Thursday, April 28, 2011

Local Rockers Keep Headbanging~ by Jason Hall 2/8/2011

by Jason Hall
     Once upon a time in a land not so far away, a group of young, crazy, and scary guys created a band called Loaded.
Even though the band seemed appropriately named due to their lifestyle, Loaded did manage to produce two demos: American Scheme and The Present Wake.
After four years of aggressive riffs and combative lyrics, Loaded retired due to forces beyond the band’s control.
     Realizing that Loaded left behind a legacy that reminded people of what rock’ n’ roll used to be, Eric Seevers, who played lead guitar for Loaded, was not ready to pawn his electric guitar, amp, or ideas.
Determined to keep writing songs, Seevers suggested that Loaded make a few adjustments to the line-up to create a more stable band called Liecus with Seevers on guitar and current members Rob Gold with vocals, Joe Bailey on lead guitar, Aaron Higgins on bass, and Mark Hayhurst on drums.
“The thing about all of us in Liecus is that we are influenced by many different artists and that helps us to create some bitchin’ tunes,” said Seevers. When asked what bands influence Liecus, Seevers commented, “I grew up listening to Megadeath and Anthrax; the other guys grew up listening to Avett Brothers, Pearl Jam, Badlands, Ozzy Osborne, Motley Crew, Guns and Roses, Dead Kennedys and Black Flag,” said Seevers.
     Since then Liecus has not stopped ruling the local heavy metal circuit, terrifying those who are weak at heart. Liecus was born in Parkersburg 13 years ago and has been busy producing music and touring ever since.
     Like Loaded, Liecus experienced a few line-up changes since the band began in 1998.
“When someone quits the band it takes time to find someone who we are comfortable with, which is okay. New people can bring something different to the table and it allows us to grow as musicians. The band has matured and has a different sound today compared to what we used to sound like,” said Seevers.
     Liecus is currently hitting the road promoting their latest full-length album Newday, which was released in April 2010. Liecus also possesses a demo Destroy All Nonbelievers and three other full-length albums to their credit, What Have They Come For, Hypocrite, and Distinctive Design.
Touring has taken the band to places such as New York, Virginia, Illinois, and Baltimore- just to name a few. Different bands Liecus has opened for are Misfits, Taproot, Nonpoint, and Saving Able.
“We have played at the Rock’ n’ Roll Hall of Fame and also have a license deal with the NFL Players Association, which will allow the music of Liecus to be used on a website and the History Channel. We are also looking forward to recording with Jerad Mankin who plays bass for a local favorite band called Bobaflex,” said Seevers.  Liecus is still promoting their latest album and recently played at the V-Club in Huntington on Feb. 4 with Bubaflex and will play locally at the Six Pence Pub in Parkersburg, on Feb.11.  

A Taste Of Italy In Vienna~by Olivia Hefner 2/8/2011

by Olivia Hefner
     Recently, a plethora of restaurants with differing cultural influences have popped up in Parkersburg.  One such flavorful gem is Paolo’s. Paolo’s combines a traditional Italian flavor with all the down-home-home comforts of an American menu.
Paolo’s is located on River Road in Vienna beside Holl’s Chocolate. The dishes are priced moderately and the menu offers something for almost every palette. The portions are also quite generous; a lunch portion of pasta is more than enough to qualify as a serving size.
The restaurant possesses a warm and inviting atmosphere with soothing colors and brick accents. The lights are a warm yellow with small string lights in the decorative trees. A scene in Italy is depicted on one wall.
     The menu for Paolo’s is huge, almost too large to make a decision. It has several different varieties of pizza including traditional Italian like Margherita and several vegetarian pizza options. They also serve many meat dishes, salads, Stromboli, calzones and pastas.
One dish had a description claiming, “it is believed to be the best in town.” Well, who isn’t up for a good food dispute? The dish in question was a fettuccine alfredo that included a side salad. 
To order this classic dish, contact with the wait staff was necessary and in this case, quite the experience. The restaurant was empty, and the waiter clearly put his entire heart into his job. He was friendly, prompt and had a great personality. He socialized, but didn’t become intrusive on the meal.  After taking our order, he threw in an extra side salad, free of charge, for the other member of the dining party whose meal didn’t include one.
     The salads arrived almost as quickly as the order went in. They were well proportioned with several different types of lettuce and vegetables to make it quite enjoyable. However, the House Dressing is plain Italian dressing, not bad, just not a special dressing.
After a few more minutes of waiting and several check-ups by the extremely attentive waiter, the main dishes arrived.  The Alfred smelled wonderful, and tasted just the same. The noodles were cooked perfectly, and none were sticking together. The sauce was buttery and rich, but could have been a little thicker as a good amount fell off of the noodles in transition from plate to mouth.
    The other entrée on the table was a personal veggie pizza. The amount of toppings on this monster was surprising and quite diverse. It was served very hot, though, causing many of the toppings to slide off the crust. However, once it cooled down, absolutely wonderful.
Finally, the question was asked, “Did you save any room for dessert?” Well, not really, but it was a new restaurant so it had to be done. They had a very limited dessert menu in comparison to the sprawling entrée menu, but they did have cupcakes. Cupcakes are the perfect dessert, so the decision had been made. “One chocolate raspberry cupcake, please.”
     The little plate made it to the table with two forks, as requested. The cupcake was very small and squat, but quite pretty. First bite, no chocolate flavor, but quite a bit of raspberry, almost overpowering. Second bite, same thing. It was a little disappointing, but it was the only thing about this restaurant that was.  In the end, the cupcake ended up being free of charge due to its small size, so that was nice.
When the bill came, the realization that a wallet would be needed to pay and both were left at home, hit pretty quickly. After informing the waiter who was more than accommodating, a trip home was made and the situation settled. Once again, this restaurant flaunts an amazing wait staff.
Overall, the experience at Paolo’s was great. The staff was nice, the room was calming and the visit included free food. If affordable, quality dining is a must, Paolo’s is the place.

Fundamental Math Courses Available On CourseCampus~by Frankie Love 2/8/2011

by Frankie Love
     While WVU Parkersburg is no stranger to ha ving online and computer-based classes, one department at the college is just now venturing into cyberspace.
This semester marks a change for the two fundamental math classes the college has to offer, by having students trade in their book for a pass code that will let them access their work and complete it at their own pace.
      After low success rates of only 33 percent in Math 011 and 021, the college decided that it was time to make a change.  Math Department Coordinator Al Edwards and a team comprised of Mike Styrt, Tom Riddle and Chris Cunningham decided it was time to make a change in the way the courses are taught. The team of advisors sought help in a Peirce Publishing program that was overall cheaper than the traditional book, called Course Campus.
     They were able to purchase the package after the team had applied and eventually won a grant for $40,000 last year “I’m excited,” said Edwards.  “I believe that this program has the potential to help students pick up the fundamental skills we teach in the 011 and 021 courses quicker by letting them not only have an extra instructor in the class with them, but also so they can have an instructor on screen to help them at their homes.”
      While the two courses are completely computer based, students are still required to come to class.  Attendance is still a part of the overall grade in the courses. “We expect you to show up so that we still know that students are completing their work and also we like to be there so that if the students get stuck they can have a warm body to help them,” said Edwards.
This change will mark the first of many. The department plans to add more classes online and will create their own instructional videos to help make students more comfortable.
     “I think it’s great” remarked student, Rhonda Taylor.  “I think it helps us actually take in the information by letting us learn on our pace and at home.”
Many students who are in the new 011 and 021 classes have said they like the new design and feel that they are still getting their tuition’s worth. However, anyone who was skeptical had the chance to still take their fundamental course the traditional way this semester until the two classes, and maybe more, are completely digitalized by this fall.
            “We are not trying to make it harder, but trying to make it better and easier on you. Now I could lecture a class, I love to lecture,” said Edwards.  “Unfortunately most students just don’t like it that way anymore.  So, we are trying to accommodate them by making them as successful as the can be in their math classes and ultimately realize their dream of getting a college education.”

Money Available for Students~by Jacob Adkins

by Jacob Adkins
    Executive Director of the West Virginia University at Parkersburg Foundation S. Kimberly Jones, wants everyone to apply for scholarships, this years total money for all scholarships comes to $220,000.
Students may believe that they have to fill out an application for each scholarship offered by the foundation. Ms. Jones clarifies that students only need to fill out one application that should take no longer than 30 minutes to fill out. Then the foundation will see which scholarships you  may be eligible to receive.  She also says, “It is not all about your GPA.”
     The forms for the new 2011-12 scholarships came out on February 1. A new scholarship for this year is the Wendy’s Adoption and Foster Child Scholarship. This is for all students who were adopted or in foster care, and for students who work at Wendy’s in the seven county service region. The counties in this association include, Jackson, Pleasants, Ritchie, Roane, Tyler, Wirt and Wood. 
A quick check of the web site reveals wide variety of scholarships, like the Byrd/ Maxwell/ Wright Scholarship for nursing majors.
     Another scholarship is the Allen F. and Boris B. Gates Scholarship for English or history majors.     
Applications for all scholarships can be picked up in the Workforce and Community Education building or on the foundations website,
After filling out an application you can turn it in at many places, whether it be at the Foundations office, the Financial Aid office or on the Foundation web site.  The deadline for applications is March 1.
Even with all of the ways to turn in an application for a scholarship the number of applications has dropped. As Ms. Jones said, “Scholarships are available for anyone with a financial need.”
            Be sure to apply!

Keeping Students Safe on Campus~by Rachel Terzo 2/8/2011

Cassandra Mills

by Rachel Terzo
Campus safety is one of many attributes to a student's college career. 
Al Collins, the head of WVU Parkersburg's campus security, has seven security guards to help him maintain a tight level of security on campus. Security guards also work beside the Parkersburg Police and Wood County Sherriff's department once a year for police training. Collins said that the security guards are his “eyes and ears” to incidents that may occur on campus.
A number of students had similar concerns regarding their safety at school. Freshman Kristen Sheppard said, “I think it would be nice if there was someone patrolling the parking lot in the evenings, or all the time for that matter, but especially in the evenings. I'm worried about people being in the parking lot at night.”
Cassandra Mills also had a similar quarrel. “I feel pretty safe on campus, but think cameras in the parking lot would be a good addition to the security,” she says.
What a lot of new and even seasoned students may not know is that the campus has two cameras in the lower parking lot, the Caperton center lot and in the Workforce and Community Education building.
Emergency buttons are located on the middle pole in the upper and lower parking lots. If a student presses the button in the event of an emergency, 911 is instantly notified.
Cameras are also located in the Early Learning Center, and a security guard is on campus 24/7 patrolling the lots and the buildings.
Sophomore Jessica Cross was also concerned about the lack of camera security. “I think they should put surveillance cameras in the lounge area,” she said
Collins stated that installing more cameras throughout the campus is “a timely and costly process. Slowly but surely we'll have more cameras, as soon as our budget allows us to.”
Students are urged to browse the Jeanne Clery report, or better known as the Crime Statistics Report, located on WVU Parkersburg's website under the campus safety portion. Every college that receives federal funding is required to have this report available for the public to view. The Clery report covers the past three years of incidents. Collins pointed out that the campus is “one of the safest in the nation” according to the Cleary reports, past and present.
The campus police encourage students to report any incidents they see, regardless of whether or not the student thinks the incident is trivial or harmless. “Thousands of sets of eyes work better than two, so please report any incident you see and be vigilant. We want everyone to be safe,” Collins said.

Veteran Helps Veterans~by Jeff Bell 2/8/2011

by Jeff Bell
John Wilson, Veteran representative, is working to certify and guide military veterans through the somewhat confusing educational benefits process. “I want to welcome all new military veteran students and all returning veteran students to a new semester at WVU Parkersburg,” said Wilson. 
All veterans have a wide variety of funds and benefits available to them through various federal and state programs enabling veterans the opportunity to return to school. The veteran attendance and registration at WVU Parkersburg has continued to grow due in part to some of these programs and funds; increases of approximately 32 percent over the certified veteran enrollment of Fall 2009. Veteran enrollment is a primary driving force to benefit increase; however, some of the funds are directly related to the credit hours taken.
Veterans need to ensure and maintain updated records at the office of the veteran representative.  “I may know of another funding opportunity, another grant or possibly a prevention of overpayment if the veterans keep me informed of any and all changes in their registration status,” said Wilson. Certified veterans need only to maintain basic contact in order to insure proper benefit disbursement. Military veterans who may have not been certified yet may be entitled to benefits for which they are not receiving.
Pell grants and student loans have enabled veterans the ability to register and attend classes at WVU Parkersburg without ever realizing the opportunity of military educational benefits available. “These funds could offset the need for a loan or at the very least help the veterans reduce his/her debt,” said Wilson. Therefore, it is very important for all veterans to check with Wilson in the Financial Aid offices and ensure benefits are not being missed. “It is not a hand out, remember, freedom is not free,” said Wilson.

Theatre Undergoes Renovation~by Ashley Fluharty 2/8/2011

by Ashley Fluharty
Every theatre gets run down after a certain amount of time. Theatres take a lot of care and time to look after. The college theatre is no exception.
Jeffery Byrd, head of the theatre department, has confirmed the recent talk about the theatre undergoing renovations.  The remodeling will begin sometime in the near future.
Although no major construction is planned, the theatre will be taking on some new aesthetic changes.
In order to help with the acoustics, they will be working on the stage and installing a new ceiling. In addition to these changes, a ticket kiosk will be placed outside of the theatre.
However, some things in need are not being taken care of. “Electric,” Byrd said. “I am in desperate need of electric. The electrical wiring is carrying heavy loads.”
In order to get the electrical problem taken care of, it's a multi-layered process. It would involve a lot of waiting, and not to mention money.
Engineers would first have to come look at the wiring, and provide an estimate on how much it would cost to get it fixed.
The college administration will then consider the estimate and whether or not it is feasible. If it can be done, an electrician will be hired.
Overall, this process can take a long time. It's the same process that the theatre department went through to get the renovations that are currently being planned out for now.
Although there are a few new items being brought to the theatre, Byrd is fond of the theatre the way it is.
“It creates a challenge,” Byrd said. That challenge is trying to figure out how to get everything to fit in a small amount of places.
Byrd said he really appreciates everything about the theatre — old and new.  He believes that the staff and students also appreciate the programming offered by the theatre department and are looking forward to the new additions.

Professor Profile: Dr. Modesitt~by Susan Moore 2.8/2011

Dr. Modesitt Enjoys Helping Student on a Daily Basis

by Susan Moore
Several WVU Parkersburg instructors dedicate a portion of their time to assist in the advising office.  One that provides registration advice is Dr. Maureen Modesitt.
Dr. Modesitt began her teaching career at an early age.  Playing school was one of her favorite things to do as a child. 
Dr. Modesitt said, “It was my favorite game as a kid.”  She credits her desire to become a teacher from her parents as both also practiced the same profession. 
“Teaching is my calling,” she adds, “It is where my heart is.” 
Dr. Modesitt got her start at Parkersburg Community College where she received an associate degree in English.  She went on to get her Bachelors of Arts and a masters degree from Marietta College. While she was still a student at Marietta College, Dr. Modesitt was given her first chance to lead the classroom.  “It was the whipped cream on my sundae,” she added. It was an ironic experience for her to be a student and later a teacher in the same classroom.  She went on to get her Ph.D. at Ohio University.  Teaching has been her passion for the last 15 years.
During the Spring 2011 semester at WVU Parkersburg, Dr. Modesitt can be found teaching English 102 and Reading 090. 
She also teaches student and personal development courses where she enjoys introducing just out of high school and “non-traditional” students how to adjust to college life. 
Aside from teaching, Dr. Modesitt finds time for a few extracurricular activities such as sewing and embroidering, as well as traveling to see her grandchildren and family. 
  She is also very active in the Theater department at the college.  She is set to perform in the department’s upcoming production of Trip to Bountiful.  The show is tentatively set to open prior to spring break, however, no concrete date has been set at this time.
A major milestone that Modesitt is most proud of is the release of her upcoming book.  It is titled “Come My Beloved: Women and Their Visions of God.”  
The book is about four female visionaries who are often alienated by their cultures, however, they are embraced by God, their Beloved, who liberates them through resplendent revelations.
These women provide exemplary motivation to all women who seek freedom from inner struggles and oppressive cultures and women who seek a deeper and more intimate relationship with their Savior. 
“No matter how much they suffered, they kept their faith,” Dr. Modesitt said. 
These women received “intimate visions from God,” she said.  She believes that everyone can be a visionary and “everybody needs a vision to keep him or her going.” It is her spiritual vision that moves her each day.  She feels that “to comprehend his greatness, you can connect to his goodness.”
The book is still in the pre-production stages and it is will be released in time for Christmas.  It is being published by Wine Press Publishing and will be available as an Ebook from Amazon and Apple, in addition to paperback form. 
When asked the best piece of advice she could give her students, Dr. Modesitt grinned and said, “Do not get dismayed by your first semester. Consider it as a learning experience and take it for what it is.” She believes students will make mistakes during the first year and as time progresses all will evolve as college students. 

Dr. Gnage Encourages a Better Future~by Jeff Fox 2/8/11

Dr. Marie-Foster Gnage 

by Jeff Fox
Dr. Marie Foster Gnage is a happy CEO. In a world full of economic turmoil, she has been steadily leading her growing organization for nearly seven years. But she will be the first to unselfishly admit that much of the success is because of the great group of people, which surround her.  As most people probably know by now, her official title is President, and the organization is West Virginia University at Parkersburg.
Sure it’s a college, but a success story is a success story, be it a multinational corporation or a thriving, community-based college. “You always see opportunities for making the college better,” Dr. Gnage said. A very simple, yet powerful statement, and one, which may hold the key to success in its tiniest word ..., see. While others may be “looking” for opportunities, it takes visionaries to actually “see” them.
Dr. Gnage recited a short, yet telling, story, about a recent visit by her husband Dr. David C. Gnage, who is Chancellor at Penn State Mont Alto.  He was exercising in the WVU Parkersburg gym, when he overheard several students discussing one of their classes. The students were jokingly talking about their instructor, making sure to wildly exaggerate the instructor’s age, but in the end both students admitted that it was a great class and that the instructor was a “really cool person.” This is exactly the balance that needs to be obtained for a good learning experience. Two generations, often times more than two, coming together in a class, which they enjoy, being taught by an instructor with whom they can connect. Dr. Gnage is seeing a shift in the mind set of local students, from what was once just attending WVU Parkersburg as a lesser option, to now making the college a proud first choice of education.    
This new mind set is being reinforced in Dr. Gnage's feeling that the original overall goals and visions upon arriving are slowly being reached. The making of WVU Parkersburg as the college of choice in the region was one of those goals. “I think we are getting there … we really are getting there, and we can't get there fast enough for me. I'm always looking at getting from good to great. We have to keep progressing,” Dr. Gnage said. She is quick to admit her gratitude for the faculty, staff and the students for the work that has been accomplished since her arrival in Parkersburg.
WVU Parkersburg is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and Dr. Gnage is particularly interested in several events which will recognize business, industry and the community for the role that they have played in the success of the college. She is also very interested in events, which will bring back past alumni to celebrate their accomplishments. Another event will thank donors for their student scholarships and the help that the donors give to students as they transition into the work world. 
But Dr. Gnage feels that the highlight of the anniversary will be the Founder's Day celebration, which is tentatively scheduled for mid September. “We will look at all the people that have made the college what it is. From the time it was a branch, to a center, to Parkersburg Community College, to now, we will thank the people and recognize their contributions, and share them with the students that are here now.  We will let them know that you can get there, and that we are going to help you ... then we are going to say to those in business and industry; now hire them,” she added with a chuckle.
Business and the creation of opportunities are also the topic of discussion for the downtown Parkersburg campus. Dr. Gnage envisions new programs being offered at the downtown campus, which will be representative of its setting. Culinary arts and hospitality management are just a couple of the new programs that have been discussed. These programs, along with classes and seminars to benefit workers at Highmark BC/BS, Bureau of Public Debt, the banks, city and county employees, and the hospitals will help to enrich a wide range of skills. The goal is not to move any programs from the main campus, but to use the downtown campus to grow new programs and allow them to extend into downtown Parkersburg.
“Another opportunity would be an entrepreneurial center or incubator for small business,” Dr. Gnage said.
This could possibly mean a student putting their skills to use in their newly created business and having someone there to help.
As America slowly begins to heal after the tragic events in Tucson, Dr. Gnage reminisced on her time spent there serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Education Services at Pima Community College. She describes Tucson as a wonderful place and Pima CC as a great place to work, where she was responsible for policy making. Although the college has grown to nearly 60,000 students, Dr. Gnage remembers the mood being one of fairness for the members of the college community and those members being pretty close knit, even given the size of the college. “I have been there when there have been challenges and its not one of those ‘okay you solve the problem, address the problem from your campus or the campus from where the problem is’… it was one where collective minds looked at why do you do what you are doing and are we doing it the way that we should … I do know it has always been a really good community, from what I experienced, that the administrators that were there and the faculty and staff that were there always had the best interests of the students at heart,” Dr. Gnage said. All colleges are having conversations on students with issues, and how to ensure a fair process for the affected student and to maintain the rights of all students.
In Tucson, the process will also include healing. “And there is a lot of healing that is going to have to take place in Tucson, you think about that it happened in a matter of minutes and the thoughts are going to keep going for years and years to come,” Dr. Gnage quietly said. 

Students Can Track Degree Progress in OLSIS~by Jeff Bell 2/8/2011

Anthony Underwood

by Jeff Bell
A new audit system within the Online Student Information System (OLSIS) will help students track their degree progress while selecting classes. The audit system for online majors, phase one, released in November 2010. This rolling release has allowed the staff time to work out any problems encountered at the start up.
The primary problems are being encountered within the Banner system. Banner and OLSIS use the same database; Banner is used to input and manage data whereas OLSIS is used simply to view the data
The new Banner system caused small glitches to occur within the online audit system when first initiated.
“These problems have all been worked out,” said vice president for student services. Anthony Underwood, “The program will simply be another option within the OLSIS menu.”
The student will need to select a major in order to use this system. OLSIS will then, using the current class catalog, list the classes yet to be taken to attain the credits needed for the degree field selected. Students will still be responsible for checking class availability and registering.
The system is scheduled to be almost completely rolled out by Mar. 31, after some field testing is complete. Phase two (Associate’s degree listings) and phase three (four-year programs) will complete the audit options. The final sections of implementation will be the transfer student class equivalencies. Each class from an outside institution will have to be accredited and hand entered into the system, which will take immense amounts of time, before a database is established.
WVU Parkersburg Registrar Leslie Sims and Debra Lockhart are the persons credited with the dedicated hard work and progress of the actual implementation of this system; however, staff members from Institutional Advancement as well as Workforce and Community Education have volunteered some of their work hours to aid in the task of building this database. "Their diligence is keeping the costs of implementation low, for the audit system is already part of OLSIS," Underwood said. “The work hours involved in the implementation and the building of the database are basically the entire cost,” said Underwood.
  After Mar. 31, training sessions will be held for advisors and divisional secretaries.
Underwood said, “It is so easy to use, it borders on self-explanatory; however, if needed, the Records Office will help students with use.” This system will be free and available for use by every registered student.
“This program will also help with student retention,” said Underwood. “A student struggling with a chosen degree field can easily check accreditation toward another field.”  This means a student can easily change degree direction, field of study or complete major instead of getting discouraged and simply dropping out, thus making academic advising more effective.
Academic advising will be greatly improved, allowing the advisors to focus more on mentoring and guidance rather than class registration.
Advisors will be capable of quickly and easily showing the student all options available and students can make educated decisions with all information easily available to them.
            Information on this program is available at the Student Services office website or calling the office at (304) 424-8209 or the information desk at (304) 424-8000

Small Town Girl Big City Dreams~by Jason Hall 2/8/11

Miss West Virginia, Erica Goldsmith
by Jason Hall
“And Miss West Virginia USA 2010 is… Erica Jade Goldsmith,” was the words that this Mineral Wells native had been dreaming of for years.  Goldsmith is a former student of West Virginia University at Parkersburg who has proven that a small town girl can work hard and make dreams come true.  Born and raised in Mineral Wells, WV, Goldsmith always worked hard to maintain her reputation as a hard-working honors student. She kept busy in high school with a load of extra-curricular activities, served as Senior Class President, and still made time for part-time jobs while looking her best and winning “Best Dressed” in her graduating class.
Her work ethic, combined with her love of fashion and glamour, led to a successful pageant career throughout her teens, winning several small-town titles and taking the “Miss Photogenic” award in nearly every pageant she competed in.
After high school was over, Erica decided to stay close to home and attended WVU at Parkersburg for two years, majoring in Journalism and taking part in several activities including Student Government.  However, her big dreams of working in the entertainment industry led her to finish her education at West Virginia University in Morgantown to earn her degree, a Bachelor of Science in Broadcast Journalism.
Goldsmith holds the title for several pageants including Miss Teen West Virginia USA 2006, in which she placed second runner-up at the national pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada.  However, she did not stop there she went on to win the title of Miss West Virginia USA 2010 and competed in the Miss USA pageant that was televised live on NBC this past May from the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
As Miss WV USA, Erica was given the opportunity to take part in many events throughout the state of West Virginia from attending fairs and festivals to participating in community service acts.
The state legislature also passed a resolution in her honor to recognize her great achievement and service to West Virginia.  Senator Frank Deem’s nomination allowed the opportunity for her to sit in on a legislative session as well as receive a tour of the state’s capitol and governor’s mansion. Parkersburg also rewarded Goldsmith with a key to the city for her ongoing community service and accomplishments.
She recalls the nationally televised event as unreal. Her schedule was filled with red-carpet events, photo shoots, rehearsals, and more. 
She shook hands with Donald Trump and Chris Angel, met celebrity chefs Curtis Stone and Paula Dean, danced with pop-rock band Boys Like Girls, was serenaded by Trace Adkins, had conversations with Joan and Melissa Rivers, and appears in the Rascal Flatts music video for “Why Wait” filmed during her stay in Vegas.
“It was such a fun experience and it’s completely surreal to see myself in a famous video,” said Erica about her music video debut.
Goldsmith went back to Las Vegas in August to watch the Miss Universe pageant and meet up with friends and acquaintances from her last national pageant experience.
“The winner of Miss USA goes on to represent the country in Miss Universe,” said Goldsmith. “This is the first time in five years that the Miss Universe pageant has been held in the USA, so I couldn’t miss it!”
Erica’s pageant career and hard work has done nothing but give her plenty of well-deserved opportunities. Now that her reign is over and a new Miss WV USA has been crowned, she is currently considering jobs throughout the country from modeling for a high-end cosmetics company to being a spokesperson and trainer for a national physical fitness program.
Whatever she chooses to do and wherever she decides to go, a part of her will always be in West Virginia, and WVU at Parkersburg, where her college education began. 

Healthy Relationships~by Kurt Klettner 2/8/11

by Kurt Klettner
Valentine’s Day is soon approaching.  Symbolically this day presents a wonderful opportunity to get to the heart of our more intimate relationships.  Intimate relationships may take on different forms.  While many close relationships may be strictly friendships; others may include a more physical level of attraction; while still others may start out as a friendship and evolve into “love.” 
                         Regardless of what form a relationship may take, it is important for you to remember that for any relationship to be healthy it must be based upon mutual respect and dignity.  
            Healthy relationships are relatively easy to spot, as they are often a source of strength, happiness and peace brought about by a willingness to share. However, even healthy relationships require a continued effort to sustain.  Without positive attention relationships can weaken. Selfishness and disrespect, in any of its many different forms, are destructive forces that can eventually fracture a relationship.
            If your relationship changes to where it no longer is healthy, you have a personal responsibility to take action.  Action begins with a self-evaluation of the current situation and the identification of a desired outcome.  The next step is to open your mind to exploring what it will take to heal and strengthen a relationship that is important to you.  In some situations you may find a benefit from pursuing education by way of workshops, seminars, lectures, books and articles that can provide new insights into dealing with difficult times.  If the outlook regarding the survival of an important relationship appears grim, then engaging in counseling may be a valuable decision in an effort to restore balance and good health.   

WCE is Fast Tracking~by Trey Bailey 2/8/2011

by Trey Bailey
     WCE, what does that stand for?  Fast track certificate programs, what are these?  The easiest way to answer both of these questions to walk down the new walkway built in front of the WVU Parkersburg campus and look to the building on the hill across the street. 
This building is the Workforce and Community Education building.  They offer many great things for the community, such as fast track certificate programs.
Some of the certificate programs that are offered with the WCE are MDA or Medical Office Assistant, Lobotomy, real estate, home inspector and dental assistant.  Also, Lobotomy is now being offered with a complete national exam.
     These certificate programs are designed to assist people such as displaced workers and non-traditional college students go directly back into the workforce for employment.  The best part about these programs is that they can be finished within 90 to 120 hours.  
Another big goal of the Workforce and Community Education is to send workers back out into the workforce and prepared for work.  They help individuals gain the skills and abilities they need to operate on a day-to-day basis in a difficult job market.
“We help people who are having problems finding employment gain the confidence to be able to find jobs suitable for themselves out there,” said Martha L. Leeson.  “With many of these students they are first generation college students and need to be given the opportunity to pick up other skills such as resume building.”
     The building itself is large enough to hold three class- rooms.  Two rooms can seat 21 and one can hold 50 but the 50--seat room can be split for two classes with a barrier. 
Not only is the WCE helping make things better for students on campus, but also for workers off campus.  The WCE offers outside directors for teaching courses off campus.  They actually set up classes on site at such places as Dupont, where the instructor is paid to travel and given material to directly teach a specific course at off campus locations. 
            For any information contact the WVU Parkersburg Workforce and Community Education at 424-8000.

Leadership Academy Works Together for Success~by Trey Bailey 2/8/2011

All 15 Members of the Leadership Academy
by Trey Bailey
WVU Parkersburg faculty and staff are once again working to improve student’s individual college experiences.
The Leadership Academy is one part of that improvement process. 
The Leadership Academy is a course that faculty and staff take to help build leadership skills and also to improve the WVU Parkersburg campus for everyone.
The Academy tackles projects throughout the school year to possibly make changes for the following year.
The Academy meets at various times to learn from the Leadership Challenge 4th Addition by James M. Kouzes and Berry Z. Posner.
The 13 members who are currently a part of the Leadership Academy pair to tackle issues that need improvement on campus.  The President's council makes the decision on which projects the Leadership Academy will work on during the year.
Dr. Cindy Kelley, co-facilitator of the Leadership Academy said,  “The leadership program does a lot of research on how to improve students and faculty experience here.”  She said these research projects are “important” to improving our school for years to come.
Some of the areas on campus identified as needing improvement consist of the honors college, exploring course offering opportunities, improving communications with financial aid services and developing entrepreneurial ideas for the downtown center.
The Leadership Academy “actually just started back this school year.  There was no academy last year,” Kelley said.
The Leadership Academy operates from August til June and is open to faculty and staff to apply in May.
A State Leadership conference is set to take place on campus March 31.  Students and faculty from around the state will be invited to take part.  The Annual Leadership Today Conference will also take place on campus April 1.
For any information on the Leadership Academy, contact Cindy Kelley or Denise McClung both of which have offices located in rooms 1022 for McClung and 1026 for Kelley.

Students Urged to be Frugal with Financial Aid~by Ryan Norman 2/8/2011

August Kafer, Financial Aid Administrator and Assistant, Sheron Barnett

by Ryan Norman
During the first couple weeks of a new semester a person can count on hearing the financial aid blues bellowing through the hallways from students who didn’t get a check on time, or had something missing on the application. Who could forget standing in the vast line of people waiting your turn to see if someone can possibly figure out this headache? For some reason the financial aid headache vanishes between the time when the checks gets grabbed out of the mailbox and the trip to the bank. Of course I’m sure we all spend this money wisely, right? This is a common debate through out the campus from all the rules, deadlines and dependency that follow awarded aid; it’s bound to ignite a heated debate.
Use your financial aid awards strategically. Don’t take more money because it’s available. This money awarded to us is not a paycheck; it is a commitment.  The U.S. Department of Federal Student Aid programs are the largest source of student aid in America. The types of aid are made up of need-based aid, and non-need based aid. Non-need based is performance based more commonly. While need- based consists of the Pell Grant, WV higher Education Grant and work-study packages. Direct Loans for a unsubsidized loan and subsidized loan. These programs provide more then $150 billion dollars a year in grants, loans, etc. Although the U.S. Department of Federal Student Aid is the largest, yet it’s far from the only source available most non federal aid programs requirements tend to very from school to school.
WVU-Parkersburg is awarded $44 million dollars this year in aid; we have accepted $22 million dollars alone this semester. A good reference for different forms of aid visit
While working on this segment I had a chance to talk with August Kaffer, the financial aid administrator here at WVU-Parkersburg. August answered a few questions regarding the awarded aid and how it works. August who has spent over 20 years helping students by combining various forms of aid to assist in paying for schooling? I asked August in the opening interview “In your experience are there any financial aid tips you would like to share?” He sharply said, “Apply early, and apply with correct information.” The school on an average has at least thirty percent of its student body each semester gets looked at for errors, the federal government calls this verification. During the interview we began to discuss the deadlines for applying for this much needed aid. Did you know that it is already time to sign up for financial aid for next fall semester? August made a great point when he said “be proactive, rather then reactive.” It is our jobs as students to complete this on time and correctly. Aim for three months before the semester starts.
In the later part of the interview the topic came up of applying for the award through, nevertheless; be careful to make sure you are on the correct website. Some students at the University of Tennessee created a website called, so please do not get confused If you have to pay for the application you know you’ve found yourself on the wrong site.
The federal government has tried to take these students to court, but the federal government lost on their home field due to the fact that the students of Tennessee legally purchased the name.
August had awarded aid to help with school when he was a student, but not all of it likes some of us. August got a job soon after his first semester and decided he was going to work to make money to help pay for tuition while doing his best to save what he could of the award. When the question arose“what would you do if he was in our shoes and received financial aid again, and if he believe students spend their aid correctly?” August replied, “I’ve been there before. You have got to save what you can. I believe some students do and I know others do not. The ones who do not are hurting only themselves in the end. It’s like having just enough rope to hang yourself; it will eventually catch up to you”.
We are facing some changes regarding the way WVU-P reviews its financial aid applicants in the upcoming future. Their new system involves moderating grades of the students each semester, rather then once a year. Also in this change the appeal reviewing process will become much tougher. “The age of ‘I was young and dumb era’ is coming to an end.” August said.

Student Briefing for Financial Aid~by Jeff Bell 2/8/2011

Anthony Underwood

by Jeff Bell
Representatives from the Students Services offices are working to prevent future problems with financial aid disbursement.
An information campaign including new signs, increased verbalization and more is attempting to inform students of the importance of completing and submitting enrollment paperwork in a timely manner. “Students that plan on being enrolled during the academic year 2011-12 should have already completed the required financial aid paperwork, or be prepared to do such as soon as yearly tax forms have been completed,” said Vice President for Student Services Anthony Underwood.
Students need to be aware of a few guidelines, which may help the financial aid and enrollment process run more smoothly:
1. Procrastination and a lack of responsibility will directly affect the timely return of any financial aid.
2. It is very important to complete and return all paperwork within 12 days of the request.
3. Consistently check the status of financial aid and enrollment on OLSIS (Online Student Information System).
4. Regularly check for notifications via the student mail account.
5. Maintain eligibility.
Maintaining eligibility is as important, if not more important, than filing early. Lack of proper eligibility can completely stop the financial aid process. Students need to maintain a minimum of a 2.0 G. P. A. as well as a class completion rate of 75 percent or higher.
"Staying proactive and informed during the process of receiving financial aid will help ensure a smooth flow of all paperwork and possible timely disbursement of funds," said Financial Aid Director August Kafer.  For more information regarding financial aid requirements and eligibility see Underwood, in the Student Services in the Student Services office or August Kafer within the Financial Aid offices located in room 1212.

Student Success Center Offers Outlet for Tutoring ~ by Robyn Bird 2/8/2011

by Robyn Bird
Frustrated students crowd the tables of the library in an attempt to retain the knowledge given to them. Many college students find that when they get to their new school, making an "A" grade on the tests actually requires studying, unlike in many high schools.
In today's fast-paced society, finding time to study is just as difficult as learning. After working, attending class, and dealing with household distractions, taking the extra hour to sit down and read can seem like a waste of time.
Well, have no fear because help is near, the Student Success Center offers tutoring and study aids that can be taken advantage of while still on campus. Janice McCue is currently in charge of the center and invites any student at WVUParkersburg to come on down, literally. Located in room 0404, the Student Success Center is easily found down the steps by the bookstore in the basement.
In order to schedule an appointment call (304) 424-8278 and bring in a personalized copy of the ‘Week at a Glance’ schedule available from OLSIS. The tutors have flexible schedules and can help students in most subjects including English, Math, Science, History, and Spanish.  Every student is eligible for a maximum of two hours per week per course for a maximum of two courses per semester. Spaces are limited and in high demand; the sooner a student signs up, the better.
The center also offers a variety of learning tools. SMARTHINKING, an online resource where students can submit written assignments for review, and Mavis Beacon, designed to help students to practice typing, are just two of the many resources available. 
Tutoring can help more than just struggling students. Tutors expand and rephrase the material in class reinforcing the key points made by the professors. Students also work in group atmospheres allowing multiple students to reach conclusions together. According to, working in a group is better than working alone because it helps prevent procrastination, promote organization, and allows students to convey their thoughts out loud.
According to their website,, ‘One semester, the Student Success Center had 395 students who started tutoring.  The percent of successful students who stayed in tutoring was 93%.  97% of students who received tutoring one semester registered for the next semester.’
            Studying alone can have little effect, so study with a peer and receive quality learning from the Student Success Center because it’s a free aid that can really improve grades.

Welding Department Keeping Pace with Industry~by Jason Hall 2/8/2011

by Jason Hall
The industrial maintenance and welding departments are currently going through a transition that will improve the courses for the instructors and the students.
David Thompson, the chair of Science and Technology Division and Instructor of Electronic Engineer Technology said, “Classes of old used to contain a mix and match of students with different skills and some of the guys would test out.”
“WVU Parkersburg is in a transition of placing students of the same skill in the same class, which puts the students on the same page,” Thompson said. The transition will help WVU Parkersburg meet industrial standards and state requirements, which will add to the value of the degree for any student attending the college.
“Students used to attend WVU Parkersburg welding classes just to learn how to weld a little, or for a quick certificate, and then leave with minimum requirements not realizing how close they might have been to a degree rather than a certificate from the Board of Education,” said Thompson.
“WVU Parkersburg is making changes to keep up with the industry. The newest edition to our welding program is full-time welding instructor Craig Bills.   He is proving to be a real asset,” said Max Sterrett program coordinator.
WVU Parkersburg is hoping to raise the bar for the welding department by working with American Welding Society. WVU Parkersburg is currently working with AWS to help students better prepare for jobs in the field by providing knowledge of the welding industry, as well as performance based evaluations. This will include some bookwork and exams.
AWS is a nationally recognized organization that is responsible for certifying welders as well as educators and developing curriculum for the welding trade.
Although some of the students are not too thrilled about the idea of exams, doing this  will better prepare the student for a job in the field,” Sterrett said.
“The Industrial Machine program has recently accepted a state grant that allowed for the purchased of new equipment.
“The equipment we did have was from the 60s and 70s. We now have eight new lathes, four new mills, two new CNC machines, and a surface grinder. We also added an electrical instrumentation and certification to the multi-craft department, we are also excited about a new building for the Applied Technology Center that is scheduled to break ground in the spring,” Sterrett said.
            The construction should be complete within a year. The building will be located across the street from the Caperton Center. Any questions concerning the multi craft classes call Max Sterrett at (304) 424-8294 or email