Heather Dougherty Receives J.W. Woomer Award

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Heather Dougherty and Dr. Michael Karmis

Heather Dougherty, a Ph.D. candidate in the Virginia Tech Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering, has been named this year’s recipient of the J.W. Woomer Young Engineering Award by the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME).

The J.W. Woomer Young Engineer Award is presented each year to young professionals working in the coal industry. This year’s award recognizes Heather as “an exceptional young mining engineer who, by her research on air flow and methane monitoring, numerous publications and work on SME committees, is deserving of the J.W. Woomer Award.”

Heather is a mining engineer with the Office of Mine Safety and Health Research for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in Pittsburgh, PA, and has worked in health and safety research for over 5 years. After graduating from West Virginia University, she worked 7 years in the coal industry as an operations engineer. Heather is a Registered Professional Engineer in the state of West Virginia. She holds her Bachelors of Science in Mining Engineering and an M.B.A. from WVU. She is completing her MS in mining engineering in the spring of 2014, and is currently enrolled in the PhD program at Virginia Tech. She has authored 16 publications, given a workshops, and has been invited to present at various meetings and university seminars.

Heather is actively involved with the Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME). She served on the SME’s  Stefanko Best Paper Award Committee (2009-2014), of which she was the 2013 Chair. She has also served as a member of the society’s Professional Engineer (PE) committee (2009-Present), its Young Leaders committee (2012-2015), the Safety and Health Committee (2013-) the Mining Unit Committee (2009-2011), and she has chaired sessions at the national SME meeting. She was the 2013 Members committee chair and is the 2014 Secretary of the SME Young Leaders Committee. While serving on the PE committee, she has helped write and review questions for the Mining and Metallurgy PE exam and volunteered as a Computer Based Testing (CBT) liaison.

In addition to her activities with SME, Heather has been involved with the board of the Pittsburgh Coal Mining Institute of America (PCMIA) since 2010 and is currently its Vice President. Her activities are focused on the website committee and history project. Heather serves on the joint committee of PCMIA/SME Pittsburgh section which plans the annual conference meeting in Canonsburg, PA. She has served as session chair, chair of the student committee, and chair of the auction during Annual PCMIA joint meetings.

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