Core Faculty AND STAFF
Director, Humanitarian Engineering Undergraduate Programs and Outreach
Professor, Engineering, Design and Society
Engineering Annex 111
Juan is Director, Humanitarian Engineering Undergraduate Programs and Outreach, and is Professor of Engineering, Design and Society at the Colorado School of Mines. Juan obtained a Ph.D. in Science and Technology Studies (STS) from Virginia Tech and two BS in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His books include Defending the Nation: U.S. Policymaking to Create Scientists and Engineers from Sputnik to the ’War Against Terrorism’ (University Press of America, 2005), Engineering and Sustainable Community Development (with Jen Schneider and Jon Leydens, Morgan & Claypool, 2010), Engineering Education for Social Justice: Critical Explorations and Opportunities (Springer, 2013), and Engineering Justice: Transforming Engineering Education and Practice (with Jon Leydens, IEEE-Wiley, 2017).
Raised in a privileged family of engineers, lawyers, and doctors, Juan learned about the social injustices associated with the application of professional expertise, including engineering. Living in Bogota, Colombia, a city of 8 million, he saw how the engineers working for the public utilities managed by his father, Bogota’s mayor, built systems that benefited the wealthy. As an engineering student in the 1980s, he experienced the engineering curriculum firsthand and how its content was shaped by the politics of the Cold War. Later as a PhD student working under the mentorship of cultural anthropologist Gary Downey, he learned that engineers and engineering have culture that can be studied and, if necessary, transformed for the wellbeing of communities, social justice, and sustainability. Transforming engineering and engineering education to promote these goals is what he has been trying to do since becoming an engineering educator in 1996.
What I Do
- Oversee and plan the growth of the HE program (e.g., courses, projects and activities) into new areas of application such as socially responsible technologies for extractive industries and assistive technologies for persons with disabilities.
- Recruit and mentor HE students through their studies and early careers so they find pathways to be the engineers they want to be with passion and commitment to serve others, especially those less privileged.
- Network with private and public organizations to leverage the impact of HE projects and students and involve other stakeholders in HE community of learning and practice.
- Teach and research at the intersections of engineering, social justice and communities.
Director, Humanitarian Engineering Graduate Programs and Research
Associate Professor, Engineering Design & Society
Engineering Annex 111
Jessica Smith is Director, Humanitarian Engineering Graduate Programs and Research, and is Associate Professor of Engineering, Design and Society at the Colorado School of Mines. As an anthropologist, Professor Smith’s research interests focus around the mining and energy industries, with particular emphasis in corporate social responsibility, engineers, labor and gender. She is currently investigating the intersections between engineering and CSR as PI on the NSF grant “The Ethics of Extraction: Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility into Engineering Education.”
Professor Smith’s first major research project investigated gender and mining from the perspective of Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, where she grew up and drove haul trucks in the mines for summer employment during college. That research forms the basis of her book Mining Coal and Undermining Gender: Rhythms of Work and Family in the American West (Rutgers University Press, 2014), which was funded by a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a research grant from the National Science Foundation and received the 2018 Western Social Science Association book prize.
Professor Smith is a co-convener of the STS Underground network and co-organized the 2016 “Energy Ethics: Fragile Lives and Imagined Futures” conference at the University of St. Andrews, which was later published as special issues of Energy Research & Social Science and the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. She also maintains an active research agenda on engineering education, including low-income and first generation engineering students. She is currently co-PI on a five-year NSF Partnerships in International Research and Education grant that will educate US engineering undergraduates to co-design, implement and evaluate more sustainable artisanal mining practices and technologies with miners and affected communities in Peru and Colombia. In 2016 her Corporate Social Responsibility course was named an Exemplar in Engineering Ethics by the National Academy of Engineering.
Professor Smith holds a PhD in Anthropology and a certificate in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan and bachelor’s degrees in International Studies, Anthropology and Latin American Studies from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Associate Director of Humanitarian Engineering
109 Stratton Hall
Julia Roos is the Associate Director of Humanitarian Engineering. As the Associate Director, Julia supports the administration and strategic growth of the Humanitarian Engineering program as well as supporting and mentoring Humanitarian Engineering students including the Shultz Scholars. In her role, Julia also manages the PIRE project; as project administrator, she works with the project directors to coordinate and manage all activities related to the interdisciplinary, multi-institution, and global research collaboration funded by the US National Science Foundation to co-design socially responsible and sustainable mining practices with communities, engineers, and social scientists.
Prior to this position, Julia was a Consultant with Spark Policy Institute, a systems change strategy and evaluation consulting firm, where she supported strategic planning efforts, facilitated community and stakeholder engagement, and managed multi-disciplinary systems-level evaluation projects. Her past experience also includes examining and understanding the human health effects of environmental exposures and identifying and evaluating community and population health impacts and disparities. Julia graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor’s degree in Systems Engineering and from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health with a master’s degree in Environmental Health.
Teaching Assistant Professor, Division of Engineering, Design & Society
Beth is a Teaching Assistant Professor in Engineering, Design, and Society. She studies how experts consider, respond to, and communicate about risk. She holds a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology from Reed College and continued on to earn a master’s in social science from the University of Chicago and a PhD in cultural anthropology the University of California at Irvine. She has done research in clinics, laboratories, field stations, archives, and offices to study how engineers, scientists, medical professionals, and technicians address hazards to human wellbeing. Her work on earthquakes and risk mitigation technology in Mexico and the US has been funded by research grants from the NSF, the Society for the History of Technology, the American Institute for Physics, and others.
She is developing new research on how environmental data can be made public in ways that support just and equitable outcomes and about how engineering and earth science students learn about geohazards. She designs and studies innovative techniques to train engineering students, and comes to Mines after working in engineering education as a Post Doctoral Research Associate on University of San Diego’s NSF RED (REvolutionizing Engineering and Computer Science Departments) grant.