By Stephanie McMillen
Jack Rogers, professor of geology on the East Campus, has been teaching at Valencia for 10 years and brings with him a rich array of experiences to share with students.
As a geology major with a background in vertebrate paleontology, one of Jack’s greatest professional accomplishments occurred in 1996 when he discovered a new species of fossil crocodilian in Texas. Jack had the honor of naming the species (Pachycheilosuchus trinqueiI), and publishing a description of it in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology in 2003.
“I have done paleontological research in Texas, Arizona, Wyoming, Montana, and more recently, Florida,” Jack shared. “A few years ago I discovered a fossil whale jawbone at Talbot Island State Park and took a couple of Valencia students with me to do the excavation.”
Additionally, Jack is an accomplished nature photographer and has most recently been published in Audubon Magazine. His photographs have also graced the pages of Florida Wildlife magazine, Birdwatching magazine, Wild Bird magazine, as well as calendars, posters, brochures and various websites. He is a regular contributor to conservation groups such as the Florida Wildlife Commission, Florida Audubon Society, and others who use his images in their conservation publications.
Jack’s love for nature and photography spilled over into his career at Valencia, prompting him to begin teaching a nature photography class five years ago.
“What I really enjoy about the class are the many trips we take to work on our skills in the field,” Jack said. “Many of the great images produced by my students are hanging in various buildings across the East Campus.”
Crediting his ability to enhance the learning experience with the support he gets from the college, Jack said that being in the field with students is among his top joys.
“I love being in the field with students, both studying geology and photographing nature,” Jack shared. “I fondly remember my field learning experiences from my years in college and am happy to be able to provide similar, memorable field learning experiences to my students here at Valencia.”
Thanks to support and funding from the college, and particularly from student development and the Honors Program, Jack has been able to take classes to Shark’s Tooth Hill in Bakersfield, California, the Florida Keys, and canoeing on the Peace River to study geology and collect fossils.
“Jack and the talents he lends to the college, department, and his students are unparalleled to anyone else,” said Lynn Dorn, interim dean of science on the East Campus and Jack’s supervisor. “His advocacy for our Earth is inspirational and instilled upon our students regularly so that their generation and the generations to follow will continue to promote, protect, and appreciate the beauty of our Earth.”
As an active faculty participant in the honors program, Jack is currently mentoring a geology student, Carlos Rosario, who is working on a project toward completion of his honors degree in the new research track.
Jack spends most of his weekends exploring Florida with a camera in hand, and returns with images of the state’s natural beauty that he enjoys sharing with his colleagues. Many of his photos are posted online here. If you would like to begin receiving Jack’s latest images via email each week, you may contact him at email@example.com.
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