Outstanding fall graduates honored at commencement

Undergraduate keynote speaker Jim Payne '59 addresses the crowd
Colorado School of Mines celebrated its midyear commencement Dec. 15, conferring a total of 239 bachelor’s, 175 master’s and 63 doctoral degrees during undergraduate and graduate ceremonies.
At the undergraduate ceremony, 11 students – each representing a different academic department – were recognized for their high scholastic achievement and active involvement in departmental and school activities. The Fall 2017 Outstanding Graduating Seniors are:
- Christopher Overley, Department of Mining Engineering
Overley, from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, has accepted an offer to join Martin Marietta Materials as an associate mining engineer. Favorite Mines memory: “MINExpo was such an amazing opportunity to spend time with friends and faculty outside of school.”
- Julia Hawn, Department of Geology and Geological Engineering
Hawn, from Bellevue, Washington, plans to spend time with family, travel and ski for a couple of months before starting work at AECOM in Denver. Favorite Mines memory: “Camping with friends during field session.”
- Ryan Givan, Department of Petroleum Engineering
Givan, from Englewood, Colorado, will join Matador Resources Co. in Dallas as a reservoir engineer following a two-week family trip to New Zealand. Favorite Mines memory: “The time we got to visit an offshore production platform in California during the first field session. It was the first time I really got hands-on exposure to the industry and it further sparked my interest not only in oil and gas but engineering in general.”
- Aspen Anderson, Department of Geophysics
Anderson, from Fort Collins, Colorado, is moving to Vancouver to start her doctoral studies in the Department of Earth Science at Simon Fraser University. She plans to focus on regional-scale hydrogeologic systems and is receiving full funding. Favorite Mines memory: “Geophysics Field Camp solidified everything I learned in class, showed me how much geophysics can be used, and allowed me to connect with my classmates on a more personal level.”
- Rachel English, Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering 
English, from Warren, Pennsylvania, will be attending Carnegie Mellon University for her doctoral degree in materials science and engineering. Favorite Mines memory: “MAC had an outdoor movie night on Kafadar Commons where the sprinkler system turned on halfway through the movie. Everyone had to pack up and move quickly to avoid getting soaked.”
- Jonathan Helland, Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics
Helland, from Larkspur, Colorado, will pursue his master’s degree in electrical engineering at Mines. Favorite Mines memory: “The availability of faculty members thanks to the small school environment that Mines provides. Access to faculty members has been the catalyst for everything that I’m doing now.”
- Thomas Tarcha, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (civil)
Tarcha, from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, plans to stay in Colorado and work at a structural firm. Favorite Mines memory: “Building relationships with faculty and classmates. Mines has a unique community that allows for students to make lifelong friendships.”
- Quentin Geile, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (environmental)
Geile, from Parker, Colorado, will attend grad school at Mines in the Environmental Engineering master’s program. Favorite Mines memory: “Meeting fellow environmental engineers who share the same interests and passions as I do. I could not have gotten through Mines without their support and help.”
- Tiffany Kalin, Department of Computer Science
Kalin, from Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been accepted into the Lockheed Martin Engineering Leadership Development Program as a software engineer. Favorite Mines memory: “I’ve always enjoyed E-Days at Mines.”
- Ryan Hunt, Department of Electrical Engineering
Hunt, from Fort Collins, Colorado, plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science at Mines. Favorite Mines memory: “Building Breakout with LEDs and shift registers during the Microcomputer Architecture class.”
- Collin Kinder, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Kinder, from Littleton, Colorado, is currently entertaining multiple job offers in defense and aerospace and plans to eventually complete a master’s degree. Favorite Mines memory: “E-Days – from winning the trebuchet competition to freezing during the cardboard boat race, every experience has been memorable.”
The Fall 2017 Outstanding Graduating Seniors at a luncheon in their honor Dec. 14
  • The Alan Kissock Award is awarded to a graduating senior in metallurgical and materials engineering, acknowledging creativity in metallurgy: Michelle Hoffman
  • The Brunton Award in Geology is awarded in recognition of the highest scholastic achievement and interest in and enthusiasm for the science of geology: Michelle Franke
  • The Clark B Carpenter Award is presented to the graduating senior in mining or metallurgy who, in the opinion of the senior students in mining and metallurgy and the professors in charge of the respective departments, is the most deserving of this award: Erika Nieczkoski
  • The Faculty Choice Award in Computer Science is given to a top graduating senior who helped improve computer science at Mines: Jack Rosenthal
  • The Mary & Charles Cavanaugh Award, presented in metallurgy, is determined by scholarship, professional activity and participation in school activities: Brian Medberry
  • The Outstanding International Undergraduate Award is presented to an international student who has demonstrated scholastic achievement: Huan Wang
  • The Outstanding Senior Research Award in Chemistry is awarded to a student who demonstrates superior performance and creativity in undergraduate research: Maleigh Pagenkopf
  • The Outstanding Undergraduate Research Award in Computer Science is awarded to a student who demonstrates superior performance in undergraduate research: Huan Wang
  • The Mendenhall Prize is awarded by the Department of Geophysics to the department’s outstanding graduate student: Kendra L. Johnson, PhD Geophysics
  • Chemical and Biological Engineering Outstanding Thesis Award: Liqui Yang, PhD Chemical and Biological Engineering
  • The Dr. Bhakta Rath and Sushama Rath Research Award recognizes a Mines doctoral graduate whose thesis demonstrates the greatest potential for societal impact: Xuemin Li, Applied Chemistry
Military Commissions
The following students will be commissioned as Second Lieutenants in the United States Army:
  • Tyler Z. Brown
  • Zachary R. Doom
  • John D. Kater
  • Emily M. Quaranta
  • Kristen M. Smith
  • Erik H. Trenary
The U.S. Army Cadet Command annually rank-orders ROTC seniors, with the top 20 percent in the nation earning the designation of Distinguished Military Graduate: John D. Kater
The Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower Award is awarded to the outstanding ROTC Cadet commissioned each year, based on demonstrated exemplary leadership within the Corps of Cadets and academic excellence in Military Science: Kristen M. Smith


Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 | erusch@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu

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.