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
Gollery is all about students. She was selected by her peers to receive the Anthony Chee Teaching Excellence Award at Houston Community College in 1994, the Distinguished Teaching Award at Sierra Nevada College in 2002, and the Distinguished Advising Award at SNC in 2012. Her central focus is the reform of foundational biology instruction away from lectures and memorization of an increasingly large body of content details to problem-based learning that promotes understanding and application of biology facts and concepts. In November 2012 she took a panel of SNC students to the International Science in Society Conference in Berkeley, CA, to present a workshop “Ask College Students about Inquiry-based Learning in Science”. Gollery has research experience in immunogenetics and human genetics. Microbiology continues to be her central research interest, as it is easily accessible to undergraduate students. Gollery has chaired the Department of Science and Technology at SNC since fall 2008.
For fun, Gollery enjoys natural history study while hiking, camping, and kayaking in the Eastern Sierra with her dog, husband, and children. The family also makes music together with the SNC college chorus and TOCCATA, a regional orchestra and chorus, in which Gollery plays flute and sings soprano.
Outdoor Leadership; Environmental & Social Sustainability
- 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 teaches in the Science and Humanities departments at Sierra Nevada College. His primary research interests include the physical, chemical, and biological constraints on attached algae in Sierra Nevada streams. He is active in his research and supervises student research at Sierra Nevada College. Andy teaches a wide range of classes including Ecology of Aquatic Ecosystems, Environmental Systems, Introduction to Sustainability, Lake Tahoe Basin Ecosystems, Environmental Engineering, Introduction to Outdoor Skills, Fundamentals of Environmental Education, and Introduction to Geology. Outside of SNC, you are most likely to find Andy enjoying the rock, water, sun, and slopes of the Sierra Nevada with his family.
- 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, University of Pennsylvania
- MBA, Columbia University
A lifelong entrepreneur, Rick Winfield began his career in the early days of the “dot-com boom,” gaining experience working for small entrepreneurial ventures, large companies (including Microsoft and AT&T), and venture funded startups.
Rick escaped to Mexico as the dot-com bubble burst and came back inspired to start his own venture. In 2001, he founded ComputerTrainingSchools.com, a pioneer in the .edu lead generation space. He bootstrapped the company and grew it until successful acquisition. Rick also co-founded Veskritec, Inc., an early venture accelerator.
Inspired by working with young entrepreneurs and a long-time advocate of what has become known as the “lean startup” methodology, Rick returned to school in 2012 to earn his MBA (studying with the grandfather of lean startup, Steve Blank).
Rick began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Sierra Nevada College and the University of Nevada-Reno in 2014. He joined SNC full-time in the Fall of 2015. While Rick’s primary focus is entrepreneurship, he also teaches classes in marketing and finance.
In addition to teaching, Rick is an active angel investor and startup mentor who has lived in the Reno/Tahoe area for over ten years. An accomplished adventure skier, he has skied deep powder, steep couloirs, and big volcanoes on all seven of the world’s continents.
Whitewater guide, Outdoor Education
- 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
Rock Climbing Guide, Wilderness Medicine
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.
Hydrology, Whitewater guide
- 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.
Sierra Nevada College's Interdisciplinary Studies program offers majors in
Outdoor Adventure Leadership, Sustainability, Digital Arts & Business, Journalism & Media,
Psychology & Art or Music, and International Studies & Humanities