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Statler Students Prepare to Cycle Cross-Country for the Journey of Hope

Image of two students on a bike trail walking their bicycles at the WVU arboretum surrounded by trees with text overlay on left that says 'Journey of Hope: Statler students prep for cross-country journey'

Statler seniors Austin Brown and James Carte are biking from Seattle to Washington, D.C. over the course of 67 days to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities through their fraternity's philanthropy mission, The Ability Experience (WVU Image/Kaley LaQuea).

Each year, a group of dedicated members of Pi Kappa Phi take on the challenge of a lifetime, pushing their limits and stepping into the unknown to make a difference. 

Story by Mackenzie Randall, Social Media Manager
Graphic illustration by Kaley LaQuea


This summer, Statler College seniors Austin Brown and James Carte will embark on the Journey of Hope, a cross-country cycling expedition where they'll traverse the country from coast to coast on two wheels. They'll each pedal over 4,000 miles in 67 days from Seattle to Washington, DC. 

Along the way, they’ll be champions for the disability community. For many people with disabilities, isolation can significantly impact their sense of self and well-being. Through the Journey of Hope, these Statler College engineers will leverage local media outlets, visiting partner organizations to make a real difference in the lives of adults with disabilities.

The Journey of Hope is part of Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy initiative, The Ability Experience. Since 1977, The Ability Experience has been dedicated to fostering a lifelong commitment to service among fraternity members while empowering individuals living with disabilities.

Inspired by a Journey of Hope representative during a chapter meeting, both Brown and Carte were deeply moved. They left with a shared vision – to embark on this journey together! Their brotherhood extends beyond their involvement as active members of WVU's Pi Kappa Phi. Brown and Carte have grown up together in Pittsburgh, PA, and have been friends for 10 years. 

Both Brown and Carte embody the Mountaineer spirit of adventure, accountability and advocacy. After visiting campus, Brown, a first-generation Mountaineer, canceled his other campus tours because he knew he'd found his calling

As engineering students, these mountaineers bring a unique perspective to the challenge. Brown is studying electrical and computer engineering, while Carte is focused on biomedical engineering. Their rigorous coursework at WVU has instilled in them a strong sense of perseverance. Carte reflects that overcoming difficult classes like calculus has taught him valuable lessons about resilience. "There’s always an opportunity to do better if I'm willing to go that extra mile," he says. "This mindset works well with the bike ride because if I take a fall, I know I might as well keep going."

Brown echoes a similar motivation, saying, "After you've accomplished something like this, you realize that nothing in life is really that scary. I want to challenge myself and help others, to prove that I can do something this hard."

Carte, who comes from a family of Mountaineers, recalls his humble beginnings – unable to ride a bike. It was the inspiration drawn from the Journey of Hope that fueled his determination to learn. "I wanted to feel grounded to reality," Carte shares. "I'm not the only person that matters."

Their commitment to the Journey of Hope is a true testament to the Mountaineer spirit. With dedication and hard work, our stellar engineers achieve amazing things while inspiring others to do the same.

To support the team on their journey, stay tuned to our social media channels @WVUStatler for updates along the way!



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

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135