Our Interdisciplinary Studies faculty love what they teach. They bring learning alive by supporting, encouraging, and challenging their students through hands-on, project based learning.
- BS, Microbiology, Arizona State University
- PhD, Immunology, University of California, Berkeley
Suzanne Gollery is all about her students. Her focus is on problem-based learning that promotes understanding and application of biology facts and concepts, rather than lectures and memorization of an ever-growing body of details. Microbiology, which is easily accessible to undergraduate students, is her central research interest. She also has research experience in immunogenetics and human genetics.
As the cell biologist at SNU, Gollery teaches the general biology series and the upper-division ‘skin-and-in’ courses like anatomy and physiology, genetics, microbiology, and biochemistry. She is the advisor and research mentor for most Biology majors. At SNU, she received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2002, and the Distinguished Advising Award in 2012.
For fun, Gollery loves natural history, hiking, camping, and kayaking in the Eastern Sierra. She and her husband raised their children in Incline Village. The family also makes music together with the SNU college chorus, and with TOCCATA, a regional orchestra and chorus, in which Gollery plays flute and sings soprano.
- BA, Sociology and Anthropology, Colgate University
- MA, Environment and Community, Humboldt State University
Brennan is a passionate writer, educator, and mountain guide. His writing and guiding work has brought him to all seven of the world’s continents. He finds inspiration backcountry skiing, but is just as inspired facilitating open, honest, and dynamic classroom spaces. Not only does Brennan travel extensively to ski and guide, but he also presents and attends conferences ranging from the Teacher for Social Justice Conference to the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference enhancing his knowledge base and experience in the current field of sustainability.
His writing reflects a diversity of travel and a pursuit of life-long learning. He has been published as a travel, music, adventure, ski, and activist writer both domestically and also abroad. His work can be found in online media, newspapers, and magazines, and his master’s degree research is available in book form.
Brennan teaches Wilderness Survival at Truckee Meadows Community College in addition to teaching in the Interdisciplinary Studies and Environmental Science programs at Sierra Nevada College. His continued mission at SNC is to inspire his students to become aware, critical, and well-rounded liberal arts students. He hopes to use his knowledge to inspire and inform his students during their time at Sierra Nevada College – and beyond.
- BA, New College of California, San Francisco
- MFA, University of California, Davis
Chris Lanier is an artist with a background in both traditional and digital media, and a demonstrated interest in hybrid forms, having worked in multimedia performance, digital animation, web production, and comics. His animation has screened at Sundance and won awards at several international festivals, including the Grand Prize for Internet Animation at the Ottawa International Animation Festival. His graphic novel “Combustion” was published by Fantagraphics Books, and his comics have appeared in a variety of venues, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Chicago Reader, Nickelodeon Magazine, and the Indiana Review. He is also an essayist and critic whose art criticism has appeared in a variety of online and print publications, including The Believer, HiLobrow.com, the San Francisco Chronicle, Salon Magazine, the Bay Guardian, and the Comics Journal. Most recently, he curated the exhibit “The Art of Howl,” featuring concept and animation art from the film “Howl,” which featured James Franco as the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. He also did storyboarding for the film. He is currently the Associate Professor of Digital Art at Sierra Nevada College.
- BA & BSBA, Sierra Nevada College
Marina, raised in the green mountains of Vermont, developed a love for the outdoors and environmentalism at a young age. After graduating from Sierra Nevada College with two degrees, she founded Waste-Free Earth, a full service sustainability consulting company, when she realized the adverse effects her actions were having on the environment. From traveling, going to music festivals, outdoor activities, and everyday life, she noticed something had to change. Through relatable advice and actions, Marina hopes to inspire everyone to make a positive difference in his or her daily lives, no matter how big or small it may be.
- BA, University of California, Berkeley
Born and raised in Truckee, California, Porter has always called the Sierras her home. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with degrees in Social Welfare and Spanish Language. Kelsey spent a year living in Santiago, Chile, studying Education at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the University of Chile, during which the Andean peaks, trails and rivers became her home away from home.
Beginning her outdoor education career in 2013, Porter worked as a whitewater raft guide for four seasons with O.A.R.S., first in California on the American River and then in Oregon on the Klamath and Rogue Rivers. She additionally worked as a wilderness instructor for GirlVentures, a Bay Area-based organization that brings girls and young women on self-empowerment focused backpacking and rock climbing trips in the Sierras. Kelsey moved back to Truckee in 2016 where she currently works full-time for Adventure Risk Challenge (ARC), a local non-profit that brings under-resourced youth into the wilderness, integrating the outdoor experience with leadership and literacy development.
Porter is deeply committed to increasing access to a quality and engaging education for all people, in both the indoor and outdoor classroom. On her days off, you can find her on a trail or on the river with her loved ones.
- BA, Political Science, University of Vermont
- MS, Hydrology, University of Nevada, Reno
- PhD, Hydrology, University of Nevada, Reno
Andy Rost received his doctorate in hydrology at the University of Nevada, Reno, where he studied stream algae. He has been teaching undergraduate courses in fields ranging from earth, ecology, and environmental sciences. His teaching practices emphasize interdisciplinary perspectives and highlight immersive field experiences and the mentoring of undergraduate research projects.
After becoming the department chair, he has been able to secure external funding to support the department and continue to collaborate with researchers and educators within and beyond the SNC campus to improving undergraduate science education. Throughout these experiences Andy has stayed rooted in and inspired by the rivers, ranges, and landscapes that are central to his professional life. When he is not working, you are likely to find him in these wild places with his wife and three kids.
- PhD in Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz
Devon Sampson investigates the dynamic and creative ways that smallholder farmers adapt to a changing world. His work focuses on how the biodiversity that farmers manage as part of their agroecosystems contributes to their ability to make a living in increasingly unpredictable climactic and economic conditions. He advises organizations on methods for measuring biodiversity in agricultural landscapes, and on participatory approaches to gathering and analyzing data. He draws on his experiences as a gardener, farmer, teacher, and community organizer in his work. He is also the co-host of Delicious Revolution, a radio show about food, culture, and place.
- B.A. in Journalism, University of Oregon
- M.A. in Journalism (candidate), University of Nevada, Reno
Jim Scripps has over 20 years experience in marketing and communications. He has been a reporter, editor and managing editor at various community newspapers in the Reno / Tahoe area. He has also directed marketing and communication efforts for non-profit and higher education organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Truckee Meadows and Sierra Nevada College.
He currently teaches newspaper editing at SNC and is one of the faculty advisors to the Eagle’s Eye, the SNC Tahoe student newspaper.
- BA, Environmental Studies, University of California Santa Cruz
- MA Equivalency, Recreation Administration, Feather River College Board of Trustees
- MA, Recreation Hospitality and Parks (Candidate), California State University Chico
Flett is passionate about recreation, outdoor adventure leadership, and experiential education. He has been working in outdoor education and guiding expedition whitewater trips since 2001. He lives in beautiful Quincy, CA, where he also teaches as an associate faculty in Outdoor Recreation Leadership at Feather River College. Flett is enthusiastically pursuing a master’s degree in Recreation and Parks Management to gain skills in education around recreation, leadership, risk management, wilderness therapy, and the use of public lands for leisure pursuits.
Flett’s favorite forms of recreation can be classified into three broad categories: playing outside with his dog Skunk, photographing adjectives, and tinkering till’ the wee hours of the night (all three are most enjoyed when shared with someone else). He’s enthusiastic about working with the ODAL students, working with them individually and in groups, and hopefully someday playing, I mean – “recreating” – in a beautiful place together.
- BA, Sierra Nevada College
Viren Perumal was born in Thailand, and then settled in the Southeastern US where as a youth he learned to climb and kayak whitewater. Perumal holds a Masters degree in Biology/Eco-physiology and since 1999, has worked as a professional in almost every diverse aspect of the outdoor industry: raft guide, wilderness therapist, ski patroller, search and rescue worker, ambulance crew, outdoor educator, outdoor retail specialist, and biology researcher, and climbing guide. He is a insatiable learner and a master teacher. Perumal got his first work as a climbing guide in 2000. He moved to the Sierra Nevada Mountains in 2004, where he fell in love with granite cracks and alpine peaks. Perumal has guided rock, ice, and alpine ascents throughout the High Sierra as well as in the North Cascades, Canada, Alaska, Red Rocks, and South America. Perumal earned AMGA Rock Guide certification in 2011, has completed an AMGA alpine guide training course, and completed AIARE Level 2 avalanche training in 2010. He also teaches the “AMGA Single Pitch Instructor” courses run by SMG. When not guiding, Perumal trains and certifies other outdoor professionals in wilderness medicine through the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS and he serves as Adjunct Faculty for the Prescott College Adventure Education Program.
Perumal has infectious enthusiasm, a generous heart, and an irresistible way of sharing his stoke for climbing and being in the mountains. His favorite place in the world to climb is the Eastern Sierra, where he now lives with his wife Julie and their dog Sladey.
Dan Ring is the Senior Guide and Head Fly Fishing Instructor for Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters. He grew up on a lake in southern Minnesota, where he spent much of his time catching anything from bluegill to pike. In 1993 he moved with his family to San Diego, CA. He felt like a fish out of water in the big city, so he began fishing, backpacking, and exploring the Sierra Nevada mountains from Mount Whitney to Lake Tahoe. In 2002 he came to South Lake Tahoe to pursue wilderness studies courses at Lake Tahoe Community College. He came across an old fly rod, and began fly fishing with a little help from his friends. Over the years he became very familiar with the local waters and entomology. In 2011 he became a guide and instructor at Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, and began teaching fly fishing at Sierra Nevada College a few years later.
Dan has found his passion in teaching fly fishing and guiding people to his favorite places around the Lake Tahoe Basin.
- BS in Hydrology, UC Santa Barbara
- MS in Water Resources, San Diego State University
Scott Valentine teaches a variety of whitewater-related courses at SNC, but also runs the Earth Sciences Department at Lake Tahoe Community College. Scott has a MS in Water Resources from San Diego State, a BS in Hydrology from UC Santa Barbara, and is currently working on his Doctorate. He has worked for over 20 years as a professional raft guide and was a US Forest Service Hydrologist prior to his teaching profession.