Pete Berquist - Faculty Mentor | Thomas Nelson Community College

Pete Berquist - Faculty Mentor

What is your teaching discipline?

Geology

What brought you to the area?

Teaching at Thomas Nelson!

What is your teaching philosophy?

I want students to learn about our earth, understand how human and natural actions affect other actions/system, and to feel more confident and excited to learn anything new. I believe these goals are best achieved when students are actively involved, "getting their hands dirty" by trying and sometimes failing, and through active and critical thinking. With hard work and a good sense of humor, navigating school, work, and life can be rather fun!

What do you hope your students take away from your courses?

An increased appreciation for the world around them, how geology effects aspects of their daily lives, the importance that science (both as a discipline and as a way of thinking/knowing) plays in our lives and in society, and to not be afraid of trying something new and being wrong sometimes.

What do you like to do on the weekends?

Spending time with my family, being out on the water (power boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing), biking, and carving wood with my chainsaw.

What is the most memorable place you have traveled to?

The Galapagos Islands. I was able to spend a week exploring the islands and waters of a most historic place (scientifically). It was simply profound to see animals unafraid of humans and that were strikingly similar to what Charles Darwin witnessed during his now famous excursions.

What is in your refrigerator right now?

Cheese, ginger ale (Northern Neck, of course!), a roasted chicken, and milk. We drink lots and lots of milk in our house.

What makes you laugh out loud?

Unexpected discoveries. Also dry humor and bad puns. It's bad.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Perhaps my professional career as a geologist and educator. I see my job as a result of many accomplishments and integration of experiences from a lot of different aspects of my life so far (not just school). I have found an incredible satisfaction from learning new ideas, information, and techniques and I like to think that I am constantly drawing on these experiences and incorporating new ones as I help students learn more about themselves and their aspirations. While I am very proud of my academic and professional experiences, I feel like my greatest achievements still lie ahead!

What is your greatest extravagance?

I have a musical instrument called a bouzouki, it's basically a big mandolin. I don't play it often, but when I do, I just love the sound and the feel of the strings on the fret board.

Who is your hero?

My hero is the unrecognized worker who toils away because of his or her innate curiosity and desire to learn and do better, and not simply for the recognition of their labors