Wyoming Catholic Welcomes Pair of New Professors for 2019-2020
As the faculty of the College prepare for a new academic year, they are delighted to welcome two new professors to their ranks: Sam Shephard and Travis Dziad.
Before joining Wyoming Catholic College as an Associate Professor of Math and Science, Dr. Shephard lived in Ireland with his wife and seven children, working as a research scientist for Inland Fisheries Ireland. Dr. Shephard grew up on the remote Scottish Isle of Skye, “where it was very easy to find solitude and something close to wilderness,” before taking his MSc degree in fisheries science from University College Cork in Ireland and completing his PhD research on floodplain rivers at Mississippi State University. Dr. Shephard has “worked for many years in fisheries, treading a path from commercial fisherman in the west of Ireland to international research scientist” before he heard of “this exciting Catholic college in the mountains, where wilderness is part of the curriculum.” Although in coming to Wyoming Catholic, Dr. Shephard will shift his professional emphasis from research to teaching, he is excited to share his wonder at creation with his students: “I have spent my life turning over rocks and staring into pools and rejoicing at the wonder and beauty of what God has made. I hope to convey some of this excitement to the students, and to demonstrate how science enlightens this experience by helping us understand the underlying complexity and dynamism of nature.”
As Dr. Shephard moves from Ireland to Wyoming, Travis Dziad returns to the College community and Lander. This time, however, he will be embracing a new role. After graduating from the College in 2013, Dr. Dziad travelled to Austria to take his Masters in Theology from the International Theological Institute, studied for his PhD at Ave Maria University (ABD), and served as a founding faculty member at St. Martin Academy (an all-boys boarding school in Fort Scott, KS). He says, “Ever since my wife and I graduated from here in 2013, it has been our dream to someday return to teach here. We love the community at Wyoming Catholic, and I truly believe the program of education is unparalleled in American higher education.” This year, he will teach classes in theology and the Experiential Leadership Program (ELP), two subjects with which he fell in love while at Wyoming Catholic. As a student, he began instructing outdoor courses (he has lead the freshman backpacking trip six times), and learned that “true theology is about coming to know the living God [rather than] studying the history of what various theologians have said or philosophical syllogisms.” As he joins the College faculty, he looks forward to living “in a place where students and faculty and staff alike are committed to pursuing the good, the true, and the beautiful.”