Teachers who made a difference

Great teachers are at the heart of every great university. From college professors to kindergarten teachers, one thing all educators have in common is a sense of the impact they can have on the life of a child – or a college student, for that matter. Whether they teach math, engineering or art history, Missouri S&T teachers do so with dedication and determination, sharing life lessons along the way.

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Ron Bieniek, professor of physics

My first interaction with Ronald Bieniek occurred in the fall of 1996, a few days after my first Physics 23 exam. I got a “D” on the test and I was very upset. After all, this was the first D I had ever gotten on an exam. It wasn’t supposed to happen because I had been a top high-school student, I was good at physics (or so I thought), and I had studied the night before the exam. I explained to Professor Bieniek that clearly there must have been something wrong with his test.

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Chris Ramsay, former professor of materials science and engineering

Throughout my time at Missouri S&T, Dr. Chris Ramsay, MetE’83, MS MetE’85, continually challenged me and fellow members of Pi Kappa Alpha to be better men, and to become an integral part of the university and the Rolla community. He is a central part of the continued success of Missouri S&T’s PiKA chapter. He encourages the chapter to think strategically, to develop a road map, and to manage by tracking progress to milestones. We all use these important lessons after graduation. Ramsay is a firm believer that the fraternity is a proving ground for the development of the leadership skills that are required for success in today’s global marketplace.

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Diana Ahmad, associate professor of history and political science

When I think about the teachers who made a difference in my life, Diana Ahmad is one that sticks out in my memory. She is the one who convinced me, and a great deal of other students, to pursue a history minor.

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Ernest Gutierrez, former instructor of photography

Probably the course that taught me things that have been most interesting to me over the years was Photography, taught by Ernesto Gutierrez, Engl’77. Ernie taught me, among other things, that using the smallest aperture behind my camera’s lens would give me the most accurate focus.

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Jeff Cawlfield, professor of geological sciences and engineering

I never had a class with Jeff Cawlfield during my time at Missouri S&T. Of course, I knew him. He was the head of the department, he frequently attended Association of Engineering Geologists meetings, and he had a pretty good reputation as a teacher.

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Daniel Stutts, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering

If helping a wandering undergraduate student find focus and, in the process, a career qualifies as an “impact,” then I would say that Daniel Stutts made a huge impact on my life.

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Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, professor of geological sciences and engineering

When I came to the United States from South America for my master’s degree at Missouri S&T, I did not know anyone in the whole country, except my adviser, Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, and her family.

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Gary Patterson, professor emeritus of chemical engineering

I would imagine that someone who never met Gary Patterson, ChE’60, PhD ChE’66, would be impressed by his intellect, humility and energy. He is a person who some people would call a go-getter, a driven, type A personality with integrity and passion. I never heard him utter a discouraging word, a complaint or a negative comment about anyone or anything. He seemed to accept whatever happened as a challenge to overcome or resolve. As you can see, he has several admirable qualities.

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William Andrews, former professor of civil engineering

William Andrews was my favorite professor and, without a doubt, the most brilliant, perceptive and best teacher I have ever known – but he was also my very special friend. I struggled with addressing him as “Bill” (which after my graduation he insisted on) because of the utmost respect and admiration I carried for him. While he was most comfortable being referred to as “Bill,” to me it seemed too ordinary for such an extraordinary man.

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