Department: Earth Science
Diana Strode's passion for the Earth Sciences began with childhood collections of rocks, fossils, National Geographic magazines and hours watching Jacques Cousteau television specials.
Inspired by her high school chemistry and physics teacher, she focused her undergraduate and graduate coursework in hydrology with an emphasis on water resource planning and protection. This led to a 14-year career as a groundwater hydrologist in the solid and hazardous waste industry.
"Finding your passion is a journey," she said. "I cannot recall that I woke up on a particular morning with a sudden thought that I must major in hydrology and build a career protecting water resources. I knew that I wanted to work with rocks, to learn to scuba dive, and that I was angered by the media images I saw on the evening news of the surface of Lake Erie burning.
"I simply chose courses of study at the community college that corresponded to my love of rocks and water. Next I found myself accepted and enrolled at NIU focusing on water resource planning. Upon graduation, I began a career where I could make a difference in the protection of water resources on this continent. Now my passion is to build on those efforts by inspiring students to be responsible stewards of the natural world."
Strode joined the College of DuPage faculty in 1997 and developed the hydrosciences program, which includes general education laboratory courses in oceanography and water science. She is also the faculty advisor for the COD Student Environmental Club.
"I hope that students discover how the earth’s dynamic natural processes are relevant to their daily lives as well as to their individual career aspirations," she said. "I find that students have the most fun learning when they can use physical models or participate in fieldwork to observe processes that impact society and economy. These exercises also allow students the opportunity to simply observe natural events that they have not had the opportunity to witness personally.
"If a student can see the relevance of their undergraduate science and other general education coursework to the career opportunities in a major of study that is their passion, they can be confident that their efforts to earn a degree will lead them on the path to a happy and fulfilling future of their choice.
"Students are my inspiration. I am motivated by their drive, initiative, genuine curiosity and wonder about the natural world. In addition, their volunteerism on campus, in the military or in community service is awe-inspiring. I am truly honored to serve them as they pursue their educational goals."