Kathleen Tew

Kathleen isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. She had already entered industry before leaving high school, landing her first job at an aggregate mine. That formidable drive propelled her to four more internships at South Dakota Mines, from a summer spent at Kiewit in Texas and another at a South Dakota cement plant to a garnet mine in New York and a descent underground at Doe Run Company’s Missouri mine.

“I want to learn everything. Get me in there and get me dirty. I’m not going to learn by just watching 20 feet away.”

That hands-on approach is a hallmark of South Dakota Mines, one of only a handful of universities that offer mining engineering, and one that offers something even those do not – management training. Coupled with the personal attention from professors, the Colorado native was sold from day one.

“I was looking at Colorado Mines, and it took me four different appointments to meet the head of the department. But here, spur of the moment, the department head took me around and introduced me to all the professors and even the registrar. And I received a scholarship every year I was here.”

Campus welcomed her with open arms, but WiSE welcomed her home.

Kathleen not only came into a community, she began to come into her own. Through WiSE, she discovered her values, her career aspirations, and the confidence to embrace leadership without fear. During a three-year term as Mining & Mucking Team President, she raised $40,000 to go to competition, making countless company contacts along the way. In 2016, that team took second – internationally.

Kathleen’s industry contacts, internship experience, extracurricular involvement, and good-old-fashioned elbow grease have primed her for success. But more importantly shifted her focus, from being the only in the field to the best in the business, carving out a career in a booming industry for a long time to come.