A Diamond in the Mines

October 16th, 2017
Filed Under: Collegiate News | Who Runs the World?

Miranda Stadel is a junior at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and spent this past summer 4,850 feet under ground!

Tell us about you!

My name is Miranda Stadel, and I’m from Spearfish, South Dakota! I’m a junior currently pursuing my bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering through the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, and I will be the fifth person from my family to graduate from School of Mines. I’m a member of our Eta Eta chapter, and I currently serve as our Director of Social Enrichment. Outside of Alpha Delta Pi, I enjoy golfing and four-wheeling through the black hills. I’m a die hard football fan and I interned with the Sanford Underground Research Facility this summer as a science intern.

Tell us more about your internship!

etaetatunnelThe Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) is located at the former Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, South Dakota. The mine officially closed in 2002, but was still owned by Barrick Gold Corporation. In 2006 Barrick Gold donated the land to the State of South Dakota. Then, in 2007, the mine was selected by the National Science Foundation as the location for the Deep Underground Science and Engineering Laboratory (DUSEL). This paved the way for the reopening of the mine; however, since 2003 the mine had been filling with water and needed to be pumped out. In 2010 the National Science Board decided not to further design DUSEL. The Department of Energy agreed to support the science operations at the lab then in 2011. Since then, the Sanford Lab has become an internationally known lab, with ground breaking physics experiments occurring on the 4850 level.

What did you do specifically?


I worked primarily underground at the 4850 level. I had the opportunity to help in many areas, but the two biggest experiments I helped out with were; LZ (Lux-Zeplin) and the MAJORANA Demonstrator. The LZ experiments main goal is to detect dark matter. It is the second generation of dark matter experiments to happen at the Sanford Lab. The MAJORANA Demonstrator experiment is trying to discover whether neutrinos can be their own antiparticles. I also helped out the Emergency Response Team training in practicing a mine rescue scenario.

What made you apply for this internship in the first place?

I applied for the internship because of the opportunity it held. After applying for a few different positions with different companies, I wasn’t sure if I was going to have an internship for the summer. That’s when I came across the science internship through the lab. With the facility being located in Lead, SD it was only a 30 minute drive from my home in Spearfish. Growing up so close to such a renowned facility I knew about the lab, but never understood the extent of its research. I looked at this internship as a way for me to not only gain real world experience, but for me to understand more about the facility itself. Looking back, applying for that internship was a great decision, as it allowed for me to have a once in a life time experience working almost a mile underground, as well as, meet some very influential people.

What did you gain?

I gained a lot out of my internship! I was able to gain real world experience and was able to work with several different departments. I helped out the biology department, the geology department, and the engineering department. I also got to meet several people from around the world – people from the DOE, researchers from Fermilab, and I even got to meet Mark Zuckerberg when he visited the lab. A lot of the work I did may not have been directly related to my major, but the experiences I gained from working at Sanford will help me in my future endeavors.

How did ADPi prepare or support you?


ADPi played a big part in helping me with my internship. Several of my sisters were there for me when I was going through the interview process by giving me constant support through it. I honestly think they believed in me more than I believed in myself. My experience being an officer also helped me in my internship. Being the social director I have had to work with other people in order to plan a successful event. This helped me be able to work well in group projects and when necessary, I was able to take charge when no one would. My officer position has given me more confidence than I ever could have imagined. This confidence has poured over from ADPi into my school work and was a major help during my internship. There were several times when I needed to give updates to researchers or give a presentation, and public speaking has never been my forte. This confidence ultimately allowed me to be successful in my internship.


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