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Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

The Student News Site of Schoolcraft College

Schoolcraft Connection

Wondrous and curious

Samer Hariri installs curiosity and exploration in the classroom
Savanna Lee
Geology Professor Samer Hariri poses for a photo with attendees at the conclusion of the Optical World of Minerals workshop on March 14, 2024 from 6-7 p.m. in the Forum Building.

Starting in elementary school, we are exposed to the foundations of geology. We play and hunt for cool rocks, as well as learn about the endless cycles that occur on earth and outside of our planet that install an other-worldly wonder and curiosity. 

This fascination is still very present for Schoolcraft Earth and Environmental Science Professor Samer Hariri. For roughly 11 years now, Hariri primarily teaches topics of Geology, Mineralogy, Earth History and Astronomy to name a few. 

Geology Professor Samer Hariri discusses the origin of different minerals at the Optical World of Minerals workshop on March 14, 2024 from 6-7 p.m. in the Forum Building. (Jess Micheal)

“While I was towards the end of getting my Geology Masters at Wayne State in 2013, I was looking at jobs and I wanted to teach. I saw a position open up for a lab tech here at Schoolcraft, and I applied for it,” said Hariri. “Two days before the fall semester began, I got a phone call from the Dean and they asked me if I could teach geology instead of the position.”

Growing up, Hariri was always particularly entranced by the stars and the moon. His curiosity of how they formed and the reasoning behind their specific placement in the sky rooted his interest in studying astronomy and physics at Oakland Community College. Hariri then went onto study astrophysics at Michigan State, which he later added geophysics due to his dislike for computers and programming. 

“I don’t want to be sitting down in a room inside for 12 hours a day while it’s sunny outside. Plus, I was always interested in more tangible things like planetary science,” said Hariri. “I fell in love with being outside, getting my hands dirty and understanding our planet which helped me understand the other planets a little bit better.”

While attending State, Hariri began taking photos of the night sky with a simple camera in his backyard to capture any remarkable happenings that were forecasted. 

“I would take pictures of the sky and it wasn’t anything to be proud of. It was just sort of like ‘okay, this doesn’t look anything like the professionals,’ but it was mine and I enjoyed keeping track of certain events that were happening in the sky,” said Hariri. 

Hariri started to get more involved with taking these types of photos, including getting the students he worked with as an assistant teacher and tutor for astronomy interested. He would host events like watching lunar eclipses and some attendees would bring telescopes. Hariri transitioned from taking amateur photos in his backyard to traveling to places like Mackinaw City and the southern border of Ohio with less light pollution to get better quality photos. 

“[My favorite memory was] seeing the Northern Lights and documenting them on camera for the first time. I think I kept trying for about a decade and there was [then] an alert of northern lights,” said Hariri. “I packed my gear and went up to west of Mackinaw City and lo and behold, there were some northern lights and I got to photograph them.”

However, Hariri’s adventures did not stop when he began teaching at Schoolcraft, but he actually got to share new adventures with his students. 

In fall 2021, he took his mineralogy students to a quarry; not expecting much. This experience provided hands-on learning for the students to dig for minerals and crystals and view their natural formation. 

Geology Professor Samer Hariri discusses the origin of different minerals at the Optical World of Minerals workshop on March 14, 2024 from 6-7 p.m. in the Forum Building. (Jess Micheal)

“I just stood back and watched them do their thing. I wasn’t lecturing them or anything, just saw how they reacted to the environment that they were in,” said Hariri. “I really enjoyed that and I felt like that was a great opportunity for them to see the things we learned about in class in the real world.”

In fact, the students did not want to leave and had a blast: so much so that the same group wanted to do unofficial summer-time field trips with the guidance of Hariri, which he supported. Later that academic year, they visited Munising and Marquette, including surveying the mine dumps for minerals. 

“​​I want my students to understand the planet they live on, more than anything else. I want them to understand their impact, and that everything they do is connected to the planet one way or another, and vice versa,.” said Hariri.

The same group of students wanted more experience and involvement, leading to the founding of the Earth and Geoscience Club that Hariri mentors. Currently run by Club President Christina Lucas, the club dedicates their time to educating the Schoolcraft community about geology topics through discussions and sometimes, fun road trips to dig for fossils or minerals. 

Hariri is looking forward to watching what these young, bright minds bring to the forever evolving world of geology. His passion for teaching is transparent in the classroom, and something he anticipates he will be doing for many years to come. 


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About the Contributors
Kathryn Wenske
Kathryn Wenske, Editor-in-Chief
Hi, hello, my name is Kathryn. I was a homeschooled child and an athlete in two sports who actually didn’t enjoy English classes and writing. It was not until I started taking specialized classes after my Honors English classes in high school that I started to grow a passion and affection for writing and reading. I think the feedback I received from my instructors and mother also very likely contributed to the enjoyment I got out of those subjects; which is why I am so thankful for my instructors and mom.  As an undergrad planning to pursue Law and Legislation, My Editor-in-Chief position has greatly contributed to the teamwork, collaboration, leadership, product management and problems solving skills necessary for that field. I also love the voice the newspaper gives, not only to me but to a diverse variety of students to speak on subjects they are passionate about and want to bring awareness to. I am indebted to the team that I have and am looking forward to seeing where everyone’s passions take them! 

Savanna Lee, Staff Photographer

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