Mechanical Engineering


John BergerGreetings from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. Mines ME continues to be the largest department on campus, with over 1,400 undergraduate majors, over 160 graduate students and 40 tenure/tenure track and teaching faculty. The department continues to experience rapid growth in terms of student enrollment, faculty size and research volume.

Mines ME bachelor degree graduates are highly sought-after by industry. For the 2018–2019 academic year, we graduated 332 BSME students who have earned starting salaries averaging over $66K/year. In that same timeframe, 72 MS and 9 PhD students graduated. Mines ME’s biggest employers are in the aerospace and consulting industries, with over 140 different companies, national laboratories and universities hiring our student graduates. Additionally, 85% or our Mines ME students participate in at least one internship while working on their BSME degree. These are outstanding employment metrics for Mines ME students!

Mines ME continues to grow its outstanding cadre of faculty. We are excited to welcome Associate Professor Leslie Lamberson with expertise in the dynamic behavior of materials. We are also excited to welcome Teaching Assistant Professors James Wong and Kelly Rickey. Additionally, we had three of our faculty promoted and awarded tenure this year: congratulations to Associate Professors Garritt Tucker, Steven DeCaluwe and Xiaoli Zhang!

If you have not watched Adam Savage’s new television series, Savage Builds, you’ll want to view the episode where the Mines team, led by Professor of Practice Craig Brice, built a 3D Iron Man suit for Adam Savage using additive manufacturing technologies. Other ME faculty receiving accolades include Dr. Thomas’ Benjamin F. Fairless award from the American Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Engineers, and Dr. Osborne’s appointment as a Distinguished Guest for a speaking tour in Scotland. 

Mines ME students continue to earn accolades in a number of ways. A team led by PhD student Matt Zappula earned second place in The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society bladesmithing competition. Two Mines ME graduate students won awards from the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the American Society of Biomechanics, and a team of our students earned honors at a hardware-based hackathon with their device for a brain-controlled wheelchair. Finally, PhD student Peter Weddle was honored with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Recognition Award for his work on improving diversity, inclusion and access on the Mines campus.

Research continues to grow at Mines ME, with over $6 million in expenditures for calendar year 2018. Mines ME’s research growth is being advanced by a number of centers that call ME home: The ADAPT Center (Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies), the Continuous Casting Consortium, and the Colorado Fuel Cell Center. Two highlights detailed later in this newsletter include Dr. Braun’s new award from the Department of Energy to study distributed energy and concentrated solar power, and Dr. Petruska’s new $620K award from the Alpha Foundation.

If you are ever in the Golden, Colorado, area and want to visit ME’s rapidly growing department, please stop by. I’ve seen incredible changes in ME since joining the faculty in 1994, and if it’s been a few years since you’ve visited campus I think you’ll be amazed as well!

John Berger
Department Head

Headshot of John Berger outdoors Headshot of Dr. Jason Porter outdoors Headshot of Dr. Kristy Csavina outdoors
John Berger
Department Head
Jason Porter
Assistant Department Head
for Graduate Studies
Kristine Csavina
Assistant Department Head
for Undergraduate Studies


ANSYS Academic Program Partner LogoThe Colorado School of Mines (CSM) Mechanical Engineering department uses ANSYS products in teaching and research. Prof. Robert J. Kee has a strategic partnership, with applications generally involving Fluent and chemically reacting flow. One important aspect of the chemically reacting flow research includes the Chemkin software. Chemkin, which is now an ANSYS product, was initially developed by Prof. Kee and colleagues beginning in the late 1970s. Prof. Brian Thomas also has a strategic partnership with ANSYS, mostly using Fluent. Prof. Thomas’ research is concerned primarily with metals processing, such as continuous casting processes. Prof. Gregory Bogin uses ANSYS/Fluent in advanced courses on fluid mechanics, including computational fluid dynamics. The partnerships between ANSYS and CSM are mutually beneficial.

Upcoming Events

Mechanical Mondays: Alumni Spotlight – Matthew Dawson, Utility Global, Oct. 21, 12–1pm, Brown125, lunch provided

ME Distinguished Seminar Series: Dr. Chris Debrunner of Lockheed Martin, Oct. 22, 4–5pm, Brown W210
View flyer

Info Session on combined BS+MS program for current undergrads: Oct. 28, 12–1 pm, Brown 125, lunch provided
View flyer | RSVP


Poster printing is available 9:00–4:00p, Monday through Friday. Printing is not available on weekends or holidays. A 24-hour notice is required for printing. Cost for printing is $50 for a standard 3′ x 4′ poster.

Welcome New Faculty!

Leslie Lamberson Associate Professor Leslie Lamberson



Kelly RickeyTeaching Assistant Professor Kelly Rickey



Jim WongTeaching Assistant Professor Jim Wong