Photo of Steven C. DeCaluwe

Steven C. DeCaluwe

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Colorado School of Mines
    Golden, CO 80401, USA

Education and Professional Experience

  • Dr. DeCaluwe joined the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 2012 following a NRC post-doctoral fellowship at NIST in Gaithersburg, MD.

    His work at NIST utilized neutron scattering experiments to study solid electrolyte interphase formation in Lithium-ion batteries and water uptake in thin-film polymers for PEM fuel cells.

  • Ph.D. From University of Maryland, College Park, 2009. Dissertation: "Quantifying the role of ceria as catalyst in solid oxide fuel cell anodes."

    His work at UMD involved electrochemical experiments, in operando physical chemistry diagnostics, and multi-scale simulations.

  • Dr. DeCaluwe taught 1st and 2nd grade for 3 years in Nashville, TN, before attending graduate school.

  • Bachelor of Science in in Elementary Education and Mathematics from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University, 2000.

Research Overview

Visit the DeCaluwe Group Research Page.

My research interests focus on clean energy and water systems, with a particular focus on electrochemistry and interfacial processes. My group's work combines fundamental experiments with numerical simulations, to study the chemical, thermodynamic, and fluid mechanic processes occurring at material interfaces and in reacting flows. Via fundamental insight into these processes, we can design and improve technologies to improve quality of life for diverse populations and ease the impacts of human resource use on critical ecosystems and habitats across the globe.

The figure below gives a general overview of my research philosophy, how the different activities in my group fit together, and the iterative nature of scientific discovery and engineering design

Overview of DeCaluwe Group Research Approach

Teaching Overview

Visit the DeCaluwe Teaching Page.

My teaching philosophy is heavily influenced by three key concepts: (i) Constructivist theory, (ii) Active learning, and (iii) a growth-based (rather than 'fixed') mindset. I believe that all students are capable of success, but that deep, permanent learning requires communication among all class participants, which allows the instructor to create engaging and meaningful learning experiences that challenge students at the appropriate level and connect prior experiences and concepts to new ideas.

In my classrooms you will see a mixture of different activities, including not just lecture, but also small group work, individual problem solving, and open-ended conversations. These are designed to foster greater student engagement in the learning process, but also to promote interaction and provide critical, real-time feedback and insight into student understanding of course concepts and mastery of skills.

Engineering Values

Visit DeCaluwe's Page on Science and Engineering Values.

At their core, science and engineering are value-laden enterprises. As scientists and engineers, our work touches lives and impacts our environment on a very broad scope. Our work has implications for environmental sustainability, social justice, and public policy, among other spheres, and can be used to improve the lives of those around us. At the same time, poorly considered or perfunctory work which fails to fully consider its own impact can have significant negative consequences for those around us.

Three major values and themes that inspire my work are (i) Conservation Biology; (ii) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; and (iii) Open Science. These ideas influence what work I do, how I carry it out, and how that work relates to the broader world around me.

  • Conservation Biology is an interdisciplinary field devoted to preservation of the Earth's biodiversity. This provides a lens through which to interpret and apply my work, and also inspires a unique area of outreach to better connect engineers who design products with conservation biologists who can holistically evaluate its impacts.

  • Making our teaching and research cultures more diverse, equitable, and inclusive will not only help alleviate bias and inequality in our society, but also improves the resulting science and engineering work, and helps us better understand and communicate its impacts on those around us.

  • Finally, open science is an approach to improve the transparency, accessibility, and reproducibility of scientific work. Rather than shrouding our work in secrecy in an (ill-adivsed) attempt to up its prestige and/or impact, a more open process leads to greater collaboration, more sound science, and usually greater impact (see here for example. Particularly this gem: "Articles with a preprint received higher Altmetric scores and more citations than articles without a preprint.")