From Finding Nemo to Dating Geology Style

Aug 15, 2014

Geosciences seminars help students explore the world through multiple perspectives.

Students in the College of Geosciences can choose from a smorgasbord of one-hour seminars that explore Earth through art, music and popular science.

The signature Geosciences First-Year Seminar Program is mandatory for entering freshmen and strongly encouraged for transfer students.

“These one-hour courses give new students the opportunity to participate in small classes in a relaxed setting. They help students transition from high school or community college to a university and also give students a different perspective of the geosciences, connecting the discipline to its place in the arts, political discussion and contemporary culture,” said Sarah Bednarz, geography professor and former associate dean for academic affairs.

First-year seminars are high-impact educational programs that were introduced at the university level through a series of initiatives over the last few years. "Geosciences faculty embraced this program and the practice has been adopted as our key transition and first high-impact experience for incoming students," Bednarz said.

Professors and their courses are:

Debbie Thomas (Oceanography): “Geoscience Through Rock (Music).” Uncovers geoscience principles through rock lyrics.

Trent Ford (Geography): “Triple Digits and Two-a-Days.” Explores the impact of climate and weather on athletic performance.

Robert Korty (Atmospheric Sciences): “Hurricanes.” Teaches the science of hurricanes and their impact around the world.

Piers Chapman (Oceanography): “Moby Duck.” Explores oceans, polar discoveries and worldwide circulation through the true story of 28,8000 bath toys lost in the Pacific.

Dan Thorton (Oceanography): “Limits to Life.” Examines the distribution and forms of life on Earth to better understand the geosciences through a geobiological perspective.

Steven Quiring (Geography): “Death and Destruction. How Drought Changed History.” Analyzes the science, policy and socioeconomic aspects of drought.

Sarah Bednarz, Robert Bednarz (Geography): “The World in Six Drinks.” Shows how to view world history and geography through the perspective of six beverages.

Vatche Tchakarian (Geography): “Geosciences and the Arts.” Reviews how the geosciences are represented in the visual arts and music.

Denise Kulhanek (International Ocean Discovery Program): “Dating Geology Style.” Unearths the real age of Earth and its materials.

Rick Giardino (Geology and Geophysics): “Forensic Geology.” Applies geologic principles in CSI-type investigations.

Rick Giardino (Geology and Geophysics): “Geology of Texas.” Understand what you see across the miles and miles of Texas.

Mike Tice (Geology and Geophysics): “Life in the Galaxy.” Explore the realities of life existing beyond our planet from the oldest rocks on Earth to data from Mars and extra-solar planets.

David Brooks (Geology and Geophysics). “Finding Nemo.” Follow Nemo through a dazzling dash of reef ecosystems, sharks and the mysterious deep to learn fundamental concepts of oceanography.

Giardino and Chris Houser, associate dean for academic affairs are also offering “Seminar for Transfer Students,” to help make the transition to Texas A&M by learning how to be a successful student.

Karen Riedel
Communications Manager