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. 

This year’s finalists were Alexis Humann, Kate Sciamanna and Levi Rawlings. The winner of the CEC award is 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 |



The College of Engineering and Computational Sciences hosted their annual Senior Design Trade Fair on April 28 at Lockridge Arena. Thirty-nine interdisciplinary teams presented their year-long capstone projects. Alumni, faculty and industry leaders served as judges, evaluating the teams on their ability to define, analyze and address the problems of real clients.

The first place winning team was MINESat, a team of six electrical engineering, six mechanical engineering, and two engineering physics students who worked under the direction of the Antennas and Wireless Communications (AWC) Group in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) Department. Building on the work of last year’s initial CubeSat team, the team developed and tested a fully-functional CubeSAT bus with ground station to meet NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative requirements.

“The biggest accomplishments were the development of the software and hardware to make a UHF half-duplex wireless communications system possible, and developing versatile software for the space-rated flight board that will serve future Cubesat teams,” said team member Kyle Patel.

Payam Nayeri, EECS Assistant Professor and faculty advisor to the team, attributed the team success to the team’s dedication and attention to detail. “From early on in the project, they were able to gain a good understanding of the problem on a system level,” said Nayeri. “This translated directly to allocating proper time and manpower to every one of the subsystems in the satellite. Thanks to the exceptional technical leads of the project, Kyle Patel and David Hodge, Mines has taken a big step towards launching its first satellite.”

The ground station for the Cubesat program is in the process of being built on the roof of Brown Building. “Expect to see Cubesat more and more around campus in years to come,” predicts Patel.

Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s Senior Design Trade Fair:

Broader Impacts Essay Winners

  • 1st Place: “A Sustainable River Waya” by Audra Agajanian (Env.)
  • 2nd Place: “Rare Earth Elements in Electronics” by Ryan Patton (EE)
  • 3rd Place: “Little Decisions, Big Impacts” by Caleb Clough (ME)

Trade Fair Winners

Team Members:

  • David Hodge
  • Emma Watson
  • Evan Stoelzel
  • Garrett Dietz
  • John Hong
  • Kelton Lightfoot
  • Kyle Patel
  • Logan Knowles
  • Richard Uhrie
  • Sean Garneau
  • Shannon Bradley
  • Steven Mohan
  • Tyler Croteau

Client: Dr. Randy Haupt
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Payam Nayeri
Consultants: Dr. Atef Elsherbeni, Dr. Ozkan Celik

Team Members:

  • Thor Andreassen
  • Cortney Ewert
  • Eric Garza
  • Sean Guidi
  • Paige Lonergan
  • Alyssa Spomer

Client: Mary Page Smith
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Eric Bonnema
Consultants: Dr. Linda Layne, Dr. Jeff Schowalter

3rd Place: TIE – Maple Hall Retrofit Team & ESP Consulting

Team Members:

  • Justin Fantasky
  • Hillary Knaebel
  • Emanuel Graves
  • Damian David
  • Yassin Alhauwaj
  • Syamil Amri

Client: John Macpherson, Baker Hughes
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Yitz Finch
Consultants: Dr. Ray Zhang, Prof. Buddy Haun

Team Members:

  • Sarah Dewar
  • Emily Wong
  • Michael Harrison
  • Trevor Lager
  • Victoria Eagen
  • Isabel Goni-McAteer

Client: Dr. Paulo Tabares
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Eric Bonnema
Consultants: Dr. Neal Sullivan

Humanitarian Engineering Award – Urine Good Hands

Team Members:

  • Justin Ripley
  • Isaac Avila
  • Alejandra Ruiz
  • Haley Salzwedel
  • Logan Yamamoto

Client: Emily Woods, Sanivation
Faculty Advisor: Prof. Lee Landkamer
Consultants: Dr. Tzahi Cath, Prof. Ben Teschner

2016 Spring Trade Fair


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 |

The Colorado School of Mines Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science celebrated the grand opening of “The Outlet,” a student-run lab where students can work on personal projects, finish lab experiments outside of class, or meet to work on group assignments.

Alan Barsophy, chief technical officer for ArcelorMittal USA, did the official ribbon cutting on April 27, 2016, to welcome student to their new lab space in Brown 146. ArcelorMittal was a significant donor in the creation of the lab, with Rohde & Schwarz and Ricoh also donating equipment.

“The lab can meet any electrical hardware needs that a student may have,” explained Teaching Associate Professor Stephanie Claussen. “In addition to the comfy chairs and social area, it has oscilloscopes, power meters, signal generators and a collection of components.”

The idea for the student-centered lab was originally proposed by Associate Professor Marcelo Simoes in 2014. Faculty from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) worked closely with the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) student branch at Mines in securing space, equipment, and industry support.

Current IEEE student president Emma Watson said, "The Outlet has turned out better than I could have imagined. Everyone on the student committee did an amazing job putting it together, from designing the logo, to painting, and so much more. I'd like to thank Ryan Patton, Kevin Lannan, Briana Farris, Josh Nelson, and Ben Holland for all the time and hard work they put in to making he Outlet an amazing success."

According to Atef Elsherbeni, EECS interim department head, the new lab is a great addition to variety of labs within EECS. “We are fortunate to have a variety of undergraduate and graduate labs which we continuously upgrade to meet recent technological advances,” said Elsherbeni. “We see our students spending many hours in these labs, which complement what they learn in the traditional classroom.”

The Outlet is the latest in the continuing expansion of student Maker Spaces within the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences. The lab is designed to be open 24/7 to all students with Blastercard access. Students can receive access by signing the user agreement on the EECS student portal on Blackboard. It is being managed by both student and faculty advisory committees.

See more photos from the grand opening here.


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 |

Team Airband, an interdisciplinary all-women team, received the top prize of $20,000 in the Colorado School of Mines Mining Innovation Challenge sponsored by Newmont Mining.

The team’s invention is a wearable air-quality monitor that utilizes special sensors to detect the levels and presence of hazardous air pollutants. The team included students Michelle Pedrezas, Arjumand Alvi, Micaela Pedrezas and Daniela Machnik, and was led by EPICS mentor Leslie Light.

Teams Recon and Low-Cation also won awards and received $5,000 each. Team Recon was recognized for being the most market ready and Low-Cation for being the most innovative.

Ten student teams have been working on prototypes and pitches since the Jan. 20 Innovation Challenge kickoff. On April 20, the finalists presented their 10-minute pitches to an evaluation panel who ranked them on five criteria: presentation, prototype, innovation, marketability/business viability and impact/value.

Judges included College of Earth Resource Sciences and Engineering Dean Ramona Graves, Mining Engineering Department Head Priscilla Nelson, Director of Technology Transfer Will Vaughan, Newmont Group Executive and Global Exploration Solutions Perry Eaton, and Traxion co-founder Chris Cone.

To learn more about the three winning projects, visit the Midea hub.

See more photos from the April 20 Innovation Celebration.


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 |



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