Colorado School of Mines Department of Mining Engineering Professor Masami Nakagawa recently brought together two indigenous cultures from the United States and Bolivia to discuss development of natural resources.

The Navajo Nation is a sovereign Native American nation occupying the largest land area of all Native American nations in the U.S.; the Aymara are an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano of South America – both are seeking balanced and sustainable sources of energy.

Enter Nakagawa, who works on building capacity for geothermal resource development and has been focused on sustainable energy initiatives in Bolivia, Peru and El Salvador. During this initial meeting, representatives from the two cultures discussed various options and challenges associated with this development in their native lands.

“Geothermal offers not only power generation, but by using the heat (without even generating electricity) geothermal resources offer many ways to build local businesses that are green and sustainable,” he said, noting that he is currently working on a Navajo GeoPark project that focuses on capacity building through geothermal/solar assisted greenhouses. 

The project will continue into the summer, when Nakagawa will lead a delegation of indigenous people to Bolivia. A group of five from the U.S. (including three Navajo and two from Mines) will visit the capital city of La Paz, Cochabamba, Sala de Uyuni, and a small town called Tocana, where they will discuss sustainable energy solutions.

Nakagawa serves as a Fulbright Specialist on energy and sustainability for Latin and South American countries. This project is funded by the U.S. Department of State.


Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 | kgilbert@mines.edu
Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 | abogucka@mines.edu

For the first time, a team of 18 Mines students has been selected to compete in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Design/Build/Fly competition April 15-17 in Wichita, Kansas.

The competition required teams to submit a proposal detailing the design, testing and manufacturing of two aircrafts. One hundred forty three teams applied and the Mines team, CSM BurroWorks, was selected as one of 93 teams from around the world to compete.

“What has impressed me the most is that these students are participating without any background on aircraft design or aerodynamics,” said Angel Abbud-Madrid, faculty advisor for the Mines AIAA chapter and director of the Center for Space Resources. “They have come up with an innovative and workable design for this competition.”

Formerly known as the CSM Space Society club, the Mines AIAA chapter has been able to expose members to new opportunities like this one.

Mines mechanical engineering senior and AIAA member Dominic Pena met last summer with the president of the Mines chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), Sam Drescher, to work on forming a team. They held a club meeting in the fall, reviewed applications and selected 18 out of 80 students who applied to be part of the team.

“My freshman year I heard of this competition and at that time, I tried to get it started. But now that I’m a senior, I really wanted to get it going,” Pena said. “There’s a lot of passion on our team – everyone really enjoys aerospace.”

Using the computer-modeling program, SolidWorks, students designed two planes: one with a 60-inch wingspan made out of carbon fiber and one with a 50-inch wingspan made out of foam. The team is currently performing glide tests with the smaller airplane on the Arvada Associated Modelers Flying Field.

Teams will be judged on the design, manufacturing and demonstration of the flight capabilities of their unmanned, electric powered, radio controlled aircrafts. The winning team will receive $2,500 and be invited to present their design at an AIAA conference.

CSM BurroWorks meets twice a week in the Senior Design Labs on the Mines campus. The AIAA-Rocky Mountain Section, ASME, Lockheed Martin and the Colorado Space Grant are helping fund the club’s participation in the competition.


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

Colorado School of Mines and Lockheed Martin hosted 150 students from five local high schools on campus Feb. 23 to celebrate National Engineers Week. Students spent the day touring research centers including the Center for Space Resources, Mines Geology Museum, Advanced Water Technology Center, ConocoPhillips Center for a Sustainable WE2ST, the Colorado Fuel Cell Center and the Critical Materials Institute (CMI).

“The beauty of being able to lead a tour through the Geology Museum while discussing Critical Materials, is that you are able to impress upon visitors a better understanding of the complex network of global mineral resources, their susceptibility to supply chain disruption, the importance of minerals in our future, and the dire need for continued advancement of technologies through research,” said geology graduate student Mandi Hutchinson. “It is really great to see in the future workforce a cognitive recognition of these concepts.  That’s what I saw in the gazes of many of our high school visitors.”

Twenty-five Lockheed Martin engineers and Mines alumni participated in a luncheon roundtable mentoring session focused on career mentorship where they shared advice on discipline, teamwork, study skills and work/life balance.

“Engineering is a building block of society, and at Lockheed Martin we’re engineering a better tomorrow by developing new solutions for our customers toughest challenges,” said Mark Pasquale, vice president of Engineering and Technology at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company. “This week we’re celebrating our brilliant engineers who are solving some of the world’s most difficult challenges, and we are committed to inspiring future generations to pursue STEM careers for missions to Mars and beyond.”

National Engineers Week is Feb. 21-27. The event aims to celebrate how engineers make a difference in our world, increase public dialogue about the need for engineers and bring engineering to life for kids, educators, and parents.


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

Jeanette Alberg, Manager, Community Relations, Lockheed Martin / 303-977-5841 / jeanette.a.alberg@lmco.com
Gary Napier, Communications Manager, Lockheed Martin / 303-971-4012 / gary.p.napier@lmco.com


Subscribe to RSS - Faculty