Manju and Jessica with their award plaques.
Manju Murugesu and Jessica Iriarte with their award plaques.
Colorado School of Mines students came out on top during the Society of Petroleum Engineers North America Student Symposium, held February 1 to 4 at Encana Corporation headquarters in downtown Denver.
The symposium is a massive conference put together by Colorado School of Mines, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and the University of Texas at Austin. This year, the symposium was held in conjunction with the North America PetroBowl Regional Qualifier and the Rocky Mountain North America and Southwestern North America Regional SPE Paper Contests.
Mines petroleum engineering senior Manju Murugesu and master’s student Jessica Iriarte both finished in first place in the Rocky Mountain North America Regional SPE Paper Contest. Students from universities across the region competed in three categories: undergraduate, master’s and PhD.
“I am glad that I got the opportunity to present—I had guidance from [Petroleum Engineering Professor] Dr. [Manika] Prasad and some of the graduate students,” said Murugesu. “Winning has motivated me to get more involved in research as an undergraduate.”
Mines also competed in the Petrobowl Regional Qualifier, represented by students Joe Brady, James Blaney, Lydia Gillespie, Connally Reid and Zak Hartman. The team won 3-2 in pool play, but did not advance to the final round.
Murugesu and Iriarte will represent Mines and the region during the International Student Paper Contest at the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, to be held in San Antonio, Texas, in October 2017.
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 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 |


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.



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

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.

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

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

Mines Entrepreneurship and Innovation Week ended on Saturday, January 21, 2017, with the Mines Innovation Challenge kick-off workshop. The week’s activities included the grand opening of the Blaster Design Factory, several workshop demonstrations and the Grand Challenge Scholars Program Launch. This year’s theme was “Sustainability in Natural Resource Industries.” The goal of this team-based competition is to apply creative, innovative thinking to real world challenges in the mining and oil & gas industries.

Throughout the kick-off workshop, Mines students had the opportunity to learn about the mining and oil & gas industries from experts, assemble into teams, brainstorm innovative solutions and formulate prototypes. At the end of the workshop, teams presented their innovation to a panel of judges, including Perry Eaton and Mike Aire from Newmont Mining and Sandy Stash from Tullow Oil. The Mines Innovation Challenge was only the first step for the seven winning teams who now have the opportunity to advance to the next stage of the challenge.

Of the 60 students that participated and the 16 teams that presented their ideas during the Innovation Challenge, seven teams were chosen to continue on with their projects. The seven winning teams were Love Glove, Vader Technologies, Time to Re-Tire, Smart Tech, ExoTech, Copper Cyanide Solutions and Pipe Dreamers.

Natalie Kalin, a member of the Pipe Dreamers team, enjoyed the quick turnaround required between problem presentation and solution generation. “Often we dwell on problems for too long, we come up with solutions that can be too complex or simply over-engineered,” said Kalin, “the quick idea generation required any and all solutions to be written down and involved genuine solutions that have not yet been nitpicked.”

Vader Technologies team disucssing their idea.

Carlos Perdomo Correa, a member of the Vader Technologies team which designed a mining respirator prototype, confessed that the idea for the team name originated from Star Wars. “Given the resemblance of the mining respirators to the Darth Vader mask,” explained Correa, “someone jokingly suggested Vader Technologies, and it was decided.” The unique set-up of the event, allowed for a “natural flow [leading] to the creation of our idea,” said Correa. Correa also commented that he would like to see an entrepreneurial speaker in the future.

Adam Marcinkowski, a student in the Geophysics Department, said he was “thrilled to jump head first into such an energizing event in just [his] second week [at Mines].” Marcinkowski also said that the competition reminded him of the “hackathon” design sprints he participated in during an internship at Facebook. “Pizza, drinks and ideation at 100 miles an hour,” said Marcinkowski. “Collaboration—in the right environment and exposed to rapid feedback—is the recipe for innovation.”

Mines Associate Professor Robin Bullock, who was an integral part of the Mines Innovation Planning Team, was impressed with the diverse group of students that developed great solutions, noting that, “both Perry and Mike [of Newmont Mining] commented that the solutions were of a higher caliber than last year, which made it difficult to select final teams.”

On April 13, 2017, the seven teams will present their final solutions and only one will be chosen to win the $25,000 grant to move forward with their innovative idea.

Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |

The Computing-Mines Affiliates Partnership Program (C-MAPP) held its third annual Awards Event on Thursday, January 19, 2017. The event brings together Mines computer science students and industry professionals. Twenty-four students presented their posters in 30-second elevator pitches to industry judges, and 32 students were awarded scholarships thanks to the fifteen C-MAPP Partner companies. The theme of the night was “what I wish I knew.” After a brief company bio, each of the fifteen industry representatives gave a piece of advice on what they wish they knew when they were in college before presenting a $1,000 scholarship to select students.

Kerry Neilson, a representative from Lockheed Martin, spoke about the positive effect that events like C-MAPP have on students. “How successful you will be in industry depends on your ability to communicate and to summarize,” said Neilson. Tyler Rust, a Fast Enterprises representative, expressed that, “Anything we can do to be involved at Mines—keep that constant presence with the students and learn about their projects—is a priority for us.”

“My advice to you is stretch your comfort zone,” said Metcalf representative Nathan Boyles. “Scare yourself because that is when you start expanding your horizon, you start coming up with new ideas and you start meeting new people [who] are going to give you their hand and hold you forward.”

After the scholarship presentations, “Best Poster” and “Best Oral Presentation” winners and runners-up were announced.

Clockwise: Jesse DeMott, Jennifer Ryan, Blair Watkinson, William Kelly, Fei Han and Brandon Her with Sam Schilling.

Jesse Demott won Best Undergraduate Poster. His project focused on bringing like-minded computer science students together via CONNECT, a constantly evolving web application that caters to computer science students.

“Computer science is such a wide field, there’s so many different things you can learn and so many different niches,” explained Demott. “Students can feel like they’re isolated.”  The main goal of CONNECT is to allow computer science students to connect with their peers and discuss what they are passionate about.

Jennifer Ryan won Best Graduate Poster for “Selection of Offloading Algorithms in High Congested SDNs”. Blair Watkinson’s  “Self-Organizing Autonomous Robotic System Using Constrained K-means Clustering” was the runner-up.

The winner of Best Undergraduate Oral Presentation was Brandon Her for “Mapping Routes of Science”. Fei Han won Best Graduate Oral Presentation for “SRAL: Shared Representative Appearance Learning for Long-Term Visual Place Recognition” and William Kelly’s “A Comparison Between Mobile OS Security Systems” was the graduate runner-up.

"Our C-MAPP event was bigger and better than ever before. We had approximately 220 attendees. The students who presented posters did an amazing job. We were pleased by the number of current students and industry representatives that attended to network," said Tracy Camp, Professor and Division Director for the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at Colorado School of Mines.

Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |

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.

Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines
Ashley Spurgeon, Editorial Assistant, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |

Newmont Mining Corporation has challenged Mines students to develop team-based, innovative solutions to improve sustainability in natural resource industries. A series of workshops and related innovation events will take place the week of Jan. 17–20, culminating with the Mines Innovation Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 21. Student teams will present prototypes featuring their innovations at the challenge, and will be judged on how well they demonstrate a high probability of success.

“Students will have the opportunity to hear from and work directly with Mines alumni in both the mining and oil and gas industries,” said Robin Bullock, associate engineering teaching professor. “We’re excited to see the student ideas, which are generated to address real-world problems and opportunities."

At the challenge, teams will formulate and iterate low-resolution prototypes to improve the environmental, safety, development or closure of mining or oil and gas operations. A panel of judges will select up to six winning teams to receive $1,000 to refine their prototype under the mentorship of a Mines professor, along with a free, one-credit technical elective class. The selected teams will also have a chance at an award of $36,000 to cultivate and advance their ideas further. In February, they will present their project prototypes at the Western Mining Convention

Schedule of Events

Tuesday, Jan. 17 | 4-5 p.m.
Brown Building MakerSpace Grand Opening
Blaster Design Factory (Brown Hall, first floor atrium)
Ribbon-cutting by President Johnson for Mines’ newest student design space

Wednesday, Jan. 18 | 3-6 p.m.
Workshops: soldering, PVC skills, 3D printing and more!
Information »

Thursday, Jan. 19 | 11 a.m.-1 p.m.            
Grand Challenge Scholars Program Launch
Marquez Hall 108

Saturday, Jan. 21 | 9 a.m.-4 p.m.          
2017 Innovation Challenge
Brown Hall W280
Register now »

More information on Entrepreneurship & Innovation Week »

Katy Brown, Associate Director, Communications and Marketing, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 | 

Leah Pinkus, Communications Assistant, Colorado School of Mines |


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