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Meet a Colleague: Mauricio Betancourt Mauricio Betancourt is an assistant professor of environmental studies.

Mauricio-Betancourt-scaled-600x400 Meet a Colleague: Mauricio BetancourtMauricio Betancourt, assistant professor of environmental studies

Q. How long have you worked at W&L?
I have worked at W&L for a little over six months. Time goes fast…

Q. What courses are you teaching this term?
This term I’m teaching Introduction to Environmental Studies (ENV 110) and Society and Natural Resources (ENV 202).

Q. What is your favorite course to teach, and why?
My favorite course to teach is Introduction to Environmental Studies. I’ve always thoroughly enjoyed teaching introductory courses (either in biology, sociology or environmental studies), since it allows me to share with students everything I would’ve loved to know about the disciplines in question from the outset, including many concepts, ideas and approaches that took me many years to understand and grasp. It’s also thrilling to witness the students’ excitement when learning something for the first time.

Q. What is the most satisfying aspect of teaching?
For me, the most satisfying aspect of teaching is to experience the classroom as a place where both students and teachers meet to seek knowledge and to really gain an enhanced understanding of concepts and events via a collective learning process.

Q. What do you like most about working at W&L?
I like the support I’ve gotten from other faculty and W&L workers, as well as the incredibly participative and curious students I’ve encountered so far in my classes. The geographical setting is very pleasant too.

Q. Where is your favorite location on the W&L campus?
My favorite location on the W&L campus is the Colonnade. I think it’s a beautiful place and I enjoy walking by every day — in the mornings, for lunch, at night, throughout all seasons. I also appreciate how its aspect changes according to the time of the day and the year.

Q. What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working?
I (enormously) enjoy playing tennis, as well as reading fiction, listening to music and traveling.

Q. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Mexico City and I spent several summers in France and later on in several rural communities in Mexico.

Q. When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an airplane pilot, a tennis player or a veterinarian. That said, since middle school I knew that I wanted to dedicate my life to teaching, which I have done.

Q. What is the most adventurous thing that you have ever done?
Perhaps hiking to Yosemite’s Half-Dome some years ago, or swimming in the freezing waters of Crater Lake in Oregon.

Q. What book are you reading now?
I’m reading four books at the moment: “Nature’s Matrix,” “The Interpretation of Dreams,” “Lettres d’une Péruvienne” and “La femme aux pieds nus.”

Q. What music are you listening to these days?
I listen to a very diverse set of genres all the time. Lately, though, I’m rediscovering the exceptional Chilean musician (and teacher and activist) Víctor Jara, and I also listen to U.S. singer Paul Simon, the band Fleet Foxes, Tears for Fears, and the Swedish band First Aid Kit. I commonly also listen Verdi’s operas a lot, and even some country music and Cuban salsa. I tell you, all over the place.

Q. What is the website you visit most often and why?
Besides my email and Canvas … YouTube since I listen to some news and music in there.

Q. If you could have coffee with one person, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one, I would like to have coffee with so many fascinating people, but possibly Steve Biko, the South African anti-apartheid activist that co-founded the Black Consciousness Movement. I deeply admire and respect his struggle.

Q. If you could live anywhere, where would you build your dream home?
Either in Havana, Paris or rural Italy somewhere.

Q. What is your favorite film (movie) of all time?
Sergio Leone’s “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” followed closely by Richard Attenborough’s “Cry Freedom.”

Q. If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?
Haha, hopefully it wouldn’t be too boring. Perhaps Leo DiCaprio could take on the role.

Q. What is your desert island food?
Pepperoni pizza and a michelada.

Q. Tell us something most people don’t know about you.
I have a very good memory.

Q. What is your secret talent?
I can dance salsa.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share?
I have a soft spot for dogs.