Mines News

Release Date Thursday, September 1, 2022

Mines Joins the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network to Advance Innovation and Economic Development

Work in Mines Arbegast Materials Processing and Joining Laboratory (AMP) is one example of university research that spins-off into entrepreneurship and job creation. Innovation in the AMP lab led directly to the creation of the company VRC Metal Systems, an industry leader in cold spray technology.

South Dakota Mines has been accepted into the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN). KEEN includes more than 50 colleges and universities across the United States. The institutions in KEEN’s national partnership focus on one mission: to reach all of their undergraduate engineering students with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic and societal value through a lifetime of meaningful work. Becoming a KEEN partner aligns well with Mines’ efforts to advance innovation on campus that leads to new start-up companies and job creation.

“Mines has long been a hub of innovation; our alumni are industry leaders who have gone on to create multiple successful businesses including Fortune 500 companies,” says Mines President Jim Rankin, Ph.D., P.E. “Partnering with KEEN adds to the thriving culture of entrepreneurship on campus and makes us even more excited for the future.”

The KEEN partnership enables Mines faculty and students to work with other KEEN universities around the nation such as Vanderbilt, Duke, Georgia Tech, and many others in developing best practices to champion the entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering.

“Becoming a KEEN partner provides recognition for the successes we’ve had in innovative hands-on project-based learning experiences and enables us to work with our KEEN partners to further advance the entrepreneurial-minded engineering education at Mines,” says Rankin.

Mines has a broad range of efforts tied to economic development that support what KEEN calls the 3C’s: “curiosity, connections, and creating value.” These efforts include the university’s CEO Program, which immerses students in learning to draft a business plan and culminates in a pitch competition for cash prizes. Mines students and alumni have won top spots in the Governor’s Giant Vision Competition for the past eight straight years. Mines’ Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program also partners accomplished business leaders with students and faculty, such as Maryam Amouamouha, Ph.D., who are turning ideas created at the university level into successful businesses.

“South Dakota Mines has a strong reputation for producing engineers that solve the world’s toughest challenges. Our graduates get things done,” says Pierre Larochelle, Ph.D., P.E., department head and professor of mechanical engineering at Mines. “Becoming a KEEN partner enables us to both learn from our partner institutions and to share with them how we produce engineers that are in high demand from companies around the globe.”

Read more about Mines’ partnership with KEEN here.


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