WVU Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources - In Motion newsletter - mae.statler.wvu.edu

FALL 2023
Earth is shown from space while bits of debris circle it. The sun is shown in the background.

Damage control: WVU researchers aim for the sky to track lethal space debris

WVU researchers are looking to protect space — and elements of everyday life on Earth — from debris down to the size of paint flakes barreling through space at speeds of more than 15,000 miles per hour. A team led by Piyush Mehta, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Statler College, has received federal funding to detect, identify and track lethal non-trackable space debris. Currently, no technology exists to do that.
Research News
YouTube screenshot featuring a lab worker

WVU breaks record for externally supported expenditures, underscoring research commitment

WVU, the state’s flagship, land-grant R1 institution, reported a record $231 million in externally supported expenditures, which are mainly designated for research, for fiscal year 2023. “This feat reinforces the University’s standing as a top research institution in the country and highlights our mission to provide hands-on learning experiences for both undergraduate and graduate students, which is very unique in the higher ed world,” President Gordon Gee said.
A graphic created by WVU showing a factory with smoke billowing out with a dotted line to a healthy green plant.

WVU researchers develop hydrogen technology to curtail greenhouse gases from food, beverage industry

Engineers and scientists at WVU are developing an advanced hydrogen flexible boiler to help decarbonize the food and beverage industry and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.
Here Justin Vankirk, a doctoral candidate in mechanical and aerospace engineering, releases microfabricated MouseFlex electrodes from a silicon wafer and solder-integrates leads to the device for electrochemical testing.

Electrode cuff developed at WVU improves testing of medical treatments that use electricity to heal

Engineers at WVU are taking a major step into “bioelectronic medicine,” a cutting-edge approach that uses electric current as a treatment for pain and disease, with the development of MouseFlex. The device will facilitate research into a technique called “vagus nerve stimulation” or VNS.
Student Achievements
WVU Robotics Team

WVU robotics team wins international Mars rover challenge

The WVU robotics team, based at the Statler College, is the best in the world. Team Mountaineers topped dozens of other teams from 10 countries in a competition to design and build the next generation of Mars rovers during the 2023 University Rover Challenge held May 31-June 3 at the Mars Desert Research Station in Hanksville, Utah.

WVU finishes second in EcoCAR EV Challenge Year One competition

At the end of the first year of the EcoCAR EV Challenge, the team from WVU finished second overall in the four-year competition that was held from May 21–26, in Orlando, Florida. The team accumulated ten competition awards in total, receiving more than $18,000 in prize money.
From left to right, Lukas Thackery, Nate Wimer, Craig Dobrowski and Jorden Anfinson

Statler College students win West Virginia Business Plan Competition

A team of students from the Statler College were announced as winners of the 16th annual West Virginia Business Plan Competition. The team was awarded $40,000 for their business Brite, a software-as-a-service platform that gives professors and administrators real-time data insights into student feedback, classroom learning and engagement, all while assisting students on their academic journey.
More News
Alumni News
WVU students floating in a zero gravity flight simulation.

Statler College establishes microgravity research team alumni scholarship in honor of Dr. John Kuhlman

The Statler College recently created the Microgravity Research Team Alumni Scholarship in honor of Professor Emeritus, John Kuhlman. Prominent alumni of the College spearheaded the creation of the new fund to support the next generation of aerospace leaders from West Virginia University.
Faculty News
Xingbo Liu

Liu honored by Energy Department for hydrogen production technologies

A WVU researcher has received an award from the U.S. Department of Energy for his contributions to developing hydrogen production technologies.
2023-25 Ideas Fellows

WVU faculty chosen for seventh IDEA Fellows cohort

Following a rigorous application process, the Office of the Provost has selected five new WVU faculty members as recipients of the 2023-25 Innovation, Design and Entrepreneurship Applied Faculty Fellowship, a multi-disciplinary initiative to bolster the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation at WVU.
Jason Gross holding award.

Statler College Professor Jason Gross selected for Generation Next: 40 Under 40

The State Journal‘s Generation Next: 40 Under 40 award recognizes outstanding young professionals who work and volunteer to make West Virginia a better place. Gross was selected for his dedication and contributions to West Virginia University and the Statler College’s MAE department.
Education and Outreach News
Shannon Adams working with young children

Rocket scientist credits 4-H in discovering her lifelong passion

A lifelong 4-H'er, Shannon Adams, credits West Virginia University Extension’s 4-H program with helping her discover her dream career and teaching her the skills it took to get there.
Chair's Message

Dear Alumni and Friends,

It is always exciting to kick off another academic year, especially when our students and faculty continue to find amazing success! Our vision is to be recognized as a leading engineering department that offers world-class experiential learning opportunities and engages in high-profile research. The newsletter is a testament to our continued progress in pursuit of this vision.

This past summer, our student-led engineering design competition teams continued to make us very proud. In particular, in this newsletter you will see that our mechanical engineering robotics capstone team, led by Dr. Yu Gu, was named international champion in the 2023 University Rover Challenge amongst a field of over 100 teams from 15 different countries. Likewise, our mechanical engineering capstone EcoCAR EV team, led by Dr. Andrew Nix, secured 2nd place in the Year 1 competition of this four year challenge. Both of these experiential learning opportunities are excellent examples of where our faculty and students are fostering excellent collaborations across the Statler college with students and faculty from the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. In addition, you will read about our students who secured prestigious scholarships, fellowships, and the statewide business competition.

Our department faculty continue to engage in high-impact research. In this newsletter, you can read about Dr. Piyush Mehta who is leading a large scale project as part of IARPA’s SINTRA program on the problem of tracking the millions of small sized orbital debris in Earth orbit. Mehta’s team is the only university-led project funded by this bold program. You will also read about Dr. Hailin Li’s team who secured $3 million grant from the Department of Energy to help the food and beverage industry reduce greenhouse gases in their operations by exploring the use of hydrogen technology. In West Virginia Fiscal Year 2023, our externally funded research expenditures exceeded $9.9 million across our strengths in aerospace, energy, mechanical, materials science, and robotics.

As a department, we are interested in improving our engagement with alumni and friends. To help us in the endeavor, please take a few minutes to complete this survey.


Jason Gross
Jason Gross
Chair and Associate Professor
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
West Virginia University
jason.gross@mail.wvu.edu | mae.statler.wvu.edu
In Motion is a e-newsletter produced by the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources' Office of Marketing and Communications. Please share your comments and suggestions by emailing us at Statler-MAE@mail.wvu.edu.
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