INSIDE MTSU: MTSU faculty spread news about their causes

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A close-up view of lunar samples that will be on display starting at 5 p.m. Friday, April 19, in Wiser-Patten Science Hall on the MTSU campus. Lunar Sample #039 includes basalt; orange, highlands and mare soil; anorithosite and breccia. (MTSU)
This past Thursday, I met two MTSU faculty members for the first time.

Dr. Irina Perevalova and Tom Gormley both had the same objective (seeking media coverage for their causes). Both had different–but-special information to share.

Emails from Dr. Ron Henderson, chair of the physics and astronomy department and Perevelova’s immediate supervisor, and Gormley initiated our separate meetings.

Russian-born Perevalova didn’t realize it when we first met in her Wiser-Patten Science Hall office, but we were about to walk together to the MTSU Public Safety office to photograph rare lunar samples taken from Apollo moon missions 14-17.  (For security purposes, the moon samples had to be locked up and maintained by the MTSU Police.)

After attending training at Georgia Southern University, she received NASA certification that enabled MTSU to bring the lunar and meteorite samples to campus for public viewing on April 19 just before her MTSU Star Party presentation.

In the brief time we were together, you could tell Perevalova not only cares about her MTSU students, but also for school-age children who might develop an interest in science. Her determination led to the university to receive the lunar samples, which had been collected by astronauts in the 1960s and early 1970s, for 16 days.

While in MTSU’s possession, Perevalova hopes children in area schools can view the lunar and meteorite samples.

Gormley, an associate professor in engineering technology’s commercial construction management program, and cross-campus colleague Shane Stone, capital projects manager for Campus Planning, also have a heart for young people.

Gormley wanted me to know that he, Stone, Norman Brown and Chris Sanchez of Roscoe Brown Inc., Andrea Bruxton of Andrea Bruxton Design and Logan Hickerson of SEC Engineering Inc., of Murfreesboro, are in a partnership with Rutherford County Schools.

As part of their Midstate involvement with the national ACE Mentor Program, they have assisted Central Magnet School students this year.

ACE stands for Architect, Construction and Engineering. The ACE Mentor Program provides mentoring for high school students and aims to inspire them to pursue careers in design and construction, the organization’s website said.

At least two of Central Magnet School teacher Melinda Hamby’s eight ACE Mentor Program students are expected to be scholarship recipients for the Thursday, April 25, ACE banquet at Rocketown in Nashville.

Gormley said students from the 10 participating area high schools will receive about $27,000 in scholarship awards.

Randy Weiler is a media liaison and staff writer for the MTSU Office of News and Media Relations. He can be reached at
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Alumni Weekend, Event, Inside MTSU, Irina Perevalova, Lunar Sample, MTSU, Tom Gormley
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