Earth Science Faculty (and their latest adventures)

(Click on the photo to see the faculty member's personal webpage.)

Dr. Alivia J. Allison

Assistant Professor. General Earth Science, Natural Hazards, Paleoseismology, Geoarchaeology, Geomorphology, Soil Science

Phone: (620) 341- 5984, Room 109B

B.S. University of Missouri at Kansas City, 2004
M.S. University of Missouri at Kansas City, 2007
Ph.D. University of Missouri at Kansas City, 2013.

....I am a co-PI on a U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Institute of Food and Agriculture Division (USDA-NIFA) grant entitled, “Unmanned Aerial Systems and Precision Agriculture: Building Capacity in Emerging Technology,” in collaboration with Fort Hays State University (FHSU) and Hutchison Community College (HCC).The purpose of this research is to develop and promote new curricula and outreach focused on the acquisition of data gathered via unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and the incorporation of these remote-sensing data with contemporary agricultural technologies (UAV-Precision Agriculture) with the intention of attracting, recruiting, and retaining students in the food and agricultural sciences fields from across a broad landscape of agricultural environments.

Michael Morales

Dr. Michael Morales

Geology Museum Director, Associate Professor and Program Head: Paleontology, General Earth Science

Phone: (620) 341-5978, Room 108B

B.S. University of California Davis, 1973.
M.A. University of California Davis, 1975.
Ph.D. University of California Berkeley, 1978.

...I and undergrad student Derick Stockton conducted field work in the Hell Creek Formation, of Late Cretaceous (66 mya) age, in eastern Montana.  We prospected for and collected dinosaur and other vertebrate fossils and we measured sections of rock for a research paper that will describe a new specimen of the ceratopsian (horned) dinosaur Torosaurus.

Dr. Marcia K. Schulmeister

Professor. Hydrogeology, Environmental Geology, Low-temperature Geochemistry

Phone: (620) 341- 5983, Room 119

Ph.D., The University of Kansas (Geology/Hydrogeology), 2000.
M.S., Michigan State University (Geology/Geochemistry), 1993.
B.S., University of Illinois (Geology), 1985.

....Dr. Schulmeister collaborated with students and faculty at two universities in Thailand this past summer. As a visiting professor at Khon Kaen University, she continued her research on the flowing groundwater wells in north-eastern Thailand with ESU graduate student, Katy Schwinghamer, and advised research on metal contamination associated with landfills of KKU graduate student, Biu Romyupa. With colleagues at Naresuan University, she contributed the keynote address on technology for addressing the country's new environmental policies at a Thai Federation of Industry workshop.

Richard Sleezer

Dr. Richard Sleezer

Professor and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and SciencesGeomorphology, Soil Science, Climatology, Meteorology, Water Resources,GIS.

Phone: (620) 341-5278, Room 119

B.S. Emporia State University, Kansas, 1987.
M.S. Emporia State University, 1990.
Ph.D. University of Kansas, 2001.


Dr. Paul Zunkel

Assistant Professor

Phone: 620-341-5977, Room 109A

B.S., Mankato State University, 2011.
M.S. Mankato State University, 2013.
Ph.D. Texas State University, 2017.

...I went to Minnesota State University, Mankato for my undergraduate degree, where I majored in Atmospheric Science/Geography. I graduated in 2011 but thanks to a little thing called The Great Recession, the job market was non-existent so I decided to stay for grad school. My thesis examined the education level of storm chasers to determine possible indications of storm chasing travel distance (Do storm chasers with more education travel greater distances to chase tornadoes?). I graduated from MNSU with my masters degree in geography in 2013 and immediately moved to San Marcos, Texas to begin my doctorate at Texas State University. My dissertation examined the sensation-seeking and motivational characteristics of (you guessed it!) storm chasers (Why do storm chasers engage in the chasing activity?). I graduated from Texas State University with my PhD in geography in spring 2017. 

I have other avenues of research besides my work involving the human-environmental interactions of thunderstorms and storm chasers. I am also interested in the landscapes and geography of fermentation (beer, wine, and spirits) and the physiographic realism within modern open-world video games (imagined landscapes)."



Emeritus Faculty and Staff

Dr. James S. Aber

Roe R. Cross Distinguished Professor. Quaternary geology, Tectonic Geology, Remote Sensing and GIS

Phone: (620) 341-5981, Room 119

B.S. State Univ. of New York at Binghamton, 1974.
M.S. University of Kansas, 1976.
Ph.D. University of Kansas, 1978.

...I hosted two exchange professors from the Technical University of Košice (Slovakia) in May.  We investigated tectonic conditions in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and San Luis Valley of southern Colorado.  In June, I went to Slovakia for similar observations of the Carpathian Mountains.  In both places, we conducted kite aerial photography o document mountain structures and landforms (see

Dr. Susan W. Aber

Director, Science and Math Education Center. Mineralogy, Gemstones, U.S. Depository Map Librarian

Phone: 620-341-5977, Science and Math Education Center

B.S., University of Kansas, 1977.
Ph.D., Emporia State University, 2005.

Gemological Institute of America, California: Diamond Certificate, 1981; Colored Stones Certificate, 1986; Gemologist, 1987; Gold and Precious Metals Certificate, 1994.

...In June, I presented on Peterson Planetarium: Evolution and Function of a Small Planetarium at the International Planetarium Society annual meeting in Warsaw, Poland.  While there I attended talks and previewed the latest science educational materials and fulldome planetarium video shows and equipment, as well as participated in a live star map! I toured the largest planetariums in Poland and Slovakia, conducted kite aerial photography field work in the Carpathian Mountains in north Slovakian and vineyards in southern Slovakia, as well as visited several caves in the karst region. Late summer has been spent finishing a book on Map Librarianship and Geoliteracy, co-authored with our oldest son, Jeremy, an Assistant Professor in GIS and Geography, Middle Tennessee State University. 

Mr. Paul Johnston

Professor Emeritus: paleontology, general earth science, regional geology, Johnston Geology Museum

Phone: 620-341-5330

B.S. Geology, University of Kansas
M.S. Geology, University of Kansas

 ....Paul stays too busy to comment while continuing to discover new rock and fossil sites in Kansas. After 50+ years of service to ESU, he has set the bar high, and continues to inspire the rest of us. 

Dr. Kenneth Thompson

Professor: General Earth Science, Physical Science, Teacher Education

Phone: (620) 341-5985, Room 230C

...Nearly 50 Kansas teachers (roughly an equal number from science, mathematics, engineering, technology, and information science) are taking classes together as they work toward earning an ESU information, technology, and scientific literacy certificate.  Current students have tuition, books, and some travel expenses paid by a three-year grant (~$499,000) from an Institute of Museums and Library Services, Laura Bush 21st Century Learning grant.  More information can be found at: 


Adjunct Faculty

  • Volli Kalm -- Professor: Glacial and Quaternary geology. University of Tartu, Estonia. 
  • Daniel Merriam -- Senior Scientist, Kansas Geologic Survey: regional geology, stratigraphy and structural geology of Kansas. 
  • K. David Newell --Associate Scientist,  Kansas Geologic SurveyCarbonate geology, fluid inclusions, unconventional energy resources, CO2 sequestration.
  • Firooza Pavri--Associate Professor of Geography,University of Southern Maine: geography, foresty and wetlands, remote sensing and GIS.
  • Cheyrl M. Seeger -- Unit Chief, Geologist IV,Missouri Department of Natural Resources: Geologic mapping, mining and minerals
  • Rungruang Lertsirivorakul -- Associate Professor, Khon Kean University, Thailand: hydrogeology, geology of Thailand
  • Steven Veatch -- Veatch Geoscience, Colorado.: geology of Colorado, economic geology, paleontology.