Professor David Pindel’s classroom is a no “anti-science” zone. Adopting a philosophy espoused by Charles Darwin, Professor Pindel follows data wherever it takes him, which in his case is frequently among the trees and alongside creeks.
“We are all part of one environment,” said Pindel, who specializes in ecology. “Watching the relationship between other organisms and the environment can tell us a lot about them and us.”
This interest in organismal interactions is at the root of Professor Pindel’s decision to join the faculty at CCC. Offered full-time positions at a college in Florida and also at CCC, Professor Pindel chose Corning for a couple of reasons, including its relationship to the Nature Center, a ready-made outdoor laboratory, he said. At Corning, he also found that the people were friendlier and more forthcoming, personality traits that he still enjoys 17 years later.
For a total of two decades, Professor Pindel has leveraged education in three ways: to inspire future ecologists; to develop an advanced level of scientific literacy, the only way, he said, to combat pseudoscience from dominating the conversation; and to develop the knowledge base necessary to prevent the loss of biodiversity, the destruction of our environment, and ultimately extinction.
Professor Pindel would miss lots of organisms should they become extinct, but one of those he would miss intensely is the owl.
“I’ve liked owls as long as I can remember,” said Professor Pindel, pointing out myriad figurines, wall hangings, and pillows perched in his office. “I did research on owls as a graduate student, but the interest pre-dates that work.”
Professor Pindel also enjoys hiking, reading articles about science and philosophy, and watching all genres of film. A Green Bay Packer fan and native of Wisconsin, his ideal vacation would find him in Alaska, enjoying cooler temperatures, mountains, and pristine ecosystems.
Ultimately, though, Professor Pindel wants to be exactly where he is, doing exactly what he is doing.
“I am motivated by the chance to help students succeed,” said Professor Pindel. “As a teacher, every day brings new challenges. Every year brings new students. Every question brings new opportunities for all of us to learn. It doesn’t get any better.”