Rosmait's Summers are Out of This World

Rosmait's Summers are Out of This World

Somewhere along the line, Russ Rosmait's career took a turn upward, though quite farther than he'd imagined. Rosmait BS '81, MS '85 is an associate professor at Pittsburg State University (Kansas), but a summer fellowship with NASA in 1991 turned his mind toward outer space. He has spent his summers since in pursuit of space and aviation goals.

In 1991, 1992 and 1995, he worked at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., as part of an engineering team researching new manufacturing technologies in an effort to lower the cost of space access. He'll return to Huntsville once again this summer.

"My job as a NASA Summer Fellow is basically to provide assistance to the current NASA engineering and research efforts," said Rosmait. "As a Fellow, you're given a very small part of a major project. You research your small part, and that is added as support for the major project research effort."

"After my first summer, I really fell in love with NASA and the United States space program," said Rosmait. "If you saw the movie Apollo 13 and loved it, you'll know what I mean. During summers at Marshall Space Flight Center, it was like a new Apollo journey every day. A journey of discovery that only ends when the summer ends."

Rosmait loved it so much that he spent the summers of 1993 and 1994 pursuing an Ed.D. in Aviation and Space Education at Oklahoma State University, where NASA contracts all education services and outreach programs. In 1995 he returned to NASA. He was awarded his Ed.D. this year.

Rosmait has had a varied career since he first graduated with an industrial education degree from Stout in 1981. After a half year of subbing in the Milwaukee Public Schools, he returned to Stout to complete his M.S. in Vocational Education.

Following graduate work, Rosmait worked for the American Foundrymen's Society (AFS) as the assistant director of the Cast Metals Institute, the research and training arm of AFS, conducting training programs for the cast metals industry.

In 1986, Rosmait took a position as a foundry process engineer with Marathon Electric in Wausau, Wis. In the spring of 1987, he applied for a faculty position at Pittsburg State University on an impulse. By fall he was back in the classroom teaching Principles of Metalcasting, Materials and Metallurgy, and Manufacturing Processes.

In addition to his teaching duties, Rosmait is active in the Foundry Educational Foundation and serves as faculty adviser for Pittsburg's AFS student chapter. In 1994 he was voted Pittsburg's Outstanding Teaching Faculty by students and alumni.

The summer work for NASA has had practical application in Rosmait's classroom. "One of the biggest ways it helps me in the classroom is in adding a level of credibility that I didn't have before. My students even think I know something now," he joked. "It helps to be able to use examples of new technologies that are just being developed - that the general public won't see for a few years down the road."

Rosmait credits his Stout teachers for laying a solid foundation for his own success as a teacher. "I try to teach like teachers I admired the most at Stout. Chuck Krueger and Bob Melrose are two professors that come to my mind immediately," he said. "They influenced me the most. Their teaching style and rapport with students are how I model my classes. I probably could attribute my Outstanding Teaching Award to them."

Outlook Spring '96