In addition to honoring today's leaders in engineering and science, the Mines Medal Dinner and Award Ceremony is the university's signature fundraising event and gifts support our graduate students through the Mines Medal Graduate Student Fellowship.

Mines Medal Graduate Student Fellowship

The Mines Medal Fellowship is awarded to a student who will earn a Ph.D. within the next 12 months and is enrolled in an engineering or science degree program at SD Mines. Students are nominated by their department heads and the amount of the award will be set by the selection committee each year.

Steven Schneiderman - 2014 Mines Medal Fellow

Rokni Mines Medal Fellow 2014Steven Schneiderman is a doctoral candidate in chemical and biological engineering from Magnolia, Minn. After earning an associate’s degree in pre-engineering from Minnesota West Community and Technical College in 2008, he transferred to SD School of Mines and earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 2010.

Using his farming background as inspiration, Schneiderman has focused his research on fundamental and applied process development to produce renewable fuels from biomass, such as wood wastes, grasses, and corn stover. As part of this, he has investigated continuous fermentation with biocatalyst recycle as a means to improve productivity and overall process economics. He has become proficient in several software platforms and applying theoretical models to real-world systems. Schneiderman has published four peer-reviewed papers as the lead or major contributing author and has completed two manuscripts on his advanced fermentation research for submission this summer.

As a research engineer for Nanofiber Separations, LLC, Schneiderman has developed and evaluated cellulose nanofiber membranes modified by surface treatments. The advanced materials allow for highly efficient purification of biological compounds and contaminated water, and are being used by the pharmaceutical industry to help reduce the cost of producing human therapeutics. He plans to continue his work at Nanofiber Separations after completing his PhD.

Prior Year Fellows

Parker Norton

Parker Norton

received the 2013 Mines Medal Fellowship. A key member of the climate-modeling team at the U.S. Geological Survey, Parker Norton’s research has proven a critical resource to experts in forecasting weather and climate changes. His work has yielded long-term simulations of North America’s climate. Among the projects to which he has contributed: developing a water budget for Sheridan Lake, analysis of stream flow trends in the Missouri River watershed, groundwater modeling, and regional climate model studies in the continental United States. Mr. Norton has the potential to place the School of Mines in the national spotlight for his research. His computer skills coupled with his interest and studies in the physical sciences have helped him become a critical resource for the climate modeling community. The National Center for Atmospheric Research is adding one of his tools to its collection of support software for global and regional models.

Mr. Norton earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science from Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, California, and his master’s degree in computer science from the School of Mines.

Henok Tiruneh - Cropped

Henok Tiruneh

received the 2012 Mines Medal Fellowship. Mr. Tiruneh is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering. His research specialization is geological engineering, with a focus on characterizing rock discontinuities within the Transition Room on the 4,850-foot level of the Sanford Underground Lab in the former Homestake Gold Mine, where the large cavities to support neutrino research will be installed. He is using fine-scale high-resolution 3D modeling to assess rock properties that will provide data essential to designing large underground excavations, for labs at both the Lead, South Dakota, Homestake Mine and for active mining operations.

A native of Ethiopia, Mr. Tiruneh has maintained a 4.0 grade point average while a student at the School of Mines since 2009, and has served as a valued teaching assistant and research assistant within the department.

Rahul R. Bhosale

received the Mines Medal Fellowship in 2011. Mr. Bhosale earned his Ph.D. in the spring of 2012 after beginning his doctoral program in chemical and biological engineering at the School of Mines in 2009 under the mentorship of Drs. Rajesh Shende and Jan Puszynski. His research project was entitled "Novel Redox Materials for Hydrogen Generation by High Temperature Water Splitting."

While at the School of Mines Mr. Bhosale's work focused on the development of novel forms of commercially viable energy sources, an area critical to the United States and the world. His research has gained national attention. In 2010, he received the runner-up award for outstanding student paper from the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) - Nuclear Engineering Division and a third place prize for his poster at the AIChE - Fuels, Petrochemicals and Energy poster session.

Erin Handberg

received the Mines Medal Fellowship in 2010. Since receiving her fellowship award, Ms. Handberg earned her master's degree in physics in May 2011. She is completing her Ph.D. program in nanoscience and nanoengineering.

In addition to her coursework and research, Ms. Handberg has collaborated on the preparation of manuscripts for submission to Physics Review B, and attended meetings of the American Physical Society and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Photovoltaic Specialists. After completing her doctoral program, Ms. Handberg hopes to acquire a faculty position teaching physics at the university level, and used a portion of her Mines Medal Fellowship award to attend the 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers conference.