By Libby Smith

GOLDEN, Colo (CBS4) – CBS4 and the Colorado School of Mines are partnering to recognize Future Leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The contest invites teachers, parents, mentors, and others to nominate high school students they believe will be our future STEM leaders.

LINK: Nominate a Future Leader

Colorado School of Mines is a research university renowned for innovation in engineering and applied science. Recently, CBS4’s Lauren Whitney and Ashton Altieri got to meet two of the many STEM leaders at the university.

Physics major Katie Schneider gave Whitney a tour of the tiny home they’re building to be completely energy efficient.

mines tiny homes 1 Leaders At School Of Mines Taking On Challenges Of The Future

Mines Tiny Home (credit CBS)

“Net zero means your house produces as much energy as it consumes, if not more,” Schneider explained.

The tiny home will feature solar panels, low flow fixtures, and energy efficient appliances. The students are also testing some of the newest technologies.

“So these are phase change materials,” Schneider said to Whitney has she lifted a panel that was attached to the wall. “They’re really like ice packs. So what they do is regulate the temperature in the house, so if it gets really hot they’re going to melt and take in energy, then if it gets cold they’re going to solidify and release energy in doing that.”

mines tiny homes 2 Leaders At School Of Mines Taking On Challenges Of The Future

CBS4’s Lauren Whitney talks with Katie Schneider, a senior at Colorado School of Mines. (credit CBS)

Schneider also explained the giant battery converter hanging on the wall, the JLM Energizer 100. It takes the power generated by the solar panels on the roof, stores it and converts it to AC power that can then be used to run the appliances.

Computer Science major, Nhan Tran, is focusing on robotics and intelligent systems. He and his professor are working with a humanoid robot named Pepper. The robot was developed in Japan, but Tran is hoping to take the technology to the next level.

robotics 1 Leaders At School Of Mines Taking On Challenges Of The Future

(credit CBS)

“We sometimes we take our brain for granted. It’s easy to look around and detect an object and go grab it, but to teach a robot to do it is much, much harder,” Tran explained.

“So tell me about the uses for Pepper. Some of us have robots moving around the house cleaning the carpet, what is Pepper going to do?” Altieri asked Tran.

robotics 2 Leaders At School Of Mines Taking On Challenges Of The Future

CBS4’s Ashton Altieri talks with Nhan Tran, a senior at Colorado School of Mines. (credit CBS)

“There are various applications of the humanoid robot. For example, you can put it in a store and it can greet the customer as they walk in,” Tran explained.

“The greeter! The robot will become the greeter!” Altieri exclaimed.

As the world becomes more digitized, these leaders are proving that the future is limitless.

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.


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