By Katie Vorderstrasse
After 17 years in Winfield, she plans to move back to California. Claudia Geer, professor of psychology has two more months left at Southwestern College. “That’s where most of my family is from,” said Geer. She started teaching on campus in August 1995.
Before teaching here, Geer was an adjunct at several community colleges in Northern California. She spent time as an instructor at University of California-Davis and worked in the aerospace industry for13 years. She also worked as a consultant at a research firm.
When Geer is not teaching, she enjoys several leisure activities. “I enjoy reading very much. All sorts of things, such as children books, mystery, biography, historical, and different periods of history,” she said. She also enjoys gardening, music, theater and her pets
Geer has three indoor cats and a 75-pound dog. “I put out water and food for the neighborhood cats,” said Geer.
If given a preference of what to eat, Geer would choose Mexican food. “Currently I’m not a vegetarian, but I was for several years,” said Geer. When returning to California she plans on reverting back to being a vegetarian.
When Geer watches television she has several favorites. “I really like ‘Masterpiece Theatre’, ‘NOVA on PBS’, ‘The Closer’, ‘NCIS’, and I guess ‘Grey’s Anatomy’,” said Geer.
Rumor has it that Geer is planning on retiring. This is false. “I’m not retiring, I hope to get a nice job teaching as an adjunct or instructor,” said Geer.
Leaving Southwestern will be bittersweet for Geer and her partner. “We both like the small town atmosphere and have many friends here. But It will be difficult to leave Southwestern and in particular the church family.”
Rachel Wong, psychology freshman, will not get the opportunity to finish her college journey with Geer. “I feel a sense of sadness that she is leaving because I feel that I have learned a lot from her, both in class and out of class,” said Wong.
A search committee is accepting applications and will go through the search steps. “I care so deeply about students and I won’t get to see what happens, but I know they will get qualified education here,” said Geer. The committee probably won’t know who is filling Geer’s position until April.
Geer teaches General Psychology, Development Psychology, Social Psychology, Personality, History and Systems Psychology, Human Sexuality, Emotion, and Learning Psychology.
Geer enjoys teaching and has many favorite things about teaching at Southwestern. “It gives opportunity to pass on practical knowledge for students, and I am able to express the ham in me by being a little goof and having fun,” said Geer.
One thing students can always remember Geer by is her tests. “We need to challenge ourselves. I don’t create difficult exams to be mean. The goal is what to expect in the future and prepare not only to survive but to thrive,” said Geer. Last year, Geer was awarded the Distinguish Teaching Award.
Since the fall of 2001, the psychology department has been participating in the yearly Psychology Academic Research Scholarship. This is designed for students who are interested in pursuing a course of academic inquiry and excellence through scientific research.
There are currently three primary investigators. Katie Bipes, psychology senior, Ariel Prevett, psychology senior, and Xiao Qing Yao, psychology senior. These students learn the practical aspects of conducting scientific research.
This is Bipes’s first year going to a conference to present her work as a primary investigator. “I think it will be a great experience. I am hoping it will help me prepare for future research endeavors,” said Bipes.
During the first two years, incoming freshmen gain basic knowledge and principles serving as a Research Assistant. These students attend all meetings and are assigned to help PI’s with their work throughout their project. They learn the practical aspects of conducting scientific research and are better equipped for their future PIs.
“The location of the conference varies year to year,” said Geer. It will be in Reno, Nev. April 12-14.
With the guidance and support of Geer throughout these projects and courses “Dr. Geer will be greatly missed at Southwestern College. I wish her all the best,” said Bipes.
Katie Vorderstrasse is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.