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Millsaps Professor Honored by Peers for Field and Research Opportunities

by Web on December 5, 2018

Dr. Jamie Harris, professor of geology at Millsaps College, is the 2018 recipient of the Harold Mooney Award from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists.

The award, which is given to an individual in recognition of long-term, tireless, and enthusiastic support of the near-surface geophysics community through education, outreach efforts, professional service, or development of opportunities with other professional disciplines that employ geophysics, was presented on Oct. 16 at the SEG annual meeting in Anaheim, California, by the Near Surface Technical Section.

Harris, who was nominated and selected by his peers, was recognized for his dedication to undergraduate education through hands-on field experiences and research opportunities afforded to his students.

“I’m deeply honored to be acknowledged by the SEG with the 2018 Mooney Award. It’s truly a testament to the students, faculty, and many collaborators who have contributed to building an internationally-recognized near-surface geophysics program at Millsaps,” he said. “Geophysics instruction and research at the undergraduate level is fairly uncommon, particularly in a liberal arts setting, and I’m grateful to past and present departmental colleagues and administrators at Millsaps for their support of the geophysics program over the years.”

Harris earned undergraduate degrees in geology from Eastern Kentucky University and geophysics from the University of Houston and a master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Kentucky. At Millsaps, he teaches introductory geology courses and upper level courses in geophysics and structural geology. In addition, he has taught field courses in southwest Montana, the Pacific Northwest, Yellowstone, the Appalachians, Alaska, and Scotland.

Harris has developed an active field-based research program focused on seismic imaging of the shallow subsurface. In recent years, he has travelled to Italy to present an invited paper on near-surface seismic methods, and served as a keynote speaker for an international geophysics conference in China. In 2006 he was named Millsaps' Distinguished Professor, and in 2009 was recognized as the Mississippi Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

“The geophysics program at Millsaps, coupled with the development of our near-surface geophysics research lab, has grown enormously over the past two decades,” Harris said. “In that time, the program has produced nearly three dozen research students, many of whom have either published their undergraduate research in professional journals or presented results at professional meetings. This student-centered research, mostly applied to neotectonics and earthquake hazards, groundwater, engineering, and archaeological projects, has been funded externally by research agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey and the National Science Foundation, and internally through the Jennifer L. Sorrells Geophysics Fellowship. Over 75 percent of our geophysics program alumni have gone on to earn graduate degrees from high-level geophysics programs across the U.S.”

The Society of Exploration Geophysicists is a learned society dedicated to promoting the science of geophysics and the education of exploration geophysicists. The society fosters the expert and ethical practice of geophysics in the exploration and development of natural resources, in characterizing the near-surface, and in mitigating earth hazards. The society has more than 28,000 members working in more than 130 countries.