Mines News

Release Date Monday, August 8, 2022

Mines’ STEAM Café Presentations Delve Medical Research, DoD Engineering, Steinbeck’s WWII Service, Paleontology and More

STEAM Café, an ongoing series of free informal talks by Mines faculty, staff and visiting experts, is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company.

South Dakota Mines Fall 2022 STEAM Café lineup includes a wide range of engaging topics.

STEAM Café, an ongoing series of free informal talks by Mines faculty, staff and visiting experts, is a partnership between the university, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and Hay Camp Brewing Company.

An acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, STEAM Café is held at 6 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at Hay Camp Brewing Company in Rapid City.

The 2022 Fall STEAM Café lineup includes: 

Sept. 21*, 6 p.m. (*please note: this is a Wednesday)

Rocker Days at STEAM Café featuring Walker Research Group graduate students

Presented by: South Dakota Mines graduate students and moderated by Dr. Travis Walker, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering at Mines.

  • Maryam Amouamouha has invented a device that could revolutionize water treatment and improve water quality and availability around the world. The device can be installed in a home or business in place of a costly septic system and could be scaled up to clean wastewater from multiple homes or even a small town.
  • Laura Brunmaier is working to overcome a major hurdle in the ability to research and explain how blood vessels form and how they react to various contaminants or to new medicines. The device that Brunmaier helped to invent allows researchers to study living blood vessels in real time outside the body.
  • Sebnem Ozbek is investigating cold spraying of polymer-based materials and working on building a micro cold spray setup. Cold spraying of polymers has many potential applications, including corrosion-resistant coatings on metal surfaces and thin-layer coatings on various surfaces.

Oct. 18, 6 p.m.

National Security Innovation Network (NSIN): South Dakota Mines student projects for Ellsworth Air Force Base

Presented by: Mines students and moderated by Jason Combs, program director of the NSIN at Mines.

  • “Gate Defense” – This team of metallurgical and mechanical engineers helped Ellsworth improve 11 gates that are designed to control traffic flow and speeds.  The current gates are extremely heavy, often stick and require multiple people to operate.
  • “ROADCON” – This team included mechanical and electrical engineers who worked on signs which notify base personnel what the road conditions are during winter storms. The team provided Ellsworth leadership with options to improve reliability, remote update capabilities and visibility of the signs during inclement weather.
  • “UNFUNDED” – This team of a chemical and a mechanical engineers tackled one of Ellsworth’s most difficult problems: developing a decision-making tool to aide senior base leadership in making end-of-year funding decisions (an advanced data analysis and data visualization problem). The team provided solutions that helped clarify what data was required for the decisions, standardized terms, cleaned and conditioned the data and then used Excel power tools (Power Pivot, etc.) to provide an interactive dashboard.

If you are interested in learning more about what Mines students are doing to help the DoD or if you are interested in solving DoD problems, you can find more information and examples at the Mines website here.

Nov. 15, 6 p.m.

John Steinbeck’s “Bombs Away”: A Propagandist at Work

Presented by: Dr. Rodney Rice, emeritus professor of humanities at Mines.

When the U.S. entered World War II in 1941, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck served voluntarily as an unpaid consultant to the Office of the Coordinator of Information (COI), a foreign news editor for the Office of War Information and a contributor to the Writer’s War Board. At the behest of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Steinbeck published a book entitled “Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team” in 1942 with photographs by Life magazine’s John Swope. To gather material for the book, Steinbeck and Swope travelled roughly 20,000 miles, immersing themselves in military flying culture. Dr. Rodney Rice, emeritus professor of humanities at Mines and retired Air Force veteran, will discuss how writing “Bombs Away” propelled Steinbeck into a new situation that demanded specialized rhetoric and propaganda techniques designed to counter the threat of fascism and rally support for the war.

Dec. 20, 6 p.m.

The Bone Collection: Curating Fossils Through the National Park Service’s Paleontological Collections Fund

Presented by: Geology faculty/Museum of Geology experts Dr. Rachel Benton, Kayleigh Johnson, and Dr. Nathaniel Fox.

The National Park Service’s (NPS) Paleontological Collections Fund was created to support the preparation, conservation, curation, research and excavation of fossil resources collected on NPS lands and housed at the James E. Martin Paleontological Laboratory on the South Dakota Mines campus. Since May 2019, these funds have supported more than a dozen student workers, aided student research and helped curate thousands of NPS specimens. A discussion on the NPS Paleontological Collections Fund’s mission and activities to date will be presented by Dr. Rachel Benton, a geology & geological engineering faculty member at Mines; Kayleigh Johnson, Museum of Geology preparator and lab manager and Dr. Nathaniel Fox, Museum of Geology associate director.


About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,493 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 98 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $70,036. For these reasons  South Dakota Mines is ranked among the best engineering schools in the country for return on investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram, and Snapchat.

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu