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Materials Engineering Students Win Awards, May 9, 2008

by Thomas Guengerich

SOCORRO, N.M., May 9, 2008 -- The Materials and Metallurgical Engineering Department and the Civil and Environmental Engineering at New Mexico Tech announced its scholarship and award winners for the 2007-2008 academic year.

Dr. Deidre Hirschfeld, Materials Engineering Department chair, said this year’s award winners represent some of the top students at the university.

This year’s award winners are Katharine Dahm, Toby Sachs-Quintana, Andrew Fairbrother, Nick Spinhirne, Atta Gueye and Krista Beyale.

“These students represent some of the most hard-working and brightest of our students at New Mexico Tech,” Dr. Hirschfeld said. “They are all very deserving of this honor.”

Katharine Dahm

Katharine Dahm (right) won the Paige Ashman Award. She is a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering.

Dahm has received numerous awards at Tech, including being named a Macey Scholar, the prestigious Tau Beta Pi Scholarship, sponsored by the national engineering honor society.

She has worked as a research assistant in the environmental engineering department, studying how to use an enzyme in spinach to remediate explosives residues in soils.

A native of Placitas, she graduated from Rio Rancho High School.

Toby Sachs-Quintana

Toby Sachs-Quintana (left) won two scholarships – the Albuquerque Journal Scholarship and the Ron Roman Scholarship, together worth $3,700.

A 2005 graduate of Albuquerque High School, Sachs-Quintana is a self-ascribed “green guy.” He also won the top prize in a regional scientific writing competition in January.

In addition to maintaining a 4.0 GPA, Sachs-Quintana has completed an internship, an extensive research project and published an article about biofuels.

Three students won the Ashman Award, which is a $1,000 scholarship. Undergraduate Andrew Fairbrother and two master’s students, Nick Spinhirne and Atta Gueye are this year’s award winners.

Spinhirne is a graduate of Eldorado High School in Albuquerque and earned a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering at Texas Tech. He expects to graduate this summer.

Spinhirne is also a Sandia National Laboratory Graduate Fellow, where he is investigating the effect of microstructure on very-low-pressure plasma-sprayed zirconia for solid oxide fuel cell electrolytes.

Senior Krista Beyale was awarded the Javorsky Scholarship, worth $1,500. She is a 2004 graduate of Bloomfield High School. She expects to graduate in December with a bachelor’s in materials engineering.

She has worked as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant. Among her projects was surface modification of 4340 Steel penetrators for enhanced bunker busters and plasma nitriding using glow discharge technology.

Andrew Fairbrother graduated from La Cueva High School in 2003 and will earn his bachelor’s from Tech in 2009. He has completed an extensive research project in Australia and participated in a student exchange at the Polytechnic University of Madrid in Spain.

His research projects have included spray drying of particle coatings and texturing film ceramics for solar cells. He also earned an internship with Phelps Dodge Mining Co. in Silver City.

A native of Hoboken, N.J., Atta Gueye earned her bachelor’s in electrical engineering from Tech in May 2006. She is working on her master’s in materials engineering. Her thesis deals with photovoltaics, specifically developing a composite film for use in solar cells.

Since coming to Socorro in 2003, Gueye has completed lightning research at Langmuir Labs, been a teaching assistant, and developed a new type of photovoltaic cell.

-- NMT --