Five Stand-outs Win Top Student Awards

Hunt, Reed, Guinard Take Top Undergrad Honors

Bloemhard, Jordan Receive Top Graduate Awards

New Mexico Tech announced the top student scholastic awards at the 2016 Commencement ceremony.

Andrew Hunt, a chemical engineering major, won the Brown Award as the top undergraduate student. The Cramer Awards, given to the top male and female graduating engineering students were awarded to Kevin Reed, chemical engineering, and Theresa Guinard, computer science.

Dr. Heather Bloemhard, physics, won the Founders Award; and Dr. Amy Jordan won the Langmuir Award.

Andrew Hunt – Brown Award

A native of Albuquerque, Hunt’s time at Tech has been marked by academic excellence and honors, research, outreach and volunteer activities. He earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering and a minor in mathematics. He is finishing with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

  2016grad-andrew-IMG 3922

Andrew Hunt, 2016 Brown Award winner, with Dr. Daniel Lopez and Dr. Warren Ostergren. 


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. The award 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 $1,000 dollars.

He was named the Engineering Student of the Year in 2016 and a Macey Scholar, Tech’s top academic scholarship for the 2015-2016 term. He also earned the highly-competitive Tau Beta Pi national scholarship.

As a sophomore, Andrew worked with Dr. Michaelann Tartis and as a student intern at Sandia National Laboratories. With Tartis, Andrew did various experiments related to targeted drug and gene delivery. Starting in the spring 2014 semester, he spearheaded his own project involving the transfer of DNA into yeast cells for bio-sensing applications. As a junior, he continued working with Dr. Tartis, and also started working with Dr. Piyasena, developing novel microfluidic devices that can diagnose diseases in the developing world.

Andrew is an officer of the AIChE, the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society and Golden Key campus chapters He has volunteered for fund-raisers and outreach efforts, including mentoring a freshmen team in the chemical car competition, which he helped jump-start. He has also tutored local children at the Socorro Youth Center. He has also volunteered at the N.M. Boys and Girls Ranch near Belen, where he tutored youngsters in math and science.

Andrew is known as a behind-the-scenes sort of student, always helping wherever needed. His advisor noted that Andrew consistently filled his schedule with extra electives simply to maximize his education at 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 $400 prize.

Theresa Guinard – Cramer Award

Guinard earned her bachelor’s in computer science in December 2015 and is now working for Microsoft. She was not able to attend the ceremony, so Dr. Subhasish Mazumdar accepted the award on her behalf.

Guinard went to Legacy High School in Westminster, Colorado. She finished her bachelor’s degree with a perfect 4.0 GPA and all her professors say she did so effortlessly.

Theresa was a quiet and reserved student, yet she proved to be an extremely talented individual. She enjoyed working on Euler Problems and solved about half of them, putting her in the top one-tenth of one-percent of all global participants. She also participated in Google CodeJam, advancing to the third round – putting her in the top 1 percent. 

Mazumdar, her advisor, noticed that she has an amazing ability to solve problems. She could simply see solutions when other students struggled. Her abilities are described in superlative terms such as awe-inspiring, remarkable and distinctive.    

Guinard was interested in languages while at Tech. After taking German courses, she started learning Esperanto. She even published a research paper called “An Algorithm for Morphological Segmentation of Esperanto Words,” which was in the Prague Bulletin of Mathematical Linguistics just last month. Theresa has continued her interest by joining an Esperanto Club in Seattle.

She also was involved in Tech’s music program. She plays clarinet and performed both with Tech Concert Band and for Socorro Community Theater presentations of ‘You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown’ in 2013 and ‘Oliver’ in 2015.

She was also interested in hiking and enjoyed exploring the trails in the mountains around Socorro. She was also a member of the Tech Caving Club.

Kevin Reed – Cramer Award

A native of Farmington, Kevin Reed worked on research with Dr. Michaelann Tartis, Dr. Menake Piyasena and Dr. Michael Heagy. He earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering with two minors in chemistry and biology.

  2016grad-kevin2-IMG 3916

Kevin Reed, 2016 Cramer Award winner, with Dr. Warren Ostergren and Dr. Daniel Lopez. 


Reed was the runner-up Engineering Student of the Year in 2016 and a Macey Scholar, Tech’s top academic scholarship, for the 2015-2016 term. He also earned a highly-competitive Tau Beta Pi national scholarship and a prestigious undergraduate scholarship from the N.M. Space Grant Consortium, which is funded by NASA.

Reed started in research as a sophomore with Dr. Piyasena, the same year he won the 2014 Analytical Chemistry Student of the Year award. Shortly thereafter, he earned a Research Experience for Undergraduates assignment at Duke University in biomedical research. His summer advisor at Duke was so impressed that he nominated Kevin for the Macey Scholarship. He wrote that “Kevin was able to establish a very positive reputation for himself and New Mexico Tech at Duke … it’s obvious New Mexico Tech does a very good job of preparing students for research as reflected in the great contributions made by Kevin.”

In addition to his range of research activities, Kevin has been a tutor on campus, at San Juan College in Farmington, at Socorro public schools, and the Socorro Youth Center. He also worked with his professors to refine the Intro to Engineering 110 course.

Reed has vast experience in volunteering on campus and beyond. He is the president of the campus chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, an officer with Tau Beta Pi, the vice president of the Society of Women Engineers and active in the Track and Field Club.

Dr. Amy Jordan – 2016 Langmuir Award Winner

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 $400 dollars.

Amy Jordan completed her Ph.D. in hydrology in September 2015 and she will be officially hooded later in this ceremony. She is currently a hydrogeologist with Neptune and Company, an environmental risk analysis consulting firm in Los Alamos, New Mexico.

Previously, she completed her bachelor’s at the University of California-Berkeley and earned her master’s at the University of Colorado, both in astrophysics.

Dr. Jordan published four papers during her graduate studies at New Mexico Tech. Dr. Jordan’s award winning paper is titled “Radionuclide Gas Transport through Nuclear Explosion-Generated Facture Networks,” which was published in December 2015 in Nature Scientific Reports.

Dr. Jordan developed a sophisticated rock-mechanics, isotope-gas transport model to help determine how quickly radioactive isotopes generate by a subsurface nuclear detonation migrate to the surface in a gaseous state driven by barometric pressure variations. This work has great practical relevance for determining of whether or not a country has detonated a nuclear device in the subsurface.   

Dr. Jordan performed this work at Los Alamos National Laboratory while she was working on her Ph.D. Her research proposals landed three grants that brought in more than $800,000 dollars for the lab. The Hydrology Faculty thought so highly of Dr. Jordan that they invited her to teach one of the most difficult courses in Earth Science – the notorious Hydrology 508: Flow and Transport.

Her advisors – Mark Person, Fred Phillips and John Wilson all praised her for her exceptional research, her brilliance in the classroom and for being an all-around amazing human being.

Dr. Heather Bloemhard – Founders Award 2016

      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 $800 dollars. 

Dr. Heather Bloemhard earned her Ph.D. in atmospheric physics in September 2015. She is now working as the Bahcall Science Policy Fellow for the American Astrophysical Society in Washington, D.C. Essentially, she is a lobbyist who works at the intersection of policy and science, advising policy makers, members of Congress and staffers about sound science.

Dr. Bloemhard completed a double bachelor’s at George Mason University in Virginia before coming to New Mexico Tech.

While her degree was in atmospheric physics, she also worked closely with the astrophysics group. Her dissertation is “Characterizing the Atmospheres of Exoplanets using Ground-Based Facilities.” Astronomers around the world are finding planets around other stars every day. Heather, along with her advisors, are training their telescopes on those exoplanets and describing their atmosphers. Her research included helping design and build a purpose-built instrument that can accomplish that task – the New Mexico Extrasolar Spectroscopic Survey Instrument – or NESSI.

Dr. Bloemhard landed a $10,000 NASA grant in 2013, which allowed her to attend meetings and present her results from observing time she competitively secured on NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility in Hawaii.

What truly set Heather apart is her devotion to New Mexico Tech and the graduate students. She served as an officer with the Graduate Student Association for several years and made significant advancements to the organization. She helped craft the travel grant policy and, in general, served as a liaison between the administration and graduate students.

In 2013, she was selected as a Domenici Student Panelist for the Panel on Public Policy, which sparked her interest in government affairs.

Also, Dr. Bloemhard spearheaded a Math and Science Night at Sarracino Middle School, here in Socorro. It was such a success that the middle school has continued the event.

– NMT –