Smart / Sustainable Environments Design Studio (SEDS)

WasteWatchers municipal waste single stream recycling concept

Greenhouse Team

Mines Park PV Helioscope Model

Who Are We

SEDS is an option for Capstone Students who wish to focus on projects in either or both Smart Environments and Sustainability realms.  For Smart Environments, we offer projects in See-Sense-Respond, “Internet of Things,” and extending and enhancing human capabilities through technology.  For Sustainable, we offer projects that support “the capacity of our human society to continue indefinitely within Earth’s natural cycles.”  Many fit both categories! 

The Studio environment provides some flexibility to staff students on multiple projects through your two-semester experience.  This means that first semester and second semester Capstone Students are also able to work together on important projects!

Submit a Project

Our Capstone clients and sponsors provide project ideas, technical guidance, industry expertise, and often financial support. If you have questions about a project idea before submitting your project, email us.  

Check out this overview of “Smart Environments”

…and this Video description of “Sustainability”

Thank You to our Partners and Clients

SEDS Leadership

Leslie Light

Leslie Light

Associate Teaching Professor


    • BS in Product Design Engineering, Stanford University
    • MBA in Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneurial Studies, University of Pennsylvania – The Wharton School

    Experience & Specialties:

    • 20+ year career in R&D and project management, including a decade of optimization & management at John Deere, and a decade of product development and management including:
      • Appropriate Technology, innovation, and humanitarian engineering at iDE (International Development Enterprises), expanding market based solutions to dollar-a-day farmers around the globe
      • Engineering in India including thermodynamic steam instrumentation and consumer product design
      • Product development and business consulting in South Africa, Kenya, and Chile
    • Passionate about bringing user-centered design principles learned at school and in her career to Mines’ open-ended technical problem-solving programs and courses
    • Research interests include the impacts user empathy activities and active learning strategies, and affecting creative impulses.


  • Raising two children in the Denver Front Range area for over a decade
David Grimm

David Grimm

Project Advisor


  • BS in Civil Engineering, Georgia Tech, High-Honor Co-op
  • MSCE, Lehigh, API-sponsored Master’s Thesis on local buckling of tubular columns
  • Registered Professional Engineer (PE) in three states

Experience & Specialties:

  • Nearly 40 year career on energy projects, independent project management, and structural engineering, including: first-of-their-kind offshore facilities in Gulf of Mexico and North Sea, major retrofits of a reinforced concrete office building in Indonesia, a decrepit offshore platform in Azerbaijan, construction operations worldwide, development of inspection & maintenance programs, damage investigations, a new orphanage in Uganda, a first-of-its-kind weather station in Gulf of Thailand, and planning for – and actual participation in – an emergency typhoon evacuation
  • Developed and taught three courses at Mines:  Construction Engineering, Project Engineering, and Preservation of Historic Structures, along with being a Capstone Project Advisor.


  • Native of rural Ohio
  • He and his wife Debra have three married daughters and seven grandchildren, and split their time residing in Colorado and Texas.  Along with spending quality time with family & friends, he especially enjoys traveling, woodworking, military history, historic structures, hiking, biking, and the challenges of fly-fishing.