Team and Institutional Context

Peter Berquist

Pete is the Department Chair at Thomas Nelson Community College where he taught field courses in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Canada intended for two-year geoscience students from TNCC, NOVA and other schools.


Pete teaches Physical Geology (lecture/lab and online), Historical Geology (lecture/lab and online), and various field courses. In 2015 he began teaching an Introduction to Research course for science majors so they have some experience designing and communicating research before going on to four-year colleges and universities.

Karen Layou

Karen teaches geology at Reynolds Community College, where she is also the Honors Program Coordinator. She co-compiled the SAGE 2YC resources on Supporting Geoscience Student Transfer and is a past chair of the NAGT Geo2YC Division Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award Committee.


Karen teaches Physical Geology (lecture/lab, hybrid) and Historical Geology (lecture/lab, hybrid).

Lynsey LeMay

Lynsey is spearheading Thomas Nelson's efforts to develop a Center for Teaching and Learning, and is part of the college's committee to implement a new advising plan. She collaborates with the Virginia Institute of Marine Science to involve students in field and lab-based research. She is a past president of the NAGT Geo2YC Division.


Lynsey teaches Physical Geology (lecture and lab, as well as online), Historical Geology (lecture and lab), and Oceanography (lecture and lab).

Administrative Involvement

Reynolds Community College

  • Ghazala Hashmi, Director for the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (2017-2019)

Thomas Nelson Community College

  • Susan English, Vice President of Academic Affairs (2018-2019)
  • Seyed Akhavi, Dean of Science, Engineering, and Technology (2017-2018)

Virginia Community College System

  • Daniel Lewis, Director of Educational Programs (2016-2017)

Institutional Context

Jump to: Thomas Nelson Community College | Reynolds Community College

Thomas Nelson Community College

Institution: Thomas Nelson Community College is a two-year college in Virginia with two campuses, one in Hampton, and the other near Williamsburg. It has over 16,000 students - 61% of whom are women and 35% of whom are Black or African-American.

Geoscience program: The geology program at TNCC is comprised of two full-time faculty members, and at least four adjunct instructors each semester. One of the full-time faculty positions is also the Department Chair, and reports directly to the Dean of the Division of Science, Engineering, and Technology; this division also includes Chemistry, Biology, and Physics. More information is available from the Thomas Nelson Community College Geoscience program.

One notable initiative is the Jobs in Geosciences Speaker Series where professional geologists give short presentations on their career path and describe the work they do.

Courses taught in the geoscience program include Physical Geology, Historical Geology, and Oceanography. Geology serves ~ 200 to 250 students each semester (except for summer terms, which draw ~30 students). TNCC offers an Associate of Science degree, but it is not specific to geoscience.

Reynolds Community College

Institution: Reynolds Community College serves the City of Richmond, Virginia and five surrounding counties across three campuses. Over 17,000 students attend Reynolds, 36% of whom are African American or Black.

Geoscience program: The geology program at Reynolds has one full-time faculty member and one to two adjunct faculty members each semester. The full-time faculty member reports to the Physical Sciences Program Head, and the Dean of the School of Math, Science and Engineering. This School also includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science.

Courses taught in the Geoscience Program include Physical Geology and Historical Geology. Geology serves approximately 80-100 students per semester, except for summer terms which draw about 15-20 students. The majority of Reynolds geology students are non-science majors, representing primarily social science (including pre-service teachers), liberal arts, and business majors. Only 20-25% of students enrolled in geology courses in a given semester are science majors. Most students take geology to fulfill a lab-science degree requirement.