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Registration opens for Summer College

UVa-Wise Calendar - Fri, 02/05/2016 - 1:00am

Summer College registration opens for all students.

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Men’s Basketball at Glenville State College

UVa-Wise Calendar - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 8:30pm

Men’s Basketball at Glenville State College Glenville, WV
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Women’s Basketball at Glenville State College

UVa-Wise Calendar - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 6:30pm

Women’s Basketball at Glenville State College Glenville, WV
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Don’t lose out: SCHEV helps students, families learn about financial aid

UVa-Wise News - Thu, 02/04/2016 - 5:14pm

College students in Virginia left on the table an estimated $54.4 million in federal funds in 2014 alone simply because they didn’t fill out the required paperwork. That estimate, from a recent analysis by NerdWallet.com, underscores the importance of financial-aid awareness.

Throughout February Financial Aid Awareness Month in Virginia SCHEV is teaming up with Educational Credit Management Corp. to sponsor the Super FAFSA Project to encourage students and families to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

FAFSA is the form students must submit to colleges, universities and career-technical schools to be considered for federal financial aid, most state financial aid and financial-assistance programs from the individual institutions. Unfortunately, many students and families who would qualify for assistance don’t complete this form. In Virginia, 44 percent of high school graduates did not complete a FAFSA in 2014, according to NerdWallet.

The Super FAFSA Project includes webinars, hands-on activities at select high schools, and downloadable materials. This month, 42 public high schools (list below) will provide hands-on assistance to more than 9,700 seniors through special events. These schools serve student populations where 50 percent or more are eligible for the National School Lunch Program.

Many schools around Virginia are offering events in support of the Super FAFSA project. For details check with your local high school or visit vasfaa.org/super.

In addition, a webinar is open to all students and families and features a line-by-line tutorial by staff from the U.S. Department of Education on how to complete the FAFSA. The event is scheduled for Feb. 11 at 5:30 p.m. To participate, students and families must have access to the internet and register for the event. Registration is available at tinyurl.com/SFPWeb2.

“The Super FAFSA Project is an ideal way to learn more about the financial-aid process,” said SCHEV Director Peter Blake. “We are pleased to support efforts like this that provide greater access and affordability to Virginia’s students and parents.”

SCHEV is the Commonwealth’s coordinating body for Virginia’s system of higher education. The agency provides policy guidance and budget recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly, and is a resource for information on higher education issues. With The Virginia Plan for Higher Education, its strategic plan, SCHEV aims to make Virginia the best-educated state in the nation by 2030.

Additional resources:

  • List of participating public high schools: edu/k12/VCAWschoolsitelistingdivision.pdf
  • SCHEV’s list of financial-aid deadlines: edu/students/financialAidAppDeadlines.asp
  • Other resources on financial aid in Virginia: edu/123GoSFP.asp.
  • The full analysis from NerdWallet: com/blog/loans/student-loans/college-students-fafsa-money/

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UVa-Wise professor, student use tech to research roadkill mitigation

UVa-Wise News - Wed, 02/03/2016 - 2:52pm

Manassas resident Gabriella Smith knew that teaching mathematics was the right career path for her, but she never thought the road to academic success would be filled with roadkill.

Smith, a junior math major at UVa-Wise, has been working with faculty mentor James Vance on an undergraduate research project that involves studying variables at areas where unfortunate animals fall victim to traffic along a particular route. The work that Smith and Vance are doing could key in on hotspots where road kill will occur and, ultimately, help mitigate it with a few simple changes along the roadway. In addition to saving the lives of domesticated animals and wildlife, mitigation could help prevent costly damage to vehicles.

“I never expected this at all,” Smith said when asked about doing a mathematics research project on road kill. “I never thought I’d be in this situation. My mom makes jokes and tells me that I look at dead animals all day. My friends don’t bat an eyelash. It’s just what I do.”

Smith will present her work at the National Council of Undergraduate Research conference at Asheville in April.

Vance, associate professor of mathematics, conducts the road kill survey, which means he drives from Richlands to Wise twice a week looking for the animals. He received a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation to conduct research along the route. Vance is easy to spot along the route because he wears an orange safety vest and has a traffic safety light on his vehicle.

“Six or eight people stop me on the road because they notice what I’m doing,” he said.

Motorists who frequent parts of Route 609, Route 19 and U.S. Route 58 to the top of Tacoma Mountain often see Vance doing his own version of Crime Scene Investigation by marking the road kill victims and the location with striping paint, a task that sparks curiosity in the drivers.

“There is a lot of community interest,” he said.

In one year, Vance has recorded 1,837 cases of road kill. Vance found approximately 1,415 mammals, 188 birds, 105 reptiles, 122 domestic animals and seven frogs. Overall, he found 64 different species.

Among the surprising findings were 30 owls, more than expected. He also found a rare mink, long-tailed weasels and some species that are listed as “species of concern” by state wildlife authorities. As expected, he found a high number of possums, raccoons, groundhogs and white-tailed deer. Birds ranged from chimney swifts, yellow belly sapsuckers, eastern king bird, eastern wood peewee, gray catbird, brown thrasher, eastern meadowlark and eastern towhee.

Faced with a daunting task of measuring numerous variables at each roadkill site, Vance and Smith turned to technology, specifically Google Maps, to see if the normal five hours it would take to properly record just a handful of data at each location could be done more efficiently. They picked a certain number of points, measured a select set of variables in the field, returned to the computer lab to see if the results they found using Google Maps and Street View matched what they found when they did the measurements in the field. They found most were accurate, but some factors, like the presence of a fence at a road kill site, required measurement in the field. However, only having to measure a few variables in the field cut down on the time factor.

“It will save us a lot of time and manpower using the computer to get these variables,” Vance said. “It means we can use technology to facilitate analysis so we don’t have to be out in the field collecting 10 variables. We can collect most variables on the computer.”

Vance and Smith plan to turn their focus toward studying whether culverts in some areas actually allow animals to safely cross roads. Finding certain roadkill hotspots and studying whether those areas have blocked culverts or sharp riprap rock along the roadway could result in more animal fatalities. In addition, some areas could be studied to see if small fences placed in strategic areas could encourage animals to use culverts for passage rather than crossing roads.

Smith will present her research on the Use of Google Maps and Street View to Facilitate Analysis in Wildlife Vehicle Collision Study at the NCUR conference at University of North Carolina-Asheville. Vance said they are also submitting for Smith to present on the topic of Species Composition and Temporal Patterns of roadkill Along Physiographically Distinct Routes in Southwest Virginia.

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UVa-Wise has 21 students presenting at NCUR in April

UVa-Wise News - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 4:05pm

Nearly two dozen UVa-Wise students will present their undergraduate research projects in April at the National Council for Undergraduate Research conference in Asheville.

The College has what Academic Dean Amelia Harris terms “an unprecedented number of students” apply to present at NCUR, set this year for the University of North Carolina-Asheville. The 21 students selected to present are from the natural sciences, mathematics, psychology, communication studies and Spanish academic areas. The close location of the conference, a stronger emphasis on undergraduate research and greater faculty interest are cited as reasons for the boost in student participation.

“We have a lot more faculty interested in conducting undergraduate research with students,” Harris said. “This shows that scholarship is important, faculty are interested and students are more and more eager to have the opportunity to conduct research and learn outside the classroom. “

Harris has noticed the number of students who choose to pursue graduate school or professional programs is rising, and undergraduate research is one reason for the uptick. The research work with faculty mentors allows students to be engaged more in critical thinking and it gives them a leg up when they apply to graduate school or professional programs, Harris added.

Madelynn Shell, assistant professor of psychology, has several students who are presenting research at various conferences. She readily sees the benefits.

“It gives them experiences such as independent data analysis, literature reviews and detailed feedback on writing that they may not necessarily get in a classroom,” Shell said. “In addition, research provides students with a context in which to get to know faculty in their field, which can help them better understand what it means to be a psychologist or a biologist, for example, and it also helps them make decisions about their own career paths.”

According to Shell, the relationship that undergraduate students build with faculty mentors helps prepare students for graduate school because, especially for those going into research programs, the level of work and independence lets students know what to expect.

“Even for students not going into research programs, the critical thinking, analytic and writing skills that they learn while doing undergraduate research will help them immensely in any graduate program,” Shell said. “Many students express fear or anxiety about research before taking part in it, and alleviating this is another benefit. Students come to realize that research does not have to be scary, and that, in fact, it can lead to many important opportunities.”

In addition to the benefits the students receive from presenting their research at conferences, UVa-Wise also gets a boost.

“When we have students presenting at national and international conferences, it really demonstrates that although we may be a small school in a rural area, we are very competitive in our offerings and opportunities for students,” Shell said.

Both Harris and Shell agree that the quality of undergraduate research and the increase in presentations both nationally and at regional conferences reflect well on the College’s reputation as a strong undergraduate institution.

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CTE Spring Classes Begin

UVa-Wise Calendar - Tue, 02/02/2016 - 1:00am

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Men’s Basketball vs Fairmont State University

UVa-Wise Calendar - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 5:00pm

Men’s Basketball vs Fairmont State University Wise, VA
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Women’s Basketball vs Fairmont State University

UVa-Wise Calendar - Sat, 01/30/2016 - 3:00pm

Women’s Basketball vs Fairmont State University Wise, VA
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Men’s Basketball vs Shepherd University

UVa-Wise Calendar - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 8:30pm

Men’s Basketball vs Shepherd University Wise, VA
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Women’s Basketball vs Shepherd University

UVa-Wise Calendar - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:30pm

Women’s Basketball vs Shepherd University Wise, VA
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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UVa-Wise student presents research on controversial extraction method

UVa-Wise News - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:04pm

Fracking, the process of using a high pressure water mixture to force the release of gas from underground rocks, has an economic benefit, but it also comes at an environmental cost, UVa-Wise student Javier Wagner revealed Wednesday when he presented his undergraduate research to faculty, staff and students.

Wagner began his presentation by asking the crowd if they liked cheap gas. Nearly all in the Leonard Sandridge Science Center nodded or raised their hands. The economics major then revealed the “other” costs associated with less expensive gas extraction.

The fracking process, which has been under media and environmental scrutiny lately, uses a combination of water, sand and many chemicals in the injection process. The injection of the water mixture allows the gas to flow out of the rocks to the head of a gas well. Wagner’s research has revealed that the injection mixture or flowback can remain in rock formations, be reused or partially cleaned and disposed. The problem is that the chemicals used in the fluid are often kept secret by gas companies. Some of the known chemicals are known to cause cancer.

In addition, Wagner noted that contamination occurs if the fluid is spilled at the site, in transport, or if the casings fail underground. According to Wagner, his research revealed that 225 spills occurred in a six-year period prior in an initial study. Human error, equipment failure and container failure were often cited as the cause for spills. The spills endanger human health, basic wellbeing, tourism, outdoor recreation and other quality of life issues, he said.

However, Wagner said his research also revealed that fracking has created thousands of jobs in several states, and those jobs carry a big economic impact. Wages are high in the gas industry and tax revenues get a boost, he added.

“More than 100,000 people would be out of a job in Texas alone if fracking was suddenly stopped,” he said.

Other states would see a loss of jobs if fracking was abolished, but some states, such as New York, would not take much of an economic hit, he told the crowd.

Wagner’s research revealed that not enough is known now about the full effects of the chemicals used in fracking. He also learned that there have not been enough studies on the chemicals used as well.

“We need to know what the chemicals are and what they are doing to our health,” he said.

Wagner said his research has led him to believe that the proper rules governing fracking should be set and that any legislation crafted should be based on evidence rather than speculation or politics. Any loopholes should be shut tight, he said, and enforcement must be effective. He concluded that the fracking industry should move cautiously forward because to stop it suddenly would hurt the economy.

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UVa-Wise Professor Adams-Ramsey’s art selected for international exhibition

UVa-Wise News - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 12:17pm

Suzanne Adams-Ramsey, professor of art at UVa-Wise, has had a piece of her ceramics work accepted into a juried international exhibition, and caffeine provided the inspirational jolt for that particular piece of art.

The ceramics piece Adams-Ramsey sculpted is a cheeky “travel” mug that was tapped by Josh DeWeese to be part of the International Cup 2016 exhibition. She was one of 35 artists selected from more than 200 high caliber ceramic works. DeWeese, a ceramic artist, is an assistant professor of art at Montana State University. DeWeese has exhibited and taught workshops internationally, and his work is included in numerous public and private collections.

Adams-Ramsey’s travel cup is a colorful but non-functional cup with legs. It is the legs that make the cup thought provoking and funny. A coffee drinker, Adams-Ramsey always has her functional travel cup at hand, and it became the inspiration for the “travel” cup piece. It all started when the students in her hand building ceramics class last fall were making simple pinch pot forms.

“As a professor, I constantly press my students to think beyond the obvious answers to the project assignment, so on that particular morning, with a demo piece of clay in hand, I challenged them to think about just how far they could push the very basic, round shape of a pinch pot,” she said. “I began to demonstrate by paddling the malleable clay into a square, forming corners and a flat bottom.  As a beginning studio lesson, the work was finished.  The little round pot had very willingly morphed into a little square, so I sat it aside.”

It was only later when she was tidying the studio that she what she calls a seed of an idea took hold. She remembered her advice to her students, and she decided to elevate the stocky cup to something unexpected. It was also the normal time of day when she would think about having another cup of coffee. She recalls thinking about where she had put her usual travel cup when the inspiration hit.

“The visual elements came together in my head as I held the little square pot, and I knew that it had to grow some legs and have sculpted feet,” she said. “ I thought it would be a funny play on words.  Thankfully, juror Josh DeWeese thought so too!”

Adams-Ramsey said she is excited that her work is part of such a prestigious juried show.

“I am a maker of objects that express ideas,” she said. “I am happy just in the making, but even happier when others understand and appreciate the work. Having recently stepped down from my 14-year stint as Visual and Performing Arts department chair, I very intentionally went back to the studio to rediscover my place as a practicing visual artist. I am thrilled with this change of direction in my professional career, and I am equally thrilled and gratified with this accomplishment.”

The piece will be on exhibition Feb. 5-26 at the Clay Studio of Missoula.

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Honors Recital

UVa-Wise Calendar - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 8:30pm

Music majors are selected to perform complex musical selections for the Honors Recital.  This is a cultural activity credit event.

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Student Presentation – “Hellbender Citizen Science”

UVa-Wise Calendar - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 2:00pm

Student undergraduate research presentation by Ashlee Taylor

Approved for cultural activity credit

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Student Presentation – “Fracking, Poor Water Quality and Its Economic Impact”

UVa-Wise Calendar - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 2:00pm

Student undergraduate research presentation by Javier Wagner

Approved for cultural activity credit

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Men’s Basketball at University of Charleston

UVa-Wise Calendar - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 8:30pm

Men’s Basketball at University of Charleston – Charleston, WV
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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Women’s Basketball at University of Charleston

UVa-Wise Calendar - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 6:30pm

Women’s Basketball vs University of Charleston – Charleston, WV
For more information visit: http://www.uvawisecavs.com/calendar.aspx

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