Mines News

Release Date Tuesday, January 12, 2021

South Dakota Mines Geophysicist Chosen for Prestigious Jefferson Science Fellowship at State Department

Timothy Masterlark, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at South Dakota Mines, has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences for a Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF). He was sworn into the program via virtual ceremony on Jan 4.

Timothy Masterlark, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering at South Dakota Mines, has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences for a Jefferson Science Fellowship (JSF). During his yearlong fellowship in Washington, D.C., Masterlark will take an advisory role with the U.S. Department of State to provide expertise in policy decisions for rapidly advancing science, technology and engineering arenas that have a global impact.

Masterlark will be part of the Special Programs team attached to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, High Threat Programs Directorate. His activities will include developing policy and planning to help enhance, enact and enforce security standards that protect U.S. diplomatic operations. Additionally, he will work on emergency preparedness and crisis response with the Department of Defense and the interagency community. During the fellowship year, Masterlark will also deliver a lecture as part of the JSF Distinguished Lecture Series.

Masterlark’s expertise in geophysics includes research into the causes of natural disasters. This may seem unrelated to the security mission of the State Department but Masterlark says, “I spent my entire career developing numerical models to study natural hazards and risk assessments for earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Adapting these skills to risk assessments needed by the Special Programs team is a natural extension of my capabilities.”

Masterlark is also a veteran: he served four years in the United States Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “As a patriot, I am eager to contribute this integration of my career, lifestyle and world view toward improving global security and the betterment of society,” he says. Masterlark currently serves as the Honorary Commander of the 28th Munitions Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth AFB, SD.

Masterlark’s participation in the JSF will bring national and international attention to South Dakota and the far-reaching impact of South Dakota Mines. “Tim Masterlark is a fantastic representative of the high-caliber faculty we are fortunate to have at South Dakota Mines. His exemplary service is an inspiration to the entire university community,” says South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin.

Masterlark begins his fellowship in January 2021. Following his tenure as a JSF fellow in Washington, D.C., he will return to his work as a professor at South Dakota Mines. He will remain available to the US State Department as a consultant for short-term projects over the subsequent five years.

View the National Academy of Sciences press release on the 2020-21 Jefferson Science Fellows here

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About South Dakota Mines  

Founded in 1885, South Dakota Mines is one of the nation’s leading engineering, science and technology universities. South Dakota Mines offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees and a best-in-class education at an affordable price. The university enrolls 2,475 students with an average class size of 24. The South Dakota Mines placement rate for graduates is 96 percent, with an average starting salary of more than $66,500. For these reasons College Factual ranks South Dakota Mines, the #1 Engineering School for Return on Investment. Find us online at www.sdsmt.edu and on FacebookTwitter, LinkedInInstagram and Snapchat.  

Contact: Mike Ray, 605-394-6082, mike.ray@sdsmt.edu