Program Schedule


Dr. Tanya Davis Ennis

Broadening Participation Director, SpectrumX Center
Director, Research Support Office, University of Colorado Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science
READ Dr. Ennis' BIO

Dr. Ennis graduated from Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana with a bachelors of science degree in Electrical Engineering. After graduation, she moved to Denver, Colorado, worked as a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and was awarded a graduate school fellowship to attend the University of Southern California where she earned her masters of science degree in Computer Engineering. She later worked as a systems engineering, project manager, and staff director for US WEST Communications.

Dr. Ennis transitioned to the field of education where she taught high school mathematics for eight years in Denver, Colorado. In 2009, she transitioned to the University of Colorado Boulder in the College of Engineering and Applied Science in the BOLD Center where she served for 10 years as the Director of the Engineering GoldShirt Program, and in 2019, she was appointed as the BOLD Center Director. Under her leadership, the Engineering GoldShirt Program received recognition in 2020 from the National Academy of Engineering as an “exemplary admissions practice that promotes diversity in engineering.” The BOLD Center was named 2018 Program of the Year by CoNECD, the Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity. She also won the CU President’s Diversity Award in 2015.

Dr. Tanya Ennis is now the Broadening Participation Director for the SpectrumX Center and the CU Boulder’s College of Engineering and Applied Science’s Research Support Office. Her work with SpectrumX will have a national impact through the 13 research institutions and several minority-serving institutions associated with the center and will provide a pathway for increasing diversity among faculty and student researchers. Additionally, Dr. Ennis supported broadening participation plans for five NSF CAREER grant proposals.

Dr. Ennis earned her Ph.D. in May 2022 from the School of Education in Learning Science and Human Development at the University of Colorado Boulder. She won the Outstanding Dissertation Award for her thesis – “Yearning to Learn: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Black Engineering Students Deciding to Stay or Leave Engineering Majors.”

The Practice-Research-Practice Virtuous Cycle: How a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Social Justice Engineering Practitioner Informed Engineering Education Research

Tuesday, May 16th, 8:45 am

This keynote address will explore the richness of Dr. Ennis’ practical experiences and how they informed her research plans and approach to her dissertation. As the BOLD Center Director and Engineering GoldShirt Program Director, her interactions with undergraduate engineering students from marginalized backgrounds informed her on how to support student learning, development and degree completion. These interactions illuminated the gaps, systemic barriers and obstacles that students experienced along the way. Her trailblazing, grassroots work as the Engineering GoldShirt Program Director and the BOLD Center Director influenced the development of her theoretical framework for her dissertation which outlines inequitable practices and experiences that affected marginalized students.

Observing these phenomena encouraged a deeper dive into why Black students chose to stay or leave engineering majors. Dr. Ennis’ theoretical framework draws upon the continual reinforcement of the racialized environment on university campuses, academic social supports, resilience responses and feedback loops. Her dissertation topic grew out of her desire to center Black students’ experiences in engineering, revealing the complexities of their choices.

Dr. Ennis’ dissertation, “Yearning to Learn: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Black Engineering Students Choosing to Stay or Leave Engineering Majors”, outlines her findings of the multiple configurations of factors working together that inform Black engineering students in making their decision to stay or leave. Her experiences in the BOLD Center and research inform her current work as the Broadening Participation Director of the SpectrumX Center and the Research Support Office in the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU Boulder.


ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR & Department Head, Engineering, Design & Society, Colorado School of Mines
READ Dr. Nieusma's BIO

Dr. Nieusma has dedicated his academic career to engineering educational reform grounded in sociotechnical integration, student engagement, and design. His scholarship supports this work with a focus on engineering knowledge, educational, and cultural constructs.

Dr. Nieusma came to Mines in 2018 to serve as inaugural Department Head for Engineering, Design, and Society (EDS). EDS is an experiment in educational and organizational innovation, with faculty spanning disciplines in engineering and the natural sciences, design and engineering education, and the social sciences. EDS’s mission is to drive innovation at the intersection of technical, social, and creative problem solving. EDS offers degree and non-degree educational programming at both undergraduate and graduate levels with a focus on design and innovation, social context, and justice as they intersect with the practices of engineering and science.

Before coming to Mines, Dr. Nieusma was a faculty member in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he also served as Associate Dean of Curricular Transitions to lead implementation of Rensselaer’s core curriculum revisions. He served 7 years as program director of Design, Innovation, and Society, which was crafted to pair with engineering, architecture, business, and communications majors across campus.

Dr. Nieusma earned his PhD in Science and Technology Studies from Rensselaer in 2004. Prior to graduate studies, he worked as a launch-team engineering at Ford Motor Co. after receiving a BS in Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelors of General Studies with a focus in social studies, both from the University of Michigan. He is author of Engineering and War: Militarism, Ethics, Institutions, Alternatives (with Ethan Blue and Michael Levine, Morgan & Claypool, 2014); the winner of ASEE’s Olmstead Award for liberal education in engineering; and a Fulbright scholar (Sri Lanka, 2001-2002).

Engineering Changes: Educational Innovation Constraints and Enablers

Wednesday, May 17th, 8:45 am

If engineering educators are to assemble enduring educational alternatives, we must soberly confront the magnitude of the challenge confronting us. This talk explores some of the enduring forces impinging on engineering education reform efforts as a means of taking seriously the pervasive, if diversely motivated, call for educational innovation. I will consider forces both internal and external to engineering educators’ purview, situating engineering change within the contemporary context of increased skepticism surrounding higher education, its goals, and its outcomes. I will also consider forces both structural and conceptual, recognizing the mutuality of factors as diverse as institutional financial incentives, hyper specialization, conceptions of merit, and underlying constructs of how education “works.” Heavy.

On the lighter side, I recognize that innovation discourses are animated by a sense of possibility, an openness to critique-of-what-is as a first step to imagining what-could-be. In design-and-innovation education, we call this “the opportunity space” that opens before us once a problem has been thoughtfully defined. The second part of my talk will consider a handful of programmatic responses to engineering education’s innovation imperative, particularly those motivated by an educational impulse to integrate as a respond to hyper specialization and decontextualization of engineering problem solving. While I will emphasize programming focused on integrating across the social-technical divide, I believe the underlying impulse of educational integration could apply as well to a range of educational-change objectives, including diversifying engineering, enhancing professional preparedness, and readying our graduates for responsible citizenship that includes but extends beyond engineering employment.

Program Schedule

(Session End Times Not Included)
(Includes Session End Times)


Join us on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17 for additional excursions and events! Please sign up for the excursions you are interested in joining so we can keep in contact and get an estimate of numbers. 

Brewery Tour & Happy Hour

Wednesday, May 17, 4:00-5:30 pm
Cost: Everyone is responsible for paying for their own drinks
Location: Meet at Mountain Toad Brewing, 900 Washington AVE., Golden, CO 

Join us for a tour and happy hour at the Mountain Toad Brewery, located in Golden, Colorado. One of the brewers at Mountain Toad will give us a brief tour of the brewery. Following the tour, we can relax and enjoy some drinks in the beer garden. (Please note that everyone is responsible for paying for their own drinks.) 

Wednesday, May 17
Time: 1:00-~4:00 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Meet in the Student Center Lobby outside of Ballroom A (by the registration table). We will walk to the trail from the Student Center. 

Join us for a short hike near Golden! We are considering two options for the hike (and want to know your preference): 

Olivine Loop Trail

The trailhead is a short walk from campus, and the loop is ~2 miles (with a detour to the South Table Mountain viewpoint). This hike is a moderately challenging route that provides a nice view of Golden and the surrounding area. 

Cleer Creek Trail

This paved trail is rated “easy” and runs along Clear Creek. It begins in downtown Golden and is ~3 miles out-and-back, although there are options to extend the walk by connecting with other trails if so desired.

Mines Museum Visit
Wednesday, May 17
Time: 1:00-2:00 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Meet in the Student Center Lobby outside of Ballroom A (by the registration table). We will walk to the museum from the Student Center. Or meet us at the museum (1310 Maple St., Golden, CO 80401). 

Join us to visit the Mines Museum of Earth Science where you can see rocks, minerals (including some that glow), fossils, an indoor cave, the Miss Colorado Crown (containing over 600 gemstones and 21 diamonds), a moon rock, and more!  

Blaster Design Factory
Wednesday, May 17
TIME: 1:00-2:00 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Meet in the Student Center Lobby outside of Ballroom A (by the registration table); we will walk to the Blaster Design Factory located in Brown Building. 

There is a lot happening in the Blaster Design Factory! Join us to see solutions that students at Mines have developed for recycling 3D printed parts, including a shredder machine to make plastic smaller, a granulator to make more consistent plastic pellets, a sheet press to form plastic pellets into sheets, and a vacuum former to mold the sheets over a template part. While in the Blaster Design Factory, you can operate these machines and move waste plastic through this entire process.  

Geology Walking Tour
Wednesday, May 17
Time: 2:30-3:30 pm
Cost: Free
Location: Meet in the Student Center Lobby outside of Ballroom A (by the registration table) 

Join us for a walking tour to explore the geology around Golden and visit authentic triceratops trackways!