The temptation to check email while driving is strong when a mobile devise emits that familiar alert tone. Four UVa-Wise students have created a mobile app that will let drivers give in to that temptation in a safe way.
Iris, an Android app developed by software engineering seniors as their capstone project, will read Google Mail to drivers who have installed the app on their mobile phones or tablets. The app works well and the students hope to soon have the product on Google Play once all the proper paperwork and related tasks are done.
Bryan Smith of Weber City, Virginia explained that the app gets its name from Iris, the Greek messenger to the gods. And just like Iris of ancient lore, the Iris app will read the incoming messages.
Professor Abrar Qureshi, advisor for the capstone project, said the students started working on the app by working on a single email account, then moved on to multiple accounts. The students then worked further on functionality such as making it easier to keep or delete an email. Large buttons were also put in place to make it easier to use when deciding whether to discard or keep an email that Iris has read to the recipient.
Derek Ouzia of Algeria said working on the app was extremely interesting and beneficial on many levels. He and his fellow students were able to apply what they have learned in the classroom and software engineering labs to the real world.
“It gives us a good idea of the job itself and what to expect in the business world,” Ouzia said.
Scott Arnette, a Wise, Virginia resident, explained that the overall customer experience was always on the minds of the developers.
“You really want to aim to please the customer as much as possible,” he said. “It gives you a chance to apply what you’ve learned and a chance to work as a team.”
Teamwork has been a central theme for the group. They have been taking the same classes together for a few years and have learned to work well together.
“Teamwork is critical,” Smith said. “If you are not working as a team, you will pretty much fail. We play off of each others’ strengths.”
The students also believe the teamwork dispels the stereotype that software engineers are socially awkward. Student Joseph Lacaba is also a member of the team, but was unavailable for an interview.
“It is the complete opposite,” Smith said.
Qureshi always stressed the need to hone communication skills, and his students agree that the ability to effectively talk to others is vital.
“Seventy-five percent of the time is spent in communication,” Qureshi said. “It all starts with understanding the customers and what the customer wants and needs.”
The students agree that a liberal arts education combined with their software engineering and computer science courses have given them the proper mix of instruction. The liberal arts classes allowed them to understand how important it is to make a product that is more creative and pleasing in general. Graphic design courses were also a plus.
“Too much software engineering would get boring,” Ouzia said.
The next step for the students is to see what happens when Iris is available for download and purchase on Google Play.
Several staff members were recognized during an awards ceremony on June 15 for their many years of service, new degrees and certifications completed and contributions to The University of Virginia’s College at Wise.
Brenda Craft was recognized for 40 years of service.
David Short was honored for 35 years of service.
Paul Kilgore was honored for 30 years of service.
Shelby Roberts was recognized for 20 years of service.
Sharona Burke and Tammie Hale were honored for 15 years of service.
Kim Lawson, Kristi Longworth and Jenny Salyers were recognized for ten years of service.
Scott Lawson, David Locke, Lanna Monday, Pam McKnight, Linda Miller, Jessica Necessary, Rhenea Niece, Heather Robbins and Tabitha Smith received five-year service awards.
Natasha Tabor, Nathan Rasnake, April Collins and Bobbi VanHuss were recognized for completing master degrees.
Kathy Fleming was recognized for completing a bachelor’s degree.
Austin Crabtree was recognized for completion of Law Enforcement Officer Certification.
Josh Justice was recognized for completing the Forward Wise County Program.
Sarah Smith Carlson was recognized for completing personal trainer, speed specialist and self-defense instructor certifications.
Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award nominees Rosa Bott, Pam McKnight and Debbie Vanover were recognized along with winner, Brenda Whitaker, Department of Natural Sciences administrative assistant. It is the highest honor for staff at the University and the College at Wise.
Students at UVa-Wise are holding a candlelight vigil on June 14 at 8 p.m. in memory of the victims of the Orlando shootings. The vigil will take place at the Lawn by the Lake. The public is invited to participate.
“Watching the tragic events unfolding Sunday morning was heartbreaking,” organizer Andrew Hamilton said. “I wanted to organize this event as a way to show that our school and community felt the pain and stood with Orlando. I also wanted anyone in our community who felt unsafe or scared after the tragic event to know that we support them.”
Hamilton, the editor of the Highland Cavalier student newspaper, said he has been humbled and touched by those who want to participate in the event.
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What do sweet potato pie, the University of Virginia Staff Senate and medical research have in common? They are some of the superior products of dedicated UVA employees who have made a difference in the lives of their colleagues – and many others.
This year’s group of Leonard W. Sandridge Outstanding Contribution Award winners share a range of accomplishments in serving the University, but the award encompasses more than fulfilling job duties and frequently going beyond them. As they solve problems, upgrade procedures and other tasks, these staff members put heart and soul into all they do, building relationships and creating community within UVA, with its neighbors and among professionals.
The Sandridge Awards are the highest honor the University bestows upon employees. They include five employees from the Academic Division, five from the Medical Center and one from UVA’s College at Wise. The 11 winners were honored June 10 at a Board of Visitors luncheon at the Colonnade Club. Each group attended or will attenda Service Award Dinner alongside employees who have 25-plus years of service.
The 2016 Outstanding Contribution Awards from the Academic Division go to:
• Constance Alexander, office manager of Procurement & Supplier Diversity;
• Kevin Donovan, senior assistant dean for career services at the Law School;
• Brandon Kemp, senior laboratory and research specialist in the School of Medicine;
• Amy Muldoon, project coordinator, Demographics Research Group at the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service; and
• Gary Wood, North Grounds zone manager, Facilities Management.
The Medical Center surprised its winning employees with staff visiting them at their workplaces and presenting them with flowers and balloons. Take a look here.
The Medical Center awardees are:
• Veronica Brill, director of the Emily Couric Clinical Cancer Center;
• Geraldine Gaines, supply chain supervisor;
• Jennifer T. Hall, magnet program coordinator;
• Sara McClelland, nurse clinician II in the Pediatric ICU;
• Denese Straughn, administrative specialist for the Faculty and Employee Assistance Program.
The Wise award winner is Brenda Whitaker, administrative assistant in the Natural Sciences Department.
One nominator said that she serves as an invaluable aid. “I trust her discretion absolutely and call upon her to critique evaluation letters, give suggestions and advice about the best way to respond to difficult situations, and even read emails before I hit the ‘send’ button. I could have not done my job if I had not been able to rely on her discretion, perceptiveness and good sense.”
“She maintains an impressive vocabulary of scientific terminology to converse with and fulfill our teaching and research needs,” thus keeping the department running smoothly, another nominator wrote.
Whitaker, who has worked at UVA-Wise for 47 years, started a book club several years ago that includes College faculty. A colleague in the club said, “It’s always a joy to talk about science and current events with her.”
Her nominators agree: “Whitaker models for our students what it means to be an educated person. The range of her interest and the depth and breadth of her knowledge is remarkable.”
–Courtesy Anne E. Bromley
UVA Today Associate, Office of University Communications
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Educators from nine colleges and universities from the Appalachian region gathered at The University of Virginia’s College at Wise on Wednesday, June 8, to discuss gaps in knowledge when it comes to regional biodiversity.
The Southern Appalachian Biodiversity Consortium, a group formed to address the knowledge gap issue, met for the first time to share ideas, common needs and issues related to undergraduate research and related matters. The two-day event is expected to lead to future sessions.
“The idea came from some issues we have locally with a lack of basic data on wildlife species in Southwest Virginia,” UVa-Wise biology professor Wally Smith explained. “We found the same issues were present elsewhere in the region when talking with other institutions, and so we’re convening the consortium to discuss how best to address these issues and move forward.”
Faculty from institutions in the commonwealths of Kentucky and Virginia, and the states of Tennessee and North Carolina spent Wednesday sharing their research and discussing ways to advance regional projects.
“Our hope is to have a plan by the end of this week’s meeting for catalyzing better collaboration and partnerships between Appalachian institutions moving forward,” Smith added.
In addition to host school UVa-Wise, faculty from University of Pikeville, Emory & Henry College, Appalachian State University, East Tennessee State University, Milligan College, UNC-Asheville, Lincoln Memorial University and the University of Kentucky participated in the consortium.
The event concludes on June 9 with a trip to Little Stony Falls for a biodiversity discussion.
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Delegates Terry Kilgore and Todd Pillion presented Micronic Technologies CEO Karen Sorber with a resolution approved by the Virginia General Assembly commending the water purification company for winning the prestigious Open Innovation Challenge sponsored by GE and Statoil.
The lawmakers presented the resolution to Sorber on June 1 in the Lila Vicars Smith House at UVa-Wise. According to the resolution, Micronic Technologies exemplifies the entrepreneurial drive shown by many small businesses throughout the Commonwealth. The firm has garnered state and federal funding and a grant from the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission in partnership with UVa-Wise.
The Alumni Association’s Board of Directors will host their annual retreat on Saturday June 4, 2016. Please check back for event location.
For more information please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (276) 328-0128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Marching Highland Cavaliers will celebrate the band’s 10 year anniversary during the fall semester of 2016 at UVa-Wise. The Marching Highland Cavaliers began as a small 25-member band which grew to more than 80 members over the decade.
The MHCS perform for all home football games and do exhibition performances at local and regional marching band festivals. Members include UVa-Wise students and students from Mountain Empire Community College. The 10th anniversary Marching Cavs will perform the music of Motown this year. Other shows will include the annual Papa Joe Smiddy Tribute and the popular salute to men and women in the military.
The band is always looking for new members. There is no audition required and the band takes care of all meals during band camp. The only thing that a student has to provide is a pair of white band shoes. Band camp is set for August 12 for percussion and guard members and August 14 for winds. Members also receive a $250 stipend for participation in the band.
If interested in joining the Marching Highland Cavaliers, please visit email@example.com or contact Director of Bands Richard Galyean at 276-328-0235.