ME Faculty Honored: Impact Leader Awards at South Dakota Mines

Birrenkott-Lande National Society Pic

On November 27, 2023, Dr. Cassandra Birrenkott and Dr. Micah Lande were honored with the Impact Leader Award by South Dakota Mines' National Society of Leadership and Success. The recognition, bestowed by student leadership, commends their significant contributions. Additionally, faculty and staff from various campus departments were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements.

Department of Mechanical Engineering Receives Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award

Zwiep Award

South Dakota Mines' Department of Mechanical Engineering received the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award from ASME for their project-based program, producing graduates sought after by industry leaders. The department was recognized for leading changes in higher order learning and investment in initiatives. Mines also offers a minor in aerospace engineering for a competitive edge in the industry.

Read more here:

Mechanical Engineering Students Receive the Nucor Mentor Scholars Award

Nucor Steel has long been one of South Dakota Mines’ greatest supporters. One of the most impactful programs they have initiated is the Nucor Student Mentors program. Each year, students in the mechanical and metallurgical engineering programs are selected as Nucor mentors. These students train and assist their fellow students in safety, manufacturing practices, and design for manufacturability. These students must possess outstanding ability in leadership and project management and have an interest in training. In addition to the direct funding support of the mentors, Nucor provides curriculum input in a program of continuous improvement, improving the quality of our graduates and helping the departments to maintain pace with industry changes.

Nucor has been very active with Departments of Metallurgical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, and Civil and Environmental Engineering. Nucor’s support of South Dakota Mines’ hands-on education also includes raw materials donations to all interested departments. This academic year’s Nucor mentors include undergraduate students Max Schuh (ME 24) and Tegun Thomson (ME 25) and graduate student Austin Gutknecht (ME 21, MSME22). Additionally, the Nucor recruitment team includes Dustin Berg (ME 19), a graduate of the Nucor mentor program who was instrumental in forming the current state of the program.

Nucor 2022

Pictured left to right: Nucor employees Paige Chmela (CEE 18), Alexus Livingston (CEE 22), Gina Elmore (CEE 18), Nucor mentors Max Schuh (ME 24), Tegun Thomson (ME 25), Austin Gutknecht (ME21 MSME 22), Nucor employee Austin Hammer (BM&T 21) and Nucor employee and mentor program graduate Dustin Berg (ME 19)

Dr. Ash Receives ASME Dedicated Service Award

Ash ASME Award

Associate Professor Dr. Jason Ash received an ASME Dedicated Service Award for outstanding voluntary service to the Society. Read more about the award here.

Additional News

ME PhD Alum Receives Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Union

Eirik Valseth, who received his PhD from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at South Dakota Mines in 2019,  has been awarded the Marie Curie Fellowship of the European Union, a highly prestigious fellowship in Europe. Read more here.

ME Alum Involved in NASCAR Team Success

Flack Image

Rapid City's Chris Flack (right) stands with Austin Cindric, winner of this year's Daytona 500. Chris (ME 08) helps build race engines for Ford teams competing in NASCAR's Cup Series, and he has multiple championship rings for his role in helping teams win the Great American Race. Read the full Rapid City Journal article here:

Kiewit Corporation Continues to Support the ME Department


Kiewit Corporation provides active support in curriculum development, equipment upgrades, and industrial feedback. Read more about their contributions to the ME department here.  

Archived Newsletters

Read the most current ME department newsletter and the list of new research awards and publications and graduated students.