TAEM- We recently had the pleasure of a guided tour of the telescope observatory at George Mason University by Dr. Harold A. Geller, the observatory’s director. We decided to learn a little more about him and were astonished about what we uncovered. Harold, please shed some light on your educational background and its long standing connection with George Mason University.
HG- The academic path to my doctorate was anything but straight. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, I returned to academia as a graduate student at George Mason University (GMU). At that time, GMU was a medium sized liberal arts commuter-type college. Not having a graduate degree program in my discipline interest, I designed my own program through the university’s master’s program in interdisciplinary studies. I completed my master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in astronomy and informatics. As I was working for a university consortium, I naturally maintained ties in higher education. I applied for and received a Commonwealth Fellowship from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. I initially sought to complete a PhD in Physical Sciences. Ultimately, I switched to the doctoral program in education. I also taught at the Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas Campus, for 4 years while I continued to work toward my doctorate in education. Ultimately, I was offered a full time position at George Mason University, and chose to enter academia on a full-time basis. I had been a part-time instructor in physics and astronomy for seven years prior to joining GMU as a full-time faculty member.