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Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Pamela Gossin

Prof G, spouse and 2 of 3 kids at Old Course, St. Andrew, Scotland

Name: Pamela Gossin Hometown: Lincoln, Nebraska

Family members: Spouse, two sons, one daughter; a rescue dog and cat, Scout and JiJi, and a semi-feral barn cat, Mr. Peaches (don’t ask)

Rank order of siblings: 1st of 5; 2 sisters and 2 brothers

Undergraduate and Graduate programs: Latin and English majors with a Math minor and teaching certification as an undergraduate; Masters in American and British Literature, focused on Great Plains Literature and Culture, at the University of Nebraska; double PhD in History of Science and English at the University of Wisconsin.

Dissertation: Poetic Resolutions of Scientific Revolutions: Literature and the Astronomical Imaginations of Donne, Swift and Hardy.

Teaching/Research Concentration: History of Science, Women in Science, Medical and Scientific Humanities, Literature and Science, Interdisciplinary Arts and Humanities, nature writing, Great Plains Literature and History, Japanese animation and manga.

Current Research: A comparative investigation of late 19th to early 20th century authors’ understanding of rapid scientific, technological and environmental change in relation to regional landscapes, global worldviews and the construction of complex “poetic cosmologies” and value systems in popular science writing, fiction, and poetry.

Check out!

Coolest part of your job: Having daily opportunities to learn how other people’s minds work and how they make sense of life in the universe.

If you could teach any other elective, what would it be: I’d love to team-teach an interdisciplinary astronomy course with my friend, the space weather physicist, Dr. Marc Hairston, in which we explore human understanding of the universe via science, literature, art and culture.

Dream end-of-career job (besides UTD, obviously): Educational advocacy for International Dark Skies preservation (IDA), and finishing restoration of our family farmstead in Nebraska, complete with an observatory “silo” next to my grandparents’ 100+ year old barn to use for educational outreach, field trips, and FFA kids’ “Prairie Farm Star Parties”.

Future non-career ambitions: Finish building the “neo-Victorian” house we started from scratch 18 years ago, get it as far off the grid as possible, and expand the garden and monarch feeding station meadow.

Outside talents: Amateur astronomy, exploring the National Parks “by night” (proud owner of a 9-inch SchmidtCassegrain telescope)

Favorite part(s) about Norman, OK: Living 25 miles outside any brightly lit city or town, I get to see more stars...

One surprising thing UTD doesn’t know about you: We hosted 7 members of an emo-punk band, Death Cow, on their summer tour.

The most exciting thing you’ve done: Exciting as in awe-inspiring: “falling” into the Milky Way up in the Sangre de Cristo mountains, New Mexico; exciting-scary: surviving a wildfire that swept across our acreage within 20 feet of the house...

What you would do with $1 million: Start a foundation to fund scholarships and daycare expenses for teen parents and single moms working toward STEM careers and teaching.

What you would do with stopped time: Restore the planet so life could be sustainable and peaceful for future humans, sandhill cranes, and monarch butterflies, etc.

If you could have any superpower: If this new power could be in addition to my current two (1. Making people’s eyes glaze over when I tell them what I do for a living and 2. Generating endless imaginative energy through the cold fusion of mashing different disciplines together) then, I’d choose having the ability to create and sustain a tessaract portal so that our grown kids could instantly reconnect with us from wherever they are in the universe and we could have those deep late-night talks about all the big cosmic questions together that we always thought there’d be infinite time to have <3... Plus, I could use it to shorten my commute between home and campus (because self-driving cars are not going to be I-35 ready in my lifetime, unless Elon Musk gets some sleep soon!)

What you want to tell the Alumni Association: Come back and visit campus, see all the exciting changes, take in a cool free public lecture or arts event, and surprise your old professors during office hours (life partners and babies welcome!). Email works too.


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