Notable Women @ Mines

Celebrating the achievements of women faculty, alumni, and graduate students at South Dakota School of Mines

Nationally Recognized Leader in Geology, Dr. Laurie Anderson

Anderson-1-2Dr. Laurie Anderson, Head of the Geology and Geological Engineering Dept.,  was recently named as a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science(AAAS).  Dr. Anderson is the first woman to be named an AAAS fellow while employed at a South Dakota university. Dr. Anderson is also a fellow of the Geological Society of America. 

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ME Professor and Local Leader, Dr. Cassandra Birrenkott

Degen_CassandraDr. Cassandra Birrenkott, associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is part of a select group of 24 leaders in the community as part of the 2023 Elevate Leadership Group.

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Early Career Civil Engineering Researcher, Dr. Ilke Celik

icelikDr. Ilke Celik received over $500,000 in funding through a prestigious NSF Career Award for her research entitled, "CAS-Climate: Sustainable Design Principles for emerging Photovoltaics." The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program is a Foundation-wide activity that offers the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards in support of early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. 

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Lab Director and Research Leader, Dr. Alevtina Smirnova

IUCRC Smirnova Dr. Alevtina Smirnova, Professor of Chemistry, is the Director of the NSF Industry-University Cooperative Research Center for Solid-State Electric Power Storage (CEPS).  Dr. Smirnova leads the effort to provide integration between university research and industry for energy storage.  

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PhD Scholar and Inventor, Dr. Maryam Amouanmouha

Maryam Amouamouha, Ph.D., a graduate student at South Dakota Mines, has invented a new device that could revolutionize water treatment and improve water quality and availability around the world.  Dr. Amouamouha assembled a unique combination of current technologies and cutting-edge innovations to create a mini wastewater treatment plant called AMBER for Anaerobic Membrane Bioreactor with Electrolytic Regeneration. The device can be installed in a home or business and take the place of a costly septic system. The invention can also be scaled up to clean wastewater from multiple homes or even a small town.

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NSF Fellowship Winner, PhD student Laura Brunmaier

Laura Brunmaier, a PhD student in Biomedical engineering, was awarded a prestigious $130,000 NSF Graduate Fellowship.  Brunmaier is working to overcome a major hurdle in the ability to research and explain how blood vessels form and how they react to various contaminants or to new medicines. The device that Brunmaier helped to invent allows researchers to study living blood vessels in real time outside the body.  

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Glass Ceiling Breakers in Structural Engineering, Susie Jorgensen and Dr. Andrea Surovek

The Structural Engineering Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers started in 1996, but it wasn't until 2016 that they recognized women with prestigious senior merit awards - and both were affiliated with SD Mines.  Alumna Susie Jorgensen (CEE '76)  was presented with the W. Gene Corley Award presented to " an individual for their efforts in support of advancing and distinguishing structural engineering as a profession".  Dr. Andrea Surovek, former CEE professor and Director of Faculty Development, received the George Winter Award given to  "an active structural engineering researcher, educator or practitioner who best typifies the late Dr. George Winter's humanistic approach to his profession: i.e., an equal concern for matters technical and social, for art as well as science, for soul as well as intellect."  Both Jorgensen and Surovek were among the first women to be named fellows of both SEI and ASCE.  Jorgensen served as president of NCSEA, the  National Council of Structural Engineering Associations, and Surovek was the first female elected to serve on the executive Committee of the Structural Stability Research Council (SSRC).  

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