West Virginia Wesleyan College

Department of Physics and Engineering


Letters from Our Graduates


Aerospace Engineering


Joshua KeaneJosh Keane (2002) obtained an M.S. from George Washington University: “In graduate school, I contributed to the successful flight of NASA’s X-43A at Langley Air Force Base. I helped analyze the aerodynamics of the Pegasus booster. And I used NASA’s wind tunnel to validate data on out-of-control situations. Bell Helicopters hired me to work on vertical lift projects such as the UH-1 Huey and the AH-1 Cobra helicopters for the Marines. I’ve also worked on the new V-22 tilt rotor. They are all awesome machines.”


windtunnel smith 10Chad Smith (2003) obtained a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia): “My Ph.D. is complete! My research used a Nd-YAG laser just like Wesleyan’s. I used the laser to measure the velo-cities of gases in a scramjet combuster. My results have been published in the Journal of Propulsion and Power.” 


http://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/555512_3846389431629_1965414999_n.jpgAdam Kuhl (1995) obtained an M.S. from Georgia Tech): “I work on missiles at Raytheon. I make sure that the components fit into the allowed volume and withstand the specified vibrational stresses while minimizing cost and assembly time.”



Gary Valkavitch (2003) earned an M.S. from the University of Virginia): “I have been working on the JSL F-35 aircraft at Lockheed-Martin in Texas. However, I have decided to accept a new job offer at Bechtel Plant Machinery back home in Pittsburgh. I am contacting you to request a professional reference to obtain a Department of Energy security clearance.”


Biomedical Engineering


Parag Chitnis (2000) earned a Ph.D from Boston University): “I work at the Lizzi Center for Biomedical Engineering—Riverside Research Institute in New York City. I am working on several different projects such as 1) ultrasound-assisted drug delivery for treating Parkinson’s disease, 2) studying ultrasound contrast agents, and 3) cancer treatments using combined acoustical and optical methods. I would be glad to discuss biomedical engineering with any interested students.”



Chemical Engineering


Kim Farnsworth (1995) earned a Ph.D. from Georgia Tech): “Looking back, I’m so glad I chose to Wesleyan to obtain my undergraduate degree. One of the best aspects of Wesleyan’s program was the personal attention you gave me. I now work at Dupont in my hometown of Parkersburg, WV. I am a Division Engineer working on Teflon products.”


Civil Engineering


Brenton Stone, E.I.T.Brenton Stone (2006): “I wanted to pass along some good news—I have finished all degree requirements for my M.S. in at the University of Virginia. I wanted to let you know since you were the main reaon that I applied to the University of Virginia in the first place. Thank you for the one-on-one time I received at Wesleyan.” Brenton is a bridge designer at Volkert, Inc., in Herndon, Va.


Wes Steele (1999) earned an M.S. from West Virginia University: “I am working in Harrisburg, Pa., for a highly respected bridge engineering company, Madjeski and Masters. I was recently in Canada inspecting the Ambassador Bridge. I was also assigned to a project in Philadelphia supervising the construction of two railroad bridges. Thank you for preparing me so well.”


Dustin Schilpp (2005): “I am working with Sabra-Wang and Associates, a civil engineering company in Baltimore. So far I have designed the bridge mounts for road signs on I-95, and a drainage system under I-95. My employer is paying for me to obtain my M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Maryland.”


Electrical Engineering

TysonSchiano2008Tom Tyson (2009): “I am making good progr How are things in the Department of Physics and Engineering? I am making good progress on my Ph.D. at Penn State. Dr. Schiano is my research adviser. We plan to return to Wesleyan again this January to give a colloquium and encourage more students to study at Penn State.”

Kyle AllardKyle Allard (2011) is pursuing an M.S. at West Virginia University: “I chose WVU because they offered me an attractive assistantship to perform NASA research. Our team is developing a robotic arm to use on satellites, mainly for fueling purposes. WVU is leading the next prototype mission, which will be launched from Houston.”


Dave Klebe (1994) obtained an M.S. from Penn State): I manage a team in manufacturing pulp and paper technologies for Rockwell Automation. This is a $900 million business devoted to large-scale industrial controls projects. My recent projects include a material handilins system for a Chicago news press and process-control systems on several paper machines.”




http://www.wvwc.edu/academics/dept/physics/Web2008/Picnic2008_files/Adkins.jpgSandra Adkins (2006): “I work at Schlumberger. I started my job with orientation in Houston. Next I went to Kenai, Alaska, for a month of training. I have also worked in North Dakota, Colorado, and Canada. Schlumberger pays well and has great benefits.

I really like my job!”


Industrial Engineering


Bryan Corder (2007) obtained his engineering degree from West Virginia University in using the engineering dual-degree option: “I am employed at Bechtel-Bettis in Pittsburgh. We are developing energy systems for spacecraft to fly beyond the Solar System. Wesleyan and WVU have provided me with a great opportunity using the Dual-Degree Engineering program. Your careful planning made the transfer east. And Wesleyan’s high standards have prepared me well for the larger university.”


Medical Physics


Nick Graham (2002) obtained an M.S. from Virginia Tech: “I work at Associates in Medical Physics in Medina, Ohio, where I work as a radiology physicist. My duties include audits and visits to clinics and hospitals to give their annual state radiological survey. We provide accreditation for the American College of Radiology for CAT scans, MRIs, nuclear medicine, and mammography.” 


ChristmasCurryMike Curry (2007) obtained an M.S. from East Carolina State University: “I recently completed all of the requirements of my residency at M.D. Cancer Center. I have accepted employment at Mercy Cancer Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Their offer includes incentives for completing my board certification.”


http://www.wvwc.edu/news/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/DSC_0037-e1301428580698-199x300.jpgKate Turner (2011) is pursuing an M.S. in Medical Physics at Duke University): “I have been awarded an Air Force scholarship. The Air Force will pay full tuition and any school-related expenses, plus pay me a monthly stipend to live on while I’m in school. After graduation next year, I’ll start my job as a medical physicist at an air force base somewhere in the U.S. and work there for at least three years. Things are looking great for me—I have school paid for and a job lined up!”      




Mechanical Engineering


Andy Aurelio (2002): “I am a project manager engineer at the National Energy Technology Lab in Morgantown, WV. My work is related to my M.S. research in coal from WVU.”


Jay Bazzano (1996): “I work at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Va. I am working on an Advanced Eye Safe Laser Rangefinder, which is an expensive pair of binoculars with an eye-safe laser. I have also worked on the Mortar Ballistic Computer project, which calculates mortar positions and target locations in a rugged Palm-like handheld computer.”


Chris Kuhl (1993) earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University and works at ­NASA-Langley. Chris shares his thoughts during the successful landing of NASA’s Mars Rover on August 5, 2012: “I was nervous, trying to make sense of all the data, and before I knew it, while I’m still looking at the data, they called touchdown. At that point, I knew that the heatshield survived. Our worries diminished and everyone started jumping for joy.”


Phil Lemire (2000): “I completed my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Virginia. My research involved the flow of oil in an artificial heart. I went to New York to present at a conference of American Society for Artificial Internal Organs. I also taught physics part-time at a local high school. I am a mechanical engineer at the National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, Va. My work involves military intelligence of missiles. Everything has been going quite well. Ellen and I now have two children! Thank you for preparing me so well for my career.”


Jason Martin (1999): “Let me update you on what I've been doing since Wesleyan. I completed my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Virginia. My research project involved ultralight materials called aerogels. I work in Charleston S.C. for Bechtel-Bettis at the Naval Nuclear Weapons School. I train Navy personnel on operating procedures for the nuclear reactors on submarines and aircraft carriers.”


Morgan Meadows (2002) earned an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado: “I am a process engineer in the dry etch department at IM Flash Technologies in Utah. The company is a semiconductor manufacturer that develops and makes electronic flash memory for companies such as Intel.”


Chad Moore (1998): “I work as a mechanical engineer for General Motors. I have worked at their facilities in Mexico, Detroit, and Oklahoma. Before beginning work with General Motors, I obtained an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Georgia Tech. My Wesleyan education prepared me well. My research topic was stereolithography, which required the knowledge of lasers that I learned in my Electro-Optics course at Wesleyan. I was the only new student in my class at Georgia Tech who had this knowledge.”

Valerie Keefer Oldaker (1996): “Thank you for my education at West Virginia Wesleyan College. When I entered Wesleyan, I was undecided on my major. With your encouragement, it didn’t take long to claim Engineering as my chosen field. Your department's one-on-one support was exactly what I needed. I also left Wesleyan with lifelong friendships. Wesleyan assisted with one step in my career that I wasn't anticipating -- graduate school. After Wesleyan, I was readily accepted into WVU’s graduate program in Mechanical Engineering. Wesleyan’s coursework provided an excellent base for my graduate studies. Currently I am employed as a Quality Specialist at Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Buffalo, W.Va. In a typical day of work, I coordinate quality control and delivery times with suppliers. I test our engines and offer technical assistance when troubleshooting is required. I now have a career that I love.”

Marie Woolwine Rasmussen (1995) obtained an M.S. in Mechanical Engineering at West Virginia University and works at Caterpillar in Peoria, IL: “I just wanted to say hello and see how things are going back at Wesleyan. Everything is wonderful here. I am still at Cat working in the C7/C9 core engine group. My husband also works as an engineer at Cat, so it works out really well.”


Tom Schiefer (1991): “I am doing well. After Wesleyan, I earned my M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of South Carolina. I am now employed at Koyo Bearing Corporation as a quality engineer in the design of ball bearings. I help solve processing problems, submit samples to customers, analyze trouble reports, and investigate defective bearings returned by customers. We produce bearings for the Toyota Camry, Ford Mustang, Nissan Quest, and the new Mercedes built in Alabama. I’m pretty happy working for a Tier-1 supplier to Ford.” [As his professors will recall, Tom really likes Fords.]


Gary Valkavitch (2003) obtained an M.S. from UVa: “I am working on the JSL F-35 aircraft at Lockheed-Martin in Texas. However, I have decided to accept a new job offer at Bechtel Plant Machinery back home in Pittsburgh. I am contacting you to request a professional reference to obtain a Department of Energy security clearance.”


Ocean Engineering


Mike Scruggs     Mike Scruggs (2011): “I’ve been making good progress toward my M.S. in Ocean Engineering at Old Dominion University. I have a teaching assistant position with the Introduction to Oceanography Class. This summer, I have my co-op work the Naval Surface Warfare Center. The co-op program really opened a lot of doors for me.”


Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering


Denny Vincent (2102) works for Weatherford in Weston. “My employer asked me to attend a 12-week program in Ft. Worth, Texas. And the promoted me to the position of Certified Field Engineer.” 


Physics Teaching


Jane Schelbe (2001) teaches physics at Green Hope High School in Cary, NC: “I have really great news about my job! My principal recently nominated me for an award that recognizes teaching excellence. The award is given to only one high school teacher in the county (the county has 19 high schools). And I learned this morning that I won!”




Tyler Gruber (1990): “I am delighted to accept your invitation to speak to the Physics Club during my homecoming visit. Here’s my updated resume: After Wesleyan, I completed my Ph.D. in Physics at Texas Christian University. I am a researcher at Columbian Chemicals in Louisiana. My research

has been published in internationally recognized journals.”


Robert Hardin (2009) earned a Ph.D. from WVU: “Thank you for the opportunity to present a colloquium to the Wesleyan physics students this spring. At WVU, my research adviser chose me to work in his plasma physics lab because of my laser background from Wesleyan’s Electro-Optics Lab. I have accepted a position at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”


PowellBobby Powell (2011): “I have a new job as a Field Engineer at the Bechtel-Bettis Atomic Power Lab in West Mifflin, Pa. The Field Engineering Program leads to assignments at a variety of shipyards. We provide oversight of all aspects of submarine and aircraft carrier construction and maintenance. The program begins with a rigorous and comprehensive qualification program at Bettis involving nuclear reactor design and operation.”


Joe Zambelli (1991): “I work as a physical scientist at the National Energy Technology Lab in Morgantown where I study methods of carbon sequestration. NETL is the U.S. Department of Energy’s only national laboratory. We want to find energy supplies that are more secure, affordable, and environmentally acceptable.”