Since her arrival in the fall of 2005 Penny Taylor is happily adjusted to the rhythms of the department, the campus, and the Pioneer Valley. As Geology Lab Director she has had the opportunity to meet and teach hundreds of students in courses past (Environmental and Physical Geology labs) and present. Taylor has learned from students and Teaching Assistants (TAs) as well, about their campus experiences, their future plans, and their frustrations. She values these shared interactions, from geological discussions to belly-laughs about things both geological and not so much. One of the very best aspects of her job is witnessing the “ah-ha” moments each semester, when someone suddenly “gets it” as if struck by a lightning bolt of understanding about a topic that has, until that moment, made no sense at all! She derives great satisfaction observing the maturation of scientific thought and development of skeptical inquiry.
Regardless of whether or not future careers involve geology, Taylor trusts that students take with them useful information and analytical skills to become better citizens of the world, and more careful consumers of resources. She sincerely believes that everyone needs their own mineral/rock collection and finds that after taking just one geology course, many individuals are uncontrollably attracted to natural specimens. To them she offers the encouraging words, “It’s okay...Enjoy.” Yet, she will deny responsibility for the mini-lectures students give to friends and family about things geological.
- Methods In Earth Science Labs
- Assist with labs for: Environmental Soil Science; Getting Ahead in Geology and Geography; Paleontology/Stratigraphy; Surface Processes.