Stephen F. Austin State University

Grad Geology 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. 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.

Associate Professors

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. 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.
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.


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. 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.