Experience: the S&T difference

2015_dayofservice_discover


Service learning is one of the many ways Missouri S&T students can earn experiential learning credit. Student Adam Kochan, left, volunteers to paint the interior of the New Dimensional Christian Ministry in Rolla during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

The term experiential learning may be a recent invention, but Missouri S&T’s reputation for preparing students for the real world through a hands-on approach to learning extends back to our founding some 145 years ago. Starting this fall, it is now a formal part of the S&T student experience. [Read more…]

Learning outside the classroom box

2015_bohigian_discover


Missouri S&T students enrolled in the summer Field Ecology course return to the field station at the Bohigian Conservation Area after conducting experiments in Mill Creek.

Southwest of Rolla, 10 acres of land once farmed by some of the area’s earliest settlers is now being explored by Missouri S&T students, who are themselves pioneers of a sort.

Students who took Field Ecology, Cave Biology or Vegetation of the Ozarks courses over the summer were among the first to spend more time in this outdoor laboratory than inside a classroom. They studied in and alongside three spring-fed ponds, a wetland fen, a nearby stream and countless flora and fauna. [Read more…]

From the Middle East to the Midwest

Mohammad AlKazimi and Hanan Altabbakh with their children.              Sam O'Keefe/Missouri S&T

Mohammad AlKazimi and his wife Hanan Altabbakh pose for a family portrait with their children (from left) Abdullah, 12, Jana, 9, infant son Abdulrazzaq and Malak, 14. Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T

When Mohammad AlKazimi and Hanan Altabbakh return home to Kuwait later this summer, they will take a lot of Rolla with them.

They will return to their homeland with three Missouri S&T degrees between them, one additional child, several boxes of books, four black belts in Taekwondo and over six years of memories.  [Read more…]

Keenan Johnson, SpaceX man

Keenan Johnson

Keenan Johnson will start working for space exploration company SpaceX after graduating this December. Photo by Sam O’Keefe

As a freshman, Keenan Johnson conducted experiments in near-zero gravity aboard NASA’s “weightless wonder” aircraft as part of Missouri S&T’s Miners In Space Team.

Soon, he will be writing computer software that will send other vessels into space and ultimately to launch a mission to Mars.

Johnson, who graduates in December with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, will start working for space exploration company SpaceX in February. He’s already worked at the Hawthorne, California, company twice – first on a co-op assignment from January through August 2013 and then on an internship last summer. In both cases, he was part of the team that writes code to launch rockets into orbit. In February, he’ll rejoin that team as a full-time employee.

“My team writes all the software responsible for launching and operating the spacecraft,” he says. “It’s pretty exciting because the stakes are high for rocket launches. There’s not a lot of margin for error.”

Keenan Johnson inside SpaceX's new manned space capsule with Niraj Patel, a SpaceX staff member. Contributed photo

Keenan Johnson inside a mockup of SpaceX’s new manned space capsule with Niraj Patel, a SpaceX staff member.

It’s the excitement of working on the edge of space exploration that inspires Johnson. “The work environment is super dynamic and everything happens very quickly,” he says. “Everyone there is very passionate about what they’re doing.”

Johnson didn’t always envision a career in space exploration. The Jefferson City, Missouri, native wasn’t sure what he wanted to do when he enrolled at Missouri S&T. But after he joined Miners in Space as a freshman, “that taught me that this was possible,” he says. “In high school I never thought I’d be able to do anything like this.”

On his co-op and internship, Johnson developed software used to monitor and control the Falcon 9 rocket and the Dragon spacecraft. The experience “taught me how awesome it is to work on technology that is changing the world.”

Earlier this fall, SpaceX and Boeing both won NASA contracts to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. It’s an ambitious project. But to Johnson, it’s only a small step to a far greater leap.

“I hope to change the world,” he says. “I want to make humanity a space civilization. I want to do the things that will allow future generations to explore the cosmos and increase the quality of life here on Earth.”

by Andrew Careaga

Film for thought

Max Tohline

Max Tohline uses movies to inspire students to “come up with questions that have never been asked.”

Max Tohline came to Missouri S&T from Madeira, Ohio, in 2002 with a plan to study aerospace engineering. But it was an elective course in film that caused his true passion to take flight. [Read more…]

International Toastmaster

Missouri S&T Ph.D. student Sudharshan Anandan will compete in an international public speaking competition in English -- not his native language.

Missouri S&T Ph.D. student Sudharshan Anandan will compete in an international public speaking competition in English — not his native language. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Like many international students who plan to become teaching assistants, Sudharshan Anandan enrolled in Missouri S&T’s graduate teaching assistant workshop in 2012. Missouri law requires international students to successfully complete the GTA workshop before they can become teaching assistants. [Read more…]

Cell (phone) biologist

Daniel Miller, a recent biological sciences M.S. graduate, built a DIY microscope with less than $10 in materials and a smartphone.

Daniel Miller, a recent biological sciences M.S. graduate, built a DIY microscope with less than $10 in materials and a smartphone. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Armed with a smartphone and a few dollars’ worth of trinkets and hardware store supplies, Daniel Miller is helping Missouri S&T students gain a new perspective on the world of cellular biology. [Read more…]

Lessons on living

Kevin Clark will graduate this spring with his bachelor's degree in chemistry. Photo by Sam O'Keefe.

Kevin Clark graduated this spring with his bachelor’s degree in chemistry. Photo by Sam O’Keefe.

Kevin Clark has learned a lot of lessons during his four years at Missouri S&T. But the most important lessons, he says, didn’t come out of a textbook, classroom or chemistry lab, nor from one of the many student organizations he’s been involved with at S&T.

[Read more…]

Building a case for business

Sophomore Connor Wolk with his engraved iPhone case that sports his fraternity letters. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Sophomore Connor Wolk with the iPhone case that he created. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Connor Wolk’s favorite TV show is “Shark Tank,” a reality program that gives would-be entrepreneurs a shot at pitching their business ideas to a panel of billionaires — the “sharks” who could turn dreams into deals.

[Read more…]

Seth Burgett: His buds are for you

Photo of Seth Burgett courtesy of yurbuds.

Photo of Seth Burgett courtesy of yurbuds.

Six-hour workouts can take a toll on the fittest of athletes. But when Seth Burgett, a 1994 mechanical engineering graduate, was training for a triathlon in 2007, it wasn’t his legs or back that caused him the most pain.

[Read more…]

Commanding the ‘boom’

Senior Jordan Verslues (right) leads the Army ROTC’s cannon crew. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Senior Jordan Verslues leads the Army ROTC’s cannon crew. Photo by B.A. Rupert.

Jordan Verslues hasn’t missed a single home football game at Missouri S&T during the past three years, and he’s on track for perfect attendance again this season.

[Read more…]

%d bloggers like this: