||Professor discusses CentreTerm volcano trip at Geological Society of America convention
RELEASED: October 8, 2009
By Leigh Ivey
DANVILLE, KY—Centre College students have the opportunity to spend the College's three-week January CentreTerm in a variety of exotic locations.
One of the most popular, especially among the College's science students, is the trip to New Zealand for the "physical science of volcanoes" course.
This October, associate professor of chemistry Dr. Conrad Shiba will be presenting a paper about the course to more than six thousand scientists at the Geological Society of America's 2009 annual meeting and exposition.
"As with other professional meetings, scientists and educators may submit papers for presentation at the meeting," Shiba says. "Mine happened to be one that was accepted for an oral presentation in the geosciences education division. It's nice that this meeting is in Portland, right in the Cascade Mountain area, which contains many volcanoes."
For two terms, Shiba has co-directed the study abroad program in New Zealand with chemistry professor Dr. Joe Workman.
This January, the two will return with another group of students to make new discoveries, and Shiba is excited about his third trip to the region.
"I enjoy the CentreTerm course because professors are able to interact closely with the students, getting to know them much better than in a normal classroom setting," he says. "And I enjoy teaching them about one of my academic passions, volcanoes, in the actual setting, which contains many beautiful places."
Conducted on the North Island in New Zealand, the course is held almost entirely outdoors. In the field, students study monogenetic volcano fields, composite volcanoes, lava flows, hot springs, geysers, fumaroles (volcanic gas vents) and much more.
"Students do a lot of hiking, as we climb up many of the volcanoes that we're discussing," Shiba says. "We've hiked to the crater lake of 9,175-foot high Mt. Ruapehu and observed where it had erupted just four months prior to our trip."
In their spare time, students are able to participate in activities that are as extraordinary as the class lectures.
Bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain biking, kayaking, surfing and soaking in thermal baths are but a few of the many exhilarating activities that students enjoy while abroad in New Zealand.
From one trip to the next, Shiba says, the classes have seen "shifts in the locations of thermal activity, the hot springs and fumaroles." This year, he, Workman and their students will learn if this trend has continued.
The three-week term in New Zealand is but one of the many unique options Centre students have to receive personal education in remarkable settings.
This CentreTerm, students can opt to participate in courses in Bali, China, Hawaii, Costa Rica, Mexico, or Puerto Rico and Martinique.
Like many CentreTerm trips, the course in New Zealand is not limited to science majors.
"Only at Centre could you be a philosophy major and still study volcanoes," writes Nate Crimmins '08 in a travel journal from his term on the North Island. "Only at Centre would I not fall into the trap of an education marked by just one discipline but instead be able to explore many disciplines as well as have a focus that I loved."
Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with your feedback.
- end -
Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
For news archives go to http://www.centre.edu/web/news/newsarchive.html.
600 W. Walnut Street
Danville, KY 40422