Jim Gaw ’64

Science Faculty

BA, Chemistry, Reed College

PhD, Biochemistry, University of California, Santa Cruz

CRMS Great Teaching Chair in Science and Mathematics

Appointed 1979

What do you do on campus?
I teach chemistry. I lead hiking, kayaking and instructional alpine skiing groups. I run the River Watch service crew. I help supervise the sophomore boys’ & girls’ dorms. I am the advisor to senior boys. I provide stability in an age of unrest and uncertainty.

How do trips and service reinforce what students are learning in their classes?
The River Watch service crew is an opportunity for students to apply chemistry to a practical situation as well as see the “maintenance” part of the sciences (testing experiments, setting up experiments, cleaning up after experiments). For me, the trips do not reinforce what they learn in the chemistry classroom, but they are an opportunity to make and strengthen connections between students and teachers and in so doing strengthen the ties that bind our community together. Equally important, the trips strengthen students’ connection to the natural world and the values of wilderness that are under assault by many forces.

What is your favorite part of serving as Trip Leader?
Teaching students how to use the groover.; Teaching students how to use the Dutch oven.; Seeing students become more proficient in their backcountry travel & camping skills.; Getting to know students better.

What advice do you have for students interested in pursuing STEM careers?
Read Science Daily, New Scientist, or the science & technology sections of the NY Times; take all the math & science classes you can; ask your teachers about interesting books to read