Q: What are your current research interests?
Mineral processing, especially related to process mineralogy; recovery of critical minerals from secondary sources; beneficial use of mine tailings
Q: What lead you to your specific field and when did you know you wanted to pursue a career in your specific field?
Sometimes you are presented with a choice and you make it and this is where you find yourself years later. Of course, my father was a coal miner and my uncle was a metallurgist, so mining and processing were not foreign to me. I found my niche in mineral processing when Dr. Harold Lovell (my advisor) walked me down the hall to the mineral processing office when I said there wasn't enough chemistry in mining. Seeing what coal looks like under a microscope! Watching a coal froth flotation test for the first time!
Q: What do you want the public to know about your research? Why is your topic important?
We need to find new sources of all of minerals that we will need in the future for our high tech and even our rather mundane applications. But we need to do it without compromising the environment.
Q: Why should students choose a major in your field?
Growing Mineral Demands Mean Jobs and Career Opportunities - Minerals Make Life
Q: What are some of the career opportunities for students who a choose major in your field?
Same as above.
Q: What types of research or hands-on learning are available within your department?
I had three students working on mineral processing work related to critical minerals in the summer of 2021 and one continuing through the school year. I'll have an IUG students working on a tailings project.
Describe the importance of our accredited programs.
Professional engineering licensure is a critical step in maintaining the integrity of the profession. This starts with ABET accreditation of our engineering programs. It continues with honor societies like Tau Beta Pi and with our professional societies.
Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I'm an introvert.
Q: Growing up, what did you want to be?
A child in the 1960s, I wanted to be an astronaut. Found out that, at the time, you needed to be a pilot and needed 20/20 vision. So I'm a mining engineer/mineral processing engineer. Maybe we'll mine and process that moon or asteroid yet!
Q: What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
Chairing a series of conferences on Coal Preparation topics and the published proceedings from those; 2018 Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration President (and previously serving as the SME Foundation President) and launching a new journal, Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, to serve the entire society/industry; my master's thesis work on the effect of clay on coal flotation and hydrophobicity of coal macerals
Q: If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Ellen Swallow Richards, my hero! Mining engineer, mineralogist, chemist, mother of ecology and home economics, founder of the American Assoc of University Women, first woman member of the the American Institute of Mining Engineers (AIME). Inducted into the National Mining Hall of Fame in 2014.