By: Owen Dunn
By no means can the transition from the halls of Gilman to the wilderness of Bozeman, Montana be a smooth, clean one. But for Mr. Jason Hogan, Gilman Chemistry teacher from 2013 until just last year, seeing the best in the dramatic life change has been easy. Mr. Hogan is currently in Bozeman as a student of paleontology, and while he is relatively new to the field and not exactly sure where he’ll end up, he’s loving the adventure.
The opportunity to pursue paleontology or as he puts it, the “study of a wide variety of topics related to the animals and ecosystems of the past,” has exposed him to a great many creatures. In the short time he has been in Bozeman he has seen three moose, hundreds of elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, black bear, eagles, and even captured a picture of a mountain lion recently.
Mr. Hogan’s proposed research centers around the specific dinosaur type known as Troodon, which he described as “small theropod dinosaurs related to the famous raptors.” His study of the dinosaur’s ontogeny will be recorded via 3D imaging, capturing morphological changes as the animal develops throughout its life.
His study means that he is back in the role of student, and he spends most of his time reading journals, talking with experts, examining museum collections, taking tests, and writing papers.
While Mr. Hogan expressed how fun being a student can be, he still misses parts of teaching at Gilman. When asked what he missed most about Gilman he responded, “mostly my students. You guys are why we teach, you make it fun and meaningful.” Mr. Hogan implied he might one day “try his hand” at teaching at the college level, but that scenario is too far off to suggest.
Clearly, all of Mr. Hogan’s hard work has not changed him or the things he loves to do. He still pursues climbing, going as far as to climb up a, “100 foot limestone cliff overlooking Paradise Valley, which leads to Yellowstone, with golden eagles circling overhead.” Mr. Hogan also still dabbles in 3D printing, even using it in his research to scan and print dinosaur bones.
Back in May when Mr. Hogan was getting ready to leave Gilman, his students bought him a book containing a collection of Charles Darwin's writings. Mr. Hogan greatly appreciated the gift from his students and explains that his favorite quote in the book was the last bit of On the Origin of Species, “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
Mr. Hogan is seemingly having the time of his life in Montana and hopefully he will go on to do great things in the field of paleontology and beyond.