I accidentally discovered my passion for higher education when I stumbled across an opportunity to teach a few introductory geology labs at a local college after graduating with a B.S. in Geology in 2010 (Hope College, Holland, MI). Did I anticipate pursuing more academic training in graduate school at that time? Absolutely not, but I found that I could not contain my drive to help people learn about the Earth and how geology is connected to numerous facets of our society. I found a talent I never knew I had- motivating people who generally had little or no interest in rocks or science to help develop and foster their own curiosity and elicit the relevance that geology has in everyone’s lives. So in 2012, I started in a Ph.D. program in order to pursue a career teaching and working with students in higher education.
Throughout my academic training, my ability to recognize different perspectives of success for each student and helping each one reach or even surpass their goals for my courses turned out to be a key variable in my pursuit of a career that broadens my scope to work with even more students and in even more aspects of their education. With a Ph.D. in Geosciences (2018, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI), I now look forward to using my skills and talents here in the Academic Advising Center at Nevada State to help all STEM students achieve their educational goals. I use strategies that I’ve applied in my courses to coach STEM students here at Nevada State to uncover their own academic potential and drive for success in their college experience because that translates into beneficial skills for future careers.
I hope my background as both a former STEM student AND as a current instructor in college science courses will be especially helpful for our students working toward STEM degrees. I look forward to meeting you and serving you here at Nevada State!
~Sarah M. VanderMeer, Ph.D.