skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps
Community Connections

From Hill Air Force Base to Silicon Slopes, WSU supports local industries

Brad Mortensen and Alphonso Thomas shaking hands

Educational partnership agreement with Hill Air Force Base

Weber State is proud to announce a new Education Partnership Agreement with Hill Air Force Base (HAFB), signed in April by Weber State President Brad Mortensen and Alphonso Thomas, director of engineering and technical management at the Air Force Sustainment Center.

The purpose of the agreement is to have the Air Force Sustainment Center provide educational outreach opportunities for the purpose of encouraging and enhancing science, mathematics and engineering education at all levels.

As the first agreement of its kind in Utah, students and faculty will be able to tackle real-world challenges while base engineers can use their talent and creativity to problem solve.

Accelerating Innovation: Economic Development Administration Grant

Weber State University is implementing the Northern Utah Accelerator for Aerospace, Advanced Manufacturing, Materials and Products to help community members innovate, build and produce aerospace and outdoor products, thanks to the Build to Scale Venture Challenge grant from the United States Economic Development Administration (EDA).

WSU received approximately $750,000 from the grant, and is partnering with Grow Utah, a non-profit company supporting local entrepreneurs, and the Utah Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Initiative.

The goal is to increase research engineering and competitiveness in northern Utah by creating a location for entrepreneurs, private industry and Hill Air Force Base to create and evaluate prototypes, and machine and test equipment. The program connects stakeholders in private industry and entrepreneurs with mentoring and support services.

The grant has allowed Grow Utah, to start offering its RAMP course twice a year. The course helps entrepreneurs and small businesses develop new products using advanced materials and manufacturing processes.

WSU finalist in Silicon Slopes Award

WSU was a company finalist for the 2021 Silicon Slopes Hall of Fame awards program in the Aerospace & Defense category. WSU’s StartUp Ogden (SUO) program established a partnership with the Department of Defense (DOD) to find solutions when the DOD needed enhanced technology infrastructure.

SUO, Weber State’s business incubator, was originally created to provide entrepreneurs and small businesses with work and meeting space, and essential technology infrastructure. In 2018, DOD approached SUO about providing enterprise space with existing technology infrastructure. This allowed the DOD to access the cloud to enhance operational capability that was unavailable from base facilities.

SUO was able to provide this critical capability to the DOD that allowed the rapid adoption of needed technologies to enhance operational effectiveness.

Healthcare worker getting the blood pressure of a patient

Making a difference for Ogdenites with hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is the main cause of strokes and heart disease in the United States, and, according to the Utah Department of Health, about one third of Ogden City adults live with it.

To combat hypertension, WSU Doctor of Nursing Practice students Thomas Cox and Claudia Jara received a $40,000 grant from the Weber-Morgan Public Health Department to partner with the Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences and the health department for a community intervention study to help at-risk locals.

Weber State’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) received accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) in March 2022.

ACEN pointed to WSU’s student support services, particularly resources to help students with writing, and tech equipment for students and faculty from the university’s Digital District as strengths.

Twenty-seven Ogden City residents completed the program, which provided them with a diagnosis and any necessary medication, guidance for improving their lifestyle choices to prevent high blood pressure, and education regarding self-management techniques, like measuring their blood pressure and recognizing symptoms.

“I hope that the research will be used to show that there is a need for more programs like this and that people are willing to participate and adjust their lifestyles if we give them the tools to do so,” Jara said.

Cox said he believes he made a difference, since nearly half of the participants didn’t know they had high blood pressure to start.

“Over time, high blood pressure causes damage to the arteries, and when those arteries get damaged, that can lead to a stroke, heart attacks, kidney disease and all sorts of organ problems,” Cox said. “If you can catch it and get it under control before it’s too high for too long, you can prevent a lot of cardiovascular problems.”

Many participants represented Ogden’s Hispanic and Latino communities, along with low-income residents. Researchers recruited participants at local gatherings, like 5K races, and at a local grocery store chain. 




Faculty member points at undercarriage of vehicle while teaching students.

A driving force in electric vehicle education

Electric vehicles are hitting the road at increasing rates, and Weber State’s Department of Automotive Technology is preparing students to work in the changing automotive workforce.

Thanks to a $299,000 annual grant from the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Weber State has launched an initiative to help students from high schools, technical schools and colleges prepare to work on electric vehicles.

“More manufacturers are talking about commitments to produce only electric vehicles in the near future,” said Scott Hadzik, WSU automotive technology chair. “We’re putting together a partnership with the state and industry in order to make sure technicians are ready to safely work on these vehicles.”

Hadzik said there is very little electric vehicle training currently available. Not only do technicians need to know how to diagnose and repair problems, they also need to know safety procedures when dealing with high-voltage components. 

Through this partnership, called the Automotive Strategic Workforce Initiative, students ranging from high school to college level can get the training they need to work safely on electric vehicles.

Weber State faculty, staff and students pose with community members in Ghana.

Weber State students spend spring break serving in Ghana

After years of collaborating remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Weber State students, faculty, staff and community members spent spring break in Ghana, partnered with Ghana Make a Difference (GMAD), an organization dedicated to improving the lives of children who have been rescued from forced labor, trafficking and abandonment. The WSU group worked on initiatives such as preparing construction materials for two homes and a school, completing interior design projects for sound dampening, educational instruction and providing medical and hygiene assistance for the children.

GMAD Partnership by the Numbers

GMAD project participants:

40 students
8 faculty advisors
4 academic colleges

200 teens
attended school for the first time in the building they worked on.

Jeremy Farner, associate professor of construction and building sciences led the trip, alongside Julie Rich, dean of the College of Social & Behavioral Sciences.

On the 10-day project held in March 2022, participants worked alongside Ghanaian residents and GMAD on a rainwater-harvesting project and began construction on a school and fence located on the GMAD volunteer housing property.

“I gain so much by interfacing with individuals of another culture,” Rich said. “It makes me appreciate where I’m from and what I have, but seeing what other people place value on is so profound. It’s not material things, it’s living each day trying to be the best you can and making sure your community is taken care of.”

The Weber State University Global Community Engaged Learning program (GCEL) will continue to work with GMAD on future endeavors.

This trip was made possible through the generous contributions of the Stewart Education Foundation, Wadman Corporation and Richard K. and Shirley S. Hemingway Foundation.