Faculty and Staff


Dr Jason Allard, PhD, Professor of Geography (Climatology), PhD from The Pennsylvania State University. Teaches Weather & Climate; Global Climate Change, and Hazardous Environment.My research interests include: climate change and variability, quantifying climate change, human impacts on the climate, socio-economic impacts of climate change, and land surface-atmosphere interactions. 



Dr Cecilia Barnbaum, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, PhD in Astronomy from UCLA.  Teaches Introductory Astronomy, Astrobiology, Mathematical Methods of Physics, and Quantum Mechanics.

My research interests include: dying low-mass stars, molecules in space, chemical evolution of the Galaxy.  Things I used to do when I had time: spin wool, make quilts, write children's books. Love teaching, hate anchovies, fire ants, and rabies shots. 




Dr. Edward Chatelain, PhD,Department Head, Associate Professor of Geosciences, PhD in Geology from University of Iowa (1984). Teaches Introductory Geology courses, History of Life, Physiography of North America.

My research Interests include: upper Paleozoic Ammonoids, Dinosaur gastroliths, recent glacier retreat in the Rocky Mountains, Photogeology, and geology education.



Dr. Can Denizman, Ph,D Associate Professor of Geosciences, PhD in Geology from the University of Florida. Teaches Geosciences, Hydrology, Aqueous Geochemistry and GIS.

My research interests include karst geomorphology, hydrogeology, and application of GIS to earth and environmental sciences. Loves caves, mountains, oceans, cosmology, and music, especially jazz, fusion, and   progressive rock.





Dr. Dereth J. Drake, PhD, Associate Professor of Physics, PhD in Physics from Old Dominion University. Teaches calculus-based Physics, Computational Physics, Thermodynamics, and Plasma Physics.

My research interests include: planetary entry modeling for Jupiter and Titan; Experimental studies of small scale turbulent interactions in the solar wind; Laboratory studies of plasma stability during plasma processing of substrates.



Dr. Mary Fares, PhD, Professor of Physics, PhD in Electrical Engineering from Tennessee Technological University. Teaches Engineering courses (introduction, circuits, digital) and Physics courses (upper-level electricity and magnetism).

My research interests include electromagnetic field theory and applications, lasers, plasmas, and electro-optical systems. When not teaching, I like to camp, bake, and mostly spend time with my kids.





Dr. Weimin Feng,PhD, Assistant Professor of Geosciences, PhD in Geology from Southern Methodist University. Teaches Landforms, Geohazards, Geochemistry, Geostatistics, and Mineralogy.

My research interests are paleoclimate models.  My research aims to acquire new terrestrial paleoclimate records, develop new paleoclimate proxies, and calibrate existing ones. I use isotope tools to study materials formed in the low-temperature, near surface environments such as paleosols and speleothems.



Dr. Frank Flaherty, PhD, Professor of Physics, PhD in Physics from Fordham University. Currently teaches calculus-based Physics, Electronics, Optics, and Experimental Physics.

My research interests include: optics, molecular   spectroscopy, lasers. I am a member of a research group at Florida State   University studying surfaces using Helium atom scattering. My hobbies are   playing electric guitar and making bad puns.






Dr Mark Groszos, PhD, Associate Professor of Geosciences, PhD in Geology from Florida State University. Teaches many Geoscience courses.

My research interests include the tectonic development of the southern Appalachian mountains, structural geology and related fields, industrial mineral deposits, economic geology, and the geology of Nevada and surrounding states.

I like to travel, but I spend most of my free time working around the house. My favorite places are: The Blue Ridge Mountains of Georgia and North Carolina; Halifax, Nova Scotia; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and rural Nevada.



Dr Barry Hojjatie, PhD, Professor, PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida. Coordinator of the VSU Engineering Studies program highlighting the RETP connection to Georgia Tech.

My research interests include: Computer Aided Design/Engineering (CAD/CAE), Computational/Experimental mechanics and heat transfer analyses related to dental materials and other biomaterials, pulp and paper manufacturing, and paper physics.





Dr Martha A. Leake, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, PhD in Planetary Sciences from University of Arizona. Teaches Astronomy, some Geology and Physics, Physical Science, and Interdisciplinary courses.

My research interests include the studies of the surfaces, interiors and evolution of solid bodies in the solar system, from Mercury to Triton (and maybe Pluto), and spectroscopy of asteroids and other solar system bodies. And yes, I'm in the "Pluto-as-Planet" camp, although it is the largest of the Kuiper Belt objects. Plus, I'm learning to make tacos from scratch (masa harina, actually).



Dr. Jia LuPhD, Associate Professor of Geosciences, PhD from the Ohio State University in City and Regional Planning with minors in Geography, GIS,  Quantitative Analysis and Urban Economics. Teaches Regional Planning and Environmental Management, Urban Community Planning, World Regional Geography, Introduction to Land Forms, and GIS Applications in Planning.

My research interests include population and employment analyses, urban modeling, spatial analyses, GIS applications in planning and transportation, geography of China, city planning and urban development, as well as environmental analyses.






Dr Michael G. Noll, PhD, Professor of Geosciences, PhD in Geography from the University of Kansas. Teaches World Regional Geography, Cultural Geography, European Geography and Geography of the Middle East.

My research focuses on the narrated landscapes of Prince Maximilian of Wied (1782-1867), a German explorer and naturalist who traveled through the United States in 1832-34, accompanied by the Swiss painter Karl Bodmer (1809-1893). Other research interests include: community development along Highway 41; the Hispanization of the South; geography and geopolitics of the Middle East; the diffusion of Turkish culture and businesses throughout Germany; clean and renewable sources of energy.



Dr Kenneth Rumstay, PhD, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, PhD in Astronomy from Ohio State University. Teaches Physics and Astronomy.

My research interests include star formation, the interstellar medium, and active galaxies. Currently serving as VSU Observatory Director, and serve in the Physics and Astronomy Division of the   Council on Undergraduate Research.





Jessica Taylor
Senior Secretary


229-249-4846 (direct)
229-333-5752 (office)





Dr. Donald Thieme, PhD, Associate Professor, PhD in Archaeological Geology from University of Georgia. Teaches Geomorphology, Soils, Physical Geology, and Geohazards.

My primary research interests are the use of soils and paleosols for landform mapping and Quaternary stratigraphy, shallow   geophysics, paleomagnetism, and the stratigraphy of archaeological sites.


 Dr Paul Vincent, PhD, Associate Professor, PhD in Geography from Texas A&M University. Teaches technique courses in Geography, such as Computer Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) as well as introductory classes of human geography.

My current research interests include spatial cognition, methods utilized by individuals to learn GIS, and GIS applications.

In my free time, I like being with my family and working on my house.