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WVU mining students receive outstanding SME chapter award

WVU's Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration chapter with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.

WVU's Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration chapter with West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin.


The Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration chapter at West Virginia University received the 2014-15 outstanding student chapter award.

Selection was based on reports submitted by the chapter explaining the level and quality of chapter activities and operations. Michael Sustar, president of the chapter during the 2014-15 school year, believes its members' determination to become future leaders in the industry is what brought them the award.

"As a chapter, we came together by participating in many community service activities, promoting a high emphasis on safety in the mining industry, attending numerous professional events and concentrating on cultivating expertise that will help us land internships and jobs in the industry," Sustar said, who now works for Freeport McMoRan at their Henderson Mine in Colorado.

In total, chapter members recorded more than 300 community service hours, attended major state- and industry-wide meetings and symposiums and participated in at least one on campus event every month, including high school visitation days, Engineerfest and Trunk-or-Treat.

"The students have worked diligently to create an organization that fosters professional development and supports community outreach," said Aaron Noble, chapter advisor and assistant professor of  mining engineering. "I am proud of their accomplishments and excited to see this type of national recognition for their efforts."

One of the chapter's favorite community outreach activities was giving presentations to elementary and high school students about mining throughout West Virginia.

"We enjoy sharing how much of an impact mining has on the world because many people don't realize how many everyday items are a product of mines," said Sustar. "Many teachers emailed me after and mentioned how great our members did promoting the impact and influence of mining."

Sustar says that the chapter couldn't have been so successful if not for the late Chris Bise, the chapter's former advisor and past chair of the Department of Mining Engineering.

"Dr. Bise always went out of his way to ensure that his students received the best education and experiences possible," he said. "He helped mold every single one of us and I know we will all keep his memory alive as we move from students to industry professionals."

In recognition of their efforts, the chapter received a $500 cash award, two tickets to the SME awards dinner during the organization's annual conference and expo to be held in February 2016 and a feature article in  Mining Engineer magazine.

"I would like to thank my fellow student chapter officers for the time and dedication that they put into running this organization, our professors who have always encouraged us and our alumni and industry professionals who provide continued support and have contributed to the success of our student chapter over the years," said Sustar.



For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources:


Phone contacts:
College Relations office: 304-293-4086
Office of the Dean: 304-293-4157
Other College administrative and department offices: Administration