BGSU Magazine Spring 2010

A passion for paleontology

Professor inspires students with explorations near and far

Dust puffs into tiny clouds while bits of limestone break loose from a nearly 400-million-year-old confinement as Dr. Peg Yacobucci crouches down and bangs on an outcropping with her rock hammer. Mongolia, Madagascar? No, Yacobucci finds this fertile field for her paleontology research and student field trips just 20 minutes from the BGSU campus at a quarry in Whitehouse.

Dr. Peg Yacobucci

"I want them to understand that their college instructors are not just people who know something about the field - we are practitioners." Yacobucci says the integration of her research and experiences into the curriculum often creates a springboard for students to move beyond the classroom.

Her hope is that as the students tag along via personal and multimedia accounts of her travels -  often to exotic places across the globe - any perceived barrier preventing them from starting their own exploration into paleontology, her specialty, will disappear.

Yacobucci says that when students enter her class uncertain about their future, and suddenly start to see themselves as scientists anxious to uncover that next site, the reward is substantial.

"When they make that connection and see that science is more than something you can only read about, that’s a joy. When they say ‘I really think this is for me’ - that's great; it’s what we’re here for."