Texas A&M University-Texarkana Adjunct Professor of Speech Tom Morrissey has received his second National Science Foundation fellowship since 2014. Morrissey, who spent 37 years teaching photography at the Community College of Rhode Island, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Rhode Island School of Design has been playing the guitar since he was 16 years old. While in Rhode Island he began to study the art of guitar making with a local guitar builder, also known as a luthier.
Morrissey received his first NSF Fellowship for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Guitar Building in 2014, and received another fellowship for 2019. In June he will travel to Houston, TX with other luthiers to learn more about the science of guitar making and how it can relate to teaching STEM principals. The National Science foundation identifies 12 core STEM activities or lessons that are taught in guitar building, from the geometry of guitar bodies and fret spacing calculation to the physics of sound waves and guitar electronics.
Morrissey builds high-quality guitars in several styles under the brand name Veteran Guitar. A 17-year veteran and former helicopter pilot in Vietnam, he is in the process of rolling out a program where veterans gather for workshops where they can talk, learn a new skill, and even heal together while learning the art of guitar building.
To learn more about Morrissey and his guitars visit his website, www.veteranguitar.com. To learn more about the National Science Foundation’s STEM Guitar program and institutes, visit www.guitarbuilder.org.