Virginia Tech Magazine
Virginia Tech
Office of Economic Development secures grant money for area businesses
Nine projects totaling more than half a million dollars for Southwest Virginia's transportation-equipment manufacturing industry were announced by Virginia Tech's Office of Economic Development. The grants provide funding to make industrial plants more efficient, fuel new product creation, or beef up company research-and-development efforts. The largest grant recipient is Volvo Trucks North America, headquartered in Dublin. Four smaller companies also competed successfully for the grants: Salem Vent, Imperial Group of Dublin, and Dynax America and Metalsa, both in Roanoke. The grants were issued under a U.S. Economic Development Administration project focused on Southwest Virginia. In a two-step process, projects were approved by a committee composed of Virginia Tech faculty and others and then by a private-sector committee led by the New River Valley Planning District Commission.
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Career Services reports rise in recruiting and hiring
Virginia Tech Career Services reported a dramatic increase in employer job listings on its job-search website Hokies4Hire. The site experienced a decline in 2009, averaging 246 job listings added per month. In 2010, the site gained an average of 452 new listings each month; and during the first three months of 2011, an average of 671 job listings were added per month. Today, more than 1,600 job, internship, and co-op listings are available on the site. Nationwide reports show that 53.5 percent of employers indicate that they plan to increase college hiring, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
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Virginia Tech's new Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center at the intersection of Prices Fork Road and University City Boulevard
Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center
Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center opens
In early July, the new Visitor and Undergraduate Admissions Center opened at the intersection of Prices Fork Road and University City Boulevard. Be sure to stop by the next time you're in the area. Browse the interactive exhibits that showcase Virginia Tech's history, mission, academics, student life, and ongoing research and outreach—and take your picture with the HokieBird!
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Tech develops safety ratings for football helmets
To reduce the risk of concussions, Virginia Tech released the results of a new rating system for adult football helmets. This biomechanical-impact data study on helmets represents the first time researchers have provided the public with comparative test results. Testing showed that the overall best helmet is the Riddell Revolution Speed, which earned the only five-star rating. Consequently, many Tech football players are switching to the safer helmet for the upcoming season, according to project director Stefan Duma, head of the Virginia Tech/Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering.
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'This I Believe II' named 2011-12 Common Book
"This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women," a collection of 75 short essays discussing philosophy, was selected as the university's 2011-12 Common Book. The book resonated strongly both with members of the student body invited to review the book and with members of the Common Book Committee, comprised of staff and faculty members. In its 13th year, the Common Book Project offers students a common academic experience.
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Burning down the house—for fire safety
fire-safety demonstration
fire-safety demonstration
fire-safety demonstration fire-safety demonstration
On a rainy afternoon in April, two nearly identical residence hall rooms were set on fire. The difference? Only one of the rooms had a sprinkler system. Both rooms, built to code to resemble a standard Tech room—right down to the furniture donated by the residence halls—were part of an unusual experiment conducted in the name of fire safety. The project, a partnership between Virginia Tech and several area community colleges, provided participants with valuable construction and management experience while demonstrating to students and university officials the importance of sprinkler systems and obeying fire-safety regulations.
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For your next visit, remember Gowalla and Foursquare
Virginia Tech has partnered with geosocial networks Foursquare and Gowalla to help students and visitors explore campus. With the Foursquare app on your mobile phone, you can check in at more than 100 venues on campus, such as Newman Library, the Drillfield, or Cassell Coliseum. Meanwhile, the Gowalla tour features seven campus locales selected by way of a question on Virginia Tech's Facebook page, asking alumni to name the top spot for taking a graduation photo. We encourage you to leave tips and photos on Foursquare and Gowalla, to share with others. Find details at and

Refugee project recognized with governor's award
The Roanoke, Va.-based Virginia Tech Pilot Street Project/Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, which helps resettled refugees transition into their new home, recently received the 2011 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award. Through the project, Virginia Tech students volunteer in English classes, tutor students, and serve as mentors to individuals and families. Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell presented the award to project manager Will Evans and the two student leaders of the Coalition for Refugee Resettlement program: Katherine Lodge, a junior majoring in political science with an African studies minor, and Brittany Gianetti, a junior majoring in biochemistry and biology.
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Smart College Visit launches mobile guide to campus

"Visit Virginia Tech" app
Planning to visit Virginia Tech? There's an app for that. Prospective students and their families, friends, returning alumni, and anyone visiting Virginia Tech's 2,600-acre Blacksburg campus can now have an electronic map, driving directions, a walking tour, admissions information, restaurant and hotel information, historical sights, and more available at their fingertips via the "Visit Virginia Tech" mobile app. The app, published by Smart College Visit Inc. in partnership with Virginia Tech, is available free on iTunes—search for "visit Virginia Tech," or click the icon at left.
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Arlington research center opens
The Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington held a grand opening ceremony June 24. Located in the vibrant Ballston district of Arlington, Va., a short distance from many of the leading federal science and research agencies and many high-technology companies, the 144,000-square-foot center is also U.S. Green Council LEED-certified.
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Wildlife biologist lends expertise to NPR's 'Car Talk'
Not only does Kieran Lindsey direct the Natural Resources Distance Learning Consortium for the College of Natural Resources and Environment, she is now the official wildlife guru for the famed Tappet brothers, Click and Clack, on "Car Talk," one of the most popular shows on National Public Radio. While hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi know everything there is to know about cars, Lindsey is better suited to field questions about encounters with animals. Whether the issue is bats in the garage, escaped pet Madagascar hissing cockroaches, or deer-vehicle collisions, Lindsey will chime in to explain what listeners can do about their animal problems.
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John W. Bates III (business administration '63)
Alumnus awarded Virginia Tech's highest honor
John W. Bates III (business administration '63) received the 2011 William H. Ruffner Medal, Virginia Tech's highest honor, in recognition of his loyal and enthusiastic support of the university. Among other roles, Bates has served on the Virginia Tech Foundation Board of Directors and co-chaired the Richmond Regional Campaign Committee of The Campaign for Virginia Tech: Invent the Future. He has been a staunch supporter of the university before the Virginia General Assembly and has been active in the Hokies for Higher Education advocacy group.
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Study explores link between meditation and decision-making

Combining two unlikely techniques—Buddhist meditation and functional MRIs—researcher Reed Montague is shedding light on the human decision-making process. Montague, professor and director of the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and professor of physics at Virginia Tech, was perplexed by emotion-based choices versus those based on rationality.

Consider the following scenario: A friend or relative wins $100 and then offers you a few dollars. Would you accept this windfall? Studies have shown that only about one-quarter of people would. The rest would say, "But that's not fair. You have lots. Why are you only giving me a few?" In fact, people will even turn down any reward rather than accept an "unfair" share—unless they're Buddhist meditators, in which case, more than half would accept the offered amount.

Why? According to Montague's research, the decision is impacted by the area of the brain in which the process occurs. Buddhist meditators use different areas of the brain than other people when confronted with unfair choices, enabling them to make decisions rationally rather than emotionally. The meditators had trained their brains to function differently and make better choices in certain situations.

Conducted by Montague, along with Ulrich Kirk, research assistant professor with Human Neuroimaging Laboratory; and Jonathan Downar, assistant professor with the Neuropsychiatry Clinic and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health at the University of Toronto, the study was published in the April 2011 issue of Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience.

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Wind ensemble thrills Kennedy Center audience
Under the dazzling chandeliers, the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 18. This was the first-ever appearance by a music department ensemble at the Kennedy Center since its opening in 1971. The ensemble, conducted by music assistant professor Travis J. Cross, delivered a 45-minute showcase performance in the Concert Hall as part of the Washington, D.C., International Music Festival sponsored by World Projects. The audience of several hundred included prospective students, band directors, alumni, family and friends, Virginia Tech music faculty, and Senior Vice President and Provost Mark G. McNamee. The performance received a standing ovation.
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Tech gives innovative roofing company a good foundation

The V2T splits airflow, creating a drop in pressure that secures rooftops in high winds.
A collaborative effort between two alumni brothers and Virginia Tech researchers is helping to improve building safety in severe weather.

Chuck (psychology '70) and Pat (civil engineering '81) Johnson are principals of Acrylife Inc., a Wytheville, Va., company in the roofing-systems business. After brainstorming alternative ways to secure rooftops, the brothers approached Virginia Tech for help with research and development.

The resulting system, V2T, is a foot-high plastic structure that has two domes connected by three narrow columns. Airflow is split, speeding up the wind that is forced through the vent between the two domes, which creates a drop in pressure. This low-pressure system prevents uplift and detachment of the roof membrane.

Building on the brothers' initial idea, a team of professors and students, backed by funding from Virginia's Center for Innovative Technology, helped develop the design, even testing prototypes in Virginia Tech's stability wind tunnel and NASA's full-scale wind tunnel at Langley Air Force Base. The resulting vent has the potential to replace fasteners, which are expensive and compromise roof integrity, as the roofing industry's solution to high winds.

"Small companies like ours don't have the capital or the resources to get something like this accomplished. We need to find grant monies to accomplish our objective, and Virginia Tech has been an integral part of the development process," Chuck Johnson said.

Written by Christopher David Klein, a senior majoring in professional writing.

Shaky data, solid research: Worldwide quakes recorded in Virginia
The ground beneath our feet isn't so solid. Seismographs in Richmond and Blacksburg, Va.—both operated by Virginia Tech—have recorded ground displacement from recent high-magnitude quakes. Martin Chapman, director of the Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory and associate research professor of geophysics in the College of Science, shared images with Virginia Tech Magazine. From each reading, we extracted 1,000 seconds of movement (or 16 minutes and 40 seconds), traced the lines, and approximated the displacement.


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Summer 2011
Watch a video of Scooter practicing
Student wins
timbersports competition
On March 18, Marty M. "Scooter" Cogar II, a rising senior majoring in forestry and environmental resource management, won the overall competition in the Stihl Timbersports Series Collegiate Southern Qualifier in Walkersville, Ga. He competed in the standing block chop, single buck, stock saw, and underhand chop against 13 representatives from other universities. To find out more, we snagged a few minutes with Scooter before a woodsports demonstration on the Drillfield.

How did you start competing in woodsports?
I actually didn't get a chance to start competing until I got to Virginia Tech. But my family all the way back to my great-grandfathers competed one way or another, so I've spent a lot of time training in West Virginia with family.

What is your strategy when you chop?
There's not as much strategy [to woodsports]. You just have to react to how the wood's cutting. If the wood's real soft, then you can put more pressure behind it. If the wood's not chipping well, you have to put in more hits. It's about reading the wood.

What do you eat for breakfast before you compete?
I like boiled eggs and oatmeal.

What are the most common injuries in woodsports?
I would have to say elbow injuries. Tennis elbow is pretty common, but we wear protective gear to minimize risk.

Another woodcutter, George Washington, was famously honest. What was the last white lie you told?
How fast I cut a tree.

Are you going to win the national competition [at the Oregon State Fair in August]?
I'm going to do my dangdest.
Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington
Virginia Tech Research Center—Arlington
Wildlife biologist Kieran Lindsey fields questions about animal encounters as the wildlife guru on NPR's "Car Talk."
As the wildlife guru on NPR's "Car Talk," wildlife
biologist Kieran Lindsey fields questions about
animal encounters.
Under the dazzling chandeliers, the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 18.
Under the dazzling chandeliers, the Virginia Tech Symphonic Wind Ensemble performed at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on April 18.

Seismographs in Richmond and Blacksburg, Va.—both operated by Virginia Tech—have recorded ground displacement from recent high-magnitude quakes. Martin Chapman, director of the Virginia Tech Seismological Observatory and associate research professor of geophysics in the College of Science, shared images with Virginia Tech Magazine. From each reading, we extracted 1,000 seconds of movement (or 16 minutes and 40 seconds), traced the lines, and approximated the displacement.