CORRECTION: Because of an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly attributed the photograph of professor Kenneth L. Mossman to a State Press photographer. The photograph was donated to The State Press by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
President Barack Obama nominated ASU life sciences professor Kenneth L. Mossman to join the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in Washington last month.
In a statement, Mossman said the nomination took him by surprise, but he is looking forward to working with the other board members.
“I am excited about working with other presidential appointees on the board and the very talented civil servants who carry out the work of the board,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recommended Mossman for the position.
“I am very grateful to President Obama for the honor of this nomination,” Mossman said.
Mossman will meet with the Senate as part of the confirmation process before he is officially placed on the board. When his nomination is confirmed, Mossman will relocate from Tempe to Washington.
Mossman said he enjoys helping others, which is something his new position will allow him to do.
“I have always had a strong commitment to giving back,” he said.
Mossman said teaching is one of the greatest calls in life, but the nomination will allow him to impact change that will benefit the public.
“This presidential appointment is another way of giving back,” Mossman said in the statement. “Other than teaching, there is no greater calling than government service in the public interest.”
Before coming to ASU in 1990, Mossman taught at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
Mossman received his doctorate degree in radiation biology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
Biological science and psychology junior Taylor McGlone, a former student of Mossman’s, said she was surprised by the news.
“At first, I knew he wasn’t coming back to ASU,” she said, “But I had no idea he was going to work with the president. It’s exciting and well deserved.”
McGlone said Mossman was a major influence in her decision to change her major to biological sciences and psychology.
“It was cool that I got to work with someone so closely that has been given an amazing opportunity,” McGlone said.
Miles Orchinik, associate director of the School of Life Sciences, praised Mossman for being vocal and participating in the department.
“He was an outspoken member of the SOLS faculty,” Orchinik said. “He contributed very deeply to the discussions and the important issues we had to deal with.”
While he is happy for Mossman’s new opportunity, Orchinik said Mossman will be dearly missed in the department.
“I think we are going to miss his voice at the faculty meetings and we will certainly miss him at our teaching rotation,” Orchinik said.
Brian Smith, director of SOLS, has worked with Mossman since 2005.
“I thought (his nomination) was a phenomenal achievement, because in his field he has published a well-regarded book on the topic,” Smith said.
Smith said Mossman will only be taking a leave of absence during his time on the board, but he will still be a faculty member at ASU.
“The sadness, for the time being, we lose a great teacher but I think we all see a trade-off, and that is a recognition for him and for the University,” Smith added.
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