Associate Professor/Program Coordinator, Environmental Science
Office Location: Wheaton 217
Office Hours: Mondays 2:45 – 4:15 PM, Wednesdays 11:00 PM – 12:30 PM & 2:45 – 4:15 PM, Thursdays 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Dinosaurs. Natural disasters. The Eagle Crater outcrop on Mars. Hiking in Western Ireland.
These as just a few of the “normal” parts of Christine Witkowski’s exciting and varied environmental past – a journey which has led her to her current role as associate professor and Environmental Science program coordinator at MxCC.
Before joining MxCC in August 2010, she did indeed work with dinosaurs at the Dinosaur State Park and Museum in Rocky Hill, Conn. As the on-staff park naturalist, Christine developed and conducted educational programs on Connecticut geology, palaeontology, evolution and botany. During this time she co-wrote “Window into the Jurassic World: Reconstructing ancient environments with fossils, tracks and traces at Dinosaur State Park” for the Geological Society of Connecticut Field Trip Guidebook (2010) and helped edit the souvenir guidebook Window into the Jurassic World.
And before the dinosaurs, she developed and taught compelling courses on natural disasters (and other earth science classes) at Eastern Connecticut State University, the “other” Middlesex Community College (in Bedford, Mass.), and at Manchester Community College. In fact, the new natural disasters science course she created for Manchester helped generate renewed excitement in the overall study of earth sciences – with enrollment increasing dramatically in those programs.
And before the natural disasters, Christine was indeed researching the structural mapping of the Eagle Crater outcrop on Mars. Working with undergraduate students in structural geology, she co-wrote a virtual paper on the subject (with the intriguing title of “New Challenges for the Extraterrestrial Field Geologist”) for the Journal of the Virtual Explorer in 2004.
In between these exciting adventures, Christine found herself in Western Ireland assisting students in daily outdoor field mapping exercises, use of GPS, data analysis, and creation of geologic maps using ArcInfo; and in Sweden conducting field work on the plate tectonic processes that produced the Caledonian mountans. She also served as a graduate teaching fellow at Boston University’s Department of Earth Sciences, and as graduate teaching assistant at the UCONN Department of Geology and Geophysics. While at UCONN, Christine also conducted geophysical investigations of contaminated sites with the U.S. Geological Survey Office of Groundwater Branch of Geophysics.
At MxCC, she revised the entire environmental science associate’s degree program so it better meets the demands of this popular career field. Christine believes the best environmental programs include time outside in the environment. Many of the courses include opportunities for students to gain hands-on field experience by testing and monitoring the environment, water sources, and other resources. Christine also taps into her extensive network of professional colleagues across Connecticut to bring in a variety of guest speakers each semester in the Exploring Environmental Careers course.
Christine has attended and participated in countless geological, environmental, and teaching conferences and events hosted by groups including the Geological Society of America and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. She is actively involved in these groups as well as in the Geological Society of Connecticut, the Association of Women Geoscientists, and the Connecticut Science Olympiad at UCONN.
She enjoys leading geology walks and hikes for the public and with local community groups, including the Manchester Historical Society, the Lebanon Rails-to-Trails Committee, and the Land Heritage Coalition of Glastonbury
Christine earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of Connecticut, and Master of Science degree in Geology from the University of Connecticut. She completed course work and research for a doctoral degree in Earth Sciences at Boston University. She was awarded the Outstanding Teaching Fellow from Boston University, as well as both the Dean’s Fellowship and Denton Fellowship from the Department of Earth Sciences at BU. She also was named Outstanding Woman Scholar while at UCONN.
In her free time, Christine enjoys travel, hiking, running, kayaking, reading, cooking, shopping at Farmer’s Markets and picking blueberries. She has completed road races in 17 states and 25 towns in CT, including 5 half marathons, and is co-race director of the Cap & Gown 5k Run Walk held each May at MxCC.