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Faculty of the Fortnight: Steve Ellsworth

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steve2Early morning, students stroll into class still in the mindset of sleep, but Professor Steve Ellsworth is bright eyed and bushy tailed, with a cup of coffee patiently waiting for all his students to arrive.  “Good morning students, are we ready for the next section in our chapter?” said Ellsworth.

Ellsworth grew up in Traverse City, Michigan. He has always been a fan of sports such as baseball, softball, sport fishing, kayaking, biking, hiking, backpacking, and skiing.  Since moving to the Tahoe area, he has been in love with the scientific perks that beautiful Lake Tahoe has to offer, such as what makes Tahoe water so clear, life around the lake, along with the activities the basin has to offer, such as snow in the winter, hiking, swimming, biking and camping.

“Tahoe is the perfect blend of everything.” Ellsworth said.

   Ellsworth is a full-time professor at SNC. He started as a part-time and adjunct professor in 1992. Ellsworth attended UC Davis for his Ph.D. in order to obtain a full time position here on campus in 1996; prior to this he obtained his bachelor’s and master’s degree at the University of Michigan. Ellsworth was also a department chair of the science and technology department for seven years. In the fall of 1992 he taught biology and math 90. Only recently Ellsworth has transitioned to being a full-time math and statistics professor, and math program chair. He is currently working on getting a math program to work along with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and grow it around SNC. “I’m really excited about being Math Program Chair, I’ve had many years of teaching biology, environmental science classes, conservation biology, and other variety of different science classes. Right now with my career math and statistics really fit me,” Ellsworth said. This is Ellsworth’s 23rd year here at Sierra Nevada College and he is a professor that is absolutely in love with his job.

   When asking Ellsworth what brought him to SNC he mentions that he was a friend of Professor Chuck Levitan, and found out about the campus through Levitan, along with the area itself. Ellsworth mentioned that he did his dissertation work at Sagehen Creek, north of Truckee and done his PhD work on stream ecology. Ellsworth continues with saying how he has seen the campus change tremendously, facilities, departments, along with quoting, “SNC standards are higher, and the approach is different.”

   With Ellsworth’s time of being at SNC he was one of the Department of Chairs to build and design the Tahoe Center of Environmental Sciences. The design of classrooms, offices, and set up of the labs, Ellsworth had a large say of how it should be set up. The first floor of TCES was designed purely for the UC Davis research, while the second floor is the SNC floor with the professor’s offices, with two classrooms and three labs and a small conference room also known as the fish bowl.

   I then asked Professor Ellsworth about the progression of the sports teams starting with the ski team then turning into having seven sports teams on campus. He says, before there was an athletic department there was an athletic oversight committee, with starting out with just the Alpine ski team there was a huge progression on incoming students since majority were international students. Ellsworth says that with the addition of the other six teams there is a higher standard, since Branko Zagar, SNC’s Athletic Director expects his athletes to have a 3.0 GPA. When adding the snowboarding team there was immediate success and jump in attendance in the school, now with adding the NAIA sports such as Soccer, Golf, and Cross Country this benefits the school greatly. Ellsworth is a huge support of all of the sports teams here at SNC and he absolutely loves his job and where he lives. He also says that one of the soccer players in his class is extremely responsible to where he makes sure that he is on top of assignments and classwork throughout him traveling with his soccer team. As Ellsworth is a large supporter of all the sports he says the only issue with adding all of these sports is the scheduling, as the sports program continues to grow certainly this issue will progress after the teams have a set schedule with practices and games.

   After this school year Ellsworth is thinking about teaching photography classes in South Africa along with going and assisting with the trip. He is very excited to have this opportunity and see where this will take him in his career. Ellsworth is very happy to be a part of the SNC staff and will continue to teach statistics and math in order to move forward with the STEM programs.

 

Photo courtesy of Facebook | Steve Ellsworth earned a Ph.D. from UC Davis and now teaches math and science

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The student news site of Sierra Nevada College
Faculty of the Fortnight: Steve Ellsworth