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School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

AAAS member focus on Claudia Benitez-Nelson


Excerpt from AAAS article, "Claudia Benitez-Nelson is a Force of Nature on the Ocean, in the Classroom":

Undergraduates taking Professor Claudia Benitez-Nelson’s Intro to Oceanography course couldn't possibly sit passively in her classroom. 

“The first class is an eye-opening one because I say, we’re going to learn why the oceans are salty. We’re going to learn why the water is blue and why the oceans move the way they do,” said Benitez-Nelson, Distinguished Professor in Marine Science at the University of South Carolina in Columbia. 

Then, to help illustrate how oceans behave, students grab each other's hands and move like seismic P-waves and S-waves, or they pretend they are water molecules and have to bond to each other. 

“We focus on concepts and why things work the way they do. They draw, they move themselves, we just do a lot of things that make them think conceptually about what they are doing and why it is important. And it's a tough transition. A lot of them are like, ‘Can’t I just memorize the answer?’” she laughed.

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