On June 17 and 18, a team of five Mines students placed third in the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) International Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competitiona prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students around the world. More than 250 university teams from over 50 countries partipate in the IBA competition each year and one winner from each of the 12 AAPG regional sections was chosen to move forward to the international competition. Mines received the Stoneley Medal and $5,000 in scholarship funds, creating a legacy after two previous third place wins in 2012 and 2014.

"With all of the excellent scientists participating at the international level, winning the Stoneley Medal was a great recognition, and we are proud to help continue the tradition of excellence here at Mines," said geology and geological engineering graduate student Michael Harty.

From left: Matt Bauer, Abdulah Eljalafi, Sarah King, Michael Harty and Evan Allred

Geology and geological engineering graduate students Abdulah Eljalafi, Sarah King, Michael Harty, Matt Bauer, Evan Allred and faculty advisor Steve Sonnenberg participated on the 2016 Mines team. Prior to the competion, teams were given a geoscience dataset to analyze. Teams delivered results in 25-minute presentations to a panel of industry experts, and winners were chosen on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of their presentations.

"The IBA competition offers such a great experience. I recommend it to any geology, geophysics or petroleum engineering student looking for a hands-on experience," said Bauer. "Our team evaluated a real dataset and presented our findings to a panel of worldwide industry experts. We feel lucky to utilize the excellent technical and applied instruction that Mines providesit definitely helped us stand apart from the competition." 

A full list of winners can be seen on the IBA website.


Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |


GOLDEN, CO, June 20, 2016 — Colorado School of Mines and the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT), a consortium of academic, industry and government institutions focused on developing technologies to accelerate the certification and qualification of 3D-printed metal parts, will be hosting an open house 5 p.m. June 23 in the ADAPT Advanced Characterization Center (Brown W230).

Mines student Paige Bowling is one of 22 women running for the title of Miss Colorado June 9-11. She is pursuing degrees in chemical and biochemical engineering, and biochemistry. Bowling chose the competition as a way to raise scholarship funds for the extra year she will be attending Mines to complete both degrees.

At Mines, Bowling serves as the marketing director and regional officer (for the 20 sections) in the Society of Women in Engineering, and will be running under the platform of women in science and engineering for Miss Colorado.

“There is a very common stigma about women who chose to follow a career path in anything science or engineering related which perpetuates gender inequalities,” said Bowling. “If you ask a young girl what she wants to be when she grows up, over time many girls will shift their focus from grand career paths to something based upon gender-normative stereotypes. My ultimate goal is to not only promote young girls to continue on a path focused on math and science, but to also promote education to everyone. To do this, I hope to expand the current science and engineering resources available to schools for everyone, but especially young girls.”

Since she was a freshman, Bowling has been working with professor Brian Trewyn to synthesize mesoporous silica (MCM-141) for chemotherapy research and new fluorine imaging techniques to be used at hospitals within the next five years. Bowling also works as a Mines Help Desk operator, after taking over the role from her brother, Garrett, who graduated from Mines in December 2014 with a mechanical engineering specialty degree. She is a certified personal trainer at the Student Recreation Center and a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

This week, Bowling will have an interview before competing in the evening gown, swimsuit and 90-second talent portions of the competition. While most of the women will be doing music or dance routines, Bowling’s talent will be poi spinning. Poi is a performance art and typically involves swinging objects that have various rhythmical and geometric patterns. In a dark room, Bowling will be spinning LED lights that change color every 10 seconds.

Miss Colorado is a scholarship organization and women must be currently a Colorado resident and enrolled at a university. If Bowling wins the Miss Colorado title on Saturday, she will advance to compete in the Miss America competition in September. To support Bowling, follow her Facebook page. The deadline to vote for Bowling as the People’s Choice Vote is June 10.



Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |
Jake Kupiec, Executive Director of Communications and Marketing, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3067 |


On April 2, Mines won the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) Rocky Mountain section Imperial Barrel Award (IBA) competition. IBA is a prospective basin evaluation competition for geoscience graduate students from universities around the world. The program is rigorous and contributes to AAPG's mission of promoting petroleum geoscience training and advancing the careers of geoscience students. Over 250 teams from over 50 countries around the world partipate in IBA competition each year, and one winner from each AAPG section is chosen.

This win makes Mines one of 12 teams to move forward to the international competition June 17-18 in Calgary, which will take place as part of AAPG's Annual Technical Conference and Exhibtion (ATCE). These teams will be analyzing a dataset (geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure and other relevant materials) prior to the competition. During the event, teams will be delivering their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts. Students will have the chance to use state of the art technology on a real dataset, receive feedback from an industry panel, impress potential employers in the audience and receive scholarship funds and international recognition. The judges will select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation.

The Mines team includes Abdulah Eljalafi, Sarah King, faculty advisor and geology professor Steve Sonnenberg, Michael Harty, Matt Bauer and Evan Allred.

"This is the most successful industry supported student project in AAPG that impacts hundreds of students internationally," said Sonnenberg. "Students love the competition. They meet industry mentors, land jobs on the spot if they do well and learn new computer software by analyzing a data set. Industry loves the competition because they get to see students giving technical presentations on very complex data sets."

This is Mines' fifth time competing in the international competition. In 2012 and 2014, Mines placed third.



Agata Bogucka, Information Specialist, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |

On May 11, 2016, Colorado School of Mines awarded the inaugural Applied Mathematics and Statistics (AMS) Honor Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Awards. Clinton Parapat, an undergraduate studying Mechanical Engineering, was presented with the Learning and Perseverance Award and a prize of $800. Chris Lebaron, a student of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, received the runner up award of $200.

Recipients of the award are asked to recognize a faculty member who inspired or assisted them in overcoming adversity. Both students chose Megan Harris, who serves as the academic advising coordinator at the Center for Academic Services and Advising (CASA), as the person who had been most influential in helping them succeed academically at Mines.

Professor and Department Head of AMS Willy Hereman presented the three awards at CASA, along with AMS faculty who had been instrumental in the creation of the award, Terry Bridgeman, Holly Eklund, Gus Greivel, and Debra Carney.

The newly endowed fund was created to honor Carol Job, Sharon McAuliffe and other dedicated faculty by recognizing excellence in teaching and learning in Applied Mathematics and Statistics.

Carol Job taught mathematics at Mines for more than ten years before she passed away in January 2015. Prior to her time at Mines, Job had taught elementary and high school students for 36 years. Job recruited her best friend and teaching colleague, Sharon McAuliffe, to join her at Mines, during which time the two served as mentors and role models to their fellow colleagues. Jobs and McAuliffe became known for their ability to encourage students to persevere and overcome obstacles. AMS retired and current faculty, as well as friends and former students of Carol Job and Sharon McAuliffe, established the annual award to be given to an exceptional student who has shown perseverance, hard work and dedication. The AMS Honor Fund for Excellence in Teaching and Learning encourages collaboration while acknowledging remarkable teachers and their extraordinary students.

The faculty of AMS would like to thank all who helped realize the educational vision of Carol Job and Sharon McAuliffe in their efforts to bring these awards to fruition.



Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering and Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |

In the spring of 2015 undergraduate Dominic Pena approached Sam Drescher, president of the Mines student chapter of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), with a crazy idea: What if they were to gather students with a shared passion for aerospace at Mines and enter the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) competition?

Each August AIAA releases the new challenge for that year’s Design/Build/Fly competition. It also involves students designing, fabricating and demonstrating the flight capabilities of a radio-controlled aircraft, but each year the specific mission profile changes. Mines had never previously competed.

The challenges were steep. While Mines boasts top-rated mechanical engineering and physics programs, there isn’t an aerospace program. The group would be competing against schools with years of experience, funding, and space for their work.

Nonetheless, Pena and Drescher met throughout the summer and in the fall of 2015 held a meeting with more than 80 students in attendance.

“We knew the interest was there,” said Drescher. “When we polled students in ASME for what topics they would like to see more options for, 70 percent of our members said aerospace.”

Students were asked to submit applications. Eighteen students, mostly mechanical and physics majors, sophomores and juniors, were chosen to form Team Burroworks.

EPICS and Senior Design faculty will be proud to learn of the systematic approach the team took to their design.

Drescher describes the design process as “a total group effort. We broke the 18 of us into two teams. Each team presented three concepts for the planes and then as a group we voted on the best one based on a matrix. We did initial sketches and then Spencer Connor created preliminary designs in SolidWorks.”

“We found an airfield about five miles from Mines,” Pena explained, “and made friends with a lot of mentors out there. The president of the Arvada Associated Modelers acted as a great resource to us, and Dr. Angel Abbud-Madrid (Director of Mines Center for Space Resources) went through safety checklists with us as well as flight checks. He became our faculty advisor. We never had any close calls.”

Initially AIAA’s Design/Build/Fly competition is open to all schools. More than 140 teams submitted proposals and the top 80 made it to the final competition. Burrowork’s final report was ranked 17th best.

“In order to continue in the competition, you have to meet a series of deadlines. If you miss one, you are out. And you have to realize, none of us were doing this work for class credit. We were juggling our course loads, work, activities, athletics or senior design projects for some, all at the same time. So it was truly a passion project. We were all choosing to spend our time and energy on this. That’s what made it so great and the group so close,” explained Drescher.

Despite their disadvantages, the Mines team progressed and on April 13 prepared to leave for the competition in Wichita, Kansas. Some of those very disadvantages became benefits too.

“Compared to the other teams, we had minimal advising, minimal funding, minimal equipment and no space. Our project was stored either at someone’s family garage or in the senior design lab. We just made it work, but it also required that our design be strong and not fragile.”

That strength turned out to be a double-edged sword for the team.

“Many of us had exams the evening before we left for Kansas,” said Pena. “So we just drove all night and got there without much sleep. It was rainy and windy. Only about 30 teams even managed to get one mission done. Several teams built their planes out of balsa with monocot, which is great for weight and very streamlined, but not great for poor weather conditions.”

“Our large plane was carbon fiber and fiberglass mixed composite. The smaller one that was required to fit inside the larger plane was foam with laminate and re-enforced with more carbon fiber on the inside. And that thing was durable. It survived 25 crashes prior to the competition. The only thing that ever broke on it was the landing gear. Luckily we put the prop in the back and so every time we crashed the prop was okay. It was probably about 50 feet in the air with a 2-pound payload hanging below it, and nothing broke. You could definitely tell that mechanical engineers build this as opposed to aerospace students because it weighed a lot, went fast and was durable.”

Ultimately the team finished in 19th place out of 82 teams.

“We were one of the only teams out of the first 17 to actually complete the first mission successfully,” said Drescher. “We were the only team that never had a breakdown or needed repairs. We walked off the field singing the Mines school song. After we did that, other schools starting doing the same thing, but we were the first, even if we weren’t as loud since most had three times as many students there.”

“We were ecstatic to finish as well as we did our first year,” shared Pena. “We beat all the other Colorado schools, and even schools with strong aerospace programs like MIT, Purdue and Berkeley. Just imagine what we could accomplish with more funding and more space!”

Sam Drescher attributes their success to three things: “First, we had a great pilot, Ryan Friedman. And we had Spencer Connor, who had great build knowledge. And finally, we had a team where each person was personally invested – no one was assigned to the team or doing it for a grade.”

Next year AIAA’s Design/Build/Fly will be held in Tucson, Arizona. The team plans to meet throughout this summer and build on their initial success. You can follow along with the team as it designs, tests and reiterates for the 2017 competition via their YouTube channel at CSM DBG Burroworks.



Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering and Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 |


Hanna is a geophysical engineering student who was selected to participate in the NASA Student Airborne Research Program this summer. She will be one of 32 undergraduate students from 23 states who will receive hands-on research experience in surface, atmospheric and oceanographic processes.  

Tell us what you’ll be doing this summer.

SARP is a summer internship program in Earth system science using NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory. I will be planning a survey with NASA scientists and professors from other universities. Then, I’ll implement the survey and calibrate the instruments. Afterward, I’ll process data for my individual project.

How long is this experience?

For two weeks, I will be at the NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California. For six weeks, I will be at University at California, Irvine, processing the data. I start June 12 and I will be done August 5.

What was the process to apply?

In February, I went to the NSF website and looked at their list of summer opportunities. This was one of the top ones I applied for. I filled out a general application, some essay questions, letters of recommendation and transcripts. I found out that I was accepted at the end of March.

Why did you apply?

I am interested in remote sensing for geophysics. That’s one of my big interests right now. There are four different projects and eight students are assigned to each of those groups. And within that, you do your own research project. Two of those are remote sensing projects. So I was really interested in that and apply some of the knowledge I learned in my classes to remote sensing.

NASA is well respected and they have some meaningful projects. I hope this summer leads to future projects.

Why remote sensing?

It’s becoming more popular and useful. People are interested in all the possibilities of remote sensing. One project I could be working on with NASA might be measuring how the vegetation is being affected by the drought in California right now, which I think will be pretty cool to learn about. Remote sensing allows you have a wider field of the area.

I am in the Remote Sensing class (GPGN 468) with Geophysics Assistant Professor Ed Nissen right now. We analyzed the beetle kill in Colorado using remote sensing techniques. With that, we use a vegetative differencing index so that we can tell the health of the vegetation. You can do that with trees and you can do the same thing with plants. I think that project could be applied to the drought in California.

What else are you involved in on campus?

I have been the Awards Director for SWE (Society of Women Engineers) for the past two years. I will be the Secretary for the Society of Geophysics next semester. I participate in some intramural sports on campus when I have time, like basketball, indoor soccer, slow-pitched softball and volleyball.

What else will you do this summer?

I will be going to Geophysics Field Camp in Pagosa Springs right after finals are over. I will be doing a lot of geophysical techniques for that. No remote sensing, but we will be doing electromagnetics, electrical surveys and seismic surveys. That gets done June 10 and then I fly out June 12 for my research experience.

I work at the USGS (United States Geological Survey) as a student intern in the National Earthquake Information Center. So I started that last summer and will continue that this fall.

Are you looking forward to anything your senior year?

We get to do Senior Design projects and I think that will be pretty interesting. I hope to continue my summer NASA project through Senior Design.

A lot of geophysics classes should be pretty interesting. We get to choose our electives. I’m more interested in the electromagnetics, magnetics, gravity side and not so much the seismic right now. So I get to focus on that which is pretty cool.

What are your plans after you graduate?

I’m going to do a master’s in geophysics. I’m not sure where I’m going to go yet. I will be applying here and a couple other schools, like Stanford and MIT.


Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 |

Congratulations to the following Colorado School of Mines students who were recognized during the Student Life Awards Luncheon May 12.

Outstanding Student Award

Presented to a student(s) who went above and beyond their academic role on campus to vigorously participate in activities or projects that benefit their fellow students and the Mines community.

Samara Omar and Joe Haines received the Outstanding Student Service Award. Samara is the MAC President, Senior Class Representative for Student Government and Founding member and President of the Society of Women in Geophysics. Joe is the Captain of the Men's Varsity Soccer Team and involved on the Leadership Summit, The Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Colorado Engineering Council Award

Presented to students who show excellence in scholarship, high integrity and general engineering ability. 

The winner of the CEC award was Alexis Humann.

William D. Waltman Award

Presented to a graduating senior(s) whose conduct and scholarship have been most nearly perfect and who has most nearly approached the recognized characteristics of an American gentleman or lady during the recipient’s entire collegiate career. The award is a check for $5,000 and a plaque.

Leah Jaron received the William D. Waltman Award. Leah has been a CASA tutor for three years, campus ambassador, co-founder and vice president of Yarngineering, a member of Blue Key Honor Society, CSM Circle K and Active Minds @ Minds.


Kathleen Morton, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3088 |
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 |


Colorado School of Mines celebrated its 142nd annual commencement May 12 and 13 at Marv Kay Stadium in the Harold and Patricia Korell Athletics Center.

Mines conferred 835 bachelor's degrees, 202 master's degrees and 48 doctoral degrees. Congratulations #Mines2016!

Colorado State Senator Owen Hill delivered the keynote address for the graduate ceremony May 12.

More than 500 first-year students have been wrestling with the problem of removing and processing plastic debris from oceans and shorelines during this semester’s EPICS 1 course. The top 20 teams will present their designs and prototypes at the final EPICS Competition at 5:30 p.m., May 5, in the Green Center.

Each semester, first-year Mines students tackle a different real-world problem, while being introduced to technical, open-ended problem-solving. Last semester students worked on landmine detection, and the previous spring on wheelchair designs.

"The EPICS program has made a number of changes under leadership from the current director, Leslie Light,” said CECS Dean Kevin Moore.

“In addition to the increased rigor and management-related changes, what I am most excited about is the ongoing integration of the concepts of Human-Centered Design Thinking into the course,” continued Moore. “This methodology, which grew out of the Institute for Design at Stanford and has been promulgated by IDEO, considers the human perspective in all stages of the design process. It helps students begin to understand why we engineer or otherwise innovate in the first place."

Mines EPICS program has added additional permanent faculty, developed more uniform grading policies across sections, and streamlined some practices.

“We still have a focus on communication,” said EPICS Director Leslie Light, “but we’ve expanded deliverables to include stakeholder perspectives as well as the test-refine-iterate cycle. We take a scaffolding approach to solving open-ended problems that apply to science as well as engineering.”

“For example, students are introduced to Gantt chart basics in EPICS, then go deeper into project planning in EPICS 2,” Light explained. “Within CECS, we work with Senior Design Director Jered Dean so that students are building on that foundation to go deep, knowing to build prototypes based on the experiments they need.”

Mines students often take pride in quickly arriving at solutions, which can be a key to success in a typical classroom. EPICS —and intelligent design—require a bit more.

“We ask students to slow down, to learn more about their clients’ perspective, question their own assumptions, and take a systemic approach to solving problems,” said Light. “The world is full of poorly designed solutions, often created by smart people who committed to one solution before fully understanding the problem. EPICS seeks to change that trend.”

You can glimpse the variety of designs from this semester’s ocean debris challenge below, and don’t miss seeing the top teams at Thursday’s competition event.

2016 Mines EPICS Ocean Plastic Removal Project

Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist, College of Engineering and Computational Sciences | 303-384-2358 |
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines | 303-273-3541 |




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