Introducing Danielle Richards, Macey Scholar

Introducing Danielle Richards, Macey Scholar

Professors Praise Her Commitment To Help Others

This is the fourth of four profiles of the 2016-17 Macey Scholars. This award is named for 1942 Tech graduate Bill Macey, who created the scholarship fund in the 1990s. The other three winners are Caralyn Coultas-McKinney, Anthony Milana, and Andrew Gabrysiak. 

SOCORRO, N.M. – Danielle Richards chose New Mexico Tech expecting to find a wide variety of research opportunities. She was not disappointed.

An honor roll student since her freshman year, Richards started working as a learning coach in the Office of Student Learning as a sophomore. She has also served as a teaching assistant for both Dr. Michaelann Tartis and Dr. Choudhury.

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Danielle Richards

Macey Scholar 2016-2017


“Being a learning coach and teaching assistant are my greatest contributions to New Mexico Tech,” she write in her Macey Scholar essay. “Nothing is more gratifying than providing motivation for others to reach their potential.”

Tartis praised her academics and her outlook. “She is positively delightful to work with and have in the classroom. Her attitude is one that is ideal. She is an excellent role model for engineering students on campus.”

Dr. Chelsey Hargather lauded Richards for her abilities in the classroom and laboratory, as well as her commitment and critical thinking.

“Her performance in the laboratory section of the class [Computer Programming for Engineers] demonstrates her high research potential,” Hargather wrote. “She was able to take the knowledge of basic programming constructs taught in class and transfer it into a high level programming language … This ability to internalize knowledge and apply in a new and challenging format sets Danielle apart from her peers.”

Drea Killingsworth, coordinator of the Living Learning Community program, said “Danielle is always positive with a welcoming smile … She has been so dedicated to our regular students that she is often requested by name as students trust her to be competent and a great teacher.”

Richards began her involvement in campus research during her sophomore year. She attended a number of research group meetings to get an idea of what project she wanted to join. She soon joined Dr. Frank Huang’s osmotic power group in the Environmental Engineering Department. She later presented results from that research project at a two regional conferences.

“This experience was invaluable because it exposed me to the dedication and time commitment required to be a successful researcher and helped me realize my passion for working in a laboratory setting,” she said.

Richards was selected for a prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Northwestern University in Illinois for the 2016 summer. This fall, she was named a Tau Beta Pi scholar, which is a highly competitive national award. She also won a national scholarship from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, or AIChE.

Richards has volunteered for a range of campus clubs and organizations. She has served as an officer of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers campus chapter, the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society, the Society of Women Engineers campus chapter and the SGA Senate. Through those clubs, she has worked the Science Olympiad, Science Fair, Community Arts Party, 49ers and Spring Fling events.

Her plans are to pursue a Ph.D. in chemical engineering, followed by a post-doc assignment, and then become a professor.

“My undergrad at New Mexico Tech has provided all I need to be a well-rounded individual, successful professional, and has given me the opportunity to pursue my career goals to the fullest,” she said.

– NMT –