Colorado School of Mines is a uniquely focused public research university dedicated to preparing exceptional students to solve today's most pressing energy and environmental challenges.
This is Mines.
Colorado School of Mines is a uniquely focused public research university dedicated to preparing exceptional students to solve today's most pressing energy and environmental challenges.
This is Mines.
Former Denver Nuggets dancer and founder of her own activewear company, Kady Zinke, contacted Mines metallurgical and materials engineering research professor Terry Lowe for engineering expertise to develop clothing that could help protect dancers from injury – specifically bruised knees. Knee injuries are among the most prevalent in dancers, and the protection that is offered currently tends to be “bulky, unattractive and constricting.”
Zinke noticed the high-end suits that motorcyclists and car racers wore at events and couldn’t understand why there wasn’t anything comparable in the dancer world.
“No one treats us (dancers) like athletes. I want to create something that’s sophisticated and high tech for dancers,” Zinke said. “This knee problem has existed for years and no one has really solved it.”
Lowe wasn’t convinced he could offer a solution or receive the financial support to pursue the project.
“The constraints imposed by Kady were just too difficult: trying to put aesthetic, non-restricting, nearly invisible padding into dancer-style tights and still provide adequate protection,” Lowe said.
After nearly giving up on Zinke’s concept, Lowe discovered a solution that could meet her requirements: crafting a new energy absorbing hybrid material system that combines shear-stiffening compounds (similar to cornstarch) and specially designed impact-lattices (that look like miniature bridge trusses).
“If you have an impact in one spot, the rest of the pad can contribute to absorbing energy. A pressure wave from the impact goes out into the shear-thickening fluid and transforms it to absorb energy,” Lowe said. “By adding in impact-lattices, you can design structures that absorb four or five times more energy than a typical foam.”
Incorporating specially designed impact-lattices also help the pads recover instantly from compressed while keeping the same protection in place, which in turn reduces the trauma dancers experience from multiple falls.
In June, the duo received a $30,000 grant from the Advanced Industries Accelerator Program to fund the assessment of the best currently available padding materials, and then design, fabricate, and test their new high performance product – nicknamed “dancy pants.”
Metallurgical and material sciences student Michaela Rillings helps Lowe oversee the “Dancy Pants” project team of six students (four from Mines, one from University of Colorado Boulder and one from Princeton University) to test different competitor products to gain information on how to optimize the energy absorption properties of their new prototype hybrid materials system.
“Getting other perspectives and folks from other institutions makes the team richer,” Lowe said. “Success depends on the team, and not a single individual.”
As a competitive Irish step dancer, Rillings knows several people who have suffered impact injuries that have caused them to stop performing.
“I have had personal experience with dance related impact injuries and having the opportunity to combine my two passions, dance and materials and metallurgical engineering, is quite literally a dream come true,” Rillings said. “Quoting some of Macklemore’s lyrics, "And we danced (in other words, we fell) and we cried (but then anti-injury active wear was developed) and we laughed and had a really, really, really good time.”
The team hopes their technology will eventually be incorporated into many different aspects of life, including other sports, protecting police and military personnel, and compact impact tolerant packaging.
A team of Mines computer science students engaged in a field session this summer that focused not only on advanced software engineering, but also on developing a product with a philanthropic mission.
The Giving Child Organization presented a challenge to the students: Develop a game app that appeals to children of all ages, increases awareness of world hunger and raises money for Heifer International.
“When I first read the description for this project, I knew I had to be on the team,” said Walter Schlosser, who will enter his senior year this fall with a double major in engineering physics and computer science. “The project matched perfectly with my interests and skills and I was excited to get to develop a game with a team of other skilled programmers.”
But as Schlosser noted, the project wasn’t just about making a game.
“Before this project, I would have felt that learning game design would be unrelated to helping the less fortunate. However, I loved the fact this project allowed me to use my talents to make a difference. It’s exciting to think of the endless creative ways people can help out.”
According to Asha Barnes, co-director of The Giving Child Organization, the object of the game “Aleksandra” (named for the protagonist of the game) is to herd animals to the market to make enough money to buy a book.
“Our object is to show children solutions to the struggles their peers around the world face,” said Barnes. “Our goal is to invite children into the world of giving in fun and meaningful ways. And right now, that means through games.”
The organization hopes to collaborate with WorldBuilders, a non-profit organization founded by New York Times Bestselling Author Patrick Rothfuss benefiting Heifer International, during its annual fundraiser and sell the game for $22.
“It’s expensive for a game, but the goal is to make a genuine difference, so $2 will go towards The Giving Child to fund the next game and $20 will go to Heifer International to buy a real live gaggle of geese for a family in need,” Barnes said.
“Aleksandra” is currently available for free in the Google Play store. It will officially launch in October.
Barnes said the Mines team was incredibly competent and far exceeded expectations.
“I don’t play games but I found myself skipping out on my responsibilities in order to finish this game,” said Barnes.
Daniel Victor, a computer science major also entering his senior year, said the project taught him a lot about teamwork.
“If you have a good team, it can make a project much easier. The skills and personalities in our team meshed well and made for a really enjoyable field session,” Victor said.
Ben Casey, who recently graduated from Mines with a degree in computer science and minor in economics, would like to see the game go viral.
“It’s a really cool app that is unlike any other on the Play store,” Casey said, noting he chose to work on this project because of the humanitarian mission behind it.
He also learned about seeing a project through from start to finish, delegating work and working with a client.
“The client had only a rough estimate of what they wanted, so this project taught me how to take an outline and implement it in a really cool way,” Casey said.
Cyndi Rader, electrical engineering and computer science teaching professor, coordinated the course and advised the team that developed the game, which also included Kelly Masuda.
Karen Gilbert, Director of Public Relations, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3541 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathleen Morton, Communications Coordinator, Colorado School of Mines / 303-273-3088 / email@example.com
There’s a pretty good chance that if you see two people practicing acrobatic partner yoga (acroyoga) on Kafadar Commons, one of them is physics teaching assistant Michelle Griffith. Griffith, who graduated from Mines with an engineering physics degree in the spring, heard about acroyoga from an instructor last summer and has been practicing regularly in Golden parks and Boulder gyms ever since.
“Yoga is not about being showy whereas acroyoga is,” Griffith said. “It’s made to be dynamic and entertaining, whereas yoga is more a sacred practice.”
Acroyoga is made up of static or washing machine poses (a sequence of poses) between partners. One person, referred to as the base, is usually laying or standing on the ground to support the other, who is usually elevated (also known as the flyer).
“A lot of people think that because acroyoga involves touching it has to be romantic and that’s not the case at all,” Griffith said. “I appreciate the fact that you can have trusting, physical contact with another person and not have it be romantic or weird.”
One of Griffith’s partners is Max Schulze, a world champion unicyclist and Mines 2014 chemistry graduate. Schulze saw Griffith’s acroyoga posts on Facebook and contacted her about practicing together.
“I really like the sun and when it’s dark out for a long time, I become more stressed with school,” Schulze. “I remember driving up to Boulder twice a week, even by myself, to go to acroyoga because it was fun and just got me de-stressed.”
Griffith also uses the practice to unwind between her work at Mines.
"You’re not thinking about the last test you just took when you’re doing acroyoga,” Griffith said. “It’s super therapeutic to move and stretch your body.”
Schulze is currently working as a researcher at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and is considering graduate school. Griffith is looking into obtaining yoga and acroyoga teacher certifications and exploring graduate schools for physical therapy.
“Physics is very applicable to physical therapy, but also fundamentally centered around the body and I do a lot of athletic things,” Griffith said.
Geophysical engineering student Austin Bistline details his experiences during the two-week Geophysics Field Camp in Pagosa Springs, CO.
Monday, May 12
Today we gathered at Mines campus to leave for Pagosa Springs, CO. It was snowing quite heavily so we delayed our departure until 11 a.m., which allowed for a short geology lesson. Dr. Robert Raynolds (Dr. Bob) of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science quickly outlined the geology along our route to Pagosa. Once underway, Dr. Bob and others pointed out the geology and interesting landmarks. Everyone arrived in Pagosa Springs shortly after 5 p.m.
Tuesday, May 13
The group was presented a broad overview of the regional and local geology and an attempt was made by our instructors to outline the problem at hand—understanding the subsurface plumbing that causes the geothermal anomalies in Pagosa Springs. We were also shown a small portion of the geothermal heating infrastructure of the Town of Pagosa Springs to gain an understanding as to how people can benefit from the geothermal resources. The entire group of students were together today, guided by Dr. Bob and Dr. Michael Batzle. We studied through fresh morning snow, heavy snowfall in the afternoon, and freezing temperatures, finishing around 5 p.m.
Wednesday, May 14
Today was about gathering geological information in the Chromo valley, to create a rough idea of the subsurface geology and geothermal fluid flow in the locale of Chromo where we will be collecting our geophysical data to reinforce or correct our initial geological inferences. Cross-sections were created using collected strike and dip, as well as oil-well data from the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission. The entire crew of students were together today, guided by Dr. Bob, Dr. Batzle, and a local, Marvin Johnson, who happens to be an expert in seismic acquisition/interpretation and a Mines alumni. Marvin was gracious enough to work with us from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m., when we finished our rough geological cross-sections. The weather was sunny and cool today.
Thursday, May 15
We began the process of gathering geophysical data today, after a short discussion with Dr. Bob about our geological cross sections that we created the day before for the Chromo anticline. The data collection process for the next seven days was outlined and we were assigned to one of 10 geophysical methods to help perform for the day. I was assigned to DC Resistivity (which measures apparent resistivity in the subsurface) with Dr. Andre Revil and four other students. Dr. Batzle decided to tag along with us as well because he had never been on the DC Resistivity crew before and he ended up placing most of our flags, marking 20 meter spacing between electrodes. DC resistivity should tell us something about fluid type and location in the subsurface as well as prominent geological features such as shale/sandstone contacts as well as faulting, but it is important to note that it is a very low-resolution method.
The goal is for all of the students to assist in each geophysical method for a day, gaining equal exposure to all, so I should be able to report on a different method each day. The weather is sunny but cool today in Chromo– very nice weather to begin collecting data.
Friday, May 16
Today I was on the seismic crew placing geophones—jug-hustling they call it. We were able to place about 1.5 km worth of geophones, six per ten meter spacing, so around 900 geophones were stomped into the ground. The work wasn’t hard, but there were a lot of curse words flying around due to the endless fiasco of tangled wires that we had to unwind—tedious to say the least. At one point, one of the locals driving by stopped to let us know he had a generator we could borrow so we didn’t have to string out so much extension cord. We had a good laugh. The crew from CGG was working on the Vibroseis trucks and had the engines revved up for about two hours. At one point, they drove one of them out on the road close to where we were laying out geophones, and tested the frequency sweep of the system. We could feel the Rayleigh waves traveling through the surface and some of us thought that was pretty cool! I’ll be excited when we see the seismic data come into fruition and figure out the structure of the Chromo Anticline.
Around noon, a report came in that a bear had been sighted north of the Navajo River across from the fire station, which wasn’t too far from where we were. We all tried to locate it from the road to no avail, and finally decided that the EM crew that spotted it had made the whole thing up. The weather was great again today, nice and sunny, not too hot and not too cool.
Saturday, May 17
Today was interesting because I was the crew boss for the Magnetotellurics (MT) and Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) methods. It was my responsibility to make sure all equipment we used was accounted for; that everyone in my crew had what they needed, stayed safe and worked effectively. Everyone gets the chance at some point to be crew boss. MT requires a large 100 by 100 meter space, so we had to set it up in some of the lots north of County Road 392. We quickly realized that the fields were jam-packed with spiders and snakes—so that was interesting. We had another report of a bear, this time with two cubs, passing close to one of the crews to the east down the line.
The GPR method consists of dragging a small plastic box backwards down the road 20 meters at a time. Usually one person is dragging and another is walking and taking notes, so it’s not too bad if the other person is a good conversationalist. We have really been spoiled with the weather pretty much every day that we’ve been collecting data. Nice and warm today, sunny and warm in the morning, cloudy and a few raindrops in the afternoon.
Sunday, May 18
I was assigned to the Electromagnetic method today. This procedure is done with the instrument known as the EM47. We actually got more done today than any other crew has doing this method nine stations total—and we had a lot of fun while doing it. I’m not sure if we are getting sillier because we are delirious from working seven long days straight, but everyone is definitely more laid back and having fun. We all had transceivers and our own channel to communicate, so it wasn’t long before we had radio humor happening, warning the others to not “feed the wild professors” seen on the road nearby, and other silly quips that got everyone laughing.
On a more serious note, we did see three bears today—all of them cubs. Two were small enough they could have been easily mistaken for small dogs. The small ones were hanging out on a branch in a tree just east of the Chromo fire station. The other probably weighed 90 lbs and was seen running across the road across the field from where we were conducting our EM survey first thing in the morning. As a camp, we’ve seen bears nearly every day since we started doing our geophysical surveys so we have been exercising caution, eating together at the fire station, etc. According to the locals, there are thousands of them in the Chromo valley and we shouldn’t be at all surprised to see them.
Monday, May 19
Today I repeated the seismic method, but it was much more interesting than it was on the previous Friday. Instead of stomping geophones in the ground, I controlled the Vibroseis truck or ‘Vibe’ from the ‘doghouse’—the enclosure that houses all of the seismic recording and acquisition parameters. All was well and we were recording our first four sweeps (which is essentially just the Vibe shaking the ground from low to high frequencies) when the GPS antenna fell off the doghouse, ruining the timing. From then on, the doghouse was unable to start the Vibe and we spent two hours troubleshooting the problem. I left during this time to put in my time surveying the last few points on the DC Resistivity line. After that, I helped the rest of the seismic crew pull up geophones and wind up cables to get ready and progress the seismic line to the east.
At the behest of our professors, we began a ‘student site’ to the south of our main survey area located at the Crawley Ranch. We had chosen this area due to the existence of an oil well drilled in the 1930s that now had geothermal water flowing from it and we thought we might get some additional information about the Chromo Anticline by conducting geophysical surveys close to the well. I was dismayed to find that some of the other students had laid out an elaborate survey grid in a direction opposite to what I had pictured. After some heated debate and input from Dr. Richard Krahenbuhl, we decided that in the interest of time, we would simply change the target of our investigation from the subsurface geology to the old oil well in order to keep the survey grid. Fun stuff.
Tuesday, May 20
We really knocked it out of the park at the student site today. Our original intent was to conduct a DC Resistivity survey, five lines, 315 meters long, over the student site. Due to hammer seismic operations at the student site, we were forced to cut the length of our DC survey in half, and by doing so, we were able to not only run five lines in a northwest/southeast direction, 25 meters apart, but we were able to run five lines in the northeast/southwest direction, 40 meters apart, attaining a true 3D DC survey. The inversion should be fantastic!
Four other students and myself gave a short presentation to a group of local kids this evening, explaining who we are, what geophysics is about and what we are doing here in Pagosa Springs. We demonstrated several geophysical methods that we use. They really got a kick out of the demonstrations. One of the girls caught me off guard when she asked me if Santa Claus was real, then gasped when I returned a quick “Nope!” Maybe I should have told her that none of our geophysics experiments have shown evidence of his existence. All in a day’s work.
Wednesday, May 21
There has been a cold floating around the camp and it manifested itself in me quite heavily today. We were still able to get a full magnetic survey at the student site and a small 30 meter by 30 meter EM31 survey done directly over the old oil well that we are interested in, but I was definitely dragging my feet due to a loss of energy. I think several of the students have had this at some point and it makes me appreciate that we are all able to continue toeing the line.
Today was the last day for collecting data—or at least it was supposed to be. One of our professors is determined to collect a 1.26-kilometer line of DC resistivity at the student site, something that I have been advocating for along with several others. We just thought we wouldn’t have time now, but our professor is making it happen. By contrast, the seismic survey on the main line looks like it will be cut short by two-thirds, which greatly disappoints many of us students. Seismic data is the most informative for the subsurface geology, but the company that is performing the survey (and educating us in the process) has had a myriad of problems and setbacks and we are simply out of time. We are grateful for the data that they did collect though and are excited to process it back at Mines next week.
Thursday, May 22
Today was ‘breakdown’ day. Most of the students went south to Chromo to pick up all of the geophones and seismic line as well as finish the electromagnetic EM47 survey at the student site. Ten of us stayed behind in Pagosa Springs. Four of us, including myself, stayed to participate in hammer seismic while demonstrating two other geophysical methods (magnetics and GPR) to high school students. The other six stayed behind to assemble a preliminary presentation, presented in the evening, for anyone interested in listening to what we had found during these last two weeks. The high school students were a no-show unfortunately, but we still collected some hammer seismic data, and then proceeded to pack all of the equipment and supplies into the U-Haul truck for the trip home on Friday. Everyone showed up around 1:30 p.m. with all of the remaining equipment from Chromo and we finished packing by 3 p.m. and headed back to the hotel.
This evening we all arrived back at our headquarters to listen to the six students give their presentation. Several of the local Pagosa Springs residents showed up as well, much to everyone’s delight, and some even had some pretty tough questions that took several tries to answer – somewhat successfully I’d say. All in all, the presentation was great and I thought we were represented well. Afterwards we all participated in a customary bonfire back at the hotel, roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, to signify our last night in Pagosa Springs. It has certainly been a long two weeks and I am very proud of my class and all that we have been able to accomplish!
Friday, May 23
We all were able to sleep in for 45 minutes this morning, throwing our duffel bags into the U-Haul and leaving by 8 a.m. It was an uneventful ride home back to Mines, but I’m sure I wasn’t the only one examining the rock outcrops along the way and pondering their physical properties and thinking about better ways to image them, using geophysics, when they are far below the surface. Colorado is certainly a prime area to test future hypotheses and I’m excited to be acquiring the background that it takes to be a relevant future geophysicist. In the meantime, we will be re-assembling next week to begin the final processing of our data and construct the report and final presentation of the geological structure in Chromo, for which I’m sure we are all excited and honored to participate in!
In August, mechanical engineering professors Douglas Van Bossuyt, Cameron Turner, Jered Dean and Jenifer Blacklock will be teaching a five-day professional workshop that aims to help build Mines as a major player in additive manufacturing research and learning.
The Additive Manufacturing Summer Institute offers courses geared toward mechanical engineering professionals, and is focused on educating practicing engineers on the 3D printing process and design for additive manufacturing.
“We see this as the first step in addressing a larger need in industry for understanding additive manufacturing.” Van Bossuyt said. “We want Colorado set up as a major hub for this kind of manufacturing.”
Dean said the summer course is a way to introduce students to new ways of understanding the 3D printing process.
“This course will change how you think about design,” Dean said. “Designing for additive manufacturing requires a different approach than a traditional subtractive process.”
Mines students will also have access to additive manufacturing courses. In the fall, Blacklock will be teaching a Manufacturing Processes course for junior ME students. She piloted the course last semester, instructing students on welding, machining, 3D printing, and automative manufacturing, on top of learning the fundamentals. As part of the class, students traveled to Stolle Precision Machinery, Lockheed Martin, Wild Goose Engineering, and 3D Material Technologies to tour the facilities.
Future advanced additive manufacturing courses will be added to the curriculum for Mines students in the near future. Van Bossuyt said the courses are essential for students who are looking for more experience in an industry where they will most likely be required to manufacture and design products.
Some of the classes will take place in the recently opened CECS Design Lab in Brown Hall W160. Mines students are able to use lab resources for 3D scanning, 3D printing and laser cutting. In the next few months, new materials will be added to the labs 3D printing capabilities, such as PLA, flexible filament and dissolvable filament. Material test equipment, a thermal imaging camera, upgraded computers and a high-precision mini-mill are also on the list of new purchases.
View information on the Additive Manufacturing Summer Institute in August.
To kick off Alumni Weekend, the College of Engineering and Computational Science (CECS) hosted the Senior Design Trade Fair on April 24 in Lockridge Arena. Seventy alumni judges evaluated 42 design teams as they presented their projects. Teams were scored on their project content, design content, poster and display, dialogue and overall impression. Five teams were selected as overall trade fair winners.
“I'm extremely proud of the teams that presented at Trade Fair and all of the work that went in to their final projects,” said Jered Dean, mechanical engineering professor. “While the competition was close, the CSM FourCross team stood out because of the way that they balanced the needs of all the stakeholders in the design to arrive at a simple, practical solution.”
Overall Trade Fair Winners
1st Place (CSM FourCross – Team 11)
2nd Place (Wingin' It - Team 35)
3rd Place (Zephyrus - Team 42)
4th Place (OmniPumps - Team 31)
Kid's Choice (Colorado AdvantEdge - Team 6)
Essay Contest Winners
Each year senior students in the civil, electrical, environmental, and mechanical engineering programs in the CECS take a two-semester course sequence in engineering design targeted at enhancing their problem-solving skills. Corporations, government agencies and other professional organizations, as well as individual clients, provide projects for the student teams of five to eight students to work on. Students spend the academic year developing solutions for the projects to which they have been assigned, using tools they have learned throughout their careers at Mines.
Matthew Mischo, an Army ROTC cadet studying chemical and biochemical engineering, and Alexis Worcester, an Air Force ROTC cadet and chemistry major, will both attend medical school on the F. Edward Hébert Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program after graduating from Mines in May.
Mischo will attend the Medical College of Wisconsin, located in Milwaukee, and Worcester is headed to Creighton University in Omaha.
The health professions scholarship provides qualified students pursuing a graduate-level health care degree with full tuition plus a monthly stipend of more than $2,000. Qualifying students are also eligible for a $20,000 sign-on bonus. Graduates are required to serve the U.S. Army for one year for each year they received the scholarship.
Mischo chose Medical College of Wisconsin due to its small size and focused mission (much like Mines), as well as its proximity to his hometown.
“I have enjoyed the past four years in Colorado very much, but I was eager to get back to the Midwest to live near family and friends, and that was a major factor in my choice of schools,” said Mischo. “My fiancé and I are getting married in our hometown at the end of June before moving to Milwaukee. She is currently in the process of applying to dental schools and will hopefully be studying at Marquette next fall.”
Mischo hopes to begin his residency with the Army, possibly in emergency medicine, after graduation in May of 2018.
Worcester chose Creighton due to the medical program’s unique focus on patient interactions at an early stage in the curriculum.
“If it’s possible, I would like to be a neonatal neurologist,” Worcester said. “Then I could combine my passion for working with kids and biomedicine.”
Growing up, Worcester expressed an interest in following in her mother’s footsteps in veterinary medicine. But a trip to Africa changed her mind.
“Before I went to Uganda with my mom I was interested in large animals and medicine, but in Uganda there is a need for human medicine,” Worcester said. “That’s when I became interested in working with people.”
Besides ROTC, Worcester is involved in the Silver Wings service society and volunteers at St. Francis Medical Center. Currently, Worcester is working with Dr. Stephen Boyes and graduate student, Chixia Tian, on gold nanoparticles with gadolinium metal organic frameworks. These structures show promise for use as multimodal contrast agents for CT and MRI imaging techniques.
Mischo is ranked fourth out of 5,478 graduating Army ROTC cadets and is the winner of the ROTC Legion of Valor Bronze Cross Award, which is given annually for scholastic excellence in both military and academic subjects. He was the year’s sole winner from the ROTC 5th Brigade, which comprises the 36 Army ROTC programs in the states of Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming. One award is authorized for every 4,000 cadets enrolled within an Army ROTC brigade.
Other commissioning cadets from Mines and their post-graduate assignments include:
More about ROTC at Mines
In 1919, with the War Department authorization, Mines became one of the first four colleges in the United States to establish a reserve officers training corps. The first Mines ROTC graduating class commissioned in 1921. Mines’ Army ROTC program, Company B of the Army Buffalo Battalion and Air Force ROTC program Detachment 105, are part of two 13-school units hosted by the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Mechanical engineering student Chad Young won the Men’s A category and received 2nd place as part of the Mines Cycling Team in the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships April 20 in Grand Junction, Colo.
When did you start cycling?
I got my first road bike at the end of 6th grade and rode it recreationally for a couple years until I outgrew it. I began cycling like I do today at the beginning of 2010, when my high school started a cycling club.
When did you know you wanted to compete?
The high school club was a part of the "New England Prep School Cycling League." Lots of schools in the area organized races, and being a part of the club involved going to the races. I suppose I always intended to do these low-key high school races, but I had no intention at that point of racing amateur and professional cycling events like I do now.
The first year I trained regularly, 2010, I just had a good time and got used to riding a bike daily. After that initial year was over, I decided to get involved with junior racing. I figured my fitness was good enough at that point to compete. Junior racing is for anyone less than 18 years old. I was relatively successful in my first few races, and I was hooked.
What did you have to do as part of the competition?
The Maverick Classic Race, hosted by Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, involved a team time trial, a criterium and a road race. The team time trial is a timed course with a set distance. Up to four teammates complete the course as quickly as possible by using drafting techniques.
The criterium is a fast, downtown circuit race, which typically lasts 60 minutes.
The road race was a 24-mile circuit around Palisade, CO. The Men's A race lasted four laps, or 96 miles.
How did you prepare?
I train about 15 hours a week (which ends up being around 250 miles), with long rides on the weekends, usually less than 80 miles if there are no local races. Weekdays I tend to do shorter, more intense rides. This helps me maximize available time and get both long, endurance rides, and short interval training rides.
What did you win?
This particular race was the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Race Championships. I raced the Men's A category, which is the highest category. In addition to a great experience, I got a small medal for my effort. The Mines Cycling Team got second place in the Division 2 category for the collective success of the team over the course of the season.
How do you balance cycling and schoolwork at Mines?
Having an intense training and studying schedule is actually a bit of a benefit when it comes to managing obligations. With so little free time, I am forced to make the most out of what I have available. Thankfully, cycling is a huge stress release for me, so the 15 hours I spend each week on the bike help balance a rigorous course load.
What's next for you in cycling?
For now, I will continue what I am doing. I race for a regional elite team in Massachusetts called CCB Racing. The support is great and my teammates are a great bunch to be around. In the future, I'd like to explore U23 specific development teams, to get a taste for higher level racing in the United States and abroad. However, at only 18 years old I have a little ways to go until I am competitive with those in their early 20s. Between now and then, I will stay in college. If I do gain enough fitness to be competitive on an international scale, I would consider postponing my schooling to travel the world and feel like a professional bike racer for a while.
Ultimately, I'd like to take a trip with the National U23 Cycling Team. I spent a month with the National Junior Team in Europe in 2012, and ever since coming home, I have wanted to represent the country again.
What advice do you have for aspiring cyclists?
Since day one, I had been told by my elders and mentors that the most important thing in the development of a young rider is that they were having a good time. Having fun is essential. If I thought that a five-hour ride in the winter months in Colorado was drudgery, I would be a truly miserable person. Thankfully, spending long hours outside on the bike is my definition of a good time.
Why did you choose Mines?
I chose Mines for its engineering prestige and its proximity to the mountains. New England had good schools, but the weather left something to be desired. Colorado offered a great degree, unrivaled training grounds, and altitude training, all for less than a typical New England school.
A huge factor was continuing my development as a cyclist, and Mines has been able to accommodate that.
Two College of Engineering and Computational Sciences Senior Design Program teams display the more human-oriented side of engineering
Mechanical engineering professor Joel Bach was at the No Barriers Summit in Telluride last summer when he heard about the challenges the Crested Butte’s Adaptive Sports Center faced with providing quadriplegic bikes that were safe and efficient. Bach brought this idea back to Mines, and the senior design team CSM FourCross was created.
FourCross began in the fall semester of 2013, during which the team focused on research, testing and initial designs. This semester has been dedicated to finalizing a design, prototyping, and manufacturing.
Team computer-aided design specialist Court Pietra said that he has learned that an engineer’s number one goal should be considering how design would interact with the intended user.
“We must first put ourselves into the shoes (or in this case mountain bike) of the person that we are designing for,” Pietra said. “If the design does not easily improve or make the lives of the intended users better, the design will not make the desired impact on that user. We want the design to be worthwhile for that person in order to change their life for the better.”
Currently braking methods on quadriplegic bikes consist of the user strapping their hands on the brake levers and using their body weight to activate them.
“Incomplete quadriplegics lack grip strength; therefore, they are unable to activate the traditional brakes that are on a bike,” Hixon said.
The team is also challenged with creating a new seat back that would prevent hyperextension of a user’s back during a crash.
Adaptive Sports Center Program Director Chris Read said this project could increase the user base tremendously.
“For our participants that didn’t have the best options before, this project could help them now,” Read said. “It also has cross benefits for our ski program, making our mono-ski fleet more personal.”
Mines senior design team Colorado AdvantEdge is working on creating edge detection system, which can be mounted on a wheelchair. Twelve-year-old Katherine Dean was born with Cerebral Palsy and cannot walk. Her family is working with the team to outfit Kate’s chair with a sensor system. The system will be able to detect a three-inch drop-off in a variety of light levels and ground compositions.
“Engineering decisions are often made solely with efficiency in mind. Our project allowed us to make decisions that would most benefit the user while keeping efficiency in mind,” Team liason Justin Loeffler said.
One of those decisions was adding extra sensors—at an extra cost—to allow Kate to stop her chair before the system stopped her chair. Kate’s safety and a greater level of freedom play an important role in the system the team is designing. The team is currently testing their edge detection algorithms with the sensors mounted on a robot chassis.
“Edge detection in front of a moving wheelchair is a very challenging problem and challenging problems require out of the box ideas,” Loeffler said. “Creativity has been a great asset to this project and adds a level of interest. Knowing that the project is to help another experience a level of freedom we take for granted every day creates a great drive for moving the project forward.”
Four Cross and Colorado AdvantEdge will be presenting their projects at the Senior Design Trade Fair April 24 from 8-11 am in the Student Recreation Center, Lockridge Arena.