Jennica Bellanca receives the 2020 Robert Peele Memorial Award
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) Mining & Exploration Division’s Robert Peele Memorial Award Committee has selected Jennica Bellanca as the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Robert Peele Memorial Award. The award was established in 1953 and is given for the most outstanding paper published in an SME publication on behalf of the Mining & Exploration Division by an SME member age 35 or younger.
Jennica Bellanca is recognized for her paper “Developing a Virtual Reality Environment for Mining Research” published in the Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration journal (MME), August 2019. She was acknowledged on the Society’s virtual awards video during the SME March 1-5, 2021 MINEXCHANGE Annual Conference & Expo.
When asked what her first thought was when she learned she was the recipient of the Award, Bellanca replied, “I was so proud of the efforts of my team on making this work a possibility. We have been working on virtual reality (VR) development for a long time. It feels really great to receive some recognition for our work. VR has great potential to help the mining industry through research, training and beyond. Therefore, it is critical to get our message out to the industry and share our knowledge and experiences. It is so wonderful to have a journal like MME that can easily reach the industry. Thank you to the Peele Award Committee and the Mining & Exploration Division Executive Committee for their recognition!”
Bellanca is a biomechanical engineer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pittsburgh in bioengineering in 2009. She also earned two master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh in bioengineering and mechanical engineering in 2011. Since then, Bellanca has been working in the mining industry as a human-factors, safety researcher. Her work has specifically focused on virtual reality and simulation, hazard recognition, collision avoidance, and haul truck health and safety. She is currently leading a collaborative effort with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to develop a VR application for mine rescue training and a research project investigating the health and safety issues related to surface haul trucks.
The Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (SME) brings together the mining and mineral industry’s brightest and most dedicated professionals. Over 13,000 global members advance their careers with the world-class technical resources, educational programs, networking opportunities and professional development tools from SME. Our members are focused on sharing best practices for safety, environmental stewardship and moving mining forward.