By Gus Moody, Northwestern '22, null
In thinking about what’s defined my academic college experience, my professors aren’t the first thing that come to mind. I find that there’s a lot more talk about particularly difficult classes, or a midterm that students feel unprepared for. Unfortunately, it can sometimes seem like the good classes and, more importantly, the incredible professors that taught those classes don’t get enough credit.
I want to highlight one professor that’s made an impact on my time at Northwestern University: Daniel Horton. He’s an assistant professor with the Earth & Planetary Sciences (EPS) Department whose focus is in climate and the atmosphere. He leads the Climate Change Research Group at Northwestern, which uses numerical models to investigate Earth’s (and other planets’) climates. I’m an EPS major myself, and the topic of earth science that’s always fascinated me most is the weather and climate. Professor Horton teaches the only classes within the EPS department that focus on these topics, so I was bound to spend a lot of time with him when I came to Northwestern.
It’s easy to love a professor because their class is easy, but Dan’s classes were never easy. I took his Physics of Weather & Climate class with none of the physics prerequisites that the class asked of me, and I definitely struggled. But still, I loved the class. Dan gave me an in-depth look at the climate systems that drive weather phenomena. It was as if the class was designed for me, and when the quarter came to an end I was devastated because I knew that no other class at Northwestern would match my interests as much as that class.
Not only that, but Dan currently serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Northwestern’s EPS department, meaning that he advises Northwestern students in their academic progress through the EPS major or minor. As a major myself, I’ve consulted him countless times on different opportunities and scheduling questions, and he’s been able to assist me every step of the way. Before COVID cancelled it, I was set to study abroad in Copenhagen. Dan helped me design a course schedule for my time abroad that would not only fit my interests, but also help me further my degree progress at Northwestern.
It’s easy to get caught up in the social aspects of college life: friends, parties, events, etc. However, it’s important to remember that the classes that our college experience is centered around would not be possible without the incredible professors that put so much effort into helping us learn.