Mining Engineering student aspires to make his career a full circle and become a professor at the UArizona’s tight knit community
When Ryan Amos started out at the University of Arizona in 2017, he was not really sure what he wanted. He went into engineering because he knew the university had a good program, but his focus was unclear.
The now president of the UArizona SME Student Chapter found his passion at a work event, while listening to the mining engineering students give their outreach presentation to a group of interested high schoolers.
Amos has been working for the Summer Engineering Academy for the last two summers, there he works with other engineering students to prepare presentations for high school juniors and seniors to get them interested in the College of Engineering. During his first summer in the academy Amos was able to get a taste of each department. “At the time I was a civil engineer and I got to see the mining engineering team's presentation.” Amos says. “The next day I switched my major over to mining engineering.”
The presentation gave Amos insight to the world of mineral processing, which is his current focus, and allowed him to see how tight knit of a community the mining engineering department is. “All of it together convinced me to switch over,” Amos says.
The size of the department is one of the many things that sets it aside from other schools. “Comparatively we're a small department, we have fewer faculty and that has played to our advantage because we establish very personal relationships with the students,” says Moe Momayez, interim department head and associate professor of Mining and Geological Engineering.
Momayez is also the advisor of the SME chapter at UArizona and has worked with Ryan during his years in the program. SME, the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, is a national organization focused on the professional development of its members. The club usually organizes multiple outreach events where students can talk to industry professionals and ask questions. “Ryan is extremely dependable, poised and well spoken,” Momayez says. “He deals with people so well, he's made a very strong impression on the faculty and students.”
Aside from his current work with SME, Ryan has aided the UArizona mining program in many ways. As an Engineering Ambassador he is a representative of the program and has led tours of the San Xavier Mining Laboratory as well as information sessions and other events. He has also worked with the Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources setting up and helping run the Mineral Resource Discovery Workshops at the Flandrau Planetarium at UArizona.
“It was really fun! I ended up running the mining design aspect of that workshop and got to show students the mine plan software that we use in the Department,” Amos says.
In January of 2020 Amos began an internship with the Lowell Institute and has continued aiding them with various outreach projects and educational events. Chris Earnest, Education Outreach Coordinator for the Lowell Institute, is mainly in charge of the Discovery Workshops and says that working with Amos was a real joy. Earnest, along with Momayez both said that it was a pleasure to see how well Ryan interacts with students and how easy it is for him to adapt to his audience. This trait will certainly come in handy if Amos follows his aspirations to become a professor at UArizona.
“Eventually, talking very long term after working in the industry for a while, I really want to try and come back to the Department and teach,” Amos says. “That's why I've kind of taken on a lot. My plan right now is to hopefully go straight to work after graduation this year and then finish the master’s online.”
Amos is currently in his senior year at the University and is majoring in Mining Engineering with a minor in Mathematics.
Story by Sofía Moraga / student worker