The Colorado School of Mines student section of the Society of Women Engineers celebrated graduating female students at its midyear Continuum on Wednesday, December 13.

The Continuum is a biannual event held at the end of the fall and spring semester, and invites families, friends, alumnae and members of the Mines community to campus to celebrate the class of graduating women.

Kim Bogue ’03, a Mines graduate and systems engineer at Raytheon, was the keynote speaker at the event. Bogue has worked on multiple programs for the company, supporting the development of mission management and command and control software and hardware for satellite ground stations.

Graduating electrical engineering seniors Nana Adu and Andrea Benefiel also spoke at the event.

“I’m sure we are all anxious about entering the next stage of our lives but we want to encourage you to embrace that fear,” Adu said. “Keep learning because you have the ability to make a real impact in the world.”

The Continuum started in 1999 when Susan Rainey, a SWE member and graduating senior, wanted to form an event recognizing the women on campus. Rainey brought together SWE, the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics program and the Mines Alumni Association to develop and sponsor the event.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

ASM Silver Medal AwardA Colorado School of Mines professor has received an award for distinguished contributions in the field of materials science and engineering.

Kip Findley, an associate professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, received ASM International’s Silver Medal Award for outstanding contributions to developing a physically based understanding of deformation, fatigue and fracture in high-performance steels.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by ASM International,” Findley said. “This recognition encompasses the work we do in the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center. Our center works at the interface of users and producers of steel to develop steel alloys and processing for enhanced performance, including fatigue, fracture and deformation. Our research and cooperation with industry leads to advancements in steel products for these applications to enable increased fuel efficiency and safer pipelines, for example.”

Findley received the award at the MS&T17 conference October 8-12 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The silver medal recognizes mid-career researchers for contributions and service to the field. Only one academic and one non-academic may receive this honor each year. Judging is based on technical or business accomplishments, beneficial impact of contributions to industry or society and volunteer professional service.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Marc Edwards will be the keynote speaker at The Young's Environmental SymposiumColorado School of Mines is hosting a film screening, panel discussion and keynote speaker in a two-day symposium on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan.

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, along with the Hennebach Program in the Humanities and former Mines President John Trefny, is organizing the Young’s Environmental Symposium on October 18-19.

The symposium opens Wednesday, October 18, with a screening of “Noah: Rising from the Ashes in Flint” at 6:30 p.m. in the Green Center’s Metals Hall. The film tells the story of Noah Patton, a young Flint resident, who is working to positively shape the future of his community.  The film will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Dana Romanoff; Pastor Robert McCathern, a local Flint religious leader; Margaret Kato, the executive director of Genesee County Habitat for Humanity in Flint; and Marc Edwards, Thursday’s keynote speaker.

Marc Edwards, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Virginia Tech who was a key player in bringing the Flint crisis into focus, presents “Citizen Science and the Flint Water Crisis – Triumph, Tragedy and Misconduct” from 7 to 9 p.m. on October 19 in the Green Center’s Friedhoff Hall. Edwards will discuss case studies of engineering and scientific misconduct that have been perpetrated by government agencies meant to protect the public health.

"The purpose of the symposium is to bring awareness of environmental issues that have important social significance to Mines and the surrounding communities,” said John McCray, professor and head of Mines’ Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

This symposium is sponsored through a gift from The Young Foundation and is named after Herbert Young, a 1939 Mines graduate who majored in mining engineering and established the symposium.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

The Mines library has launched a new specialized interface to help students, faculty and staff explore theses and senior papers.

Arthur Lakes Library’s new Mines Theses and Dissertations search interface allows students to explore senior papers, theses and dissertations. The collection already has more than 9,000 titles, and more will continue to be added. The library recently added Walter Howard Wiley’s paper, “Report upon the Utopia Mine, Ophir, Ouray Co., Colorado,” which is the earliest recorded Mines thesis, published in 1883.

The new search interface has features including multiple search filters and tags, and new features are being rolled out each month. Students can search by author, keyword, advisor, department or title.

“The pace of development is breathtaking,” said Laura Guy, a systems librarian at Arthur Lakes Library. “The new search interface allows users to easily and quickly identify the thesis they are looking for.”

Guy added that many theses have supplemental information such as maps, statistical data or other research outputs that can be beneficial for students looking to build upon past research.

The library has also developed a similar search interface for eBooks only, giving users access to thousands of online books.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Three Mines students in the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research Center (ASPPRC) have been named student representatives to the boards of ASM International societies.

Mary O’Brien, Jonah Klemm-Toole and Rachael Stewart, all in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, were chosen as a part of ASM International’s Student Board Member Program.

O’Brien, a master’s and PhD student, was named to the International Metallographic Society board. She is researching the effects of microstructure on hydrogen-induced cracking in pipeline seals for oil and gas applications.

“The International Metallographic Society in particular is interested in the characterization of materials and that is everything I love,” O’Brien said. “I believe that the first step to solving all materials problems is to characterize what the problem is in the first place.”

Klemm-Toole, a PhD candidate, was picked for the Heat Treating Society board. His research involves the development of advanced steels for nitrided transmission gears in order to make them more fatigue-resistant and, potentially, smaller and lighter.

“I’m excited to meet the people who are involved on the board and I’m interested to learn more about what the industry wants from graduating students,” Klemm-Toole said.

Stewart, a master’s student, was chosen to serve on the Failure Analysis Society board this year and was a student representative on the ASM International board last year.

“I felt like my role was very important and I worked hard to make my voice heard,” Stewart said. “I know and see things that others on the board won’t and I’m in touch with a unique part of the member base.”

“Because the ASPPRC is very heavily industrial-focused, I think that lends itself to us being chosen,” Klemm-Toole said.

“There’s a twofold advantage to this role: first, it gives you access to some really great scientific minds and you become closer to these names that you’ve only seen in literature. Second, if you do these extracurricular opportunities, more career options open up,” O’Brien said.

The student board member positions are one-year terms and include board meetings and teleconferences where they will speak on behalf of the student members of those organizations.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

A Colorado School of Mines professor is working to remove chemicals and potentially harmful substances from the groundwater supply in Fountain, Colorado.

Chris Bellona, assistant professor in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, and a team of researchers have just finished Phase I of their project, testing different ways to remove perfluoroalkyl substances from the city’s groundwater supply.

“Various municipalities across the U.S. are struggling with these perfluoroalkyl substances,” Bellona said.

Perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs, are a large group of man-made chemicals used in a wide variety of products, often to make them more stain-resistant, waterproof or nonstick. The health effects of PFASs in humans are not well understood, but studies have found that animals exposed at high levels resulted in changes in the function of the liver, thyroid and pancreas, and changes in hormone levels.

Communities near airports and firefighting training areas that have used aqueous film-forming foams to fight fuel fires have been especially affected.

“The chemicals that are in these foams get into the ground and into the groundwater and they are mobile and they don’t break down,” Bellona said. “In the U.S., there’s an estimated five million people who have these chemicals in their drinking water supplies.”

This includes municipalities near Colorado Springs. The three utilities that still have groundwater available for use are Security, Widefield and Fountain. This led to Bellona’s current project, “Pilot scale evaluation of the efficacy of granular activated carbon for perfluoroalkyl substance removal at the City of Fountain.”

“We starting working with the city of Fountain because they traditionally use groundwater part of the year and their levels of PFOA and PFOS exceed the EPA health advisory limit,” Bellona said. “They are going to need to put in a treatment system using granular activated carbon (GAC). They approached us to do a pilot scale study.”

GACs can be made in different ways, but it is usually coal burned in the absence of oxygen, then activated. With a large surface area, GACs can absorb large amounts of contaminants.

“The PFASs are relatively hydrophobic, so they stick to the carbon,” Bellona said. “Activated carbon works for a variety of contaminants, but eventually becomes exhausted. Part of this study was to look at how long we could operate the carbon before we have breakthrough of the contaminants.”

The study evaluated four different carbons side by side for the city’s groundwater.

“There are a lot of carbon options but it hasn’t been established which could be most effective,” Bellona said. “The goal of this project is to learn more by using four commercially available options.”

The next phase will compare the effectiveness of the top-performing activated carbon option to ion exchange, another way of filtering perfluoroalkyl substances, and the cost-benefit trade-offs.

“Ion exchange is more expensive but it can be regenerated on site; however, you have to deal with this waste stream,” Bellona said. “That may be more advantageous than dealing with the spent carbon residual. In addition, ion exchange resin may provide for longer treatment for these compounds compared to activated carbon.”

“These compounds are very recalcitrant and there is no silver bullet that has been developed for treatment,” Bellona said. “We aren’t only looking at these substances above the health advisory level. We are looking at a wide variety of these substances and how well activated carbon works on them.”

On this research project, Bellona has been working with diverse faculty and staff from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department and the Advanced Water Technology Center including associate professor Chris Higgins, professor Tzahi Cath, research assistant Tani Cath, lab manager Kate Spangler, research associate and facility manager Mike Veres, as well as Charlie Liu, a doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering Department.  


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Colorado School of Mines was ranked first in the nation among colleges offering degrees in engineering according to College Factual, a website dedicated to helping students find the best college fit.

The ranking listed schools with successful engineering programs using factors including graduate earnings, accreditation and overall college quality. Engineering physics was listed as the best-ranked major at Mines and the average starting salary for Mines graduates was $67,000.

Additionally, College Factual ranked Mines fourth overall in a list of the best Colorado colleges. 


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Fleckenstein delivers his talk.A Colorado School of Mines adjunct professor of petroleum engineering delivered a talk about hydraulic fracturing to the Weld County Council, which he will also take on his world tour as a Society of Petroleum Engineers distinguished lecturer for 2017-2018.

Will Fleckenstein presented "Shale Development —  Does Cheap Energy Really Mean Flaming Tap Water?" to the council July 17. He will deliver the same presentation at locations around the world, with talks already scheduled in Vancouver, Edmonton and Clairmont in Canada, and Comodoro Rivadavia and Buenos Aires in Argentina.

In light of the Firestone, Colo., home explosion in April related to an abandoned gas flowline, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission ordered that all oil and gas lines within 1,000 feet of a building be tested. Shortly after the incident, nearly 3,000 wells across the state of Colorado, many in Weld County, were temporarily shut down until further inspections could be performed. As of July, the Greeley Tribune reports that few of these lines failed.

Fleckenstein spoke with the Weld County Council about hydraulic fracturing, its history and how to protect aquifers during the “fracking” process. Having conducted a research study on the Wattenberg Field sponsored by the National Science Foundation, he was able to bring practical results to the table. Fleckenstein’s research found that 10 wells out of 18,000 had leakage, and said if a well is properly drilled and completed, the chance of leakage is very small compared to older methods.

Photo courtesy of Linda Kane, Weld County Council.

Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

REU program participants share their research at the poster session.

Students from universities across the United States and Ireland participating in Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) programs at Colorado School of Mines presented their work at a poster session last week.

Forty-two students presented their research covering topics in renewable energy, water infrastructure, chemistry and chemical engineering at the poster session held on July 27, 2017.  Mines hosts three REU programs through the Renewable Energy Materials Research Science and Engineering Center, the Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure and Advancing Polymer Materials by Integrating Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. These programs support the education and training of undergraduate students in a closely mentored independent research setting.

“Undergraduate research programs exist to help students transform themselves into contributing members of the professional research community,” said Physics Teaching Professor Chuck Stone, director of the renewable energy REU summer program.

“I learned that research can be very frustrating,” said Mines mechanical engineering student Gretchen Ohlhausen. “But it’s very rewarding when you finally get the results you are looking for. This has made me want to get a master’s and work in research for the rest of my life.”

During the REU programs, some students had the opportunity to work across disciplines.

“I’m studying to be a mechanical engineer but I worked in a chemical engineering research lab,” said Mines mechanical engineering student Brockton Sterling. “I found that blending the two together really helped me. This experience shifted my interests quite a bit.”

In addition to the laboratory research, students participated in the Joint Networking Program for Front Range REU Students and Summer Interns on June 28. This event brought together undergraduate STEM majors from across campus and nearby internship and research programs to discuss topics including ethics in science and engineering, how to present scholarly research and transitioning academic skills into a career in STEM fields.

"The most important component of our undergraduate research enterprise is the Mines faculty and research staff that selflessly contribute their time, energy and expertise to our students," Stone said. "Initial, thoughtful, one-on-one training sessions with both an REU student and his or her peer mentor eventually leads to independence in the research environment. Along with this, students augment their research experience with a curricular thread that includes field trips to other research centers within the Front Range, a hands-on laboratory program, professional development sessions and weekly technical seminars. Joint networking programs with other nearby REUs and summer internship groups provide a social network that fosters an appreciation of other STEM areas.”

“I would definitely recommend this program,” Sterling said. “It’s very flexible and the amount of information you learn is great.”

At the end of the poster session, five students received awards for best poster presentations and best technical achievement:

Best Technical Achievement

  • Clare Lanaghan, Iowa State University, Faculty Mentor: Jeff Squier, Physics

Best Presentation

  • Austin Shelton, Morehouse College, Faculty Mentor: Jason Porter, Mechanial Engineering
  • Mayassa Gregoire, St. Joseph’s College, Faculty Mentor: Lakshmi Krishna, Physics
  • Rileigh Casebolt, Bucknell University, Faculty Mentor: Carolyn Koh, Chemical Engineering
  • Will Schenken, Colorado School of Mines, Faculty Mentor: Reuben Collins, Physics


2017 REU Summer Poster Session

Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Engineering researchers are putting an innovative two-story structure made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels through a series of seismic tests to gather scientific data that will enable design of mass timber buildings that can survive large earthquakes with little or no repair.

Colorado School of Mines Civil and Environmental Engineering Assistant Professor Shiling Pei is the lead researcher on the NSF-funded project, having conducted similar tests on a much smaller scale on Mines’ campus prior to this massive effort using the world’s largest outdoor shake-table in San Diego, California.

“Designing buildings that are safe even during large earthquakes is hugely important. We are doing that – and we are going further,” Pei said. “We are working to minimize the amount of time buildings are out of service after large earthquakes. We are also focused on cutting the costs required to repair them.”

The tests are being conducted at NHERI@UCSD, an experimental test site at UC San Diego funded through the NSF’s Natural Hazard Engineering Research Infrastructure (NHERI) program. The tests will produce data that will be used in the design of a new generation of tall mass timber structures up to 20 stories.

Researchers work on compeleting construction of the test-structure. Photo Credit: University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering
Researchers work on compeleting construction of the test-structure.
Photo Credit: University of California San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering

“The overarching goal of this project is to propose a design methodology for seismically resilient tall wood buildings for regions with high seismicity, meaning the building can be quickly repaired after large earthquakes to minimize loss of use,” Pei said. “Several tests will be conducted at different shaking intensities representing frequent, design code level and maximum considered earthquake events.”

The 22-foot-tall structure will be put through a tremor simulating the 6.7 magnitude 1994 Northridge earthquake in the San Fernando Valley, but for twice as long. Researchers will collect data through more than 300 channels in three phases of testing on the building. Data will be generated at pre-selected points to measure how the CLT panels bend and how the panels move relative to each other.

Researchers are particularly interested in a system that allows the building to rock in response to an earthquake and how the walls and floors interact during shaking.

“We have tested the rocking walls by themselves in the lab, but as structural engineers, we know that the system is not equal to the sum of its parts. There are interactions between the parts. That’s why NHERI projects funded by the NSF are so critical. We are finally going to be able to get data on how the different components function as a system during strong earthquakes,” Pei said. 

In a so-called “rocking wall system,” vertical mass timber walls are connected to the foundation by post-tensioned rods that run up through the floor and special U-shaped steel energy dissipaters. The rods allow the walls to rock during an earthquake and snap back into their original upright position, minimizing deformation and resulting structural damage.

A consortium of universities is collaborating on the NSF project, including Mines, Colorado State University, University of Washington, Washington State University, Oregon State University, Lehigh University, University of Nevada Reno and University of California San Diego.

The two-story investigative testing also received support from multiple industrial partners including Katerra; Simpson Strong-Tie; Tallwood Design Institute; DR Johnson Lumber Co.; Forest Products Laboratory; City of Springfield, Oregon; Softwood Lumber Board; and MyTiCon Timber Connectors.

The NSF project also includes another large-scale test planned later this year at the NHERI-Lehigh testing facility. Based on the insights gleaned from this current set of tests and related research, the team will return to San Diego in 2020 to build, shake and ultimately burn an earthquake-resilient 10-story timber building on the UC San Diego shake table.

The project detail can be found on Ongoing activity at the outdoor shake-table of the Natural Hazards Engineering Research Infrastructure facility is live-streamed by webcam at  Photos are available on Flickr at

Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist | 303-273-3361 |


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