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.

See photos from team projects on Flickr.


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. ArecelorMittal 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 |


GOLDEN, Colo., April 15, 2016 –On April 6, 2016, the Colorado School of Mines Society of Petroleum Engineers Chapter (SPE) Student Chapter hosted a Joint Session with SPE Denver Section in Friedhoff Hall. This annual event provides a great opportunity for Mines SPE students to network with industry professionals from the Denver area.

A Colorado School of Mines team is raising money for a tiny house that they will use to test technologies and features to include in a future Solar Decathlon competition.

As students research energy modeling, University of Colorado-Denver students are helping Mines with the architecture, structural engineering and design. In less than 300 square feet, the house will be designed to include a kitchen, bathroom and office area.

“Not only do we want our schools to be recognized internationally, but we want to put Denver and Colorado on the map for the various sustainable initiatives occurring in the city and state,” said materials science engineering student Ethan Palay. “We also want to encourage future collaboration between Mines and CU-D, as the programs at both universities can complement each other and, together, achieve more.”

Currently, the two teams are raising $5,000 to cover the cost of a trailer for their house. If they meet their goal, they will start construction this summer at Mines Park.

After the house is built, it will be incorporated into a new course this fall, Renewable Energy Design Project (ENGY 498B). Led by Physics Professor Tim Ohno, the course will give students the opportunity to use the space to test out tiny living and perform research. Faculty will also have the opportunity to use the house to teach classes.

“I think the tiny house poses the potential to really broaden some peoples’ interest in energy and build on the minor program we have now,” said mechanical engineering student Katherine Schneider. “It will also create a place where different disciplines can come together to do research on the house.”

The results of the tiny house will help influence the team's design for a 600-1,000-square-foot house, which will be submitted to the Department of Energy in 2017 to be considered for the 2019 Solar Decathlon competition. If their design is chosen, the team will be one of 20 university teams working to build an efficient, affordable and attractive solar-powered home by summer 2019. The houses will be judged in 10 different categories (hence Decathlon), with the winner collecting the most points out of a maximum 1,000 available.

The team includes students James Proctor, Jo Madenjian, Ethan Palay, George Burton, Veronika Zhiteneva, Cameron Barufaldi, Michael Balmes, Maddy Papell, Supriya Tawde, Emily Makoutz, Jessica Kaufman, Andrew Kavas, Dhrupad Parikh, William Daniels, Patrick Hritz and Tristan Debrunner.

Consider supporting the Mines Tiny House team as they prepare to compete in the Solar Decathlon. Visit their website for more information.





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 |

The Senior Design Steel Bridge team will compete in the National Student Steel Bridge Competition on May 27-28 at Brigham Young University. This is the second time in the past four years that a Mines team will go to nationals.

“This competition serves as a way to show other universities across the nation what going to Mines means, both in our engineering abilities and personal conduct as Orediggers,” said civil engineering student Ryan Lanham. “Our entire design involves male and female connections, so that they slide together quickly during the construction portion of the competition. This team also has a fantastic dynamic which is a huge reason as to why we have done so well.”

During E-Days weekend, the team placed second at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Regional Student Conference April 1-3 at the University of Colorado in Denver. At the competition, students designed and constructed a steel bridge and paddled a concrete canoe. The team received special recognition in several categories: first place for Efficiency, first for Stiffness, third for Construction Speed and third in Construction Economy.

2016 Blue Steel Team

  • Shae Quigley
  • Ben Bymaster
  • Ryan Lanham
  • Jacob Ost
  • Chad George
  • Heather Barnes
  • Katlyn Gresty
  • Jordan Hasz

Mines students who competed at regionals were either ASCE members or EPICS II sophomores who chose a civil engineering specialty in their course.



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

GOLDEN, Colo., April 12, 2016 –The Colorado School of Mines Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Student Chapter is hosting its Clay Shoot Fundraiser on April 22 at Kiowa Creek Sporting Club (46700 E County Rd 30, Bennett, CO). The event kicks off at 11 am and includes lunch and one round of clays.

The Colorado School of Mines Blue Team placed first in the Technician Contest, one area of the Annual Nevada Underground Mine Rescue Contest in Winnemucca, Nevada, March 16. For the past six years, the Mine Rescue Team has competed in the competition, but this was Mines’ first time taking home the gold at Winnemucca. The technician team was comprised of Mines students Jacob Milleville and Michael Wrona.

As part of the contest, Mines teams were tested on how quickly they could respond to a mine emergency. After the contest, Mines received the unique opportunity to stop in Elko, Nevada, for HazMat training with the Elko Fire Department and Newmont Mine Rescue.

The Mine Rescue Team's dedicated to practice has led to a legacy of excellence at the Nevada competitions. In 2013, the Men's Blue Team placed third in the field competition segment of the contest, and in 2015 the Ladies' Silver Team placed second in the first aid competition. This is especially noteworthy as aside from the National Mine Rescue Contest, the Nevada Mine Rescue Contest is one of the most difficult in the country and frequently produces the ultimate winner of the National Contest.

Men's Blue Team:

  • Quan Minh Nguyen
  • Alan Gudal
  • Mohamed Maghari
  • Levi Rawlings
  • Michael Wrona
  • Jacob Milleville
  • Brandon Coleman
  • Ryan Burkholder

Ladies Silver Team:

  • Katie Gann
  • Marie Hetherington
  • Katherine Jennings
  • Emiley Lopez   
  • Liz Diaz
  • Erica Holswade
  • Nikki Henley   

Learn more by visiting the Mine Rescue website or the CSM Mine Rescue Facebook page.



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


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