CMC names science prof faculty of the year |

CMC names science prof faculty of the year

summit daily news
Summit County, Colorado
Summit Daily/Mark Fox

An associate professor who teaches science and has a passion for aquatic insects was named Colorado Mountain College full-time faculty of the year for the Summit campus.

Bill Painter, 51, teaches biology, chemistry and microbiology classes, as well as guide independent studies.

“They’re great fun to work with,” he said of his students.

He’s been with the college since 2001. Before he was a professor, Painter spent time investigating the impacts of a plutonium plant on aquatic communities along the Savannah River ” which is bordered by Georgia and South Carolina.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site continues to manage nuclear weapons stockpiles and nuclear materials, according to

Painter said he was brought in through a private consulting company to test the effect warm water the plant released on nearby aquatic insect communities.

“Certain streams you could say, ‘yes, (they’re affected),'” he said, adding that findings led to state action requiring improved cooling ponds.

Painter holds a doctorate in molecular biology and biochemistry from Colorado State University. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees in zoology are from Clemson University.

His office is at the campus’s Dillon site, but Painter anticipates moving into the new Breckenridge building ” to be in operation by fall semester ” where the labs will allow for more versatile education.

Painter said he hopes to begin offering an organic chemistry class by fall 2010, in part because of student demand.

He’s also planning to have three aquariums in Breckenridge ” including an African cichlids tank ” to use as education aids.

The Breckenridge site is a brief stroll away from the Blue River, which Painter expects he’ll use for some local field trips. He said that relative to the Savannah River, the Blue and other mountain rivers have less biodiversity.

“It makes it easier when studying aquatic insects,” he said. “There’s not that many species to have to learn.”

Students say Painter’s classes are engaging.

“His great instruction in anatomy and physiology, and in biology, has given me an excellent foundation to build upon in the pursuit of my dream of becoming a registered nurse some day,” former student Guy Pacot said in a CMC press release.

Painter enjoys hiking, skiing, snowshoeing and camping.

“One of the main reasons I moved out here is to be outdoors,” he said.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or

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