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Song named to endowed professorship

A portrait of Xueyan Song

Xueyan Song, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in West Virginia University’s Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, has been named the George B. Berry Chair of Engineering, effective January 1, 2021.

Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant

Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


This designation serves as a college-wide recognition of Song’s past and continuing excellence in research and teaching. Song is the first female in the College to be named to an endowed chair position.

Established by the George B. and Carolyn A. Berry Educational Trust, the endowment provides funds to develop cross-disciplinary engineering programs with a focus on environmental issues. George Berry graduated from WVU in 1958 with a degree in chemical engineering. He went on to a very successful career, serving as president of Oxy Metal Industries, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, and OMI International Corporation. He was chairman and chief executive officer of Omicron Capital Corporation until his passing in 1996.

For more than a decade, Song has been working to develop a method to recover wasted heat energy from the air by rethinking the design of thermoelectric materials, which have the ability to convert heat to electricity. These advances have the potential to improve sustainability and efficiency of the energy infrastructure in the United States. With the support from the Department of Energy, her research group has also made breakthroughs in the materials and devices field of solid oxide cells.

“Nowadays, the efforts towards energy harvesting technologies are intensified due to the increasing demand for clean energy,” Song explained. “Our group has devoted over a decade of extensive effort to fundamental research and development on thermoelectric oxide ceramics for heat to electricity conversion. The multidisciplinary nature of our studies in materials and devices provides a vibrant training platform for our students.”

Throughout her tenure, Song has helped advance the educational and research mission of the Statler College through the accumulation of over $9 million in extramural competitive research sponsored by seven different government agencies and instructing 25 classes with a total enrollment of nearly 1,000 students.

“I am extremely honored and deeply grateful for this recognition from the Statler College and the Berry Family,” Song said. “I sincerely appreciate the over-decade-long invaluable support that the mechanical and aerospace engineering department and the College have provided to me and my students. I am confident this professorship will be enlightening and warmly encouraging for the young students to pursue and devote themselves to the fantastic research and education in engineering.”

In addition, she has made significant contributions in service and outreach by organizing events that connect high school teachers, students and researchers across the state to showcase research projects, findings and facilities at WVU and encouraging students to participate in research activities underway at the University.

“Dr. Song is a talented faculty member who has established a national and international reputation for her scholarly contributions,” said Pedro Mago, Glen H. Hiner Dean of the Statler College. “She is an excellent role model for our students and her peers and very deserving of this honor made possible by the generous contributions and continued support of the Berry Family. I am proud of her accomplishments, and I look forward to her continued success.”



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

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Phone: 304-293-4135