Initial Publication Date: January 5, 2024

Volume 12, Issue 4 | Fall 2023



In this Issue:

  • President's Column
  • Geo2YC Fireside Chats - come talk teaching with us
  • Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award
  • Geo2YC members at sea
  • NAGT updates
  • Funding opportunities for 2YC faculty and students
  • Upcoming meetings
  • Geo2YC pencils

President's Column

Cheryl Resnick, Illinois Central College

Happy New Year!  For those of us in academia, our "New Year's Resolutions" typically occur as we prepare for the newest term.  But first, congratulations! We made it! Whether you teach on a semester or a quarter system, or start in August or September, we have wrapped up our first set of classes for the 2023-2024 academic year. As the new year approaches, we often do a "look back" at milestone events and what we've accomplished. At the October GSA Connects meeting in Pittsburgh, we had a strong showing of 2YC faculty sharing best practices as part of the "Metacognition in the Trenches" session. And we continued those conversations at a social event afterward, asking questions & connecting with colleagues, some who were new and many who were familiar. My "New Year's Resolution" as president of Geo2YC is finding ways to bring these conversations to our larger community of geoscience educators, to build a "go to" network for ideas, challenges, and solutions, especially in support of our colleagues who are solo faculty in their discipline.

At the annual business meeting in October, members expressed interest in more opportunities to meet during the year, as well as requests for sharing teaching strategies. We are pleased to announce the debut of a new series of monthly Zoom meetings titled "Fireside Chats" where we will facilitate discussions on general topics each month, with the opportunity to informally share ideas, challenges, and solutions we face in the classroom or the field. We are a talented group of educators with creative ideas and a wealth of pedagogical practices to share. Let's get talking!  See the article in this newsletter for the dates/times of the inaugural meetings of "Fireside Chats."  In addition, I encourage you to broaden our impact by inviting colleagues to attend and consider joining our community as a Geo2YC member.  Community builds connection, and we want to connect with as many people to build support across our community.

Speaking of support, please consider nominating an adjunct faculty member for the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award.  There are three quarterly winners and each awardee receives one year free membership in both NAGT and the Geo2YC Division. They do not have to be current members to be nominated.  What better way to share ideas and grow our community than by supporting our dedicated and talented adjunct faculty who give so much of their time, expertise, and encouragement to our students.

As you plan for the new term, remember to reflect back on what went well with your classes last year. Celebrate your successes, identify the challenges, and look to your Geo2YC community for connections to ideas, people, and opportunities.  Best wishes for brand new start!

New for 2024: Geo2YC Fireside Chats 

Starting in January and each month moving forward, the Geo2YC Division Executive Committee is hosting a series of "fireside" chats on Zoom.  These sessions are open to Geo2YC members, as well as anyone you want to bring along - invite your colleagues to attend. Days and times will vary to allow participation from coast to coast.  Our goal is to have an hour-long, informal discussion on topics of interest to the membership - we'll provide a starting topic, and see where conversation takes us. We hope these sessions will serve as a opportunity to connect, build community, and share ideas in real time. So, pour yourself a cup of coffee, grab a snack, and join us!

  • Friday, January 12 - 12PM Eastern/9AM Pacific - Teaching New Year's Resolutions and first day of class ideas
  • Monday, February 12 - 8PM Eastern/5PM Pacific - Love/Hate Relationships with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • March and April topics and dates TBD (come share your ideas!)
  • Standard Zoom link for all sessions in Spring 2024

Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Honoree

The OAFA Committee would like to congratulate Leslie Simon Davis of Austin Community College (ACC) as the third honoree for the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award for 2023.  Leslie was nominated by her long-time colleague Bob Blodgett, who noted Leslie's commitment to teaching oceanography and advocating for her students.  Bob writes, "For nearly two decades Leslie has regularly attended department meetings and participated on departmental committees with little or no compensation. She has been an outspoken advocate for adjunct faculty, women in the geosciences, and for BIPOC students at ACC. As a fulltime faculty member, I could always count on Leslie to support changes in procedures and curricula that would benefit our students."

Leslie has also had multiple successes with funding from the National Science Foundation.  Bob explains, "In her first grant, as a Co-Principal Investigator with ACC adjunct professor Kusali Gamage, she incorporated a project on deep sea sediments in her oceanography class. Using online resources and an all-day trip to the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) core repository at Texas A&M University, Leslie exposed students to scientific research and to careers in ocean science. For several semesters she gave of her own time to travel with her students to the IODP lab and buy them pizza for the long bus ride home.  As Principal Investigator for her second NSF grant, Leslie designed a summer internship course in which non-science and science majors worked as citizen scientists to study the effects of Hurricane Harvey on living conditions in Port Aransas, Texas. Because of the pandemic, Leslie and her adjunct faculty colleagues Anne Turner, Jenny Cooke, and Kusali Gamage, had to redesign the course to have students conduct their research closer to home. In the revised course the students studied water quality and the socioeconomic impact of recent flooding in Austin area. Thanks to Leslie's efforts, the student's research became a major news story in the Austin newspaper and on television. The news coverage provided much-needed publicity for ACC's geology and environmental science programs at a time when enrollments were lagging."

Congratulations, Leslie!   Members, please keep an eye on your inbox in the next few weeks as we will be voting to determine the 2023 Annual Outstanding Adjunct, sponsored by a professional development stipend of up to $1000 from McGraw Hill. 

Please continue to recognize your adjunct colleagues in 2024!  Do you have adjunct geoscience faculty working in your department? Do you know what they are doing in the classroom or the field with students at your institution? Do you have adjunct colleagues across town or the country who consistently show their dedication to students?  Then please nominate them for the Geo2YC Division Outstanding Adjunct Faculty award!  Note, these colleagues DO NOT have to be current members of NAGT or the Geo2YC Division to be recognized - and in fact, if they are honored, they receive a one-year complimentary membership to NAGT and the Geo2YC Division. Adjunct faculty often comprise over half the teaching faculty at institutions of higher education and they deserve recognition. Please complete an Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nomination today.

Three Geo2YC past presidents set sail together with STEMSEAS

By Callan Bentley, Merry Wilson, and Kaatje van der Hoeven Kraft
Piedmont Virginia Community College, Scottsdale Community College, and Whatcom Community College

Last month, three of the past presidents of this organization boarded a ship together, the oceanographic research vessel Thomas G. Thompson, operated by the University of Washington, and owned by the Office of Naval Research. The Thompson was scheduled to leave the port of Seattle, Washington after a month of restocking, repairs, and upgrades and headed off to start its next scientific research expedition, which begins in Honolulu, Hawaii. The relatively short journey between two ports and two scientific missions is termed a "transit," and this particular transit had been co-opted by STEMSEAS for a unique initiative.

By writing up this article, we wanted to spread the word to the Geo2YC community: You, too, can lead a STEMSEAS trip. Your students, too, can (and should!) apply to participate in STEMSEAS!

STEMSEAS is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Student Experiences Aboard Ships. It is an NSF-funded initiative that utilizes time, space, and resources on U.S. oceanographic research vessels during their transits, when ordinarily they wouldn't be doing much science. STEMSEAS puts these precious research vessels to work providing a rich learning experience in oceanography for students. In the interest of boosting participation from diverse groups of people, STEMSEAS conducted two all-faculty cruises, one in January for faculty from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and now this one, for faculty from two-year colleges. We call it STEMSEAS 2YC, and the goal is to nurture expertise and confidence among 2YC faculty to lead future STEMSEAS cruises for undergraduate students. A second goal is to inform and motivate 2YC faculty so they can help recruit student participants in future STEMSEAS cruises. Overall, it was an exciting, unique and transformative professional development opportunity for community college faculty.

One of us (Kaatje) has led two STEMSEAS cruises before, and is on the leadership team for this cruise. The other two (Merry and Callan) are both passionate educators and thus interested in mentoring STEMSEAS students, but neither have much experience with oceanography. The participants on STEMSEAS 2YC come from diverse backgrounds: a few are oceanographers, but others are engineers, cellular biologists, and geophysicists. Merry is a historical geologist, and Callan's specialty is rock deformation. So we had a lot to learn about being at sea including the basics of oceanography. The great news is that after the transformative STEMSEAS 2YC experience, we both feel empowered and confident in the potential to lead future STEMSEAS cruises. Most of being a STEMSEAS mentor is caring for your students and nurturing their intellectual growth. Knowing less can sometimes be an asset in these circumstances – when everyone adopts a growth mindset, we learn oceanography together.

The STEMSEAS 2YC cruise featured introductory oceanography overviews in physical characteristics of seawater, winds and currents, ocean circulation, plankton, and seafloor sediments along with activities that allowed participants to both be the students and analyze the experience as faculty. We also had several programmatic interactions with the ship's crew – tours of the bridge and engine room, galley and scullery, a knot-tying workshop, and a panel discussion of how the various members of how the crew came to work in this unique setting both to better understand what a STEMSEAS experience would look like as well as learning about alternative workforce options for our students. The team was able to launch an XBT probe to help determine the acoustic properties of seawater. Later, we were able to launch two ARGO floats, robot probes that repeatedly sample the temperature and salinity at depth, while floating through the ocean on prevailing currents. These ARGO floats will work until their batteries run out: a typical service life is three to six years.

On our particular transit, there wasn't time to launch the CTD (conductivity-temperature-depth) probe, but that's another piece of equipment that we learned about. A dredging crew explained the operation of their seafloor sampling dredge system, and the various safety features that must be considered for safe sampling.   Ultimately, they recovered rocks from the seafloor 3400m below the ship while testing the newly refurbished dredge line!  And lashed down on deck were dozens of ocean bottom seismometers, ready to be deployed on a cruise to Samoa in the coming months. This type of "opportunistic" science is part of the overall STEMSEAS philosophy of being flexible and ready to change for what the conditions allow.

We had several days of rough seas early in the voyage. We all took anti-nausea medications prior to embarking, and many wore acupressure wristbands. However, conditions were rough enough that some members of our team experienced seasickness, and spent those first few days largely confined to their berths. The maximum wave height we observed was around 9.6 meters. It was lively!

Thankfully things calmed down in the second half of the transit, and we were able to spend more time on deck, observing stars and bioluminescence, and making observations of flying fish and birds. Callan was thrilled to see numerous Black-footed albatross, both White- and Red-tailed tropicbirds, and three species of booby: Brown, Masked, and Red-Footed. We also observed a curious whale shark (5 m long) that hung out while dredging was occurring.

Prior to sailing from Seattle, Callan led a group of four STEMSEAS 2YC participants on a glacial stratigraphy field trip in Discovery Park, a peninsula jutting into Puget Sound. Our arrival in Honolulu was delayed, which caused our group to scatter in port, but several participants were able to hike to the top of the Diamond Head crater for a dash of volcanology before heading back home.

Grow your NAGT experience 

NAGT Webinar Committee is looking for webinar hosts
NAGT offers a wide range of webinars each month to bring the latest in geoscience and pedagogy to our members. The NAGT Webinar Committee is looking for members who would be willing to host a webinar this coming academic year.  Consider sharing a fun teaching technique, resources you've used in your classroom, or collaborate with colleagues to tell us more about what's been going on in your professional world. If you have some ideas, please reach out to the current chair, Adrianne Leinbach (

NAGT Membership Committee is looking for a representative from the GEO2YC Division
The NAGT Membership Committee is charged with developing and implementing strategies for identifying and recruiting potential members and engaging and retaining current members. The Committee is looking for someone from GEO2YC to represent our Division's needs. Please contact Becca Walker ( if you are interested in serving.

Funding opportunities this spring via NAGT

Apply for a Geo2YC Faculty Development Grant! Next deadline is April 15.
Open to members of the Geo2YC Division of NAGT, the Geo2YC Faculty Development Grant offers mini-grants up to $500 to support an activity (workshop, field trip, etc.) which benefits faculty from multiple institutions and travel grants of $100 to support attending professional development activities. If you plan on attending the Earth Educators Rendezvous this summer, this is a chance to get a bit of support!  Rolling deadlines annually on April 15 and September 15.  Apply here.

Plan ahead for next year - 2YC faculty, K-12 teachers, and 2YC students: please consider applying for the Dorothy Stout Grant! Annual deadline is April 15.
In honor of Dottie Stout, the first female president of NAGT, awards are made annually in three categories: Community College Faculty, Community College Student, and K-12 Educator. The awards support participation in Earth science classes or workshops; attendance at professional meetings; participation in Earth science field trips; and/or purchase of Earth science materials for classroom use. In addition to the $750 award, each winner receives a one-year membership to NAGT. Apply here.

Connect with your colleagues!

NAGT Webinar Series 
Check out the schedule for the NAGT Webinar Series!  Lots of great opportunities for learning and discussion through these events, and even if you cannot attend, you can register so the link to the recording is sent straight to your inbox. An archive of prior webinars is also available.

AGU Chapman Conferences 
Keep AGU Chapman Conferences on your radar for in-depth meetings on key topics that impact the geosciences!  See the Chapman Conference website for 2023-24 offerings.

Early Career Geoscience Faculty Workshop, Macalester College, Saint Paul, MN June 23-27, 2024
The Early Career Geoscience Faculty Workshop is an opportunity to connect with other early career geoscience colleagues from across higher education institutions. Topics include effective teaching in multiple courses, work-life balance, research agendas, and more. Please share widely, particularly with new colleagues.  Applications are due March 3, 2024.

Earth Educators' Rendezvous, Philadelphia, PA July 15-19, 2024
The Earth Educators' Rendezvous will return next summer before it moves to an every-other-year format.  Keep an eye out for abstract and working group proposals for workshops.  Visit their website for more details and to participate in this fantastic event that brings Earth educators together.

Call for submissions:  Send us your field notes

Taking students out of the classroom can often lead to the greatest learning outcomes - they see geology, learn how to read the rocks, talk with geo-professionals, explore familiar landscapes, or experience new adventures.  We want to hear about and see what you are doing with your students in the field.  Please submit a picture or two of students in the field (bonus points if Geo2YC pencils are in there too!) and a brief description of what you are doing using the link below.

Submit your field adventures with students to share in a future edition of the newsletter.

Where in the world are NAGT Geo2YC pencils?

Send us your pencil pictures to share in the newsletter!