Dr. David Cornelison

Dr. David Cornelison has been working as an educator and scientist in Arizona and Missouri universities for the last 25 years.  Since 2010, he has been the head of the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Materials Science at Missouri State University.  His research interests lie at the intersection of experimental condensed-matter physics and astrophysics, while his educational efforts have focused on outreach to the K-12 school system.   Most of all, he believes in curiosity-driven learning in the sciences and all other fields.

Matthew Hine / Flickr

As Vice President of Research at Missouri State University, Dr. Jim Baker is responsible for a team that supports the scholarly activities of a large group of faculty, staff and students.  He stops by STEM Spots to talk with Dr. David Cornelison about the goals and challenges of the research endeavor at MSU.

For the last couple decades, a standard refrain, heard far and wide, is that the future of the workforce is tied up with STEM.  And yet, it is sometimes difficult for a town, region or state to make headway in developing strong economic efforts in these fields.  The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce leads much of this effort in our region and Alex Greiwe, who is the Project Manager for Workforce Development, is responsible for a good deal of it.

Photo via https://www.goodfreephotos.com

When one studies the processes at work in the earth, it is difficult to recreate the requisite conditions in the lab.  What one lacks most is time, as building rocks and mountains takes eons to complete.  In their quest to understand the mechanisms behind these geological events, scientists must know the times at which the pieces of the puzzle were first formed.  To do so requires complicated dating techniques, combining field work to obtain the specimens and lab work to acquire and analyze the relevant data.  Dr.

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Scott Harvey / KSMU

Becky Baker has been around MSU for quite a while.  From earning her degree at SMSU in the 1970s to working as a part-time teacher to returning as a full-time faculty member in the early 90s, she has seen many changes in both the institution and the general environment of science.  After many years of service, she will step down from her position this year.  She stops by STEM Spots to talk about her career, what she has learned and the general tenor of science at MSU, especially as it pertains to women in the field.

NASA/Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Students who go into physics are often most interested in its connections to astronomy.  And when presented with an opportunity to visit Johnson Space Center, they don’t need much convincing to embark on a good old-fashioned road trip.  Kali Shoaf is one such student and she stops by to chat with me about the highlights of our recent four-day excursion down Houston-way with 20 other students, one other faculty member and a dog named Boo (included under poetic license).