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Nine Hundred Middle, High School Students Attend WVU Tech's Engineering & Sciences Open House

WVU Tech’s campus was a flurry of activity on Thursday, November 6, as 900 area students from ten West Virginia counties visited Montgomery for the annual Engineering & Sciences Open House.

The half-day event allowed middle and high school students to visit dozens of presentations conducted by WVU Tech professors and students. Covering fields such as biology, chemistry, mathematics, robotics, physics, computer science and engineering, these presentations offered attendees a chance to see the exciting things STEM students and professionals get to do in their fields.

“Our faculty and students have come up with a series of outstanding, high-end presentations that are well-designed and entertaining. These exercises are a lot of fun for visiting students and they showcase the things that we actually do, the real exercises we get to perform in ours labs every day,” said Dr. Z. Torbica, dean of the Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering and Sciences at WVU Tech.

Visiting students learned about stream ecology and soil science, how steam turbines and power plants produce electricity and how air conditioning works. They saw a student-built racing buggy, watched a distillation column in action and fired t-shirts and tennis balls from a pressurized air cannon. Students also got a taste of college life on guided campus tours.

“We want students to see that they can study these fields right here, but our motivation goes beyond WVU Tech. It’s a bigger mission to promote STEM in general and help students at these early ages to understand the beauty of STEM fields. If we can open the eyes of a student so that he or she finds something interesting in one of these fields, it may motivate them to seek a four-year degree and eventually make a great scientific contribution later on,” said Torbica.

WVU Tech has hosted the open house in its current form for nearly two decades, and previous versions of the event go back even further. The open house has become so popular that the college had to put a cap on attendance so participants can experience everything the day has to offer.

“This is something that we truly enjoy doing. The feedback we’re getting is wonderful and students are always excited to be here. It’s a tradition we want to continue for a very long time,” said Torbica.

Check out photos from this year’s open house on Flickr .