SFCC Snapshot: Lenny Gannes

“I love teaching—meeting the students where they are and teaching them from whatever background they are from, trying to excite them about science. Many of the classes I teach are for non-major students, designed for students not going into science. They’re studying art or English or something else, but they need to take a science class. If they walk away with an appreciation and a different way to understand the natural world—a new part of the world that they hadn’t paid attention to—I’m super-psyched about that. If they remember that science is a really cool lens to see the world through, and it’s an interesting way to be able to know things about the world, then that is important to me, and we spend a lot of time in class doing that. Often, I don’t use textbooks, or I use them lightly. Instead, we read a lot of articles from Harper’s, The Atlantic, The New York Times, by people who may not be scientists, but who can take these complex ideas and translate them into science that people understand. If people walk away from my classes knowing that they can read about science, knowing that they can access it and understand it, that’s great. That means that they have a literacy about science. Science to me is about stories. Science is a story. It’s a different way of telling a story. And a scientific paper is not a murder mystery novel, but it is still a story. Learning the skills to read a scientific paper as a story, and to understand it, is a great tool. I try to have students read a book about science, and often we will discuss it in one sitting. Students are not used to doing that. To be able to read a book is to have another one of those great tools.” 
Lenny Gannes, Ph.D., Science Department Chair, Assistant Professor of Biology (pictured with his dog, Azeet)  

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