Undergraduate award winners

Top Student Awards Announced at New Mexico Tech 2022 Commencement

May 14, 2022


Five NMT students receive Brown Award, Cramer Awards, Langmuir Award, Founders Award 

From left, Catherine House, Isaiah Jojola, New Mexico Tech President Stephen G. Wells,
and Tucker Diamond-Ames pose for a photo at Commencement May 14, 2022. House, Jojola,
and Diamond-Ames are recipient’s of Tech’s undergraduate student awards.

SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech announced the top awards for the 2021-2022 academic year at the
Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14, at the city of Socorro Rodeo and Sports
Complex. The top student award recipients are: Tucker Diamond-Ames, Brown Award; Catherine
House and Isaiah Jojola, Cramer Awards; Daniel P. Jensen, Langmuir Award; and Kyle
Stark, Founders Award.

Tucker Diamond-Ames – Brown Award
The Brown Award is named in honor of Mr. C.T. Brown, who was for many years a member
of the Tech Board of Regents. It is presented to the member of the graduating class
who, in the opinion of the faculty, ranks highest in scholarship, conduct, and leadership.
The award consists of a plaque and a prize of $1,000 dollars. The recipient of the
2022 Brown Award is Tucker Diamond-Ames, a graduating senior who majored in biology.

Diamond-Ames came to New Mexico Tech after graduating from Capitan High School  in
2018. He has been involved in a plethora of research-intense and community-oriented
activities over the past four years. Diamond-Ames’ research involvement started during
his freshman year when he joined Dr. Snezna Rogelj’s Drug Discovery group. Soon thereafter
— and up until his graduation   ̶  he worked on cancer research, which  involved
mouse brain surgery, histopathology, and a great deal of animal care.  While only
a rising sophomore, Diamond-Ames spent his first university summer as a National Institutes
of Health IDeA Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE) intern with biochemist
Dr. Erik Yukl at New Mexico State University.

When COVID-19 began, Diamond-Ames jumped to the front lines with those Tech personnel
who were willing to  help with COVID-19 testing to help keep the university and entire
Socorro community safe. This further strengthened his determination to pursue a medical
career, one with strong emphases on global health, preventative medicine, and an integral
recognition of the importance of mental health overall.  

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

Diamond-Ames recently transitioned from volunteering at Socorro General Hospital to
being employed there in the Emergency Room. He is expected to continue in that position
during the upcoming year while applying to medical school. He recently was  awarded
the Shortess Award, the Biology Department’s highest recognition:.

Catherine House – Cramer Award
The Cramer Awards were established to honor Tom Cramer, an engineer and a member of
the Tech Board of Regents for 26 years. They are awarded to two graduates in engineering
who rank highest in scholarship. Each winner receives a certificate and a $400 cash
award.

The first Cramer Award recipient is Catherine House, a graduating senior in the Chemical
Engineering Department, with a minor in chemistry. She is originally from Albuquerque.

House worked as a lab assistant for four years in the NMT Materials Engineering Department
under Dr. John McCoy on research on engineering epoxies funded by Sandia National
Labs. She also interned for the Metallurgy Department at the Nevada Gold Mines and
at the Idaho National Laboratory. A Macey Scholar, House served as treasurer for the
NMT student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineering and the Tau
Beta Pi Engineering Honors Society. 

House has been described as reliable, a fantastic student, and a great asset, volunteering
her time to mentor chemical engineering underclassmen. She has participated in several
research experiences for undergraduates and has presented her work on a national stage
at the student poster session, taking first place at the fall 2020 and spring 2021
AIChE conferences. House will attend graduate school this fall at the University of
Pennsylvania.

Isaiah Jojola – Cramer Award
The second recipient of a 2022 Cramer Award is Isaiah Jojola, a graduating senior
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 constructed a 1:10 scale wildlife bridge
made of steel, learning about project management, timelines, budget constraints, and
presentation skills along the way. 

Jojola was this year’s ASCE Outstanding Senior Award Recipient. He has taken a position
with Wilson and Company, Inc., Engineers and Architects in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
His instructor in CE (Civil Engineering) 423, open channel hydraulics, commented that
Jojola’s homework and take-home exams were the most comprehensive and professionally
presented student work he had seen in 20 years of teaching the course.

Every year New Mexico Tech presents two awards for graduate students – the Langmuir
Award and the Founder’s Award. 

Daniel P. Jensen – Langmuir Award
The Langmuir Award honors an outstanding scientific research paper by a student or
recent graduate of New Mexico Tech. This award consists of a plaque and a $400 cash
award. The recipient of the 2022 Cramer Award is Daniel P. Jensen. 

A Farmington native, Jensen is one of many extraordinary people who have worked at
Langmuir Lab, studying lightning under his advisor, Dr. Richard Sonnenfeld. Jensen
earned a bachelor of science degree from New Mexico Tech in 2016 in physics and mathematics,
and is pursuing a doctorate in physics instrumentation. Since September 2021, he has
been working as a graduate research assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory on
a three-year joint internship 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 the Journal of Geophysical Research in March 2021.

Jensen used data from two interferometers collected from a thunderstorm near Langmuir
Lab to produce a three-dimensional interferometer data set, the most accurate verified
result to date for a broadband lightning interferometer. The data also showed that
certain in-cloud lightning processes (K-leaders) slow down as they progress over kilometers,
and observation is not possible without this technology.

Jensen has been described by Dr. Sonnenfeld as an “extraordinary young scientist”
who produced outstanding research in the study of this exceedingly complex natural
phenomenon becoming more frequent and impactful with climate change.

Kyle Stark – Founders Award
The Founders Award honors the people responsible for founding the New Mexico School
of Mines in Socorro in 1889. It is given to the person graduating with an advanced
degree who is judged to have made an outstanding contribution to the Institute through
scholarship, research, and involvement in campus affairs. The award consists of a
plaque and an $800 cash award. The recipient of the 2022 Cramer Award is Kyle Stark.

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

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

According to his advisor, Dr. Daniel Cadol, Stark has been indispensable in this project,
and has mentored other students working on the project and performed “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
a mentor to GSA leaders. He has been described as having a “mindset of service.”

 

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