Spotlight

Poetter




Eileen Poeter
Professor of Geology and Geological Engineering
Research: Water

David Matlock


David Matlock
Professor of Metallugical and Materials Engineering
Research: Mechanical Properties


Tissa

 


Tissa Illangasekare

Professor of Civil Engineering
Research: Environment



Zach



Zach Aman

Student
Year: Junior
Major: Chemical Engineering


Millian


Emily Milian
Student
Year: Senior
Major: Mathematical and Computer Science


Spotlight: Researchers

Eileen Poeter
Research: Water

PoetterEileen Poeter, director of the International Ground Water Modeling Center (IGWMC) and professor of geology and geological engineering, has earned the esteem of students and colleagues alike.

The National Ground Water Research and Educational Foundation (NGWREF) honored Poeter in 2006 when she was selected by a panel of scientists and engineers to be the 2006 Henry Darcy Distinguished Lecturer. Each year, an outstanding ground water professional is chosen to give the Darcy Lecture Series and share their research with peers and students. The series, established in 1986, now reaches more than 50,000 ground water students, faculty and professionals.

Through the lecture series, Poeter presented her research on ground water modeling in 11 countries on five continents in a lecture titled "All Models are Wrong, How Do We Know Which are Useful?"

Poeter's research focuses on ground water modeling and resource evaluation. The models are used to predict ground water conditions under alternative management scenarios. Her research is unique in that rather than developing a single model for a given ground water system, she develops multiple conceptual models, effectively capturing more of the uncertainty in the system. Poeter then helps hydrologists evaluate the models to estimate the uncertainty of their predictions. This provides ground water decision-makers with more information and helps them to achieve a sustainable system.

According to her students, Poeter takes education very seriously. "As a teaching assistant for Eileen, I was amazed at how much time and effort she put into each of her classes," said graduate student Stephanie Schmidt.

"The material is challenging, so the class can be intimidating, but that is exactly what makes it fun—because she is encouraging and will answer any question," said Lacy Jones, one of Poeter's students. "I really respect Dr. Poeter and enjoy her
class."

Master's degree student Clint Carney called Poeter one of the "most influential people in my life."

'She has challenged me to be a better hydrologist and to see
problems from many different angles," Carney said.
—Reprinted from the School's research magazine, Energy and the Earth

David Matlock
Research: Mechanical Properties

A member of the National Acadamy of Engineering, David Matlock has built a world-class research center and a worldwide reputation for his vast contributions to mechanical properties research, as well as his outstanding teaching. Matlock is the director of the Advanced Steel Processing and Products Research
Center (ASPPRC) and a professor of metallurgical and materials engineering.

Matlock joined the Mines faculty in 1972, and along with colleague George Krauss, founded ASPPRC in 1984. The center has since been recognized as one of the most successful centers of its kind and draws an annual budget of more than $1.5 million. The majority of the center's funding comes from industry support.

"Research in the center is unique because it brings together competing companies as well as suppliers and customers to work together on research projects that are mutually beneficial to a variety of companies that do not normally work together," Matlock said.

The center's research focuses on microstructural development and the effects of microstructure on the mechanical properties of steel.

One important area of research is the development of new advanced high strength sheet steels for use in affordable lightweight automobiles. The drive to reduce fuel usage and maintain safety propels this critical research.

Development of high-strength pipeline steels for the oil and gas industry is a second area of energy-related research, driven by the need to produce either oil in deep-sea locations or natural gas from remote locations.

New pipelines will require steels with significantly improved mechanical properties. Improvements based on ASPPRC research efforts will impact oil and gas production and "in some cases make previously unavailable energy sources viable," said Matlock.

To support the extensive research conducted by members of ASPPRC, Matlock has developed first-rate mechanical testing laboratories, including a high strain rate mechanical system. Extremely rare in a university laboratory, this system has the capability to simulate material behaviors in a car crashing into a concrete wall at 35 miles per hour and then assess the damage and properties of automotive structural steels.

Matlock's laboratories are also available to students through many lab-based classes. Matlock says he likes having "the opportunity to continually learn and, where possible, pass on the information to students."

"Professor David Matlock is easily the best instructor I have ever had. He instills in his students the capacity to learn and understand difficult concepts and start thinking about the next step," said Mark Richards, a PhD candidate.
—Reprinted from the School's research magazine, Energy and the Earth


Tissa Illangasekare

Research: Environment

TissaAccording to his students, Tissa Illangasekare is a demanding professor who sets high standards. Illangasekare is the AMAX Distinguished Chair and Professor of Civil Engineering at Mines.

"I felt challenged every day, but once I was done with my thesis, I felt very proud to have worked at Tissa's side and in his great research group," said Lisa Porta, MS student in Environmental Science.

Illangasekare's research is aimed at protecting water resources and the environment through the study of flow and transport in porous and fractured media. This translates to the development of models that simulate the flow of water (most specifically groundwater) and transport of chemicals to gain an improved understanding of the processes that control these phenomena. The applications for Illangasekare's research include management of surface and subsurface water, remediation of subsurface systems that are contaminated with petroleum and organic waste, effects of natural disasters on groundwater, arctic hydrology (as it applies to sea-level rise) and dam stability analysis.

In conjunction with his teaching and research, Illangasekare has published numerous book chapters and more than 200 technical articles in refereed journals and proceedings. Illangasekare is also the director of the Center for the Environmental Study of Subsurface Environmental Process (CESEP), a collaborative center between several universities, national laboratories and industry partners.

Illangasekare receives his funding from federal, state and industry sources and has collaborated with scientists and engineers from Denmark, the United Kingdom, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, South Korea, Japan, the Czech Republic, Germany and Australia. He has also offered many workshops and seminars to students around the world.

In 2006, Illangasekare was elected a fellow of the American Association for Advancement of Science for his significant contributions to understanding flow and transport processes in soils and groundwater. In 2005, Illangasekare was elected a fellow of the American Geophysical Union in recognition of his contributions to understanding the behavior of organic chemicals in a heterogeneous subsurface. Illangasekare was also elected a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2005.

In addition to his honors, Illangasekare is registered as both a professional engineer and professional hydrologist, and is a diplomate of both the American Academy of Environmental Engineers and the American Academy of Water Resources Engineers. Illangasekare is also the current director of Hydrologic Sciences Program at the National Science Foundation.
—Reprinted from the School's research magazine, Energy and the Earth

Spotlight: Students

Emily Milian
Year: Senior
Major: Mathematical and Computer Science

MillianEmily Milian's email signature features a quote by Mahatma Ghandi: "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." Upon graduation, she intends to be that change. She's joining the Teach for America program and moving to Arizona, where she plans to teach math to at-risk middle school students. "I believe math is so important for kids to understand," she says. "Many more doors are open for you if you are proficient in math. If not, many doors are closed."

Milian, who received the prestigious Florence Caldwell Achievement Scholarship each of the four years she has attended Mines, will also earn a master's degree in secondary education at Arizona State University while she teaches.

Emily's plans aren't the dreams of a wide-eyed idealist; joining Teach for America is the latest in a long string of charitable projects. She has served as vice president, district lieutenant governor and district conferences chair for Circle K International, a collegiate service organization which honored her for completing over 100 hours of volunteer work annually.

Additionally, Emily chaired the 2006 campus-wide community service day, "Into the Streets," which was named "Best School-Wide Program." She also designed and implemented the Middle School Engineering Outreach Program for Mines' Society of Women Engineers.

"I really like explaining things and acting as a mentor," she says. "I also find that I learn so much from the people I'm supposed to be teaching."

Deb Lasich, executive director of the Women in Science, Engineering and Mathematics program, met Emily through the Florence Caldwell scholarship. "Students who get taught by her will be very fortunate," says Lasich. "Emily is very excited about what she's doing. She will be on the front lines, making it possible for young people to go on in math and science careers."

But Milian says she is simply doing what feels right: "I have faith in the world and a lot of people out there are doing something to improve it. I want to do my part."

Zach Aman
Year: Junior
Major: Chemical Engineering

ZachYou don't hear an engineering student say this too often: "Everyone should go to college and learn how to write a news story."

But that's exactly how Zach Aman, a junior studying chemical engineering, feels. Aman is editor-in-chief of The Oredigger, Mines' 88-year-old newspaper. When Aman joined the weekly paper during his first year, it had a circulation of 1,500. Today, it boasts a circulation of 2,700 and is a hot commodity on campus.

Aman, who was born in Denver and grew up in Grand Rapids, MI, says his passion for journalism came out of the blue. "I was in the half-credit class you take as a freshman, CSM 101, which introduces you to a mentor," he recalls. "My mentor was the newspaper's opinion editor and he recruited me within a week. The funny thing is, the night I walked in was the night he quit." Undaunted, Aman dove in. "I've always been pretty darned opinionated," he jokes.

Two and a half years later, Zach is credited with leading a renaissance at The Oredigger. He says his motivation comes from an engineer's natural quest for improvement and from a passion to serve his community.

"The way my personality is, I have a problem looking at things and accepting them as they are," he explains. "The primary value we add to the entire Mines community is that we create a forum of communication that can integrate all constituents of this organization."

David Frossard, who works for Academic Computing and Networking, is the paper's faculty advisor and says Aman is a natural leader. "Zach has done all kinds of unglamorous but crucial grunt work that you never hear about," says Frossard. "And, of course, it doesn't hurt that Zach is such a charismatic figure. I've noticed many times how he asks staff to take on more work, more responsibility, and they are happy to do it.

"It's not that he's conning anyone. It's that everyone wants to follow him, to be part of his orbit. And he works hardest of all."