SAGE 2YC > Change Agent Teams > Southern California 2

Southern California Change Agent Team 2

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Tania-Maria Anders, Mt. San Antonio College
Mark Boryta, Mt. San Antonio College

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Description of Program Work

Oceanography can be thought of as a "crossroads" science, with applicability to many different career paths (marine sciences, environmental sciences, meteorology, geology, etc.) Introductory courses in Oceanography invariably combine all aspects of the science (physical, chemical, and biological) in the global ocean, and hence do not focus on the parts that most people can see (coasts). There are almost no offerings beyond introductory level until students are in upper division or even graduate school. The paucity of tangible applications of the field may dull student interest at the stage in their college education when they are expected to choose a major.

We plan to build on our current one-course offering (Introduction to Oceanography) by adding a course focused on the coastal environment. By incorporating a student research project component, this new course should provide students with a solid foundation and clear pathway in their pursuit of a career in ocean sciences. We think that we can further cultivate momentum among a generation of diverse students by starting a club that will take trips to the coast for various experiences (kayaking, beach clean-up, surf lessons, tide-pooling, etc.). We will also collaborate with faculty teaching chemistry and marine biology to help create research opportunities that are meaningful to students.

Team Activities


2018-19 Workshop
January 26, 2019

Spring Follow-on Activities


Team Members

Tania-Maria Anders

Tania trained as a marine geoscientist at the University of Kiel, Germany. As a paleoclimate researcher, she spent over 4 months at sea participating in a number of cruises. Tania joined the Mt. SAC team in 2015 after having taught at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi for 14 years. She is particularly interested in helping students with transfer and career goals. As the geology program coordinator while at TAMUCC, she was responsible for curriculum and program development as well as assessment. She describes how she supported minority students at TAMUCC in an essay for InTeGraTe.


Tania teaches Oceanography and Environmental Geology classes.

Mark Boryta

Mark studied geochemistry of ancient high-grade metamorphic rocks in graduate school. When he first began at MtSAC, he participated in a faculty internship at JPL and ended up working on Cassini data, and developing valuable contacts. As a result, he has taught children in Morocco and India, hunted for extremophiles in Himalayan hot springs, and provided research opportunities to his students in all of the above. He shared some of those experiences at the Undergraduate Research in Earth Science Classes: Engaging Students in the First Two Years workshop in 2014.


Mark teaches Physical Geology, Oceanography, Earth Systems Science, Geology of California, Geology of Planets, and Environmental Geology.


Mt. San Antonio College

Institution: Mt. San Antonio College is located in the greater Los Angeles area. It serves over 35,000 students, 53% of whom identify as Latino or Hispanic.

Geoscience program: The Earth Sciences and Astronomy Department at Mt. San Antonio College includes 9 full-time faculty and ~20 adjunct faculty and is part of the Natural Sciences Division. The department offers over 150 sections of geology, oceanography, meteorology, and astronomy each academic year. Although the majority of students taking courses in the department do so to fulfill their General Education Physical Science requirement, there is a cohort of students who intend to transfer to 4-year institutions as geoscience majors. Some of these students earn an AA in Liberal Studies, Natural Sciences Emphasis, and/or an AA in Environmental Studies, before transferring.

Courses offered in the program include Physical Geology; Historical Geology; Earth Science; Oceanography; Environmental Geology; Field Studies of Central California; Field Studies of Southern California; Special Topics in Field Geology; Geology of California; Natural Disasters; Geology of the Solar System; Introduction to Astronomy; Introduction to Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe; Special Topics in Astronomy; and Special Topics in Geology.

Institutional demographic data is from IPEDS the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, U.S. Department of Education, typically for the 2014-15 year as available.

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