Twenty members of the Society of Physics Students at Colorado School of Mines shared their love of physics with students at Pinnacle High School earlier this spring, encouraging them to pursue science and higher education with hands-on demonstrations.

The chapter’s annual outreach event was funded by the Future Faces of Physics Award, given by the national Society of Physics Students and Sigma Pi Sigma to promote physics across cultures, particularly among people from groups historically underrepresented in the field.

“We take all of our demonstrations and experiments to the school and put on an interactive day of science for the students,” said Lindsey Hart, president of SPS at Mines. “We make worksheets to help guide the students’ thinking and learning so we can help them understand the physics, in addition to seeing how exciting it can be.”

The demonstrations, which took place April 27, featured five stations: electricity, magnetism, mechanics, vacuum/fluids/sound and optics, each with a lead volunteer with expertise in the topic. “Our goal is to encourage high school students to think about going to college and pursuing science, and to help our members develop their leadership and communication skills,” Hart said.

The group has also brought its presentations to local middle schools to cultivate the next generation of scientists and engineers.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Assistant Editor, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |

WISEM Director Annette Pilkington

The newly appointed director of the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics (WISEM) Program at Colorado School of Mines is working to bolster campus partnerships that will help expand opportunities for students, foster a safe and inclusive environment and assist with the recruitment of more women students.

Annette Pilkington had been serving as the interim director of the program, and was previously program manager of the Diversity and Inclusion Office at Mines.

“I am excited to work with our amazing students as they develop professionally in preparation for the workplace where they will take on the world’s problems,” Pilkington said.

“WISEM is designed to support women on campus,” Pilkington said. “Part of the mission of WISEM is to enhance opportunities for women in engineering and applied science, and to increase the recruitment, retention and graduation of women students.”

Pilkington said she wants to work with the admissions office on recruitment efforts, the Title IX office to help foster a safe and inclusive campus, and other offices across campus to expand opportunities for students.

“I would like to enhance and strengthen partnerships on campus,” Pilkington said.

The WISEM Program was established in 1997 through a grant from the Chevron Corporation and provides programming, training and mentoring to students, faculty and staff.

WISEM programs include Mines collegiate section of the Society for Women Engineers, which is the largest in the U.S.; the Chevron Lecture Series, an annual luncheon that features women leaders in science, engineering and business; and the Halliburton Making the Connection event, which invites young women who have been accepted to Mines to campus to meet other prospective students. Pilkington is also very passionate about the Girls Lead the Way conference, which aims to get high school girls interested in pursuing STEM fields.

“It’s really neat to see high school girls as they are starting to think about college and what they want to do with their lives,” Pilkington said. “They really look up to our student role models.”

Pilkington added that WISEM is “here to support everyone on campus, not just women students. The goal is to help make our campus more inclusive and diverse. Different perspectives and ideas is a benefit and asset [for everyone].”

“Annette’s work with our WISEM program and Society of Women Engineers student section is critical to meeting our goals for the makeup of our campus community and student success, and continuing the advances we have made with respect to the growth in numbers and success of woman at Mines,” said President Paul Johnson.

Pilkington has worked at Mines since 2013. She has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Northern Iowa and a master’s in curriculum and teaching from Columbia University.

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

Mines Entrepreneurship Club hosts second annual Golden Startup Festival on April 28, 2017 at the Green Center.

The Colorado School of Mines Entrepreneurship Club hosted the second annual Golden Startup Festival, which included a networking fair, a panel discussion and a pitch competition, on April 28, 2017 at the Green Center.

“The startup festival brings together entrepreneurship around Golden and Mines,” said Kylen McClintock, vice president of the Mines Entrepreneurship Club and cofounder of the startup AirBespoke. “Entrepreneurship thrives when people are able to share ideas and can find that connection.”

The festival is the culminating annual event for the Entrepreneurship Club and teaches participants about launching and growing a startup company. The panel discussion included startup professionals Jen Thoemke, cofounder of Golden business accelerator Traxion; Charles Mason, inventor and owner of Clingless, which produces a shower curtain holder; and Nathan Sleadd, gear designer for Zipline Gear.

Andrew Maxey from Vartega, which develops a low-cost grade of carbon fiber through a novel recycling process, won the pitch competition and was awarded $500 as well as a meeting with Traxion. Second place went to, an app that links people with extra storage with others who need it. Informu, which has designed a tracking device that lets you know when you’re too far from your belongings, took third.

The Golden Startup Festival also introduces potential investors to developing companies. “It’s a great place to meet a potential cofounder,” McClintock said.

The event also allows students to “see these really cool companies on the edge of technology, with unique business models and that are trying to solve interesting problems in the world,” McClintock added.

“The tools are out there,” McClintock said. “You can get funding, you can create a prototype pretty quickly, you can test a market fit and you can launch a company if you are committed to it.”

For more information about the Mines Entrepreneurship Club, visit their Facebook page.

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

A group of faculty and students from the Colorado School of Mines partnered with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in Denver to promote women in STEM on Saturday, April 15.

The group, which included representatives from several different departments at Mines, set up presentations and demonstrations at the school, where girls of all ages, along with their parents, were able to experiment and learn more about the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. 

Mines faculty and students  partnered with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Early College in Denver to promote women in STEM.

Mines faculty and students engaged students in a variety of experiments and activities throughout the day. The Mines Chemistry Department helped students create “polyworms” by adding liquid sodium alginate into a solution of calcium chloride, making gummy worms that showcased a range of different polymer properties. A group from the Physics Department shared four different activities with electricity and magnetism, while the Geophysics Department demonstrated small-scale earthquakes using a watermelon as a model for Earth. 

Other activities included learning about error detection in computers with the Computer Science Department, drilling for oil—aka maple syrup—with the Petroleum Engineering Department, and mining for chocolate chips from cookies with the Mining Department.

“Overall, it was a blast,” said Kamilia Putri, a graduate student in petroleum engineering, who noted the students were surprised to learn how much oil they used in everyday life. 

“Encouraging more women to enter STEM fields is always a worthy endeavor, and this was a great way for Mines to engage with students in an interactive way,” said Computer Science Professor Tracy Camp who helped organize Mines’ involvement in the event. “Events like these are not only a great way for students to learn about STEM, but also to learn about Mines and all of the exciting work we do here.

Mines' Geophysics Department demonstrated small-scale earthquakes using a watermelon as a model for Earth.

Megan Hanson, Communications Manager, Academic Affairs | 303-384-2358 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

Helluva Service Event

More than 300 Mines students volunteered at the Helluva Service Event on April 8, 2017. Students worked on nearly 50 community projects including gardening and spreading mulch and gravel to help local groups like the Table Mountain Garden Club. The morning event contributed roughly 1,000 hours of labor to the Golden community. The Helluva Service Event is a student-driven day of service dedicated to giving back to Golden, a city that has supported the growth and development of Colorado School of Mines and its students.

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

Ian Lange and Peter Maniloff

Division of Economics and Business professors Ian Lange and Peter Maniloff, in cooperation with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, were awarded a Sloan Foundation grant to host the Colorado Technology Primer for Economists and Social Scientists.

Two one-week sessions will be offered July 31-Aug. 4 and Aug. 14-18 on the Colorado School of Mines campus in Golden. Application materials are due April 25.

The goal of the summer primer is to provide advanced doctoral students and early-career academic professionals with an interdisciplinary (engineering and social science) understanding of electricity distribution systems and the interface of technology and policy. The summer sessions will help participants bridge the gap between economists’ and engineers’ perspectives as well as improve the quality and applicability of their academic research.

The two one-week sessions will essentially be identical, and applicants are asked to choose their preferred week to attend but should also give notice if they are available for either week. If selected, there will be no tuition fee. A small amount of travel and lodging reimbursement will also be available and the decisions on this award will be made concurrent with admission decisions.

The weeklong program will consist of seven lectures by staff members from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, faculty from Colorado School of Mines as well as industry professionals. Additionally, there will be a tour of NREL’s Energy Systems Integration Facility and National Wind Technology Center that will allow students to see the renewable energy systems and electrical equipment first-hand, supplementing the knowledge gained in the classroom.

The primer will have sessions on:

•          Principles of Power System Planning and Operations

•          Industrial Organization of Electricity Markets

•          Distribution System Principles and the Evolving Interface with the Bulk Power System

•          Determinants of Electricity Demand and their Impact on the Distribution System

•          Critical Issues for Distribution Systems Moving Forward

•          Understanding the Highs and Lows and Overall Challenges of Multidisciplinary Research

Applicants must be a registered PhD student in economics or a related field and have completed the first two years of coursework, or an early-career academic professional (post-doctoral fellow or assistant professor) in an economics or related university department.

Please submit the following for consideration:

  1. One page cover letter describing research interests in electricity distribution, renewable energy systems or related topics. In an effort to balance class sizes, please include preferred dates, and whether you are available for either session.
  2. Curriculum Vitae

Additionally, PhD students must submit a letter from an advisor or, if an advisor hasn’t been selected yet, a faculty member. This letter should be less than one page and should endorse the application to the summer primer.

The program welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences and ideas. Participants are expected to learn as much from fellow students as they will from the instructors, and diversity will enrich everyone involved.

Send all application materials electronically in a single PDF file to by April 25. Decisions will be communicated to applicants by May 5. For questions about the program, contact Ian Lange,

Kelly Beard, Communication Specialist, Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3452 |
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering | 303-384-2657 |

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.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 |

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.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 |

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.”


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


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.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines magazine | 303-273-3959 |


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