Biographies: University of Central Florida

Kevin Thomas

Kevin ThomasTeacher in Residence, 2013-2014
I have been teaching Physics, Physical Science, and Chemistry for 4 years in Central Florida. I got my B.S. in Physics at UCF and was very interested in theoretical and high energy physics because of all the philosophical topics that are interwoven into the field. I realized early on that, when described from someone who is passionate about it, this can be a very exciting topic for students and in popular culture as well. I later decided that a more useful pursuit for me was to share my enthusiasm of Physics and take on educating younger generations and the public.

As an undergraduate, I was very active in outreach and loved talking about all of the fun topics in physics, and all of the great physicists in history. Once I began teaching, I loved it, but still needed classroom management training. I came back to UCF for my Master's in Science Education. This was a great experience and really helped me to gain more control of my classroom.

In the last four years, one thing I lacked was more direct support in teaching Physics. I felt this definitely contributed to a lower number of Physics teachers, and was something I could possibly help to correct. With the motivation to be better, I strived to experiment with my class and engage the students in more hands-on applications. I made my chemistry class research and make Biodiesel in the lab, and engaged my Physics students with robotics and 3D printing.

Last year I was fortunate enough to win an award for Best Science Teacher at the high school level for my county. This strengthened my resolve to get more involved in developing support for Physics and science teachers. I decided to take some time to focus on this goal and pursue other avenues that would let me work more directly in that effort, and found this wonderful opportunity at UCF. Now I can try to grow the community of Physics teachers and help those struggling in the classroom, while also sharpening my own skills for when I go back to the classroom.

I'm very excited to be a part of the PhysTEC program and community, and look forward to getting more students and teachers involved in creating a stellar physics education program for everyone to enjoy!