Nerd of the Month for September

Great Books is excited to announce a new blog series called “Nerd of the Month,” featuring profiles on nerdtastic members of our community. Nerds of the Month share with you their favorite books, least favorite words, and nerdiest secrets.

Gabe Baker enjoys classical texts, frisbee and technology

Name: Gabe Baker

What I’m doing now:  I am currently a PhD Candidate in Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I recently launched an education technology startup called Worlds Beyond Studios, Inc.  We are making virtual worlds for teachers to use with their students.  I also run an after school Latin program at a private school in Santa Barbara, and I tutor Latin online for students across the US and UK.

Relationship to Great Books: Long time PA, Lead PA, recent Curriculum Coordinator, Logistics, Academic Director.  Nine summers ago my mom didn’t want me loafing around the house anymore.  She looked for places to work that I might like.  She did well.  I’ve worked at every Great Books Campus, but I’ve worked at Stanford the most.  Although I started out at Amherst, Stanford is home base for me at this point.

Nerdy fun fact : I once went to the Getty Villa, an incredibly awesome museum of the ancient world modeled after an ancient Roman villa, for three days in a row.  I still felt like I needed more time.

Nerdiest attribute : I am most jealous of people who are nerdier than me.

Favorite Book: A dialogue by Plato called “Theaetetus”.  I know, Greek names can be weird.  This is an astonishing text that, among other things, deals with the process of reading and interpreting texts written by authors that are no longer around to explain their texts.  Highly relevant to what we do at GBSP, if I do say so myself!

What am I reading right now? :  The most recent issue of Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, a Virginia Woolf essay titled “On Not Knowing Greek”, and a collection of Aimee Bender short stories called “The Color Master”.

Languages:  I can read ancient Greek and Latin, and I’m pretty good at speaking Italian.  I also know HTML and Javascript.  I don’t like referring to classical languages as “dead”, however.  Dead means lifeless, irrelevant, or emotionless.  Ancient Greek and Latin are none of those things.

Favorite word: lieu

Least favorite word: skunk

Brunch with a nerd :  I would have brunch with John Dewey because I’d like to pick his brain while I pick at my omelet.  I think John Dewey is a total boss, a profound thinker, and a lively brunch buddy.

What question do you have for next month’s nerd:  How have certain books or authors changed your perspective or behavior?

Want to nominate a Great Books Nerd of the Month? Email Mel Kasulis: melodyk@greatbookssummer.com

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