Department of Physics and Engineering

West Virginia Wesleyan College

Department Awarded $106,000 Grant Funding

The Physics Department has been awarded a total of $106,000 in grant funding for the 2010 academic year.

Over the last 5 years, we have received 44 grants worth $376,000 from agencies such as NASA, NSF, Ledford, EPSCOR, and the Appalachian College Association. Our present grant funding is 152% greater than the grant funding we were awarded 5 years ago.

These grants have enabled the Physics Department to purchase new equipment, award scholarships to students, fund students to perform research, initiate collaborations with community organizations, and hire additional faculty.

The grants have enabled us to pay students to perform summer research at Wesleyan. And students have gained recognition beyond Wesleyan for their research projects.

New equipment. Major equipment purchases include a tunable laser system and a pulsed nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer system (photo).

Scholarships. This year, 11 of our student won NASA scholarships. In addition, 5 of our students won Appalachian College Association’s STEM scholarships.

Funding for student research. Over the last 5 years, 32 students participated in research on our campus. This year, we project that 34 students will be working on research projects. This is 209% greater than the number of students participating in research 5 years ago.

Collaborations with community organizations. Grant funding paid students for summer internships with local companies such as Energy Corporation of America, Extreme Endeavors, and Zambelli Enterprises.

Grant funding paid for a student research project in collaboration with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory; in Greenbank, WV.

Grant funding paid students to work with the Parish House to educate low-income citizens on methods of saving energy.

Students also have performed public planetarium shows for citizens of Buckhannon and the vicinity.

New research faculty. Grant funding pays part of the salaries of three research assistant professors.

A picture of a student resting his foot on a moving rock in Death Valley National Park.

Devon Miller taking data at Death Valley, California

Dr. Popson accepts a check from NSF Epscor from Governor Manchin to purchase a pulsed magnetic resonance spectrometer.


Summer research experiences. Grant funding enabled

us to pay 8 students to work at research during the summer.

Michael Murphy's summer NASA funding enabled him constructed a radio telescope in collaboration with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at Greenbank, West Virginia.

Scott Roberts worked at Wesleyan with Dr. Wiest as a summmer Ledford research scholar. Scott's project sought to improve the efficiency of solar cells, and energy socurse that could reduce our depaendend on foreigh oil.

Denny Vincent and Wes Marsh worked on summer NASA research projects in Natural Gas Engineering in collaboration with Energy Corporation of America.

Norm Biggs and Ryan Mischler collaborated on summer NASA research at Wesleyan with Dr. Wiest. Their research studied several energy sources for a possible human colony on Mars.

Robert Vollmerhausen and Heather Graffius were two of our Ledford scholars ffor 2010. The students used our new laser equipment to measure the energy structure of lithium under the mentorship of Dr. Wiest. Robert reports, "Our results may eneable engineers to improve the lithium-ion batteries commonly found in laptop computers." Equipment to perform this research was recently purchased using funding from the NASA Epscor program.

Student recognition. Scott Roberts and Mike Murphy made research presentations at the Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference. Mike's presentation won a prize for outstanding presentation.

Robert Vollmerhausen presented his research at a conference of the American Physical Society in October, 2010. Robert's work was also featured on local television.

Devon Miller’s NASA research was featured in National Geographic. In addition, students have made presentations at meetings of the American Association of Physics Teachers and the Appalachian College Assocation (photo at left).