Newest faculty members bring innovation to Mines

Colorado School of Mines is proud to announce 22 new faculty members for the 2018-19 academic year. This diverse group is dedicated to advancing the science and technology of their respective fields and educating the next generation of engineers and scientists.

Mohsen Asle ZaeemMohsen Asle Zaeem
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, Washington State University

Mohsen Asle Zaeem joins Mines from Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he was the Roberta and G. Robert Couch Assistant Professor before being promoted to associate professor in materials science and engineering. He earned his PhD in mechanical engineering from Washington State University. Asle Zaeem has published more than 60 peer-reviewed journal articles and serves as an editor of the Journal of Metals and member of the editorial boards of Mathematical Problems in Engineering and the International Journal of Materials Engineering and Technology.




Jenifer BlacklockJenifer Blacklock
Teaching Professor, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, Max Planck Institute

Jenifer Blacklock earned her PhD in physical chemistry and biomedical engineering from the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Germany and completed an NRC postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Over the past several years, her research has focused on engineering education, finding innovative ways of incorporating project-based learning and hands-on curriculum into the classroom. Blacklock is also co-principal investigator on an NSF-RFE grant focused on teaching sociotechnical concepts in technical engineering courses.




Craig BriceCraig Brice
Professor of Practice, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, University of Canterbury

Craig Brice is director of the newly established Advanced Manufacturing Program, which will focus on undergraduate and graduate education in additive manufacturing. He is also involved with the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies (ADAPT) and serves as the consortium’s industry relations director. Brice has worked in additive manufacturing for 20 years, starting with the first commercially available AM system in 1998 and including time spent at Lockheed Martin and NASA. He has contributed to over two dozen technical journal publications and has 11 issued patents.




Eliza BuhrerEliza Buhrer
Teaching Associate Professor, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
PhD, Cornell University

Eliza Buhrer received a PhD in medieval studies, with an emphasis in history and philosophy, from Cornell University in 2013. She has served as assistant professor of history at Seton Hall University, visiting professor of history at Loyola University New Orleans and postdoctoral teaching fellow for Tulane University’s first-year writing program. Her research examines intersections between the histories of law, medicine and disability in premodern Europe, and she is working on a book on the cultural history of attention and distraction from antiquity to the modern era.




Zhaoshan ChangZhaoshan Chang
Professor, Geology and Geological Engineering
Charles F. Fogarty Endowed Chair in Economic Geology
PhD, Peking University, Washington State University

Zhaoshan Chang is the Charles F. Fogarty Endowed Chair in Economic Geology. He earned PhDs in economic geology from Peking University and Washington State University. He joined Mines from James Cook University in Singapore, where he attained the rank of associate professor and served as director of the Economic Geology Research Centre. His research interests include magma-related hydrothermal deposits; far-field signals of hydrothermal deposits; and indicators, discriminators and vectors for mineral exploration.




Anuj ChauhanAnuj Chauhan
Professor and Department Head, Chemical and Biological Engineering
PhD, City University of New York

Anuj Chauhan joins Mines from the University of Florida, where he achieved the rank of professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in 2011 and served as associate chair from 2013 to 2018. He earned his PhD in chemical engineering from the City University of New York and is interested in exploring the fundamentals of transport and interfacial phenomena in biomedical systems and applying those to solve major societal problems. His work on ophthalmic drug delivery via contact lenses was named one of the Medical Breakthroughs of the Year by Readers Digest in 2004 and received media coverage in many countries.




Serena EleySerena Eley
Assistant Professor, Physics
PhD, University of Illinois

Serena Eley earned her PhD in physics from the University of Illinois, receiving the John Bardeen Award for her dissertation, which focused on proximity effects and vortex dynamics in nanostructured superconductors, revealing behavior that deviated strongly from conventional proximity effect theories. Prior to joining Mines, she was a postdoctoral researcher in the Condensed Matter and Magnet Science Department at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Her research interests include low-temperature physics, applied superconductivity, disorder in quantum materials and mitigating materials-related issues that limit superconducting circuit operation. 




Yilin FanYilin Fan
Associate Professor, Petroleum Engineering
PhD, University of Tulsa

Yilin Fan joins Mines from the University of Tulsa, where she was a research associate for the industry-university research consortia Tulsa University Fluid Flow Projects and Tulsa University Horizontal Well Artificial Lift Projects. While earning her master’s and doctoral degrees in petroleum engineering, she also worked as a research assistant for the joint industry project Tulsa University High-viscosity Oil Projects. Her research interests include steady-state and transient multiphase flow in pipes, artificial lift optimization, flow assurance and gas well deliquification.




Zhexuan GongZhexuan Gong
Assistant Professor, Physics
PhD, University of Michigan

Zhexuan Gong earned his PhD in physics as well as an MS in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. After graduation, he spent three years as a postdoctoral researcher at the Joint Quantum Institute, a collaboration between the University of Maryland, National Institute of Standards and Technology and National Security Agency before being promoted to research scientist in 2016. He is an active researcher in the broad field of quantum information and is particularly interested in understanding new quantum materials using concepts and tools from quantum information.




Owen HildrethOwen Hildreth
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology

Owen Hildreth joins Mines from Arizona State University, where he was an assistant professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy. His PhD research identified the mechanism for catalyst motion in metal-assisted chemical etching (MacEtch) for applications in 3D nanofabrication. His current research focuses on additive manufacturing from nanometer to centimeter scales; mass transport, reaction kinetics and interface design in reactive inks; sensitization kinetics, microstructure evolution, dilution and corrosion of metals fabricated using powder bed fusion and directed energy deposition technologies.




Laura Hobbes-LeGaultLaura Hobbes-LeGault
Teaching Assistant Professor, Computer Science
PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Laura Hobbes-LeGault joins Mines from University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she has served as faculty associate in the Computer Sciences Department since 2014. Her primary research interest is the application of machine-learning techniques to computer science pedagogy; her primary teaching interest is broadening access to and literacy in programming as a tool across disciplines.




Amanda JameerAmanda Jameer
Teaching Assistant Professor, Chemistry
MS, York University

Amanda Jameer started her career at Mines in August 2016 as academic lab coordinator for freshman chemistry. Before that, she spent four years teaching and mentoring students at Seneca College in Toronto; she also worked as a chemist for a pharmaceutical company, developing and qualifying testing methods for various products and analyzing finished products to ensure they met specific guidelines. Her graduate research focused on the fate of biogenic hydrocarbons in the atmosphere, addressing the composition of secondary organic aerosols and their contributions to climate change.




Eliot KapitEliot Kapit
Associate Professor, Physics
PhD, Cornell University

Eliot Kapit joins Mines after three years as an assistant professor at Tulane University. After completing his PhD at Cornell, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oxford and the City University of New York. His main research focus is superconducting quantum hardware, and he has experimental research collaborators at NIST, University of Chicago and Google. He is the author of more than 20 publications in journals including Physical Review Letters, Physical Review X and Nature Physics.




Judith Klein-SeetharamanJudith Klein-Seetharaman
Associate Professor, Chemistry
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Judith Klein-Seetharaman has served as director of biosciences and bioengineering at Mines since fall 2017. Previously, she was professor of biomedicine and systems biology at the University of Warwick Medical School and the Institute for Digital Healthcare, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and professor at Royal Holloway University of London. Her research is on protein structure, dynamics and function, with particular emphasis on membrane proteins. Her doctoral research focused on conformational changes and folding in the G protein-coupled receptor rhodopsin.




Dean NieusmaDean Nieusma
Director and Associate Professor, Engineering, Design & Society
PhD, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Dean Nieusma joins Mines from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he was associate dean in the School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, director of the Program in Design and Innovation and associate professor of science and technology studies. His research focuses on integrating social and technical dimensions of engineering in education and practice, with a focus on design and project-based learning. He is also interested in the social and ethical implications of technologies and the application of engineering and design expertise to enduring social and environmental problems. Nieusma’s awards include a Fulbright fellowship.




Douglas NychkaDouglas Nychka
Professor, Applied Mathematics and Statistics
PhD, University of Wisconsin

Douglas Nychka is a statistical scientist whose areas of research include the theory, computation and application of curve and surface fitting with a focus on geophysical and environmental applications. His statistical expertise is in spline and spatial statistical models, especially as applied to large geophysical data sets and numerical models. Nychka was a faculty member at North Carolina State University for 14 years, and assumed leadership of the Geophysical Statistics Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in 1997. He served as director of the Institute of Mathematics Applied to Geosciences from 2005 to 2018.






Andrew OsborneAndrew Osborne
Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
PhD, University of Glasgow

Andrew Osborne earned his PhD in high-energy physics from the University of Glasgow working on optimization methods for track identification in particle detectors. After obtaining his PhD, he worked as an analyst for JP Morgan Chase in Glasgow and New York City before returning to academia as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, where he worked on the application of high-performance computing to the design and analysis of advanced nuclear reactors. Osborne’s research interests are high-performance computing for reactor multiphysics, numerical methods and software engineering.




Elizabeth ReddyElizabeth Reddy
Teaching Assistant Professor, Engineering, Design & Society
PhD, University of California at Irvine

Elizabeth Reddy earned her PhD in cultural anthropology from the University of California at Irvine. Her dissertation, “Instabilities: An Ethnography of Mexican Earth and Expertise,” explored the relations between earthquakes and technoscientific knowledge when public welfare is at stake. Reddy’s research interests include social practices in engineering and geoscience; risk analysis and communication; and how people live in and with the environment. Her teaching interests include social science research methods and the politics of science and technology.



Danica RothDanica Roth
Assistant Professor, Geology and Geological Engineering
PhD, University of California Santa Cruz

Danica Roth is a process geomorphologist with interdisciplinary research interests and a background in physics and astrophysics. Her primary research interests involve the coupling of Earth surface processes with climate, biology and anthropogenic influences. Her PhD research advanced the field of environmental seismology by developing the use of seismometers for studying sediment transport in rivers. As an NSF postdoctoral fellow, she worked to quantify the effects of topographic roughness on the physics and statistics of long-distance or “nonlocal” particle motion. In addition to her research, Roth is committed to increasing diversity and inclusion in STEM fields.



Sid Hanna SalehSid Hanna Saleh
Teaching Associate Professor, Economics and Business
Associate Director, Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
PhD, University of Colorado Boulder

As associate director of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Sid Hanna Saleh develops entrepreneurial programs, content and curricula in support of Mines’ Pathways of Distinction. He previously served as a faculty member at the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business and Apple product manager. Saleh’s research explores collaborative creativity, mentoring and collective choice in the context of entrepreneurship, innovation and talent retention. He has conducted over 100 conjoint analysis studies for innovation-seeking high-tech organizations such as Apple, IBM, Motorola and Philips Medical. 



Justin ShafferJustin Shaffer
Teaching Associate Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering
PhD, University of Washington

Justin Shaffer joins Mines from the University of California at Irvine, where he taught introductory biology, human anatomy and biology courses for non-majors as assistant teaching professor of developmental and cell biology. His graduate work investigated the molecular mechanisms of muscle contraction using molecular biology and biochemical methods. He became fascinated with teaching during graduate school and joined the SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was trained in modern evidence-based pedagogies and course design.



Greg VanderBeekGreg VanderBeek
Teaching Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
MS, Colorado School of Mines

Prior to joining Mines, Greg VanderBeek was the founder and owner of Coalesce Design and Fabrication in Boulder, regularly featured in national magazines as one of the top design and build companies on the Front Range. Before that, he spent a decade as an environmental consultant focusing on remediation of spills and long-term remediation systems. His research interests include the development of hands-on projects and the use of active learning to reinforce design concepts taught to students.

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.