Dr. Ryan Giedd not only is focused on teaching high-achieving students, but he's also working toward establishing jobs locally in order to keep stellar graduates in the area.
Giedd is a professor in the physics, astronomy and materials science department and the executive director of the Roy Blunt Jordan Valley Innovation Center in downtown Springfield.
He says the way JVIC is set up brings jobs to southwest Missouri and improves the profile of the University. The center has corporate affiliates, businesses that partner with researchers at JVIC to create products or do studies. The center’s corporate affiliates include defense contractors, businesses associated with homeland security and medical-research companies. The affiliates keep the rights to intellectual property or patents; they also gain access to dedicated faculty members and eager, bright students.
“They give our researchers a problem, then the researchers try to solve it,” Giedd says. “This is a way that Missouri State can be very competitive with other nationally known institutions.”
In return, Missouri State negotiates a percentage of royalties of any products, and all of the center’s corporate affiliates must have personnel in Springfield or in southwest Missouri. This model ensures that high-paying, science-based jobs are created in the region. This helps to keep bright students in Missouri.
Those involved with JVIC hope the center helps the Springfield area become a hub for advanced manufacturing — stable jobs in which educated employees monitor instruments or robots.
Giedd hopes the Our Promise campaign leads to endowed professors at JVIC and more money available for infrastructure.
“I would hope potential donors would look at this as an opportunity to give back some of their success to the people of Missouri. We are really focused on developing Missouri, as you can tell by our requirement that the companies locate here. The students I deal with typically come from a rural background. They have every bit as many skills and abilities as students on the East and West coasts but they don’t have nearly the same opportunities for technology-based jobs.”