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Postdoctoral Scholar Spotlight – Dr. David Owens

We would like to acknowledge Dr. David Owens for his leadership as the President of the MU Postdoctoral Association (MUPA). As Dr. Owens prepares to end his time here at MU, we would like to recognize his efforts with MUPA as well as with the MU and local communities.

Dr. David Owens began his quest for a postdoctoral research experience with Dr. Troy Sadler who is a leading figure in science education using socio-scientific issues as contexts for science learning. Not only did he find his way to Dr. Sadler, Owens has been able to work alongside him as a colleague and as his mentee, a relationship that continues to guide his postdoctoral journey here at MU. “Being able to work with Troy has provided me innumerable opportunities to conduct research that employs a variety of methodologies, engage in grant writing, and conduct professional development with STEM teachers from across Missouri as well as outreach at a local STEM school,” says Owens.

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Owens shares that “it didn’t hurt that Columbia is a hip town with good food and music. And I’m quite fond of paddling clear freshwater streams and pulling trout out of them, so I was excited to be able to work and play not far from the Ozarks.” And when he’s not taking in the town, MU has also offered Owens an opportunity to “to rub shoulders with individuals from English, Mathematics, and Social Studies Education who are doing outstanding work and provide continuous inspiration to work hard and think out of my own little box,” he explains.

Dr. Owens credits not only his mentor but a host of individuals such as Pat Friedrichsen, Laura Zangori and Ben Herman who have significantly contributed to the quality of his tenure here at MU, alongside the crew of Science Ed graduate students who have provided equal measures of collaboration and friendship. Owens acknowledges Dr. Sadler for “advancing my thinking significantly as to what good research and good research questions look like. His door is always open and he never misses an opportunity to provide mentorship. Dr. Pat Friedrichsen, has equally taken me under her wing and is always happy to provide carefully considered feedback on my research ideas or teaching practices. Laura Zangori and Ben Herman have provided inspiration (and entertainment) as early career scholars whose productivity I hope to emulate. I also appreciate Ashley Woodson and Terrell Morton for being real and helping to expand my awareness of equity issues and potential solutions. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the opportunity to work with our Department Chair, Dr. James Tarr, who has been nothing less than phenomenal.”

Dr. David Owens is pictured above teaching a group of outdoor education students how to layer their clothes appropriately to be able to stay warm or easily remove layers to cool down as we are hiking.

As Dr. Owens is now in his final year of his postdoctoral journey, although he admits it will be hard to leave MU behind, he is looking forward to his next chapter. Owens shares, “it will be tough to leave the comfort and community that MU has provided over the years, but I hope to find similar support at my next stop, wherever that might be. I also hope to continue to have a Lucky’s nearby, as well as a D. Rowe’s, whose smoked wings are really that good.”

Dr. Lissa Behm-Morawitz, Associate Dean of the Graduate School had this to say of Dr. Owens’ leadership at MU, “Dave has done a fantastic job stepping in to lead MUPA this year. Not only is he a great researcher, he is a great leader. He has done so much for the postdoc community at Mizzou, and he will be greatly missed.”

Wherever his journey may take him, we wish Dr. Owens the very best of everything his next chapter has to offer.

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