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Get to Know the Faculty: Tillman Kennon


When folks say Always Rising about the Red Wolves, no one matches Tillman Kennon’s students in the Arkansas BalloonSAT team that are part of NASA’s national program to launch high altitude observation of next summer’s solar eclipse.

Tillman Kennon

Tillman Kennon

Place of birth?
Wynne, Ark.
Why did you choose A-State?
I received my undergraduate degrees and master’s degree here at A-State and always wanted to come back as faculty.
What are you working on right now?
The Arkansas BalloonSAT team (I am the project director) has been selected as a site team for the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse. NASA has selected approximately 40 high altitude balloon teams from across the United States to fly balloons to ~30 km and video the eclipse. Our launch location is Fulton, MO. We will travel to Fulton this August for a practice flight. If we get additional funding we will also develop additional instruments to collect data that is only possible during a total solar eclipse.
Who was your favorite teacher (and why)?
Mrs. Erlene Slocum, my first grade teacher. She taught us to be respectful of everyone especially our elders and the importance of a good education.
What is the one thing you wish you could teach everyone about your field?
Science can be so much fun.
What makes for a good student?
A desire to learn.
What’s the value of a university education?
Makes for a more productive and informed citizen.
Before you retire I want to...
I do not plan to retire.
A perfect day is...
any day we fly one of our high altitude weather balloons.
My favorite motion picture is . .
To Kill a Mockingbird.
The last book I read for fun was...
I recently re-read Carl Sagan’s book, Pale Blue Dot.
My favorite trip was...
Gaborone, Botswana.
If I could travel anywhere it would be...
Alaska & Australia.
The best advice I ever received was...
accept that everyone has an opinion and be able to disagree without getting upset.
What is the one thing I’ve learned I’d tell my college self?
Starting from the first day of class, do not get behind.
My hobby is...
riding my Harley, beekeeping and running.
My pro sports team is...
the St. Louis Cardinals.
My favorite meal is...
the grilled fish at Who Dat's Cajun Restaurant.
My spirit cartoon character is...
Pig from Pearls before Swine.
What I like about Jonesboro is...
it's the perfect sized community.
Cats or dogs?
E-book or hardback?
Beach or mountains?
Dinner or supper?
Supper, however my brother who lives in Orlando is always correcting me!
My favorite saying is...
“So Much Science, So Little Time.”