From Carribean scuba dives to classroom instruction


Maria Groves, second from left, goes scuba diving with her Geology students. Courtesy of Maria Groves

There are many people who feel it is their calling to pass along knowledge and who enjoy participating in the learning of others.

One of these people is Maria Groves, adjunct professor of Earth Science. She teaches Geology 1010, along with three sections of the accompanying lab, Geology 1015.

“I like teaching at UVU because the emphasis is on having the learners be responsible for their learning as we guide them,” Groves said. “It is not about how many facts the professors know or how many research papers they have published, but rather how prepared students are once they have been taught by you.”

Groves aim is to prepare lectures that she herself would want to sit through. She often sorts through material late into the night while her family sleeps in an effort to find content that will engage her students. The lectures focus on topics that will appeal to a broad range of majors.

Self-proclaimed as an “inquisitive and curious” person, she feels most at home when she is in nature. Groves shares her passion for Earth with her family, who she often takes on field studies. Her adventurous spirit has taken her to 10 volcanoes, all continents except Antarctica and on over 30 scuba dives from the Caribbean to the Pacific Ocean.

Earth Science comprises many areas of study. For instance, environmental issues “put a nice perspective of our impact on the planet,” Groves said.

Groves has taken her students to Seabase in Grantsville, Utah where they were able to dive with sharks, rays and other tropical fish in the middle of the desert.

In high school, Groves thought she wanted to be a doctor because she enjoyed the sciences so much. It wasn’t until she took an introduction to geology class at Penn State University that she got hooked on the life sciences. She appreciates the diversity within her field of study, and Utah provides Groves with an “amazing” landscape rich in geology.

Daniel Horns, Earth Science department chair, said that when he hired Groves, he felt she had demonstrated experience, enthusiasm and passion for what she teaches.

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