Professor Profile: Joe Giammarco

Professor Joe Giammarco leaned forward on his knee as he sat in his office, articulating his thoughts. He wore a relaxed expression and spoke in a mild voice. “I would like the students to feel I am someone who is approachable,” he said.

Giammarco is an associate professor of physical science. He is beginning his first semester teaching physics at Eastern.

Giammarco is taking over some responsibilities that previously belonged to Dr. Bradstreet. “Dr. Bradstreet, who has been here for awhile, is very busy,” he said. “He wants someone to take over the physics classes and labs.”

Giammarco was previously acquainted with Dr. Bradstreet before gaining his current position. “I was involved in a research project that [Dr. Bradstreet] was involved in,” he said.

The research project is called the eBai project, which stands for Eclipsing Binaries with Artificial Intelligence. There are eight people involved in the project, which has continued for the past three years. According to Giammarco, the main focus of the project is “developing methods to detect and identify, out of gigabytes of data, eclipsing binary stars.”

Giammarco graduated from Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pa., then went on to Temple University in Philadelphia to do graduate work.

Subsequently, Giammarco held a temporary position as professor of physics at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. He then returned to Pennsylvania, doing research at the University of Pennsylvania for 10 years, working in radiology and then in physics. Following this, he taught in the physics department at Temple for a year and a half before arriving at Eastern.

Currently, Giammarco lives in Collegeville with his family. He has been married for 13 years and he and his wife have two children. He happily displayed a photo of his 8-year-old son and his 4-year-old daughter enjoying a Busch Gardens vacation. Their cheerful voices could be heard from the talking picture frame that he has at home on his desk.

When asked if he is nervous or excited to kick off the semester, Giammarco said, “A little of both. Mostly, I hope to do a good job.”

Giammarco said that his teaching style varies according to the course. “One is for science majors. One is for non-science majors, specifically elementary education majors,” he said.

“For the science majors, I’ll use a lecture style, problem solving [and] writing on the board. In a good way, I would like to challenge them. [The material] is something they need to understand before going on.”

Concerning the elementary education majors, Giammarco said, “I would like them to leave with a different attitude about science.”

Giammarco wants his students to leave the class feeling that they have grasped all of the main concepts that are discussed. “Perhaps [the elementary education majors] have had a class that’s too involved in details. It doesn’t have to be that way,” he said.

Giammarco hopes to encourage a casual atmosphere in the classroom. He anticipates an informal, easygoing relationship with his students.

“I want to grow professionally and spiritually,” Giammarco said. He expects this year to be a learning experience for both the students and himself. “I want to get better at what I do.”

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