Penny Taylor

Geology Lab Director

I have happily adjusted to the rhythms of the department, the campus, and the Pioneer Valley since my arrival in the fall of 2005. As Geology Lab Director I have had the opportunity to meet and teach hundreds of students about Environmental Geology and Physical Geology.

I have learned from the students and Teaching Assistants (TAs) as well, about their campus experiences, their future plans, and their frustrations. I value the interactions we have shared, from geological discussions to belly-laughs about things both geological and not so much. One of the very best aspects of my job is witnessing the “ah-ha” moments each semester, when someone suddenly “gets it” as if struck by a bolt of understanding about some topic that has, until that moment, made no sense at all!

I enjoy great satisfaction as I observe the maturing of scientific thought and development of skeptical inquiry during our time together. Regardless of whether or not future careers involve geology, I trust that students take with them useful information and analytical skills to become better citizens of the world, and perhaps more careful consumers of resources.

I also sincerely believe that everyone needs their own mineral/rock collection and I know that after taking just one geology course, many individuals find themselves uncontrollably attracted to natural specimens. To them, I say, “It’s okay. Enjoy.” One more thing…I will not be held responsible for the mini-lectures they start giving to friends and family about things geological!


  • Environmental Geology Labs
  • Physical Geology Labs