Techie Geo professor entertains like rock star

“GEOLOGY, it rocks,” reads the promotional poster featuring dinosaurs with lasers attached to their backs. That is just one example of the humor students get from Professor Dzuryak and his lectures.

San Jacinto College North Campus Geology Professor John-Franklin Dzuryak seems to be part of a new wave of professors that teach outside of the box. From his “techie” Apple Keynote lectures, to his Geology memes and “Bill Nye the Science Guy” video clips, his lectures are more rock star than rocks.

Dzuryak said his passion for geology surfaced when he was young, and his parents took him West to see Yellowstone National Park. Amazed by geysers like Old Faithful, he began to wonder about them. In high school, he took a geology class which he also found very interesting.

“Geology rocks,” Dzuryak exclaimed when trying to explain why he enjoys the subject matter so much.

He said if he wasn’t teaching today, he believes his master’s degree in geology would have led him to work in the oil and gas industry. “Or maybe NASA,” Dzuryak added, “NASA seems like an interesting place to work”.

Originally, when he was younger he wanted to become a Park Ranger but the fact that it is a part-time job changed his mind.

“It seemed like fun interacting with people and working somewhere beautiful,” Dzuryak said.

In addition to teaching, Dzuryak is involved with STEM days at San Jac.

“It’s a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics program where basically I just get kids excited about science,” he said. “A lot of kids start out really liking science and eventually they get scared of it. I try to get them to like it again.”

Dzuryak enjoys making his lectures interesting by adding entertaining clips.

“I think I’m a funny person,” he said.” “We’ve all sat through monotone lectures, so if there’s anything I can do to make it interesting or keep you awake, I do. I don’t want to be boring, I want to have fun too..”

He said he enjoys his videos featuring Bill Nye because he feels that it’s a fun way to learn.

“It’s like bringing in a celebrity that everyone knows and can relate to,” Dzuryak said.

He also enjoys giving lectures on volcanoes.

“Biology has frog dissecting, and we have Volcanoes,” Dzuryak adds. “I also like interacting and using the texting polls to get feedback from the students.”

Texting polls are polls he sets up during his lecture and lets his students’ text in what they think the answer is; then they discuss the correct answer in class. Dzuryak’s lectures are set up on Apple Keynotes, and he sets up an answer key on his iPad.

“I used to work at an Apple retail store outside of Chicago,” he said, “so I’m pretty tech savvy. I have all the Apple products.”

This is Dzuryak’s second semester teaching at San Jac since moving from his hometown in Northern Illinois. He’s still warming up to Houston.

“The summer is hotter than I’m used to,” Dzuryak said, “the winters are quite tolerable. The drivers are crazy, the people are friendly, and the BBQ is good.”