Update (Re: Options)
I previously posted that I was considering quitting graduate school after finishing my Masterís degree. Iím happy to say that I have decided against that plan. My new advisor was able to pull some strings at NASA and get them to open up a fellowship position for me which led to a significant pay increase from my previous salary so I am in a much better financial situation than before. Iím still looking forward to teaching full (or at least mostly full) time, but I can put it off a few more years and muscle through my doctorate. In the interim I will continue to tutor and keep applying to be a lecturer here in the Mechanical Engineering department. As far as research goes I am enjoying my current topic a lot more now that I have funding and time to work on it, but will keep looking for a new and exciting topic for my Ph.D.
As part of this development I took my qualifying exams (or prelims if you will) last week. Iím happy to announce that I passed them both on the first attempt, so I am now qualified to start Doctoral work.