Missouri State University
Geography, Geology and Planning Blog

Solar Eclipse

Monday, August 21, 11AM – 2PM: Classes will not be canceled during the eclipse. However, there will be a program and protective eyewear will be available at the football stadium entrance. The program begins @ 11:44AM and eclipse totality @ 1:13PM

PAMS has set up a fund to assist with the costs of the Solar Eclipse event  Give now

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Six former faculty, staff selected for 2017 Wall of Fame induction

How will you be remembered?

At Missouri State University, the Wall of Fame honors former faculty and staff who have made a significant impact on the campus community and brought about meaningful change.

Approved during the Board of Governors meeting today (May 18), the 2017 Wall of Fame Class includes: the late Dr. John Stephens Bowdidge, Dr. John Catau, Marilyn Chana, Dr. Bruce Johnson, Dr. Mike McElhaney and Sally Rowe.

This group represents about 154 years of combined full-time service to Missouri State.

“These individuals – many who continued to serve our campus community past their retirement – were tireless in their efforts to advance the university’s goals,” said President Clifton M. Smart III. “They were dedicated to making Missouri State great, and it is an honor to recognize them in this way.”

The induction ceremony

The honorees will have their plaques added to the wall outside of the Plaster Student Union Ballroom during a formal ceremony at 4 p.m. Oct. 27, in conjunction with Homecoming. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

The 2017 Wall of Fame Class

John Bowdidge

Dr. John Bowdidge (Aug. 18, 1975 – Dec. 18, 2009) was a natural master teacher. His lectures engaged students through humor and real-life examples of financial principles. He had an insatiable thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm for sharing it. With his involvement in the New York Study Tour Program, he mentored and encouraged students. He has been recognized for his prolific writings about international business issues, but is most remembered for his radio-announcer voice and positive attitude.

John Catau

Dr. John Catau (Aug. 14, 1978 – Jan. 31, 2012) was a SOAR adviser, associate provost, center director, acting department head and geography professor. In all roles, he provided a positive impression of the university. As the transfer articulation officer and member of the General Education Task Force, he improved the educational standards for incoming students. He was a respected scholar and teacher, but his legacy is in his steady, ethical and insightful leadership.

Marilyn Chana

Marilyn Chana (April 4, 1994 – Dec. 31, 2011) was a role model to students and administrative staff across campus. She exuded professionalism, meticulous attention to detail and tenacity, while also being an encourager and adviser. She oversaw the administration and implementation of the Citizen Scholar Award. In her role as president of the local chapter of
the International Association of Administrative Professionals, she worked to pursue greater professional development opportunities for administrative professionals.

Bruce Johnson

Dr. Bruce Johnson (Jan. 9, 1978 – May 15, 2009) taught students how to succeed in agricultural business by offering networking opportunities with industry leaders, advising the national honor society and improving leadership skills. He also served as the faculty athletics representative for 15 years in which he certified eligibility for student athletes, oversaw the NCAA self-study and served as an active cabinet member of the NCAA.


John McElhaney

Dr. Mike McElhaney (Aug. 21, 1972 – May 19, 1995) had a reputation for setting the bar high, expecting professionalism and pushing actors to think critically. He directed a Tent Theatre production of “Godspell” that was so popular, the troupe completed a USO tour through Europe. Though he encouraged the staging of groundbreaking new scripts like “The Normal Heart,” he also showed his love for the classics through Shakespeare workshops he developed for teachers and students around the state.

Sally Rowe

Sally Rowe (July 16, 1990 – May 31, 2005) easily built rapport with students and colleagues as she served in the office of career services. Beyond providing career placement guidance and reviewing application materials, she was also a mentor who was in tune with the everyday challenges. She was passionate and dedicated to student success, empowering students and helping them identify their strengths, goals and dreams.

For more information, contact Terry Weber, director of the Plaster Student Union, at 417-836-5886.

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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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