Spotlight
Student
Jaime Thorpe
Senior, Chemical Engineering
President ASCSM

“Coming to Mines from out of state, far away from everyone I knew, was the best choice I ever made,” says Jaime Thorpe, a senior on target to graduate this May.

It built her confidence and offered the opportunity to redefine herself. “It allowed me to become the person I want to be, rather than the person I was,” she says. “I have certainly developed more as a leader than I ever thought possible.”

The third female president of the Associated Students of Colorado School of Mines, Jaime’s involvement in student government began in her freshmen year when she ran and won the position of class officer. In her junior year, she served as ASCSM treasurer, chairing a 14-member budget committee that allocated more than $600,000 in funding to various student activities. And that same year, she planned the Homecoming parade and campaigned for the position of president. “I have always been interested in taking charge,” says Jaime, “Mines has just nurtured my desire and allowed it to grow.”

Ultimately, Jamie would like to run for elected office. “We need more engineers in government,” she says. And not just to bridge the gap between technical professionals and legislators: “Engineers are better at doing things efficiently,” she says, “and the government is so darn inefficient!”

She knew she wanted to study government when she made up her mind to come to Mines, and the McBride Honors Program in Public Affairs was critical to her decision. “If McBride wasn’t here, I don’t think I would have come,” she says. “I’ve always been exhilarated by government,” she says, adding with a laugh, “Just going to state capitols excites me.”

Along with her McBride classes, her first-hand experience in student government has shaped her views on leadership. The idea of “taking ownership” is fundamental: “It is my fault when I don’t follow up with people enough and make sure that they are doing
their jobs,” she says. She believes leading should be like conducting: “The conductor makes sure that everyone works together to create the finished product, and though he is not playing an instrument himself, he has to have a working knowledge of how to play each part, to make sure what he is asking of everyone is realistic.”

According to Sara Post, editor of The Oredigger, Jaime has done well: “She has really had to learn how to get a lot of different perspectives together at the same table, something most ASCSM presidents have to be able to do, but I think she has become particularly good at it. With the curveballs we’ve been thrown this year, it’s really been impressive.”

Last summer Jaime travelled to Eastern Europe with the McBride Honors program, visiting five countries in two weeks. Of the many memories she came back with, she particularly recalls the day they spent with children from a Romanian orphanage, touring the home, sharing a delicious meal and laughing as they rode bicycles with the children through the countryside to visit a monastery. “They have so little and they are so happy,” she recalls. “We were supposedly there to brighten their day, but for all of us it was a really uplifting experience.”

Another high point was seeing the opera, Don Giovanni, in Prague. She’d studied it in a high school English class, and seeing a performance in the city where it premiered in the late 1700s made the production particularly meaningful. (A typically thrifty student, the ticket price also made an impression: “For students, it only cost about three dollars,” she recalls, delighted.)

Jaime has taken out loans to help foot the bill for her out-ofstate tuition ($26,404 for 2009–10). She was also awarded the Colorado School of Mines Alumni Association Houston Section Scholarship all four years. “My parents have helped out as well,”
she says, “and they have been a tremendous support throughout my education, both emotionally and financially. Without them, I can’t imagine that I would have even made it to Mines, much less been able to graduate, or pay for it,” she says.

After graduation, Jaime’s short-term goal is to return to Houston and work in the energy industry—she has student debt to take care of. After that, who knows, but don’t be surprised if she comes knocking on your door looking for a vote.