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Wheeling Jesuit to offer four-year engineering degree

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WHEELING -– Responding to the increased demand for engineers created by recent advancements in industry in the Ohio River Valley region, Wheeling Jesuit University announced Jan. 19 that it will begin offering a complete four-year engineering degree. 

According to Peter Ehni, who chairs the Engineering department at Wheeling Jesuit, the job market for engineers is thriving.

"The demand for engineers is high," Ehni said. "There are a number of engineering opportunities opening up in the local energy industry and other small industries in the area."

Larry Vallar, Wheeling Jesuit's vice president for enrollment management, said the 450-year old Jesuit tradition of academic excellence will give students an edge in the Engineering marketplace.

"The launch of our new major, engineering science, is yet another step in the right direction for our students at WJU," Vallar said. "In today's competitive and ever changing world, we need young men and women who are adequately prepared to do this important science. Wheeling Jesuit University has demonstrated that our way of educating and engaging students will prepare them to do this important research and work."

Ehni also said the new program is designed to be flexible enough to give students a solid foundation for graduate studies in any engineering discipline of their choosing by ensuring students have a thorough understanding of basic principles. 

"Engineering programs typically have dropout rates of 50 percent and higher," said Ehni. "WJU's program is specifically designed to retain students through a special calculus sequence and freshman engineering orientation program. Many students are not ready for the rigors of the traditional calculus sequence and quickly fall behind and subsequently drop out of engineering. "

To get the program off the ground for the fall 2013 semester, Wheeling Jesuit will host an information session for potential students at Maryvale Preparatory School in Brooklandville, Md. Families and counselors will have the opportunity to learn from faculty and alumni about the new engineering science major and scholarship opportunities for qualified students. The event is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 30 in the Erinn McCarthy Humanities Hall auditorium on the Maryvale campus.

Accepted Engineering Science students with above a 3.0 GPA and at least a 23 ACT math or a 540 SAT math will earn a $2,000-a-year scholarship that can be added on top of all other scholarships, including the Diocese of Wheeling/Charleston Scholarship and Community Connection Grant worth $14,000 and $11,000 respectively. 

Students who are interested in learning more about the program can visit www.wju.edu/academics/engineering or contact Ehni at pehni@wju.edu or 304-243-2433.