Outer Space Rocks
Dr. Melissa Strait, professor of chemistry, has allowed her educational interests to take her to places few have been. In 2000 Strait lived for six weeks in Antarctica (where the picture at left was taken), where she and other explorers collected meteorites and learned how to camp in desolate conditions. The group was sponsored by the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs.
Strait participated in post-doctoral work at the Johnson Space Center after receiving her Ph.D. in geochemistry from Arizona State University. Through the years Strait has been involved with NASA research in analyzing meteorites and lunar rock samples.
Today she splits her time between continuing her meteorite studies, now with the Vatican Observatory, and student collaborative projects on local environmental problems. Students across the disciplines are involved studies of many local environmental problems. Strait provides the analytical expertise and works with students in and out of chemistry to determine levels of a wide variety of contaminants, including metals, DDT and petroleum.
Strait also has been involved in acting and costume work for theater productions. Indulging in both through work with the College's Department of Theater and Dance and the Gratiot County Players, she has been participating since her start with Alma College in 1985.