Click on the image above to see photos of the event.


The 5th biennial Science, Technology and Research (STaR) Symposium, hosted by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research, took place on Oct. 22-23 in Morgantown. The theme of this event was The Evolution of Energy: From Scarcity to Abundance, and registered attendees included industry leaders, business representatives, researchers and college and university faculty and students who have varying interests in the energy industry in West Virginia. In addition, an outstanding keynote address was given by David Pogue – science and technology author and host of PBS’s Nova Science Now. His well-received talk was about why America is failing science and how we can turn it around.

In addition to the energy-focused program, students at colleges and universities entered a student science video competition which concluded at the Symposium. 

“Communicating science is an important part of any scientist’s life, whether it’s getting a job, talking to the media, or advocating for research funding,” said Dr. Jan Taylor, Director of Research Programs for the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission’s Division of Science and Research. “We challenged students to produce the best three-minute video that explains their research to a non-scientist.”

Cash prizes were awarded to the winners at the STaR Symposium for first and second place in both undergraduate and graduate categories. Recipients received $1,000 and $500 respectively.

In the undergraduate category, first place went to Hannah Cavender from West Virginia State University for a video she produced explaining her research about the complexation of aluminum by nitrogen-containing ligands. Shawn Cheeks from Marshall University won second place for his video about an Android-based application that he developed. The app will allow users to submit reports of severe weather directly to the National Weather Service.

In the graduate category, the first place was awarded to Oshadha Ranasingha and the second place to Justin Chambers. Both are graduate students at West Virginia University (WVU). Ranasingha’s video explained his research on carbon dioxide conversion by nano heaters. Chambers used his three-minute video to explain his research as well as a collaboration that is taking place between the School of Engineering and the School of Medicine at WVU in the emerging field of nano-particle aerosol technology.

The three-minute videos can be viewed at these links:


This student science video competition was the first of its kind for the Division of Science and Research. It replaced the traditional student poster competition typically associated with the STaR Symposium.

The next STaR Symposium will take place in early 2015 and will likely include another student video competition.

For up-to-date news about science and research taking place in West Virginia, visit, or

For more information specifically about the 2013 STaR Symposium or ways to get involved in a future event, contact Communications Manager Amanda Ramey at

 To view the PowerPoint presentations from the conference please go here.


Thanks again to the supporters of the 2013 STaR Symposium!

West Virginia University

Marshall University

Appalachian Power

Concord University


TechConnect West Virginia

WVHTC Foundation

West Virginia Space Grant Consortium

West Virginia State University

Bethany College

Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation

Chesapeake Energy

West VirginiaWesleyan College


Previous STaR Symposiums

Read about the 2012 STaR Symposium here: and past Symposiums in our Library