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Mining Engineering Student Spotlight: Chloe

Chloe is studying Mining Engineering at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. She is in her senior year of her program and she will be graduating in May of 2021!
Mining Engineering Student Spotlight: Chloe

Meet Chloe, a Mining Engineering Student!

What made you decide to go into Mining Engineering?

I had a science teacher in eighth grade who told our class that engineering was a good field to go into but that more women were needed there. I decided that I would become one of those women. I later decided to study Mining Engineering because I realized that there is so much stuff that we use every day that would not be possible without mining. Fluoride in toothpaste, baking soda, gold, copper, salt, and many more things are found by mining. I knew that this was an important industry despite it being so small, and I wanted to contribute to something like that.

What do you love most about the Colorado School of Mines and its Mining Engineering program?

I love the Mining Engineering program here at Colorado School of Mines because we are a closely connected group. The department is small enough that you can get to know everyone in your classes to form study groups and make a lot of friends. Each professor also teaches multiple classes, so you can get to know them well. My professors have always been extremely happy to help me with any questions I have had in classes, and I have even asked several for advice during my internships because I knew that they would tell me what I needed to hear.

Can you tell us about a day in your life as a Mining Engineering student?

I have a couple classes each semester where I spend a lot of time working with friends on several computer programs working on mine designs, but I also have some classes where we take field trips to study geologic formations or get other hands-on experience in my school’s underground mine. Mining Engineering has a good balance between working at a desk on a computer and working outside in the field.

What are some really cool things that Mining Engineers do?

Mining Engineers work all over the world at many different projects and places throughout their careers. They can do explosive design, economic and legal studies, project management, geologic exploration, problem solving, and much more. There is a lot outside of traditional STEM fields available for mining engineers to contribute to. There is a lot you can do with a degree in Mining Engineering, and many people end up traveling all over the world for their work.

Have you encountered any challenges as a woman studying Mining Engineering?

The main challenge I have faced is trying to work with men who are not comfortable working with me. The mining industry is very male dominated, so at most of my internships the men I have had to work with have never worked with a woman before. They typically don’t know how to act around me at first because they are afraid of offending me, and they usually don’t know what I know how to do. Eventually, they have all warmed up to me and realize that I am just another person that works with them, so there is a relationship of mutual respect instead of discomfort.

Can you tell us about a time you failed and how you overcame it?

I have learned to never be afraid to ask for help. As an engineering student, you aren’t going to graduate knowing everything you need to know for your first job, so you have to ask questions to know what you need to be doing. At my last internship, I was given a job that seemed simple enough but I was still confused by what they asked me to do. I didn’t ask for much clarification and ended up having to redo the entire project. My second time around, I was constantly asking my manager for help so I could deliver what she expected of me. Once I was able to find someone I could ask all my questions to, I was able to fully understand what I needed to do and get it done the right way. My advice from this learning experience is to never be afraid to ask for help, especially when you know you need it.

Do you have one piece of advice for young girls considering going to school for Mining Engineering?

Keep an open mind. There are so many different types of mining you can go into, like gold, copper, coal, limestone. There are also lots of things mining engineers can do besides mining such as tunneling, equipment design, ventilation, and underground construction. Colorado School of Mines also has classes and programs for explosive engineering and space mining, so there is a lot of opportunity within the mining engineering program and industry if you are willing to seek it out!

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