Napa Valley College Faculty & Staff

Dr. Forest Quinlan - Instructor of Chemistry

Office:  1843                   Phone:  707-253-3164



Tales of Interest!

I was born a coal miner's daughter in the backwoods of the West Virginia Appalachians.  It was a simple life, but a good one.  One day, however, while noodling for catfish in the crick, I decided that I needed to venture forth into the wild blue yonder.  But first, I needed to lose a lot of hair and keep all of my teeth, so I started over in the closest place to home I could think: Bakersfield, CA.

I was born in Bakersfield, CA and spent most of my life roaming around, never staying in one place for more than two years.  In my eighth grade year I headed to a place 45 miles west of Bakersfield and even closer to my coal mining roots, an oil town named Taft.  There I spent many a day in academic, athletic, and social pursuits until time and pressure from the local authorities caused me to head out once again.  Onward to Cal State Bakersfield...

I entered Cal State Bakersfield in Fall 1991 in pursuit of a teaching credential to teach and coach at the high school level (this life choice to me was gladly lent to me by my awesome teachers, Mr. David Dennis and Mr. Harold Heiter).  However, my altruistic plans were quickly derailed by evil forces that conspired to challenge me and make me greedy (read: no longer wished to be on welfare).  So, after two years at CSUB, I applied to many UC schools, eventually landing at UC Santa Barbara...

At Santa Barbara I entered into the supercharged realm of Chemical Engineering and competed on the Cross Country and Track teams.  I quickly learned what it meant to truly work hard in both academics and athletics.  Oh, and some super awesome Materials Science teacher played some Jedi mind trick on me and made me have delusions of grandeur, so that soon I found myself volunteering my time in his lab as one of his minions (Thank you Dr. James Speck).  I enjoyed my time there working with Dr. Ed Tarsa and then graduate student Ed Hachfeld, but more importantly, it rekindled my desire to go further on in my education and to reawaken my goal to teach: only this time at the university level.

Enter: UC Davis.  Seven of the best years of my life were spent in that quaint cow town, and I endured many trials, tribulations, and joys.  "College!  The best seven years of my life!", this was a poster a friend gave to me in jest.  Oh Fate, how you mock me!  And yet, these seven years afforded me the chance to earn a professorship somewhere, provided I get out (Thank you Drs. Pieter Stroeve, Alan Jackman, Bruce Gates, Bob Powell, and all those who mentored me at UCD). 

However, in order to do that I had to do more research.  *sigh* Oh silly Universities!  When did you lose your teaching soul and sell out to the almighty research dollar....

After 19 months (to the day) researching and suffering in Hawai'i, I returned for another year or so to UC Davis for yet more postdoc research.  Everything was going smoothly (mostly) until an old graduate school colleague, Bill Miller, who was then the department chair of Chemistry at Sac City College, asked me to jump into an introductory chemistry course and take it on.  Once I did that, there was no looking back...

The giant elephant in the room, my whole essence of being, The Teacher, was no longer to be ignored.  Very soon afterward I threw myself full force upon my teaching career, gaining as much experience as I could en route to a permanent position somewhere where I could hone my craft, help others, and experience the joy of doing something I love for the rest of my life!

As my reward for all the blood, sweat, and tears I shed in committing to this singular act of Faith, I ended up here at Napa.  Never before in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would have ended up here.  But now that I am, I cannot imagine it any other way.  I feel truly blessed to be a part of such a wonderful learning environment, and I look forward to adding to it for a long, long time.

Come!  Join me and my hear my merry tales!  Come learn just how fun Chemisty can be.  Come and walk with me for a while in the boisterous avenues of the marketplace of our minds and see how much of the world we already knew, but did not know why we knew it.  Come, learn, and have fun doing it!


Top of Mt. Lassen 2005 



Office Hours

Mon 1:30-4:00 in 1843

Tues 4:00-5:00 in 1843

Wed 1:30-4:00 in 1843

Thurs 4:00-5:00 in 1843

    And By Appointment