Faculty Spotlight: Dr. John Menzies

Dr. John Menzies near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France

Tuesday, July 2, 2024

By Deanna Rea

Dr. John Menzies is a professor at Bakersfield College. He teaches Geography courses to BC’s Renegades and is the Assistant Director of the Planetarium. He joined our campus in August of 2005 after pursuing his academics in Indiana, Manitoba, and North Dakota. He has been teaching at BC for nineteen years but has been teaching Geography for a total of twenty-five years, which includes time in Indiana and North Dakota.

Dr. Menzies is originally from Winnipeg, Manitoba, and has had the privilege of traveling to many beautiful places around the world. However, after receiving the opportunity to work for Bakersfield College, he has hopes of settling in California after discovering a new-found admiration for the state.

Dr. Menzies mentioned that the story behind his decision to pursue geography was a long one, so he provided the shortened, “honest” version: when he was an undergraduate student, he had originally declared chemistry as his major, but took a geography course because it fit his schedule better. With that, he changed his mind after discovering a stronger passion of his: Geography.

When asked about his favorite part of BC, Menzies was quick to respond, “The students.” According to him, there is nothing better than when a student approaches him to say that “they now look at the world differently because of him [and his class].” One example he mentioned was clouds – students of his feeling amazed at all the different types of clouds.

He elaborates further by saying that the students are the most important part of teaching - without them, teachers cannot do what they love. His main goal for every student that enters his classroom is to obtain a better understanding of the world that they live in—not just of California or the United States, but to think greater and expand their horizons, to “see the whole picture in a new light.”

When Menzies is not teaching, he enjoys sports, traveling, and playing guitar. Two of which he enjoys incorporating in his work by playing music during class or using hockey players to memorize the components of the atmosphere.

His advice for all students is to try science! Although at times it may seem intimidating, never let that discourage you from potentially discovering a newfound passion of yours, just as he did. According to Dr. Menzies, “The key to success is always listening to your professors and always asking questions!”