New Dean of Natural Sciences Tom Broxson has been involved with Pierce College for almost a decade now; teaching geography and environmental science classes at both the Puyallup and Ft. Steilacoom campuses.
Broxson has taken a new position this year and sees it as a good opportunity to do more for students.
His ambition is easy to see as he discusses his life experiences and what they have taught him.
He was most eager to share his passion for the outdoors, having a lot of experience with mountaineering and rock climbing. They have been significant throughout his life. He worked for Disneyland as a professional climber throughout college and would perform in shows for bystanders on the Matterhorn. Even today, he continues to remain active in the sport by building a rock wall in his garage.
Broxson has also summited Mt. Rainier 14 times, which is impressive considering most people only summit once or not at all. He is attracted to outdoor activities because he believes that physically demanding sports create the most learning and clarity about important life lessons.
One of his favorite quotes is from Helen Keller, “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
Broxson said, “It’s important to take on new opportunities because there is a value in accomplishing hard things.”
Broxson, a first generation college student, remembered it was a struggle at times because he felt confused about the college process of applications and financial aid. He was interested in studying history because it was a broad subject that could be applied in many areas. In his senior year, he discovered a geography class which opened his eyes even more.
His advice for college students today: “Stay in school because college is worth it. Statistics show that individuals with a higher education tend to do better than those who don’t and Pierce College is a great place to start for anyone looking to better their lives.”
Broxson emphasizes the importance of the community college in society because it enables academic opportunity for everyone; individualizing each student’s unique needs which brings a more diverse student body.
This diversity is what attracted Broxson to teaching at the community college level. He said it’s more personal than most four year universities because of smaller class size and welcoming professors dedicated to teaching, not research.
Students should know that Broxson is an easy and interesting person to talk to. He plans to dedicate this school year to helping students by making Pierce a better place. Broxson talked briefly about his goals to increase stem enrollment, which includes all the science, technology, engineering, and math courses.
“I am sometimes seen as nice and quiet, but at the same time, I am a pretty driven individual,” he said.
He is also working on a bigger project called Achieving the Dream, which helps student success by analyzing student retention and completion rates statistically.
The goal is to target student issues and understand why students don’t complete classes and leave Pierce, resulting in solutions that could help students stay enrolled.
In the end, Broxson discussed the most important aspect of his life—being with his family. His dedication to both Pierce and family life is phenomenal.
He has two pictures of his sons by his desk, reminding him of his ultimate goal, which is to raise his children in a good environment.
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