Mines News

Release Date Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Mines Mechanical Engineering Department Receives Prestigious Industry Award for Innovation in Education

Dr. Pierre Larochelle, the head of the South Dakota Mines Department of Mechanical Engineering, (right), accepts the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award at the ASME Mechanical Engineering Education Summit (MEED) from Dr. Michele Miller, Chair of the ASME Committee on Engineering Education and associate dean of engineering at Campbell University. The event was held in March at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.


The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) presented the South Dakota Mines Department of Mechanical Engineering (ME) with the Donald N. Zwiep Innovation in Education Award during their annual Mechanical Engineering Education Summit (MEED) held in March at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

ASME recognized Mines’ mechanical engineering department for “introducing a rigorous program on project-based product development that couples across several courses and all four years of the undergraduate curriculum.”

Mines’ mechanical engineering curriculum empowers students to learn by doing. From the start of the four-year degree, students are placed in team projects that help them conceptualize, design, prototype and demonstrate products that solve a real-world problem and address social needs.

“This award reflects the world-class education offered at South Dakota Mines,” says Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D., P.E. “We’re proud to be educating the next generation of STEM professionals to the highest standards. The work of our graduates is vital for keeping our country at the forefront of innovation and technology into the next century.”

ASME also recognized the Mines mechanical engineering department for leading broad changes within the department to focus on higher order learning and for making significant investments in initiatives, industry and faculty buy in.

“We’re very proud of this award and for the external validation of the cutting-edge mechanical engineering education that we provide,” says Pierre Larochelle, Ph.D., P.E., department head of mechanical engineering at Mines and a featured speaker at this year’s MEED conference.

Mines mechanical engineering graduates are sought after by the highest levels of industry, including NASA, Caterpillar, Garmin, Nucor and many more. In recent years, an increasing number of Mines mechanical engineering graduates have been able to stay in the state going to work for companies like B9Creatons, RESPEC, VRC Metal Systems and others.

Mines also offers a minor in aerospace engineering, which gives graduates a competitive edge in the aerospace industry with employers like NASA, SpaceX, Boeing, Airbus, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, Collins Aerospace or Blue Origin, among others.



About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu