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Posts Tagged ‘natural sciences and mathematics’

Meet New Faculty: Jack Westbrook

Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of profiles on new, full-time faculty members.

Photo by Case Hamilton '12

With 20 years of experience working as a middle and high school math teacher, Jack Westbrook has more than prepared himself for life at Keuka.

Westbrook received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and  master’s degree in mathematics education from SUNY Geneseo.  His first career move was as a seventh and 11th grade math teacher at Harpursville (N.Y.) Central School.  After a year, he moved on to Hilton (N.Y.) Central School, where he taught all levels of math from non-Regents, ninth grade to Pre-Calculus.

Westbrook says that teaching high school math and college math are alike.

“I have actually found teaching here to be more similar to teaching high school than I thought it would be,” he said. I guess teaching is teaching.”

As for the differences, Westbrook says discipline issues are completely different, and the amount of time and effort the students and professors put in are complete polar opposites.

Westbrook chose Keuka for the “smallness” and for the chance to do something new.  He also liked how “Keuka gives everyone a personal touch” and he would like to bring this into his classes.

With many years of teaching expereince, Westbrook hopes to bring a different perspective to his classes that include Secondary Math Methods, College Algebra, Math for Elementary Education, and Developmental Math.  This new perspective comes from Westbrook’s experience with students who struggle with math, and he hopes to be able to help guide them through.

“I also think the wisdom from experience will help me give strong advice and strategies to the students in my Secondary Methods class,” he said.

Even though he is new to Keuka, Westbrook knows how vital Field Period is to the College and he is going to encourage his students to “use Field Periods to get more experience in schools, whether it be volunteering, or just helping out in the classroom.”

Westbrook already wants to do more than his fair share, and he’s eager to dig his hands into the main work of a Keuka College faculty member.

“I’m looking forward to advising students in the future.”

Scientists in the Making

You never know where the next Marie Curie or Louis Pasteur will come from.

Keuka senior Emily Credit helps fourth-grader Kaitlyn Hamm create 'slime.'

Perhaps he or she was one of the five St. Michael’s School (Penn Yan) students who visited the Keuka College campus April 30 for the Chemistry Club’s Kids’ Day.

The elementary school students had their interest in chemistry piqued by members of the club, who conducted various chemistry demonstrations in the Jephson Science Center.

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Hydrofracking Focus of Presentations

The controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing (hydrofracking) will be the focus of two presentations this week at Keuka College.

Professor of Biology Kasey Klingensmith, Assistant Professor of Chemistry Andrew Robak, and Peter Gamba, founding member of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes, will discuss the issue Wednesday, April 20, from 6-7 p.m. in Hegeman 109.

The anti-hydrofracking documentary All Fracked Up will be screened Thursday, April 21 from 6-9 p.m. in Hegeman 109. Filmmakers Jeff and Jodi Andrysick will be on hand to answer questions.

Both events, sponsored by the Chemistry Club, are free and open to the public.

The term hydrofracking describes the process by which millions of gallons of a highly pressurized mixture of sand, water, and chemicals are pumped horizontally into underground shale deposits to either create new fractures in the rock or expand existing cracks to access natural gas deposits and bring the gas to the surface.

Energy companies and environmentalists agree that natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal or oil and using it will help wean the country from its dependency on other countries for oil. However, considerable controversy surrounds the current implementation of hydraulic fracturing technology in the United States, including upstate New York.

That is because environmental safety and health concerns have emerged and are being debated at the state and national levels.