Engineering

Consider the top 30 innovations in the last 30 years, and Tracy Camp will tell you that none of them would have happened without computer science. “Think of what computer science has done for our world,” says Camp, a computer science professor at Mines. “Online shopping, medical applications, robotic surgeries, DNA mapping—all that stuff has been created or vastly improved because of computer science.”

Camp came to Mines in 1998; since then she has moved up in her role from assistant to full professor. She currently teaches the introduction to programming course, Programming Concepts in C++. In her class, students develop a final project related to a topic they’re passionate about, such as a game or data storage utility.

Looking at Camp’s resume (25 pages of grants, awards, and publications), you might assume she knew at an early age that she wanted to be a teacher, but that wasn’t the case. Although she loved logic and math as a child, she didn’t have any interest in teaching. It wasn’t until she was ready to graduate from Michigan State University with her master’s degree in computer science that her parents encouraged her to pursue a PhD.

After receiving a PhD in computer science from the College of William and Mary, Camp began working at the University of Alabama. A few years later, she and her husband decided to move west, and Camp wanted to work at a smaller school. So, they pulled out a map of the United States, and Camp applied to four schools. Although she received three interview offers, she only accepted one of them: Mines.

When she’s not teaching, Camp is focused on three areas: technical research, educational research, and women in computing. In total, her research projects have received more than $20 million in external funding. She has been awarded more than 20 grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), including a prestigious NSF CAREER award.

Camp is an Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Fellow, and recently, she also became an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Fellow for her contributions to wireless networking. “Within my research area, there are only eight women that are both ACM and IEEE fellows,” Camp said. “I am the first ACM fellow at Mines and the first IEEE female fellow at Mines. We need more!”

The lack of women in Camp’s field is something she works on here at Mines. “Research shows that a diverse team creates a better product, so we need diverse teams. And to accomplish that, we need more women at the table,” she said.

To that end, Camp works with the CRA-W (Computing Research Association—Women). She also serves as the faculty advisor for the ACM women’s student chapter at Mines, through which she founded “Discovering Technology,” an after-school STEM program for elementary school girls that includes computer science education. Approximately 300 girls in grades 3-6 visit Mines each semester to learn about a different science and engineering topic. The program has been so successful that Camp is expanding it to include a separate day for girls in grades 7-8.

“We’re currently at about 13 percent female computer science undergraduate students at Mines, which is a bit less than the roughly 15 percent national average,” Camp said. “My goal is to move Mines to 25 percent women in both the computer science major and the computer science minor by 2020.”

 

Contact:

Kathleen Morton, Digital Media & Communications Manager / 303-273-3088 / kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations / 303-273-3541 / kgilbert@mines.edu

GOLDEN, Colo., Jan. 19, 2016 – What would you design and build with $2,000? How about $30,000? Colorado School of Mines and Newmont Mining Corporation want to see what products students can develop that will make the mine of the future safer, more sustainable, energy efficient and environmentally sound. On Jan.

Geology graduate student Rania Eldam started brainstorming the idea for a children’s book two years ago at an Association for Women Geoscientists meeting.

“We don’t see many children’s book series where little girls are the main characters and aren’t pretty princesses or fairies,” Eldam said. “It’s always been so important to me to merge those two ideas. I was the girl that wore princess dresses, but my mom would get furious with me because I’d also be in the dirt scrounging around for plants or rocks.”

Eldam created two main characters: MD (a little girl) and her best friend Finn the fox. Together, they go on adventures and learn how to solve daily problems. Through their experiences, they discover how machines work, how to read maps and what creates solar energy. In each of her books, there will be a different STEM focus and the characters will represent diverse races, ages, and disabilities.

“Rania’s aiming to do something different than other children's books in that she focuses on real-world scenarios and gives children ideas about how to approach something like baking a cake or building a treehouse, while sneaking in technical skills like measuring and matching shapes,” said Geological and Geology Associate Professor Kamini Singha. “She's really pushing something innovative by providing a wide-range of role models looking at applicable problems; I hope it will encourage a more diverse group of kids to think about STEM careers in their futures."

When Eldam is looking for an outlet to deal with the stresses of graduate school, she starts writing.

“I put my head into a 7-year-old girl’s head,” Eldam said. “I want to show girls that no matter what they’re interested in—whether it’s playing outside in the dirt or reading books—they don’t necessarily have to get English degrees.”

Eldam can relate to that. She grew up as the youngest of three children and the only girl. She knew she loved reading and writing, but didn’t know what to do with it. She decided to attend New York University and later, University of Texas at Austin (UT) for screenwriting.

“I had all of these people telling me to find a career and that I could always write on the side. I was trying to find something that morphed it together,” Eldam said.

After taking several classes at UT to figure out what she wanted to major in, she took a geology class and fell in love with the story of how the Earth was formed. In fall 2014, Eldam started graduate school at Mines.

Eldam soon became interested in the fields of fluid-rock interactions, metasomatism and deformation in subduction zones as related to geochemical cycling, stable isotope geochemistry and high-T petrology. In March, she will defend her thesis involving elemental cycling and depth-dependent geochemical variations within the Gordon Gulch watershed in the Boulder Creek Critical Zone Observatory.

After graduate school, Eldam aims to set an example for young girls outside of her books by pursuing a career in science.

Eldam finished writing the first book in her series: MD and Finn Go Camping in December and plans to publish a hardcover and paperback version of the book in the spring. Her Kickstarter ends Jan. 8. Ten percent of the proceeds of book sales will benefit Rocky Mountain National Park’s Rocky Mountain Conservancy. To order a book and receive updates on her project, visit Eldam’s personal website.

 

Contact:
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | kmorton@mines.edu
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Engineering