Faculty & Staff

Professor David Dunn

Professor David Dunn, began teaching at Sierra College in the Spring 2003. A graduate of the University of California, Davis (B.S. in Physics) and the University of Iowa (Ph.D. in Physics), he has taught astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley. As a graduate student and a Post Doc, he was very much involved with radio studies of the Solar System, in particular with the planets Saturn and Jupiter. He currently maintains these research efforts through a collaboration with researchers at various institutions, including UC, Berkeley.
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Professor Barry Rice

Professor Barry Rice is the newest of our faculty, having started teaching in 2009. He received his undergraduate degree (B.S. in Physics; minor in Astrophysics) from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, New York). His graduate degree (Ph.D., Astronomy) at the University of Arizona focused on star formation regions, emphasizing sunlike stars likely to have primordial solar systems. His interests are split with botany, especially invasive plants and carnivorous plants. He has written two botanical books illustrated with his botanical photography, and maintains a research position with the Center for Plant Diversity at the University of California (Davis).
He has also been told to "Piss Off!" by Malcolm McDowell  
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Tolian Rice/Tolian Soran

Professor Alvaro Demarzi

Professor Alvaro Demarzi has more than 25 years of teaching experience from elementary, high school and university levels. He holds B.S and M.S. degrees in Physics. Although he has taught Physics, Chemistry, Earth Science and Mathematics, his first and lasting love has been Astronomy. He strongly believes in the phenomenological approach to teaching. He has been a member of the faculty since Fall of 2000.
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Professor Josh Wormley

Josh began teaching astronomy at Sierra College spring semester of 2004 after completing a MS in Astronomy from UWS, Australia. Astronomical interests include photometric observations of variable stars and extrasolar planets. Outside of the classroom, Josh practices medicine as a Family Nurse Practitioner, has been an avid skateboarder for over 30 years, loves heavy metal music, electric guitars, and is the scourge of anybody who has the privilege of driving with him when he sings.
LYI Jules  
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Professor Chuck Pullen

Chuck has a B.A in Pharmacology from UC Santa Barbara and a M.S. in Astronomy from Swinburne University of Technology located near Melbourne, Australia. After a 25 year career in occupational and environmental health, Chuck has finally been seduced by the dark site of the physical sciences, astronomy and astrophysics. He has taught astronomy and general physical science at Cosumnes River College and Sacramento City College since 2003, and will begin teaching at Sierra College in the summer, 2006. His research interests include the observational astronomy of stellar pulsation and active galactic nuclei via several international consortiums including AAVSO.( and the WEBTfrom his Wilton based observatory as well as via several robotic systems..
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Professor Barry Mingst

Professor Mingst is returning to teaching Astronomy at Sierra College in 2013. He previously taught at Sierra from 1997 to 2000. He holds a Master of Engineering degree in Nuclear Engineering and a Bachelor's degree in Physics from the University of California at Berkeley. He has worked 30 years in consulting engineering and software systems, and is returning again to his passion for astronomy and physics. His interests include celestial dynamics, gravitational theory, and teaching.
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Professor Nancy Montague-Archer

Professor Nancy Montague-Archer has been active in teaching Astronomy throughout her adult life. As an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, she assisted with Astronomy Labs throughout the time she spent working on her B.S. in Physics. From there she went on to earn a M.S. in Astronomy at the University of Florida. In the fall of 1991, she began to teach Astronomy at Sierra College. Wanting to continue her education, she returned to graduate school at the University of California, Davis where she focused her doctoral research on the Earth's interior, specifically studies of convection of mantle rocks and how properties at the core-mantle boundary can influence convection style. She received a Ph.D. in Geology in June 2000. She has recently returned to the Astronomy Department at Sierra College.
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Daniel Hale

I am born and raised in small northern California town in the outer suburbs of San Francisco. I have spent all but 2 and 1/2 years of my life in California.

I did not always know I loved science, for me it really started in high school. I had 2 great teachers that challenged me to ask more questions and look deeper. I knew when I was 16 that I wanted to study physics and astronomy and that is what I did! So I have been a science nerd ever since then. Over the years and various institutions I have taught, Physics, Astronomy, Math, Electronics and even Environmental Science once! But my main focus has always been Physics, Astronomy and Math. I have taught at 2 year, 4 year and at technical colleges in the past.

I am not just numbers and science though. I do have a creative side. I am a (sometimes) practicing musician. I have been playing bass guitar for some 31 years now and I had a semi-serious band in high school and college that was together (again on and off) for 8 years. I do not play as much as I used to, but I hope to change that soon. I just started home recording, so let's see how that goes!
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E. Kris Syversen

Kris spent the first 26 years of his professional life working for Hewlett Packard in the Information Technology Department. He has always had a love for science and has been an Astronomy & Space enthusiast ever since he watched the live broadcast of the Apollo 11 moon landing. He started working at Sierra College as an Observatory Technician at the NCC Robotic Observatory in the Spring of 2008 and started his current position as the Astronomy Instructional Assistant in the Spring of 2011.
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