WNC News & Notes: Professor gets kids hooked on science

Dr. Jerry Joldersma will teach a new course about India this fall at Western Nevada College.

Dr. Jerry Joldersma will teach a new course about India this fall at Western Nevada College.

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Western Nevada College physics professor Tom Herring teaches science with a bang. Dr. Herring uses lively and fun demonstrations to excite a younger generation about scientific principles. And it’s anything but boring.

Loud noises, high voltage and balls of fire create a sensory extravaganza that inevitably impresses and engages young minds.

“We demonstrate a variety of scientific principles, from simple mechanics to thermodynamics, and even some nuclear physics,” Herring said. “Testing hypotheses is a big part of science and I integrate that into the shows. Sharing the science of ‘why?’ also helps students understand how things work. I also ask people to predict the outcome of a particular experiment before I say anything.”

Herring entices at least a few of the youth to participate in a hands-on way.

“I’ve told many kids to wait for their family to ask, ‘How was school today?’ so they can reply, ‘The usual. I lit a professor on fire. No big deal’.”

This year, Herring made class visits to two Carson City School District elementary schools, as well as the Carson Montessori School. WNC science students Jordan Dargert, Kevin Brandenburg and Eric Waski volunteered to assist Herring in the school visits.

“I try to be available to any interested group regardless of age,” the professor said. “It’s never too late to learn about science.”

Discover India this fall in new course

The fascinating culture of India will be unveiled in Carson City this fall. Western Nevada College is offering the chance to learn about India’s multi-faceted culture, politics, economics, and how it has evolved since prehistoric times. A new three-credit course, History 295: Special Topics in History: India will be offered by Dr. Jerry Joldersma, a onetime resident of India.

Enrolling students can fulfill the social science requirement for an Associate of Arts of Associate of Science degree, or take the course for personal interest.

“I know and love India and I treasure the opportunity to share my passion with WNC students,” Joldersma said. He spent an academic year in Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at the University of Ceylon, working on his thesis, ‘Ceylon and the United Nations.’ He also worked for three years with the Department of State in New Delhi.

A wide range of topics will be examined and covered.

“This course will be a broad survey of Indian history from prehistoric times through the regal empires, the colonial experience, and modern history,” Joldersma said. “We will also study the historical and current Indian political systems and its experience with socialism, as well as its rapid economic growth in recent years. Finally, we will look at India’s culture, including Hinduism, Buddhism, the caste system, the position of women, and a brief look at its music, dance, literature and movies.”

Joldersma earned his doctorate from Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky.


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