Emilie Rusch

Metallurgical and materials engineering PhD graduate wins Rath Award at Spring 2022 Graduate Commencement 

Colorado School of Mines awarded 49 doctorates, 302 master's degrees during May 12 ceremony
Diptak Bhattacharya receiving Rath Award

Diptak Bhattacharya, left, receives the Spring 2022 Rath Research Award from Mines Vice President of Research Walt Copan, at podium. Bhattacharya's PhD dissertation focused on the origins and mechanisms related to the cracking of spot welds in a new family of automotive steels.

Diptak Bhattacharya, PhD in metallurgical and materials engineering, is the winner of the Spring 2022 Dr. Bhakta Rath and Sushama Rath Research Award. 

The honor, which recognizes the Colorado School of Mines doctoral graduate whose thesis demonstrates the greatest potential for societal impact, was presented during Spring 2022 Graduate Commencement on Thursday, May 12. During the in-person ceremony, Mines awarded a total of 49 doctorates and 302 master’s degrees to May graduates. 

Mines will hold three more in-person commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 13 for undergraduate students. The ceremonies, split by academic department, will be at 9 a.m., 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. in Lockridge Arena. 

Bhattacharya’s dissertation, “Influence of Selected Alloying Elements and Starting Microstructure on ZN-Assisted Liquid Metal Embrittlement Susceptibility of Advanced High Strength Steels,” focused on a new family of automotive steels and the origins and mechanisms related to the cracking of spot welds – the greatest manufacturing challenge discovered with these new steels. 

Galvanized “third-generation” Advanced High Strength Sheet Steels offer a number of benefits to the automotive industry, including weight reduction, improved fuel efficiency and passenger safety, and reduced carbon emissions.  

“Diptak’s work has helped to show the way for the steel industry to fine tune the design and manufacture of this vital class of cost competitive steels and for the automotive industry to successfully incorporate these into the vehicle architecture for the greater benefit of mankind,” said PhD advisor John G. Speer, director of the Advanced Steel Processing & Products Research Center and professor of metallurgical and materials engineering. “The quality and depth of Diptak’s work was exceptional. He was always willing to go the extra mile to learn a new technique or explore a new hypothesis to advance our understanding. He was also kind and enthusiastic, and generous with his time, so helped create a positive environment for other students to excel.” 

Since defending his dissertation, Bhattacharya has joined the General Motors R&D facility in Michigan, where he is researching advanced alloy systems. 


Rachael Lamman walks across stage at Commencement

Chemical and Biological Engineering  

  • Outstanding Thesis Award: James Crawford 

Computer Science 

  • Outstanding Graduating Master’s Student: Armando Ocampo and Morgan Cox 


  • Mendenhall Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Students: Tugrul Konuk and Aleksei Titov 

Humanitarian Science and Engineering 

  • Outstanding Graduate Students: Breanna Moak and Arielle Rainey 

Mechanical Engineering 

  • Emeritus Faculty Exemplary Graduate Student: Rathana Preap 
  • Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Student Athlete: Lindsey Jin 

Petroleum Engineering 

  • Outstanding Doctoral Graduate: Ola Akrad 
  • Outstanding Master’s Graduate: Similoluwa Oduwole 

For more information about Spring 2022 Commencement at Colorado School of Mines, go to

Emilie Rusch

Emilie Rusch

Director of Communications
About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public R1 research university focused on applied science and engineering, producing the talent, knowledge and innovations to serve industry and benefit society – all to create a more prosperous future.