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$2 million gift endows department head chair in mechanical engineering

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Alumnus Nick Des Champs and wife Rebecca Des Champs of Las Vegas, Nevada have donated $2 million to establish a faculty chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering within Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. Des Champs’ gift creates a generous fund under the direction of Azim Eskandarian, who now holds the designation of Nicholas and Rebecca Des Champs Chair in …

Screenshot of the cover image of the magazine story on Dean Julia Ross, with a photo of Julia Ross smiling while sitting in a chair in an empty, airy hallway.

Meet the new dean (VT Engineer Magazine)

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Before Julia M. Ross became dean of the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech; before she became engineering dean at University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and before she pursed her Ph.D. and bachelor’s in chemical engineering, she was a girl inspired by astronaut Sally Ride. “I remember reading in magazines about her and her mission, and I thought that was the coolest thing,” Ross said. …

Screenshot of a cover image for a story in a digital magazine. In the photo, a young man tries on a black cloth glove, which is connected to wires. It's a close up shot, focused only on the lower torso and the black suit.

Alumnus propels research with donation of 16 motion capture suits (VT News, College of Engineering, VT Engineer Magazine)

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Studying balance and fall prevention. Developing more human-like robotic motion. Understanding human performance in simulated health care tasks. These are just a few of the ways Virginia Tech researchers plan to use 16 donated motion capture suits to study body motion and injury prevention, thanks to Jamie Marraccini (electrical engineering ’93), founder, CEO, and president of Inertial Labs. The suits …

Two students look to the sky, colored purple and light blue by the sunset, as they watch their drone fly overhead.

Autonomous robots in the desert (VT Engineer Magazine)

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Last winter, a team of engineering graduate students regularly ventured out to Virginia Tech’s Kentland Farm. They’d drive past fields of cows and farmland until they reached a small garage and strip of asphalt. It’s here they’d unload a set of autonomous vehicles: several drones and a ground vehicle. They’d place markers made of tape and tarps on the concrete …

Screenshot of a cover image for a digital magazine story. In the photo, two young women focused on in a crowd look attentively forward while watching an out-of-frame presenter.

Rolls-Royce inaugural Ph.D. Day opens doors for innovative, collaborative research (VT News, College of Engineering, VT Engineer Magazine)

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Rolls-Royce is more than just automobiles. That’s the message being spread by Joseph Krok, the university research liaison manager at Rolls-Royce. The company has, in recent years, turned its focus to aviation — specifically, aircraft engines. “As you can imagine, gas turbine engines are incredibly complex and highly technical,” said Krok, who acts as a connector between the London-based company …

Two young girls smile and laugh as they work on a small, robotic "robocraft" together while seated at a table.

Inspiring thousands of K-12 students to invent (VT Engineer Magazine)

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Crafts and tools line the walls inside brightly painted rooms at the end of the first floor hall in Virginia Tech’s Falls Church campus in the National Capital Region. It’s here in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at Virginia Tech that, since 2016, more than 5,000 students and teachers, primarily from underserved and underrepresented communities in the D.C. area, have wired, …

A young woman in a white lab coat uses a brush-like tool to isolate a sample in a petri dish. She wears blue gloves and is working in lab in a fume hood.

Virginia Tech team brings relief to well owners following hurricanes Harvey and Irma (VT News)

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It all started with a few phone calls to check in on friends at Texas A&M and the University of Florida. After hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered the southern coastline, Kelsey Pieper called Extension faculty from the two universities — friends she’d met through her work as a U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture postdoctoral fellow …

Two young girls sit on the floor with a robot they created that moves across the room.

More than 4,000 in National Capital Region inspired to invent at the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab (VT News, College of Engineering)

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Crafts and tools line the walls inside brightly painted rooms at the end of the first floor hall in Virginia Tech’s Falls Church campus in the National Capital Region. It’s here in the Qualcomm Thinkabit Lab at Virginia Tech that, since 2016, more than 4,000 students and teachers, primarily from underserved and underrepresented communities in the D.C. area, have wired, …

In the photo, a young woman speaks with a representative from General Motors.

Record-breaking Engineering Expo fueled by alumni, spurs charitable giving to the college (VT News, College of Engineering)

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When Andrew Merewitz comes back to visit Virginia Tech, the 2012 computer engineering grad always hopes to bring some Hokies back to New York City with him. Now working as a software team lead at Bloomberg, Merewitz regularly attends the Engineering Exposition as a recruiter for his company. “One of the reasons we keep coming back to Virginia Tech is …

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In memoriam: Thomas J. Grizzard Jr., professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering and urban water cycle expert (VT News)

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Thomas J. Grizzard, Jr., professor emeritus of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech and former director of the Occoquan Watershed Monitoring Laboratory, died unexpectedly on June 24. He was 70. “Our hearts are heavy with the news of Tom’s passing,” said G. Don Taylor, the Charles O. Gordon Professor of Industrial and Systems Engineering and interim dean of …