Best Student Awards Announced at New Mexico Tech 2022 Graduation Ceremony: New Mexico Tech

Best Student Awards Announced at New Mexico Tech 2022 Induction Ceremony

May 14, 2022


Five NMT students receive the Brown Award, the Kramer Awards, the Langmuir Award and the Founders Award

From left, Katherine House, Isaiah Jojola, New Mexico President of Tech Stephen J. Wells, and Tucker Diamond Ames pose for a photo at the graduation ceremony on May 14, 2022. House, Jojola and Diamond-Ames were awarded the Undergraduate Tech Awards.

Socorro, New Mexico New Mexico Tech announced the first prizes for the 2021-2022 school year at the Graduation Ceremony on Saturday, May 14th at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex. Top Student Award winners are: Tucker Diamond-Ames, Brown Award; Katherine House and Isaiah Gogola, Kramer Awards; Daniel B. Jensen, Langmuir Prize; and Kyle Stark, Founders Award.

Tucker Diamond Ames – Brown Award
The Brown Award is named in honor of Mr. CT Brown, who for many years was a member of the Technical Board of Referees. It is presented to the alumni member who, in the opinion of the college, ranks first in scholarship, conduct, and leadership. The prize consists of a shield and a prize of $1,000. The recipient of the 2022 Brown Prize is Tucker Diamond Ames, a graduate student majoring in biology.

Diamond-Ames came to New Mexico Tech after graduating from Capitan High School in 2018. He has been involved in a large number of research-intensive, community-oriented activities over the past four years. Diamond-Ames’ research involvement began during his first year when he joined Dr. Snezna Rogelj’s Drug Discovery group. Shortly thereafter – and until his graduation – he worked in cancer research, which included mouse brain surgery, histopathology, and a great deal of animal care. While he was only a rising undergraduate student, Diamond-Ames spent his first college summer as an intern at the National Institutes of Health IDeA Networks of Biomed Research Excellence (INBRE) with biochemist Dr. Eric Yuckel at New Mexico State University.

When COVID-19 began, Diamond-Ames jumped to the front lines with those technical staff who were willing to help with COVID-19 testing to help keep the university and the entire Socorro community safe. This solidified his determination to pursue a medical career, with a strong focus on global health, preventive medicine, and full recognition of the importance of mental health in general.

As a proactive member of the Tech Pre-Med Club and Student Mental Health Subcommittee, the club’s president, Faith Meza, has helped organize numerous educational events that benefited body, mind, and spirit not only club members but also the overall tech community. These activities included bringing CPR and Narcan training to campus to educate fellow Tech Pre-Med Club members and other technology students.

Diamond-Ames recently switched from volunteering at Socorro General Hospital to working there in the emergency room. He is expected to continue in this position over the next year while applying to medical school. Recently received the Shortess Award, the highest recognition from the Department of Biology:.

Katherine House – Kramer Prize
The Kramer Awards were created to honor Tom Kramer, an engineer and member of the Technology Board of Governors for 26 years. Awarded to two engineering graduates with the highest rank on the scholarship. Each winner receives a certificate and a cash prize of $400.

The first recipient of the Cramer Prize is Katherine House, a graduate student in the Department of Chemical Engineering majoring in Chemistry. She is originally from Albuquerque.

House worked as a laboratory assistant for four years in the NMT Department of Materials Engineering under Dr. John McCoy on research on engineering epoxies funded by Sandia National Laboratories. She also trained in the Metallurgical Department of the Nevada Gold Mines and at the Idaho National Laboratory. A diamond scholar, House has served as treasurer of the NMT Student Chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering and the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society.

House was described as trustworthy, a brilliant student, and so valuable that she volunteered her time to mentor lower-class chemical engineering students. She has participated in several undergraduate research experiments and presented her work on the national stage in the Student Poster Session, taking first place in Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 AIChE. House will be attending graduate school this fall at the University of Pennsylvania.

Isaiah Gogola – Kramer Prize
The second winner of the 2022 award is Isaiah Jojola, a graduate student in Civil Engineering from Isleta Pueblo. He was one of seven members of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Wildlife Crossing Bridge design team from New Mexico Tech that competed in a national competition in Houston, Texas, this spring against teams from Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico. They built a 1:10 scale wildlife bridge made of steel, and learned about project management, schedules, budget constraints, and presentation skills along the way.

Jojola is this year’s ASCE Outstanding Award Winner. He held a position with Wilson and Company, Engineers and Architects in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His instructor at CE (Civil Engineering) 423, Open Channel Hydraulics, commented that Jojola’s homework and homework exams were the most comprehensive professionally submitted student work he had seen in his 20 years of teaching the course.

Each year, New Mexico Tech offers two awards to its graduate students – the Langmuir Award and the Founder’s Award.

Daniel B. Jensen – Langmuir Award
The Langmuir Prize is awarded for outstanding research papers by a student or recent graduate of New Mexico Tech. This award consists of a plaque and a cash prize of $400. Daniel B. Jensen received the 2022 Kramer Prize.

Jensen, born in Farmington, is one of the many extraordinary people who have worked at the Langmuir Lab, where they studied lightning under the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Richard Sonnenfeld. Jensen received his Bachelor of Science degree from New Mexico Tech in 2016 in Physics and Mathematics, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Instrumentation Physics. Since September 2021, he has been working as a graduate research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory in a three-year joint training between New Mexico Tech and LANL.

Dr. Sonnenfeld nominated Jensen for his research paper, “Dart-Leader and K-Leader Velocity From Initiation Site to Termination Time-Resolved With 3D Interferometry,” which was published in Geophysical Research in March 2021.

Jensen used data from two interferometers collected from a thunderstorm near the Langmuir Laboratory to produce a 3D interferometer data set, the most accurate result verified to date for a broadband lightning interferometer. The data also showed that some lightning operations within the cloud (K leaders) slow down as you go over kilometers, and it is not possible to monitor without this technology.

Dr Sonnenfeld described Jensen as an “exceptional young scientist” who has produced outstanding research in the study of this highly complex natural phenomenon that is becoming more frequent and influential with climate change.

Kyle Stark – Founders Award
The Founders Award is given to persons responsible for the founding of the New Mexico School of Mines in Socorro in 1889. It is awarded to a person who has graduated with an advanced degree and who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the Institute through scholarship, research and participation in campus affairs. The prize consists of a plaque and a $800 cash prize. The recipient of the 2022 Kramer Prize is Kyle Stark.

Kyle Stark with President Wells
New Mexico Tech President Stephen J. Wells congratulates Kyle A. Stark on the Founders Award at the opening ceremony May 14, 2022, at the Socorro Rodeo and Sports Complex.

Stark, a native of Berryville, Virginia, received his bachelor’s degree from William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in hydrology from New Mexico Tech. His research focused on continuous monitoring of water and sediment flow during flash floods at a modern measuring station he built in Arroyo de los Pinos, which drains part of Quebradas, across the Rio Grande from Socorro. This effort included collaborators from the US Bureau of Reclamation, the Army Corps of Engineers, Ben-Gurion University in Israel, the GFZ-Potsdam in Germany, the US Geological Survey, the Bureau of Land Management, and local landowners.

According to his advisor, Dr. Daniel Kadol, Stark was indispensable to this project, mentored other students working on the project and conducted “thoughtful, detailed and creative research”. Also, during his time at New Mexico Tech, Stark served as president of the Graduate Student Association for two years and served as mentor to GSA leaders. He has been described as having a “service mentality”.

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