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 sits at a computer and works, wearing a maroon polo shirt that bears a logo from the Virginia Tech College of Engineering.

From structural engineering to software, this Hokie’s career success compels his giving

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The very building in which Bruce Bates’ structural engineering software company was located was designed — entirely by chance — by the same software the company created. That’s an example of the ubiquitousness of software by RISA technologies, which was founded, owned, and operated by Bates, an alumnus of Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering. “We’ve been in this building since …

Three men stand behind a small yellow underwater autonomous vehicle and pose with smiles for a photo.

Mapping the ocean floor leads Virginia Tech team to earn a slot in $7 million international competition

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Nineteen teams went in and only nine — including Virginia Tech’s own DEEP-X — came out of the first round of a global competition to build autonomous vehicles that can rapidly map the mostly unknown ocean floor. The DEEP-X team, led by Dan Stilwell, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Virginia Tech Center for Marine Autonomy and Robotics, has earned …

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 man inspects a piece of equipment in a lab setting.

New Virginia Tech professor first to fully track behavior of carbon compound in air, changing future air research

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By being the first to fully track the changing chemistry of carbon molecules in the air, a Virginia Tech professor could change the way we study pollutants, smog, and emissions to the atmosphere. Gabriel Isaacman-VanWertz, lead scientist on a new study published in Nature Chemistry and assistant professor in the Charles Edward Via Jr. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, has established …

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

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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 …

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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 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. …