Aim High

Professor Deborah Dann completed her first research project at the age of 8: classifying igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks. She received her first telescope at age 10. Fascinated by both celestial bodies and the earth’s crust, she decided to explore careers that would allow her to look up and down. She found one: Professor Dann teaches geology and astronomy at CCC.

“Teaching at Corning is rewarding because my students bring a wide range of life experiences to class,” said Professor Dann. “My students could be 18 and just starting out or they might be 50 and looking for a career change. Teaching astronomy and geology allows me to follow both passions and stay aware of current thinking so that I’m equipped to answer my students’ questions. Their curiosity drives me to continue learning every day.”

She also enjoys teaching at Corning in the sciences because she knows first-hand the power of having female role models in these fields. As a college freshman, she was encouraged by the head of the Astronomy Program to go home and find a husband. She found this annoying and set about proving him wrong. She did. 

“I suspected it would be hard, and it was, but it wasn’t impossible,” said Professor Dann. “I believe it would have been easier to see that my goals were possible if I’d had a female role model who was doing what I hoped to do. But I didn’t let it stop me. My goal—and what I try to impart to my students—is to aim high and to never let anyone else determine your abilities. Only you know what you can do. You just have to try.”