Foundation Award for Service

Matthew Pierson

Dr. Matthew Pierson

College of Natural and Applied Sciences
Cooperative Engineering

I. Philosophy of Service

At MSU my focus is to identify a need and pursue its fulfillment.  Additionally, helping other people is a fundamental behavior, or need, all people express.  This is the foundation (engineering pun) for every community that has ever, or will ever exist.  The willingness to help other people also helps the self.  So, I feel, the dichotomy of self and other centeredness is reinforcing.  In essence this makes service effortless, although certainly not instantly effortless.  With these two concepts as the cornerstones to my theory of service I have focused on needs that most closely align with my formal training and spheres of influence.  All of my service activities center on engineering as a profession and as a way to solve problems.  This could be through service to the fledgling Cooperative Engineering Program, students at MSU, K-12 students, or the greater Springfield region.  Efforts to serve a community are repaid through success and many times there is a return on that investment strengthening the community I am a part of and by extension strengthening me.  Thank you for all the opportunities I’ve had to serve.

II. Examples of service including service to University, discipline and community

In the past 5 years some of the ways I have served my department, college, MSU, and the community are:

  • Department/Engineering Students:  I was responsible for setting up most of the civil engineering lab space in the engineering program and for moving those labs to a new location.  Planning the new space was also a significant and fun service activity.  I am the faculty advisor for the Concrete Canoe team and the Steel Bridge team.  I was the faculty advisor for 34 senior design projects.  I am the recruitment coordinator for the Engineering Program.
  • College of Natural and Applied Sciences/University:  I have served on several committees and am currently the chair of the CNAS Undergraduate Recruitment and Retention Committee.  In this role I estimate I’ve made 25 recruitment visits, coordinated 8 group tours of Engineering, and helped implement new recruitment materials and plans.  I’ve been a guest lecturer in The Department of Geography, Geology, and Planning an estimated 19 times and have served GGP in a few other ways.  I’ve been a faculty fellow in the CNAS Living Learning Community since its inception.  I’ve been the external committee member on five Masters of Science committees.  I’ve led three stream cleanups.  I’ve been a team member of three science summer camps.
  • Community:  I am the coordinator of “Discover Engineering Day.”  I served on the Springfield/Greene County “Stormwater Taskforce” and the “Environmental Priorities Task Force.”  I’m a Chapter Director for the Ozark Chapter of the Missouri Society of Professional Engineers (MSPE).  I developed activities and curriculum for Springfield Public Schools related to Geology.  I developed activities and curriculum for the “Phys-Biz” and have attended an estimated 30 events with the Phys-Biz.  I’ve presented “Engineering Design Methods and Active Science Content Learning” to the Gifted Association of Missouri twice.  I’ve served on the Technical Education Advisory Committee at Ozark High School four times.  I volunteer at MSPE MathCounts, MSPE Shrimp Feed, and MSPE Model Bridge Competition.

III. Future Commitment to Service

I will continue to identify needs and pursue their fulfillment.  I hope to continue building on the successes of previous service activities as well.  Activities I will continue include:  faculty advisor to student design teams, recruitment activities, Coordinating “Discover Engineering Day,”  Being a Chapter Director for MSPE, providing science and engineering activities and curriculum for K-12, and many of the less distinguished, but important service needs.

IV. Topics related to service for which you are available for presentations and/or consultations

  • Advising student groups
  • Educational outreach
  • Sustainability/environmental responsibility
  • Engineering as it relates to MSU
  • Multi-disciplinary research proposals, or similar