Seven students pose with a Hyperloop pod.

Virginia Tech Hyperloop team ventures to SpaceX for global competition (VT News, College of Engineering)

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Eleven Virginia Tech undergraduate engineering students ventured to SpaceX in Hawthorne, California, for the innovative aerospace company’s Hyperloop Pod Competition II, the second round of the international competition. After landing in Los Angeles on Aug. 19, the Hyperloop at Virginia Tech team spent the week modifying and integrating the systems on their pod, called the V17, and completing safety tests. …

Image of an aluminum slab set up in a lab space with chunks of melting frost dripping off.

Forget defrosting your car at a glacial pace: new research speeds process up tenfold (VT News)

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Jonathan Boreyko turned on the defroster in his car one cold winter morning and waited for the ice on the windshield to melt. And kept waiting. Boreyko, an assistant professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics in the College of Engineering, knew there had to be a more efficient, quicker way to melt the frost. So he developed …

A portrait of Fred Lee in his office, in front of full bookshelves.

World-renowned power electronics expert Fred Lee retires after 40-year career (VT News)

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Fred Lee, a University Distinguished Professor in the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and founder and director of the internationally known Center for Power Electronics Systems (CPES), will retire from Virginia Tech in September 2017. After 40 years at the university, Lee, who is also a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, has made immeasurable contributions …

In the photo, a young woman (Abigail Smith) smiles for the camera in front of a field and building.

Abigail Smith named Virginia Tech Undergraduate Student of the Year (VT News)

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Abigail Smith, of Cleveland, Ohio, says she lives by the words of renowned cellist Pablo Casals: “To live is not enough; we must take part.” It’s a mentality that the 2017 Undergraduate Student of the Year carried through her four years at Virginia Tech, and one she plans to maintain after graduating in May with a bachelor’s in industrial and systems …

In the photo, a young man, Hongliang Xin, sits at a computer desk with an illustration of polymers pulled up on the computer screen behind him as he smiles toward the camera.

Virginia Tech researchers develop a new model to unlock catalytic powers of gold (VT News)

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Until 1985, gold was widely believed to be chemically inert. But once researchers discovered that nano-sized gold particles can act as remarkable and selective catalysts, a world of possibility opened up. Today, gold is used in many industrial catalytic processes, such as the removal of carbon monoxide from exhaust at low temperatures or even the replacement of mercury-based catalysts in …

In the photo, a team of people cheer as they look to something out of frame.

Virginia Tech team demonstrates state-of-the-art technology at global robotics competition (VT News)

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Virginia Tech’s Team VICTOR competed against top universities in the international, inaugural Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge, held in Abu Dhabi March 16-18. The $5 million competition aimed to catalyze the development of autonomous robotics. Virginia Tech’s Team VICTOR, housed in the Wendy and Norris E. Mitchell ’58 Robotics Laboratory, was one of 25 teams out of 143 applicants from …

Two students are pictured in a lab, putting together pieces of the Javelin shell.

Virginia Tech team explores deep ocean in $7 million XPRIZE competition (VT News)

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Nearly 95 percent of Earth’s seafloor remains unexplored, but a team of researchers at Virginia Tech aims to uncover some of the mystery. The $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE asks researchers worldwide to expedite the mapping of the ocean floor with unmanned autonomous underwater vehicles that can quickly capture high-resolution maps. As with other XPRIZE competitions, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE …

A white man wearing a black coat poses for a photo in front of a backdrop of trees.

Bobby Hollingsworth embarks on lifelong pursuit of mentors and cures (Virginia Tech Honors College)

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When Bobby Hollingsworth thinks of his childhood years in Botswana, he thinks of the scenery and of a seven-year-old named Prosper. The son of Hollingsworth’s nanny, Prosper was Hollingsworth’s first childhood friend. In the late 1990s, Prosper died of HIV. Not long after, Prosper’s parents also died. At the time, five-year-old Hollingsworth didn’t know much about the virus that weakens …

A posed photo of a young man in glasses standing in front of a building and fall foliage.

Class of 2016: Tobin Weiseman will graduate in December — and again in May (VT News)

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Coming to Virginia Tech was an easy decision for Tobin Weiseman, a Blacksburg native. Figuring out what he wanted to study wasn’t as simple. Weiseman spent his freshman year studying business before having a realization: He wanted to study science. He quickly found a home in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, where he picked up his primary major, human nutrition, …

In the photo, a young Nigerian woman (Nneoma Nwankwo) stands with her hands clasped on the steps of a brick building. She is wearing a medallion that recognizes her as an Honors student.

Nneoma Nwankwo: From chickenpox to Undergraduate Student of the Year (Virginia Tech Honors College)

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Nneoma Nwankwo hasn’t received her American driver’s license yet. Instead, at 16, she spent her gap year helping her mom plan a gender policy dialogue with the World Bank, working at her uncle’s advertising firm, and sitting in on her mom’s Oxfam meetings in Nasarawa and in Jos, Nigeria — both far northeast of her hometown of Lagos, Nigeria. By …