B.S., South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
M.S., South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines

Adjunct Professor of Science


Born and raised in Valparaiso, Indiana, Dr. Matthew Minnick has had an interest in Earth Sciences and Engineering at a young age. He came to South Dakota to attend the South Dakota School of Mines. Having received a BS and MS in Geological Engineering from SDSM&T he worked at RESPEC in Rapid City, SD. Founded in 1969, RESPEC is a global leader in geoscience, engineering, data, and integrated technology solutions for major industry sectors. After two years at RESPEC he received an offer to pursue a Ph.D. in Geological Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM).

At CSM he was the lead researcher on a project for the United States Department of Energy investigating water resource use related to Oil Shale production in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado. Oil Shale is a fined grained sedimentary rock that is high in organics “kerogen” and must be heated to over 300 degrees Celsius in a process called retorting to extract the oil. The U.S. has an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of recoverable oil locked up in Oil Shale deposits. He is currently finishing his Ph.D. research developing a simulation to model potential water use during a commercial oil shale retorting operation on a basin scale using machine learning algorithms to simulate multiple oil companies and extraction technologies.

Dr. Minnick is currently employed full time at RESPEC where he is the manager of a new Geothermal Energy program. He is actively working on geothermal power projects in New Zealand, Canada, and Colombia. He is on the technical review board for the Latin America Geothermal Development Fund, a global risk mitigation fund to encourage geothermal power development in Central and South America.

He is excited to teach Earth Science at John Witherspoon College, bringing real world experience and a Christian worldview to current scientific topics. Students will be challenged to think critically from both a sound scientific perspective and Christian worldview on today’s hot topics ranging from geology, climate change, renewable and fossil fuel energy, and fracking waste water induced seismicity.

He currently resides in Rapid City, SD with his wife Amanda and three girls, Michaela, Sydney and Emily. He runs a small gemstone cutting business, Minnick’s Signature Gems, custom gem cutting for various clients and jewelry chains. He is a published artist often working in mixed media charcoal and colored pencil. He also enjoys playing the classical guitar, mountain biking, disc golf and playing in volleyball leagues and tournaments. He and his family attend Parkview Evangelical Free Church.

Course(s)Taught at John Witherspoon College
SCI 111 – Physical Science