Niescja Turner, PhD

Dr. Niescja Turner ('90) holds the Zilker endowed professorship in physics and astronomy at Trinity University in San Antonio. 
She earned a physics degree at Rice and an astrophysics Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. She then completed post-doctoral work in Helsinki before coming back to the US to be a faculty member. She has been faculty at three distinctly different schools: a large, open-admission state school on the US-Mexico border, a small, private, research-intensive technical school in Florida, and now a small, elite liberal arts school in Texas. Niescja co-directed (along with astronaut Sam Durrance) a program called the Florida Governor’s School for Space Science and Technology, which was a summer program for gifted rising high school seniors. As it was state funded, the team worked closely with state legislators each year to promote the program and help ensure its continuation. Niescja has experience in writing and securing grants from NASA, NSF, and the Department of Education, among other organizations.

“I’ve always been passionate about teaching and education and educational opportunity, and I’ve been very enthusiastic about supporting gifted education in general and LSMSA in particular. When I made plans to move to San Antonio, I was particularly excited that my new relative proximity to Natchitoches meant that I would be able to get more involved with and support my alma mater. I’m very excited to be working with the school that meant so much to me and help support its growth as an institution.”