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Mining students win national competition

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Two recent West Virginia University graduates have won the 19th annual Carlson Software National Senior Design Competition.

Ethan Watson and Laura Nugent, mining engineering majors who graduated in May, entered the competition with their capstone mine design project, which required them to obtain drill hole data from a mining company, then develop a full geological evaluation of the site and operational plan to extract the product.

“The project was very time consuming because it includes each component of a full mine plan,” said Watson, from Salesville, Ohio. “Our plan includes reserve estimates and mapping, site plan, mine phasing and timing, equipment selection, blasting design and ground control, permitting, water handling and economics.”

The pair’s project was submitted for the competition by Keith Heasley, Charles T. Holland Professor of Mining Engineering, based on the quality of their work.

“Ethan and Laura's project was very complete, technically accurate, well-illustrated and their writing was outstanding,” said Heasley. “They did a great job of completely, accurately and succinctly explaining their design and design process.”

Watson and Nugent were awarded $2,000 for their win and placed ahead of teams from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and the University of Kentucky, among others.

“It’s really rewarding to have our project selected as the winner from so many great projects from around the country,” said Nugent. “"It's a long project with a lot of components. It's tough to keep your standards high throughout each module, but it's important to producing a cohesive report. "

According to Heasley, Watson and Nugent follow in a long line of WVU students to place in the top tier of the competition.

“Over the last few years, our mining engineering seniors have consistently placed first or second in the competition,” said Heasley. “I think this highlights the exceptional abilities of our graduating students and high quality of the education provided at WVU.”



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