Missouri State University
Geography, Geology and Planning Blog

Faculty, students attend national geological meeting

Grant Spoering
Graduate student Grant Spoering presenting at a previous GSA meeting.

Several faculty and students from the department of geography, geology and planning recently attended the North-Central/South-Central Joint meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) March 19-21 in Pittsburgh, PA.

In attendance were Drs. Kevin Mickus, Kevin Evans, Charles Rovey and Doug Gouzie with graduate students Mo’amen Almaz, Grant Spoering, Wes Weichert and Ben Lockwood. All faculty and students presented research at the meeting. Each graduate student is working toward their MS in Geospatial Sciences in Geography, Geology, and Planning in the Geology track.

“These meetings are helpful for recruiting new graduate students and sharing information on research methods and techniques,” said Gouzie, professor of geology. “For instance, I updated one professor from another school on a method we use here and I learned one or two methods from others.”

The meeting had an organizing committee that included alum Wendell Barner (BS 1982, MS 1988), who currently works in Pennsylvania and helped organize the meeting. Also on the committee was per course faculty member Nancy Williams who is currently section secretary of the North-Central section. Missouri State is working toward hosting a similar GSA North-Central and South-Central combination meeting in 2021.

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Planning a way to a better future

Jason RayAs I walked down Park Central East toward the square, I overheard a conversation going on between two gentlemen near Civil Kitchen. They were discussing the best way to unload a truck without getting in the way of traffic or side doors down the alleyway.

Too bad the city planners of the past couldn’t have foreseen this issue and created a larger alley, I thought to myself as I passed by and continued toward the Center for Resource Planning and Management, or CRPM.

It’s issues like these that CRPM addresses—zoning, buildings, streets and alleyways. By engaging with the public and the government, CRPM helps to plan new buildings, structures, and even streets and thoroughfares.

Discovering support

Jason Ray, director of CRPM since summer 2016, was my interviewee. Before coming to Missouri State, Ray worked at the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council (HSTCC) starting in 2010. His duties included comprehensive, land use and environmental planning as well as extensive management responsibilities.

But he unexpectedly gained a host of real-world experience in May 2011 when the Joplin tornado ravaged that community. Disaster recovery of that magnitude was trial by fire.

“That catapulted my responsibilities, and I ended up working on a lot of high-profile projects through Disaster Recovery as well as some other projects throughout the region,” said Ray. “I ended up becoming a general program manager for them, and then in 2014 became deputy director of the organization when our executive director retired and we hired a new one.”

In May 2015, Ray began work at CRPM as a planner managing a transportation planning program for a 10-county region. He also scoped and managed new planning programs until his promotion.

Ray enjoys his work and appreciates the support he gets from all over campus.

“No other regional planning commission in Missouri, or maybe even the nation, has a support system like we do, since we’re the only one that’s housed within a university,” Ray said. “I can’t imagine trying to figure out running this organization pretty much on my own, without having those resources. It’s been incredibly valuable for me, personally and professionally, to have that support network.”

Jason Ray working with coworkersFiguring out the system

Since taking on this role, Ray has been figuring out the best way to have CRPM interact with SMCOG (pronounced sim-cog), or the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments. SMCOG is administered by CRPM, so Ray is the executive director for SMCOG as well.

“The state of Missouri is divided up into 19 different councils of governments. The Southwest Missouri Council of Governments has a 10-county geographic region around Springfield,” Ray told me. “So SMCOG has a Board of Directors that’s made up of representatives from local governments. So, mayors, city council members, county commissioners or their staff.”

This Board of Directors guides some of the planning projects for the region. Ray’s main responsibility is to run SMCOG and the projects that come along with it.

“As for CRPM, we’re currently trying to boost our planning research efforts and get faculty more involved with that. Primarily, though, we have state and federal grants for which we do regional planning projects for,” said Ray.

As the conversation wound down, Ray offered to lead me out the back entrance to save me from walking around the entire building on my way back. I agreed and thanked him, and as he led me through the building he introduced me to each of his team members. He opened the back door and thanked me again, of which I returned the gesture.

As the door closed behind me I noticed the truck from earlier had unloaded and left, leaving no trace of minor struggle that had gone on earlier. Luckily, people like Ray and organizations like CRPM are working to avoid such struggles and are planning for a better future, I thought as I made my way back to the office.

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Earth science and entrees

Cover of cookbook

“I remember seeing fossils in a rock column by my great grandpa’s house, and as a child they looked like screws,” said Cheryl McClease, instructor of geography, geology and planning.

She later found out they were crinoids, an ancient animal similar to starfish. Today, they exist only as fossils.

“I was so excited to learn about the big why about how the world works; earth science answers those questions.”

McClease paired her experience as a home economics teacher with that love for science to develop “Earth Changing Recipes.” This cookbook corresponds recipes with earth science lessons helping students delve deeper while in the kitchen.

Analogy: Cupcake to earth

Education and earth cakes

It was a family project to compile this book. McClease wrote it while her sister, an English professor, edited. Her daughter put her graphic design skills to use in the photography and design of the book, using the grandchildren as models for the book. Each page has a geology lesson that directly relates to a recipe.

Explore her book

To teach about the New Madrid earthquake of 1811-1812, McClease developed the recipe for Mississippi Mud-Cake to help students learn more about the earthquake. The earthquake rang bells as far as Boston, Massachusetts, and the recipe is a hit 200 years later.

For more information, contact McClease at 417-836-5801.

The post Earth science and entrees appeared first on News.

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Students present at annual national meeting

Two CNAS students presented at the Geological Society of America’s annual meeting held in Denver, Colorado Sept. 24-28. Each student presented a poster on their research and had the opportunity to listen to lectures by experts in the field and network with other professionals.

Grant Spoering, a geospatial science graduate student, presented his research titled “Detrial Zircon Provenance Analysis of the Grover Gravel” which he completed in Wildwood, Missouri. Spoering studied the connected between the Grover Gravel deposit and the oldest glacial deposit in Missouri, the 2.4 mineralogy age (Ma) Atlanta Formation.

“The conference was a great opportunity to attend professional talks and get feedback on my research,” said Spoering, a Buffalo native.

Max Hoffman, a geospatial science graduate student, presented his research titled “Oxygen Isotope Geochemistry of Volcanic Rocks in South-Central New Mexico: Insight on Crustal Contamination and Magmatic Sources.” Hoffman studied an area in southern New Mexico that has a record of complex tectonic and magmatic events between 45-24 Ma.

“The professional presentations at the conference were a great way to get a first look at cutting-edge research,” said Hoffman, a Willard native.

Both students also had the opportunity to travel to Eldorado State Park during their time in Colorado.

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Geology professor speaking at the Ozark Gem and Mineral Show

A head shot of Michelfelder.Interested the formation of volcanoes and mountains? Attend the 49th annual Rock, Gem, and Mineral Show this upcoming weekend (Oct. 15-16) at the Springfield Expo Center, 635 E. St. Louis St. Dr. Gary Michelfelder, assistant professor of geology, will give two separate talks at 1:30 both Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday, Oct. 15 Michelfelder will hold a public lecture titled “What is the Real Risk of an Eruption at Yellowstone?” Sunday, Oct. 16 his lecture will be “Volcanoes, Mountains and Gold: The Volcanic History of the Mogollan Datil Volanic Field, New Mexico.” Both lectures are included free of charge with the price of admission

Cost to attend the show is $6 for adults ($1 off with a flyer), $3 for students and attendees 12 and under are $1.The flyer for the mineral show.


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May Retires Following 33 Years of Service

     Diane May, AICP

Please join us in offering best wishes and sincere thanks to Diane May, AICP, as she retires following 33 years of service.  Missouri State University and the Board of Directors from Southwest Missouri Council of Government will host an open house on Wednesday, July 27 from 3:00 to 5:30 p.m. at Civil Kitchen on Park Central Square.

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Missouri State to Recognize Distinguished GGP Alumni

James K. Bass has been selected to receive a Bears of Excellence Award, created in 2016 in celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Missouri State University Alumni Association’s awards program. It recognizes uniquely accomplished alumni from diverse academic, professional and personal backgrounds.

Jim BassBass, a 1980 geology graduate, is the founder, president and CEO of Sheridan Production Company, LLC. He has had a 36-year career in the oil and gas industry and is a member of the Oklahoma Independent Producers Association Board, Oklahoma Energy Resources Board, Council of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, and the Australian Mines and Metals Association.

The Jim K. Bass Field Studies Scholarship awards two scholarships annually with a value of at least $2,000 each. Awards are given to undergraduate students majoring in Geology that will be enrolled in a required Field Studies Course. This scholarship was awarded to two students in 2015. Geography, Geology and Planning is very fortunate to have the support of Jim Bass.

The Missouri State University Alumni Association presents awards of recognition each year, and will be honoring Bass and other alumni and former staff for their outstanding accomplishments at the 60th Anniversary Bears of Distinction Dinner and Awards Ceremony on June 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Plaster Student Union. This event is open to the public and guests may purchase tickets online.


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Geology graduate student honored for poster

Vanna Carr, a graduate student studying geospatial science and environmental geology,  was honored by Geological Society of America (GAS). Carr’s poster, “Origin of Clastic Dykes in Southwest Missouri,” was selected as among the best of the Graduate Student Poster Presentations from the 2016 North Central Section of GAS and received an Honorable Mention. Carr was awarded a $100 […]

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