Meet the Visiting Professors

Isabel Mills

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This year, Whitman College is fortunate to have a great variety of visiting professors. Although they have only been here for a short time, the professors all expressed a love for the Whitman community and its students. In fact, all four professors mentioned their appreciation for the great feeling of community both at Whitman and in Walla Walla at large.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Astronomy Cassandra Fallscheer is originally from California, but for the past seven years she has lived in Germany, where she received a doctorate at the University of Heidelberg. She has also lived in Canada. Her other worldly adventures include scuba diving in the Caribbean, exploring the rain forests of Taiwan and biking in the San Juan Islands.

Fallscheer began her undergraduate studies intending to be a math major. However, during an internship working with high-energy particle physics she met an astronomy professor who inspired her to pursue the subject.

“Astronomy appeals to me because it’s neat to see how math and physics can so elegantly explain the incredibly beautiful and artistic-looking things we observe in the universe,” said Fallscheer.

When Fallscheer isn’t pondering the wonders of the universe, she can be found at the climbing gym or exploring her surroundings on her bicycle.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry Lawrence Goldman was born in New York and raised in New Jersey. Chemistry enthralled him in high school, and he continued along that scientific path in his undergraduate studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey. He later went to graduate school in Wales, which was an eye-opening experience for him.

When asked about his passion for chemistry, Goldman mentions his love for the many incredible changes involved in this particular field of science.

“It’s exciting to be able to blend two colorless liquids together, and then proceed to watch them explode,” said Goldman.

A history enthusiast since high school, Visiting Assistant Professor of History Laura Ferguson grew up in Portland, Ore. and graduated from Oregon State University with an undergraduate degree in history. There she also pursued her passion for outdoor activities like backpacking and cross-country skiing.

Here in Walla Walla, Ferguson enjoys exploring Mill Creek and taking her yellow lab for walks. Her research focus is on 19th century San Francisco. Her fascination with the city stems from the way that cities work and the way different groups of people come together to create that system.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Gary Gemberling is a disc golfer, biker, hiker and trumpet player. He said that it was his great high school teachers who first drew him to a career in education. Before becoming a professor, his passion for performing led him to play in a house band, perform at Busch Gardens and go on national tours with three Broadway musicals.

Gemberling started working at Whitman as the director of the wind ensemble. To get to work every day, he commuted 200 miles round trip from his house in Idaho. According to him, interacting with students each day made the long drive absolutely worth it.

“I hope my students will continue to be involved in music in some way. Music keeps the mind young and is something you can do for your entire life,” said Gemberling.

Each visiting professor expressed a great desire to share his or her knowledge and passions with Whitman students.

“Something I’d like for my students to get out of General Chemistry is how related chemistry is to other sciences and how important it is in the modern world,” said Goldman.

The professors have also been impressed by the work ethic of Whitman students, who seem eager to spend time in class.

“They hold high expectations for themselves and others, are extremely driven, have pride in the effort they put forth and are very friendly. They live up to my motto that the end product is the result of the effort you put in to it,” said Gemberling.

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