When Kevin Mullins started teaching part-time at Coconino Community College in 2001, he thought it was only a natural progression for him to go from researching science to teaching science. Mullins said, “I wanted to give back to both the Flagstaff and science communities that gave so much to me over the years, as well as doing something that helps students. I have a lot of teachers in my family and my grandmother instilled an interest for learning in me.”
Mullins started out with a B.S. degree in Geology (with a minor in Remote Sensing) and a master’s degree in Earth Science Ed. He worked with the US Geological Survey (USGS) agency in Flagstaff during his undergraduate education and it turned into a full time position that he kept for 28 years until his retirement in 2006. He was part of the USGS Astrogeology team that worked on NASA Planetary Missions such as Viking, Voyager, Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and MER. “I had the opportunity to work with very bright people, world class scientists, using cutting edge technology on projects that taught us about the universe and planets where we live” said Kevin. He also has been recognized as someone worthy of praise. He received CCC’s Part-Time Instructor of the Year for 2010.
Mullins style of teaching his students is based upon two main ideas he holds significant in the art of teaching science. The first is making things relevant. Actually seeing the accomplishments of science in our own community (USGS, Lowell, NAU, Gore, etc), helping students realize their ambitions by working in those environments and experiencing the application of science in the classroom, help his students to gain knowledge more efficiently and can affect them in a positive way. The second is humor. Mullins said, “Learning has to be fun and entertaining!”
Kevin Mullins has become a valuable part of CCC’s science department as much as his students have become a valuable part of his teaching career. He said, “I’ve worked here [at CCC] part-time for 10 years and I’ve met a lot of really bright, engaged students. They’ve made it fun and easy.”