Meet Our Teachers: Holly Horton

001My name is Holly Horton, and I am the Evanston Outreach geology instructor for Western.  I have a BS in geology from MIT and an MS in geophysics from Stanford.  I have been teaching geology for Western since the fall semester of 2009, both online and in the classroom, and I also teach Math Lab for Western here in Evanston.  I plan to teach a classroom version of my geology course here in Evanston in the Fall2014 semester.

I have worked for various companies that are active in the mining and petroleum industries for over 30 years, and I have a broad and varied experience with geology.  I was transferred to Evanston by Chevron in 1992 as a geophysicist, and I retired from Chevron in 2002.    I am currently working as a geophysical consultant for an energy company in Salt Lake City, in addition to my teaching responsibilities.

Teaching geology and math is, for me, a way to give back to the community in which I live and work.  I greatly enjoy teaching geology, and I can promise you that when you have completed my geology course you will look at the physical world around you with a new viewpoint and greater appreciation.

Geology is a dynamic science, and we see it in action every single day.  Whenever we read about a volcano erupting, a tsunami occurring, or a rockslide destroying homes, we are experiencing geology.  In this geology course you will learn how the four major physical systems of the Earth (atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere) intricately interact with each other through geological processes, and why these processes occur and can sometimes result in disasters.

We are all curious creatures and we want to learn.  This is an opportunity to learn about a fun and interesting science that most people don’t understand.  We see geology in action every day, but most people don’t know why geological processes occur.

This course is not about lectures.  Instead, as a group, we will extensively discuss geology and geologic processes.  You will also learn through lab work how scientists study the Earth.  And I plan to include a local geology field trip.

In this course you will:

  • Learn what science is and how we use science to learn about the world around us – (Why do geologists think that the Earth is 4.6 billion years old?)
  • Learn to interpret landscapes and other aspects of the world that surrounds you – (Why did that landslide in Jackson cut that house in half? Could that have been avoided?)
  • Learn and apply important geologic concepts – (Do the continents really move around on the Earth? How does that happen?)
  • Understand the relevance of geology to your life – (Is that house that I want to buy located in a risky setting?)
  • Learn to use the new knowledge, skills and ways of thinking to become a more informed citizen – (So that’s why that earthquake caused a tsunami.  I understand now because I took a geology course at Western).

So if you have ever been interested in learning and understanding more about the physical world that you see around you and that you frequently hear about in the news, take my geology course.  I hope to see you all this fall.

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