Being an historian, I like to learn the history of wherever I’m going. That way I can fully appreciate what I’m seeing. Also, even though it’s really good to plan ahead, just know that you’re going to make serendipitous discoveries along the way. Be prepared to have random conversations with people. To walk in neighborhoods which aren’t particularly famous but are just as interesting as the major sites. - Andy Bernstein
Growing up in the suburbs outside New York, Andy was an inquisitive child, drawn to history and encouraged to learn by the museums and vibrant art all around him. I could never keep still except to read books, which remains largely true to this day, he says. He dove into the study of Japanese in college and lived in Japan for several years after graduating. He then returned to the States to earn an MA and PhD from Columbia University.
The opportunity to work closely with students, an appreciation for the teacher-scholar balance, and a desire to live in the Pacific Northwest all drew Andy to Lewis & Clark. After working for several years at LC, he became deeply interested in Mt. Fuji and began teaching a course in global environmental history. The field of environmental history was completely new to him, but as he says, What better way to learn something than teach it? Together with LC geologist Liz Safran, he was also able to create and lead a multidisciplinary study abroad program focused on Mt. Fuji, one of the highlights of his many rewarding years at the college.
I really enjoy working closely with students. I think that students at LC both in and out of the classroom show a true love for learning and a desire to make the world a better place. I also appreciate that my colleagues are committed to both their teaching and research. They take their work as teacher-scholars seriously. - Andy Bernstein
When he’s not teaching or working on his upcoming book Fuji: a Mountain in the Making, Andy can be found hiking, cross-country skiing, walking his dog Lucy, and taking in the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. He’s also fond of playing the piano, cooking (with homemade pasta!), and baking.
Andy has traveled through most of East Asia and Europe, and his wealth of travel knowledge boils down to this: prepare, explore, eat well. Understanding the history of a place, he says, allows us to pay attention to things that we wouldn’t otherwise. He believes traveling with alumni is a wonderful opportunity. I always learn from my students and I feel like alumni have even more to offer because of their life experience after college. The best part of course is that I don’t have to grade their work! When traveling with Andy be prepared to learn, enjoy, and make unexpected discoveries every step of the way.