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All in the Family: Brian Stanley Keeps Up Tradition

SOCORRO, N.M. April 30, 2012 – Welcome to the 2012 version of “All in the Family.” Brian Stanley – third generation Techie, Macey Scholar and younger brother of a Macey Scholar.

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 Brian Stanley aims to pursue a career in optometry.

“It’s pretty cool,” said Stanley, who will be a senior in mechanical engineering with a minor in biology. “It’s really an honor to be selected.”

Stanley’s list of extracurricular activities touches on just about everything: InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Tau Beta Pi, Res Life conference assistant, Science Olympiad event coordinator, Science Fair volunteer and the International Society of Explosives Engineers.

“Being from Socorro is a big part of it. This is my hometown,” he said. “Being involved in the community is a good way to get involved with people outside of school.”

Despite his family legacy at Tech, he didn’t feel pressured to stay in Socorro. He made the decision to go to Tech after participating in Science Olympiad as a high school student.

“I’ve always been fascinated by rocks and minerals – and those were my events,” he said. “I remember coming into the Mineral Museum for the test and being fascinated. The experience of being involved in something that’s competitive and science-related helped me to decide to come here.

“Tech was the best option for me because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to study. The small classes and experience in all types of fields helped too.”

In his nomination letter, Dr. Warren Ostergren wrote that Stanley is an exceptional engineering talent and star performer.

“He is very personable and always conducts himself in a very professional manner,” Ostergren wrote. “Brian gives of his time for so many important causes and is always available to support the department.”

Stanley opted for Mechanical Engineering and found plenty of research opportunities.

Through the Junior and Senior Design Clinic classes, he worked on two different projects. As a junior, he helped design an orthopedic glove to help people with touch-sensitive neuropathy. As a senior, he is leading the team that is working on designs for a small case to mount a computer in an unmanned aerial vehicle.

Dr. Warren Ostergren wrote, “We requested that Brian take on this leadership role, although it was outside his field of interest. He responded in outstanding fashion, not only assuming the leadership, but seeing that his team of only junior level students performed in remarkable fashion.”

He also has worked three summers at the Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at Tech. There, he gathered experience as a professional engineer while still a student. He got to run simulations, tests, models and write reports – an experience he said was fun.

During the summer of 2009 while working at EMRTC, Stanley had the privilege of working with a History Channel film crew, which was designing a test to simulate a meteor impact.

“If I had gone elsewhere [for college], I wouldn’t have had those opportunities,” Stanley said. “I wouldn’t have gotten the same one-on-one instruction. At bigger schools, there’s too many students to have that much interaction.”

During his fourth year, Stanley decided to add a biology minor, so he’s staying around for a fifth year. His sister, Laura, was a Macey Scholar during the 2010-2011 year, majored in biology and is now in optometry school in Texas.

“She convinced me to apply to optometry school too,” Brian said.

The Stanley legacy at Tech goes back more than 50 years. The family patriarch, Dr. Dennis “Doc” Stanley, enrolled at Tech in 1957, earning his bachelor’s in 1961 and his master’s in 1964 and later taught for two years at Tech.

Brian’s father, Mike, and his uncle Matt both graduated from Tech in 1984. Mike earned his bachelor’s in mining engineering; Matt in petroleum. Just to keep Tech in the family, they both married Tech graduates. Mike’s wife Meri earned her degree in mathematics. Matt’s wife, Anne, earned her degree in petroleum engineering.

Mike has worked at EMRTC since he graduated, while Meri works as a data analyst at the NRAO.

Brian’s brother-in-law, Erik County, earned degrees from Tech in general studies and management.

“I’m keeping up with the family,” Brian said. “I’ll be the last of the Stanleys to go here – at least for a while.”

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech