Many geeks at Mines struggle and toil in their studies in the hopes that, one day, they will be able to graduate in one piece and leave to seek their fortunes out in the real world. Others, perhaps very wisely, decide that life outside of the school is not all it is cracked up to be and choose instead to jump back into the Mines graduate program. These students, like Steven Kuhlmeier, are not so different from the other geeks at this school. They are only really separated from the undergraduates by more experience, more stress, more debt, and more people who have no idea what anything they are studying actually means.
[Oredigger]: Why did you choose Civil and Environmental?
[Kuhlmeier]: I made a promise to my stuffed animals when I was a young man that I would do everything in my power to improve the lives of their counterparts in the real world.
What’s been your favorite class?
Advanced Water Treatment.
Are you a geek and why?
I believe so. Aside from my passion for the environment, one of my strongest passions is for Legos. I like to construct series of historical scenes. They usually take up a couple yards. I also like to mix genres. Instead of William the Conqueror leading the Normans at the Battle of Hastings, it’s Captain Kirk. I like that mixing of…the future and the past.
Do you have any time unoccupied by academia and, if so, how do you spend it?
Aside from my passion in the Lego constructing arts, I enjoy shuffleboard, disk golf, ultimate frisbee, lawn darts, curling, stargazing, freelance photography, and some accounting.
What are your greatest accomplishments to date?
When I got picked by the fifth graders (as a fourth grader) to be on their dodgeball team. That was the year we beat the sixth graders. I was a rising star. I’m definitely putting that on my headstone, right above when I saved my family from the sinking of the Lusitania.
Which fictional weapon would you most like to have?
Michelangelo’s nunchucks. And his headband. And his shell.
If you could be dropped into any fictional universe, what would it be and why?
An alternate universe where instead of thirty-one days, there’d be thirty-two days in a month and February would drop back to twenty-seven on leap years.
What’s your favorite thing about Mines?
The weather. I always feel like I’m at the beach because you can always catch a good tan and I can recharge my solar panels really easily.
What’s your best nerd story?
When I was little, we used to build forts out of hay bales and, somewhere near us, there was an aggressor who kept knocking down our forts. To improve our structural integrity, we put rocks in the forts. I imagine they got quite a surprise when they tried to kick it over.
How would you handle an encounter with an army of angry dwarves?
It’s well-known that dwarves are deathly afraid of maple syrup. Thus, the best course of action would be to dig some sort of trench of maple syrup. We’d probably have to hold up in Quebec. Or, we could send an emissary to see what they want. They’d probably want our gold and treasure, which we couldn’t give, so we’d give ’em pyrite. Or, we could send the witch after them. She’s good at handling dwarves. Or [use] magic tricks. Dwarves are easily amused by magic tricks, especially failed magic tricks.
Do you have any plans for the future?
Do you have any advice for fellow geeks and Mines students?
Velcro shoes: because tying your shoes sometimes is just too hard.
Do you have a favorite quote?
“If you don’t do it now, you’ll be a year older when you do.” – Shane McConkey
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever built out of Legos?
Aside from re-creating that whole [Battle of Hastings] scene, when the starship Enterprise landed on the battlefield. That landing scene was just perfect. It was really sublime. When I set that piece down, I was the starship Enterprise. I felt like I really transported myself back in time, but also forward thousands of years. I was outside of time.