Undergraduate Scholars


Aspen Anderson

Hello, my name is Aspen Anderson. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Geophysical Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines. As a Colorado native, I enjoy spending time outdoors with my friends and family. My love for nature and the outdoors inspires me to think each day about what I can do to help preserve the planet’s natural beauty. Shaped by my desire to study and create sustainable solutions to some of the world’s predominate problems, I have worked on studies pertaining to computer modeling applications in climate change and basin hydrology. As a ConocoPhillips WE2ST Undergraduate Scholar, I am thrilled to contribute to investigating the nexus of regional water resource availability and unconventional energy production. I am excited for the opportunity to develop my career in geoscience research and learn how my work can positively impact society.

Rosalie O'Brien

Hello, my name is Rosalie O'Brien. I am pursuing a major in Environmental Engineering with a minor in Humanitarian Engineering. As a Colorado native, I love spending time in the mountains, from hiking and backpacking to white water rafting. During the school year, I play trumpet and flugelhorn in the Mines Marching and Concert Band and am currently Vice President of Membership of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary band fraternity.  I have interned the past two summers with Whiting Petroleum in their Environmental Department, where I was able to contribute to air emissions permitting, spill plans, and engine emissions testing. I am thrilled to be working with WE2ST to continue the advancement of my knowledge of the oil and gas industry. My research examines engineered wetlands for produced and flowback water treatment from hydraulic fracturing. 

Paul Kuras

Hello, my name is Paul KuraÅ›. I am pursuing a Bachelor of Science in civil engineering with a minor in petroleum engineering. Becoming a member of the WE2ST team is an exciting and valuable opportunity to work with cutting-edge research in the unconventional energy production sector. After interning at a mining company this past summer I came to appreciate the necessity of sustainable water usage and minimizing environmental impact by extractive resource companies especially in arid regions. In my free time I enjoy hiking, skiing, and carpentry. I am also actively involved in the catholic campus ministry at Mines. I look forward to working with such a talented team in making a positive difference in sustainable energy development.

Nicholas Rummel

Hello, my name is Nicholas Rummel. Currently, I am pursuing a B.S. in Applied Mathematics at Mines. I grew up in southern Colorado, and I learned to enjoy the outdoors. If I am not working on school work, you will most likely find me rock climbing or skiing. At a very young age, I was drawn to math because of its beauty and logic. My hope is I can help protect the outdoors I love so much through my work. This scholarship has given me the unique opportunity to apply my strong computer and mathematical skills in an environmentally focused way. I hope to bring a unique and valuable approach as a mathematician. This year look forward to contributing to the ConocoPhillips WE2ST Undergraduate Scholars Program.

Tom van Ierland

Hello, my name is Johan Thomas van Ierland but most people call me Tom. I am studying Petroleum Engineering and I’m from Amsterdam. As an European, I have seen the growing resistance against conventional and unconventional energy back home. There are a lot of stigmas about unconventional energy and, therefore, I’m very interested in Corporate Social Responsibility and the role social media plays. I hope to improve community acceptance and communication with regards to unconventional energy development and production here in the United States and eventually back home. This summer, I Interned for GranEnergia in Macaé, Brazil. We found a way to reduce costs on offshore platforms with more than half a million dollars and the internship was a fantastic experience. I believe that the ConocoPhillips WE2ST program is an amazing addition to my study here at Mines together with my honors minor in Public Affairs from the McBride program. I’m proud to be part of the ConocoPhiliips WE2ST program and to contribute to its success!

Shurraya Polunci 

Aloha! My name Shurraya Polunci. Currently, I am studying Chemical Engineering with a minor in Public Affairs through the McBride Honors Program. For the last two semesters at school, I worked as a teaching assistant for Physics II since it challenges me to learn how to best communicate with students and work on a team. This spring, I received the opportunity to join the ConocoPhillips WE2ST Scholar Program and work with Dr. Jessica Smith on conducting social science research on Memorandums of Understandings between the oil and gas operators and local governments in the Colorado Front Range.  I started this research over the summer, combined with research for the National Science Foundation on incorporating corporate social responsibility into engineering and technical courses. At the end of the summer, I presented a portion of my findings for the National Science Foundation at a Corporate Social Responsibility Workshop held on campus for professors wanting to integrate CSR into their technical classes. Along with research, I worked setting tile and roofing over the summer. I am eager to continue my work as a WE2ST Scholar during the upcoming year and learn more of how energy, water, and people combine, especially my new team of WE2ST Scholars!

Danika Ahoor

Hello, my Name is Danika Ahoor. I am pursuing a major in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. As a part of the WE2ST team, I hope to learn more about the intersection between responsible water use and energy production, and eventually apply this knowledge as an industry professional. Outside of the lab, I spend my time volunteering with Alpha Phi Omega, babysitting my many nephews, and enjoying all the natural beauty Colorado has to offer. I look forward to working with the WE2ST fellowship to better understand the water and energy crises
facing the world today


Gianna Pittman 

Greetings! I am Gianna Pittman, and am currently working on obtaining a degree in Chemical Engineering. This will be my first year as a WE2ST scholar, and I will be working to understand the effects of water produced from fracking when used on food crops. I grew up in the beautiful Pacific NW, and have developed a love for the outdoors. However, coming to the dry climate of Colorado for school was quite a shock to me, and it brought to my attention just how valuable water is as a resource, and a part of life on Earth. I am excited to work with the WE2ST center to innovate the way we consume water, as well as to educate the public on how we are accomplishing that.







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Last Updated: 03/16/2018 14:41:45