Fairmont State University students participated in the 14th annual Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol in Charleston on Feb. 24. The event’s purpose is to familiarize state legislators with research activities involving undergraduate students on campuses across the state and the educational impact of those activities.

FSU students invited to present were Benjamin Daily, James Jesmer, Brian Miller and Benjamin Wilfong.

In Computer Science, Daily of Jefferson County presented “Agent-Based Socioeconomic Model for the PACE Project in Monongah, West Virginia.” His faculty advisor is Thomas Devine. The Program Advancing Community Employment (PACE) is a sociological project developed by Dr. Craig White to alleviate unemployment, poverty and poor living conditions by creating local jobs that provide beneficial services to impoverished communities. Currently in the testing phase, the PACE project requires experimental simulations to establish its viability. The undergraduate research project was focused on developing a data-driven, agent-based computational model to predict the future economic conditions in Monongah, both with and without the planned PACE Project intervention.

Jesmer of Harrison County presented “Life After Coal: Taking Back the Mountain,” a, Architecture project with Lindsey Shingleton of Pleasants County and Eric Dowdy of Greenbrier County. Their faculty advisor is Kirk Morphew. As a component of an Honors Sustainability course in Architecture, principles taught within the course were to be investigated to make a positive impact on the local ecology. The project focuses on the reclamation of Kayford Mountain in Kayford, W.Va., a mountain top removal site. The presentation is separated into site analysis, site reclamation and sustainable design implementation.

Miller of Hancock County, along with Jeffery Pritt of Berkeley County and Justin Richter of Harrison County, presented “Looking Inside Russia’s Intervention in Ukraine: Implications for U.S. National Security.” Their faculty adviser is Todd Clarke, and their project field is International Studies. In 2016, FSU’s Open Source Intelligence Exchange (OSIX) Laboratory examined economic, military, political and social conditions in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk. These areas demonstrate a barometer of the effectiveness of Russia’s new form of unconventional warfare, which Moscow calls “strategy of indirect action.” OSIX undergraduate analysts anticipate this strategy will form the blueprint for Russian attempts to destabilize U.S. partners within NATO that U.S. forces are obliged to defend against external aggression. Leveraging corporate and private donations with a matching grant from the state of West Virginia, the OSIX Lab used open-source analytic techniques to develop an analysis provided to U.S. government customers to influence policy deliberations within the National Security Council, the Department of Defense and the Department of State.

In the Computer Science field, Wilfong of Harrison County presented “Solar Energy Storage: Uncovering the Right Stuff for the Job.” His faculty advisor is Thomas Devine. The Solar Army project at FSU is working to find mixtures of cheap and easily obtainable metal oxides that yield the highest energy output when exposed to light. The idea is to find the most effective composition of elements that can be used for solar energy storage, while remaining affordable and available. Wilfong’s hope is to employ data mining to find hidden information in readings being obtained through combining and testing elements.