Humans of Mines

by | Jan 3, 2017 | Inside Mines, Winter 2017

Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York, Colorado School of Mines created a photo-storytelling project, called Humans of Mines. The project features a different student, faculty, staff or alumnus and a bit of their personal story every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on Facebook. With more than 2,500 followers in the first year, the project has become a source of pride in the community, as we share what we love most about Mines and our individual experience.

For more stories, follow the project at

Paige Bowling sitting on the grass on the Mines campus

Paige Bowling
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering/Chemistry and Biochemistry
Class of 2018

“My grandmother had Alzheimer’s, and she actually passed away my sophomore year. I always knew there was a chance my mom could get it, because 1 in 7 children will have it from a person with Alzheimer’s, and my grandmother had exactly seven children. It is personal. I am trying to prevent that sort of thing before it happens to my mom.”


[Photo by Leah Pinkus]

Ashanafe Geberkidane sits on a rock outside of a building on the Mines campus

Ashanafe Geberkidane
Petroleum Engineering, Economics minor
Class of 2019

“It’s a pretty cool club [Mines Investment Club]. Here at Mines, everyone is very math-oriented, but they don’t always think about the economics side. I wanted to get a group of people together and talk about basic economics, talk about the markets and how they affect our decisions. When you’re able to invest and make these decisions yourself, it’s exhilarating and fun, not to mention a great life skill to have.

“I started this club, because I want to hear people’s ideas. Everyone comes from a unique place and a unique thought process. For me, it’s a way to gain a new perspective. Joining clubs and making new friends will help get you through the tough academics here at Mines—you struggle together. School is very important, but establishing yourself outside of the classroom, that’s where everything happens, because you build relationships among your peers. You never know if your friend will be the next CEO of some company. By socializing and talking with people, you’ll build connections that’ll help you get started in your industry, and more importantly, establish relationships that will last forever.”


[Photo by Kelly Beard]

Alyssa Allende Motz in alab at Mines

Alyssa Allende Motz ’11, MS ’12
PhD Candidate in Applied Physics

“I think one of the best things about Mines is how diverse and international the community is. I’ve met people from Kazakhstan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Nigeria—all over the world. I think Mines does a really good job of fostering that and celebrating that.

“I’m the first woman on my dad’s side of the family to get a PhD. My dad’s an immigrant from Mexico, so I really like being an example of why we should embrace diversity. I think if you want to say something, the greatest way to speak the loudest is to do it with a positive example.”


[Photo by Ashley Spurgeon]

Peng Li headshot

Peng Li
Graduate student in Computer Science

“I will never forget when I attended the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco four years ago. This experience propelled my passion for computer science and strengthened my determination to study abroad.

“It was my first time in the United States. I was more than dedicated to all the sessions of WWDC, and even obsessed with the cutting-edge technologies and the terrific learning atmosphere in America. I still remember telling myself on the return flight, ‘I will come back!’

“And here I am now, not just trying to do what I want—I am doing it!”


[Photo by Deirdre O. Keating]

Michael Kossyrev headshot

Michael Kossyrev
Engineering Physics
Class of 2017

“A lot of the problems that we solve here are fairly open ended, and while there may be correct solutions, there are always a bunch of different ways to get to them. From my internships, I’ve noticed that what employers look for a lot is that creativity and that ability to solve problems outside the box. I think Mines is really good at teaching you how to do that.”

[Photo by Ashley Spurgeon]

Kownoon Her headshot

Kownoon Her ’16
Applied Mathematics and Statistics/Economics
Class of 2016

“There are so many things I enjoyed as a Mines student—professors who knew me by name, clubs that kept me active and friends that felt less like fellow students and more like family. They made Mines a second home.

“The classes are challenging, of course. They won’t become easier, necessarily, but if you actively seek out help and find outlets to not only support your learning but also your interests, that makes all the difference.”

[Photo by Deirdre O. Keating]