Faculty Linda and
Make Science Learning Their Goal at
James Kerney Campus
Windsor, N.J. -- Science faculty member Linda Gaylo has taught
at Mercer County Community College for 18 years, the first
10 as an adjunct instructor, then as a teaching assistant.
For the last four, Gaylo has been a full-time faculty member
at MCCC's James Kerney Campus in downtown Trenton. She also
enlisted her husband, engineering consultant Christopher Gaylo,
to join her there as an adjunct instructor. Both say they
have gotten as much from their teaching experience as the
students they have taught.
The James Kerney Campus showed its appreciation to the Gaylos,
of West Windsor, by recognizing them at the JKC Celebration
of Achievement Night at the Trenton War Memorial in May. The
Gaylos say they were pleasantly surprised with the formal
show of appreciation. Says JKC Provost Monica Weaver, "The
staff and I consider Linda and Chris to be a truly invaluable
asset. Their academic contributions make a huge difference
to the broader Trenton community."
According to Linda, there is a different vibe at the Kerney
campus than at the far larger West Windsor campus. "It's
a more intimate environment. Classes are small," she
says. "There is much more opportunity for contact with
who teaches Chemistry, Anatomy 1 and 2, and Biology Concepts,
notes that her office is located right off the Richardson
Learning Center, the hub of the campus. "I am very accessible
and I like it. At any point in the day, students can always
She notes that her students come from varied backgrounds and
span all ages, from those entering college directly from high
school to many who have been out of school for years, including
state workers. Yet, they are all similarly focused on college
as a gateway to a better future.
"Being in the city, these students don't have easy access
to the West Windsor campus and are very appreciative of being
able to take courses close to home," Gaylo explains.
"We have expanded the number of science classes we offer
there and students like that."
Following his day job in engineering, Chris Gaylo teaches
Concepts of Physical Science at JKC in the evenings and is
also involved with Mercer's Upward Bound high school enrichment
"It's a personal challenge to revisit this material and
to be able to convey concepts in a way that students can understand,"
he says. Generally he is teaching non-science majors, "those
who traditionally shy away from the subject. Sometimes they
are apprehensive coming in. This is especially true for adults
who haven't studied science or technology in many years. I
strive to engage them."
the lab with MCCC science faculty Linda and Chris Gaylo
Linda and Chris Gaylo are recognized at JKC's Celebration
of Achievement awards night. They are pictured with President
Patricia C. Donohue.
says he integrates interactive labs, video clips, and real world
examples into his classes. "Often it starts with a few students
who join in and then others become more involved. I offer bonus
points if someone points out a technical error. They find that great
sport and it keeps them paying attention."
As a part-time night student himself when he pursued his master's
degree many years ago, Chris knows what it's like for adults who
work during the day, have families and are striving to do their
best in college. "Students are really eager to learn. They
are making a real commitment to getting their degrees."
Linda adds that some students face major obstacles, but still find
a way to make it to class. "It's very rewarding," she
Linda and Chris note that their overlapping subject matter is a
win-win for them and their students. "If I am having trouble
getting a point across, I will brainstorm with Linda," Chris
says. "The challenge is to rethink a complicated concept that
is simple for me. We try things out on each other."
Chris says that teaching at the Kerney campus has added depth to
his life and broadened his perspective. Adds Linda, "It's been
terrific teaching at JKC, where students are eager to learn and
see college as the way they are going to advance in their careers
and their lives. We try to make a difference for them."
Linda observes that without the community college, some people simply
would not be able to further their education. "JKC does it
all - helping students earn their GEDs, then move into college,
and possibly transfer on to a four-year school. It's a beautiful
progression," she says.
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