A journalist who wrote a book about the little-told history of hydraulic fracturing—or “fracking”—and how it impacted the energy industry in the US and beyond addressed the Colorado School of Mines chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers at their spring keynote event March 16, 2017. 
Zuckerman speaks to full house about his book.
Gregory Zuckerman, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, discussed his book “The Frackers,” and people like George Mitchell, Harold Hamm, Mark Papa and Aubrey McClendon, all of whom played a major role in the development of hydraulic fracturing and the rise of natural gas, which he calls a massive “geopolitical revolution.” All this was in the midst of the “peak oil” crisis of the early 2000s, when it was widely believed that the U.S. was on the verge of running out of oil and gas.

Petroleum Engineering students listen to Zuckerman's talk.

“The rise of hydraulic fracturing in the United States has significantly changed the oil and gas industry,” said petroleum engineering student Steve Benfield, president of the Mines AADE chapter. “We wanted to bring in Mr. Zuckerman to describe the against-the-odds story of a few individuals who were willing to risk it all for success.”
Things suddenly changed when these wildcatters came onto the scene, and it was not the “bigwigs” like ExxonMobil or Chevron who would be the ones to steer innovation, said Zuckerman, but rather those you’d least expect. “It’s a story of technology,” he explained, noting that these individuals were among the first to combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing.
Benfield added that since hydraulic fracturing is now an industry standard, “AADE wanted to bring in a speaker that would shed light on how the shale revolution actually occurred and who was responsible for it.”
A video of Zuckerman’s entire talk can be viewed on Facebook here. Photos from the event can be seen on Flickr.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |


Sadie Fulton, Liam O'Callaghan, Micah Gowen

Six Mines graduate students are competing in The Economist's Which MBA case competition, sponsored by NRG Energy, the leading integrated power company in the United States. NRG invited teams from universities across the world to submit a proposal to solve an energy issue, challenging them to create a financial model that enables the development of an energy system.

Team GreatMines is comprised of Micah Gowen, Sadie Fulton and Liam O'Callaghan; Team Westpaw is comprised of Walter Meeker, Phillip Ruban and August Steinbeck, all of whom study Mineral and Energy Economics in the Division of Economics and Business at Colorado School of Mines.

Entries were submitted online via video presentation and a written proposal. NRG will select the best three proposals—first place receives $10,000, second place $5,000, and third place $3,000. In addition, there is a People's Choice Award which is open to the public for voting. The team with the most votes will receive $3,000. You can vote for both Mines teams by visiting and selecting Mines under “Participants.”

Learn more about the competition and vote for Mines.

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 program.

PHOTO: Mineral and Energy Economics students Sadie Fulton, Liam O'Callaghan and Micah Gowen (Team GreatMines) are competing in The Economist Which MBA energy case competition. Not pictured: Walter Meeker, Phillip Ruban and August Steinbeck (Team Westpaw).

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 demonstrated both their materials expertise and practical skills at TMS 2017, taking second place in the Materials Bowl and finishing third in the Bladesmithing Competition during the annual meeting of The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society, held February 26 to March 2, 2017, in San Diego, California.

Undergraduate students Jordan Carson and Rachel English and PhD candidates Andrea Bollinger and Brian Kagay competed in the Materials Bowl, a materials-themed knowledge and trivia competition. Mines won the contest in 2015, and also took first place in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013.

For the Bladesmithing Competition, a group of undergraduate and graduate students forged and crafted a straight razor with a Damascus pattern, with some material coming from Clear Creek in Golden.

“The rubric stated that the blade should be of historical significance,” said undergraduate student Stuart Shirley, himself a blacksmith and one of the team leaders. “Our team decided to make a straight razor—this is a knife blade that has played an essential role in daily life,” he explained. While not a weapon, soldiers and officers often carried it into the battlefield to bring a sense of normalcy, he said. The straight razor also transcended economic status, and is now making a comeback for those looking for the best shave.

Shirley and fellow undergraduate student Michelle Hoffman learned techniques from Denver knife maker Owen Wood and put them to use in blacksmith Dan McNeil’s Golden shop. They also conducted several thermite burns to create hunks of iron, with the original ore coming from the iron-rich sand in Clear Creek. “A piece of the smelted iron was used as the handle spacer, a critical component that allows the blade to open and close properly,” Shirley said.

Also helping to forge the blade and make the steel were undergraduates Marshall Boyton, John Copley and Chanise Hoffman and graduate students Alexandra Anderson, Tom Boundy, Brett Carlson and Hunter Sceats.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Megan Hanson, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science and Engineering | 303-384-2358 |

At first glance, there doesn’t appear to be anything particularly unique about the 16-foot-long canoe christened “Let It Row” docked in the basement of Brown Hall. It’s only upon a closer inspection that it’s clear this vessel weighs roughly 200 pounds more than even the heaviest aluminum canoe. Why? The canoe is made out of concrete.

“Yes, we do put our concrete canoe in the water,” said Peyton Gibson, the project manager of the 2016-17 Mines concrete canoe competition senior design team. “Hopefully it will float this year.”

The American Society of Civil Engineers hosts a competition every year, challenging student engineers to design and build a workable canoe made of concrete. The goal of the competition is to provide students with hands-on engineering experience and build awareness of new concrete technologies and applications. The Mines design team has had all hands on deck designing a (relatively) light-weight yet sturdy canoe using unique add mixtures to the concrete.

“The things that you learn from this project—mixing concrete, the types of reinforcement that you need—can be easily applied to real-life situations,” said Maito Okamoto, the technical lead for the Mines senior design team.

Gibson added, “This project has taught us all how to work on a team. [We’ve been] learning project management skills, how to stick to a schedule and how to work together.”

At competition, teams are rated on four criteria, each worth 25 percent of their final score: a design paper, an oral presentation, the final canoe and five canoe races.

The 11 seniors on the Mines team have spent more than 1,700 hours designing the canoe, creating a mold, mixing and casting the concrete, sanding the canoe and working on the accompanying design paper and oral presentation.

“We had a few bumps along the way, so it took a lot of man hours to get where we want to be,” said Jon Chestnut, the design team’s administration manager. “We’ve developed a really good communication plan this semester with weekly updates and project work plans.”

“We are on schedule and on track,” said Gibson. “Getting everyone on the same page and moving at the same pace has been incredibly difficult but incredibly rewarding.”

The senior design team will take their canoe to the University of Utah to compete at the conference competition on April 6-8 with the hope of qualifying for the National Concrete Canoe Competition, which Mines is hosting at Evergreen Lake just outside of Golden, Colo., June 17-19.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Ashley Spurgeon, Assistant Editor, Mines Magazine | 303-273-3959 |

A team of Colorado School of Mines students is one of just eight finalists in a NASA competition to design and build a system to extract water from the subsurface of Mars, and their ideas have a chance of someday making it into space.

The Mars Ice Challenge is a special edition of NASA’s Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) brand of competitions. Student concepts are normally confined to papers and presentations, but to celebrate the 100th anniversary of NASA Langley Research Center this year, the eight chosen teams are being awarded $10,000 each to construct ice extraction prototypes and bring them to Virginia to demonstrate their effectiveness.

Mars Ice Challenge teamThe Mines team named the project Hidden Ground-Water Extraction Low Load System, or H.G. Wells—a reference to the author’s novel “War of the Worlds,” which tells the story of Martians invading Earth for its water.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, petroleum engineering majors Steve Benfield and Justin Kilb are in charge of the drilling subsystem. “I’m very interested in drilling engineering,” said Benfield, who’s had summer internships at oil rigs.

However, their prototype actually uses an auger, a drill that includes a blade to bring material up, unlike the systems used in oil drilling today. “There’s very little similarity,” Kilb said. “In the industry, we use fluid and compressed gas to remove cuttings. But water doesn’t typically exist as a liquid on Mars, and there’s no compressed gas either.”

Still, some of the same factors have to be taken into consideration, Kilb said. There’s the weight being put on the bit, the rate of penetration and the strength of the equipment needed for successful extraction. Mines Petroleum Engineering Associate Professor Bill Eustes, an expert on terrestrial drilling, has proven to be a valuable resource.

“As a Canadian, we don’t have as many opportunities to work in space,” said Kilb, a transfer student. “To possibly contribute to something that could land on Mars is pretty cool. To have even gone through the same process that NASA engineers go through is cool.”

Mechanical engineering major Michael Szostak was on last year’s RASC-AL team, which made it to the finals. He enjoyed the experience so much that he wanted to do it every year, so he used his position as events coordinator for the Mines chapter of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics to recruit team members. “I’m very much psyched to be in the competition again,” he said.

Szostak, geophysical engineering student Kenneth Li and freshman Giorgio Cassata are tasked with designing and building the icebox, which will collect the cuttings, melt the ice and filter out the dirt, all while the drill operates. “Seventy percent of the competition is how much water you deliver,” Szostak said. “We’ll also be penalized if any large particulates end up in the water.”

Space is a passion for Szostak, who’s pursuing an area of special interest, akin to a minor, in space and planetary science and engineering. “I would like to work for NASA or a space resource company,” he said. “Asteroid, Mars, moon, you name it—I think energy can be cleanly obtained from outer space.”

While Li is part of the icebox team, his main task has been keeping track of expenses and the parts that remain to be ordered. Making sure they’re not taxed on orders has proven to be a big process, Li said. He’s only had to say no to one purchase: an $800 box used for packing fish.

“Mainly we’ve been under budget,” Li said. “Local companies have donated parts and have been extremely helpful with their time, and we’ve also been able to use components from old Mines projects.”

“It’s been amazing how generous industry has been,” added Kilb. “There are a lot of technical problems we haven’t been able to answer using Google, so I’ve just been cold-calling 20 to 30 engineers, who have been so helpful.”

Cassata notes that the icebox has changed quite a bit since the team first started meeting last semester—both its shape and how it’s mounted. “It’s really hard to figure out what the problems are going to be,” he said. “You figure out the best way to do each part and don’t realize how it’s going to affect other parts.”

Cassata plans on majoring in mechanical engineering, perhaps with an emphasis on biomechanics. “I love space in general and it’d be great to apply that somehow to space,” said Cassata, who volunteered at a small space museum near his hometown. “It was really good for feeding my interest.”

Caroline Ellis, a student in engineering physics, leads the electronics and programming subsystem team, which includes mechanical engineering students Tatjana Tschirpke and Taewoo Kim.

“We are on a huge learning curve right now, just trying to absorb as much information as we can online and from various people,” said Ellis. The team had originally planned on using a Raspberry Pi minicomputer to control the system, but after consulting with various experts, recently made the switch to a different device and programming language.

“It’s been great in terms of learning about circuits and how to design circuitry,” said Ellis, who has been taking a class on circuit theory as well as Python programming. “The knowledge has flowed both ways.”

The steep learning curve has made it interesting, said Tschirpke, who hopes to work in the aerospace industry after graduation. “There’s very little of this that we’ve done in class, so everything is new,” she said. “I’m really excited to see how we do against the other schools this summer.”

Kim said mechanical engineering students like him and Tschirpke typically haven’t had much exposure to the electronic and electrical side of engineering. “It’s been great to see electromechanical systems come together.”

Kim said working as part of a small team reinforces his desire to work in start-ups instead of large companies. “We’re very connected, the 10 of us—when one of us does something, we can quickly inform the others,” he said. “I’ve been on other teams with up to a hundred members, and it gets bureaucratic.”

Mechanical engineering students Tyler Perko and James Wood have been translating theory they’ve learned in the classroom directly to the project as the mechanical subsystem team. “I’ve been taking machine design and advanced mechanics and materials, and we’ve been talking about the same things that we’re working on,” Perko said, and the project has revealed that learning about something and doing it isn’t always an easy transition.

“Welding is a lot harder than you would think,” Perko said. “We probably practiced welding aluminum for a month before we started trying to weld the chassis together.”

“I’ve spent a lot of time in the machine shop, and I’ve enjoyed doing all the soldering,” Wood said. “I feel like I learn more going through a messing up and having to do it again. You don’t know how stuff is going to go wrong until it actually goes wrong.”

The team has been very careful to design around weight constraints, but they’re still working with a few unknowns. “The whole skeleton weighs almost nothing, and it meets the five factors of safety, so it should hold,” Wood said.

Advising the group is Angel Abbud-Madrid, a research associate professor in mechanical engineering and director of the Center for Space Resources at Mines.

“The whole point of this competition is for students to suggest ideas that NASA might actually pursue and get to use,” Abbud-Madrid said. The emphasis is on obtaining resources for astronauts who may travel to Mars in 2030 and beyond. “We cannot bring water from Earth—it’s too expensive, too heavy—but they will need it for drinking, for plants, split it into hydrogen and oxygen for breathing and propellant,” he explained.

As advisor, Abbud-Madrid provides a place to meet and work, channels the funding through the center, helps purchase materials and guides them through the process. Otherwise, “they do everything,” he said.

The team presents its midpoint progress report April 2, 2017, when they will be expected to prove they have a viable prototype. Once they pass that test, they’ll receive the second half of their funding of $5,000. The final competition takes place June 13 to 15, 2017, at NASA Langley.

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

On March 10, 2017, more than 60 prospective graduate students participated in the Colorado School of Mines College of Applied Science and Engineering 2017 CASE Recruitment Day.
The prospective students came from all across the country to learn more about Mines, and spent the day visiting with faculty, touring the campus and visiting several other facilities, including the National Renewable Energy Lab, CoorsTek and the Federal Center.

Prospective students pose for a photo with Mines faculty and staff.
Prospective students pose for a photo with Mines faculty and staff.

That night, the prospective students attended a reception and dinner held at Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, where they discussed research with current graduate students and faculty whose posters were on display. After dinner, Interim Dean of Graduate Studies Dr. Tina Voelker and CASE Dean Michael Kaufman both expressed their hopes that the prospective students would attend Mines.
“The quality of the students being recruited to Mines improves year after year,” said Kaufman. “We are hopeful that the combination of exposing them to excellent faculty, great facilities and opportunities to work with local companies and laboratories will convince them that Mines is the best place for them to pursue their PhD degrees.” 
“I love the environment here,” said prospective student Laura Porath from the University of Chicago, who has been accepted into the Materials Science Program. After touring NREL, she expressed hopes for a joint appointment at the laboratory if she attends Mines.
“Today has been a lot of fun,” said Marshall Pickarts, a prospective chemical engineering graduate student currently enrolled at Ohio State University. In addition to a campus tour, Pickarts also spoke with three faculty members during his visit to see who would be the best fit to mentor him during his research.
Following the Friday evening event, students were given the opportunity to enjoy all that the great state of Colorado has to offer throughout the weekend, with many heading to the ski slopes while others enjoyed a hike.
View more photos from the event in the slideshow below.

Megan Hanson, Communications Manager, College of Applied Science and Engineering | 303-384-2358 |
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |


Colorado School of Mines took first place in the Rocky Mountain section of the Imperial Barrel Award Program Competition, a contest where graduate students in geoscience evaluate a location for oil drilling, and will now join 11 other teams in the IBA 2017 Worldwide Competition.

The 2017 Colorado School of Mines IBA team. Left to right: Lauren Bane, Brittany Abbuhl, Sebastian Cardona, Jacquelyn Daves, Matthew Huels.
The 2017 Colorado School of Mines IBA team. Left to right: Lauren Bane, Brittany Abbuhl, Sebastian Cardona, Jacquelyn Daves, Matthew Huels.

More than 250 teams from over 50 countries around the world participate in the competition each year, organized by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, with one winner from each of the 12 AAPG sections being chosen. After their victory on March 4, 2017, the Mines team will travel to the AAPG’s Annual Convention and Exhibition in Houston, Texas, for the international contest on April 1.

This year’s Mines team is unique in that it is interdisciplinary. It includes geology and geological engineering students Lauren Bane, Brittany Abbuhl, Sebastian Cardona and Matthew Huels and geophysics student Jacquelyn Daves. Geology and Geological Engineering Professor Steve Sonnenberg is the team’s advisor.
“This competition has exposed me to a side of petroleum geology that I would normally never see in academia,” said Abbuhl, who is working toward a master’s in geology. “The technical knowledge which came from working with a dataset from an initial, raw form to forming a cohesive professional presentation has drastically changed my understanding of what it means to work for a petroleum company.”
For the competition, teams are provided a dataset that includes information on geology, geophysics, land, production infrastructure and more. They then deliver their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts. The event provides students a unique opportunity to not only work with a real dataset, but also to impress potential employers and receive scholarship funds and international recognition. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance,” Abbuhl said. The judges will select the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation.
Abbuhl notes that practicality is essential, and appreciates that the competition has increased her and her team’s awareness of the commercial aspect of the industry. “At the end of the day, a potential prospect can not only be a geologic success—it has to be an economic success too.”
“This is a great win for the Mines geoscience team,” said College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering Dean Ramona Graves. “Making it to the IBA finals is an achievement that shows the commitment, skills and academic excellence of both the students and the faculty.”
This is Mines' sixth time competing in the international competition, having placed third three times, including in 2016.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |


Mines was one of 37 teams to compete in the National Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl last weekend, finishing in 13th place after the tiebreaker round.
Prior to the competition, each team was given a set of cases that raise issues in practical and professional ethics.
Questions concern ethical dilemmas in a wide range of arenas, such as the classroom (e.g., cheating or plagiarism), personal relationships (e.g., dating or friendship), professional ethics (e.g., engineering, law, medicine) or social and political ethics (e.g., free speech, gun control, etc.) 
The questions raised in the 2017 competition included, “Can a bartender refuse to serve a pregnant woman?” and “Should colleges pay their student athletes?” A full list of the 2017 cases can be viewed here.
Hannah Grover defends a case on behalf of the Mines team.

Hannah Grover defends a case on behalf of the Mines team.

Photo courtesy of Parker Bolstad.

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Ethics Bowl team for two years in a row has been an incredibly positive experience for me,” said engineering physics senior Hannah Grover, who was interviewed by Colorado Public Radio prior to the competition. “The group of people that I got to work and explore difficult ideas with are incredible, and challenge me to think more deeply and critically about my own beliefs.” 

Teams were given a limited amount of time to confer and then answer the moderator’s questions, after which the opposing team could also respond. A panel of judges then probed the teams for further justifications and evaluated answers based on the intelligibility of their arguments, their focus on ethically relevant considerations and their deliberative thoughtfulness.
The Mines team—Grover, Parker Bolstad, Kirsten Fong, Ian Kramer, Dana Steiner and Azriel Wolffe—was tied for sixth place after the preliminary rounds. A tiebreaker put Mines in 13th. 
“The Mines Ethics Bowl Team really surprised people, I think. We're relatively new to Ethics Bowl—this is our third year—and I watched the competition blink when they realized our team is comprised of scientists and engineers,” said Teaching Professor Sandy Woodson, one of the team’s coaches and director of the Ethics Across Campus program at Mines.
Woodson noted that the team completely debunked certain stereotypes about STEM students. “Their communication skills are fantastic, they demonstrated nuanced understanding of nontechnical problems and they were quick on their intellectual feet, responding to questions out of left field,” she said. 
Toni Lefton, the team’s co-coach and teaching professor in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Division, is proud of how the team “presented their recommendations with a great deal of empathy for the stakeholders and illustrated how compassion, along with expertise and theoretical knowledge, is what the engineer of 2020 really looks like.”
Grover hopes that more people will have the opportunity to participate in this experience. “The skills it helps you develop are incredibly important, and you get introduced to issues that you may not have ever considered before,” she said. “I have taken away the ability to apply logical ethical reasoning to seemingly impossible problems, and then be able to communicate and discuss that with others.”
Woodson said she plans to incorporate lessons learned from this competition in coaching next year’s team.
Agata Bogucka, Communications Manager, College of Earth Resource Sciences & Engineering | 303-384-2657 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |


Six teams from three countries gathered at Colorado School of Mines and its Edgar Experimental Mine in Idaho Springs on February 17 and 18 for an international mine rescue competition, with the host university coming out on top in the technician category. 
Taking part in the Mine Emergency Response Development (MERD) competition were teams from Colorado School of Mines, Montana Tech, South Dakota School of Mines, The University of British Columbia, Laurentian University in Ontario, Canada, and The University of Freiburg, in Germany.

The Mines Team gets ready to enter the Edgar Experimental Mine for the field competition. From left to right: Noah Johnson, Marie Hetherington, Stephen Simmons, Quan Nguyen, Jared Mullins, Alejandro Martinez.

Photo Credit: Colorado School of Mines Mine Rescue Team

A team looks at a map to find and rescue a victim during the field competition at the Edgar Mine.

A team looks at a map to find and rescue a victim during the field competition at the Edgar Mine.

Photo Credit: Jürgen Weyer, University of Freiburg

Teams were tested in three different categories: first aid/medical, technician and field. Laurentian University was the overall winner, coming in first in both the first aid/medical and field categories, but Mines took first in the technician category. “This portion tests their knowledge of the equipment,” explained mining engineering senior Liz Diaz, president of Mines’ Mine Rescue Team. “We use BG-4 oxygen packs and MX-6 gas meters for competition. Judges will place ‘bugs,’ like missing or broken parts and wrong alarm limits, into the equipment, and it is up to the teams to find those and fix them.”
Two members from each team competed in the technical competition. “I was the one who repaired the MX-6, while Noah Johnson repaired the BG-4,” said mining engineering major Stephen Simmons. “This was my first time doing tech in a competition, and it was a great opportunity for me to refine my skills and show myself that I am capable of performing that task.”
Following this win, the Mines team will compete in the Nevada Regional Mine Rescue Competition in Winnemucca March 13-16, 2017. They will compete against industry teams and against other collegiate teams in a competition similar to MERD.

Simmons said the challenges the team faced during the competition have given them knowledge and experience that will benefit them greatly in later contests. “Our aim in the competition is to excel in all areas of competition and to learn valuable lessons that will not only benefit us in Mine Rescue, but in all aspects of our lives,” he said.

While disappointed at not being able to compete in MERD, Diaz said she is proud of the team and looks forward to the Nevada Regional Competition. “Winning the technician portion is an amazing accomplishment for our team,” she said. “We have a lot of younger members and it is great to see that their dedication is paying off. It makes us really excited to know that the future of our team is looking really bright.”
In addition to Diaz and Simmons, MERD participants Marie Hetherington and Jared Mullins will travel to Nevada, along with students Brandon Coleman, Alan Gudal and Ryan Burkholder. 
Learn more about the Colorado School of Mines Mine Rescue Team by visiting
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 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 |


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