EvCC Instructor’s Adventurous Past

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Photo Provided by Wershow
Harold “Hal” Wershow, Physical Science Teacher at EvCC leads a class on a field trip to Mt St Helens.

Every teacher at EvCC began their journey with school, somewhere, studying something, with an ultimate goal in mind. Not every journey though, will compel an individual to survive on melted peanut butter, witness volcanic eruptions or hike for miles on end within a WWII nuclear blast zone like Harold “Hal” Wershow.

Wershow is an EvCC Physical Science teacher who specializes in Geology and Atmospheric Science courses. He attended Pomona College in Claremont, CA for his undergraduate studies, with experiences in the field starting as soon as his junior year.

The summer after his junior year, Wershow secured a job with The Great Basin Institute, “…an environmental research non-profit” according to Wershow. In the span of that summer, Wershow and four colleagues hiked the north side of the Grand Canyon and collected samples of spring water.

They endured 110-degree heat and lived solely off of melted peanut butter and white bread due to the constraints of a five dollar a day food budget.

“I came face to face with a cougar, got heat stroke, nearly fell off a cliff,” said Wershow. The conditions for this occupation were beyond terrible, but he was just happy to be working outside and not cooped up in an office.

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“The fundamental reason that I stopped doing field Geology and started teaching is this feels more meaningful,” says Wershow.

His next venture brought him to the islands of Hawaii as soon as he graduated from Pomona College for an internship at the Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory.

“The office was perched on the rim of an active volcano,” said Wershow. He explained that the office would shake, (due to a minor eruption) then Wershow and his colleagues would look on in amazement at the sight before their eyes. The Close Proximity of the observatory to the volcano made for spectacular sights and experiences that could not be imitated anywhere else on earth.

“We would feel the office shake, and we’d all walk outside to watch a plume of smoke rising from the volcano. It was incredible.”

Perhaps the most intriguing employment opportunity Wershow had the pleasure of taking was for the Los Alamos National Laboratory in Los Alamos, NM. A location made famous by hosting countless experiments and projects involving the United States nuclear weapon program, including the well known Manhattan Project during WWII. There, he monitored groundwater contamination in the areas surrounding the locations of nuclear blasts that occurred decades ago.

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Wershow draws a diagram on the whiteboard during his geology class.

“We were frequently in places that no other human beings were allowed to be,” stated Wershow in regards to his work in Los Alamos, NM.

Wershow then moved on to attend Graduate school at Western Washington University where he soon learned that his new direction would be focused on teaching. Upon graduation from WWU just two years ago, he then applied for an open position at EvCC where he is currently employed and gladly passes on his love for science and geology to students here at EvCC.

Students at EvCC that have had the pleasure of taking one of Wershow’s classes were adamant of the fact that he uses a lot of examples and personal experiences or stories to help make the subject matter become more clear to the students.

“He uses a lot of personal pictures from his past throughout the class and will ask you what is going on in those pictures,” said Zac Hastings, a Geology major and one of Wershow’s former students.

Although field Geology is his first passion, Wershow really enjoys being able to pass his knowledge on to students here at EvCC, and help build excitement around each individual’s career path.

“The fundamental reason that I stopped doing field Geology and started teaching is this feels more meaningful.”

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