BSU Engineering Technology IAB Meeting Highlights ET Students and Program’s Achievements

On Thursday evening, March 28, 2024, the Bluefield State University Engineering Technology Department hosted two dozen industry leaders from across the region at their Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting in Dickason Hall on the University’s campus. A reception was held in the lobby, followed by a light meal in the Tierney Auditorium. Dr. Bill Bennett, Interim Dean of the BSU College of STEM, welcomed the group and detailed the programs’ recent accreditation process.  He also observed that Bluefield State is relaunching the Mining Engineering Technology program and is currently accepting applications to enroll for Fall 2024.  Department Chair Joey Hazelwood addressed the visitors before dismissing them to “explore” the Engineering Technology Department facilities.

The assembly separated into groups based on their engineering specialty. Roy, James Pruett, and Dr. Shannon Bowling met with electrical engineering leaders. Eric Baldwin led the meeting with civil engineering professionals, and Dan Trent met with mechanical engineers. Each group discussed its need for qualified engineers and noted the specific skills and knowledge they want their new engineers to possess. Many company leaders already employ BSU graduates and were extremely pleased with their high-quality education in BSU’s Engineering Technology programs.

“We discussed the Department of Engineering Technology’s recent successful completion of our Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accreditation and shared some data,” Dr. Trent said. “The Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) we used to assess our performance were examined, and the industry folks agreed that our assessments were, indeed, a good measure for success.”

The industry leaders were among the first guests to visit the College of STEM’s recently unveiled Engineering Hall of Fame, whose membership includes the late Frank Hart, a longtime Dean of the School of Engineering Technology,  as well as Bluefield State alumni Jack Richardson, Chief Operating Officer of Warrior Met Coal, Inc., and Jason Whitehead, President of Alpha Metallurgical Resources.

“The participants then toured our Engineering Technology laboratories and saw our students in action,” Trent added.  “Our seniors in Mechanical Engineering demonstrated their senior design project – an operating drone modeled after the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey. It is a tilt-rotor aircraft that can take off, land vertically like a helicopter, and fly horizontally like an airplane.” One of our industry representatives from Union, West Virginia, noted that his company has a contract to work on the updated version of the Osprey. BSU seniors have designed and built their model from scratch, investing many hours in the model’s research, design, and construction. The craft took off and landed successfully while ‘tethered’ (for the safety of the visitors) in one of the classrooms.”

“We concluded the visit with a ‘fun’ demonstration of our Sawyer robots,” he continued. “The students had programmed the robots to engage in a simulated ‘light saber’’ fight (think Star Wars) for our visitors. Our guests received 3-D printed BSU keychains before they departed.”

“Faculty and our industry partners discussed internship opportunities for our students, collaborative projects that we might pursue, and ‘networked’ with others in the profession,” Dr. Trent said.  “Thanks to the students, staff, and faculty who prepared for this successful event, and to our industry partners who took time to share their insights and provide excellent feedback for our programs.”

(Photo cutline)– BSU’s Engineering Technology Advisory Board watches as University’s Mechanical Engineering Technology students  Marlena Meyer (standing/foreground) and Kate Dashevska (seated/foreground) demonstrated their senior design project–an operating drone modeled after the Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey.

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