Written by Linda Ivany '88 and Mike Thonis '72
Congratulations to Professor Emeritus Bryce Hand, who has been chosen to receive the 2022 Distinguished Service Award from the New York Earth Science Teachers Association (NYESTA) in recognition of his long-time support of teachers and scientific inquiry! Those who have had the pleasure to know Bryce over the years understand that his curiosity about the natural world knows no limits, nor does his enthusiasm and generosity in sharing his insights with others.
Though retired for a number of years, he has never stopped being an educator. The NYESTA cites him for the years of richly illustrated and easy-to-understand postings to their listserv about natural phenomena, usually spurred on by some interesting observation that triggered experiments and data gathering, followed by thoughtful analysis and synthesis that he freely and spontaneously shares with the community.
We were both fortunate to take courses with Bryce as undergraduate students at SU, and for both of us these were truly transformational experiences. Not only did we learn about our world, but we learned how to think about it, how to ask questions of it. MGT remembers a trip to a gravel pit to see lithification in action at the bottom of the pile, and LCI still can’t hear the word ‘sphalerite’ without seeing Bryce describing its chemistry. Bryce is all about making us notice the subtle but important things all around us and not being afraid to ask questions about how they come about. He communicates the shear joy of learning better than anyone we can think of. Well deserved, Dr. Hand!
Professor Bryce Hand taught introductory geology and sedimentology at SU from 1969-1999. He continues his mission of science education and critical thinking through sustained interactions with NYESTA, frequent public lectures, guided beach walks on the Jersey shore, design of interactive exhibits at local sites of geologic interest (e.g., Clark Reservation State Park), and conversations with anyone who expresses interest!