Dan has taught at DCTC for nearly ten years. He’s passionate about the environment and loves to share his passion with his students. I had the opportunity to interview Dan this spring.
Have you always been an instructor?
No. I spent more than 30 years as a practicing wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, an agency of the federal goverment. I held a variety of positions including Fish and Wildlife Biologist in a state field office, Private Lands Coordinator in a Regional Office, and Field Supervisor of the Ecological Services Field Office in the Twin Cities.
How did you come to know DCTC?
My introduction to DCTC was sometime around the year 2000 when I served as a mentor to a high school student in Lakeville. She was interested in field biology and presented results from a study in a poster session held here at the college. She went on to earn a biology degree at Bemidji State.
What is your most important advice for DCTC students?
- Come to college not just to get a job, but to get an education.
- Follow your passion even if you’re uncertain about where it may lead. Take the risk!
- When the time is right, devote full attention to your studies, and then seize opportunities as they arise.
Do you see the needs of students having changed during your career?
For sure. Today’s students live in the electronic age, and with that comes a need for skills in understanding and using technology. An unfortunate area of concern for today’s students is the cost of going to college and with that come the demands of juggling work and school.
What is your favorite part of working with DCTC students?
I see the importance of each student beyond just the classroom. Because of my career as a practicing biologist, I now have an opportunity to share with students the importance of our planet and its resources. This is the only opportunity for some students to gain knowledge about how they can be a positive force for protecting and improving the environment.
What is the hardest part of working with DCTC students?
Knowing the uncertainty of what the future holds for those who struggle to balance work, family, and finances during a time when they are learning technical skills and coming to understand themselves and their identity. College can sometimes increase the pressure.
What is your favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities?
My wife and I enjoy Mexican food at a variety of restaurants in St. Paul.
What do you like to do for fun when the weather turns warm?
I love to fish and camp whether the weather is warm or cold. Watching Twins baseball is a great summer pastime for my wife and I. I’m excited about the professional soccer team that’s coming to St. Paul.
Thanks for the work you do for students, Dan!