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Trish Ferrett

Trish Ferrett


I have spent my whole career at and across the boundaries of traditional disciplines. Most of the time, I teach at the intersection of chemistry, math, and physics. Since the mid 1990's, I have developed a passion for the science of complexity.  This has led me to nanochemistry, environmental studies (ENTS at Carleton), the geosciences, oceanography, and newer courses on Abrupt Climate Change (ENTS 288) and Mining & the Environment (ENTS 100).  I often work with seniors on their comprehensive senior exercise in areas related to nanoscience and materials science. I love to teach in new areas, where I am learning with my students, and we are acting like a team of researchers or detectives. I love working outside of my core disciplines and making connections between my old and new knowledge. Recently, I supervised different groups of students working on projects related to the Glen Canyon Dam and shale-gas fracking. I am currently working to develop more highly experiential pedagogy, especially in my ENTS courses. To this end, I currently have funding from ACM to further develop my mining course, including a summer 2017 SAIL faculty seminar themed "Wilderness in the Anthropocene".

On the research side, I did laboratory research with Carleton undergraduates in chemical physics from 1990-2000. When my field shifted in a new direction and I became a mother, I changed my scholarship to research on classroom learning in courses that are science-rich, interdisciplinary, and integrative. Since 2008, I have been working with a group of faculty who were Carnegie Scholars on a book titled "Connected Science: Strategies for Integrative Learning in College", published in July 2013 by Indiana University Press.

Education & Professional History

Grinnell College, BA Chemistry 1981; University of California (Berkeley), PhD. Chemistry 1986

Postdoctoral Researcher, Atomic & Molecular Physics, NIST, 1987-1988

Swarthmore College, Visiting Asst. Prof. of Chemistry, 1988-1989

American University, Visiting Asst. Prof. of Chemistry, 1989-1990

Founding Director in 2004, Carleton Interdisciplinary Science & Math Initiative (CISMI), now Carleton Integrated Math & Science

Director, Carleton's 5th and 6th grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 2004-2009

At Carleton since 1990.

Organizations & Scholarly Affiliations

Courses Taught This Year

  • CHEM 400: Integrative Exercise (Spring 2019)
  • CHEM 343: Chemical Thermodynamics (Fall 2019)
  • CHEM 302: Quantum Spectroscopy Laboratory (Winter 2020)
  • ENTS 288: Abrupt Climate Change (Spring 2020)
Profile updated June 28, 2018

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