Assistant Professor of Geology
Education: bachelor of science in geology from Bloomsburg University; master of science in geology from Texas Christian University; Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kentucky
Dr. Zachary A. Musselman, assistant professor of geology at Millsaps, is a recipient of the Outstanding Young Faculty Award. He received a one-semester release from teaching and $1,000 to support his research activities.
Dr. David C. Davis, interim vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College, said Musselman has proven success in both the traditional classroom setting and in the geology field program in Yellowstone National Park. "He has shown himself to be a dedicated and challenging teacher, well-liked by his students, and well-respected by his colleagues," he said.
A full-time assistant professor at Millsaps since 2007, Musselman teaches six courses: Geosystems, Plate Tectonics and Earth History, Sedimentary Geology, Process Geomorphology, Yellowstone Field Study, and Folded Rocks - Crossing the Appalachia.
Marie Thomas, a Millsaps student who is majoring in biology and planning to minor in geology and education, said Musselman presents concepts clearly and is an example of how to be an effective teacher. "I'm planning on teaching and going to graduate school after I leave Millsaps, and I believe my experience working with Dr. Musselman in the Ford Fellowship Program will be most valuable," she said.
Musselman used his release time during the fall 2010 semester to collect data within the Pearl River basin to test Sternberg's Law. Sternberg's law, also known as the abrasion law, attempts to establish a general relationship between textural characteristics of alluvium - clay, silt, sand, gravel, or similar material deposited by running water - in streams and the location of that alluvium within the stream profile.
He also scouted locations for a field trip to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. "A majority of the geologic rock record is preserved within coastal sedimentary environments, making coastal environments and processes crucial to the understanding of how much of Earth's history is recorded," he said.
Musselman's field of research is fluvial geomorphology, with an emphasis on geomorphic processes in streams of the coastal plain of the Gulf Coast. "I emphasize the use of field-based studies in my research on geomorphic change, as fieldwork is an indispensable tool for investigating systems that incorporate both surficial processes and human impacts over varying temporal and spatial scales," he said.
His current research focuses on the downstream effects of the Ross Barnett Reservoir and dam on the Pearl River.
"My research plan for the next three years will include continuing research on the geomorphology of the Pearl River and testing Sternberg's Law," he said. Musselman serves as faculty adviser to the Geology Club, which is open to any student who is interested in geology, and as adviser to Phi Eta Sigma, the nation's oldest and largest honor society for first year college and university students in all disciplines.
Musselman has a bachelor of science in geology from Bloomsburg University; a master of science in geology from Texas Christian University; and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Kentucky. His wife, Kristin, is gifts administrator for Institutional Advancement at Millsaps.
Dr. James B. Harris, professor and chair of the Geology Department at Millsaps, praised Musselman for bringing new ideas and energy to the geology program. "He is an outstanding teacher, both in the classroom and in the field."