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Students in a classroom

Steering students to STEM

WVU continues to be part of a multimillion-dollar effort across a 10-university alliance to support STEM education for underrepresented students in Appalachia. Funded for a third phase by a five-year, $3.5 million NSF grant, the Kentucky- West Virginia Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation will examine underrepresented students’ perceptions of STEM disciplines and careers and work to improve recruitment, retention and graduation rates of these students.

Industrial plant

Technology and transparency

Improving shale energy and productivity and reducing the environmental footprint of the natural gas industry are the goals of a WVU partnership at a second Marcellus Shale Energy and Environmental Lab in Monongalia County. Researchers from multidisciplinary departments, including the WVU Department of Geology and Geography, will use the advanced models they develop for this project, continuing to address complex technical, environmental and social issues surrounding unconventional energy development.

Iraqi village in ruins

The aftermath of conflict

A WVU sociologist is studying post-conflict Iraq reconstruction. Jesse Wozniak traveled to Iraq last summer to explore the results of post-conflict in the country and if its government, specifically the police force, can transition to a democracy.

Sarah Burke-Spolaor
Sarah Burke-Spoloar

Understanding the “extreme universe”

Fast radio bursts are bright, millisecond flashes of light that occur about every eight seconds outside the Milky Way galaxy. The origin of these bursts is unknown. WVU astronomer Sarah Burke-Spolaor is completing a fellowship with the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research’s Azrieli Global Scholars program to explore this mystery. Her research will localize future bursts to understand the environments where fast radio bursts live.

Fallout 76 helmet

Not just for kids

A nuclear war survivor stands on the edge of an Appalachian mountain in an apocalyptic setting at the beginning of the Fallout 76’s trailer, while a version of John Denver’s “Take Me Home, Country Roads” plays in the background. Video games and interactive media like this series have interested Nick Bowman, associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies, for years. Bowman and his collaborators are researching the ways people interact with virtual media.

London Orzolek
London Orzolek

Breaking new ground

London Orzolek, a Wheeling native studying anthropology, women’s and gender studies and development studies, presented her research on firstgeneration college students at the 117th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Her presentation, “You Keep Using That Word: Defining College-Going Culture and Student Success,” focuses on the concept of college-going culture and the struggles that first-generation college students face.

Patrice Harris
Patrice Harris

Leading the way

Alumna Patrice Harris (BA Psychology, ’92) is the new chair of the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees. Harris, a Bluefield native, is the first black woman to hold this office.

Student holding a WVU flag on a mountain
Francesca Basil

Lions, zebras and geography, oh my!

Among the lions and zebras in Tanzania in the summer heat, a WVU student explored the geography of the land. Weirton native Francesca Basil (BA Environmental Geoscience, ’18) traveled to the East African country with support from the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences Academic Enrichment Program.

Daniel Renfrew
Daniel Renfrew

Life without lead

In the 1970s, the U.S. took precautions to help treat and prevent lead contamination. However, other countries, such as Uruguay, didn’t take precautions until recent years. Anthropologist Daniel Renfrew is researching the effects of lead contamination in that nation. By looking at the social impacts of lead contamination, the government’s response to the crisis, the reason it happened and how citizens responded, Renfrew learned about major issues affecting the Uruguayan people.

Phil Chapman
Phil Chapman

Connecting sense of smell to brain disease

Studying how insects’ wing movements affect their sense of smell has the potential to explain underlying causes of disorders like schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and shortness of breath, according to new research from WVU. A study by biology student Phil Chapman found that corollary discharges from the insect motor wing control center informs their olfactory systems about wing movements, which directly affects sensory processes.

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