Bringing Antarctica Into the Classroom

Bringing Antarctica Into the Classroom

Professor Shashank R. Atre, our monthly Featured Faculty member, draws from his vast professional experience in the field to give RMU students a one-of-a-kind education.

Name: Dr. Shashak R. Atre

Title/Department:  Faculty and Science Curriculum Specialist

Previous Education: B.S. in Geophysics from The India School of Mines, PhD in Geophysics from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL.

A Wealth of Professional Experience

Dr. Shashank Atre brings a whole new meaning to RMU’s Experience-based Learning (EbL) platform. Included in his highly technical career prior to RMU is a three-and-a-half-month-long research position in Antarctica. Working in the intense sunlight that shines perpetually upon the world’s southernmost continent, Dr. Atre observed and measured the melting and thinning of arctic glaciers that form the barren continent:

“we had to wear these glacier glasses…the sun very much goes twenty-four hours on the horizon…when I came back most of my face was burnt”

His role as a climate change researcher allowed him and his fellow researchers to quantify the effects of rising global temperatures and aide in the constant fight against the drawbacks of global warming:

“There was enough evidence to show glaciers were melting and getting thinner…the climate is changing, there’s no doubt about it”

In keeping with the Robert Morris’ Experience-based Learning model, Dr. Atre uses this wealth of technical and professional experience to bring exciting examples into the classroom:

“When a student sees me standing in Antarctica, this is not something coming from a textbook they read, this is coming from a professor who has done these things themselves.”

Dr. Shashank R. Atre is a 24-year veteran faculty member here at Robert Morris, he brings with him an abundance of educational and professional experience. In 1996, he earned a master’s degree in Geophysics from The India School of Mines, and following graduation worked as a geophysical data-processor in the oil and gas industry. Acting as a surveyor of prospective mining sites, Dr. Atre utilized down-penetrating radar to search the earth for natural gas and oil deposits.

After an extensive amount of fieldwork, he accepted a research assistant position at The University of Wisconsin-Madison and matriculated onto a PhD program at Northern Illinois University. Dr. Atre joined Robert Morris as an adjunct professor in 1994 and became a full-time faculty member in 1995.

Making the Connections

As the Science and Math Curriculum Specialist, Dr. Atre provides instruction and direction for the vast majority of students who pass through the halls of RMU. His courses offered include:  Earth science, biology, physics, finite math, and environmental sciences. Dr. Atre believes that all coursework offered here at RMU is inter-connected in some way; a student pursuing a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, Nursing, Computer Networking, or Accounting can all benefit from the math and science curriculum he provides:

“having this science background opens the door to other agencies that [they] may not have thought about as a possible career”

Throughout his courses at Robert Morris, Dr. Atre seeks to use his scientific background in field research along with the centralized location of the Chicago Campus to enhance the educational experience for RMU students. Field trips and class activities outside of the normal classroom have included water sampling of the Chicago river, and ecosystem analysis at the Lurie Gardens.

“[the students] seem to enjoy the hands-on learning experience”

Preparation for the Professional World

On a daily basis, Dr. Atre focuses on providing an educational environment in which students can become aptly prepared for the professional workplace. As a proponent of Robert Morris’ Experienced-based Learning education platform, he has written and researched the subject extensively and has presented his findings to fellow collegiate educators and administrators on a national level. This model has allowed Dr. Atre to pass along knowledge and insight to his students as they prepare for the post-graduate world.

Dr. Atre works diligently to ensure that his students gain the knowledge necessary to succeed as a student at RMU in addition to growing as a person. The small class size and daily interaction allows Dr. Atre to interact with his students in a manner unrivaled by other four-year institutions. In his career here at Robert Morris, Dr. Atre has provided mentorship and guidance to his students, when asked what impressed him about the students here at RMU he responded:

“They are eager to learn…they show desire to improve and are willing to face new challenges.”

Thank you for your 24 years of dedicated service to Robert Morris, Dr. Atre!

One Comment

  1. Roz December 19, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

    You rock Shashank! Proud to be your colleague

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