STEM

Colorado School of Mines students have organized a campus version of the popular TED Talks, with the aim of bringing new ideas to this community of aspiring scientists and engineers.

TEDxCSM, with the theme of “Pathways to Tomorrow” and taking place from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, has already sold out. Unsurprisingly, education is well represented in the four scheduled talks.

Gus Greivel, teaching professor of Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Mines, will present “Failing Successfully in Education,” discussing how encouraging intellectual risks and failure and modeling this behavior in faculty can help students.

“I plan to explore some recent changes we have made in the Honors Calculus II course at Mines that reflect risk-taking on the part of the faculty and a change in emphasis on how and what we assess with this high-performing group of students,” said Greivel, who received his BS and MS degrees from Mines and has taught at the university since 1996.

Jahi Simbai, assistant dean of graduate studies at Mines, hopes to both educate and entertain with his talk, titled “The Power of &.” The presentation is inspired by hip-hop and the teachings of Jim Collins, a Colorado native who taught at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and now runs a management laboratory in Boulder.

“I’m going to perform some live music, show some slides and talk about how the students can become great engineers and something else,” Simbai said. “As an engineering, an entertainer, an administrator and a lifelong learner I—enjoyably—wear many hats,” he added. “I will discuss with the community how they, if they wish, can do the same by embracing the power of ‘and’.”

Jessica Ellis, assistant professor of mathematics at Colorado State University, drawing from her own experiences as a student and educator, will present “The Breakdown of Women in STEM.” As a member of a larger research project, Ellis helped determine that women are 50 percent more likely to switch out of STEM majors after taking Calculus I in college, compared to men with the same abilities.

“We found that students’ confidence in their math abilities was a major factor,” Ellis said. While not a groundbreaking discovery, “by documenting and publishing these findings, I put words to many women’s experiences in introductory college math.”

Longtime marketing executive Justine Metz will discuss ethics and engineering.

Mines sophomore Daniel Dickason and senior Jessie Burckel, both mechanical engineering majors, are the co-organizers of the TEDx event. The rest of the team is made up of Grayland Balmer, chemical and biological engineering; Sean Smith, mechanical engineering; Trevor Clevenger, engineering physics; Becca May, computer science; and Tara Maestas, biochemical engineering.

Bringing TEDx to Golden has actually been a couple of years in the making. Arjumand Alvi, who graduated from Mines last May and now works as a systems engineer at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, had been the primary point of contact in trying to obtain the one-year TEDx license.

“When I was in school, I had a professor who really opened my eyes to TED Talks,” Alvi said. “I was also an RA, where there was a lot of interest in using technology to educate our residents.” The committee had to reapply for the license, as their original proposal was deemed too narrowly focused on engineering. “Now we have a multidisciplinary event that tackles different things that influence engineers but is not restricted to engineering.”

Organizers plan to post videos of the talks after the event.

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu

The Colorado School of Mines student section of the Society of Women Engineers welcomed nearly 200 students—the largest turnout to date—to its fifth annual Girls Lead the Way conference, which guides young women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The conference, with the theme “Unlock the Mysteries, Make Discoveries,” took place Saturday, February 11, 2017, at Mines and brought in girls in grades 9 through 12 from all over Colorado and beyond.

The students attended two sessions in the morning. A panel of Mines SWE members representing various majors spoke about their classes and internships and the career opportunities in their fields, followed by a fashion show-style presentation on dressing appropriately for different professional situations.

In the afternoon, participants were able to choose two hands-on sessions based on their interests. Topics included aerospace, biomechanical engineering, metallurgy and materials science, petroleum engineering and robotics, among others. Previous conferences had only offered one such session, but attendees had wanted more because of their multiple interests and space limitations. "By adding a second session, we were able to give more girls more exposure to the types of disciplines they might be interested in," said Agata Dean, faculty advisor for the SWE section.

More than 120 parents attended a presentation by Jessica Whelehan on admission to Mines, financial aid and student life. Dean said parents had many great questions and provided positive feedback, including one who said the presentation “increased my knowledge about what is available at Mines.” This presentation was a new addition to the conference. At the end of the day, over 100 students and parents went on campus tours.

Kevin Moore, dean of the College of Engineering and Computational Science, sponsored students from underrepresented areas: 14 girls from Denver School of Science and Technology, 12 from Thornton High School and one from North High School. In addition, a donation from Mines alumna Rubecca Martinez allowed nine students to attend, mostly from Adams City High School.

Longtime corporate sponsors Aera Energy and BP continued their support for the event, and numerous Mines faculty, staff and students supported the conference as volunteers. Dean praised Olivia Cordova, this year’s director of Girls Lead the Way, for running the conference, which was also sponsored by the Rocky Mountain Section of SWE.

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu

 
A global engineering firm’s diversity chief spoke to students about how inclusion not only makes for a better workplace, but also sparks innovation and benefits the bottom line, in an event organized by the Mines chapter of Out in STEM, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Multicultural Engineering Program.
 
“Diversity truly, truly promotes innovation, which sparks better decision-making, problem-solving and an overall increase in creativity,” said Faye Tate, CH2M’s director of Global Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion, who addressed a packed Ballroom A in the Student Center on February 7, 2017.
The organizers of the event with the speaker. Left to right: Deb Lasich, Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion at Mines; Petere Weddle, President of oSTEM at Mines; Faye Tate, Director of Global Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion for CH2M; and Kim Pattillo, CH2M University Relations.
The organizers of the event with the speaker. Left to right: Mines Associate Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Deb LasichPresident of oSTEM at Mines Peter Weddle; CH2M Director of Global Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion for CH2M Faye Tate; and Kim Pattillo, CH2M University Relations.

Tate said her company’s dedication to diversity and inclusion has not only resulted in a better workplace, but has also helped CH2M secure jobs over other companies that did not share the same core values.

“We see diversity as a part of our culture, part of our DNA,” Tate said. “There’s so many dimensions of diversity, and what we are trying to do is harness all of those dimensions to be better as a company."

Faye Tate speaks to a full-house.

Peter Weddle, PhD student in mechanical engineering and president of oSTEM at Mines, said he was excited to bring such a dynamic speaker to campus to “discuss how diversity and inclusion and LGBT-inclusiveness is beneficial in both an engineering sense, and also in a business-practice sense.”
 
Weddle explained that students at a school like Mines may not always experience the same level of diversity as they might at other colleges. “In the engineering space, specifically, we have detriments for both women, but also for people of color and those in LGBTQ spaces—the whole topic of diversity and inclusion can be more glossed over at Mines than at other schools," he said.
 
Although oSTEM is focused primarily on LGBTQA communities in the STEM fields, the organizers hoped to reach out to a broader audience by working with MEP and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. 
 
Weddle is optimistic about the growth of support for diversity and inclusion at Mines. “I think that bringing awareness to these kinds of issues shows that Mines is an accepting space for all types of diverse people, and that they are working toward reflecting what is shown in industry—trying to move toward a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere.”
 

Contact:

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

 

There is plenty of room for innovation as the so-called “Internet of Things” continues to grow, but not without increased concerns over safety and security, according to Florence Hudson of the nonprofit consortium Internet2, who met with Colorado School of Mines students and IT professionals Friday, February 3, 2017.

Florence Hudson presents to Mines studentsInternet2 is comprised of over 315 academic institutions—including Mines—and more than 150 research organizations in industry, networking and government developing innovations around the Internet. As senior vice president and chief innovation officer, Hudson keeps an eye on developing trends. “What we’re interested in is, where are the research and education opportunities?” she said. “Where is the economic value?” Hudson’s office also helps connect likeminded people, creating a path for academic research to be put into practice.

The Innovation Office’s three priorities, Hudson said, are end-to-end trust and security, distributed big data and analysis and the Internet of Things (IoT), which are all related. IoT is made up of interconnected everyday objects that can gather and exchange data—anything from printers than can order more ink when it’s running low, to heart monitoring implants and self-driving cars. These objects, Hudson noted, generate large amounts of different kinds of data. “We’re talking all the way up to brontobytes, 10 to the 27th power,” she said. And all that information must be kept secure.

Hudson said the two things that worry her the most concern the security of connected vehicles and health care devices. She shared the story of hackers who were able to take control of a Jeep on the highway—turning on the wipers, blasting the radio, shutting down the engine and disabling the brakes and steering. In addition to safety, consumer confidence in these products is also at risk, said Hudson, who met a person who has refused to drive his Jeep since seeing the video. “People are going to freeze,” Hudson said. On the health care front, Hudson spoke of a diabetic who was able to hack into his own insulin pump. “We need security at every level, like with castles,” Hudson said.

Other concerns include hackers commandeering IoT devices for large-scale attacks, such as the one that targeted a DNS provider in October 2016, taking down Twitter and numerous other sites for users in North America and Europe.

Despite these concerns, many academic institutions are turning their campuses into testing grounds for “smart” technologies for cities and communities. Outside of its direct benefits Hudson noted that IoT has been shown to increase student engagement in K-12 and higher education, ease the learning process and tailor education to students’ needs. “Our opportunity is in thinking of how we can use it for good,” Hudson said.

Mines Associate Professor of Computer Science Qi Han, whose Pervasive Computing Systems Group conducts research in smartphone sensing, wearable computing, robotic and wireless sensor networks and similar technologies, was eager to explore the possibility of collaborating with Internet2 and its Collaborative Innovation Community Working Group. She has since reached out to Hudson and hopes to hear more shortly.

Afterward, over lunch, Hudson spoke to students in the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics program, the Graduate Women Student Reading Group and the Mines chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, discussing how diversity and inclusion lead to innovation. Hudson served on the national board of SWE, where she developed programs to inspire women and girls to pursue STEM careers.

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu

SWE members gathered outside of Stratton Hall
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science and CBS4 are hosting the third annual Girls & Science event, sponsored in part by Colorado School of Mines, on Saturday, March 4, 2017. Much like a career fair, attendees will meet women in science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) professions and experience the diverse opportunities such fields can bring.

Students and their families will explore a variety of “clubhouses” where they will be able to talk to different women and learn about what they do and what inspires them through conversations and hands-on activities. About 30 students, mostly from the Mines chapter of the Society of Women Engineers, will staff the Mines Engineering the Way Clubhouse and share their experiences with young girls interested in pursuing a future in STEAM.

“The Mines clubhouse will be bigger than what we had last year, so we are planning to offer more activities,” said Agata Dean, SWE’s faculty advisor. Such activities include an earthquake tremor table, a station where kids can look at different catapult designs and launch marshmallows, a station for learning how to build columns in different shapes to test for stability and strength, as well as a “make and take” activity in which kids can learn about binary code and make bracelets representing the first letter of their name. The Mines clubhouse will also feature a station where students can take their photo with cardboard cutouts of Marvin the Miner and Blaster while wearing a Mines hard hat. This station will also feature information about Mines summer camps and facts and statistics about women at Mines.

“The goal of the event is to showcase that girls can do anything and be anything, and that science and math are not just for boys,” Dean said. “By having a clubhouse (and an entire event) staffed by intelligent young women, the hope is that the girls attending will be exposed to role models they can identify with and will be able to envision themselves as part of a STEM future.”

Yet Girls & Science benefits more than just the young students who attend the event. Dean says this is an equally important event for the volunteers. “All our volunteers are current Mines students studying engineering, because they realize how important it is for kids to understand that studying engineering can lead to a cool, valuable and fun future,” Dean said.

Girls & Science will be held throughout the Denver Museum of Nature & Science from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more details and tickets to the event, visit the Denver Museum of Nature & Science website.

 

Contact:

Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-384-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu

Martin Kohn, Dov Quint, August Steinbeck, Muhammad Abdullah Khawar, Phillip Ruban

Mineral and Energy Economics students Martin Kohn, Dov Quint, August Steinbeck, Muhammad Abdullah Khawar and Phillip Ruban placed third the Columbia University Energy Symposium case competition in New York City.

Five Mines graduate students placed third, winning $500 at the Columbia University Energy Symposium case competition in New York City on Feb. 2. Muhammad Abdullah Khawar, Martin Kohn, Dov Quint, Phillip Ruban and August Steinbeck study Mineral and Energy Economics in the Division of Economics and Business at Colorado School of Mines.

This competition allowed teams to present creative and innovative solutions for critical challenges facing the energy and environment sectors. Students also had the opportunity to interact with professionals, professors and students in the energy sector.

Learn more about the Columbia University Energy Symposium.

About Mineral and Energy Economics at Mines
Founded in 1969, this world-renowned program in the Division of Economics Business leads to MS and PhD degrees in Mineral and Energy Economics. This program attracts students from all over the world, and Mines MEE alumni are known globally for their career achievements and qualifications. Students gain the skills necessary for understanding the complex interactions of markets and policy that influence the energy, mineral and environmental industries. The program focuses on applied quantitative tools and models that form a foundation for sound business and public policy. Learn more about Mines’ Mineral and Energy Economics MS and PhD programs.

CONTACT
Kelly Beard, Communication Specialist, Division of Economics and Business | 303-273-3452 | kbeard@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

A collaboration between Colorado School of Mines and University of Northern Colorado that creates a pathway for Mines students to become STEM teachers has been awarded $140,000 by 100Kin10, a national effort to add 100,000 STEM teachers to the nation's classrooms by 2021.

Teacher Education Alliance, Mines-UNC Partnership, also known as TEAM-UP, integrates 21 credits of the professional teacher education program (delivered by UNC) into existing Mines undergraduate degrees. All coursework is online or delivered on the Mines campus, with all field experiences within 50 miles. The remaining 9 credits are taken after graduation.

The grant was one of 10 Early Childhood STEM Learning Challenge grants, totaling over $2.4 million, announced by 100Kin10 on January 24. Partners were asked to propose "moonshot" ideas to solve the following challenge: "How might we support teachers to creative active STEM learning environments in grades P-3 in schools across the country?"

The funding will support a TEAM-UP program called Partnerships for STEM Identity: 3 Populations of Active Learners, or PSI3. The program pairs teacher candidates with seasoned elementary teachers to co-design and deliver engaging STEM lessons to K-3 classrooms.

“The grant will enable us to both continue to nurture this program, while also broadening the reach of the project and expanding the number of STEM teacher candidates who are able to improve their pedagogical skills and the number of classroom teachers who receive rich, age-appropriate content," said Wendy Adams, TEAM-UP co-director and associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UNC.

Physics Teaching Associate Professor Kristine Callan is co-director of the partnership and serves on its Leadership Committee with Physics Teaching Professor Hsia-Po Vince Kuo. Other Mines faculty taking part in the project are Chemistry Teaching Professor Renee Falconer and Computer Science Teaching Professor Cyndi Rader, who serve on the advisory board.

Contact:
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-384-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

Female student works with a young girl.Golden Library is partnering with Colorado School of Mines to host a STEM Girls Competition that runs through Feb. 22, 2017. Girls in grades 5–8 living in Jefferson County are invited to develop an original project related to energy and environment, health and nutrition or biomedical advancements. The competitors are encouraged to think about ways they can build a better world with their project ideas.

The girls will then share their projects on Feb. 22, at the Golden Library. Mines students from DECTech, an outreach program designed for girls, will judge the competition. “As a female, being interested in a STEM field can be intimidating,” said Shelly Konopka, a Mines DECTech instructor, computer science student and one of the competition judges. “Participating in an all-female competition can ease some of these feelings. Girls are encouraged to learn, explore and create in this type of competition. These skills will help foster excitement in STEM at a young age, which will continue to grow as the girls progress through their schooling.”

The competition winners will be honored at the International Women’s Day Luncheon on March 8, 2017, and all contestants will receive a participation certificate.

For more details about the competition and the other STEM programming that the Jefferson County Public Library offers, read the article featured in YourHub.

For contest rules, visit jeffcolibrary.org/events.

 

Contact:

Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu
Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines 303-273-3088 lpinkus@mines.edu

 

The President’s Committee on Diversity hosted the first Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Luncheon on January 17, 2016. In addition to celebrating Dr. King’s work, the event honored Mines community members who are exceptional in their appreciation for diversity and understanding its value on campus.

MLK speech in Friedhoff Hall

What started as a small breakfast gathering in 2004 to celebrate diversity and community on MLK Day has turned into a well-known campus tradition 13 years later. Since 2008, Mines has held a breakfast and an awards ceremony recognizing select members of the Mines community.  Members of the community are nominated for the MLK Recognition Award, and the MLK Day Planning Committee selects the winners.

This year, the inspirational “I have a dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. was broadcast on the monitors in Friedhoff Hall after the recipients received their awards. The moving speech was an ideal way to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. and his movement towards equality and diversity.

The 2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Recognition Award Recipients are:

Holly Eklund, Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics. Eklund was nominated by a fellow AMS faculty member for her extensive involvement in the Multicultural Engineering Program. She was described as “not only a mathematics instructor, but also as a friend and mentor to the students in the program.” Eklund is also a valued CSM101 mentor and faculty advisor for the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers student chapter.

Iker Madera, a senior in Geophysics was nominated by a fellow student because of his “interest in reaching out to children of underrepresented groups to encourage their involvement in STEM.”

Blake Jones, a junior in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering was nominated by a fellow student for his goal is to increase recognition of Out in Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (oSTEM) on campus. He was described as an “advocate for LGBTQ rights, education and inclusion,” as well as “the only student on campus certified to give SafeZone training.”

Nominated by a faculty member, students Hannah Grover, Jessica Deters, Jacquie Feuerborn, Izabel Aguiar and Joanna Clark were selected for their work as executive officers of the campus club, Equality Through Awareness. The goal of the club is to address issues facing minorities in STEM, including gender, ethnic and racial minorities.

MLK "I have a dream..." post cards
To encourage reflection on Dr. King’s powerful words, attendees were asked to complete the sentence “I have a dream…” on postcards, filling in their own desires for equality and social justice.

Contact:
Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines lpinkus@mines.edu
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 | aspurgeon@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

 
Students from Alameda International Junior/Senior High School visited Colorado School of Mines on December 7 as part of an outreach program aimed at connecting high schools with a diverse student body to Mines—with a focus on earth science. The program, Mining for Talent, was initiated by the Integrated Groundwater Modeling Center (IGWMC) in conjunction with Jefferson County Public Schools and funded by the National Science Foundation. 
 
Professor of Hydrology Kamini Singha, graduate students from the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program and staff from the IGWMC led the group throughout the day, which included hands-on lab activities, interactive demos, a scavenger hunt in the Geology Museum and more.
 
“I really want to provide opportunities for some of our local high schools with students underrepresented in earth science to see what we all do here,” said Singha. “These kids are bright and motivated, and starting to think about college. Mines might be the kind of place some of them would consider, especially when they see all we can do here.”
 
The students participated in a number of lab activities—from generating earthquakes using smartphones and mapping contamination in the subsurface to exploring the role of biology on geochemical reactions. With each activity, they toured a related campus facility, such as the Earth Mechanics Institute and the Center for Experimental Study of Subsurface Processes, exposing them to the daily activities of these centers.
 
Twelve graduate students from HSE participated in the outreach program. “I’m glad Mines is reaching out to local high schools”, said Annette Hein, who led a campus tour. “I hope we can help these students get excited about science and engineering.”
 
The interactive day ended with an info session aimed at helping the students focus on what they can do in their last years in high school to help them get into the college of their choice.
 
Travis Ramos, a new graduate student in HSE who just earned his bachelor's from Mines, led a presentation on what a day in the life of a college student looks like. “College is truly a time to empower yourself to make an impact in the world,” said Ramos. “I wanted most of all for them to know that college will help them explore their interests, discover their passions and provide a platform for them to excel in life.”
 
This program will be funded through NSF for another year, and Singha and the IGWMC are looking into other opportunities to engage diverse students on campus. 
 
See more photos from the day here.
 
Contact:
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science & Engineering | 303-384-2622 | ramirez@mines.edu

 

 

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