GVFaces: David Sinn
David Sinn, visiting professor of environmental and sustainability studies
Photo Credit: Tanner Hamilton
David Sinn brings varied research and travel experiences to his role as visiting professor of environmental and sustainability studies in the Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies.
Sinn, who is a trained ecologist, has a bachelor's degree in biology, a master's degree in psychology and a doctorate in aquaculture and plant science. He called Brooks College an environment where interdisciplinary research is valued, and learning is based on a growth mindset.
“I feel like I can contribute to Brooks through my community involvement and my no-nonsense approach to research. I love collaboration, and I feel like my diverse background fits in well with the other faculty and staff,” Sinn said.
Before coming to Grand Valley, Sinn lived in the Australian island state of Tasmania for almost 20 years. Sinn received a scholarship from the government to pursue a doctoral degree in Australia.
“I taught for eight years in Tasmania at the university while I was doing research, and I enjoyed it.” Sinn said.
Sinn worked for the Tasmanian state government as a wildlife biologist, and at the University of Texas, Austin, as a project manager, while still living part-time in Tasmania. He also completed a postdoctoral project at the University of California, Davis, on parasite transmissions.
“At UC Davis we used a lot of volunteers for our field work, so I would get undergraduates for weeks at a time,” Sinn said. “It was during this time I really wanted to learn how to be a better teacher, and I realized how much I enjoyed working with that age group.”
After moving back to the United States, Sinn and his wife spent a year in Oregon.
“I worked in a high school and taught at-risk youth in coastal Oregon and it was challenging and stressful, but I learned a lot about teaching,” Sinn said. “I just enjoy the process, I enjoy helping others meet their career goals.”
Sinn also completed a project in 2013 for the U.S. government in which he studied working dogs to match their personalities to the job they would be best suited for.
“I really enjoyed doing something that mattered to everyday life, so that’s the type of research that I’d like to continue doing,” Sinn said.
This article was last edited on November 9, 2021 at 1:0 p.m.