What was your initial experience with Missouri State?
I joined the physics, astronomy and materials science department in 2006. During the interview process for the department, I got to see Springfield and enjoyed my time there. I met other faculty from the College of Natural and Applied Science and met faculty that shared common interests with me. The University has state-of-the-art facilities for materials science research and opportunities for research between multiple departments.
What are some of your recent research projects?
We have been working on making biosensors, fuel cells and solar cells in various materials including clothing. I've also been working with faculty from the biomedical and biology departments to see how useful these cells could be in gene therapy and other medical procedures.
What do you enjoy the most about your research?
It's exciting for me to see the applicability of my work, particularly the usefulness of solar fuel cells for cars and the biomedical applications.
What are some of your proudest achievements in your career?
I was awarded a fellowship with the National Center for Electron Microscopy, which led to opportunities to work with scientists in many different universities and countries worldwide.
How do you teach your students, and how do you think your teaching techniques help them?
I try to put myself in my students' shoes because physics is a tough subject for many [students] because of its math component. You need to be patient and creative in your teaching. I always try to relate classroom learning to everyday living. You must show your students why [physics] is important, which is what gives them the motivation to study.
Why should students consider a major in your department?
We offer great opportunities to work with faculty on research projects. It's great experience for our students, especially since we have a faculty with many different specializations.
How does Missouri State prepare students for life beyond graduation?
I am impressed by the service learning opportunities for students as well as the public affairs emphasis. The University is both big enough and small enough. Students can get internships with companies in biomedical sciences like Mercy as far away as Kansas City and St. Louis.