Inside Mines

Student Leaders Tackle Tough Choices
Students in Mines' Special Studies in Leadership & Small Group Dynamics tasked with distributing $4,000 in alumni donations to deserving student groups on campus. (more...)

Uncataloged Bierstadt "Discovered" at Mines

A painting by noted 19th century artist Albert Bierstadt that had been hanging on campus for decades now preserved and on display at Denver Art Museum. (more...)

Commencement 2010

On May 14, more than 700 students received their degrees. Chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips James Mulva delivered the commencement address. (more...)

Nuclear Engineering Gearing Up

Mines' graduate Nuclear Engineering Program is now at the beginning of its fourth year, with growing enrollments and new faculty hires planned over the coming years. (more...)

In Brief...

Announcements and additional news items. (more...)

Student Leaders Tackle Tough Choices

Students enrolled in Mines' popular Special Studies in Leadership & Small Group Dynamics class were given an interesting task last semester: distribute nearly $4,000 in cash to deserving student groups on campus.

This was no hypothetical exercise. The funds were donated by alumni who responded to a targeted solicitation from the CSM Foundation. "We reached out to a younger group of alumni," said Sara Pond, associate director of annual giving, "and got a great response." The $4,000 was given by Kevin Duffy '09, Travis Johnson '03, Aprill Nelson '08, Megan Starr '06 and a fifth, anonymous donor.

"This year we refined the community service aspect of the class by gearing it more toward the Mines community and providing a hands-on leadership learning opportunity," said Marie Hornickel, course facilitator and associate director of student activities.

Course participants broke into committees, developed a grant process, and marketed the opportunity to their peers. More than 35 of Mines' approximately 150 student groups applied for funding, a third of which were selected for interviews. Student Mike Marlow explains, "We were looking for groups with a well-defined purpose for the grants - groups that probably wouldn't be able to do without these funds and who would really benefit Mines."

Six campus groups were awarded grants:
Engineers Without Borders: water filtration system development for Navajo Tribe
Student Society of Geophysicists: aid for Haiti
Association of Environmental and Engineering Geologists: field trips for club members
Campus Crusade for Christ: Custodian Appreciation Day celebration
Cheerleading Squad: Colorado School of Mines uniforms
Rock Climbing Team: Colorado School of Mines jerseys

Student project leader Hunter Dunham said, "This project was eye-opening, particularly since so many groups applied. Determining how to distribute available funds, while getting the biggest bang for the buck, was quite a challenge."

Kevin Duffy '09 attended the group's final presentation and was pleased with the impact of his contribution. "The students taking the class clearly got a lot out the process, as did I - it's great to see exactly where a donation ends up."

Building on the success of this year's program, plans are under way to incorporate a similar project into next spring's leadership course.

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Uncataloged Bierstadt "Discovered" at Mines

A painting by the noted 19th century artist Albert Bierstadt that has been hanging on campus for decades is now on display in the Denver Art Museum's (DAM) Creating the West in Art exhibition, which runs through next spring. The undated painting, Yosemite, had gone uncataloged by scholars in the art world until Mines officials approached the museum.

Appraised for $1.7 million about five years ago, the painting was donated to the school in 1938 by a wealthy miner from Idaho Springs, Benjamin Briscoe. Wishing to see the painting properly preserved and enjoyed by a wider audience, the school contacted the DAM last winter, and their conservation staff agreed to work with Mines and the curators of the Petrie Institute of Western American Art to conserve the piece and prepare it for public viewing. Yosemite joined several other Bierstadt paintings in the exhibition, including a piece featuring Colorado's Estes Park and another portraying a sunset over the Wind River.

A German-American painter who lived from 1830 to 1902, Bierstadt traveled extensively throughout the West and is one of the earliest European painters of the Western landscape. A romantic, he exercised a high degree of artistic license, altering light and color, warping perspective, and rearranging physical features. "An exact view down the Yosemite Valley does not exist quite like this," said Thomas Smith, director of the Petrie Institute, indicating a fictitious waterfall and lake. "Bierstadt is trying to evoke the feeling or presence of the place, not a factual rendering."

The museum put a lot of time into repairing Yosemite. "The picture had been restored in the past and damaged in the process," said James Squires, associate curator of paintings, explaining that during the 50-hour process, DAM conservators slowly exposed the picture's original surface, revealing a brighter, more dramatic sunset. Smith explains that the Petrie Institute, dedicated to helping people understand the Western experience through art, was pleased to help preserve the work for future generations.

The school is equally grateful: "We appreciate the Denver Art Museum for its efforts to help preserve this painting," said President Scoggins. "The beauty of Bierstadt's works should be enjoyed by more people, and we are very pleased that the museum is providing that venue."

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Commencement 2010

On May 14, more than 700 degrees were conferred on members of the Class of 2010.

Hear remarks by graduation speaker James Mulva, chairman and CEO of ConocoPhillips here.

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Nuclear Engineering Gearing Up

At the beginning of its fourth year, Mines' graduate Nuclear Engineering Program has a total of 25 students enrolled in the MS and PhD programs, and another 15 in the five-year BS/MS program.

Stephen Pronovost '08, MS '10 is putting his masterís in nuclear engineering to work as a field service engineer for Westinghouse Nuclear. "I particularly enjoyed the reactor course," he says. "Designing a fast-spectrum research reactor, we gained invaluable hands-on experience."

The program's first graduate, Elliot Grafil, completed his master's degree in 2009 and is now pursuing a PhD at Mines in applied physics with a group led by Uwe Greife, physics professor and chair of the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center. His team works at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, which houses the world's largest laser.

Jeff King, assistant professor of nuclear engineering, is optimistic about the program's growing stature. "The quality of our students will go a long way in helping us establish ourselves," he says. "Our goal is to become the place for nuclear engineering expertise in the region, not only as an academic and research program, but as a place our elected officials look to for advice, and a trusted source of information for the public."

Thanks to the proximity of the U.S. Geological Survey's research reactor in Lakewood, Colo., students take a lab that gives them firsthand experience operating a nuclear reactor. The program also has partnerships with Idaho National Laboratories and Los Alamos. Established in 2008, the Nuclear Science and Engineering Center coordinates research collaborations in partnership with the program.

The long-term goal is to offer a comprehensive nuclear engineering program that covers the entire process of nuclear power generation, including discovery and extraction, fuel processing, reactor operations, and waste management and disposal. To this end, new faculty hires are planned over the coming years, including a radiochemist, a nuclear physicist, and a nuclear materials specialist. Doctoral student Aaron Craft is working with a team from Mines at Idaho National Laboratories this summer. "Nuclear engineers are in high demand all over the world," he says. "Five to ten years down the road, our energy situation will become increasingly apparent to the public and policymakers, and we will begin to expand our much-needed nuclear power capabilities."

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In Brief...

Mines' "Trusty Trussers" steel bridge team won first place at the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Rocky Mountain Regional Conference in April. Seniors Karlyn Adams, Luke Frash, Zachary Grabowski, Daniel Kane, Jackye Lagen and Bailey Smith's 1:10 scale model bridge incorporated a unique wishbone truss design. At the national competition in May, the team took 24th.

David W. M. Marr, faculty member since 1995 and co-director of the Center for Microintegrated Optics for Advancing Bioimaging and Control, is now head of the Chemical Engineering Department.

John McCray, Mines professor since 1998 and director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Graduate Program, has taken over as director of the Environmental Science and Engineering Division.

Two graduate students have been awarded prestigious three-year Department of Energy fellowships: Ann Deml (Materials Science) and Greg Lehnhoff (Metallurgical and Materials Engineering).

With a five-year, $400,000 National Science Foundation award, Mines and Worcester Polytechnic Institute established the first center dedicated to sustainable metals recovery and recycling in the U.S. - the Center for Resource Recovery and Recycling (CR3).

Hallgerd Eydal, a post-doctoral research scientist in the Environmental Science and Engineering Division, was awarded a three-year Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship from the European Union. Studying the microbes and viruses in Yellowstone hot springs, she will spend two years at Mines, followed by one year at the University of Bergen, Norway.

Burke Fort, director of Mines' 8th Continent Project, was awarded Jefferson Economic Council's "Genesis Award-Economic Developer of the Year." The award honors Burke and 8th Continent for "contributing to sustained economic vitality in Jefferson County through creative leadership, innovation, facilitation and collaboration, both within and outside Jefferson County."

Carl Mitcham was awarded an honorary doctorate by Valencian International University in May.

Mines and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have announced the joint appointment of Masami Nakagawa to conduct research related to geothermal heat pump technologies. Nakagawa, an associate professor in the Department of Mining Engineering, is also leading the creation of a Geothermal Academy, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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