A Gigantic Discovery, a Head Start and More
WVU researchers helped discover the most massive neutron star to date, a breakthrough uncovered through the Green Bank Observatory in Pocahontas County. The neutron star is a rapidly spinning pulsar that packs 2.17 times the mass of the sun into a sphere about 15 miles across. This measurement approaches the limits of how massive and compact a single object can become without crushing itself into a black hole.
A Head Start
Nine first-year students got a head start on their college experiences in summer 2019. The students tackled real-life math and chemistry problems with faculty and student mentors. They are part of the First2 STEM Success Network, which is an INCLUDES Alliance and statewide collaboration supported by the National Science Foundation. The alliance is working to improve the college enrollment and retention rates of first-generation undergraduate STEM students from rural areas.
50 years of Public Administration
The Master of Public Administration program celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, culminating in a student professional development experience in Washington, D.C.
Students join global climate strike
More than 150 WVU college students and residents raised awareness about the growing threat of climate change. The September 2019 protest was part of a global action that drew millions of participants across the world. It’s the first time WVU students participated in the Fridays for the Future climate strikes.
Looking beyond the tooth
Only 45 percent of Medicaid-enrolled children in West Virginia received dental care in 2017. When visits to the dentist are few and far between, dentists strive even harder to maximize the effects of each appointment, especially when it comes to preventing kids’ cavities. Professor of Psychology Dan McNeil investigated the relationship between how much social support mothers felt they had and how many cavities dentists identified in their children’s teeth. The more support, the less likely the child was to have a lot of cavities.
Changing the world
Political science and French double major Dylan Vest is one step closer to his dream of becoming a Foreign Service officer. He received the Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. State Department, which will support his master’s degree in international affairs. He will intern at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at a U.S. embassy overseas.
Making a difference
While marriage equality continues to be a big win for the LGBTQ+ movement since its passage in the U.S. in 2015, many activists are concerned about what’s next. Assistant Professor of Social Work Megan Gandy-Guedes has spent the intervening years studying the young adults who comprise the next generation of LGBTQ+ activists to understand their aspirations for the movement’s future.
Forging pathways for underrepresented faculty
Eberly College researchers are helping universities nationwide overcome barriers to STEM faculty careers for women and underrepresented minorities. ADVANCE Center Director Kasi Jackson and Center for Women’s and Gender Studies Director Sharon Bird are leading a research team that is evaluating universities nationwide to make recommendations for equity reform.
Serving the state
Women’s and gender studies major Mackenzie Steele was known for volunteering as a student at Bridgeport High School. But now, she is known for it nationally. Steele is the new West Virginia Circle K district governor, overseeing volunteerism at our state’s five university chapters.
Tuninetti named Singer Professor in the Humanities
Professor of Spanish Ángel Tuninetti is a passionate advocate for the importance of the humanities in higher education and society. He has been named the 2019 Armand E. and Mary W. Singer Professor in the Humanities, recognizing his dedication and commitment to the study of the Spanish language and Latin American literature and cultures.
Leading the way for women
Professor of Social Work Leslie Tower has been named director of the WVU Women’s Resource Center. A passionate advocate for policies that support women’s full participation in society, Tower has published research on gender inequality in higher education, women and work, adult learners and violence against women.
Invasion of the Japanese stiltgrass
To the casual observer, Japanese stiltgrass appears as a harmless, leafy green plant that blends into the majestic scenery of your weekend hike through the woods. Plant biologists like Craig Barrett know better. His research targets this plant that wreaks havoc on forest ecosystems.
Assistant Professor of Geography Martina Caretta is serving as a coordinating lead author of the chapter on water in the upcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sixth Assessment, due out in 2021.
An unexpected path to discovery
When Alec Neu arrived at WVU as a journalism major in 2013, he never expected to end up at NASA. Now, with a degree in journalism and work experience in Greece under his belt, Neu has his sights set on the sky as he returns to WVU for a second degree. The physics major spent the summer at NASA conducting heliophysics research, which is all about how the sun affects the solar system. He was part of a team developing a new method for predicting the result of coronal mass ejections on Earth – these ejections are large blasting events on the sun that release light and energy.
When concerns are expressed about distrust in science, they often focus on whether the public trusts research findings. A new study, however, explores a different dimension of trust. Professors Trisha Phillips and Lynne Cossman examined whether and how often researchers misrepresent their accomplishments when applying for faculty jobs.
Unearthing the art of fossils
A rocky start in college hasn’t stopped alumnus Zachary Heck (BS Geology, ’16) from pursuing his prehistoric passions. Thanks to mentorship from Teaching Associate Professor of Geology Joe Lebold, Heck came back from a year off and thrived at WVU. His passion for preserving prehistoric artifacts led him to a career in paleontology before he even graduated.
Lilly Ledbetter visits campus
On March 10, 2020, the centennial of West Virginia's ratification of the 19th amendment, we heard the story of the woman at the center of the historic discrimination case that inspired the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.