When Tim Giblin mentions where he works, you can’t help but take note. He instructs and trains astronauts, flight directors and flight controllers at a place called the National Aeronautics and Space Administration – also known as NASA.
Originally from Florissant, Mo., the University of Missouri–St. Louis alumnus (BS astrophysics 1990 and MS physics 1993) came back to speak at the 20th Annual Meeting of the NASA Missouri Space Grant Consortium.
“I feel honored to come back and speak at the MOSCG meeting,” said Giblin, who earned a doctorate in physics from the University of Alabama in Huntsville and lives outside of Houston. “I always want to give something back when I can.”
At the consortium, held April 8 and 9, nearly 80 undergraduate and graduate students presented their research – 10 were UMSL students. Giblin lectured on “The International Space Station: A National Science Laboratory.”
A graduate of the now defunct St. Louis Prep North, he said he chose UMSL for the many opportunities available to him, as well as the faculty.
“After attending UMSL for one year, I had earned a partial scholarship to study physics at Washington University in St. Louis,” Giblin said. “At that same time, the UMSL physics department offered me a student teaching assistantship, research opportunities and a chance to manage the campus observatory. I chose UMSL; it wasn’t a difficult decision, and if I had to relive my life I’d still make the same choice. My professors were excellent – although I had many inspirations as a kid that steered me toward astronomy and space science, Richard Schwartz’s Introduction to Astronomy class convinced me that was a career I wanted to pursue.”
Giblin, who also teaches physics and mentors students in astrophysical research at the University of Houston-Clear Lake, said the fact that UMSL placed him in the role of student instructor and research early was critical in molding his thought process and skill set as a teacher and a scientist.
When not training astronauts, he said he loves the outdoors and ice hockey, as well as playing guitar.