The Colorado School of Mines Student Chapter of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists was chosen as the 2017 Outstanding Domestic Student Chapter during AAPG’s 100th Anniversary Annual Convention and Exhibition.

 Mines AAPG Student Chapter members hold their award check. Left to right: Joshua Payne, Chapter President; Elizabeth Wilson, Treasurer; Julia Peacodk, Vice President; Mark Hansford.
Mines AAPG Student Chapter members hold their award check. Left to right: Joshua Payne, Chapter President; Elizabeth Wilson, Treasurer; Julia Peacock, Vice President; Mark Hansford, Secretary.

ACE 2017 was held April 2 to 5 in Houston, Texas, with the chapter’s high honor being awarded at the Student Reception on April 3. Several speakers were there to address the student chapters, including AAPG President Paul W. Britt.
Chapter President Joshua Payne, a master’s student in geology, couldn’t be more proud. “Personally, as a student of the science and a great beneficiary of the opportunities and resources available through AAPG and its rich history, there is no higher honor at this stage of my career,” he said. Payne went on to boast about his fellow chapter members, noting the “exceptional character and leadership of each of the members.”
The mission statement of the Mines chapter, according to Payne, “is to advance the science of geology as it relates to petroleum through four themes: education, industry, networking and community involvement.” Participation in events such as ACE, but also core activities such as a weekly lunch-and-learn series, technical workshops, service events, field trips and more allow the chapter to thrive, this being its 36th year in existence at Mines. Although the group is officially housed within the Department of Geological Engineering, membership extends across the reaches of the geophysics and petroleum engineering departments, reflecting the multidisciplinary nature of the field.
Teamwork at this cross-disciplinary level has proven essential to the group’s success. “We have understood our individual strengths and used each in a way to complement another,” said Payne. “We have set highest goals and strived to accomplish each in a manner that has far exceeded expectations. We have learned from each other.”
Payne also noted the importance of the history of AAPG at Mines, saying that the award not only reflects the work of the current group of students, “but is a result of the culmination of the body of work put together by the chapters who have preceded us—past presidents, past officers and past members—who have showed great responsibility in ensuring the well-being of the chapters of the future.”
Despite the recent volatile nature of the oil and gas industry, Payne is confident that the AAPG chapter at Mines will continue to prosper. In fact, the chapter's $2000 award will be put away to be used by next year's officers to support its mission.
“This is a reflection on the overall culture that is inherent to Colorado School of Mines, one of integrity, innovation, success and a will to never give up."
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

In its third academic year, the ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE2ST (Water-Energy Education, Science and Technology) was formed to promote the sustainability of unconventional energy production and conduct research on both community acceptance of resource development and water resources related to energy production. As water resources can become stressed locally, finding solutions to the diverse and specialized challenges affiliated with competition for water use is crucial. The center was established with a ConocoPhillips leadership investment of $3 million in 2014.

In collaboration with the center, ConocoPhillips recently released a video that provides an in-depth look at the work happening in the area of education and outreach associated with water resources and unconventional energy production. Watch the video here.

Mines was one of 37 teams to compete in the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl last weekend, finishing in 13th place after the tiebreaker round.
Prior to the competition, each team was given a set of cases that raise issues in practical and professional ethics.
Questions concern ethical dilemmas in a wide range of arenas, such as the classroom (e.g., cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g., dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g., engineering, law, medicine) or social and political ethics (e.g., free speech, gun control, etc.) 
The questions raised in the 2017 competition included, “Can a bartender refuse to serve a pregnant woman?” and “Should colleges pay their student athletes?” A full list of the 2017 cases can be viewed here.
Hannah Grover defends a case on behalf of the Mines team.

Hannah Grover defends a case on behalf of the Mines team.

Photo courtesy of Parker Bolstad.

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Ethics Bowl team for two years in a row has been an incredibly positive experience for me,” said engineering physics senior Hannah Grover, who was interviewed by Colorado Public Radio prior to the competition. “The group of people that I got to work and explore difficult ideas with are incredible, and challenge me to think more deeply and critically about my own beliefs.” 

Teams were given a limited amount of time to confer and then answer the moderator’s questions, after which the opposing team could also respond. A panel of judges then probed the teams for further justifications and evaluated answers based on the intelligibility of their arguments, their focus on ethically relevant considerations and their deliberative thoughtfulness.
The Mines team—Grover, Parker Bolstad, Kirsten Fong, Ian Kramer, Dana Steiner and Azriel Wolffe—was tied for sixth place after the preliminary rounds. A tiebreaker put Mines in 13th. 
“The Mines Ethics Bowl Team really surprised people, I think. We're relatively new to Ethics Bowl—this is our third year—and I watched the competition blink when they realized our team is comprised of scientists and engineers,” said Teaching Professor Sandy Woodson, one of the team’s coaches and director of the Ethics Across Campus program at Mines.
Woodson noted that the team completely debunked certain stereotypes about STEM students. “Their communication skills are fantastic, they demonstrated nuanced understanding of nontechnical problems and they were quick on their intellectual feet, responding to questions out of left field,” she said. 
Toni Lefton, the team’s co-coach and teaching professor in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Division, is proud of how the team “presented their recommendations with a great deal of empathy for the stakeholders and illustrated how compassion, along with expertise and theoretical knowledge, is what the engineer of 2020 really looks like.”
Grover hopes that more people will have the opportunity to participate in this experience. “The skills it helps you develop are incredibly important, and you get introduced to issues that you may not have ever considered before,” she said. “I have taken away the ability to apply logical ethical reasoning to seemingly impossible problems, and then be able to communicate and discuss that with others.”
Woodson said she plans to incorporate lessons learned from this competition in coaching next year’s team.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |


Minerals and metals are at the foundation of modern technology-based societies. Each year, the average American uses about 25 tons of earth materials. Exploration for new resources is at the front end of the mining life cycle, with mining companies spending billions of dollars per year exploring for new metal and mineral resources yet often coming up empty. 

Now, Colorado School of Mines researchers are teaming with Virginia Tech researchers, bringing together over 250 years of experience in earth resource research, to develop an integrated approach to locating, characterizing and visualizing mineral resources. Their goal is to boost exploration success rates and advance mining operations while cutting costs and minimizing both financial risk and environmental impact.
An open-pit mining operation at the Veladero Mine in Argentina.
An open-pit mining operation at the Veladero Mine in Argentina.

The researchers have proposed a national cross-disciplinary Center for Advanced Subsurface Earth Resource Models, an industry-funded consortium that would provide exploration and mining companies worldwide with new 3-D subsurface geological models. The models would inform decision-making and risk management at all stages of the mining life cycle, from exploration to operations and including mine closure and environmental reclamation.

The center has received early support from the National Science Foundation through a $15,000 planning grant to each institution. These planning grants will enable the Mines-Virginia Tech team and representatives from the exploration and mining industry to define a joint industry and university research agenda, consolidate support and develop a business plan under NSF’s Industry/University Cooperative Research Center Program. Launched in 1973, the I/UCRC program supports research and workforce development in various industry sectors by establishing and fostering cooperative, long-term innovative university-industry-NSF partnerships.
“The purpose and long-term vision of this center is directed toward research challenges in the development of 3-D subsurface geologic models for mineral deposits, with the ultimate goal of informing decision-making and minimizing geological risk in mineral exploration operations,” said Geology and Geological Engineering Professor Ric Wendlandt, Mines’ principal investigator on the project.
The Mines team includes 14 researchers from the departments of Geology and Geological Engineering, Geophysics, Applied Mathematics and Statistics and Mining Engineering. Professor Wendy Harrison and Associate Professor Thomas Monecke, both from the Geology and Geological Engineering Department, are co-principal investigators. At Virginia Tech, Math Professor Matthias (Tia) Chung leads a team of 12 researchers.
The consortium represents an ideal cross-disciplinary effort, balancing geological and geophysical exploration methods with essential mathematical and computational approaches and risk analysis perspectives.  
The research team will explore innovations in measurements of chemical and physical properties of rock materials and improvements to integrating and scaling of diverse geological and geophysical data types. These improvements will help mathematicians, statisticians and computer scientists build more accurate tools for 3-D imaging and visualization of the Earth’s subsurface.
According to Monecke, who specializes in economic geology, the exploration and mining sector is unlike other industries. The time between onset of exploration to resource production and recoup of investment often exceeds 10 years.
“The mining business is a complex process, taking many years to develop a project from exploration to production and finally mine closure and reclamation. Successful modern mining operations generate wealth and employment for several decades, yet because failure at any step is prohibitively expensive, companies are slow in developing and adapting new technologies and often rely on business strategies proven to have worked in the past,” said Monecke. “Our center’s vision is to advance the digital revolution of the global exploration and mining industry during all stages of the mining life cycle—research in this area will be the stepping stone to transforming exploration and mining into an industry of the 21st century.”
The center will need industry support to receive full funding from the NSF. During the initial yearlong planning phase, Mines will recruit companies to join the consortium. “There are already 28 companies interested in working with us, in the long run looking to fund innovative fundamental research that will accelerate the mining sector forward,” said Wendlandt. “We’re very encouraged.” 
A Mines geophysics student works with 3-D imaging software.
A Mines geophysics student works with 3-D imaging software.

Companies expressing interest in the consortium include those in mineral exploration and mining, software development, consulting, geochemistry and exploration geophysics and instrumentation. Federal agencies including the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the U.S. Geological Survey may also participate. Research priorities are set by the consortium’s members, who will establish an industry advisory board.

“Mining is intrinsic to modern society’s transition to a sustainable existence,” said Ramona Graves, dean of the College of Earth Resources Science and Engineering. “The center’s projects will promote socioeconomic prosperity and help in reducing the environmental impact of the mining industry.”
The center will also be a major effort to prepare college graduates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels to move directly into the industrial workforce, explained Harrison, helping students make essential contacts in the industry even before they graduate. There is an emerging need in the mining industry for professionals who provide expertise in advanced computer-controlled equipment, computer modeling and data analysis that support the daily activity of a company.  
“The Center for Advanced Subsurface Earth Resource Models, if successful in attracting members, would be the first geoscience-based program started under the 44-year-old NSF program,” said Harrison. Expectations for the planning year are to gain industry support for the Center’s operation plan, agree on research goals and initial projects and get individual companies to commit to joining the center.
This research is being made possible by NSF Grant 1650500.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |


Colorado School of Mines students and faculty reflect on their time in Nepal as part of a service trip for Hike for Help. The group spent their three-week winter vacation volunteering in Khumbu Valley, Nepal, constructing a public restroom facility for the local community and aiding in repairing the local high school that was destroyed in an earthquake in 2015.

Read more about the students who traveled to Nepal in Winter 2016-2017 here. Learn more about the Hike for Help organization at

A three-day NSF-sponsored workshop will bring to Mines 20 of the world’s top scholars focused on the societal aspects of mining and other extractive processes.
“STS Underground: Investigating the Technoscientific Worlds of Mining and Subterranean Extraction” will take place February 5 to 7, 2017. The workshop encourages a research approach that is often referred to as Science and Technology Studies, or Science, Technology, and Society (STS).
“STS sheds light on how mining, energy and other extractive processes are not just technical, but sociotechnical practices that have everything to do with questions of knowledge, power and expertise,” said Jessica Smith, Hennebach Assistant Professor of Energy Policy in Liberal Arts and International Studies. Smith is cohosting the conference with Ropali Phadke of Macalester College and Abby Kinchy of Renesselar Polytechnic Institute. “Industry leaders have learned that to be successful and sustainable, they need to be proactive in engaging these sorts of sociotechnical questions.”
The conference is the first one in STS to focus specifically on extractive activities. “The existing social science scholarship on mining and extraction comes largely from anthropology and geography, especially in terms of the consequences for vulnerable communities. Yet these fields remain largely distinct from STS and rarely engages practitioners, such as scientists and engineers,” explained Phadke. 
Workshop participants who are interdisciplinary humanities and social sciences scholars will have the opportunity to engage with scientists and engineers who work in those fields. They will also have an opportunity to tour the university’s Edgar Experimental Mine. Organizers say STS is well positioned to make an impact in these industries, opening up crucial questions about the technologies, practices and forms of knowledge related to subterranean extractive practices.
“We’re proud that Mines is playing a role in bringing these industries from the periphery of this field to the center of it,” said Smith.
While the majority of the three-day event is closed to the public in order to workshop papers in a forthcoming book, there are two public events on February 6: a panel discussion with invited guest scholars, who will synthesize and comment on the themes of the workshop, and a keynote address from renowned historian Gabrielle Hecht, an internationally recognized expert on nuclear energy policy and uranium mining. 
The panel will take place 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the Ben Parker Student Center, Ballrooms A and B, with speakers Anthony Bebbington of Clark University, Trevor Birkenholtz of the University of Illinois, Elizbeth Ferry of Brandeis Unvieristy and Phadke. More information about each of the speakers can be found here.
A reception will follow from 5:30 to 6 p.m., where posters showcasing Mines students’ research engaging with the social responsibility dimensions of mining, oil and gas, groundwater and geothermal projects will be on display. 
The keynote address will be held immediately after at 6 p.m. Hecht will present “Residual Governance: Mining Afterlives and Molecular Colonialism, seen from an African Anthropocene.”
“It’s exciting to see Mines at the forefront of defining the underground as a vibrant specialty inside of STS,” said Smith, “and the workshop is advancing our efforts in the Humanitarian Engineering program to grow research and teaching on social responsibility on campus.”
This workshop is being made possible by NSF Award 16322651.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088

Colorado School of Mines has received a $7.5 million, five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish a University Transportation Center (UTC), focused on improving the durability and lifespan of underground transportation.

James R. Paden Distinguished Professor Marte Gutierrez from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is the lead on this interdisciplinary project that draws on the expertise and reputation of Mines’ Center for Underground Construction and Tunneling (UC&T).

“This is such a huge win for Mines,” said Professor Mike Mooney, the Bruce Grewcock University Chair and Director of UC&T. “This is the first U.S. DOT funded center at Mines and the first ever U.S. DOT center focused on underground infrastructure. This effort will build upon the strong foundation of UC&T at Mines and cements UC&T and Mines as the number one place in the world for underground construction and tunneling research and education.”   

In collaboration with affiliate partners, California State University, Los Angeles and Lehigh University, the new center includes research, education and outreach to make underground construction and transportation safer, more sustainable and more cost-efficient.

“We are running out of land, especially in urban areas. The only way to meet increased demand for transportation is to go underground,” explained Gutierrez. “Underground transportation and infrastructure is key to reducing congestion and pollution.”

UC&T graduate students explore an underground construction site.

The center hopes to work closely with industry leaders to develop advanced technologies that would avoid the problems that often extend the time and cost of underground construction. “Our goal is to help the construction industry,” said Gutierrez, “by providing tools, methodologies and technology for underground construction. We want to partner with the industry so that we can apply our findings, as well as offer continuing education courses—that’s how technology transfer really happens.”

Mines’ UC&T, started in 2011 with generous initial support from Mines alumnus Bruce Grewcock, has been leading efforts toward a more adaptive design system in the field of underground construction and tunneling. Boreholes and geological/geophysical surveys provide limited information on ground conditions until excavation starts. Predicted responses often differ from the reality once a project is underway. Gutierrez is proposing the use of adaptive computational modeling to align design with the site-specific geology. 

“We want to exploit the new knowledge we gain every time we excavate,” said Gutierrez. “The design must adapt. As we improve our understanding of the site’s geology, the design also improves, ultimately avoiding the unexpected high costs and extended timelines that can occur when the natural and built environments do not match.”

The center will also look at extending the life of existing aging infrastructures and how transportation infrastructure can best be repaired with the least impact on congestion. Ultimately, with cooperation from industry, the UTC at Mines will lead to increased safety, reliability and sustainability in underground transportation infrastructures.

“Marte has done such a fantastic job leading the successful proposal effort and now leading a great cross-campus interdisciplinary team,” said Mooney, referencing the diverse expertise of the faculty members who are involved in the project: professors Hugh Miller, Jurgen Brune, Rennie Kaunda and Department Head Priscilla Nelson from Mining Engineering; Andrei Swidinsky from Geophysics; as well as the Co-PIs: Gabriel Walton and Wendy Zhou from Geology, Eunhye Kim from Mining, and Reza Hedayat, Panos Kiousis, and Shiling Pei from Civil and Environmental Engineering—in addition to Mooney and Gutierrez.

Mooney added, “The Mines community of current students and alumni out there shaping the future of underground infrastructure should all be very proud.”   



Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 |

Seven students from the winning senior design team, Pig Patrol. Mechanical Engineering

Pig Patrol, a team of seven mechanical engineering seniors at Colorado School of Mines, received first place in the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Fall Senior Design Trade Fair on December 1, 2016. They designed an integrated cleaning and inspection pig (ICIP) that can collect data more frequently and affordably, without interrupting the pipeline flow.

“Pigging” is a common term in pipeline management, referring to devices known as “pigs” that perform maintenance operations. The name originally referred to the squealing noise the early devices made while traveling in the pipe.

“Basically we need to find defects along the inside of oil pipelines so that pipes don’t rupture,” explained team member Kyle Crews. “We designed a robot that can travel along the inside of the pipeline, find the defects and report them back using a unique sensor that could have a big impact on this market. Our design allows for more frequent testing in a cost-effective way.”

The team is working to possibly take to market the sensor technology that they adapted in the design of their pig. The team’s design acquires lower quality data but in a higher quantity that would allow companies to run the ICIP every time the pipeline is cleaned, rather than every couple of years.

“We have a really close-knit team,” said Crews, “and want to take this forward after graduation, even though several of us are moving out of state. We’ve had a lot of great feedback from people in the industry. We also want to thank our client, Craig Champlin, and our faculty advisor, Jered Dean, who really guided us along over the past two semesters.”

The +4 Designs team received second place for their design of an adjustable down-hole probe-centralizer to be used in geophysical testing by their client, Mount Sopris Instruments. The third place team, Dynamic Hydration Systems, created a hydration system intended for endurance auto racing drivers. They built and tested a system that delivers hydration to the driver without detracting from the driver’s focus through a refillable and detachable component.

Other projects included two for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, one developing an online method for measuring the residence time distribution for a biofuel pre-treatment reactor and the other an instrumentation system to determine the physical level and density of process material inside a thermochemical hydrolysis reactor.

Several teams presented projects aimed at improving Mines’ campus, such as an electrical system aimed at allowing the Starzer Welcome Center to function for 48 hours during an interruption of service and another that looked at better stormwater management through the use of green infrastructure.

For the second time, a Mines senior design team constructed a hands-on educational device for the Boulder Journey School. The human-powered water system is designed to introduce children to cause-and-effect relationships via the use of gears, pulleys and other mechanical devices.

Mines Formula Society of Automotive Engineers also presented an aerodynamic design for the car they will use in their 2017 competition in Nebraska. Students from Mines Human Centered Design Studio presented early prototypes of their adaptive equipment designs, even though they will be competing in the spring trade fair. 

More information about all the teams can be found on the Capstone site. Photos from the event are available on Flickr and via the slideshow below.

2016 Fall Capstone Trade Fair


Trade Fair Winners

1st Place – Pig Patrol – Integrated Cleaning and Inspection Pipeline Pigging Robot

Students: Logan Nichols, Evan Marshall, Grant DeShazer, Evan Thomas, Matthew Atherton, Victoria Steffens, Kyle Crews

Client: Craig Champlin

Adivsor: Jered Dean

Consultant: John Steele

2nd Place – +4 Designs – Adjustable Downhole Centralizer

Students: Steven Blickley, Nick Markel, Jenevieve Parker, Steven Staszak

Clients: Mount Sopris Instruments: Curtis Baker, Jody DuMond

Advisor: Buddy Haun

Consultants: Jered Dean


3rd Place – Dynamic Hydration Systems - Endurance Auto Racing Hydration System Challenge

Students: Will Bennett, Matt Craig, Jaime DuBois, Kaan Korkmaz, Allen Jackson, Ry Walter

Client: Scott Durham

Advisor: Robin Steele

Consultants: Robert Amaro


Broader Impacts Essay Winners

1st Place - “Are Electric Vehicles More Brown than Green?” by Kelly Dempsey

2nd Place – “Learning to Drive” by Ben Koehler

3rd Place – “The Broader Impacts of Design Choices in the Airline Industry” by Connor Groeneweg



Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 |


Members of Mines Maker Society working in the new Blaster Design Factory.

Imagine three students who meet in their first-year Design EPICS course. They have different majors but share the same passion for creating and entrepreneurship. Even with busy schedules, they are sure if they just had the space and access to equipment, they could make one of their ideas a reality. They could build it if they just had…a makerspace.

Mines College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Dean Kevin Moore has been a staunch advocate for more design and fabrication spaces for students. "Recently, colleges and universities have recognized the importance of hands-on, active learning experiences in the development of engineers and scientists,” said Moore. “Students gain some of those experiences in classes, but it is also valuable for them to have the opportunity to work on building prototypes of their ideas in an extracurricular setting."

Three new makerspaces opened this semester: Blaster Design Factory in Brown Hall, Digger Design Lab in the Engineering Annex, and the adjoining EPICS woodshop. It was a collaborative effort to establish and upgrade several makerspaces, with student help coming from the University Innovation Fellows, the Maker Society, the Entrepreneurship Club, The Blaster Hackers club, the Creative Arts club and faculty support via the Pathways to Innovation group, as well as donors and administration.

While Mines students have had access in the past to makerspaces such as the foundry in Hill Hall or the garage and machine shop in Brown Hall, the new spaces are unique in that they provide a place to explore design and plans.

“Blaster Design Factory is the ideal place to start your project,” according to Frank Musick, a graduate student in Engineering and Technology Management who started the Maker Society while earning his undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering at Mines. “It’s really the hub for all the other makerspaces, and it is the only one that is student-run and with 24/7 access.”

Located on the second floor of Brown, Blaster Design Factory has a vinyl cutter, a heat press and rapid prototyping supplies. A 3-D printer is on order. “We purposefully started small,” explained Musick. “The goal has never been to just set up a lot of stuff and call it done. We want to see the space grow based on student demand and use. The emphasis right now is on the design process. We have white boards and design software such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks and the full Adobe Suite. Just having full admin rights to be able to download open-source design software makes a big difference.”

The Digger Design Lab offers a different kind of space that is more focused on fabrication and assembly. The Maker Society held an early opening during Homecoming weekend to announce the spaces, and plan to provide more tours and training in January.

The Woodshop and Digger Design Lab at the Engineering Annex.

“Shared spaces are built on trust,” said Musick. “We all have a vested interested in making things that do things. The space isn’t going to meet every need, but it is a huge step for innovation at Mines and part of an even grander vision.”

Moore sees the new makerspaces as a way to “stimulate innovation and support the efforts of budding student entrepreneurs. We are very excited to see this new resource used by our students."

On November 29, #GivingTuesday, Mines Foundation will aim to raise $3K for Mines Makerspaces in one day so students have the latest tools and technology to roll up their sleeves and make something amazing. Makerspaces provide an environment for students to collaboratively learn skills to construct and prototype their innovative ideas.
Your support will help expand and outfit these spaces allowing students to free-form creativity and learn skills like drilling, woodworking, welding and sewing. Learn more at Outfit Mines Makerspaces


Deirdre Keating, Communications Manager, College of Engineering & Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Anica Wong, Communications Specialist, CSM Foundation | 303-273-3904 |

A team of Colorado School of Mines students competed at the Rocky Mountain Regional Ethics Bowl, hosted by Mines on November 12, and will advance to the national competition. This is the second year in a row that Mines has earned a bid to the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl.
The Mines team with advisors. Left to right: Dana Steiner, Ian Kramer, Kirsten Fong, Toni Lefton, Sandy Woodson, Hannah Grover, Azriel Wolffe, Parker Bolstad.
The Mines team with faculty advisors. Left to right: Dana Steiner, Ian Kramer, Kirsten Fong, Toni Lefton, Sandy Woodson, Hannah Grover, Azriel Wolffe, Parker Bolstad.
Ethics Bowl is a program sponsored by the Association for Practical and Applied Ethics (APPE) at Indiana University, and is also a function of the Ethics Across Campus Program at Mines. For the competition, universities field teams that debate the ethical aspects of current issues and cases, promoting civil discourse and logical argumentation.
Teams from 10 schools across the Rocky Mountain region competed in the 2016 regional competition, each defending their moral assessments of some of today’s most complex ethical issues.
Liberal Arts and International Studies professors Toni Lefton and Sandy Woodson coached the Mines team, which included students Dana Steiner, Ian Kramer, Kirsten Fong, Hannah Grover, Azriel Wolffe and Parker Bolstad.
“All the participating teams were very strong, and Mines is fortunate to have had these dedicated and talented students representing us,” said Woodson. “They represent the best of what a Mines education means: hard work, critical thinking, and the ability to address complicated problems.”
The team spent over nine weeks preparing for the regional competition, holding evening practices and weekend spars to deliberate the cases they would be defending.
The team forms an argument during an evening practice leading up to the regional competition.
The team forms a case argument during an evening practice leading up to the regional competition.
Lefton said that she is proud of the voices each of the Mines team members brought to the table, “and the concrete ways in which our team humanized and contextualized each issue as they reasoned through the moral complexities.”
It was engineering physics senior Hannah Grover’s second year participating in the Ethics Bowl—she values the skills that she has gained by participating. 
“We aren't just looking for some solution, because these ethical dilemmas don't have straightforward answers,” explained Grover. “What we are really learning how to do it approach controversial and uncertain situations with an open mind and be able to listen to and process a variety of opinions. Even though these discussions are in the context of a competition, the skills I've learned apply to all aspects of my life. I have become a better listener and a better thinker, and hopefully I can try and share these skills with everyone around me.” 
Both the Mines team and a team from Arizona State University will be advancing to the 21st National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl, to be held in Dallas, Texas on February 26.
“Now that we're going to Nationals, it really just means that we have to hit the ground running when the cases drop in January,” said chemical and biological engineering senior Dana Steiner. “Up until then we can take a break for a bit, but we have half the time to prepare for Nationals, so it will be a busy seven weeks. I love spending time with this team though—we really build off of each other and have fun conversations.”
Grover said that she also loves spending time with the team, and that she is most excited about “getting to work on new cases and have important ethical conversations with other students from all across the country.”
Woodson noted, “I'm very proud of them, and think our chances at Nationals are good.”

Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |

Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assitant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |



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