Learning out in the field (session)
Learn the tools of the trade, get out in the field and try out some practical, hands-on work.
Picture yourself in your dream career ten years from now. Like many Orediggers, you likely see yourself underground at a mine or surveying a large stretch of land—not sitting idly by while others get their hands dirty. That’s why Mines offers students field session options to take what they learn in the classroom and apply it to real-world challenges and try their hand at practical techniques and skills. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to give that resume a boost if you ask us.
What to expect
Apply previous knowledge in a hands-on environment
Access tools and environments not available in the classroom
Get a deeper understanding of your chosen subject
At Mines, learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. We roll up our sleeves and get to work in different environments to fully understand different scientific and engineering challenges. The lessons learned through these unique experiences are not easily forgotten.
Wan Jun Aida, Petroleum Engineering, Malaysia
“In the second field session of my petroleum engineering degree, we spent 12 days in Massadona, which was four hours away from Mines. We stayed in wooden cabins and used portable toilets throughout the stay and drove half an hour just to get to the recreational centers for showers, where we can finally use the Internet on our phones. Every day consisted of hiking in the blazing heat, doing homework, deciding what to cook and wondering if we’ll survive the freezing nights, only to do it all over again the next day. All these might sound horrible, but really, if anyone asks me about my most memorable time at Mines, I’d go back to those 12 days and reminisce how great it was to take a break from civilization and technology and be accompanied by great friends, professors and TAs.”
Madison, Electrical Engineering, Houston, Texas
“As an electrical engineer, our field sessions are mostly offered during the school year, which is nice because then you could use the summer for internships or taking a break from school. There are four in total, two offered each semester—power, information system science (ISS), integrated circuits (IC) and antennas and wireless (AWC) communication. I took both the ISS and AWC. In the first, we spent the entire semester learning LabView and how to manipulate the program. I came away with new skills in a relevant software and the possibilities of all that it could be used for. AWC I learned a lot about antennas and their design. We even built two of our own antennas. Both were very hands on and a great way to deep dive into the application of the ideas we learn in the classroom.”
Brenna, Civil Engineering, Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Civil engineering field session is the BEST! We learned how to use all kinds of survey equipment and spent a lot of long, sunny days at the survey fields. It’s a surefire way to make friends fast, and the professors and TAs are so approachable! Prerequisite: Be prepared to encounter rattlesnakes!”
Jonathan, Chemical Engineering, Colorado Springs, Colo.
“Field session was one of the most challenging and rewarding courses at Mines for me. It gave me hands-on experience, validation that I was learning valuable skills in my courses and a chance to bond with my fellow chemical engineers.”
Jocelyn, Civil Engineering, Bellingham, Wash.
“I took civil engineering field session during the summer of my sophomore year. Civil engineering field session is all about surveying and grading design. Field session is an intense three-week course that took all of my energy, but it was another one of those signature Mines experiences I will remember forever. I learned more about where the data I use as a civil engineer comes from and when to trust the data or do my own investigations. The experience also brought me closer to other people within my major.”
KC, Chemistry and Environmental Engineering, Juneau, Alaska
“My resume says ‘field sampling experience’ thanks to summer session. I LOVED it. You’ll hear horror stories about being in the library until 2 a.m. every night (not true, its only like three nights a week) but you’ll bond with your classmates over mutual suffering, and honestly it was kind of like an intense camp where you finally applied all of your book knowledge.”
Grace, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Broomfield, Colo.
“MME field session is the absolute best field session! You will get to go on field trips to see the variety of applications for an MME degree. It is a great opportunity to figure out what you want to do for a career. It also is not stressful at all, unlike other field sessions I have heard about.”
Cameron, Engineering Physics, Aurora, Colo.
“Field session is a good opportunity to make the connections which can form the study groups for the upperclassmen years. Field session also gives a good opportunity to get more hands-on experience with the coursework and a way to see how to apply what you’ve learned to hobbies and personal projects.”
Brett, Environmental Engineering, Aurora, Colo.
“Field session is one of the most enriching of your experiences at Mines. Sure, the days are long and the work is challenging, but you build strong relationships with your peers and really get a look inside your industry. For mine, I tackled a preliminary site characterization along a river and investigated water quality issues for a local watershed authority in a small team. With the guidance of our professors and TAs, we got to apply the knowledge from our labs and courses to propose solutions to real-world water contamination problems right in our backyard. I walked away feeling much more competent as an engineering student and having a much better understanding of what consulting engineers actually do for a living. Going in, I thought I would hate consulting work, but field session put a positive spin on my perspective, and now it’s my preferred career path out of Mines.”
Morgan, Computer Science, Lakewood, Colo.
“Field session was a blast. For CS majors, we get real industry experience and get to work with a team. The biggest part was how to work in a team effectively and communicate with our project sponsor.”