A young man poses for a photo in front of a gray building.

Alumnus tackles young alumni engagement with grassroots efforts

Erica Corder Photo, Video, Writing 0 Comments

Dan Surber is a problem solver. But the Virginia Tech alumnus, who graduated in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering, saw a problem he alone couldn’t fix: he thought more young alumni should be engaged with the university. So when Eileen Van Aken, interim department head of the Grado Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, approached …

A man wearing a yellow hard hat flashes a smile for a photo taken inside a rock quarry.

One engineering alumnus’ 36-year giving streak helps transform a university department — and an industry

Erica Corder Photo, Video, Writing 0 Comments

Bryan Smith stands at the edge of the high ground at mining company Luck Stone’s flagship location just outside Richmond, Virginia. He’s looking out at a massive quarry — one that’s about 37 stories deep and more than a half-mile wide. “So this is our Boscobel Plant. It was begun about 1879,” Smith begins, sweeping his arm across the panoramic …

A man wearing a white hard hat and a red sweater reaches toward the ceiling, where he adjusts orange wires linked to a data acquisition system.

Making buildings smarter, starting with Goodwin Hall

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There’s still much work to be done before our buildings are smart enough to talk to us. But from a lab located in the most accelerometer-instrumented building in the world, Rodrigo Sarlo is doing his part to get us there. Sarlo, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Tech, was recently awarded a research fellowship from …

A couple embraces and smiles at each other while standing in front of their white house with blue shutters.

Alumni couple whose wedding reception started with ‘Enter Sandman’ still show their alma mater love

Erica Corder Photo, Video, Writing 0 Comments

When Damien and Krystal McCants entered their wedding reception to “Enter Sandman,” the other Hokies in the chapel knew what to do: they just started jumping. At the May 2008 reception, the newly married couple cut a cake embellished with a sugary Virginia Tech athletic logo, drank from embossed Virginia Tech champagne flutes, and danced in a room filled with …

Screenshot of a cover image for a story in a digital magazine. In the old photo, Joe Ware gives a speech at a podium while wearing a hat that reads "Ware Lab."

The little-known backstory of one of Virginia Tech’s most popular labs (VT Engineer Magazine)

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Ask any Virginia Tech engineering student about the Joseph F. Ware Jr. Advanced Engineering Laboratory, and odds are they’ve stepped foot in it. Arguably the most popular lab on campus and hallmark of the Virginia Tech undergraduate engineering experience, the Ware Lab is a 10,000-square-foot facility, split into nearly a dozen bays full of tools, materials, and student design projects. It’s …

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, several members of the Hyperloop team are pulling and pushing along a pod on the sidewalk.

From Reddit to racing with Elon Musk

Erica Corder Photo, Video, Writing 0 Comments

On a Sunday night 15 minutes before midnight in early November, a group of undergraduate engineers is still wide awake. They’re stationed at TechPad, a local coworking space, trying to figure out how to not catch their Hyperloop pod on fire. “So, could we find a more efficient way in a triangle configuration?” asks Bobby Smyth, a senior from Yorktown, …

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 …