Blog: Teacher Feature, Barry Nerhus, Instructor, Biological Sciences and Allied Health Department

Branch out and learn about this week’s Teacher Feature: Barry Nerhus. He shares why science rules, but Biological Sciences can really grow on you.

Tell us about yourself.

Hello everyone! I have been part-time instructor for Coastline College’s Biological Sciences and Allied Health Department since 2017. Currently, I hold a Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Biology from University California, Irvine (UCI) and a Masters of Science (M.S.) in Biology from California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).

I teach Biology 100 and Ecology 100 at Coastline College. Additionally, I also teach at Saddleback College and Master students in the Conservation and Restoration Science Program at UCI.

I am very passionate about the work I do. In my career thus far, I have started two non-profit organizations; the Orange County Chapter of the Society of Conservation Biology and the Institute for Conservation Research and Education, which are dedicated to educating and conserving the environment in various ways. I also created and am the principal of Endemic Environmental Consulting firm: Endemic Environmental Services, which provides environmental consulting services. In addition, I am the Orange County Representative of The Wildlife Society.

Why do you love teaching at Coastline?

I enjoy working at Coastline because of the great team of instructors and management, who create a welcoming space to teach. I love teaching because it gives me an opportunity to provide students with my experiences in working in the industry. Also, I very much can relate to the challenges the students face as I was once a community college student. Ultimately, my goal and hope is to provide students with opportunities to grow on their academic journey and present them with big picture concepts to apply to their lives.

What makes your class unique?

I have a teaching approach that engages my students by using current events and topical discussions.

This approach can drive creativity, which gives everyone (including myself) different perspectives.

Interested in joining the Biological Sciences and Allied Health Department at Coastline? Explore today:

Tell us something students may not know about you?

I have a few: I am left handed, I love to make (and eat pizza), and like to learn languages. I am currently working on French, Farsi, and Norwegian.

Who are some of your mentors?

I have several mentors that have had an impact on my life such as my parents, Barry and Donna Nerhus, who taught me how to work hard and be responsible. Another person is Dr. Peter Bowler, University California Irvine Professor, who is an amazing person and inspired me to go into this particular field. Dr. Peter Bloom has been another great mentor as well for business and wildlife studies. Dick Zembal has been a great mentor also, who helped me with opportunities and gave me advice throughout my career as a teacher and biologist. Lastly, Coastline’s Ken Ostrowski, who has been my high school football coach, a collaborator with non-profit education programs, and ultimately opened the door to Coastline College for me. I would not be here writing this without everyone I mentioned.

Did you miss this year’s Earth Day blog? Check out Professor Nerhus’ article on how Earth Day got started and how Coastline has contributed in the past.

Four Tips for Coastline College Students

  1. Keep going and don’t give up! It took me seven years to receive my Bachelor’s degree. Before, I worked in construction and went to night school while also delivering pizza. I know the struggle is very much real but it will pay off.
  2. Make sure you take care of your health. You will perform much better academically with a healthy mind. School is stressful so try to minimize the rest.
  3. Start networking and meeting people early! Secure internships and gain experience to meet people that can help you reach your goal.
  4. Study abroad! Expand your experiences and relationships throughout the world. It will give you perspectives and experiences you will never have at home.

Tell us something fun about your class

Human Ecology discusses climate change, where students leave the class with a strong grasp of the concept. There is also a fun video (at least for me) where I am in Belize talking about mangrove wetlands.

Read more about Barry Nerhus’ efforts on coastal biodiversity on Orange County Register.
Photograph of newspaper featuring Barry Nerhus

Where can students find you?

Students can find me at my website as well as follow me on Instagram, and connect with me on Linkedin .

About the Teacher Feature series.

Coastline College proudly highlights its renowned faculty through the Teacher Feature blog series. This week’s feature showcases Professor Nerhus, Biological Sciences and Allied Health Department.

Enjoy learning about Coastline’s greatest? Check out the previously highlighted #TeacherFeatures. Your future instructor may be amongst the featured!

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