By Gabrielle McCaffrey |

“I hope to use education to increase leverage of understanding in environmental issues, conservation and biodiversity.”

Six years ago, Professor Barbara Blonder found herself applying to a teaching job at Flagler College as an Assistant Professor and Coordinator, Natural Sciences.

The decision to settle down in a secure job came after two decades of career work in which she worked as a dive master, a professional in charge of a dive, a Spiny Lobster researcher and many more jobs.

Blonder attended the University of New Hampshire for her Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology and the Florida Institute of Technology for her Master’s Degree in Marine Biology.

“At the time I had a young son who was probably about one at the time,” Blonder said.

“My career had me traveling around a lot and when this position opened up I just threw my name into the hat. I also come from a teaching family so that was a big part of what brought me here.”

Blonder teaches Introduction to Biology, Environmental Science and Life Science.

Blonder said that her biggest challenge as a science professor is to undo the negative stigmas associated with science that students might have from poor experiences in high school.

“My challenge is to redevelop curiosity and lose the fear of science just being memorizing facts,” Blonder said.

“I really encourage my students to use critical thinking to answer questions.”

Students that work with Blonder have noticed her efforts.

“I’ve never considered myself a big fan of science, but, this semester, I’ve actually found myself enjoying and understanding the subjects that we have discussed in Professor Blonder’s class,” said student Morgan Hill.

Blonder hopes to shape students into becoming successful and active citizens in addition to preparing them for the workforce.

“Professor Blonder was one of the first professors I met as a transfer student to Flagler, and from that day on I have found her advice, guidance, and encouragement invaluable,” said Junior Charlotte McMichael.

“Her enthusiasm and passion for environmental science is contagious in and out of the classroom. Any student fortunate enough to take a class with her will tell you that she truly cares about each and every one of her students.”

Blonder hopes to utilize the tools she has as a professor to increase awareness and knowledge of the earth.

Blonder is also the Vice Chair on the Faculty Senate and is responsible for developing agendas and strategies for handling large issues.

“The Faculty Senate has been very successful as far as hitting the ground running,” Blonder said.

“We’ve tackled some pretty big issues such as the revision of the General Ed program. I see the next challenge as how to involve students actively—finding out what is a priority for them.”

Blonder hopes students can get actively involved with their education.

“It’s important for the students and faculty to come together so we can we really see where we want to go as an institution,” Blonder said.

“I’ve learned a lot from my colleagues and the processes of the Faculty Senate. It’s nice to be able to contribute to the growth of the college.”

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