Faculty Honored at 2013 SME Meeting


Two faculty members of the Virginia Tech Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering were honored with separate awards during the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration (SME) Annual Meeting and Exhibit held in Denver, Colorado, in February 2013.

Dr. Kray Luxbahcer Receives J.W. Woomer Young Engineer Award

SME awarded the 2013 J.W. Woomer Young Engineer Award to Dr. Kray Luxbacher “for her contributions in mining health and safety as a result of innovative research, technology development, teaching excellence and professional service.” The J.W. Woomer Young Engineer Award, established in 1976, recognizes the engineering professionalism of young people working in the coal industry. Election to this honor is through the SME’s Coal & Energy Division Officers and SME Executive Committee.

Luxbacher is assistant professor of mining engineering at Virginia Tech, where she joined the faculty of the Mining and Minerals Engineering Department in 2008. She received her Ph.D. (2008), M.S. (2005) and B.S. (2002) degrees, all in mining engineering, from Virginia Tech. Prior to pursuing her graduate studies she worked as an industrial engineer and underground production foreman for Consol Energy. She is a registered professional engineer in Virginia and has held certification as an unground coal mine foreman. Her primary research interests are in underground mine ventilation, mine health and safety and coalbed methane extraction.

Luxbacher is also involved in research projects totaling more than $3 million funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, industry and the US Environmental Protection Agency. She advises seven graduate students and has published more than 20 peer-reviewed journal papers and conference proceedings and 10 other publications. In 2011 she received the Virginia Tech Dean’s Award for Outstanding New Assistant Professor.

Luxbacher is a former member of the SME Student Chapter at Virginia Tech. She currently serves as an officer of the Underground Ventilation Unit Committee and a member of the Education & Professional Development Strategic Committee. She is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education and the Society of Mining Professors.

Erskine Ramsay Medal Awarded to Dr. Michael Karmis

SME also presented the Erskine Ramsay Medal to Dr. Michael Karmis “for his contributions to mining engineering, mine health and safety, the improvement of environmental performance of coal mining and for his international recognition as a teacher, researcher and academic leader.” The SME’s Erskine Ramsay Medal and Award--named for Alabama mining engineer and industrialist Erskine Ramsay—was established in 1948 and funded by AIME. The award recognizes an individual for distinguished achievements in coal mining, to include both bituminous coal and anthracite. The medal is accompanied by an embossed diploma containing a citation of the service or achievement upon which the award is based. Election to this honor is by the SME’s Coal & Energy Division Officers with notification to the SME Executive Committee.

Karmis is the Stonie Barker Professor of Virginia Tech’s Department of Mining and Minerals Engineering and is the director of the Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research (VCCER). His expertise is in the areas of mine health and safety, rock mechanics and ground control, mining systems and the sustainable development of energy and mineral resources. He has authored or co-authored more than 160 scientific papers and has directed 60 major research projects funded by federal and state agencies, foundations and private companies.

Karmis is a recognized teacher, graduate advisor and student mentor and has received numerous certificates of teaching excellence and other teaching commendations. He is a licensed, professional engineer and an active consultant to the mining industry, academic and research institutions, government agencies, engineering companies, and financial and legal firms. He served as the 2002 president of SME and as the 2009 president of AIME. He currently serves as a trustee and vice president of the United Engineering Foundation. He was elected as the 2002 President of the Society of Mining Professors (Societaet der Bergbaukunde) and served as its secretary general from 2005 to 2012. Karmis is an Honorary Member of AIME, a Distinguished Member of SME, a Fellow of the Institute of Quarrying and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.

Related Links

Dr. Michael Karmis

Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research

Dr. Kray Luxbacher

Luxbacher Leads $1.24 Million NIOSH Project