Liz Kirby

Geek of the Week: Liz Kirby, Senior, Environmental Engineering

No matter how much we try to fight it, there is a little bit of geek in all of us. Liz Kirby came to this sad realization during her Geek of the Week interview. She is a senior majoring in environmental engineering and minoring in humanitarian engineering, who initially refused to believe she could be labeled with the dreaded term “geek.”

Do you consider yourself a geek?
No. I don’t think I’m a geek. But I guess to some extent I am, because I go to Mines, right?

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Freshmen year, the Chem 2 exam. I was walking down looking at my scantron double checking. I tripped and fell and cut my chin on the front row desk. So you just hear a big crack of my chin hitting a desk and a thud of my person hitting the floor. The best part was that a girl in the front row stood up and yelled, “Oh my god, you’re bleeding!” So I’m sure there’s plenty of people who refer to me as that girl who tripped in our chem test. And I did bad on that test, I think I got a D.

Why did you choose to come to Colorado School of Mines?
I chose to come to Mines because I got a Golden Scholar application. And I filled that out, sent that in. And my college search was done. I also got an incentive scholarship my junior year to come to Mines, probably because I’m a girl. And I learned about the humanitarian minor and that was very appealing to me.

What have you been doing for Humanitarian Engineering?
With the humanitarian engineering minor, I’m in a service learning course. I will be going to Honduras with 8 other Mines students and a couple staff members. We’re working on housing for Honduras for a community that isn’t eligible for development funds because their basic needs aren’t even met yet. We’ll be either digging or pouring foundations, or working on framing houses. And we’ll be working with them in the entire scope of the project, to design their homes the way they want them.

Once you complete your degree, what are your plans?
Graduate school at Mines, so I’ll graduate in spring of 2012. Hopefully, if they let me in the grad program; I haven’t applied yet… I’d be a part of Short Term International (STINT), which is done through Campus Crusade. We’d be doing university ministry work with college students and working in the townships surrounding Cape Town with local organizations, helping with orphanages, school and health centers.

And after grad school and STINT?
Hopefully I would like to get a job in consulting and possibly work internationally. I’m interested in mine site remediation and water supply engineering.

What are some interesting classes you’ve taken?
I really like Advanced Engineering Mathematics. Really, any math class here. That’s the big heartbreak about my major, when they take the math out of it. Okay, maybe I am a geek.

Do you have any advice for Mines students?
Because Mines is such a small school, you have a lot more opportunities. Like doing research, even as an undergrad. The world is sort of run by the people who show up, so try to work off of that.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I play intramural soccer. I’m on the “Ninja-neers” team, I think we’re going to come back and definitely dominate. I rock climb sometimes, if I don’t have too much homework, and also when I go to Women’s Rock Climbing class.

What is your favorite TV show?
I watch most things on Hulu because I don’t have a TV. I like “The Big Bang Theory.” Mostly because it’s a little close to home, being at Mines. I watch it and think I know someone like that.

Star Wars or Star Trek?
I think I would pick Star Wars. I went with my parents to Disney World when I was little and they told me they would buy me whatever toy I wanted and for some reason I picked a toy Ewok. So, it would be Star Wars. I think that might make me a geek.

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