the web," gives web-savvy readers more news and stories about some of the exciting things happening at the university today. "On the web" will be updated with web-only content on a quarterly basis.

Restructuring recap (May 9)

The departmental make-up of every college but Veterinary Medicine will be different by the time Virginia Tech opens for fall semester than it was at the beginning of the current academic year. Final college-level changes will become effective on July 1. Most of the colleges are still evaluating internal changes to departmental structures and programs.

"We have put in place the overall structure that we believe will best serve the university to carry out its strategic plan. We also believe that the restructuring will aid our quest for top-30 status while helping us to meet the challenges of reduced state support," said Joseph S. Merola, senior administrative fellow for restructuring. Merola has directed the restructuring efforts for the Office of the Provost.

The college with the largest number of changes is the new College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, headed by newly appointed dean Jerry Niles. That college merges most of the departments that comprised the former College of Human Resources and Education with most of the liberal arts departments in the former College of Arts and Sciences.

The new college includes the liberal arts departments of English, foreign languages and literature, history, interdisciplinary studies, philosophy, political science, and sociology. Two School of the Arts departments--music and theatre arts--are also part of the college. Human sciences departments include apparel, housing, and resource management; communication studies; and human development. The new School of Education within the college includes educational leadership and policy studies and teaching and learning. Special units include Air Force, Army, and Navy ROTC. Another new college--the College of Science, which is also headed by a newly appointed dean: Lay Nam Chang--will include biology, chemistry, economics, geological sciences, mathematics, physics, psychology, and statistics. The economics department is merging with the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics and will probably have a dual relationship with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, now under the interim deanship of Natural Resources Dean Greg Brown, has added human nutrition, foods, and exercise, formerly in Human Resources and Education, to its program offerings. Other current departments are agricultural and extension education; agricultural and applied economics (see above); animal and poultry sciences; biochemistry; biological systems engineering; crop and soil environmental sciences; dairy science; entomology; food science and technology; horticulture; and plant pathology, physiology, and weed science.

New departments in the College of Architecture and Urban studies are art and art history, which had been in Arts and Sciences, and interior design, which had been part of a larger department in Human Resources and Education. The college also offers programs in architecture, building construction, environmental design and planning, landscape architecture, public administration and policy, and urban affairs and planning and includes the Virginia Tech Institute for Metropolitan Research.

The Pamplin College of Business is adding hospitality and tourism management, which moved from Human Resources and Education, to its offerings in accounting and information systems; business information technology; finance, insurance, and business law; management; and marketing.

Computer science will move from Arts and Sciences to the College of Engineering. Other departments in the college are aerospace and ocean engineering; chemical engineering; civil and environmental engineering; electrical and computer engineering; engineering fundamentals; engineering science and mechanics; industrial and systems engineering; materials science and engineering, mechanical engineering; and mining and minerals engineering. Hassan Aref is the new dean of the college.

The College of Natural Resources will add geography from the College of Arts and Sciences to its departments of fisheries and wildlife sciences, forestry, and wood science and forest products.

The restructuring will also align the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Natural Resources, and Science in a Science Consortium, with some participation by the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine. The consortium will allow participating colleges to share resources and human capital, especially in graduate and undergraduate education and research facilities

In other changes, Engineering and Veterinary Medicine will both be involved in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.


University breaks ground for alumni, conference, and hotel complex (April 25)

The university will break ground Saturday for a joint use complex which includes a new hotel, conference center, and alumni center. Built from Virginia Tech's beloved Hokie stone, the design harkens back to the earliest versions of traditional collegiate gothic architecture in Tech's history. The groundbreaking will take place at 3 p.m. just off Campus Drive on the fifth fairway (about halfway between Perry Street and Prices Fork Road). Plans for the 191,360 gross square foot alumni and conference center were first made public in October 2000. The $46 million facility will feature a new alumni center, a high-tech conference center, and a 147-room hotel. The center will be located at the corner of Campus Drive and Prices Fork Road.

The Holtzman Alumni Center, named for William Holtzman, Edinburg will be the home of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association and offices for associated university personnel. In addition to the Grand Hall, the Holtzman Center will include a museum, special collections library, an auditorium, meeting rooms, and offices.

Holtzman, who generously supported the center, earned his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in 1959 and his master's degree from Cornell in 1961. He is president and founder of Holtzman Oil Corp., a large employer in the Shenandoah Valley. President Charles Steger said, "Bill Holtzman's philanthropy will live in perpetuity benefiting all Virginia Tech alumni ."

The Skelton Conference Center, named for Bill and Peggy Skelton, features a 9,200 square foot ballroom, and 13 meeting and conference rooms of various sizes, with state of the art technology and audio visual capabilities.

In announcing the Skelton naming, President Charles Steger said, "Bill and Peggy are the dynamic duo of Virginia Tech. Their ties to the university stretch back seven decades. Throughout those years, the Skelton's unqualified support of and dedicated service to the land-grant mission of Virginia Tech has been unmatched."

Bill Skelton served as director and dean of extension. Peggy Skelton was a faculty member and director of the Cooperative Extension Family Resource Program in the College of Home Economics (now Human Sciences and Education.) Since their retirement, both have continued to serve the university in countless ways.

The hotel will feature three executive suites, three parlor suites, and 141 regular rooms. Overall, the complex will have 15 conference meeting rooms totaling 20,000 square feet and banquet facilities capable of seating 800. The complex will be the largest conference hotel west of Roanoke and is scheduled to open summer 2005. Branch and Associates, Roanoke, is the general contractor.


Center for European Studies and Architecture slated for greater role in university's educational strategies (April 30)

Due to the importance of improved global understanding, university administrators are restructuring Virginia Tech's Center for European Studies and Architecture (CESA) in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland, with the goal of making the center part of the educational experience for more undergraduate and graduate students.

"CESA can be invaluable to the university community, so I have taken steps to consolidate its financial footing; to focus administration of its programs; to ensure better communications between the center and the Blacksburg campus; and to undertake a significant program of maintenance and improvement," said C. Clark Jones, vice provost for Outreach and International Affairs. The restructuring was prompted by the resignation late last year of former director Thanasi Moulakis.

According to Jones, a three-pronged approach will be used to integrate CESA more effectively within the university. Ron Daniel, associate provost for undergraduate education, will assume additional duties as academic director of CESA; and Paul Knox, dean of the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, will serve as "lead dean." Daniela Doninelli will be on-site managing director, responsible for day-to-day operations in Switzerland. An operations liaison will work in the Office of International Research, Education, and Development under S. K. DeDatta, OIRED director. There is a resident advisor on site. The entire operation reports to the vice provost for Outreach and International Affairs.

As academic director of CESA, Daniel will devote 50 percent of his time to the center in Switzerland and will spend about half of that time on site in Riva San Vitale, including time at the beginning of each semester. He will be the academic liaison, both between the center and the Blacksburg campus and between the center and other institutions in Europe. Daniel has been a supporter of study abroad since his years as an undergraduate architecture student at Virginia Tech when he traveled on a study abroad program developed by Lucy and Olivio Ferrari, who were the first two directors of the center. "If a student can experience a semester abroad, it has the potential to be life-changing," he said. "CESA is truly a learning experience that embodies the university ideal of educating the whole person."

In reference to the opportunities ahead, Daniel said, "What excites me about this is that Paul Knox and I can work closely together with the faculty and colleges to support existing programs as well as develop new ones. My frequent presence in Blacksburg will greatly enhance the opportunity to engage in needed preparation and follow up on programs. A fundamental objective of the university will continue to be the development of CESA as a learning community." Daniel will also collaborate with staff at Swiss universities in the region to enrich CESA's program offerings. He will devote the remaining 50 percent of his time at Virginia Tech to his position as associate provost for undergraduate education, a post he has held since 1997.

Virginia Tech's approach to CESA has primarily been to encourage faculty to develop programs here in Blacksburg and then accompany students to Switzerland. On-site adjunct faculty members and guest speakers provide language instruction and some special programs. This process makes it easier to plan a semester, or partial semester at CESA as part of an ongoing Virginia Tech program or course.

Knox, who is a University Distinguished Professor, will advocate within the deans' group for the center and will convene a committee of senior leaders to do strategic planning for CESA. Knox is enthusiastic about his new role: "The center provides an important margin of excellence in the learning environment that we are able to offer our students. It is a wonderful facility and I am very pleased to play a role in support of our activities there. I know that Professor Daniel and Ms Doninelli are dedicated to the success of CESA, and I look forward to working with them."

Managing Director Daniela Doninelli is a Swiss national who lives in the nearby village of Meride. She has held an administrative position at the center since 1994 and was formerly operations manager and financial officer at CESA. Doninelli is an elected member of her village's town council.

University Architect Scott Hurst will supervise maintenance repairs to the centuries-old villa that houses CESA. Most maintenance needs relate to weatherproofing and will help to cut heating costs. The villa lies within the historic district of Riva San Vitale, and repairs must preserve the historic character of the structure.

The facility itself provides a learning experience for students. The villa, which has three stories devoted to classroom and living space, was built just before 1800 and is known as Casa Maderni. The main building, an adjoining library, and former stables enclose three sides of a fenced and gated courtyard. Frescoes decorate many of the villa's walls and ceilings. Outside, spacious terraced gardens fill the rest of the walled compound, typical of European construction of the period. The university rents another house a short distance away to provide additional lodging facilities. Lucy Ferrari, widow of founding CESA director Olivio Ferrari, and herself a former director, lives nearby and takes an active part in the quality and life of the center. "She is a wonderful asset to CESA and I greatly value her presence," said Daniel.

Located along the route of an ancient Roman road, Riva San Vitale is in the canton of Ticino, the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland at the southwestern end of Lake Lugano, and the culture and food are Italian in character. The town, with its population of only 2,293, adjoins the town of Capolago (pop. 741), where there is a railroad station. Riva is about 25 kilometers from the Italian border and is less than an hour by train from Milan, Italy. "More than 1,000 students have experienced CESA so far," Jones said. "We hope to see those numbers increase rapidly."


Jones part of network to protect traumatized children (April 28)

If, as happens in science-fiction movies, we could push a button to activate a shield between us and danger, there would be no need for the Terrorism and Disaster Branch (TDB) of the National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). But since there are no such shields, the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) is forming a nationwide web to help protect children in times of trauma, disaster, or terrorism.

The NCTSN is designed to combine the expertise and resources of an extensive national network to develop and carry out a comprehensive national child mental-health disaster and terrorism program. Virginia Tech psychology Professor Russell T. Jones has been named a member of the Terrorism and Disaster Branch. That's a fitting position for him because, when others hurt, Jones wants to help heal them.

The main goal of the group is to reach across the United States, "to foster a truly integrated, state-of-the-art readiness, response and recovery program for our nation's children and families," according to Robert Pynoos of UCLA and John Fairbank of Duke University, co-directors of the NCCTS.

Since joining the group, Jones has coordinated several meetings with members of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), for which he has done previous work, and the TDB. In fact, he serves two roles. He is co-leader of the research working group that will design short- and long-term research strategies to build an infrastructure and identify important topics for short-term research before, during, and after terrorism events as well as identify research gaps and build a research agenda for long-term projects. He also is a member of the pre-planning working group charged with coordinating a federal mental-health response strategy, establishing health communications, and developing a collaborative research effort.

"I am continuing to apply my knowledge and clinical skills in the research domain to events of disaster and terrorism," Jones said. "It is my desire to apply my knowledge and experience to assist people who are hurting to cope with tragedy."

He has done so by providing information for the media to disseminate to the public after 9-11 and other trauma-related events--information such as how to help children and their parents cope with and get over the trauma. His expertise has been sought by Time magazine, Newsweek, Essence, the New York Times, the LA Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and USA Today as well as by foundations and agencies such as the Casey Foundation, the American Red Cross, the International Society of Fire Fighters, the CDC, and the National Institutes for Mental Health.

Because of his work with the CDC, Jones has been asked to serve a second term as a member of the Advisory Committee for Injury Prevention and Control (ACIPC). He recently served as chair of the Science and Program Review Subcommittee for the August meeting. Last year, he served as a member of a workshop for NIMH that identified key psychological, biological, and neurobiological predictor variables to be measured after trauma. He was involved in analyses and refinement of the procedures and helped develop plans for intervention strategies to prevent long-term pathological reactions to trauma.

The TDB will "comprehensively address the understanding of childhood traumatic stress due to disasters and terrorism and disseminate best practices for evaluation, treatment and services," according to Betty Pfefferbaum, director of the TDB. The NCTSN "is in a unique position to provide tailored evaluation tools, treatment approaches that are culturally and ecologically sound, and services that respond to community needs in regard to specific types of disasters."

The members of the groups also have expertise to address the needs of different populations and different localities in the wake of a disaster. "The Network will further add to national preparedness and response through the requirement of each site to build community partnerships and provide leadership and training within their local networks," Pfefferbaum said.

Jones said his colleagues and Virginia Tech have been instrumental in enabling him to contribute to these national efforts to assist people in coping with trauma. "Without the continued support and expertise of my colleagues and both undergraduate and graduate students, I would be unable to contribute to these outstanding organizations," Jones said.


Virginia Tech inventions and creations can improve our lives (April 14)

Virginia Tech faculty members, students, and staff who received 26 patents during 2002 will be honored by the university and Virginia Tech Intellectual Properties Inc. (VTIP, at a reception at the German Club on April 29. "The creativity, contributions to knowledge, and technology transfer that patents signify are an important form of scholarship," says university president Charles Steger. Mike Martin, VTIP executive vice president, observes that "the patents awarded to Virginia Tech faculty members, students, and staff represent a significant resource for economic development."

  • Patents were awarded for power electronic improvements, including switches for hybrid fuel cell/electric vehicles, power converters, and power unit packaging; new materials and sensors, including a sensor for surface friction in aircraft and a process for creating nanomaterials with precise structure control; an improved method for dewatering fine coal during processing; plant varieties, including wheat, a new raspberry, and a new peanut; a livestock supplement that improves the immune system; and human health-related inventions, including a correction for retinal detachment, a treatment for hemophilia, a vaccine against brucellosis, and a therapy garment for children with sensory integration dysfunction. Learn more at
  • Five patents for improved electronics, including power-saving devices and switches for use in fuel cells, were awarded to researchers in the Center for Power Electronic Systems (CPES), an NSF engineering research center.
  • Yong Li, a recent Ph.D. graduate in electrical and computer engineering now with International Rectifier, and CPES director Fred C. Lee received a patent for "Three-phase zero-current-transition (ZCT) inverters and rectifiers with three auxiliary switches" (6,337,801 ). Such devices are used in alternating current (AC) adjustable speed drives for electric and hybrid combustion/electric automobiles. The invention reduces the number of auxiliary switches from six to three while retaining the merits of the existing three-phase ZCT techniques (the main switches and the auxiliary switches are turned on and off under zero-current conditions). The invention is cost-effective, reliable, and efficient.
  • A second fuel cell related patent was received by former visiting scientist Lizhi Zhu, now with Ballard Power Systems; Jih-Sheng Lai, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Lee. Direct current (DC) generated by different power systems--batteries and fuel cells, for instance--must provide different voltage needs, such as 12 V lights, sensors, and controllers and 300 V traction inverters and motors. The patented "Accelerated commutation for passive clamp isolated boost converters" (6,452,815) is an efficient and cost effective bi-directional DC/DC converter that can effectively reduce switch voltage stress. Ballard Power Systems has a non-exclusive license because of their research sponsorship and funding the patent. They are actively pursuing potential product applications.
  • Graduate student Francisco Canales-Abarca, CPES technical coordinator Peter Barbosa, who was a Ph.D. student at the time of the research, and Lee received a patent for a "Zero voltage zero current three level DC-DC converter" (6,349,044). DC-DC power converters are required for high voltage, high power applications such as in telecommunications, battery chargers, and uninterruptible power supplies. The invention solves the problems of voltage loss, stress during switching, and cost.
  • Xunwei Zhou, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical engineering now at Linear Technology, and Lee received a patent for a "Current sensing and current sharing voltage regulator module (VRM)" (6,414,469). Today, every Intel processor is powered by multiphase VRM technology that CPES helped to develop. The new generation of microprocessor is operating at a much lower voltage and higher current, with a fast dynamic response to implement the sleep/power mode of operation that conserves energy and extends the operation time for battery operated equipment. Delta Power also has a non-exclusive license because of their research sponsorship and funding of the patent.
  • Yuxin Li, a Ph.D. graduate in electrical engineering now at Analog Devices Inc.; associate professor Alex Q. Huang of CPES; and Kevin Motto, a master's degree graduate in electrical engineering now at Northrop Grumman Corporation, received a patent for a "Diode-assisted gate turn-off thyristor" (6,426,666 ), a switch that significantly increases the turn-off voltage that can be used in high current/power semiconductor devices, leading to improved power electronics and industry application. The invention is also economical in terms of cost and ease of design.
  • A related patent is for power electronics packaging. Xingsheng Liu, who recently earned his Ph.D. in materials science and engineering (MSE), and MSE associate professor Guo-Quan Lu received a patent for "Low-cost 3D flip-chip packaging technology for integrated power electronics modules" (6,442,033). Virtually all semiconductor electronic devices, from transistors to integrated circuits, require packaging for electrical connection, mechanical protection and support, and heat dissipation. However, development of packaging for semiconductor power devices and modules, which process or convert current and voltage of electrical power needed by various electronic circuits and machines, has not kept pace with the development of packaging for digital circuits. The invention enables the low-cost manufacture of power electronics modules with reduced electrical resistance and parasitics resulting from interconnection of semiconductor chips, ease of integration of other circuit elements for intelligence and control, and improved heat dissipation.
  • There were eight patents awarded for materials and sensors. Electrical engineers and aerospace and ocean engineers joined forces to invent a "Fiber optic wall shear stress sensor" (6,426,796). Surface friction, which results in resistance to motion in airplanes and ships, is difficult to measure. The invention uses an optical fiber to measure shear force against a floating head. According to the patent description, "By measuring the small frictional force exerted on a movable element of the surface, one is able to obtain direct measurements of wall shear stress. These types of measurements work well for laminar, transitional and turbulent flows without prior knowledge of the state of the flow." Using a fiber optic sensor overcomes problems from temperature and electromagnetic field sensitivity. The inventors are Wade J. Pulliam, a Ph.D. graduate now on the research faculty at UCLA; Joseph Schetz, professor of aerospace and ocean engineering; Mark E. Jones, vice president of engineering at Luna Analytics; and Kent Murphy, chairman of the board and founder of Luna Innovations Inc. of Blacksburg. The patents is shared by Luna and VTIP.
  • Fiber and Electro-Optics Research Center (FEORC) director Richard Claus; Tingying Zeng, a research scientist at Nanocluster Materials of Blacksburg; and FEORC research scientist Yanjing Liu received a patent for "Electrostrictive and piezoelectric thin film assemblies and method of fabrication" (6,447,887). Electrostrictive and piezoelectric materials are used in sensors, micro-electromechanical systems, and actuators, but, when an electric field is applied, molecular-level polarization may change the dimensions of the material. Piezoelectric materials, conversely, produce an electrical charge displacement when mechanically strained. By using electrostatic self assembly in conjunction with at least one layer of dipolar material (molecules that separate positive and negative charges), the invention overcomes these limitations. The method provides a thinner film and precise structural control, with at least one layer of a dipolar material. The method also allows an optional interlayer between the substrate and the film for adhesion or as a buffer. The invention facilitates the preparation of a large variety of films for different environments, fabricated on substrates made from various materials in various shapes. The film thickness can be increased by adding layers to match the requirements of various devices. The technology is licensed to NanoSonic, a Blacksburg based business spun out from Virginia Tech.
  • Former FEORC research scientist Yanjing Liu and former chemistry professor Guy A. Schick received a patent for "Patterned molecular self-assembly" (6,492,096). In other words, films are able to self-assemble on patterned supports. The film may be a monolayer or several layers. The self-assemblies of the invention are uniform, better defined, and have a higher resolution than previous molecular self-assemblies. The process is easier as the patterning techniques do not require etching, which may damage the layers, or stamping, which may lead to uneven application of the film. Potential uses include full color flat displays, membrane separation, conducting and insulating circuits, optical and nonlinear optical devices, and multi-element chemical sensors. This technology is also licensed to NanoSonic.
  • In Kyeong Yoo, who received his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech and was a research scientist in materials engineering science from 1991 to 1993, received three patents for inventions developed while he was at Virginia Tech. He is now director of Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in Suwon, Korea, and the patents are shared by Samsung and VTIP. The first patent is for "2T-1C ferroelectric random access memory (FRAM) and operation method thereof" (6,404,667), a method to perform write/read operations without switching, thereby avoiding degradation of memory materials. The second and third patents are for an "Apparatus for pyroelectric emission lithography using patterned emitter" (6,476,402 ) and a "Ferroelectric emitter" (6,479,924 ). The apparatus allows electron emission suitable for lithography. A pyroelectric emitter, or ferroelectric emitter, is patterned using a mask. Upon heating, electrons are emitted only from the exposed part of the emitter so that the pattern is projected onto a substrate. To prevent dispersion, the electron beams are controlled using a magnet or a projection system. Pyroelectricity refers to the production of polarization changes by temperature variations. A disadvantage is the requirement of re-poling or heating the emitter above the Curie temperature for re-emission. Yoo's ferroelectric emitter invention allows electron emission in both wide and narrow gaps of a mask layer and in an isolated pattern, such as a doughnut shape, while facilitating re-poling in pyroelectric emission. Samsung has an exclusive license for this technology.
  • Seshu B. Desu, a former faculty member in materials science and engineering now at the University of Massachusetts, and former Virginia Tech graduate student John Senkevich, now of Troy, N.Y., received two patents. One, for "Organic polymer/oxide multilayer thin films deposited by chemical vapor deposition (CVD)" (6, 358, 864) is shared by Quester Technology Inc. and VTIP. The second is for "Near room temperature CVD synthesis of organic polymer/oxide dielectric nanocomposites" (6,495,208).
  • One of five patents with health applications is also a new material. Chemistry professor Judy Riffle, Janice Paige Phillips, a Ph.D. graduate in chemistry, and James P. Dailey of Erie (Pa.) Retinal Surgery received a patent for "Magnetic fluids" (6,464,968), specifically for methods for synthesizing copolymers useful as magnetic dispersion stabilizers for treating retinal detachment. Retinal detachment is caused by a break in the retina and subsequent passage of fluid through that break underneath the retina, separating the retina from the choroid. Retinal detachment is treated by closing the retinal break, either by scleral buckle (a silicone band that encircles the eye and compresses the wall of the eye against the retina) or internal tamponade (fluid or gas injected in the eye). The invention calls for injecting biocompatible magnetic fluid inside the eye and using a magnetized scleral buckle to pull the fluid to a specific site and close the hole in the retina. The patent is shared by VTIP and Dailey.
  • The second medical patent is for a Taxol analog. Chemistry professor David G.I. Kingston, former postdoctoral associates Mahendra Devichand Chordia and Prakash G. Jagtap, and John Kadow of Bristol-Myers Squibb received a patent for "2-aroyl-4-acyl paclitaxel analogs" (6,476,242). The compound, analogs, and intermediates may be used to form pharmaceutical compositions having anti-neoplastic activity and may be used to treat cancer. The natural product paclitaxel is an effective antitumor drug against breast and ovarian cancer and some lung cancer; however, there is a limited natural supply of paclitaxel. The Kingston group's analogs have different substituents than paclitaxel at the 2 and 4 positions, and these differences result in compounds with improved activity as compared with paclitaxel itself. The patent is shared by Bristol-Myers Squibb and VTIP.
  • Chemical engineering professor Bill Velander, William Drohan and the late HenryK Lubon of the American Red Cross, and the late John Johnson of Virginia Tech's Fralin Biotechnology Center received a patent for "Expression of active human factor IX in the mammary tissue and milk of non human transgenic mammals" (6,344,596 ). Factor IX is a protein critical to the normal formation of blood clots to stop bleeding. It's deficiency results in hemophilia B. The researchers use genetically engineered pigs as bioreactors that make human Factor IX in their milk. Methods of separating Factor IX from the milk and methods of treating hemophilia B are also described by the patent. The patent is shared by the American Red Cross and VTIP. The evaluation of transgenic Factor IX in hemophilia B animal models is underway at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. (Learn more at
  • Researchers from the U.S. Army and Virginia Tech joined forces to create a "Live vaccine against Brucellosis" (6,444,445). Inventors are Mikeljon Nikolich, David L. Hoover, Richard L. Warren, and Luther Lindler of Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Ted Hadfield of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Gerhardt Schurig, Stephen Boyle, and Nammalwar Sriranganthan, of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and John McQuiston, now at the Centers for Disease Control. Brucella infects a significant number of people and livestock in developing countries and infects wild and domestic animals in the United States. It is also a potential biowarfare agent; strains of Brucella have been constructed with resistance to multiple antibiotics used to treat the disease. Although rarely fatal, once established, the disease is difficult to treat since the bacteria reside in the bone marrow. The newly patented vaccine uses an isolated Brucella DNA fragment. It is relatively safe to handle and manufacture, does not revert to a pathogen or mutate, and does not retain resistance to antibiotics used in the treatment of brucellosis. The patent also provides methods for diagnosis of Brucellae infection, a diagnostic kit for use in detecting the presence of Brucellae in mammalian tissue or serum, and a therapeutic method for the treatment or amelioration of symptoms of Brucellosis. The patent is assigned to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army. It is licensed to Veterinary Technologies Corporation, a Blacksburg based business spun out from Virginia Tech.
  • Sherry Haar, a Ph.D. graduate from Virginia Tech now an assistant professor of apparel and textiles at Kansas State University (KSU), and Joann Boles, retired professor of clothing and textiles at Virginia Tech, received a patent for "Therapy Apparel for Children Diagnosed with Sensory Integration Dysfunction" (6,401,249). Haar used the clothing design process developed by Boles to develop a theme-decorated therapy garment -- a cute bug -- for pre-school children for use during occupational therapy. It was the first study of the clothing-related therapy needs of preschool children with sensory integration dysfunction. More information and a photo are at The patent is shared by the KSU Research Foundation and VTIP.
  • One patent is for a method to improve coal cleaning. Roe-Hoan Yoon, professor of mineral engineering at Virginia Tech and director of the Center for Advanced Separation Technologies, and Ramazan Asmatulu, a post doctoral associate in the Fiber and Electro-Optics Research Center, received a patent for "Methods of improving centrifugal filtration" (6,440,316). Coal is typically separated from mineral waste by water-based processes and must then be dewatered before subsequent use. The invention improves the efficiency of removing water during the drainage period of the centrifugal filtration process, lowering the amount of the residual water left in the filter cake.
  • Three wheat varieties and a new peanut received plant variety protection (PVP) and a new raspberry received a plant patent (PP). The three varieties of soft red winter wheat developed by the Virginia Tech Small Grains Breeding and Genetics Program, led by crop and soil environmental sciences professor Carl Griffey, are being marketed by Southern States (SS). Griffey calls FFR 566W (PVP 200,000,165) a "work horse" variety. "It has broad disease resistance and exceptionally good milling and baking quality," he reports. It was derived from a cross among earlier successful varieties made in 1980 at Virginia Tech. This medium-tall wheat has good straw strength, good resistance to powdery mildew and leaf rust, is moderately resistant to leaf and glume blotch, barley yellow dwarf virus, and wheat spindle streak mosaic virus, and produces high flour yields ranging from 75.5 to 77.3 percent extraction. It has moderate winter tolerance, best adapted to the U.S. mid-south and eastern seaboard states.
  • The next two wheat varieties to be patented in 2002 first appeared from crosses made in 1990. VA96W-247 (PVP 200,200,260), now SS 550, is very high yielding and broadly adapted, although it is grown mostly in Virginia , Kentucky, southern Indiana, Illinois, and Ohio, New York, and Michigan. The mid-full season, short-stature wheat is resistant to stem rust and moderately resistant to powdery mildew. VA96W-158 (PVP 200,200,261), now SS 520, matures very early and has good milling and baking quality, Griffey says. It has been productive throughout in the mid-Atlantic states and in Georgia, Arkansas, and Kentucky. It is moderately resistant to powdery mildew, barley yellow dwarf virus, and wheat spindle streak mosaic virus.
  • Virginia peanut VA98R (PVP 9,900,419), was developed at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Suffolk, Va., by professor R. Walton Mozingo of Virginia Tech, Terry A. Coffelt of the USDA, and Thomas G. Isleib of North Carolina State University. It is a large-seeded virginia-type peanut with a yield potential 5 to 12 percent higher than current cultivars. It is early maturing, especially with irrigation. Mozingo says the new peanut "is ideally suited for the inshell industry since it has an extremely bright pod color desired for roasting peanuts in the shell."
  • Harry Jan Swartz, small fruits breeder at the University of Maryland, College Park; Joseph Fiola, small fruits specialist at the University of Maryland's Western Maryland Research and Education Center; Herbert Stiles, retired researcher formerly with Virginia Tech's Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackstone, and Brian R. Smith, small fruit breeder at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls, received a plant patent for a red raspberry variety named Emily (PP 12,350). Emily is Swartz' daughter's middle name. The new raspberry, which will be tested in southern California, can produce large, firm fruit by mid spring. The large, elongated fruit has a narrow cavity, making it structurally more sound than other cultivars. Emily has small red thorns and a moderate ability to produce subordinate shoots from the root (suckering). The University of Maryland, College Park, University of Wisconsin at River Falls, and VTIP share the patent.
  • A "Seaweed Supplement Diet for Enhancing Immune Response in Mammals and Poultry" (6,312,709) earned a patent for Vivien Gore Allen, professor of plant and soil science, and Kevin Pond, chair of animal science and food technology, both at Texas Tech; Korinn Saker, assistant professor of large animal clinical sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and Joseph Fontenot, professor of animal sciences at Virginia Tech. They developed a seaweed-based product that enhances the immune response when fed to mammals and poultry. When cattle or lambs graze endophyte-infected forage treated with the supplement, depressed immune function is reversed and enhanced. The enhanced immune function continues to the feedlot finishing phase even though no supplement is fed in that phase. Giving the supplement to pigs exposed to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome to impart resistance resulted in improved performance. Giving it to lactating mares prior to weaning helped mitigate the stress of weaning. The patent is assigned to Texas Tech and VTIP, has been licensed to Acadian Seaplants Limited, and is marketed as Tasco-Forage for pasture application. TASCO-EXTM and TASCO-14TM are feed supplements fed directly to livestock.