VTFire: Casting the Future
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Concealed in the depths of Plantation Drive, at the end of a long country road lined with cattle and farmland scenery from the Virginia Tech agricultural department lies Virginia Tech’s Foundry Institute for Research and Education (VT FIRE). VT FIRE is a relatively new program at Virginia Tech having been established in the spring of 2011, it aims to teach students the fundamentals of foundry operation, equipment, and safety as well as the art of metallurgical design. In the past 4 years, VT FIRE has grown and prospered immensely due to the continued interest of college students in areas such as metal casting and alloying as well as the experience of Dr. Alan Druschitz. For four and a half years, Dr. Druschitz has continued to accomplish more growth, and attract new students, developing an entire metal castings minor around the extensive list of courses the foundry has to offer. Dr. Druschitz, in addition to earning a Ph.D. in metallurgical engineering, has had prior real world experience in industry. This benefits the students by having the opportunity to learn how to operate the various types of foundry equipment safely and effectively, a proficiency that could prove valuable in many future careers.