Monday, May 18, 2015

Prof. Rich Gossweiler appreciation: 'How do you measure the lump in a student's throat?'

When Cory MacLauchlin began teaching at Germanna Community College, Prof. Rich Gossweiler told him his goal should be simple:
“‘How do you measure the lump in a student's throat?” Gossweiler asked him. “If we don’t make the students feel something, then we miss the point.”
“To me, that’s his legacy,” said MacLauchlin.
Judy Napier and Margaret Gossweiler
at celebration of Prof.Rich Gossweiler's life
 Gossweiler passed away on April 10 after 45 years of teaching in the Virginia Community College system, most of them at Germanna.
He had retired from teaching full time, but couldn’t stay away from GCC , its students and faculty and continued to teach part time.
He was at GCC’s Locust Grove Campus that day when he began to feel ill and went outside to rest on a bench. He collapsed moments later.  Germanna nursing professors who had come to love Gossweiler worked heroically to keep him alive till an ambulance arrived. He passed away that evening, with family --and Germanna faculty and staff  who considered him family-- at his side. He was 74.
“Rich Gossweiler was not only a great teacher of students, but someone who played a critical role in mentoring faculty and staff,” Germanna President David A. Sam said at a celebration of his life at GCC’s Daniel Technology Center in Culpeper on May 6.
.At a retirement event, Gossweiler  had urged faculty members to continue to “challenge the students … make them go further than they expected.”
Gossweiler also asked them to remember that “students are your friends."
Prof. Rich Gossweiler and Prof. Don Frank
at retirement event
“When we go through town, we always run into our students. The wonderful thing about community colleges is you see the results—you see [former] students. You make friends,” he said.
Many are passionate about teaching.  Gossweiler’s feelings went beyond that. He couldn’t contain the joy the profession brought him--and it was infectious.
“When he wasn’t smiling, he was roaring with laughter,” Sam said.
“He helped instill in me the passion I have today,” said Dr. Patti Lisk, dean of nursing at Germanna.
At the celebration of the late professor's life, a former student said, “As long as he taught, there’s a piece of Rich Gossweiler in every one of us.”
In a sense, we were all Rich Gossweiler’s students.
He left so many of us with lumps in our throats.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Great Expectations: 'If they can make it big, so can you'

Germanna Community College recognizes the strides being made by Great Expectations program students students during a GE Milestones: 
Recognizing and Celebrating Student Successes ceremony.Wednesday night. 
Great Expectations prepares foster care youth aging out of the system for the transition to college in part through mentoring.
“Germanna is a place where you can begin to live out a part of your dreams," GE Program Coordinator Jennifer Lawrence for the students . "Antwone Fisher, a former foster youth, said to himself, 'if they can make it big, so can I.' So, I want you to know as I have shared with you all over and over again. . . I am proud of you for all that you have overcome and if they can make it big, so can you.”
Antwan Perry addresses Germanna Great Expectations students.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Figuring out how to cool coffee down fast is, well, cool

Prof. Mirela Fetea’s Physics 242 class was working on a “How to Cool Down Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate” project Tuesday at Germanna Community College’s Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania.

“There’s a lot of physics in something as simple as making a cup of coffee,” Fetea said. “We all have burned our tongues trying to sip coffee when it’s too hot--waiting to take that first sip can seem like it takes forever.”

She challenged students to apply some of the basic concepts and principles studied this semester in the physics class--heat radiation and absorption, conduction and convection, insulation, etc, to figure out what succession of steps would cool down the liquid the most in three minutes:

Quickly pouring the creamer and sugar in, or pouring them in right before you drink, stirring or shaking the cup, blowing on it.

Fetea explained the winning strategy, which involved continuous movement of an aluminum foil tray full of hot water around a table in the physics lab:

"By moving the tray around they tried to maximize the loss of heat via conduction - transfer of energy by the movement of particles that are in direct contact with each other. The larger the temperature difference between the objects, the quicker the heat transfer is. As soon as the temperature of the table surface increased, they moved the tray to another spot, having a slightly lower temperature--room temperature--and therefore speeding up the heat transfer."

The results:

First place: Nathan Helmly, Ethan Martin, Joseph Medawar, and Vincent Eastman.

Sexond place tie: A team of Ali Hayder, Gabriel Simmons, Michael Hales, and Nathan Richters and a team consisting of Daniel Carder, Kristy D'Alessandro, Donnie Lewis, and Justin Wray.

Third place: Nicholas Short, David Brown, Jake Polend and Matt Perry

Nathan Richters waves a styrofoam cup while team members Gabriel Simmons,
Michael Hales and Ali Hayder blow air onto a tray of hot water
 to cool down a hot liquid during a Germanna Community College physics class.
 Six teams of four students had three minutes to apply some of the concepts
 and principles studied in their University Physics II  class.
(Photo by Robert A. Martin)