Colonial Academic Alliance Undergraduate Research Conference
Nadia Nasr – Friday, April 11, 2014
Nadia Nasr has been the University Archivist & Digital Collections Librarian at Towson University since December 2007. As a result of her work, she’s very knowledgeable about the evolution of the University from its early days as a teacher training school through its growth into a major metropolitan university. She teaches archives and primary source instruction and has served on library and University committees, as well as on regional committees within the archives and special collections professional community.
As Towson University’s Archivist, Nadia Nasr spends much of her time reading the mail of former administrators, faculty, staff, and students to not only learn more about the school’s history but also to help make University records and special collections available to researchers. It is through work with these archival materials that history comes to life, not only for the student conducting historical research but also for the person on the street.
During World War II faculty, staff, and students at the State Teachers College at Towson, now known as Towson University, engaged in a variety of activities to support the war effort. One particular project focused on the alumni who enlisted in military service and were deployed to various theaters of operations around the world. Using materials from among Towson University’s archival records Ms. Nasr will explore the idea of the school at war by inviting the audience to read through correspondence files and other historical material and engaging in a discussion about student life during World War II.
Don Thomas – Saturday, April 12, 2014
Don Thomas was born in Cleveland, Ohio, where he received a bachelor's degree with honors in physics from Case Western Reserve University. He holds a master's degree and a doctorate in materials science from Cornell University.
From 1982-1987 Dr. Thomas was a senior member of the technical staff at the Bell Laboratories Engineering Research Center in Princeton, N.J., where he worked on materials development for semiconductor device interconnections. He holds two patents in the field of electronics packaging. From there he went on to work for NASA as a materials engineer at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where he worked on lifetime projection analyses of advanced pressure vessels that would be later used on the International Space Station. He was also a Co-Principal Investigator for the Microgravity Disturbances Experiment that flew on the STS-32 space shuttle mission in 1990 that investigated the effects of small vibrations on the growth of crystals in space.
In 1990 he was selected in NASA’s 13th group of astronauts. During his career at NASA he flew as a mission specialist on four different space shuttle missions, three of which were dedicated science missions where he helped perform hundreds of different experiments exploring microgravity phenomenon. From 1999-2000 he was the NASA Director of Operations at the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia, and oversaw the training of astronauts preparing for missions to the International Space Station. From 2003-2006, Dr. Thomas was the International Space Station Program Scientist and was responsible for the planning and scheduling of science activities aboard the ISS.
In August 2007 Dr. Thomas joined Towson University outside of Baltimore where he is an adjunct faculty member and the founding director of the Hackerman Academy of Mathematics and Science, an outreach program targeting elementary, middle, and high school students across the state of Maryland to get them more interested in careers in math and science.