CSU Students Attend AAPT Conference

CSU Student Attend AAPT ConferenceThe American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) held their annual summer conference for 2016 in Sacramento, California. Chicago State University (CSU) students, Felicia Davenport (Physics) and Nicolette Sanders (Chemistry) were granted the opportunity to present their poster on the importance of student voice in the National Science Foundation and the Department of Education Learning Assistance Program and in our funded S-Stem Program. Participating in the AAPT conference helps students recognize that they are important members of a national community of scholars that cares about teaching, learning, equity, and diversity.

Angela Moore (physics) gave an invited talk at the conference in a session on physicists with disabilities. Accompanying the students was CSU’s professor of physics, Dr. Mel S. Sabella, who spoke about supporting women in Physics and a second talk about the STEM Learning Assistant Program that is being implemented at Chicago State University. Each of the talks focused on how effective it is to listen and learn from students’ experiences and how this is essential in mentoring and learning environments.

The AAPT conference also introduced new physics technology, workshops, and hosted a variety of suppliers and resources. “At the exhibition, I saw the new equipment that companies were creating for the classroom. The conference also opened my eyes to numerous opportunities for minority students in physics education,” says Nicolette Sanders. CSU’s Chemistry, Physics and Engineering department is diverse and continues to engage in the national dialogue about high quality STEM education. The CSU Learning Assistance Program (LA) is part of a national alliance of over 70 institutions. LA students are undergraduate STEM majors that facilitate learning by working alongside faculty in STEM classes (https://learningassistantalliance.org/).

CSU’s physics student, Felicia Davenport, stated, “I was among the youngest to attend the conference, so I felt I was able to look up to many of the scientists as role models. To me, they were representations of the countless paths where my physics degree can lead me and left me very excited for my future endeavors.” One of those role models is CSU physics alumni Dr. Geraldine Cochran. She organized a session on supporting women in physics and gave a presentation about leveraging the strengths of diverse populations. Dr. Cochran has worked at the American Physical Society and is currently a Dean at Rutgers University in the Douglass Project for Women in STEM.

“CSU faculty from Chemistry, Physics and Engineering believe that taking students to national and international conferences is a crucial part of their professional development. There are a number of conferences in the fall and spring that CSU students will be attending, where they will present their research and represent CSU. Angela, Nicolette, and Felicia also brought back a number of new ideas for the CSU Learning Assistant Program and S-STEM Program that we hope to incorporate this academic school year. One direction of research that we would like to continue to pursue is looking at how CSU students develop science identity as part of the LA Program and S-STEM Program.”

Dr. Mel S. Sabella-