- EAS*F106 Natural Disasters
- EVS*F100 Intro to Environmental Science
- EVS*F111 Environmental Science Lab
- EVS*F135 Exploring Environmental Career
- GLG*120 Dynamic Earth
Dinosaurs. Natural disasters. The Eagle Crater outcrop on Mars. Hiking in western Ireland.
These as just a few of the things in Christine Witkowski’s exciting and varied environmental past—a journey which has led her to her current role as 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, paleontology, evolution and botany. During this time she co-wrote “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 Northeastern University, Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Connecticut, 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 at Boston University, 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 fieldwork on the plate tectonic processes that produced the Caledonian mountains. She also served as a graduate teaching fellow at Boston University’s Department of Earth Sciences, and as graduate teaching assistant at the University of Connecticut Department of Geology and Geophysics. While at UConn, Christine also conducted geophysical investigations of contaminated sites with the U.S. Geological Survey.
At MxCC, she revised the Environmental Science associate degree program to better meet the demands of this popular career field. Christine believes the best environmental programs include time outside in the field. Many of the assignments include opportunities for students to gain hands-on field experience. 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 and the Association of Women Geoscientists. Christine also served a two-year term as the Teaching & Learning Coordinator for the Center for Teaching at MxCC, which offers professional development opportunities for faculty.
She enjoys leading geology walks and hikes for the public and with local community groups, including the Manchester Historical Society, Lebanon Rails-to-Trails Committee, and the Rockfall Foundation and is on the Board of Directors of the Land Heritage Coalition in Glastonbury. She has served on the selection committee and as a film host for The Elements: An Annual Environmental Film Series in Middletown since 2015. She is a former member of the Board of Directors and the selection committee of the A Better Chance Glastonbury which provides educational opportunities to young minority men.
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, where she was named Outstanding Woman Scholar. She completed course and field work towards her doctoral degree in Geology at Boston University. She was named Outstanding Teaching Fellow and awarded both the Dean’s Fellowship and Denton Fellowship at the Department of Earth Sciences at BU.
In her spare time, Christine enjoys traveling, hiking, running, reading, cooking, shopping at farmers markets and picking blueberries. She has completed races in 31 towns in Connecticut and 37 states, including 10 half marathons, and hopes to run a race in all 50 states by age 50. Christine is co-race director of the Cap & Gown 5k Run/Walk held at MxCC each May to celebrate student success and raise money for the Middlesex Community College Foundation (mxcc.edu/5k).