Emilie Rusch

Mines faculty recognized for excellence in teaching, research and mentorship

10 faculty members honored during annual Faculty Awards Celebration, Commencement
Group shot of 2024 Senior Class Faculty Award winners

The Office of Academic Affairs at Colorado School of Mines is proud to announce the winners of the 2023-2024 Faculty Awards for excellence in teaching, research and mentorship. 

The annual faculty awards celebration was held April 25, with the Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award being announced during Undergraduate Commencement on May 10.  

Faculty Excellence Award 

Fred Sarazin

The Faculty Excellence Award, which recognizes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member for significant and meritorious achievement in teaching and scholarship, went to Frederic Sarazin, professor and department head of physics.

Sarazin was commended for his “ingeniously designed courses to build student knowledge progressively,” commendable advisory style that “underscores his commitment to training students to become scientists” and transformative leadership of the Physics Department.

“During his tenure thus far, he has managed to rebuild a robust community within the Physics Department amidst challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, temporary relocations, and significant faculty retirements,” Provost Rick Holz said. “As department head, Fred has revitalized the department’s spirit, creating an environment where both faculty and students feel valued and connected.”

Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award

Cynthia Norrgran

The Board of Trustees Outstanding Faculty Award, which recognizes innovation and impact in teaching and learning, both inside and outside the classroom, went to Cynthia Norrgran, teaching professor of chemical and biological engineering.

Norrgran, a core faculty member in the Quantitative Bioscience and Engineering Program, was commended for embodying “the unique characteristics we look for in Mines faculty members. Her outstanding efforts in the classroom are complemented by his efforts outside the classroom to engage students and build a stronger Mines community.”

Mines Teaching Awards 

Headshot of Kristoph Kinzli

The Mines Teaching Awards recognize superior teaching at the undergraduate level over the period of several years. 

The first Teaching Faculty Award went to Kristoph Kinzli, teaching professor in civil and environmental engineering

“Kristoph is a committed instructor who strives to prepare his students for future careers and does so with engaging and fact-based pedagogical techniques,” Holz said. “In addition to enviable student satisfaction surveys across a variety of courses, Kristoph’s teaching has been recognized at the national level by both American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the National Academy of Engineering.”

Headshot of Rebecca Swanson

The second Teaching Faculty Award went to Rebecca Swanson, teaching professor in applied mathematics and statistics.

“Rebecca is an outstanding member of the Mines faculty who is fully invested in the success and learning of her students and who tirelessly works on improving her courses,” Holz said. “She demands high levels of achievement and understanding from her students, all while providing a supporting environment. Her pedagogical activities and innovations have been extensive, focus on active learning and student engagement, and have affected multiple courses at Mines across all levels of the curriculum from multi-section core classes to upper-level mathematics courses.”

Ken Osgood

The Tenure/Tenure-Track Teaching Award went to Ken Osgood, professor of humanities, arts and social sciences.

“Ken is an exceptionally creative teacher, whose courses focus on active and experiential learning. Over his twelve years at Mines, Ken has developed 13 different courses: three upper-division, eight Honors, and two study abroad,” Holz said. “He is an exemplar for reaching across disciplines and departments to create valuable learning experiences for our students.”

Excellence in Research Awards 

The Excellence in Research Awards recognize Mines faculty members who are active in research for their outstanding accomplishments while at Mines. 

The Senior Excellence in Research Award, which honors faculty members with 10 or more years of self-directed research, was given to Timothy Strathmann, professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Timm Strathmann

A key member of the PFAS@Mines initiative, Strathmann is a world-class researcher in the destructive treatments for per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances (PFAS). In his time at Mines, he has developed a patented (and now commercially licensed) treatment for the destruction of PFAS, which was inspired by his prior work in waste-to-biofuel conversion. He has published more than 120 manuscripts that have been collectively cited more than 11,000 times – while graduating 11 Ph.D. students and currently mentoring another five Ph.D. students, one master’s student, two postdoctoral researchers, and three undergraduate researchers. He also initiated a junior faculty mentoring program while chairing the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department’s Promotion and Tenure Committee. 

Headshot of Gabe Walton

The Junior Excellence in Research Award, for faculty members with less than 10 years of self-directed research, went to Gabe Walton, associate professor of geology and geological engineering

Walton directs the Computational Geomechanics Laboratory at Mines, which focuses on advancing understanding and practical solutions in the fields of rock mechanics and engineering geology. In his time at Mines, he has published 105 peer-reviewed journal publications – which averages out to one a month since he joined the Mines faculty – establishing his reputation as a leader in rock mechanics and underground construction and tunneling. He has also been recognized through numerous international awards, including the prestigious Fred Burggraf Paper Award from the Transportation Research Board, part of the National Academies of Sciences. 

W.M. Keck Mentorship Awards

The W.M. Keck Chair for Professional Development Education, Faculty Senate and Office of Academic Affairs seek to support and encourage the development and adoption of novel and effective mentorship strategies across campus. Three Mentorship Awards have been established to recognize extraordinary mentorship. 

Undergraduate Students 
Headshot of Lakshmi Krishna

Lakshmi Krishna, director of undergraduate research, was recognized for her compassion, inclusiveness, and kindness in mentoring undergraduate students. 

“Dr. Krishna helps students to expand their perceptions of themselves and allows them to do things they never thought possible,” said Roel Snieder, W.M. Keck Distinguished Professor of Professional Development Education. “Dr. Krishna is excited about the students’ success and genuinely cares about them and the experiences they have at Mines. She is a passionate advisor and mentor that takes time to get to know students, check in on them regularly, and encourage them to greatness.”

Graduate Students 
Anne Silverman

Anne Silverman, associate professor of mechanical engineering, was recognized for her support of graduate students in her Functional Biomechanics Laboratory. 

“Dr. Silverman has not only advised to completion approximately 15 MS-thesis and PHD students, she has also garnered three prestigious NSF Graduate Research Fellowships amongst them,” Snieder said. “Professor Silverman ensures that the PhD students publish, on average, more than three papers in high-quality journals each and get placed in prestigious positions in research organizations and industry after graduating.” 

Faculty and Staff 
Headshot of Luis Tenorio

Luis Tenorio, associate professor of applied mathematics and statistics, was honored for his mentorship of new faculty members in his department. 

“Dr. Tenorio goes out of his way to make sure incoming faculty have a smooth transition settling in at Mines and in the Denver area,” Snieder said. “He has been instrumental in helping the development of fellow faculty in the department. Luis makes time to review papers, provide feedback, and share insight to help others improve. Luis’ sense of purpose to help younger faculty is made manifest through his active involvement on campus and the scientific community alike.”

Senior Class Outstanding Faculty Awards 

  • Applied Mathematics & Statistics: Michael Mikucki    
  • Chemical & Biological Engineering: John Jechura    
  • Chemistry: Matthew Posewitz    
  • Civil & Environmental Engineering: Chelsea Panos    
  • Computer Science: Tolga Can    
  • Economics & Business: Paige Baltzan    
  • Electrical Engineering: Chris Coulston    
  • Engineering, Design & Society: Michael Sheppard   
  • Geology & Geological Engineering: Bruce Trudgill    
  • Geophysics: Paul Sava    
  • Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences: Jon Leydens  
  • Mechanical Engineering: Polina Ringler   
  • Metallurgical & Materials Engineering: Brian Gorman    
  • Mining Engineering: Hugh Miller    
  • Petroleum Engineering: Jennifer Miskimins    
  • Physics: Vince Kuo    
  • Quantitative Biosciences & Engineering: Suzannah Beeler    
  • University Honors & Scholars Program: Melanie Brandt    
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.