Ageno School of Business
Coming into her tenth year on the faculty at Golden Gate University, Dr. Camille Minichino continues on the path of her life’s mission to democratize science and technology just as diligently as she ever has. She talks to a lot of people about science and technology; but the students at GGU are among her favorites to converse with.
“I really like the student body at GGU because they are highly motivated. They all already know what they want to do. They’re in business, IT ... I don’t have to worry about convincing them that they need to work hard,” says Minichino.
Minichino started at GGU by teaching physics; she now teaches the undergraduate course, “Science, Technology and Social Change” through CyberCampus. It’s no surprise that Minichino teaches her course online. She practices what she preaches, and does not balk at the opportunity to educate herself on the latest technology. She says, “I enjoy interacting with students in the traditional face-to-face classroom set-up, but now, with CyberCampus, even online I’ve been able to find interactive sites through which students can conduct experiments, report back and participate in online discussion forums to find out how other students approached the experiment. It works with their busy lifestyles.”
Her greatest pleasure comes from a student who exclaims: “Wow! That was easier than I thought!” Minichino teaches in order to show people how easy and accessible science and technology can be. She shares her mission with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), whose Project 2061 sets out to make every American literate in science, math and technology by the year 2061.
As an ambassador for this larger goal, she takes this mission into her own hands. “Wherever I go, I see every interaction throughout my day as an opportunity to teach people about science and technology. Right now my class is based on this principle,” she says.
To the benefit of her students, Minichino brings with her to the classroom a scientifically based background that is uniquely diverse. She serves as a scientific editor at the nationally acclaimed Lawrence Livermore Lab, is a national public speaker and also is an active mystery novelist and miniaturist, among other things. As a miniaturist, Minichino enjoys planning and assembling intricate dolihouses. In each of these activities Minichino involves science and technology.
She published The Oxygen Murder in 2006, the eighth novel in her series entitled The Periodic Table Mysteries. “When someone writes about my mystery series and they say ‘your books made science seem accessible...’ those are my proudest moments,” she says.
Positions she has held as an author include president and/or board member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America and the California Writers Club.
Her hobbies aren’t necessarily typical of a scientist, however, she leads by example and ties science democratically into everything she does. She just signed another book deal, in which she will write a new murder mystery series that will combine science and another of her passions, for miniatures. “Scientists have to be creative, and need to always be asking questions. I see a thimble, and ask myself what this could be on a miniature scale; I find an answer, which in this case happens to be a trashcan.”
Her next murder mystery series is tentatively named The Dollhouse Mysteries, and incorporates her hobby as a miniaturist.
Minichino pays extra attention to groups that have historically been overlooked. “I do a lot of speaking. As an active member of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) she gives talks and leads through example to dispel the myth that women can either he pretty or smart, but not both at the same time. People, especially women, cannot avoid technology because to avoid technology is to be put in an inferior place,” says Minichino. Through her work with the writing group, Sisters in Crime, she helped to elevate women mystery writers, who previously were vastly overlooked, and now account for about half of the mystery writers with books in print.
“The essence of my class at GGU is to show how technology influences every aspect of our lives, and students get that. They begin to see, or see more clearly that it is always advancing, and that it is unavoidable, as we use new technology an infinite number of times throughout each day. GGU students already know what career path they want to follow, and they can see the big technology picture, and apply what they learn to their jobs and everyday lives,” she says.
New technology is here to stay, and if Camille Minichino has anything to say about it, soon everyone will appreciate this. “People won’t be stopped, once your mind goes somewhere, you won’t go back.” And that is exactly what she has done as she continues to work at Lawrence Livermore, write, and teach at GGU.
“The pressures that business professionals feel are the same ones that scientists feel,” she says. Through her work she promotes the perseverance to push ahead in the face of doubt. To highlight this she begins her course with Galileo and finishes with current issues such as cloning. She stays at GGU for the students. “They’re like EMTs in their response time.” She laughs as she explains how quickly students jump at online discussions.
“Students at GGU are not willing to be spoon-fed,” she says. She began teaching higher education in 1962, and considers GGU her favorite institution of higher learning because of its unique professional student body.Her newest mystery series will hit the shelves in February 2008, but for now, you can find Dr. Camille Minichino at GGU, seeking out every opportunity to spread the word of the importance of science and technology.