Colorado School of Mines

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Updated: 1 hour 29 min ago

Mines Residence Life staff win major conference awards

Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:37

Colorado School of Mines residence life staff took home multiple major awards from the Intermountain Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls Regional Leadership Conference, held Nov. 3-6 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mines received the Program of the Year award for bringing members of the U.S Paralympic goalball team to campus to teach students how to play the game and then organizing a campus tournament. Goalball, designed for athletes with impaired vision, has teams competing to throw a ball with bells inside into their opponents’ goal.

Chase Schumacher, an engineering physics major and a second-year resident assistant in Weaver Towers, was named Student Staff Member of the Year.

Mary F. Elliott, Mines’ director of housing and residence life, was named Advisor of the Year.

Mines students were also honored for presenting two of the top 12 programs at the conference. Brandon Bakka, a chemical engineering student, was recognized for “How LGBTQ+ People Navigate the Jungle of College Campuses.” Schumacher and Keenan Urmann, a mechanical engineering student, were recognized for “Miracle Gro Fer(Tea)lizer, a weekly Tuesday Tea program in the residence halls.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |

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Camp contributes to national report on CS enrollment surge

Fri, 11/10/2017 - 11:12

A Colorado School of Mines professor served on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee that recently released a report urging action to address the current surge in undergraduate computer science enrollments.

Tracy Camp, professor and head of the Computer Science Department, was one of 15 members on the national ad hoc committee tasked with examining the growing popularity of computer science courses at four-year institutions. 

According to the report, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in computer and information science across the U.S. has increased by 74 percent at not-for-profit institutions since 2009, versus a 16 percent increase in bachelor’s degrees overall. 

Institutions are struggling to keep up with the rising demand, with many reporting having too few faculty and instructors and insufficient classroom space and administrative support. More than half of new PhDs in computer science have taken jobs in the private sector in recent years, posing additional challenges to faculty recruitment, according to the report. 

The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. For more information, go to

Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

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Serving the community through community solar

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 10:50

Colorado School of Mines students are helping make solar power more accessible to low-income Coloradans.

The Mines Energy Club recently volunteered with GRID Alternatives to help build two community solar arrays, one in Fort Collins and the other near Denver International Airport. The nation’s largest nonprofit solar installer, GRID works across the U.S. to increase access to renewable energy technology and job training among underserved communities.

“GRID Alternatives is a really cool organization,” said Evan Wong, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and vice president of Mines Energy. “It’s facilitating learning and spreading the word about solar while also helping low-income communities.” 

Colorado is among the leaders nationwide in the installation of community solar – also called solar gardens, the arrays allow multiple customers to buy into the power produced and receive a credit on their electric bills.

The new array in Fort Collins, the 2-megawatt Coyote Ridge Solar Farm, is the largest ever built by GRID – by a factor of 10. Volunteers installed the entire system in a matter of weeks between August and September, and it’s already generating power for the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association.  

Mines volunteers drove up to Fort Collins to lend a hand on two of the Coyote Ridge build days. Tim Ohno, associate professor of physics and co-director of the Energy Minor Program, was among a group tasked with installing the arms that hold the solar panels and then attaching the solar panels themselves.
“It really took two people to lift the panels,” Ohno said. “The ones used for utilities are larger than the ones installed on rooftops in most cases.”

Closer to home, Mines students spent a day in October working on another 2-megawatt array, near Denver International Airport for the Denver Housing Authority

DHA will be the first housing authority in the country to develop, own and operate its own solar garden. Throughout construction, GRID will also provide training, certification and employment in the solar industry for affordable housing residents.

Wong, who is minoring in renewable energy, said volunteering with GRID Alternatives was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience with photovoltaics, to supplement the academic instruction he’s received on campus. 

“Although there's a bunch of advanced physics in the crystalline structure, installing solar panels isn’t really that hard,” Wong said. “The entire process probably took around five minutes at most for each solar panel.”

Ohno hopes the GRID Alternatives experience will also help motivate students and faculty to push for more solar on the Mines campus. 

A solar garden could be an efficient and cost-effective option at Mines, too, he said.

“Right now we’re really trying to accommodate the growth in students, but if groups are interested, I can imagine this might be a push in the not-too-distant future,” Ohno said.

Golden voters recently approved a ballot initiative to allow the city to move forward with a project to build a community solar garden at the Rooney Road Sports Complex. Almost half of all U.S. households and businesses are unable to host rooftop solar systems because they rent their spaces or lack suitable roof space, according to a 2015 National Renewable Energy Laboratory report

“It’s a direction that’s probably going to become more and more common,” Ohno said. “When you install panels on someone’s roof, whatever direction the home’s roof faces, that’s where it’s installed and that’s not always optimal. If you build a solar garden, the cost of solar even without subsidies is very comparable to traditional coal and natural gas power plants.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of GRID Alternatives

Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

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Sowers article featured in Colorado Aerospace STEM Magazine

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 09:26

An article on the development of a cislunar space economy by Colorado School of Mines Professor of Practice George Sowers was recently featured in Colorado Aerospace STEM Magazine. Sowers, the former chief scientist at United Launch Alliance, joined Mines this year as part of the proposed graduate program in space resources. 

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Mental health awareness campaign featured on 9News

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 08:48

Alpha Phi Omega is focusing its national service week on mental health and suicide prevention this year. The Colorado School of Mines chapter is hosting a number of events and exhibits on campus this week and the awareness campaign was recently featured on 9News Denver.

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Leiderman receives grant from Army Research Office

Wed, 11/08/2017 - 10:02

Colorado School of Mines Applied Mathematics and Statistics Assistant Professor Karin Leiderman is part of a team of researchers that has been awarded nearly $500,000 by the Army Research Office to study blood coagulation.

The $499,894 grant from the Army Research Office’s Mathematical Sciences Division is funding the project, “Incorporating Uncertainty to Improve Accuracy in Mathematical Modeling of Coagulation.”

A break in a blood vessel triggers blood coagulation, a complex network of biochemical reactions where dozens of proteins act collectively to form a gel and seal the injury. Leiderman and colleagues will use a combined mathematical, statistical and experimental bottom-up approach to develop and experimentally validate a mathematical model of blood coagulation. Their approach will employ global uncertainty and sensitivity analysis to account for and quantify experimental noise, uncertainty in protein levels and kinetic rate constants, as well as determine missing or incorrect kinetic schemes. The project seeks to establish an accurate, predictive model that will complement existing experimental assays in risk prediction and therapeutics development.

“Our model is expected to have a positive impact,” Leiderman said. “It will seamlessly and accurately probe the coagulation network and thus provide a more detailed analysis of the pathways and rate constants leading to thrombin generation. It could also be used to inform anticoagulant treatment strategies and speed the development of prohemostatic agents by helping to find optimal biochemical targets or combinations of synergistic targets that treat or prevent bleeding.”

The grant is a collaboration with Dougald Monroe from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Suzanne Sindi from the University of California, Merced. Leiderman will receive $179,569 for her work on the project.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

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Solving Problems that Matter

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 16:51

How do the engineers of the future address the constant problems that arise in our changing world from environmental degradation to income inequality?

Join the humanitarian engineering department and the Leadership in Social Responsibility Interest Group on Nov. 9 as we welcome Dr. Rachel Dzombak to Mines, presenting Solving Problems that Matter (and Getting Paid for it!). Dzombak is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies and the Haas School of Business at University of California, Berkley. She is researching the roles of design and teaming in addressing these complex problems.

Come listen as Dzombak addresses not only the problems and questions that are facing our world today, but how engineers can help find solutions to these problems through design and education while pursuing a career.

This lecture is free and open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. Nov. 9 in Marquez Hall 126, 1600 Arapahoe St. Golden, CO.


Rachelle Trujillo, Senior Marketing Communications Director, Colorado School of Mines Foundation | 303-273-3526

Jessica Smith, Interim Director, Humanitarian Engineering, Associate Professor, Engineering, Design & Society | 303-273-3944 


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Mines students and staff featured in AISES's magazine

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:34

Colorado School of Mines students and staff who attended the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's national conference in September were featured in AISES's national conference wrap-up magazine Winds of Change. In addition to describing Mines' graduate school, the publication included a picture of Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies Jahi Simbai and mechanical engineering student Elise Tran and a quote from environmental engineering student Cheyenne Footracer.

From the publication:

Colorado School of Mines is a public research university devoted to engineering and applied science with a curriculum and research program geared toward responsible stewardship of the earth and its resources. It provides elevated opportunities for Native college students through an impactful scholarship experience designed to support their success.

"This is my second conference. I enjoy attending because there is a sense of unity with tribes from all over the nation, which is often difficult to come by when walking around campus." - Cheyenne Footrace, student at Colorado School of Mines.

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Small-scale gold mining project featured in State Magazine

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 09:34

State Magazine, a monthly publication of the U.S. Department of State, recently featured a photo of a Colorado School of Mines research project as part of an article about the U.S. Embassy’s efforts to tackle illegal gold mining in Peru.

Nicole Smith, a cultural anthropologist and assistant professor of mining engineering, is the primary investigator on the State Department-funded project, which is working with artisanal and small-scale gold miners in Peru to implement cleaner and safer ore-processing technologies.

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Lockheed Martin and Mines create software academy

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 14:13

Lockheed Martin and Colorado School of Mines have partnered in a unique opportunity for software and radio frequency engineering students.

The Lockheed Martin Software Academy, which just completed its pilot program, selects a handful of students from Mines who commit to the rigors of an actual position at Lockheed Martin, while getting paid and receiving school credit. Students spend their spring semester at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton working on Orion, NASA’s first spacecraft designed for long-duration, human-related deep space exploration, in system and software optimization jobs, focusing on EM-2 (Exploration Mission 2), but also working to improve EM-1 (Exploration Mission 1). Upon completion of the spring semester, students enter the Lockheed Martin’s 12-week summer internship program. At the end of the summer, they produce a report to show the improvements of performance, successes, challenges, and the end results.

Upon completion of the pilot program earlier this year, Mines and Lockheed Martin signed a formal agreement. Lockheed Martin Software Academy seed money covers a Lockheed Martin lab and conference room at the university and Lockheed Martin mentoring for Mines students during the program.

Qualified and well-trained software and radio frequency engineers are in high demand, particularly for the next phase of Orion. Mines can provide a pipeline of this niche skillset to fill these positions.  There is tremendous growth in the aerospace industry, particularly with Colorado being second per capita in the nation for aerospace jobs. Almost 7 percent of Mines students go into aerospace post-graduation, and Lockheed Martin hopes to benefit from that statistic.

"Lockheed Martin has provided our students with an opportunity to make a meaningful difference in an area that their passions lie in.  As faculty, we are excited to see our students' work put into production and used in real world applications,” said Jeff Paone, faculty advisor for the program and associate professor of computer science at Mines.

Computer science student Izaak Sulka said, "When I was younger, I always expected that working on a space program would be exciting, although I never really imagined that I could be involved in one. While working on Orion, I've learned much more than I thought possible about software and software development. Younger me was right about half the time – it is beyond exciting.”

Anica Wong, Communications Specialist, Colorado School of Mines Foundation | 303-273-3904 |
Allison Sharpe, Sr. Communications Rep, Lockheed Martin Communications | 720-842-6425 |

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Explore global cuisine, culture at International Day Nov. 18

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 12:15

Colorado School of Mines has long attracted the best and brightest STEM students from around the world. Today, more than 70 countries are represented on campus – a fact that will be celebrated Nov. 18 at International Day, a fun-filled evening of global cuisine, cultural exhibits and performances. 

Hosted by the International Student Council and International Office, International Day is one of the biggest campus events of the year. The global celebration kicks off at 4:30 p.m. in the Green Center’s Friedhoff Hall with food samples from nearly two dozen countries – try Egyptian koshari, Malaysian chicken satay, French crepes and more. Food tickets are $1 each, with most samples ranging from 1 to 4 tickets. Cultural exhibits will also be set up around the hall, showcasing unique customs, artwork, clothing and artifacts.

The festivities will continue at 7 p.m. with a free culture show in the Green Center’s Bunker Auditorium. Student performances will include traditional music, fashion shows and dancing. Both the food sampling and culture show are open to the public. 

About 700 international students are currently enrolled at Mines for undergraduate and graduate studies, representing 11.5 percent of the total student body. 

Colorado School of Mines International Day

WHEN: 4:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18
4:30-6:30 p.m. Food sampling
7-9 p.m. Culture show
WHERE: Green Center, 924 16th St., Golden
COST: Culture show, free; $1 per food ticket

Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

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Faculty honored by Society of Exploration Geophysicists

Mon, 11/06/2017 - 09:48

Two Colorado School of Mines professors were among those honored at the Society of Exploration Geophysicists’ annual meeting, held Sept. 24-29 in Houston.

Petroleum Engineering Professor Manika Prasad received the Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal, awarded to a person who “has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of the science of geophysical exploration as manifested during the previous five years.”

Prasad was cited for her extensive experimental work in rock physics. According to SEG, prominent members of the profession expressed support for the award for her study of seismic wave propagation in complex rocks, particularly her recent work with shale rocks.

“Manika’s scientific contributions to geophysics have led to advances in conventional and unconventional petroleum reservoir characterization, exploration and production,” according to SEG’s citation. “The Virgil Kauffman Gold Medal will recognize Manika’s status and record as a role model for men and women within SEG and across the greater geophysics community.”

Prasad joined Mines in 2004 and is director of the Center for Rock Abuse and the Physics of Organics, Carbonates, Clays, Sands and Shales (OCLASSH) consortium.

Geophysics Professor Yaoguo Li was also recognized, one of two people awarded Honorary Membership by SEG. The award is conferred upon those who “have made a distinguished contribution, which warrants exceptional recognition, to exploration geophysics or a related field or the advancement of the profession of exploration geophysics through service to the Society.”

“His record of service to SEG includes serving many years as an associate editor for Geophysics, working as a primary organizer for the first two well-attended and highly successful gravity, magnetic and electromagnetic SEG workshops in China, and serving as a SEAM board member for three years,” the SEG citation reads.

Li joined Mines in 1999 and leads the Center for Gravity, Electrical and Magnetic Studies.

Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |
Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |

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Mines team receives funds for 2nd space observatory mission

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:47

A Colorado School of Mines team headed by Physics Professors Lawrence Wiencke and Fred Sarazin has been awarded NASA funding to fly a second long-duration balloon mission to test innovative optical methods for catching high-energy cosmic rays and neutrinos from deep space.

Planned for launch in 2022, the Extreme Universe Space Observatory on a Super Pressure Balloon (EUSO-SPB2) is a major step toward a planned mission to send a probe to space, building on the super pressure balloon mission – EUSO-SPB1 – that Wiencke coordinated earlier this year

“The origin of the highest-energy particles in the universe is one of the greatest mysteries in astrophysics” said Wiencke, who serves as the deputy principal investigator for the five-university U.S. team. “This balloon mission brings a unique opportunity to explore new ways to measure two of the most elusive multi-messengers in astroparticle physics. Historically, advances in this field have been driven by advances in instrumentation used in innovative ways.” 

The Earth is constantly bombarded by particles from space. Cosmic rays – mostly subatomic nuclei – and neutrinos are known to be produced by our own sun and from distant supernovae. However, other unknown cosmic phenomena are responsible for the particles impinging on the Earth at the highest energies. Neutrinos, the “ghost particles” of nature, are especially difficult to detect. Most of them traverse the Earth without interacting with matter a single time. 

“There is much we don’t know about those two cosmic messengers,” Sarazin said. “We have studied high-energy cosmic rays with the Pierre Auger Observatory for more than 10 years now, and while we have shown conclusively that they come from outside our own galaxy, their origin still eludes us.” 

Neutrinos are even more elusive, and only a handful of high-energy neutrinos have been detected. “With this balloon experiment and the future space probe, we will go after even higher-energy neutrinos, which are predicted to exist but have yet to be observed,” Sarazin said.

Taking measurements from space offers a much wider field of view to catch these rare particles. The Earth’s atmosphere makes these ghostly particles observable as faint flashes of light moving at ultra-high speeds. The balloon instrument will float at 20 miles in altitude, carrying a 3,000-pound payload of three specialized telescopes to be built by an international team. One system is built to capture the radiation from extremely energetic neutrinos coming from the Earth below; the other is a fluorescence camera, which picks up the trails of excited nitrogen nuclei as cosmic ray showers cross the atmosphere.

“This mission is much more than a follow-up to the flight we did earlier this year,” said Wiencke, who coordinated the 2017 mission. The 2017 NASA flight was terminated early in the mission after the balloon developed a leak and sank into the Pacific Ocean. 

“That was a tough night for everyone,” Wiencke said. “We learned a lot from that mission and so did our students who participated in the instrument preflight, preflight testing and operation. This new mission and the astrophysics we will tackle are very exciting. The team and facilities at Mines will be critical.”

Like the 2017 mission, the 2022 mission will also launch from New Zealand, so that the balloon can catch a ride on a cold “river” of high thin air that circles the bottom part of the globe. The researchers hope the balloon will make several trips around the Antarctic over the course of 100 days or more.

The flight will provide proof of concept for the planned Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (POEMMA), a pair of orbiting satellites with the same capabilities but much greater sensitivity. A team of scientists, including the Mines team, and NASA engineers are designing the POEMMA mission for consideration by the 2020 Astronomy and Astrophysics Survey, a National Academy of Sciences-led scientific prioritization for the decade.  

In addition to Colorado School of Mines, the team also includes researchers from University of Chicago, Lehman College (CUNY), Marshall Space Flight Center and University of Alabama-Huntsville.

Photo credit: NASA/Bill Rodman

Emilie Rusch, Public Information Specialist, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3361 |
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 |

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Hogue contributes to Los Angeles River watershed study

Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:08

A Colorado School of Mines professor is one of the lead authors on a recently published study examining the impact of water management strategies on the Los Angeles River watershed

Terri Hogue, professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program, worked with researchers at UCLA on the study, which is part of the Sustainable LA Grand Challenge, a UCLA research initiative aiming to help transition Los Angeles County to 100 percent renewable energy and 100 percent locally sourced water by 2050.

Achieving that water independence, the study found, will require a careful balancing act from regional planners. Reducing the amount of stormwater or reclaimed water that rushes through the Los Angeles River to the ocean, for example, would also mean less river water for kayakers and wildlife.

For the study, researchers drew from 60 years of flow data to model changes in flow and water quality to understand the impacts that potential management measures – such as the use of porous pavement and the creation of man-made ponds -- would have on reducing stormwater pollution. 

The Los Angeles River watershed covers 825 square miles, beginning in the southwest corner of the San Fernando Valley and ending at the Pacific Ocean.

“This type of modeling analysis provides invaluable information on the potential trade-offs among various stormwater pollution control measures that will improve water quality but also consider local water supply and flood control impacts,” Hogue said.

Hogue was joined on the research team by Mines graduate students Elizabeth Gallo and Ryan Edgley and postdoctoral fellow Laura Read. Leading the study was Mark Gold, associate vice chancellor for environment and sustainability at UCLA. Also contributing from UCLA were Katie Mika, Stephanie Pincetl and Kim Truong.

To read the full study, go to

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