Laura Triplett, PhD

Laura Triplett, PhD

Associate Professor of Geology

What are your areas of research and teaching expertise?

I am curious about how human activities on the landscape affect the quality of rivers, lakes, and groundwater. My research projects focus on river water quality, and help communities answer questions like “how can we protect our water?” and “how can we reduce the pollution in our river?” I teach about how the earth works, focusing on topics that intersect with human interests: climate change, rivers, soil, landslides, glaciers, coasts, etc.

What is your teaching style? Write a couple of sentences describing your teaching methods and philosophy.

My teaching style is always changing in response to how students change. I am a very active teacher in the classroom; I love what I teach, and my students describe me as passionate about earth science. I use a variety of teaching styles and strategies to reach a wide variety of people.

I love learning how other people think about and experience the world. Being a teacher, I'm challenged all the time to find the best way to communicate with individuals — and students are always individuals to me, even in larger classes. Every year students surprise me with their energy, questions and conundrums, which keeps me on my toes and makes every day unique.

Describe your "lightbulb moment."

When I was a first-year college student I took an environmental science class taught by three different professors. When it was the geologist's turn, he took us out to a small river and started having us ask and answer questions about how the river changed through time and how humans were interacting with it. I was astounded to learn that science can be as fun as just asking questions about the natural world and trying to find the answers.

What do you enjoy outside the classroom?

Camping, painting rocks (I'm serious), reading science fiction and trying new foods.