Dr. Stephen S. Gao, professor of geology and geophysics at Missouri S&T, has been named Curators’ Distinguished Teaching Professor of geology and geophysics. Gao will be officially recognized during S&T’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec. 15.
The Curators’ Teaching Professorship was established at Missouri S&T in 1990 to honor outstanding professors, call attention to teaching excellence, and foster improvements in teaching and learning. Gao teaches courses in fundamental geophysics, computational geophysics, geophysical data processing and tectonics.
Gao has been awarded over 30 externally funded projects supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Chemical Society and other agencies to support field work in Africa and Asia, as well as throughout the United States. His research expertise includes imaging the Earth’s deep interior, distributions of earthquakes and geophysical detection of buried objects.
Gao joined Missouri S&T in 2006 as an associate professor of geology and geophysics. In 2009, he was promoted to full professor. Since 2016, he has served as a senior investigator in S&T’s Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center. He has published over 90 refereed articles in journals including Nature and Science, and over 240 conference abstracts and proceedings and technical reports. At S&T, he has graduated 12 Ph.D. and 10 master’s students as the major advisor.
During his tenure at Missouri S&T, Gao has received nine Outstanding Teaching Awards as well as the Faculty Excellence Award, the Faculty Service Award, the Faculty Teaching Award, the Faculty Research Award and the Sustained Excellence in Outstanding Teaching Award. In April 2018, Gao received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was elected a fellow of the Geological Society of American in 2012.
Gao earned a bachelor of science degree in marine geology and geophysics from Ocean University of China in 1984. He earned master of science and Ph.D. degrees in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993 and 1995, respectively.