A King's Scholarship
When a new international, graduate-level research university, KAUST, opens this fall in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the first incoming class will include six Mines graduate students. (more...)
New Trustee Appointed
Terry Fox '89 was appointed to the Mines Board of Trustees, effective January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2012. L. Roger Hutson '82 reappointed. (more...)
ACSCM Hosts Legislative Mixer
The Associated Students of Colorado School of Mines sponsored a research reception showcasing Mines research. Students, faculty and staff met with state legislators at the Colorado History Museum in February. (more...)
Former Colorado Governor Owens Offers Optimistic Outlook
Former Governor Bill Owens delivered the 2009 Erickson Lecture in January, sharing his optimism about the state of the world and our collective future. (more...)
Blue Key Donates Bulb Sale Proceeds to Charity
The Mines chapter of Blue Key National Honor Society donated $6,000 in proceeds from its holiday ornament sale to Energy Outreach Colorado. (more...)
Announcements and additional news items. (more...)
A King's Scholarship
Emerging from the desert 50 miles north of Jeddah on the edge of the Red Sea in Saudi Arabia is a university, and when it opens its doors this fall, the first incoming class will include six Mines graduate students. In January, the university hosted an orientation, and Mines student Dan Lecocq toured the vast building site of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology where he plans to attend next September. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It’s a huge campus; palm trees, golf course, helicopter pad, and lovely buildings.” And although it’s far from finished, rapid progress is being made by the 32,000 laborers working in shifts around the clock. One finished building is the mosque. “It’s breathtaking,” said Dan.
All six Mines students attending KAUST in the fall have been awarded Discovery Scholarships—merit-based awards that provide full tuition, housing, travel and living expenses. In addition, the awards pick up the tab for the remainder of students’ undergraduate education expenses. For Dan this includes Mines tuition, a stipend for living expenses, free textbooks, a laptop computer and a variety of sponsored enrichment activities. Kay Godel-Gengenbach, director of international programs at Mines and the person who has been working closest with KAUST recruiters, remarked, “In selecting our students for this opportunity, KAUST representatives cited their talent and motivation, and the belief that they represent, along with other recipients, future leaders in science, engineering and technology.”
KAUST is the realization of a dream that King Abdullah has nurtured for many years. When he was ready to make it a reality, he picked up the phone and called an executive of Saudi Aramco. “Build a university” was the upshot of the conversation, in which he offered support to the tune of $10 billion. “I suppose that’s the raw efficiency of monarchy,” Dan remarked.
An international, graduate level research university, KAUST will offer masters’ and doctoral degrees in a spectrum of applied science and engineering fields, including applied mathematics, computational science, bioscience, chemical and biological engineering, environmental science and engineering, material science, marine science, bioscience, chemical science and others. Ultimately, the university aims to hire 1,500 full-time faculty, research scientists and engineers, post-doctoral researchers and other industrial visiting researchers.
Dan plans to study applied mathematics and computer science, and so far he’s pleased with the faculty recruited, which includes a former Mines professor, Alyn Rockwood (2001 – 2005). With a keen interest in supercomputing, Dan is also excited about the opportunity to work on the university’s 222 teraflop Shaheen (Arabic for peregrine falcon), which ranks among the 10 fastest computers in the world.
Ryan Decker, another of the Mines scholars, is planning to study environmental science and engineering. With an interest in water desalination membrane technology, he’s heading to the right place—almost all the university’s water will come from desalination. Along with the educational opportunities, Ryan is looking forward to studying and living in such a diverse environment—his class will include students from 63 countries.
He had a preview during the seven-day orientation in January. Staying in the Jeddah Hilton, Ryan roomed with a student from Oman named Bedar. “It was just an awesome experience,” said Ryan, describing how Bedar, a devout Muslim, gave him an entirely new perspective on a culture largely unfamiliar to him. “I got to experience a piece of his life,” said Ryan. And despite their radically different backgrounds, the two established a meaningful friendship and talked late into the evening every night of their stay.
Encouraging such cultural exchange among the 400 future students was clearly a key goal for the organizers. In one assignment, each student was issued a list of five other students to find—and ask a list of questions—over the course of their seven-day stay in Jeddah.
Another activity involved a collaborative engineering challenge. The group of 400 students was broken up into teams of five—Ryan was grouped with two women and two men hailing from Chile, Mexico, China and Jordan. After being issued a programmable Lego robot kit, the teams were all given the same assignment. “Our goal was to transport a ping pong ball along a two-foot section of this gigantic figure eight,” Ryan explained. “You had to work with the other teams to work out the drop off and the pick up.” The objective was for students to build and program each robot so that the ping pong ball could continue to be passed, uninterrupted, around and around the figure eight—also the symbol for infinity. “It was so cool to see all the students’ minds working together. Every single section looked completely different,” he said, remarking that the same exercise at Mines might have looked a little more uniform.
The international university is governed by a board of trustees. The focus of the research is applied science and technology designed to “solve problems of human need, social advancement and economic development.” The founding president is Choom Fong Shih, formerly the president of the National University of Singapore.
New Trustee Appointed
Gov. Bill Ritter appointed Terry Fox ’89 and reappointed L. Roger Hutson ’82 to the Colorado School of Mines Board of Trustees, effective January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2012.
Fox, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Mines in chemical engineering and petroleum refining, is an attorney with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, where she represents federal employees and federal agencies in civil litigation.
Fox serves on the Colorado Supreme Court’s Attorney Regulation Committee and is a member of the Colorado Hispanic Bar Association, the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Denver Bar Association, and the Hispanic National Bar Association. Her community service includes work with Chic Chicana, Colorado Youth at Risk, the Denver Dumb Friends League, Compass Montessori School, Inroads of Denver Alumni Association, the Rocky Mountain Children’s Choir and the National Association for Migrant Education.
Hutson, who currently serves as vice chairman of the Mines Board of Trustees and chairman of the Finance and Audit Committee, was first appointed to the board in 2004.
He is the president and chief executive officer of HRM Resources LLC, a private firm specializing in the acquisition, operation and development of producing oil and gas assets. He currently sits on the board of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and is a past president of that organization. Hutson has also served on the boards of the CSM Alumni Association and the Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States.
Other members of the board include Michael Nyikos, Terrance Tschatschula, Vicki Cowart ’77, Frank DeFilippo, James Spaanstra, faculty trustee John Dorgan and student trustee Amy Dubetz.
The seven-member board of trustees is appointed by the governor of Colorado for four-year terms. The student body elects a student trustee annually. The faculty representative position was established in 2008 and is elected by the Mines faculty for a two-year term. The student and faculty trustees are non-voting members.
ASCSM Hosts Legislative Mixer
Students, faculty and staff met with state legislators at the Colorado History Museum in February during a research reception sponsored by the Associated Students of Colorado School of Mines. “The presenters represented the wide variety of research that is going on at Mines, but we tried to focus on renewable energy and sustainability work,” said Amy Dubetz, student trustee.
“Some of the exhibits showcased faculty research in fuel cells, biofuels, solar energy, carbon management and oil shale. We also wanted to show off what student groups are doing for sustainability, with presentations on the new LED-lit M, the Shell Eco-Marathon car and the Humanitarian Engineering Program,” she added.
State legislators attending the event included senators Nancy Spence, Greg Brophy, Mike Kopp and Moe Keller, and state representatives Debbie Benefield, Jim Kerr, Karen Middleton, Ken Summers, Jerry Sonnenberg and Wes McKinley.
Dubetz said it was impressive to gather so much Mines research into one room. “I’m glad that we got to show it off to people who make decisions that directly affect Mines,” she added.
Former Colorado Governor Owens Offers Optimistic Outlook
Despite the gloomy economic climate, former Colorado Governor Bill Owens shared his optimism about the state of the world and our collective future during a January speech on campus, intended to counter what he regards as Americans’ predisposition to the negative. As the 2009 William H. Erickson Distinguished Lecturer, Owens discussed topics including global food supplies, environment, population growth, education and energy use, and concluded we are better off today than in past decades in most areas.
“In 24 years of elective office, I learned at least one important fact,” he said, “and that is, when it comes to public policy, there’s a huge gap between perception and reality.” This discrepancy is due, in his opinion, to a negative bias in the media and the influence of special interests. Offering statistics that suggest improvements in air quality, global food supplies, education and public health, Owens asked, “Why don’t we know more or feel better about some of the progress we are making in heart disease and cancer and the environment? These are facts that I think we should be extremely proud of and ought to be talking more about.”
Owens credits markets, freedom and democracy for the progress, arguing that as these interwoven systems have taken hold worldwide, we have seen improvements in public policy, society and economies. After his lecture, the governor took questions on issues ranging from global energy production to state budget cuts, reiterating his optimism in spite of current challenges.
The Erickson Lecture series was established by Justice William ’47 and Doris Erickson to help extend intellectual life beyond the classroom. Hear Governor Owens’ remarks in Web Extras.
Blue Key Donates Bulb Sale Proceeds to Charity
Using proceeds from its holiday ornament sale, the Mines chapter of Blue Key National Honor Society donated $6,000 to Energy Outreach Colorado—an organization dedicated to helping the state’s neediest families meet their home energy needs through the Charitable Energy Network and the Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP).
After Blue Key installed new, energy efficient LEDs on the mountainside “M” monument last fall, the students were left with a large number of the then-useless incandescent bulbs.
“The idea for the M-blem ornament was conceived last spring, as we began to finalize the M LED renovation,” said John McGee, Blue Key president. “Tyler Benton, Blue Key honorary committee chairman, and Kim See, Blue Key secretary, spearheaded the ornament project, pursuing multiple alternatives on how to design them.”
After receiving samples from a local print shop in Golden, Blue Key students developed hangers and hand-assembled more than 1,200 light bulbs with ribbons and a short history of the M. The Mines community’s response was huge— students sold out the ornaments shortly after the sale was announced.
Rather than keep the profits, Blue Key leaders decided to donate the money to LEAP in keeping with the LED project’s renewable energy theme. “With hard economic times, we wanted to keep the money local and directly assist the community,” said McGee. “Through LEAP, 100 percent of the funds are being allocated to help low income families pay their heating bills this winter. According to the executive director of Energy Outreach Colorado, it is the equivalent of saving 20 local families from losing their homes this winter.”
Minority Engineering Program students had a rewarding time at both the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) and Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) national conferences in late 2008. At the AISES national conference, Eva Salas, a mechanical specialty senior, presented her summer research on solid oxide fuel cell fabrication methods using tape casting and co-firing at the National Energy Technology Laboratory. She did an outstanding job in the oral presentation and was rewarded with the third place prize. At the SHPE national conference, the Academic Olympiad Team, with Roxanna Meza, Alex Lopez, Daniel Cruz and Eduardo Cervantes, tied for third place with UCLA. The Mines team took first place in their region.
David Marr, professor of chemical engineering, had the publication “In-Situ Assembly of Linked Geometrically-Coupled Microdevices” accepted in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. See: http://chemeng.mines.edu/ activities/0812press.shtml.
John Dorgan, professor of chemical engineering, recently participated in an Australian Polymer Society meeting in Melbourne where he was an invited keynote lecturer. The title of his presentation was “Ecobionanocomposites: A New Class of Green Materials.” Prior to the meeting, he participated in a workshop on emerging frontiers in nanocomposites at the Australian Institute for Biotechnology and Nanotechnology located on the campus of the University of Queensland.
Cristian Ciobanu, assistant professor of engineering, recently received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program award. The CAREER Program offers NSF’s most prestigious awards in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through outstanding research, excellent education and the integration of education and research within the context of the mission of their organizations. The award amounts to $400,000 over five years in support of an integrated research and education plan in alloyed nanowires at Mines. CAREER proposals are peer-reviewed and recommended for funding based on their intellectual merit and on the broader impacts of the proposed activities.
John Humphrey, associate professor and head of the Geology and Geological Engineering Department, was one of 55 educators from around the world, and the only from the U.S., to be invited to Paris to participate in the “Earth and Education Seminar,” sponsored by the French energy company Total.