Stephen F. Austin State University

Faculty & Staff

Department of Geology Faculty & Staff

Geology Faculty & Staff
L-R: Kevin Stafford, Wesley Brown, LaRell Nielson, Liane Stevens, Pat Sharp, Mindy Faulkner, Shana Scott, Chris Barker, Wesley Turner

Department Chair

Dr. Wesley Brown
Dr. Wesley Brown - Professor and Department Chair Office: Miller Science Building, Room 301-B Phone: 936.468.2422
Dr. Brown was born and raised in Manchester, Jamaica. He earned his B.S. degree in Geology from the University of the West Indies (UWI) and his M.S. and PhD in geophysics from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). After conducting postdoctoral research with the Texas A&M Research Center in El Paso, Dr. Brown joined SFA where he now teaches Physical and Historical Geology, Introductory Geophysics and Graduate Geophysics courses. His research interests are in earthquake seismology and environmental geophysics. Dr. Brown is a member of the America Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), American Geophysical Union (AGU), Society of Exploration Geophysicists (SEG), and Seismological Society of America (SSA). His hobbies include cricket, chess, dominoes and scrabble.

Faculty and Staff

Dr. Chris Barker
Dr. Chris Barker - Associate Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 305 Phone: 936.468.2340
Dr. Barker received his B.S. degree from the University of Texas at Austin, his M.S. from Baylor University, and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina, all in geology. He teaches Physical, Historical and Structural Geology, Metamorphic Petrology, Oceanography, graduate classes in advanced structural geology and regional tectonics, the Hill Country and Galveston weekend field trips and is Director of the Summer Field Course. Dr. Barker is also the webmaster for the Geology Department. Here is his personal webpage.
Dr. Melinda Faulkner
Dr. Melinda Faulkner - Assistant Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 307 Phone: 936.468.2236
Melinda Shaw Faulkner received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from SFA. She is currently working on a PhD in environmental studies through SFA's College of Forestry. She teaches introductory and historical geology (and is coordinator of the labs for those courses), geochemistry, structural geology lab, the Hill Country and Arkansas field trips, Summer Field Camp -- and is one of our most popular instructors. In Summer 2008, she co-taught a new field course: Geochemistry of the American Southwest. Ms. Shaw has 3 delightful kids who keep her well entertained and she recently married a lucky fellow named Joel.
Dr. R. LaRell Nielson
Dr. R. LaRell Nielson - Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 301 Phone: 936.468.2248
Dr. R. LaRell Nielson was born and raised in Utah. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah. His major interests while at Brigham Young University were geomorphology, sedimentology, paleontology, and stratigraphy. Thesis work involved modeling of volcanic landforms and study of geomorphic evolution of the Crater Hill Volcanic field of Zion National Park, Utah. He received a Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where he specialized in stratigraphy, sedimentology, paleontology and geomorphology. Dissertation work involved a stratigraphic analysis of the Kaibab and Toroweap Formations on the western Colorado Plateau. Before coming to SFA he taught at Texas Christian University for two years. Dr. Nielson's hobbies include shooting, hiking, backpacking, hunting, and fishing. Current research interests are late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic stratigraphy of the Colorado Plateau, and Rocky Mountains, and Eocene stratigraphy of East Texas. He teaches Introductory Geology, The Earth Through Time, Geomorphology, Stratigraphy, Advanced Historical Geology, Paleontology, Field Camp, Sequence Stratigraphy, Depositional Systems, and Basin Analysis. Dr. Nielson is the faculty advisor for the Geologic Student Association and American Association of Petroleum Geologists Student Chapter at Stephen F. Austin State University.
Patricia Sharp
Patricia Sharp - Instructor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 303 Phone: 936.468.2095
Mrs. Sharp received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in geology from SFA. Before returning as a faculty member, she was employed by Texaco in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mrs. Sharp currently teaches General Geology I, General Geology II, and Earth Science Activities for Teachers. She developed three online courses and teaches them throughout the year. Ms. Sharp has led numerous Earth Science workshops for teachers across East Texas and assisted teachers in conducting Earth Science activities within their classrooms. After twenty-five years, Ms. Sharp stepped down from coordinating labs and returned to full-time teaching. She has received the University Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Sciences and Mathematics as well as the Outstanding Excellence in Online Education Award. Mrs. Sharp has two children and one grandchild.
Dr. Kevin Stafford
Dr. Kevin Stafford - Associate Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 309 Phone: 936.468.2429
Dr. Kevin Stafford received his B.S. in geology from the University of Texas at Austin, his M.S. in geoscience from Mississippi State University and his Ph.D. in geology from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology. He specializes in cave and karst studies, specifically void formation, secondary mineralization and mineral resources. Recent research has included mixing zones processes in the Marianna Islands of the South Pacific and hypogene fluid systems of far west Texas and southeastern New Mexico. He teaches Historical Geology, Hydrology, Mineralogy and graduate courses in his specialty.
Dr. Liane Stevens
Dr. Liane Stevens - Assistant Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 311 Phone: 936.468.2024
Dr. Stevens grew up on Cape Cod (Massachusetts). She received her B.A. in Geology from Wellesley College (Wellesley, MA), her M.S. in Geology from University of Massachusetts Amherst, and her Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Montana (Missoula). Dr. Stevens is interested in unraveling the mysteries of geologic processes that occurred deep in the crust millions or billions of years ago. She is a metamorphic petrologist who focuses on field work, thermodynamic modeling to determine pressure-temperature histories, and geochronology to unravel the timing and rates of deformation, metamorphism, melting, and exhumation. Her dissertation research focused on the P-T-t history of the Priest River metamorphic core complex in northern Idaho, and implications for the development of metamorphic core complexes in the northern North American Cordillera. Dr. Stevens has previously taught at Bentley University, University of Montana, and Montana State University. At SFA, Dr. Stevens is currently teaching Introductory Geology and Optical Mineralogy. Apart from geologizing, Dr. Stevens enjoys road trips, new recipes, knitting, ocean air, and autumn.
Mr. Wesley Turner
Mr. Wesley Turner - Lab Coordinator/Lecturer Office: Miller Science Building, Room 307 Phone: 936.468.1046
Wesley Turner was born and raised in East Texas where his curiosity for the natural world was fostered. Wesley received his B.S. and M.S. in geology from Stephen F. Austin State University where he currently acts as a Lab Coordinator/Lecturer for the geology department. His interests are in sequence stratigraphy and petroleum geology. He is a member of the America Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM), and the Geological Society of America (GSA). His hobbies include sampling craft beers, home theater and audio, and building computers.

Professional Staff

Shana Scott
Shana Scott - Administrative Assistant Office: Miller Science Building, Room 301 Phone: 936.468.3701
Shana Scott was born in nearby Lufkin and graduated from Hudson High School in 1996. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from SFA in 2001, and is also a registered Massage Therapist. When not keeping the geology department running smoothly, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing sports, and being outdoors with her Black-Mouth Cur, Lady.

Retired Faculty

Dr. Volker Gobel - Professor Office: Miller Science Building, Room 310 Phone: 936.468.2493

NEWS FLASH! Dr. Gobel has just retired after teaching at SFA for more than 40 years!

Dr. Gobel calls Wetzlar, Germany, his hometown and received B.S. degrees in geology and mineralogy, and his Diplom-Mineraloge (M.S.), from Liebig-Universitat, Giessen, Germany. His Ph.D. in geology was from the Colorado School of Mines, Golden, Colorado. After employment in the mineral industry he joined SFA in 1971 and co-developed the graduate geology program. He taught a large variety of courses at SFA specializing in igneous and metamorphic petrology, geological microscopy/optics, regional geology, field camp, and environmental geology. He also extensively researched the life of Ferdinand Roemer, a pioneering German geologist known as the Father of Texas Geology. His field research focused on the geology of Colombia, Central America and the Llano Uplift of Central Texas. His field trips provided experience and great memories.

Dr. Ernest Ledger - Professor Emeritus Office: Miller Science Building, Room 307-A Phone: 936.468.1049
We are sad to report that our retired colleague, Ernest Ledger, passed away on February 3, 2016. Ernie was with the SFA Department of Geology for over 25 years teaching his specialty, geochemistry, and other several other courses. He mentored many graduate students and developed an expertise in arsenic in the Weches Formation of East Texas. He retired as professor emeritus in May 2008 and lived in the country with his wife, Ella.

When he was not working, Ernie enjoyed gardening, collecting and repairing antique Farmall tractors and trips to Arkansas to hunt for unusual minerals and rocks.

We extend our sincere condolences to Ella and all of their family.
Dr. William P. Roberts - Former Chair
Bill retired from SFA and is teaching part-time at Shenandoah College and James Madison University in the beautiful Blue Ridge area of Virginia.