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Top Student Awards Announced At Graduation

SOCORRO, N.M. May 15, 2012 – The top student awards were announced at Commencement on Saturday, including the Brown and Cramer Awards for undergraduates and the Langmuir and Founders Awards for graduate students.

Alyssa Rose – Brown Award

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Alyssa Rose was named the 2012 Brown Award winner.

The Brown Award is named in honor of Mr. C. T. Brown, who was for many years a member of the Tech Board of Regents. It is presented to the member of the graduating class who, in the opinion of the Faculty, ranks highest in scholarship, conduct, and leadership.

The field of candidates for the Brown Award was unusually strong this year, Vice President Dr. Peter Gerity said. The faculty will remember the Class of 2012 as an exceptional group of young scientists and engineers who are sure to contribute to society in many, many ways, Gerity said.

“Alyssa emerged from this stellar group by virtue of her academic prowess, her devotion to her fellow students and her strong desire to give back to New Mexico Tech,” he said.

Rose grew up in Albuquerque and started taking college courses when she was 16. She earned a bachelor’s in chemical engineering with a perfect 4.0 GPA. She taught labs, wrote lesson plans and added a trouble-shooting element to freshman engineering classes.

Rose has earned many of the top awards at Tech. She was a Macey Scholar; she was an Engineering Student of the Year. She also won the Student Appreciation Award.

Rose is a research assistant with Dr. Michaelann Tartis and has worked at Sandia National Laboratory. She also is a peer facilitator at the Center for Student Success, through which she taught part of an introductory chemical engineering class.

Other Nominees

During the ceremony, Gerity said that the Faculty Senate voting for the Brown Award was quite close.

The Faculty Senate agreed that, for the first time ever, Tech would recognize the other nominees for the Brown Award. They are Sean Henry, Andrew Krause, Jason Michnovicz, Nikki Porch and Will Reiser.

“Each of these nominees has an excellent academic record, a history of service to the community and impeccable character,” Gerity said. “These five young people deserve to be recognized for their outstanding achievements and contributions to New Mexico Tech.”

The Cramer Awards were established to honor Tom Cramer, an engineer and a member of the Tech Board of Regents for 26 years.  They are awarded to the male and female seniors graduating in engineering who rank highest in scholarship.  Each recipient receives a certificate and a two hundred dollar prize.

This year’s award winners are Jared Kuker of the Mechanical Engineering Department and Breanne Dunaway of the Petroleum Engineering Department.

Jared Kuker – Cramer Award

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Jared Kuker accepts the award for the 2012 Cramer Award.

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Breanne Dunaway was named the 2012 Cramer Award winner. She graduated in December 2011 and works for ConocoPhillips as an engineer.


Kuker earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and completed his degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

He was among the first students to take advantage of the cooperative agreement between Amarillo Community College and New Mexico Tech, transferring here in 2009.

Kuker was named the Outstanding Major of Engineering in both 2008 and 2009 at Amarillo. Since coming to Socorro, he has gained much work experience.

He lead his Senior Design Clinic team that developing a security door that uses an array of accelerometers to collect vibration data to detect intrusions. His previous research work includes an internship at the Air Force Research Lab in Albuquerque, chemistry lab work at EMRTC and other projects at Tech.

Jared has been called one of the most trusted and respected students. Jared has been a key leader of various teams. His teams were consistently top performers in our student design conferences. Jared is a leader in demonstrating how a team should work together and follow modern engineering processes.

Breanne Dunaway – Cramer Award

Breanne finished her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering in December

Breanne was a top student, a campus leader and a role model to all.

In 2010, she became the first college student NOT from Texas to win the top award from the Texas Alliance of Energy Producers. In 2011, she was one of Tech’s Engineering Students of the Year.

Breanne completed two summer internships with ConocoPhillips in Farmington, N.M.  and now works as a Completions Engineer for the same company.

Breanne was the president of the Society of Petroleum Engineers and vice president of the Society of Women Engineers. She also launched the campus chapter of the American Association of Drilling Engineers.

She organized fund-raising golf tournaments, field trips and Girl Scout outreach events. She also was invited to speak at a press conference held by the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico during Oil and Gas Day at the state legislature in Santa Fe.

Dr. López, it is my pleasure to present to you Breanne Dunaway for the Cramer Award of 2012.

Julien Chaput – Langmuir Award
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Julien Chaput, doctoral candidate in geophysics, won the Langmuir Award for his publication related to the imaging of the interior of Erebus Volcano in Antarctica.

\Every year New Mexico Tech presents two awards for graduate students – the Langmuir Award and the Founders Award.

The Langmuir Award honors an outstanding scientific research paper by a student or recent graduate of New Mexico Tech.

Julien Chaput is the 2012 winner of the Langmuir Award. He is nearing completion of his doctoral degree in geophysics. He was nominated for the Langmuir Award for his research paper titled, “Imaging of Erebus Volcano Using Body Wave Seismic Interferometry of Strombolian Eruption Coda.”

That paper was published in Geophysical Research Letters in April of this year.

As a native of Canada, Chaput earned his bachelor’s in New Brunswick and his master’s in Vancouver. Since coming to New Mexico Tech in 2007, he’s spent three austral summers – that’s winter in the northern hemisphere – in Antarctica.

In 2010, Julien spearheaded a project to create 3-D images of the interior of the Mount Erebus Volcano in Antarctica. He led the effort to place more than 100 seismographs on the summit of the volcano at 12,000 foot elevation, which took extraordinary effort and a few snowmobile heroics.

“This award isn’t based on his rock-climbing skills or his ability to get along with penguins,” said graduate dean Dr. Lorie Liebrock during commencement. “Julien was nominated for this award based on a new method of combining seismic signals to create pictures of the interior of the Erebus volcano. Julien is the first scientists to create these spectacular and images of the plumbing system within an active volcano.

In his nomination letter, his advisor, Dr. Rick Aster said, “His work represents a significant advance in volcano seismology and has already attracted international interest.

Steve Temple – Founder’s Award

The Founder's Award honors the people responsible for founding the New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro in 1889. It is given to the person graduating today with an advanced degree who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the Institute through scholarship, research, and involvement in campus affairs.

The 2012 Founders Award winner is Steve Temple, who earned a Masters of Science for Teachers.

Temple is a native New Mexican who now teaches physics and science at the San Rafael High School of Physics and Technology in California.

He was nominated for this award based on his thesis work to design and implement a Sustainable Living Lab. Students in his class created an organic garden, then developed a soil-moisture monitoring system, which was connected to an automatic watering system.

With limited institutional support, Steve was on his own for funding. He found grant money and developed the project with his students.

Not only did students learn physics, they also learned computer science, engineering, and project management. His thesis presents a learning tool that could be used in any high school … or even on the college level.

Temple’s nomination was supported by faculty members in the Physics Department and in the Masters of Science for Teachers division.