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Top Student Awards Unveiled

SOCORRO, N.M. May 17, 2013 – Every year New Mexico Tech presents two awards for graduate students – the Langmuir Award and the Founders Award and three awards for undergraduation students – the Brown Award and two Cramer Awards.

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 award consists of a plaque and a prize of $500.

Sohaib Soliman, Brown Award winner

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Sohaib Soliman, SGA President, accepts the Brown Award, Tech's top award, from President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez

Soliman earning a bachelor’s in biology with a 3.87 GPA. He impressed his professors by his research ability and his academic prowess. He worked with professors in the chemistry department to synthesize novel anti-cancer drugs. He is a co-author of a paper that has been submitted to the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Last year, he was selected as a Macey Scholar, which is Tech’s top academic award.

Soliman also worked at the office of Socorro dentist Dr. Duane Beers, where he designed and built crowns for more than 400 patients. His career goal is to become a dental surgeon and he’s been accepted to dentistry school at the University of Washington in Seattle.

However, Soliman’s academic accomplishments are nearly overshadowed by his activism on campus and for the state of New Mexico.

Soliman finished his second term as the president of the Student Government Association. One staff member said he has revolutionized the operation of the SGA. His crowning achievement as SGA president relate to state government and the Legislative Lottery Scholarship. He lead a statewide collegiate effort that successfully lobbied the legislature to provide $10 million of emergency funding to keep alive the Legislative Lottery Scholarship for one year.

That was in March. He worked day and night throughout Spring Break to convince key Senators and Representatives to fully fund the scholarships. Further, he organized a statewide summit in Socorro that open a dialog about providing a permanent solution to the financial crisis that is besetting the fund. Leaders from all the four-year universities, state agencies, the Lottery organization and other interested parties participated in a daylong event that started the ball rolling on true change.

So, in addition to finishing his degree work, Sohaib also wrote a white paper summarizing the summit and encouraging others to work toward change.

One state senator who attended the summit said he is trying to convince Sohaib to abandon his plans to pursue dentistry and run for office instead.

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.

Kalyn Jones, Cramer Award winner

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Kalyn Jones accepts the Cramer Award as the top female engineering student in the Class of 2013 from Dr. Daniel H. Lopez.

Jones graduated with her bachelor’s in electrical engineering, maintained a 4.0 GPA and is finishing in four years.

A graduate of Cloudcroft High School, Jones first came our campus as a member of her high school’s Science Olympiad team. She lead her team to a fourth place finish, well ahead of much larger and better funded high schools. As a senior, she was among the top scorers and earned a special scholarship.

Since coming to Tech she has volunteered for Science Olympiad each year and has supervised one of the competitive events for the past three years.

All her professors have high praise for Kalyn’s academic ability, her work ethic and her willingness to help others. Her senior design project was “Data-Logger Triggering System for Acoustic Monitoring of Lightning.”

She worked as a lab assistant as a sophomore and completed two summer internships at Holloman Air Force Base. She earned a SMART scholarship thanks to her work at Holloman, where she will begin work later this summer.

She is an officer of the student chapter of the IEEE, and has worked as a peer facilitator and tutor at the Center for Student Success on campus. Her supervisor Elaine Debrine-Howell said Kalyn is the main reason that many of her fellow Techies passed their classes – thanks to her tutoring. Kalyn has also volunteered to give presentations to prospective students during special recruiting events.

Reynaldo Yazzie, Cramer Award winner

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Reynaldo Yazzie accepts the 2013 Cramer Award as the top male engineering student from Dr. Daniel H. Lopez.

Yazzie earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering and finished with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He came to Tech from Kirtland Central High School in the Four Corners area.

His professors in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department praised his academic performance, as well as his demeanor and attitude.

Reynaldo and his wife welcomed their third child earlier this year, and Reynaldo never missed a class, never missed an assignment, never asked for an extension and always produced superb work.

One professor said that not only Reynaldo is a top student, but he is the best student to come through the department in recent years.

He was the leader of the Senior Design team that designed and constructed a steel bridge for competition. For that project, he taught himself new software to conduct analysis of the steel bridge. He was responsible for producing AutoCAD drawings of the bridge, which his professor said were they best she’s ever seen by a student.

Another professor said Reynaldo is a pleasant and reserved individual, but always asked insightful questions that prove he understands the material. Further, he always strives to relate concepts to real world engineering issues, which helped his fellow students understand the material. A few words used to describe Reynaldo are diligent, thorough and precise.

Yet another professor said, “He’ll make somebody an excellent engineer.”

The Langmuir Award honors an outstanding scientific research paper by a student or recent graduate of New Mexico Tech. This award consists of a plaque and $200.

Dr. Harald Edens, Langmuir Award winner

Dr. Harald Edens is a post-doctoral researcher at Tech, working with the Physics Department and the Langmuir Laboratory for Atmospheric Research.

He earned his doctorate here at New Mexico Tech in 2011 for his work on lightning. He wins the Langmuir Award based on his publication, “VHF Lightning Mapping Observations of a Triggered Lightning Flash,” which was in the October 2012 edition of Geophysical Research Letters, a prestigious and definitive journal run by the American Geophysical Union. The journal aims to present scientific advances that are likely to have an immediate influence on the research of other investigators.

Dr. Edens’ paper was accepted for publication two weeks after being submitted and published just one month later.

One of his colleagues said that “the quickly acceptance and publication shows the extremely high quality and the attention to detail that Harald is widely known for.”

His publication is considered a comprehensive analysis of velocities of leaders and an analysis of how triggered lightning affects a storm cloud. Further, Dr. Edens’ colleagues at Tech say that his level of data analysis has become the standard across the lightning research arena. He has become the go-to guy for understanding data available from the Lightning Mapping Array.

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 award consists of a plaque and $400.

Michaela Gorospe, Founder’s Award winner

Gorospe earned her master’s this year in geochemistry from the Earth and Environmental Science Department. Her thesis was “Uranium Mobility in Vegetation, Soils and Water below the Jackpile Uranium Mine, New Mexico”

She has worked on remediation of uranium legacy issues near the Laguna Pueblo, her father’s home pueblo. Michaela is from Santo Domingo Pueblo and graduated with honors from Santa Fe Indian School. She first came to Tech in 2003 and was selected to serve on the university’s Board of Regents in 2005.

During that time, she impressed her fellow board members and Tech administrators. She earned her bachelor’s in environmental engineering in 2007 and started work for Peabody Energy at their coal mines near Grants, N.M. During that time, she helped launch the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and was active in the American Indian Society of Engineers and Scientists. She also won the Student Appreciation Award while an undergraduate.

While at Peabody, she served as an effective recruiter, bringing more than 8 of her fellow Techies to the company. After a few years, she decided to come back to Tech to pursue her master’s.

– NMT –