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Four Tech Scholars Take Commencement Honors

SOCORRON.M. May 15, 2014 – New Mexico Tech presented the Cramer Awards at commencement Saturday, with Veronica Sager and Nickolas Davis taking home the honors.

The 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.

Dr. Mary Dezember, Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs introduced the winners, with president Dr. Daniel H. Lopez presenting the awards.

The top graduate awards are the Langmuir Award for the best paper published by a graduate student and the Founder’s Award for service to the university by a grad student.

Dr. Saska Gjorgjievska won the Langmuir Award and Dr. Jesus Gomez won the Founder’s Award, both presented by Graduate Dean Dr. Lorie Liebrock.

Veronica Sager

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Veronica Sager accepts the Cramer Award from Dr. Mary Dezember and university President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez.

Veronica Sager earned her bachelor’s in mechanical engineering. She hails from Los Alamos and has been a four-year student at New Mexico Tech.

She was the team leader of the Security Door Design Team, which was sponsored by Sandia National Laboratory. Her advisor said she did an excellent job of bringing the team together and completing the project successfully and on time.

She also served as the Mechanical Engineering Department’s analyst for ABET accreditation. She handles all the documentation the department uses. She has conducted surveys of students, employers and alumni, then collated the material, which had been a significant task.

Sager is a member of Tau Beta Pi and received the Silver Scholarship at Tech. She also served as student intern at Los Alamos National Labs, where she conducted validation experiments on hydrocodes. She published her results at the Student Symposium at Los Alamos National Labs.

In her free time, she volunteers at the Socorro Animal Shelter.

Sager graduates with a stellar GPA and over the course of her time at Tech, she earned the respect and admiration of her peers and her professors alike.

Sager has been accepted into a Ph.D. engineering school at Northwestern University.

Nickolas Davis

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Nickolas Davis accepts the Cramer Award from Dr. Mary Dezember and university President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez.

Davis earned his bachelor’s in Computer Science and Engineering with a 3.98 GPA.

Born in Florida, Nick spent most of his life in Alamogordo, where he graduated from high school.

Davis was involved in two research projects that combined the Computer Science and the Management Department. He and his teammates worked with the local veterinary office, Animal Have, to design and develop a new computerized method of tracking medications.

One of his advisors described him as a low-key person who is always around to help his fellow students. He has been involved in the Cereal Club and the Musician’s Club. Through those groups, he has volunteered numerous times in the community, including educational outreach at Socorro schools and the Community Arts Party.

He also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity back in Alamogordo one summer, helping to build a home for a family.

Davis is staying at Tech to start a master’s program in Computer Science.

Dr. Saska Gjorgjievska

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Dr. Saska Gjorkiievska accepts the Langmuir Award from President Dr. Daniel H. Lopez and graduate dean Dr. Lorie Liebrock.

Gjorgjievska is the winner of the Langmuir Award for a paper she published that summarizes how tropical hurricanes and typhoons form. Her paper was titled, “Interaction Between Dynamics and Thermodynamics During Tropical Cyclogenesis.”

Gjorgjievska based her paper on field work in St. Croix which was funded by the National Science Foundation. She and her colleagues flew aboard a Gulfstream jet and deployed instruments that were dropped into storm clouds.

From data gathered during that field work, she developed new concepts about the mechanisms at work related to tropical storm formation. She showed step-by-step what atmospheric conditions are required to create storms. Her work was published in ‘Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics,’ the premier journal in the field, published by the European Geosciences Union. She also has presented her findings at several conferences.

Her theories were not initially accepted by everyone in the field, but her advisor Dr. Dave Raymond noted that she held her own in scientific meetings in the face of skepticism from well-known investigators. Now, her research is gaining traction in the field of atmospheric physics and she’s been invited to give a talk at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Saska is a native of Macedonia. She and her husband, Mike Herman, have a two-year-old son.  Dr. Gjorgjkievska hasn’t had enough of Socorro just yet. She is staying at Tech to complete a post-doc.

Dr. Jesus Gomez

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Dr. Jesus Gomez accepts the Founder's Award from President Dr. Daniel H. lopez and graduate dean Dr. Lorie Liebrock.

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 four hundred dollars. 

Gomez, better known as Chucho, has earned both his master’s and now his Ph.D. here at New Mexico Tech.

Gomez earned his master’s at New Mexico Tech in 2008 and completed his doctoral studies in 2013. A native of Columbia, he earned his bachelor’s in civil engineering with emphasis on channel hydraulics at the National University of Columbia in Medellin.

Gomez has modeled the complex systems that dictate groundwater flow, specifically to determine the age distribution of water within a regional aquifer.

He hopes his hydrology research will help municipal leaders and scientists better understand aquifer recharge and how climate fluctuations influence the flow of groundwater.

Gomez is currently working as a post-doctoral researcher on a Mendenhall Grant with the U.S. Geological Survey in RestonVirginia. At his current position, he is examining how climate change is affecting groundwater and surface water interactions in the Everglades in Florida.

During his time at New Mexico Tech, he has served as an excellent mentor to other graduate students in hydrology. He’s taught graduate level courses and received rave reviews from students in his class.

He has organized sessions at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting and was awarded the prestigious Horton Grant from the AGU.

In addition to his research abilities in hydrology, he is proficient at computer programming and has become the go-go guy for putting together programming for research projects.

– NMT –