2006 Macey Scholars Named, June 6, 2006

by Shawna Carter

SOCORRO, N.M., June 6, 2006 — New Mexico Tech, a state-supported science and research university in Socorro, recently named Victoria Aston, Jason Kooi, Darla Le Blanc, and Craig Nicholas as the university’s Macey Scholars for the 2006-2007 academic year.

Aston, a chemical engineering major, is the daughter of Graeme and Martha Aston of Colorado Springs.

When she is not working on class-related projects, Aston can be found working as a research assistant to Tech professor John McCoy. In addition, Aston is the secretary-elect of New Mexico Tech’s chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) and the vice president-elect of Tau Beta Pi, a National Engineering Honor Society.

“New Mexico Tech is a great school!” Aston says. “Students have the opportunity to learn from professors who want to see them succeed, and they also have the opportunity to become involved in research as undergraduates. The campus is very friendly and there are always activities going on if you look hard enough.”

Kooi, a math and physics major, is the son of Thomas and Dianne Kooi of Albuquerque.

In addition to his studies and class-related work, Kooi is a student intern in the field of mechanical properties and failure analysis of ceramic materials at Sandia National Laboratories, and he is an active member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society.

“New Mexico Tech is truly my home away from home,” Kooi states.

Le Blanc, an electrical engineering major, is the daughter of Dale and Sally Wade of Norman, Oklahoma.

When she is not working on school-related projects, Le Blanc can be found working as a teaching and research assistant for the electrical engineering department. In addition, Le Blanc is the corresponding secretary for New Mexico Tech’s Gamma Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society and the treasurer of Aditi Natesa, the New Mexico Tech Belly Dance Club.

“I enjoy attending New Mexico Tech,” Le Blanc says. “I especially like the small classes and how willing and available most professors are to spend time helping students.”

Nicholas, a mathematics major and a physics minor, is the son of Pete and Marie Nicholas of Petaluma, California.

While he is not working on school-related projects, Nicholas works as a grader and tutor for the mathematics department, as well as a tutor for the academic resource center and as a teaching assistant for beginning calculus and linear algebra labs. Nicholas is also an active member of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA); an active member of Sigma Pi Sigma, the National Physics Honor Society; the president of the New Mexico Tech Mathematics Club; the secretary of the New Mexico Tech Student Association; and the vice president of the New Mexico Tech Physics Club.

“You can’t go wrong at New Mexico Tech if you are genuinely fascinated by your field of study,” Nicholas states. “Not just mildly interested, but truly amazed by your subject in ways that make other people think you’re strange because you are sufficiently motivated to explore it outside of what is offered in the classroom.”

New Mexico Tech students named Macey Scholars are selected on the basis of their demonstrated academic accomplishments — both in the classroom and the research laboratory — as well as their active participation in institutional service and co-curricular activities.

The Macey Scholars Program is funded by an endowment established by William B. Macey and the late Jean M. Macey of Albuquerque and Tucson. William Macey graduated from the New Mexico School of Mines (as New Mexico Tech was known in its earlier years) in 1942 and was awarded an honorary doctorate by Tech in 1984.

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