Panning for gold

Deanna Fitzgerald, a senior member of Missouri S&T's 2014 world champion women's mucking team, pans for gold during the international Intercollegiate Mining Competition last year at the Experimental Mine in Rolla. This year, the team is traveling a little further — to Kalgoorlie, Australia — to defend its crown.

Deanna Fitzgerald, a member of S&T’s 2014 world champion women’s mucking team, pans for gold during the international Intercollegiate Mining Competition last year at the Experimental Mine in Rolla. This year, the team is traveling a little further — to Kalgoorlie, Australia — to defend its crown. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

A group of Missouri S&T students is preparing to travel over 9,000 miles to defend two world championship titles in events based on old-fashioned mining techniques generally known as “mucking.” Missouri S&T’s men’s and women’s teams both earned first place at last year’s competition, and this year they will head to Western Australia School of Mines to compete in the 37th international Intercollegiate Mining Competition in Kalgoorlie, Australia, as formidable contenders.

Not only is the women’s team defending world champion, it has a legacy of success, having won the title in 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2012.

The competition’s events are comprised of:

  • Gold panning. Students must find five flattened lead shot or copper BBs in a pan full of dirt and mud.
  • Hand-mucking. Students run an ore cart down a 75-foot section of track and fill it with “muck” — a combination of gravel and dirt — using shovels.
  • Hand-steeling. Students drill into a block of concrete using a 4-pound hammer and a 7/8-inch-wide steel chisel.
  • Jackleg drilling. Students drill into a vertical rock or concrete wall using a pneumatic air-drill.
  • Surveying. Students are given a starting point and must report the coordinates of a finishing point using an old-fashioned Vernier transit.
  • Swede sawing. Students saw through a 6-by-6-inch piece of pine timber with a 36-inch bow saw
  • Track-standing. Students must set up and tear down a five-meter section of track, including sleepers, rail, connection plates and bolts.

Although the women’s mucking team has a tradition of placing well, this year it’s up against a team with a strong home-field advantage.

“Australia is on home turf and, as far as I know, no one has ever beaten them there,” says Deanna Fitzgerald, a senior member of the team. “We have high hopes, but we know the competition is going to be fierce and we will have to be at our best if we want to earn a good result.”

Missouri S&T’s teams will be in Australia March 20-April 4. While there, the team members will not only compete but visit with several Missouri S&T mining engineering alumni who currently work in Australia’s mining industry.

“The team has been practicing track-standing the most,” says Kelsey Garrett, also a senior member of the team. “It is a team effort and has helped us develop better communication and teamwork.”

Missouri S&T will take four mucking teams to the competition: one women’s, two men’s and one co-ed. Approximately 40 universities from around the world will send teams to compete at this year’s events.

By Peter Ehrhard

The Hasselmann legacy

Karl F. Hasselmann, a 1925 mining engineering graduate and Hasselmann Alumni House’s namesake, poses for a picture with his wife Marjory. The Miner Alumni Association’s new house was dedicated in his honor during St. Pat’s on Saturday, March 14.

Karl F. Hasselmann, a 1925 mining engineering graduate and Hasselmann Alumni House’s namesake, poses for a picture with his wife Marjory. The Miner Alumni Association’s new house was dedicated in his honor during St. Pat’s on Saturday, March 14. Contributed Photo

Behind the name of the Miner Alumni Association’s new home is a 1925 graduate who grew up on an Iowa farm and came to Rolla to study mining engineering.

A pioneer in offshore oil and gas exploration, Karl F. Hasselmann got his first taste of drilling for black gold on a summer job in Oklahoma his junior year. After graduating, the football and track letterman joined the California Co. as a field geologist, gaining the experience that led to his next career step as the chief geologist for Sinclair Exploration Co., with responsibility for prospecting in Austria, Hungary and Germany. While working in Europe, two turning points changed his life: He began researching how to use gravitational survey methods to locate offshore oil — and he met and married an American vacationing abroad, Marjory Nell Meyer.

After returning to the United States in 1933, Hasselmann was ready to look for oil in the Gulf of Mexico. He founded Houston-based Salt Dome Oil Corp. and began using the gravitational methods he developed to identify possible oil pools. After detecting a likely source in Galveston Bay, he drilled.

In February 1938, Salt Dome Oil, in partnership with Standard Oil Co. of Texas, discovered one of the first oil pools in the Texas Gulf — a forerunner of the massive offshore developments to come in the Gulf of Mexico and worldwide. The research launched nearly a decade earlier by the young geologist delivered results.

Throughout his career, Hasselmann maintained a strong connection to Missouri S&T. He was awarded a professional degree in 1945 and an honorary doctorate in 1966. He served as president of the Houston alumni section, president of the Miner Alumni Association and co-chair of the 1964 centennial fundraising campaign. In addition to establishing the Karl F. Hasselmann Chair in Geological Engineering at what is now Missouri S&T, Hasselmann and his wife, Marjory, established chairs at Rice University and at the Mayo Clinic.

The facade of Hasselmann Alumni House.

The facade of Hasselmann Alumni House. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

But the contribution that made the greatest difference to S&T was an estate gift that encompassed not only a significant monetary bequest but also the continued proceeds from mineral rights and oil and gas leases held in trust. As Missouri S&T’s most generous donors, Karl and Marjory Hasselmann have contributed more than $20.4 million to date. Their remarkable legacy is recognized in the naming of the new alumni home, which will serve as the headquarters for alumni visiting campus.

The Miner Alumni Association held a public dedication ceremony for Hasselmann Alumni House on Saturday, March 14.

Maridel Allinder

Snakes invade Missouri S&T

St. Pat’s Snake Invasion: The Game
Go back in time with this special St. Pat’s game! A nest of snakes has made its way from the springs, streams, swamps and glades of the Ozarks to the highlands of Rolla. Playing as St. Pat, strike down 107 snakes using only your shillelagh and skill. Defeat them all before time runs out and receive a special bonus score. Can you save campus and banish the snakes from Missouri S&T? Help make this St. Pat’s the Best Ever!



A (Very Brief) History of Snake Invasions at S&T
According to legend, or Dr. Lance Haynes, fourth faculty advisor of St. Pat’s, Snake Invasion was started in 1912 by the junior class as a way to “initiate” freshmen.

Freshmen must use giant sticks called shillelaghs to club (plastic) snakes to death and bite their heads off.

This being the 108th Best Ever, each participating student is expected to club at least one snake 108 times consecutively. If they fail to do so, they have to start over.

Until they complete the ritual rite of passage, participating students must carry around their shillelaghs. So, don’t be surprised to see stripped and customized tree trunks propped up outside of buildings and classrooms on campus during the snake invasion, which starts Monday, March 7.

Now, on with the bashing!


Guiding the next generation

Aysen Malone, a freshman engineering student, mentors a member of one of Rolla High School's FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams.

Aysen Malone, a freshman engineering student, mentors a member of one of Rolla High School’s FIRST Tech Challenge robotics teams. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Freshman engineering student and Rolla High School alumna Aysen Malone knows that a strong mentor can leave a lasting impression on a person. Inspired by her first mentor, she returns to Rolla High School twice a week to help support its robotics teams.

The teams compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), a nationwide robotics competition involving teams of up to 10 students between the ages of 14 and 18 in grades 9-12. Each team designs, builds and programs a robot for a tournament-style competition.

Malone is a three-year veteran of the robotics competition, having joined her sophomore year at Rolla High School.

During Malone’s first year, the Rolla team won the Inspire Award, given to the team that the judges feel embodies the “challenge” of FTC to involve young minds. That award qualified the team for the FTC world championships. Once Malone experienced the fierce competition at a worldwide level, she was hooked on improving the team’s robot.

But she wasn’t always as enthusiastic about the group. Malone credits one of the team’s advisors with getting her fully involved in the competition.

“When I first joined the team, I was shy and kind of intimidated by talking with the other members,” recalls Malone. “But then Philip Allen, one of the team’s mentors, walked up to me and asked me all about what I was interested in and helped introduce me to the team. He was a close friend to everyone on the team and was always willing to go the extra mile to help the students. He is also the main reason I chose to go to Missouri S&T.”



During Malone’s first semester at S&T, Allen, a 1994 mechanical engineering graduate of S&T, died in an automobile accident on Oct. 10, 2014. The shock of losing a beloved mentor to the team was difficult for everyone, including Malone.

In Allen’s memory, she continues his legacy of mentoring young minds interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Despite her busy schedule at S&T, where she has a job and is president of the Turkish Student Alliance, Malone insists on visiting the teams as often as she can.

“All the Rolla High School robotics teams like competition,” says Malone. “There isn’t a huge rivalry between the three, but everyone wants to be the best they can be. There is a legacy to continue, but all the teams know they have to earn their way with results.”

She also says she respects all the mentors and advisors who help the teams.

“All of the volunteers work so hard and freely give up their time to help the students, no matter if they have other obligations,” she says. “I will always be grateful for the footsteps that Phil left for me to follow.”

All three Rolla High School teams have qualified for the state championships, which will be held at the Gale Bullman Building on campus Saturday, March 7.

More about the upcoming competition can be found here.

By Peter Ehrhard

CACAARR celebrates 30th anniversary


George Holmes (left), a senior in mechanical engineering, and Marquia Lewis (right), a junior in computer science, student representatives on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on African American Recruitment and Retention (CACAARR), talk with Shenethia Manuel, vice chancellor of human resources, equity and inclusion at Missouri S&T and the chancellor’s liaison to the committee, about the success of CACAARR. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Earlier this month, we sat down with Shenethia Manuel, vice chancellor of human resources, equity and inclusion at Missouri S&T, to talk about the growth, success and future of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on African American Recruitment and Retention (CACAARR) as the committee celebrates its 30th anniversary. Manuel serves on the committee as the chancellor’s liaison.

S&T: CACAARR is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Why was this group formed?

Manuel: This committee was formed when members of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity and their key advisors met with the chancellor at the time to express concerns about recruitment and retention programs for African American students at the university.

S&T: Why is it important to have a committee like this?

Manuel: In general, African American students at predominantly white universities have had lower retention rates. When you walk around campus and can’t find others who look like you, who have shared backgrounds, it can be very isolating. It’s important for our university community to do what we can to make our campus a welcoming environment for all individuals.

S&T: What about recruitment, the other “r” in CACAARR?

Manuel: Recruitment and retention go hand in hand. As you increase the number of African American students on campus, retention becomes easier because the culture of the university itself is changing. We’ve been able to make great strides in the number of African American students over the years by stepping up our recruiting in African American communities and establishing articulation or transfer agreements with colleges and universities that have historically attracted African Americans.

S&T: So, it’s been 30 years. Why is it still important to have a committee like this?

Manuel: Because we still have a long way to go! Our goal is for the demographics of this campus to mirror that of our state and nation. Plus, it’s vitally important to focus on diversity and to welcome and support African Americans and other underrepresented minority groups and women, because it’s of the utmost importance to our corporate partners. They expect that we will have diverse students and graduates — diverse in terms of gender, race and ethnicity, where they’re from, what they studied, and so on.

S&T: What is Missouri S&T doing to change those trends?

Manuel: We’re doing lots of things, from adopting diversity and inclusion as a core, shared value of this university to encouraging African American alumni to come back and mentor students today. Over the years, the committee has also provided scholarships for African American students.

S&T: Of the 17 members of the advisory committee, the vast majority — 14 — are alumni. What motivates them to remain engaged with their alma mater?

Manuel: I think it is a love of the institution and the students, and a recognition of the opportunities that opened up to them as a result of the education they received here. It’s a way to give back and pay it forward.

By Liz McCune

See a full list of Black History Month events at Missouri S&T.

Alumni couple says you’re ‘mine’

S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton exchange vows in the Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014.

S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton exchange vows in the Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014. Contributed photo

Hard hats? Check. Overalls? Check. Steel-toed boots? Check.

Marriage license? Checkmate.

In an unusual twist on the fairy tale wedding, Missouri S&T alumni Genevieve (DuBois) Bodnar and Greg Sutton were married underground at S&T’s Experimental Mine on Dec. 20, 2014. Wearing hard hats, overalls and steel-toed boots, the couple tied the knot before hard-hat-wearing friends and family.

Bodnar and Sutton first met at a Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration meeting in St. Louis about eight years ago. They’ve both participated in and judged the International Intercollegiate Mining Competition, which is considered by some to be the Olympics of mining, with seven events that demonstrate techniques used by old time miners.

“We just came up with the crazy idea we wanted to be married in the student mine,” says Bodnar, who earned bachelor’s degrees in metallurgical engineering and mining engineering from S&T in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Bodnar also helped start the Haunted Mine that’s become a Rolla Halloween staple.

The wedding took place about 100 feet inside the mine from the adit – the horizontal entrance to the experimental mine. Portable lights illuminated the ceremony.

“We decided to do it that way because of our great appreciation of mining,” says Sutton, a 1988 mining engineering graduate. Sutton helped teach a drilling and blasting lab and a surveying lab at the mine during his time on campus. He also worked at the experimental mine as a laborer.

Jimmie Taylor, the experimental mine supervisor who oversees all mining operations, including explosives storage inventory, has worked at S&T since 1992. He’s seen about all there is to see when it comes to the mine – until December.

“It’s the first I have heard of anyone getting married at the mine,” he says.

They capped the ceremony – literally – by setting off seven blasting caps with an old-time plunger detonator on a five-second delay. Dr. Paul Worsey, director of explosives engineering education and professor of mining engineering, and senior mine mechanic DeWayne Phelps set up the explosions, Taylor says.

Dr. Samuel Frimpong, chair of the mining and nuclear engineering department, gave permission for the wedding to take place – safely. No alcohol was served.

These days, Sutton runs G&G (Genevieve and Greg) Mining Solutions in Bunker, Missouri, where the two make their home. Genevieve works for the Doe Run lead mining company, which is where Greg worked from 1992 to 2014.

For the couple, mining is in the blood, and getting married in S&T’s experimental mine was the next logical step.

“It was a way to incorporate our passion for each other into our passion for the mining industry,” Sutton says.

Are you one half of a Miner couple in love? Share your story in the Comments section.

By Joe McCune

Alpha Phi Alpha at S&T turns 50

Happy Phriday

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha high five fellow S&T students as they enter the Havener Center on Friday, Jan. 23. Every Friday at lunchtime during the school year the fraternity brothers host such “Happy Phriday” events. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Chartered in 1965 at the height of the civil rights movement, Missouri S&T’s oldest African-American fraternity encountered obstacles on the way to its 50th anniversary, especially in the early years.

“There were some difficulties in getting the fraternity off the ground,” says Henry Brown, a 1968 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T and one of 18 founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

There was pushback from the university when Howard Manning, a 1967 civil engineering graduate, and Louis Smith, a 1966 electrical engineering graduate, transfer students and Alpha Phi Alpha brothers from Lincoln University in Jefferson City, approached administrators with the idea of establishing a chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha in Rolla.

Administrators questioned the need for a new, historically black fraternity when there were already a handful of nationally recognized fraternities at the university, Brown says. “But it wasn’t a realistic possibility for us to walk up and join one of the fraternities already on campus,” he says.

The 18 founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

The founding members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha: Wayne C. Harvey, Henry Brown (first row), David B. Price, Wayne R. Davis (second row), Maurice W. Murray, John H. Jackson, Lloyd Sowell, Gregory Bester, Louis W. Smith, Walter G. Reed (third row), Howard Manning Jr., John D. Abrams Jr. (fourth row), Robert L. Coleman, Gerald Lyons (fifth row), Reginald L. Ollie, Daniel H. Flowers (sixth row), Theodore T. Marsh Jr., Paul L. Silvers Jr. (seventh row), and Eugene D. Jackson (eighth row). Not pictured: James E. Brown III. Contributed photo

Using the clout of Lawrence C. George, who had agreed to be the fraternity’s resident advisor, the students eventually convinced school administrators to approve the new fraternity. George, a respected Rolla chemist, was an alumnus of Alpha Phi Alpha’s Beta Pi chapter at Dillard University.

With a resident advisor, the fraternity was now in need of a house. Once again, the fraternity got pushback – this time from local real estate agents.

“You have to think about what Rolla was like in the ’60s – a small, Midwestern town,” says Brown, a native of St. Joseph, Missouri.

The fraternity spent the spring and part of that summer contacting local real estate agents for house tours. Brown says that fraternity members had no trouble scheduling tours by phone, but when they showed up in person, they were almost always turned away.

With traditional housing options exhausted, George once again stepped in to help. He had an acquaintance who owned a former car dealership that was willing to sell the property to the new fraternity. It wasn’t ideal, but the fraternity brothers worked every day that summer to rehab and convert the building into suitable housing.

George, who only stepped down as the fraternity’s advisor in 2013, passed away in March. “He was very influential on not just us, but the well-being of all black students in Rolla,” said Akil Hutchins, a senior in engineering management from St. Louis.

“He touched a lot of people’s lives,” added Lister Florence, 1995 civil engineering graduate and the fraternity’s current advisor. “He was a father figure in my life.”

Through a half century of service at S&T, Alpha Phi Alpha has been instrumental in forming a number of student and faculty organizations focused on diversity and inclusion, including the Association for Black Students, National Society of Black Engineers, the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on African American Recruitment and Retention, and Black Man’s Think Tank. The fraternity also helped bring the Minority Introduction to Technology and Engineering summer camp to campus and created a number of scholarships for minority students.

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hanging out at the 1969 Greek Week; two fraternity brothers enjoying the 61st “Best Ever” St. Pats; the fraternity’s original house, as pictured in 1965. Contributed photos by Henry Brown

Members of the Epsilon Psi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha hanging out at the 1969 Greek Week (clockwise from left); two fraternity brothers enjoying the 61st “Best Ever” St. Pats; the fraternity’s original house, as pictured in 1965. Contributed photos by Henry Brown

With Alpha Phi Alpha’s continuing involvement in diverse service projects and organizations on campus, the fraternity promises to be a voice for minority students for the foreseeable future.

Florence says he certainly owes a great deal to the fraternity.

“I don’t think I would have become the man I am today without Alpha Phi Alpha,” Florence says. “They did a really good job, not just with the fraternity members, but everyone, of reaching out to African-Americans, Hispanics and students of other nationalities. The door’s were always open,” he says. “They understood what you were going through. They understood what it was like to be singled out.”

Nowadays, you may recognize an Alpha Phi Alpha brother as someone you emphatically high-fived last Friday at the entrance to the Havener Center, but the brothers of the Epsilon Psi Chapter do so much more than brighten your “Phriday.”


Every February, the fraternity sponsors a National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in conjunction with Black History Month. Members also organize outreach events in conjunction with their national organization, such as A Voteless People is a Hopeless People and Go-To-High School, Go-To-College. And they host Missouri’s longest-running collegiate dance competition, Dance XXXPLOSION. The 2015 event will be held at the ARK in Waynesville, Missouri, this April.

The fraternity will also be hosting a week long 50th anniversary celebration centered around the chapter’s charter day on April 27. The celebration will begin in earnest with a welcome reception on Thursday, April 23 at 6 p.m., and will feature a golf tournament, bowling tournament, flag football game, BBQ, and roast and dance. More details will be posted to the fraternity’s website as the event nears.

By Greg Katski

Taking the Earth’s temperature

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering, has led a couple of ongoing geothermal research projects.

Since installing 144 geothermal wells on campus over the past two years, Dr. Curt Elmore (center), professor of geological engineering, has led two ongoing geothermal research projects. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

On the surface, it looks like nothing more than a turf-covered soccer field. But the ground beneath Missouri University of Science and Technology’s intramural field houses a complex system of 144 wells, each one 400 feet deep, that supply the campus’s Gale Bullman Building with heating and cooling using geothermal energy.

That well field is also home to two ongoing geothermal research projects led by Dr. Curt Elmore, professor of geological engineering at Missouri S&T. The first project is designed to monitor possible long-term changes in the Earth’s temperature that could result from the operation of a large-scale geothermal system.

With funding from the geological engineering program and in partnership with the physical facilities department, Elmore and his team outfitted one of the wells in the center of Missouri S&T’s intramural field with eight pairs of thermocouples placed every 50 feet to measure temperature at various levels throughout the 400-foot well.

Wires connect the sensors to a small flush mount vault that looks like a water meter you might find in your yard. Nearly every day, Charlie Smith and Jordan Thompson – two students working with Elmore on the project – connect equipment to read the temperature measurements that the sensors recorded. An additional well, drilled 20 feet from the geothermal well field, provides baseline readings for comparison. Thompson, a junior in geological engineering, is working on the project as part of the Opportunities for Undergraduate Research Experiences program (OURE).

Before the geothermal system went live, the researchers collected about six weeks of background temperature data. Once the system was operational, they began to notice a change in the ground temperature.

“We observed that the average temperature did increase over the course of the summer as energy from the building was transferred to the subsurface,” says Smith, a Ph.D. candidate in geological engineering. “We are now observing the cooling of the subsurface as energy is being removed to assist in the heating of the building. We would like to record data during several full heating and cooling cycles to fully see any long-term overall warming or cooling trends.”

Over time, changes in ground temperature could effect the performance of a geothermal energy system, Elmore says.

“A ground source geothermal system works by taking heat from the air and sending it into the ground,” Elmore says. “Or we take heat from the ground and send it into the air. Here, cooling is predominant. If the ground is warmer, it can’t take on as much heat and that could effect the performance of the geothermal system,” he says. “Let’s say you want to chill a bottle of Coke, for example, and you’re used to putting it in cold water for 10 minutes. If your water gets warmer, it will take longer to cool your Coke. If it’s really cold, it will cool faster.”

An expert in groundwater remediation, Elmore is also working on a project to see if geothermal energy could be used in place of electricity to treat water as a part of an innovative desalination process.

“Geothermal energy has the potential to heat and cool water during the treatment process, thus reducing the amount of water wasted and reducing the amount of energy required to treat the water,” Elmore says.

To pilot the project, Elmore is designing a small desalination system that will fit on a utility trailer towed behind a pickup truck.

Elmore is working on the project with Dr. Mostafa Elsharquawy from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia. They hope to build a water treatment facility that uses geothermal energy.

“Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars every year changing sea water into drinking water,” Elmore says. “Geothermal energy could provide a much more cost-effective treatment system.”

Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system – one of the most comprehensive in the nation – provides heating and cooling to 17 buildings on campus and chilled water to the majority of campus buildings. Completion of the system allowed S&T to decommission its World War II-era power plant last spring. The system is expected to cut energy usage by 50 percent and reduce the university’s carbon footprint by 25,000 metric tons per year.

By Mary Helen Stoltz

Improving rural drinking water

Danielle West

Danielle West, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, is screening Missouri drinking water for contaminants and seeking new treatment techniques that could minimize the impact of harmful byproducts generated by disinfectants used in water treatment operations. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

Disinfectants used in water treatment operations could generate harmful byproducts that are unregulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

But Danielle West, a Ph.D. student in chemistry, is screening Missouri drinking water for contaminants and seeking new treatment techniques that could minimize — or even eliminate — those byproducts.

With grants from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the EPA, West is helping to develop a rapid, sensitive and cost-effective method to detect perchlorate and bromate in drinking water, as well as a technique for removing perchlorate. The advanced detection method will play an important role in the monitoring of drinking water quality in the future.

“There are just so many chemicals that have potential to get into water,” West says. “Many harmful chemicals aren’t currently regulated and can be potentially found in many communities’ drinking water. Our goal is to minimize the formation of these chemicals or find technologies capable of removing them to ensure safe drinking water.”

Disinfectants like monochloramine could generate harmful byproducts that are unregulated by the EPA. West and her colleagues are researching the use of an alternative disinfection agent to treat the water. The disinfectant could provide an economical approach to limiting the formation of contaminants. They believe that incorporating this disinfectant into current water purification processes will improve drinking water safety.

Yinfa Ma, Curators’ Teaching Professor of chemistry, and Honglan Shi, associate research professor of chemistry, are West’s advisors.

By Peter Ehrhard

Meeting a 20/20 challenge

Sandy Simmons-Gamble

Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office, with one of her Borzoi dogs. Simmons-Gamble donated $30,000 to S&T to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering in honor of her late father. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

When Milton L. Simmons, 1949 ceramic engineering graduate, died in 2005, his daughter knew she wanted to do something special to honor his memory.

“My father loved this university,” says Sandy Simmons-Gamble, fiscal assistant in the international affairs office at Missouri S&T. “He always had so many stories about his time at Rolla and about the education he got — what it meant to him. He loved his time here and truly appreciated his education.”

Gamble was an administrative assistant in the development office in early 2013 when the University of Missouri System announced the 20/20 Challenge.

Through the 20/20 Challenge, the UM System would give Missouri S&T $400,000 in state funds to create 20 need-based scholarships, but S&T had to raise matching funds in private donations.

Gamble accepted that challenge and donated $30,000 to establish the Milton L. Simmons Endowed Scholarship in Ceramic Engineering. The state matched $20,000, bringing the total endowment to $50,000. Like all of the scholarships established through the 20/20 Challenge, Gamble’s scholarship will be awarded to a student who qualifies for the federal Pell Grant program, which provides tuition assistance to undergraduates from economically disadvantaged families.

The Milton L. Simmons scholarship will go to a Missouri S&T student in ceramic engineering.

“My father worked at Ferro Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio, his entire career,” Gamble says. “He started as a ceramic engineer, traveling to places like Japan and South America with my mother. After a few years, Ferro sent him to law school and he became the company’s patent attorney.

“I always thought that when I was able to, this would be something to honor him,” Gamble says. “He was a brilliant man. Growing up here, I’ve always had high opinions of this school. Missouri S&T has produced some really impressive people who have gone on to do some amazing things. I thought this would be a good way to honor my father and at the same time, help a future leader.”

Gamble raises Borzoi, dogs that used to be known as Russian Wolfhounds, on a farm outside Rolla. She shows her own dogs and is approved by the American Kennel Club to judge four breeds in Conformation Dog Shows, as well as all breeds in Lure Coursing.

For more information about giving opportunities, visit

By Mary Helen Stoltz