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.

(Photo by B.A. Rupert)

But I didn’t really get to know Dr. Cawlfield until the summer of 2001, when I participated in Geology Field Camp out in the southern Utah desert. One day during the three-week camp, Dr. Cawlfield joined us for a hike and visited our apartments to check out the local accommodations. While there, he also informed me that he would be my adviser for my upcoming – and final – semester at Missouri S&T, as my long-time adviser was leaving the department after field camp.
At the time, I thought, “Sure, but what’s to advise? I’ve got my classes lined up and then I’m outta here.” But instead I said, “Great. I’m looking forward to it.”
Shortly after classes resumed in August, Jeff – as the field camp veterans were “rited” into addressing him – emailed me to set up a meeting to discuss my goals. I arrived at his office and we engaged in a friendly catch-up before, in his words, we got down to business. He asked about my post-graduation plans, what kind of job I wanted, whether I had my resume ready to go, whether I had contacted companies about full-time employment, and if I was utilizing the Career Opportunities Center’s services.
I indicated uncertainty about the specific industry I wanted to enter, but told him that I frequently visited the Career Opportunities Center and had the first of four interviews in a couple days. Dr. Cawlfield then asked for my resume, and launched into a miniature mock interview.
I was caught off guard. I thought, “Whoa, why is my adviser asking about my five-year plan?” I hadn’t thought that far ahead, I explained, and told him that I wanted to gain a variety of experience in the first years before focusing my career plan. He built on my response, asking a few more introspective, rather than standard, questions. At the interview’s end, he gave a hearty laugh and said he’d hire me. He offered valuable critiques of the exercise and insightful points to consider when evaluating my offers, all with a big grin that gave me a great kick of confidence. He preemptively offered a letter of recommendation and closed our meeting with an open-door invitation to come back whenever I needed assistance.
I took the invitation to heart and was in his office often that last semester, seeking counsel on those offers that did come in and requesting a green light for missing more than a few classes to go on interview trips. His support was invaluable, and quite humbling considering I thought he had nothing to advise me about. I missed out on being in the classroom setting with Dr. Cawlfield, but I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have had him as an adviser.
Kelly Young, GeoE’01, is a project engineer at URS Corp. based in Denver. She enjoys hiking, camping and snowboarding and is always up for a concert or sporting event.

Around the Puck

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2018

8,607 Students enrolled for the fall semester at Missouri S&T. Classes started Aug. 20. 91 Percentage of first-year freshmen who receive scholarships and financial aid.

[Read More...]

Making tornado alley safer

Growing up in northeast China, Guirong “Grace” Yan didn’t see many tornados in a country where the number of documented twisters is a fraction of those that hit the United States. But as her academic career took Yan to several postdoctoral fellowships and then faculty positions in Indiana, Missouri and Texas, the assistant professor of […]

[Read More...]

Living laboratory houses lead battery research

This past November, Missouri S&T installed two new advanced lead battery microgrid systems at the EcoVillage, a “living laboratory” that is home to S&T’s solar-powered homes.

[Read More...]

Partners for progress

An expansion of the partnership between Missouri S&T and Missouri State University will allow students to pursue a mechanical engineering degree on the Missouri State campus with courses taught by faculty from both institutions. Students began applying this fall. The program will begin in fall 2019.

[Read More...]

Chancellor search is underway

This past August, University of Missouri President Mun Choi announced the formation of a 23-member committee to lead a nationwide search for a chancellor at Missouri S&T.

[Read More...]