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Commencement 2001

SOCORRO, N.M., May 12, 2001 - New Mexico Tech presented 287 degrees, including bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D.s, at graduation ceremonies on May 12, 2001, on their campus in Socorro. Awards to faculty and top students were also presented.

Top awards went to Roseanna Neupauer, a Ph.D. graduate now living in Virginia; Rebecca Brown, a graduate in electrical engineering from Grants; and Timothy Wangler, a chemical engineering graduate from Clovis.

Roseanna Neupauer, who received a Ph.D. in hydrology, was presented with the Founder's Award, Tech's top award to a graduate student. It was the second time Neupauer had received the award, the first time being in 1999, when she graduated with a master's degree in mathematics. She was also presented with the Graduate Student Association's Appreciation Award.

Neupauer is a native of Northampton, Pa., where she graduated from Northampton High School in 1985. She is the daughter of George and Mary Neupauer of Northampton. She is a 1989 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and a 1991 graduate of MIT with a master's degree in civil engineering.

Neupauer had served for several years as president of the campus's Graduate Student Association (GSA). In this role, she advanced several causes of interest to students, including a health care center. She helped get better student representation at all levels of the administration and made sure that graduate student concerns were not only heard but also acted upon. After stepping down from her office, Neupauer continued to serve the GSA, by advising its officers. After leaving Tech, she continued to provide feedback to GSA officers and helped graduate students by providing a Ph.D. dissertation template.

Neupauer completed her Ph.D. during the fall of 2000 and is currently an assistant professor of civil engineering at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. For her dissertation research, she developed a mathematical modeling approach that can be used to identify sources of groundwater contamination, and she successfully tested the approach at a contaminated site on Cape Cod, Mass

Rebecca Brown a native of Grants, received two of New Mexico Tech's the top awards: the C. T. Brown Award (to the graduating senior who ranks highest in scholarship, leadership, and conduct) and the Cramer Award for the female engineering graduate with the highest grade point average. Last month, she was named "Engineering Student of the Year Runner-up." Brown, a graduate of Grants High School, is the daughter of Kenneth and Judy Brown of Grants.

Brown graduated with two bachelor of science degrees, one in electrical engineering and one in mathematics, with highest honors. Since the summer of 1999, she has worked as a research intern in the Mobile Robotics Group at Sandia National Laboratories.During the past year, she has been president of the student chapter of Tau Beta Phi, the national engineering honor society. She is also active in the student chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Timothy Wangler received New Mexico Tech's top award for a male engineering student. Recently, the campus named him "Engineering Student of the Year." During the past two summers, Wangler has worked as a process engineering intern at Intel Corporation's microchip fabrication plant in Rio Rancho. The results of his work have led to process improvements, which in turn led Intel to present him with a service recognition award and a job offer. Wangler says he plans on working at Intel after graduation. Wangler, a graduate of Clovis High School, is the son of John and Nora Wangler of Clovis.

New Mexico Tech's annual Distinguished Research Award was presented to Dr. John McCoy, professor of materials engineering. In his 10 years at Tech, McCoy has established a national reputation in polymer research, attracting research projects and outstanding graduate students. Before coming to Tech, McCoy had done post-docs at Sandia National Labs and the University of California at Berkeley. He had also received New Mexico Tech's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1993.

(See related story: Dr. John McCoy, Distinguished Teaching Award 2001 )

The Distinguished Teaching Award for 2001 went to Dr. Donald Weinkauf, chair of the Chemical Engineering Department. Weinkauf was key in getting this new department started during the past five years. Students commented on his enthusiasm as an instructor and his willingness to give assistance outside of classes, as well as the time he spent advising the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.

New Mexico Tech presented its Langmuir Award for an outstanding research paper by a graduate student to Geoffrey Rawling, a graduate student in Earth sciences.

Rawling was the lead author on a paper entitled, "Internal architecture, permeability structure, and hydrologic significance of contrasting fault-zone types," published in the professional journal Geology earlier this year. Rawling is a resident of Socorro.

The Langmuir Award was presented for the paper "Internal architecture, permeability structure, and hydrologic significance of contrasting fault-zone types", which Rawling authored with two of his professors, Drs. Laurel Goodwin, and John Wilson. The paper was published in Geology, one of the most prestigious journals in the geosciences, in January of this year. It represents the most significant synthesis to date of fault-zone deformation processes in different earth materials, as well as an unusual synergy of geologic and hydrologic data and approaches to problem-solving. His research is of practical as well as academic interest, as it provides workers in the desert southwest with guidelines for evaluation of faulted aquifers.

Rawling is a 1990 graduate of Newark (Del.) High School. He is the son of Dr. Frank L. and Phyllis C. Rawling of Newark. He received his bachelor's degree in geoscience at Pennsylvania State University in 1994 and his master's degree in geoscience from the State University of New York at Sony Brook in 1997.

Geoff is currently a Ph.D. student at New Mexico Tech. He recently received a grant from the Geological Society of America to present the results of his research at an international conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. In 1998, he won the Wellnitz Scholarship from the New Mexico Geological Society for field-based geologic research in New Mexico.

The New Mexico Tech Alumni Association presented two awards to distinguished alumni. Eugene O'Connor, a resident of Socorro, received the Distinguished Service Award for his active support of New Mexico Tech, both as a scholarship donor and a participant in open meetings concerning Tech. O'Connor was a 1953 graduate in metallurgical engineering.

(See related story:  Eugene O'Connor, Distinguished Service Award 2001)

Dr. Roger Richman of Mountain View, Calif., received the Alumni Association's Distinguished Achievement Award. Richman has had a long and distinguished career as a metallurgist, after graduation from Tech with a degree in metallurgical engineering in 1950. During his many years of association with the Electric Power Research Institute, a research consortium of utility companies in Palo Alto, Calif., he has aided or been responsible for many of the research contracts New Mexico Tech has gotten from that organization.

(See related story: Roger Richman, Distinguished Achievement Award 2001 )


(Kathleen Hedges )

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