Natural Sciences

Professor receives Jefferson Science Fellowship | Farm Forum

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

South Dakota Mines Geophysicist Chosen for Prestigious Jefferson Science Fellowship at State Department

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Timothy Masterlark, Ph.D., a professor in the department of geology and geological engineering at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences for a Jefferson Science Fellowship. During his yearlong fellowship in Washington, D.C., Masterlark will take an advisory role with the U.S. Department of State to provide expertise in policy decisions for rapidly advancing science, technology and engineering arenas that have a global impact.

Masterlark will be part of the Special Programs team attached to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, High Threat Programs Directorate. His activities will include developing policy and planning to help enhance, enact and enforce security standards that protect U.S. diplomatic operations. Additionally, he will work on emergency preparedness and crisis response with the Department of Defense and the interagency community. During the fellowship year, Masterlark will also deliver a lecture as part of the JSF Distinguished Lecture Series.

Masterlark’s expertise in geophysics includes research into the causes of natural disasters. This may seem unrelated to the security mission of the State Department, but Masterlark says, “I spent my entire career developing numerical models to study natural hazards and risk assessments for earthquakes, volcanoes and tsunamis. Adapting these skills to risk assessments needed by the Special Programs team is a natural extension of my capabilities.”

Masterlark is also a veteran: he served four years in the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “As a patriot, I am eager to contribute this integration of my career, lifestyle and world view toward improving global security and the betterment of society,” he says. Masterlark currently serves as the honorary commander of the 28th Munitions Squadron, 28th Bomb Wing, Ellsworth Air Force Base.

Masterlark’s participation in the JSF will bring national and international attention to South Dakota and the far-reaching impact of South Dakota Mines. “Tim Masterlark is a fantastic representative of the high-caliber faculty we are fortunate to have at South Dakota Mines. His exemplary service is an inspiration to the entire university community,” says South Dakota Mines President Jim Rankin.

Masterlark begins his fellowship in January 2021. Following his tenure as a JSF fellow in Washington, D.C., he will return to his work as a professor at South Dakota Mines. He will remain available to the U.S. State Department as a consultant for short-term projects over the subsequent five years.

About the author

Mamie M. Arndt