Glenwood native honored by state |

Glenwood native honored by state

Phillip YatesGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

BOULDER, Colorado – In 103 years, the University of Colorado’s Chemical and Biological Engineering Department has had just two students who earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Glenwood Springs native Ryan Erickson, 22, who was a 2004 Glenwood Springs High School valedictorian, was a hair’s breath from joining that elite company. He had a 3.91.

But for his academic, volunteer and dedication at the school’s engineering department, Erickson won several prestigious plaudits from his school work at the university. Balancing all the work was a challenge, Erickson said.”Working with others helps a lot,” Erickson said. “I definitely wouldn’t have been able to do it without the friends that I made in my chemical engineering classes and outside those classes. They helped me along, for sure. That by far was the hardest thing, was balancing everything.”Erickson said that while school was his No. 1 priority, he didn’t want to let that dominate his life. In his spare time, he cut loose by working out, climbing and spending time outdoors.Erickson’s awards from his time at CU include the Distinguished Senior Award from CU-Boulder’s Chemical and Biological Engineering Department and the Silver Medal, which is awarded by the Colorado Engineering Council (CEC). That award honors the top engineering students at Colorado universities and is based on academic excellence, on service and also on a student’s research skills, said Carol Rowe, spokeswoman for the CU’s College of Engineering and Applied Science.”The (CEC is) picking the top students at Colorado State University, the Colorado School of Mines and here at CU,” Rowe said. “The students are nominated by the department. We have a number of nominees, and we have people vote because we can only put forward three people. Then the CEC selects from those people we put forward.”

All nominees have to submit four letters of nomination from their college faculty. “It really is a tough award to win,” Rowe said. “(Erickson’s) one of our top graduates, for sure.”Erickson said he wasn’t exactly sure what to think at first when he learned he won the awards. “I was surprised and excited at the same time,” Erickson said. “They are great awards. That is really exciting for the future.”Janet deGrazia, the associate chair of the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, wrote a letter to the CEC nominating Erickson for the Silver Medal Award. “I can’t remember when our department has had a candidate that so exceptionally blends the qualities desired for this award,” deGrazia wrote. “His combination of academic excellence, dedication to service and success in research make him the ideal nominee for this award.”

deGrazia also wrote that Erickson has been a member of American Institute of Chemical Engineers and president of the Omega Chi Epsilon Chemical Engineering Honor Society. Erickson has also been “instrumental in organizing department social events, including barbecues and student/faculty football games,” and “was a volunteer for TEAMS, where he runs after-school engineering outreach programs for native Spanish-speaking elementary students,” deGrazia wrote.Erickson said his immediate future plan is to try to find an engineering internship in Mexico or another Spanish-speaking country in Latin America.”I am really proud. He is pretty special,” said David Erickson, his father. “He is going to do well.”Contact Phillip Yates: 384-9117pyates@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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