When he decided to come back to college to earn a bachelor’s degree, Stan Skotnicki thought he knew what he was in for. But Buffalo State turned out to be an eye-opening experience. It wasn’t just the field trip to Hawaii, either.
“Buffalo State opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed,” he said. As an undergraduate studying to be an earth science teacher, one of the subjects he studied was geology. Gary Solar, chair and associate professor, Earth Sciences and Science Education, whose own career came to life when he was introduced to hands-on research, passes that experience on to his students.
That’s how Skotnicki found himself in the Adirondack Mountains one summer taking measurements in an abandoned garnet mine. “On a typical day,” he said, “I would hike around the mine from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., taking measurements and looking for geologic variations such as fabric intensity, mineral orientation, and garnet size and surface area. Then I went over my field notes over dinner and in my tent, using a flashlight.”
He presented his research findings at conferences and traveled to Washington, D.C., to lobby for undergraduate research. “College supervisors and education staff went out of their way to ensure good student-teaching placements,” he said. “The relationships between Buffalo State faculty and students are unparalleled.”
Today, he teaches earth science and physical science for the Cheektowaga Central School District. “Just four days after graduating,” said Skotnicki, “I started a full-time teaching position. What other program can offer you opportunities like that?”