Office of University Relations
SDSM& T News
501 E. St. Joseph Street • Rapid City, SD 57701- 3995
Phone: ( 605) 394- 6082/ 2554 • Fax: ( 605) 394- 6177
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
( May 12, 1997)
CUSTER WOMAN RECEIVES FIRST Ph. D. DEGREE FROM SDSM& T’S ATMOSPHERIC, ENVIRONMENTAL, AND WATER RESOURCES ( AEWR) PROGRAM
During SDSM& T’s commencement on May 10th, Geraldean Loeleta Fluke received the first Ph. D. degree offered by the Atmospheric, Environmental, and Water Resources ( AEWR) program. AEWR is a joint doctoral program approved by the South Dakota Board of Regents in 1993 for the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and South Dakota State University.
Following graduation, Geraldean will be involved with science education at the University of Montana. She is receiving her Ph. D. degree after a remarkable life journey. Growing up in Deerfield in the Black Hills, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physics from SDSM& T in 1948, becoming only the seventh woman to receive a degree from Tech.
Geraldean’s first job was for General Electric as engineer and physicist at the Hanford Test Site, where she worked on the project to improve the optimum spacing of nuclear fuel rod elements. After marrying Gordon Fluke, she moved to Idaho Falls where she helped with calculations for processing nuclear waste. In 1954 Geraldean was hired by Boeing Aircraft in Seattle and developed a method to calculate the boil- off of fuel in aerodynamic heating. A few years later she accepted a position at Aerojet General Corporation and continued her work in heat transfer for both liquid and solid rockets.
After she and her husband returned to South Dakota in 1970, Geraldean began teaching at Edgemont High School, where many of her students continued their education at Tech. In 1982, the Flukes returned to Sacramento, California, where Geraldean accepted a position with Aerojet, working with the Polaris and Minuteman static test firings.
During SDSM& T’s May 1989 commencement, Geraldean was honored by being named a recipient of the Guy E. March Silver Medal, which is awarded to a Tech graduate for outstanding professional achievement. When accepting the Guy E. March Medal, Geraldean said that attending Tech “ provided ( her) with the background … suitable for several fields of endeavor” and that it is “ impossible to overestimate the value of a quality education in today’s competitive world.”
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