The life of an academic is unique in that it is more a way of life than a profession. In practically every trip I was on this summer, and this was my summer of a LOT of travel, especially road trips across familiar and unfamiliar parts of the country, and there wasn’t a place where I did not find a connection with something I teach, something my students would love, something I could research, something I could write about. I believe that this just makes the experience that much richer.
At the Albacore museum, I had to take close-ups of the submarine propellers to share in my Fluids class, at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln’s Science Museum, I snapped a lot of pictures of their rock collections, because I loved how they had organized their collection – perfect for my Hydrogeology course, the Omaha Children’s Museum had a detailed model of a reverse osmosis water treatment system – just right for the water and wastewater treatment course.
Finally, there was almost a continuous stream of ideas for my environmental engineering course – from the Colorado State Capitol – the first LEED certified Capitol in the country to the naturally carbonated mineral spring waters of Manitou Springs to faulty water meters that allowed the famous Wall Drug Store in South Dakota to receive five years of free water (worth almost $9, 000), to looking at algae blooms across several water bodies along the coast of Maine.
Even my first real touristy trip to Montreal, complete with the hop on hop off experience was heightened whenthe tour guide mentioned that much of the green space in the city had been designed by Fredrick Law Olmstead, the same landscape architect who designed Central Park in New York City and who was the subject of a research paper of a student in my Honors class on Sustainability last spring.