Mines News

Release Date Monday, January 22, 2018

WiSE Forum at SD Mines Aims to Fill Gap of Women in STEM

The Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Center exists to help every woman student at SD Mines succeed by providing opportunities for actively engaging in the world through leadership, professional development, outreach, and activism.

RAPID CITY, SD (Jan. 18, 2018) – The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology will host the fourth annual Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) Forum from 5:30-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, featuring a panel of industry leaders in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Topics will range from career advice and salary negotiations to networking tips, industry insights, navigating workplace culture and advancing in a chosen field.

The public is invited to attend the forum in the Surbeck Center Ballroom. There is no charge, but advance registration is required. RSVP through this link or by emailing wise@sdsmt.edu by Wednesday, Jan 24. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and there is a free buffet. SD Mines President Jim Rankin will also speak at the event.


The panel:


  • Alyssa Biel is an SD Mines alumna and a hydrologic technician with the U.S. Forest Service, working on landslide hazards, geology, minerals, paleontology, surface water and groundwater.
  • Grace Butts works for Union Pacific Railroad and is currently a senior supervisor at NLR Jenks Locomotive Overhaul facility. She oversees the operations for locomotive overhauls and heavy repair work for the facility.
  • Lauren Keene is an SD Mines alumna and a software engineer in the aviation department of Garmin International. Growing up in the Black Hills, she developed an excitement for the outdoors that blended perfectly with the ideals of Garmin.
  • Dr. Barbara Merriman’s areas of specialty and interest include cerebrovascular medicine, posterior-circulation stroke, headaches, seizure disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, and evaluation and treatment of peripheral nervous system disorders. Dr. Merriman is a physician with Regional Health.
  • Susan Opp is an SD Mines alumna and the Senior Vice President for Strategy and New Product Development for the Electronic Systems Segment of L3 Technologies.


The forum is sponsored by Garmin, Kimberly-Clark, L3 and Union Pacific.



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: Charles Michael Ray , 605-394-6082, charles.ray@sdsmt.edu