EPICS Faculty & Staff

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EPICS Faculty & Staff

For general inquiries, please contact the EPICS Program Assistant at tridge@mines.edu or call 303-273-3593.

Alina Handorean
Teaching Associate Professor



Alina Handorean is a Teaching Associate Professor at EPICS with more than 15 years of experience teaching a wide range of biology, chemistry and fundamental environmental engineering classes at the middle school through graduate levels. Dr. Handorean earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Bucharest, Romania and her M.A. and PhD in Chemistry from Washington University in St. Louis before completing a post-doctoral fellowship in cancer biology at the University of Colorado’s Health Sciences campus. Prior to joining Mines, Dr Handorean was a Research Faculty/Lecturer in the Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering at University of Colorado, Boulder. Her research interests are Environmental Engineering (Drinking Water, Bioaerosols), Chemistry, Cancer Biology, and Pedagogy, and she’s passionate about teaching user-centered design, communication skills, and teamwork in her EPICS classes. 

Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 9:30-10:30am, EA 111


Anton Filatov
Adjunct Faculty

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00-3:00pm, and Fridays, 1:00-2:00pm, Digger Design Lab



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Bob (Robert) Knecht
Professor Emeritus


Dr. Bob Knecht, following graduation from Mines, applied his knowledge to commercial process design and plant start-up.  He developed a system to assist USGS personnel with management of research objectives on the Yucca Mountain Project.  Returning to Mines, he developed design curricula incorporating projects from industry.  His research focuses on team dynamics within resource constraints.  He currently engages STEAM students in the creativity and passion of innovators like Leonardo da Vinci and Rube Goldberg.  His camp workshops use a project-based design protocol.  Exercises create an environment for leadership and management as well as engineering. The activities convey a sense of history and creativity inspiring the engineering profession.  

Caryn Ritosa
Adjunct Faculty


Caryn Ritosa is an adjunct professor in the EPICS Program, focusing on Materials Engineering with experience in manufacturing and project engineering.  Prof. Ritosa received her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Kettering University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in metallurgical and materials engineering from the Colorado School of Mines, focusing on hot rolling of plate steels. Prof. Ritosa brings a passion for teaching to the classroom, trying to engage students to find creative solutions to challenges they experience as well as a lifelong zeal for continued learning.

Office Hours: Fridays 2:00-4:30pm, CTLM123

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Dedi Sadagori
Adjunct Faculty


Dedi Sadagori has a complete academic background in engineering, finance, and economics. He has been an adjunct faculty member at the Colorado School of Mines since 2006 teaching Computer Aided Design (CAD) with SolidWorks in the Design EPICS program. Starting in 2015, he has been responsible for SolidWorks field session in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the College of Engineering and Computational Science. As of the Summer 2016 semester, more than 1800 students have been certified in SolidWorks (at the associate and professional level) under his instruction. Mr. Sadagori is passionate about teaching students at all levels.

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Dev Barrow
Adjunct Faculty



Dev Barrow is an Adjunct Professor of EPICS 151 while also working as the Forest Service's Region 2 architect on all phases of design and construction projects in a five state area and leading Job Corps projects across the country. As a licensed architect with a Master’s in Architecture, Dev has taught architecture at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand and at SUNY Delhi, New York. Dev’s favorite element of the EPICS curriculum is the creative thinking and teamwork activities that challenge students intellectually and socially.       

Office Hours: Mondays/Wednesdays 3:15 - 4:15pm, Engineering Annex

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Donna Bodeau
Adjunct Faculty


Donna Bodeau teaches EPICS 2 students the design process from an industry perspective using her professional experience and B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Gonzaga University. She is passionate about research, design and manufacturing, and she explores these interests with her students through EPICS 251.



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Theryn Ridge
Program Assistant


Theryn Ridge is the Program Assistant for the EPICS Department at Colorado School of Mines. She has an M.A. in Environmental Studies from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, and a double B.A. in Communication Studies (Critial Theory emphasis) and French Translation from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO.


  Lauren Cooper
Adjunct Faculty

Office Hours: Tuesdays/Thursdays, 4:45-5:30pm, Engineering Annex



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Laura Read
Adjunct Faculty - GIS


Laura Read has a Ph.D. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from Tufts University. Her research interests are in flood management, urban hydrology, and statistics. She is a postdoctoral fellow at Mines and teaches the EPICS II Geographic Information Systems (GIS) course.  Her previous degrees were from the University of Texas (M.S.E.) and The University of Puget Sound (B.S.), and when she is not working, Laura enjoys farming, mountain views, and leisurely bike rides.



4:45 pm - 5:30 pm Tuesday and Thursday Engineering Annex

Leslie Light
Program Director & Teaching Associate Professor


Leslie Light is the Director of the EPICS program at the Colorado School of Mines. She is passionate about bringing the user-centered design principles she learned at Stanford and in her career to Mines' cornerstone open-ended problem solving program, and is working with others on campus to establish a broader integrated context for innovation and design.

Office Hours: Mondays (8:30-9:30am), Wednesdays, (11:15am-12:15pm), Digger Design Lab


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Maria Brunhart-Lupo
Adjunct Faculty


Maria E. Brunhart-Lupo (Ria) came to Mines in 2002 and began teaching in 2010. She holds a B.S. from the Colorado School of Mines in Geology and Geotechnical Engineering, followed by an Honours Degree from University of Queensland, Australia, in Earth Systems Science.  Her Ph.D. is from CSM in Geology. She minored in Liberal Arts and Humanities to ensure that the human aspect of engineering was never lost. She is currently working on a postdoctoral project on the impact of STEM field job path opportunities, the disparity between genders within STEM, and improving retention of students and members of industry in engineering fields. When not working on her postdoc, she can be found, mapping dune fields to further research in landscape response to climatological factors, or otherwise immersed in a geology project.

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Melanie Brandt
Guest Faculty


Melanie Brandt is an adjunct instructor in the EPICS Design Program. Her academic background in Humanities facilitates her guidance of students to become critical thinkers, effective communicators, and innovative designers.




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Mirna Mattjik
Teaching Associate Professor


Mirna Mattjik is a Teaching Associate Professor in the EPICS program and Program Coordinator for Humanitarian Engineering. Mirna is also faculty in the Thorson First Year Honors Program and will be teaching the program’s first cohort in the 2016/2017 school year. Equipped with a B.S. in Industrial Technology, a Master’s in Project Management & Leadership from Regis University and a Master's in International Political Economy of Resources from Mines, Mirna's special interests are design thinking, pedagogy in engineering education and community driven development. In the classroom, Mirna strives to create richer teaching and learning opportunities where students are empowered and held accountable for their learning.

Office Hours: Tuesdays/Thursdays 12.30 - 2.00pm, EA 111

Nancy Nguyen
Adjunct Faculty


Nancy Nguyen is an adjunct instructor in the EPICS Program, assisting with Graphics. Using her experience as a freelance 3D artist specializing in Medical and Scientific Visualization, she teaches students through animation and graphics the skills to visually problem-solve, plan, and communicate effectively through design. As a graphic artist for Root Sports' social media with experience as a forensic animator, Nancy understands the importance and power of visual information.


Nicole Ellison
Adjunct Faculty


Nicole Ellison has more than 20 years’ experience in structural engineering design, evaluation, and repair. She is a professional engineer in Colorado and Texas and a LEED Accredited Professional, and holds a Master's in Civil Engineering from University of Colorado, Denver and a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Florida State University.  Her experience includes providing structural design, analysis, specifications and construction drawings for new buildings and construction compliance observations during construction. Her project experience includes design of buildings ranging in size from single-family or multi-family residential structures to commercial and municipal buildings. In 2009, she transitioned into forensic engineering which consisted of investigation and design of repairs for existing structures.

Office Hours: Mondays/Wednesdays 3:15 - 4:15pm, Engineering Annex

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Robin Bullock
Teaching Associate Professor
rbullock@mines.edu         303-273-3074


Robin Bullock is an Associate EPICS Professor with 31 years of experience as a decommissioning, remediation and restoration manager/engineer across climates, industries and countries. Ms. Bullock received her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Engineering at Montana Tech and is pursuing her Ph.D. in Engineering at the University of Alaska, where her research focuses on oil response tactics in the Arctic. Robin brings her practical knowledge of stakeholder participation, engineering design and project management to her EPICS 151 and 251 classes. 


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Robin Steele
Adjunct Faculty



Robin Steele is an adjunct professor in EPICS, and has led global research and development operations as well as started and run Fortune 500 business units and emerging companies. With over 20 years of experience, degrees in computer science, and an Executive M.B.A. from the Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Robin leads her students in delivering innovative products and developing collaborative leadership skills during their EPICS classes.  



Sue Anderson
Adjunct Faculty

Office Hours: Mondays 11:15am-12:15pm, Wednesdays 9:00-10:00am, Digger Design Lab or Engineering Annex



Taylor Johnson
Adjunct Faculty

Taylor Johnson spent the last 10-years working in the field of structural bridge engineering focusing on transportation infrastructure projects throughout the western US.  Clients have included construction companies, DOTs, transit authorities, and major railroads.  One of his signature projects is not too far from Golden; the Pecos over I-70 Interchange Reconstruction in Denver which was the first bridge in Colorado to be built off-site and “driven” in to place by self-propelled transporters.  Professor Johnson has a B.S. in Engineering –Civil Specialty (2006) and M.S. in Engineering-Structural Specialty (2007) from Colorado School of Mines.

Office Hours: Mondays & Wednesdays 7:00-8:00am, Engineering Annex

Traci Case
Adjunct Faculty



Traci Case is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin (B.S. Chem Eng, 1990) and Colorado School of Mines (M.S. Env Sci and Eng, 1997). Following undergraduate school, she served five years on active duty in the US Army where she led a platoon in the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado. For the last 20 years, Professor Case has served as a project manager and the Research Services team manager at the Water Research Foundation, a non-profit research collaborative for water, wastewater and stormwater research. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors - running, hiking, biking, trail building and backcountry skiing.


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Yosef Allam
Teaching Associate Professor


Yosef Allam is a Teaching Associate Professor with experience teaching in the Engineering Fundamentals Department at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and serving as Affiliate Director for Project Lead The Way in Florida. He taught as an Instructor for two years at The Ohio State University, where he graduated with B.S. and M.S. degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. Dr. Allam is interested in spatial visualization, diffusion of evidence-based teaching practices, student applications of the design process, and fulfilling the needs of an integrated, multi-disciplinary first-year engineering educational environment through active and collaborative learning.

Office Hours: Tuesday/Thursday 10:00-11:00am & 2:00-3:00pm, EA 104

The Design EPICS Program is located in the Engineering Annex at 814 15th St., Golden, CO 80401.

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