Get to know John Frye!

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Dr. John Frye is an Assistant Professor in the Geography, Geology and Environmental Science Department

 

 

What’s your educational background?

I have two degrees from Ball State University- both my Bachelor’s degree and my Master’s degree. Then I did my PhD at the University of Georgia. My undergrad was actually in Journalism with a minor in Geography, and then I changed career paths and did the Master’s and PhD in Geography, focusing on weather and climate.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach the Intro to Physical Geography class, which is a pretty large GenEd class. Then I also do all the Weather and Climate classes. I teach an upper level meteorology class and a climate class that’s also upper level. For the last three years, including this semester right now, I also do our field course where we go storm chasing. We learn all about severe weather and how to forecast for severe weather, and then we spend two weeks out in Great Plains doing some storm chasing.

What are your research interests?

Most of my research interest is in the severe weather field, so looking at tornados and thunderstorms. I do that both from a climate standpoint- so looking at changes in the patterns of severe weather to the meteorology aspect of it- why certain events happen where they do. I also do a lot of educational components- so how people learn about severe weather and where they get their information about severe weather.

How long have you been teaching at Whitewater?

I started in the fall of 2011, so this is my fourth year here.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I enjoy working with students- that’s the biggest reason. I am really student-focused in all of my classes. I just like sharing what I know about the weather and physical geography while teaching students about it and getting them interested in it.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I like the small-feeling of the campus and the community here. I enjoy working with students, and this is a good place to be- you get a lot of one-on-one interaction with students both inside the classroom and outside the classroom through things like undergrad research, which I’m also involved in.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

Outside of teaching I help coach a lot of youth sports. I have three kids that are both going up through the youth sports ranks here in town. I really enjoy teaching and coaching in those sports leagues. As a family we also like to do a lot of outdoor activities- like going camping, hiking, and that sort of stuff. We are kind of outdoorsy kind of people. I also do storm chasing on my own as well outside of the field course.

What’s your favorite musical artist?

I like 80’s hair band music- so Poison, Motley Crue and all that kind of genre. I also like jazz and blues music a lot. Anyone from BB King to Michael Brecker and all those kind of classic jazz and blues legends.

What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m actually married to my high school sweetheart. We met in high school and we’ve been together ever since.

Who inspires you and why?

First and foremost, I do what I do for my kids and my wife. They definitely inspire me to be the best that I can be. My students inspire me as well- seeing the passion in their eyes and seeing them learn stuff is also very inspirational to me. A former professor of mine, Dr. David Arnold, was very instrumental in getting me into the field of Meteorology and Climatology, so he’s definitely a big inspiration. As far as famous people, Cal Ripken, a baseball player in the 80s and 90s, inspires me. I grew up watching him play. Most people know him because he set the all-time record for consecutive games played. He always showed up to work and gave it 100% every single day, so I aspire to do that, too.

Get to know Donald Jellerson!

DJ

 

 

Dr. Donald Jellerson is an Assistant Professor in the Languages and Literatures Department

 

 

 

What’s your educational background?

I did my undergraduate degree at the University of Washington in Seattle. Then I went right from there to a PhD Program at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach a lot of different courses. I teach several Film Studies courses. I’ve taught Gender in Film, Literature on Film, Shakespeare on Film, Film Theory, and next semester I’ll be teaching a Critical Writing in Multimedia Contexts course. In the English Department I teach Freshman English and I also teach a Shakespeare course. Occasionally, I teach other things too.

What are your research interests?

Like my teaching interests, they are fairly broad. Because I have my basic training in Renaissance Studies, I publish in Shakespeare Studies and Poetics in the 16th and 17th centuries. I am editing a play from about 40 years before Shakespeare right now. I’ve also published on film.

How long have you been teaching?

I was teaching part-time while I was getting my graduate degree, but I have been teaching full-time since 2009. After getting my PhD at Vanderbilt, I spent a year teaching in the Women’s and Gender Studies Department, and then I spent a year at a smaller college in Memphis (Rhodes College). After that I got to Whitewater.

What inspired you to become a professor?

In a nutshell, the opportunity to continue to study and learn as a career.

What do you like most about teaching?

The moments that I enjoy most are when I can generate in class a conversation—an exchange of ideas. I don’t really enjoy getting up there and lecturing forever while people take notes. That’s not the most fun kind of teaching. The most fun kind of teaching is when you can get everybody invested and interested in creating knowledge together in a conversation.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

I like where it is—in the middle of Nowhere, Wisconsin but close enough to Madison and Milwaukee. I also like the student body here. When I was teaching at Vanderbilt and Rhodes, it was mostly privileged kids, and they were invested so it was fine. But here, there’s just a big mix of people from all walks of life and different backgrounds. It makes the project of learning a lot more interesting when you have such a vast array of people.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

It’s probably not surprising as a literature professor, but I do like reading—even stuff that I would never teach. I like playing music. I play the guitar. I don’t play well enough for anyone to actually listen to me, but I play well enough to entertain myself, so that’s a lot of fun. Occasionally, in the past several years, I have performed in shows. I used to be an actor before I went back to college, so in the past four years I’ve performed in two different Shakespeare shows. It’s fun when I get to do that.

What’s your favorite movie?

My favorite movies continually rotate. I have tons of them. I was really into screwball comedy from the 40s, like Cary Grant movies and old black-and-white comedy movies—movies like Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday. Recently, I’ve been into Paul Thomas Anderson—I saw Inherent Vice, which just came out, and I thought it was fascinating. I also like the Lord of the Rings movies. I’m a big sci-fi fantasy geek as well.

What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?

They might be surprised to learn that I had an acting career before I became a professor. Although I teach Shakespeare and literature, I secretly read pulp sci-fi novels.

Who inspires you and why?

Because of what I do and what I think about, I get inspired by literary critics and philosophers of language, people like Judith Butler, people who have been important in intellectual history, and those who have tried to think about how language works and how it impacts social structures. I get inspired by people who challenge me to think even more deeply about what I do.