Virginia Tech Year in Review

Teaching / Learning

Cutting edge artwork

Associate Professor Eric Standley's artwork is truly cutting edge, with layer upon layer of intricately laser-cut sheets of paper forming a rich, colorful, and detailed whole. He is a pioneer in the techniques used to create his art, which recently started an international buzz with art collectors, blogs, and media.

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Professors win national Design Build award

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture has recognized Marie Zawistowksi and Keith Zawistowski with a 2012-2013 Design Build Award. The Zawistowskis, both professors of practice in the School of Architecture + Design, were among four individuals and teams to be recognized for best practices in design-build education, and are among the first to receive this national recognition.

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New faculty of health science

Virginia Tech's Board of Visitors recently approved a resolution to create a Faculty of Health Sciences. The new organizational framework is intended to serve as a catalyst for health sciences research and education collaborations across Virginia Tech's colleges and research institutes and with partner institutions.

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Real estate degree program approved

Students in the new real estate program will be exposed to a variety of academic fields including architecture, building construction, business, civil and environmental engineering, economics, property management, natural resources management, planning, and law.

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Entrepreneurship programs create successful businesses

College programs on entrepreneurship help increase the probability of success by offering not only specific knowledge and skills development but also networks, mentors, space, and resources. Students have time and a safe environment to explore their ideas and ferret out the feasible business opportunities.

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Research / Discovery

Robotic jellyfish

Virginia Tech College of Engineering researchers have unveiled a life-like, autonomous robotic jellyfish the size and weight of a grown man, 5 foot 7 inches in length and weighing 170 pounds, as part of a U.S. Navy-funded project.

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Schmale named to Popular Science's "Brilliant Ten"

David G. Schmale III, an associate professor in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, was named one of Popular Science's 2013 Brilliant Ten. His research using drones — also called unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs — to explore microbial life in the atmosphere earned him a spot on the prestigious list of international scientists, engineers, and thinkers whose innovations change the world.

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Breakthrough in hydrogen fuel production

A team of Virginia Tech researchers has discovered a way to extract large quantities of hydrogen from any plant, a breakthrough that has the potential to bring a low-cost, environmentally friendly fuel source to the world. Y.H. Percival Zhang and his team have succeeded in using xylose, the most abundant simple plant sugar, to produce a large quantity of hydrogen that previously was attainable only in theory.

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Dove selected as 2013 Virginia Scientist of the Year

Patricia Dove, C.P. Miles Professor of Geosciences in the College of Science, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the director of the Biogeochemistry of Earth Processes research group. By using chemical principles and nano-scale analytical methods, Dove has become an international leader in the field of biomineralization— the processes by which animals grow skeletons and other functional structures.

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Burkhart named Virginia's Outstanding Scientist

Harold E. Burkhart is a University Distinguished Professor and the Thomas M. Brooks Professor of Forestry in the College of Natural Resources and Environment at Virginia Tech. Burkhart's principal path-breaking achievement is the development of a comprehensive, integrated set of forest yield forecasting models for stands subjected to a wide variety of management treatments. His contributions to the advancement of forest growth are unprecedented.

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Outreach / Engagement

Students help children in Honduras

For a group of 35 Virginia Tech students, 2013 began with hot sun, heavy manual labor, and lots of love. The students took part in a week-long service journey to Central America in January, a journey that changed many of their lives forever. They were part of Students Helping Honduras, an international grass roots organization that helps build villages, schools, and orphanages in the poverty-stricken nation.

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Agricultural research in developing countries

Virginia Tech has won a total of $1.59 million for three federal contracts to continue agricultural research in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Nepal. The awards represent a vote of confidence in development work that has been ongoing since 1993. All awards are funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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Fighting the nationwide obesity epidemic

Researchers at Virginia Tech are working on a solution to improve the health of residents of the Dan River area by developing a multi-pronged program that aims to incorporate not just nutrition education, but exercise initiatives and community gardens — a multifaceted approach that could be used as a model to battle the obesity epidemic in similar communities across America.

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Using a browser extension to fight forced labor

Three University Honors students at Virginia Tech launched AboliShop – a Web browser extension that allows online consumers to check their cart to identify products that likely used forced or exploitative labor in their manufacturing or distribution.

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A critical component for future physicians

The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is one of the few medical schools nationwide that places an emphasis on original research throughout the four-year curriculum. By teaching research fundamentals during the first year and providing dedicated time for research throughout the remaining three, students are set on track to practice and contribute to evidence-based medicine.

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Campus Update

Timothy D. Sands will be next president

The Virginia Tech Board of Visitors appointed Timothy D. Sands as Virginia Tech's 16th president, effective June 1, 2014. Sands will succeed Charles Steger, who steps down when Sands assumes office.

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Moss Arts Center opens

Virginia Tech named its $100 million arts center building in tribute to artist and philanthropist Patricia Buckley Moss, whose recent donation in support of the center is one of the largest gifts the university ever has received. The 147,000-square-foot center opens in fall 2013 and is located near the corner of the Alumni Mall and North Main Street.

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Major redesign of Upper Quad begins

Recognizing the continuing growth of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets and its need to house more than 1,000 cadets, the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors approved planning efforts to address the buildings on the Upper Quad while honoring the historic nature of that precinct.

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Retiring President Steger – The architect of growth

Virginia Tech's architect of growth, President Charles W. Steger has achieved the majority of his goals through a rare ability to exhibit both the artistic touch to craft a vision and the pragmatic know-how to implement it, along with an aptitude to spot and interpret trends well ahead of others and empower a dedicated leadership team to help him position the university on the right trajectory.

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Sustainability program wins award

Virginia Tech's Office of Energy and Sustainability was recently honored with a 2013 Gold Governor's Environmental Excellence Award at 24th annual Environment Virginia Symposium hosted by the Virginia Military Institute

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Measures of Excellence

Measures of Excellence factbook

Virginia Tech continued its tradition of receiving high rankings in U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2014" and many other organizations. The Princeton Review ranked Virginia Tech first for Their Students Love These Colleges.

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Virginia Tech No. 1 research university in Virginia

With more than $454 million in research and development expenditures for fiscal year 2012, Virginia Tech remained the No. 1 academic research institution in Virginia in the National Science Foundation's annual survey of more than 900 universities.

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Virginia Tech breaks into Top 25 best public universities

For the first time, Virginia Tech moved into the Top 25 public universities as ranked by U.S. News & World Report in its annual survey of undergraduate programs, "America's Best Colleges 2014."

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Women's soccer finishes best season ever

The Virginia Tech women's soccer team finished its best season to date in fall 2013, coming close to competing in the national title game. Coach Chuggar Adair's squad represented Virginia Tech well on and off the field.

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VMRCVM cited as one of most affordable veterinary schools

The latest rankings of 31 veterinary schools in the United States and Caribbean place the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in the No. 3 spot for total in-state cost.

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Video Highlights

University video: Hands-on, Minds-on

The new university video explores the spirit of Virginia Tech. With hands-on, minds-on learning, members of the Virginia Tech community are working to invent the future.

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One Cool Thing - Orchestra shell

Learn all about the orchestra shell in the performance hall at the Moss Arts Center. "The shell will be constructed and deconstructed depending on the acoustic needs of the space and the program that is being presented," said Wallace Easter, professor in the School of Performing Arts.

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Team ViGIR competes in robotics challenge

Meet Team ViGIR – short for Virginia-Germany Interdisciplinary Robotics – is one of two Virginia Tech College of Engineering-based teams competing in a multi-year Robotics Challenge. The team is building new software and control tools for a robot as part of the challenge with the end-goal of creating rescue robots that can easily maneuver disaster scenes and save lives.

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Quarry meets the need for Hokie Stone

With the abundance of new building construction on campus comes a need for copious amounts of Hokie Stone. This local limestone is extracted from a quarry in Blacksburg owned by Virginia Tech.

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Virginia Tech videos

Visit the video homepage to see short stories about topics such as robots, arts, students, professors, research, and campus life.

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