Hi, my name is Austin Powell and I am an underground mining engineer. I grew up with a fascination in science and technology and excelled in my math and science classes. I participated in Odyssey of the Mind, Space Club, and many other STEM based programs. I attended the Colorado School of Mines where I was able to become a mining engineer. I really enjoy working in the mining industry and all of the complex challenges it brings. I have been in mining for almost 15 years.
What inspired you to explore STEM when you were young?
Growing up some of my favorite channels to watch were the Discovery Channel and the History channel. At that time, there were so many cool engineering shows that showed all the cool things that people have built. I have always enjoyed learning about how things work and still enjoy doing that as an adult with my job and my hobbies.
What do you enjoy most about what you do in your STEM career?
The thing that I enjoy the most is that I get to solve complex problems everyday. I enjoy the process of designing a mine and how we will get all of the ore out. I enjoy all of the new tools and technology that allows us to mine in ways we never have before. I also really enjoy working with coworkers who are from all over the world.
What is a fun, bizarre or insightful STEM fact about your field?
The average American now consumes 37mil lbs. of minerals, metals and fuel, over the course of a lifetime. That includes 2,000lbs of copper, 6,000lbs of aluminum, 1,000lbs of lead, 1,000 lbs. of zinc and 1.8 oz of gold per person. All of these minerals have to mined from the earth in some or fashion.