Katie Kring ’18 (BS Geological Engineering) | 2019 National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship (NSF GRFP) Honorable Mention

Katie KringI’m interested in the mining industry. If it can’t be grown, it has to be mined. It’s important to me that it’s done safely, in a way that respects the earth.

Two summers ago, I interned with Eagle Mine as their continuous improvement intern, which helped identify my interest in the mining industry. This summer, I’ll be a geomechanical engineering intern for Freeport McMoRan at their Chino Mine, a big open-pit copper mine in New Mexico. I’ll be out there for 12 weeks working on slope stability. I’m really looking forward to hiking while I’m out west; it’ll definitely be a change of pace from Michigan.

The application process for the NSF GRFP was intense. It’s really easy to make a silly mistake on the application that automatically disqualifies you for the award, so it’s important to read through the entire grant solicitation. My advice for those who want to apply? Start early.

The application requires a personal statement and a research proposal describing your personal goals and your project’s potential for broader impacts and intellectual merit. I proposed a project using photogrammetry images taken at an open-pit mine to predict and model fractures at a nearby highway roadcut. I don’t think I’ll pursue this exact project, but I’m interested in the remote sensing, geotechnical, and geostatistical aspects of it. This fall I’ll work towards developing my master’s research project and reapplying for the GRFP. Receiving the honorable mention was so motivating, and it gives me something to look forward to next year.