Our focus continues into the fascinating lives of our Mature Learning instructors. Pat Jollota, whose class “Clark County History” begins in May 18th, says, “I became interested in history while I watched my native city of Los Angeles destroy its history in the name of progress. Those cities that maintained their history fared better than did LA.” I asked Pat how she gets her ideas for her books, and she replied, “The ideas are often happenstance. “Naming Clark County”, for instance, arose out of an exhibit that I did for Clark County. Many times long cherished beliefs are exploded by the facts. I used to say that part of my job was to crush long held family stories.”
To a query about how she does research, Pat declared, “The ideas just happen with the subject matter. If there is a story that needs to be told, that’s the idea. Research has become so much easier with our wonderful new library. Instead of the migraine inducing microfilm readers, they now have computer monitors that will even print out the article that you want to keep. Finding out that long held beliefs are wrong is part of research. One such is that Ranald McDonald, who helped open up Japan to the west met and studied with the three Japanese sailors at the Fort. Recent research casts major doubt on that timeline. When suddenly everything comes together and the missing pieces fill in, it’s a rush!”
Instructor Duane Ray is our “Science Guy”. This term he continues a quest for the “Edges of Science", helping students to understand the complexities of modern scientific discoveries. Duane possesses an amazing combination of brilliance and enthusiasm. Duane said, “I always loved hands on science. In high school I was an amateur radio operator.” During his college years he spent one summer as an astronomer. His other lifelong passion became the outdoor life, hiking, climbing and SCUBA. A professional physicist, when asked what was the most exciting finding of the 21st century, Duane replied, “Understanding the fundamental physics of particles”. And what might be the most exciting find of the future? Duane readily opined, “I predict we will continue the amazing new discoveries in biological medicine, understanding DNA & epigenetics”.