Southeast Missouri State University
For more information, contact:
Ann K. Hayes (573) 651-2552




CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 13, 2002 -- Members of the Physics and Engineering Club at Southeast Missouri State University visited The Boeing Company in St. Louis last month, hearing from former Southeast graduates and other Boeing employees, and learning about opportunities in applied physics and engineering.

Participating students were Brad Ashley and Tim Joiner, both of Sparta, Ill.; Ryan Lurk of Perryville, Mo.; Eric Lynch, John Frank and Brandon Schwiesow, all of Cape Girardeau; Patrick Grandt of St. Peter, Ill.; and Clay Burnett of Florissant, Mo. Dr. John Tansil, faculty advisor to the club, accompanied the students on the trip.

Boeing officials applauded the recent accomplishments of U.S. Navy Lt. Corey Pritchard, a 1996 engineering graduate of Southeast Missouri State University and former member of the student club, said Dr. John Tansil, associate professor of physics and faculty advisor to the club. Pritchard made aviation history when he became the first pilot to land Boeing's "Super Hornet" fighter on an aircraft carrier during the plane's maiden deployment last summer. He has been prominently featured recently on both the Navy and Boeing Web sites.

The students were first given a tour of the Prologue Room, Boeing's museum of aviation history, by Boeing's archivist and historian. The students were shown a video demonstrating the capabilities of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, the most advanced fighter plane in the world currently deployed for active military combat, Tansil said. This was followed by a fascinating narration of the Super Hornet's capabilities by Lt. Col. Rick Junkin, chief weapons systems operator for Boeing, who is also a test pilot and Gulf War veteran.

Three former Southeast engineering graduates now employed by Boeing, Paul Albers of Maryland Heights, Mo., James Chitester of Cape Girardeau, and Jeremy Wachter of St. Louis, also met with the students. The former graduates described what they did on the job and the advantages of working for The Boeing Company. Both Albers and Wachter said they are pursuing master's degrees in electrical engineering at Washington University, with their education paid for by Boeing, while they continue to work for the company.

"Our student club has been very active in recent years, with trips to Fermi & Argonne Labs in Illinois, Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee, and Kennedy Space Center in Florida," Tansil said. "However, we decided it was time to visit a place that emphasized applied physics and engineering, as opposed to basic research. The Boeing Company seemed like a natural with its close proximity, the success that one of our graduates has had with the Super Hornet, a Boeing product, and the fact that Boeing employs several of our former students.

"While we were at Boeing, I found it particularly satisfying to learn that Lt. Col. Junkin, the man in charge of testing Boeing's awesome arsenal of weaponry, has his undergraduate degree in engineering physics, the same engineering degree offered by Southeast Missouri State University," Tansil said. "Our engineering physics degree, the only engineering degree offered at Southeast, has been recently accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the only organization that accredits engineering programs in the United States. Six of the students who went on the Boeing trip are enrolled in this degree program, and we have had great success placing our engineering graduates in science/engineering positions with well-known companies," Tansil said.


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