PhysTEC-Northwest Conference Presenters

Keith Clay, Green River Community College

Eleanor W. Close, Texas State University – San Marcos

Eleanor Close is Assistant Professor of Physics and Science Education at Seattle Pacific University. She received her B.A. from Bryn Mawr College in 1996 and spent the next three years teaching high school physics and physical science in Louisburg, N.C., through Teach For America, receiving her teaching certificate in general science in 1999. She became science department chair at Louisburg High School in January 1997, by seniority. She received her M.S. from the University of Washington in 2003, working with the Physics Education Group, and is currently ABD in the education doctoral program at Seattle Pacific University (Ed.D., 2008?). Her research interests include professional development for pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers, effective science instruction for K-12 students, and the relationship between teacher characteristics and student learning. Currently she is working closely with other SPU physics faculty on several NSF-supported projects aimed at studying and improving student learning in science in grades 5-10 and supporting K-12 teachers in various ways. She is a member of many associations whose acronyms include P for physics, S for science, and/or T for teachers (AAPT, NARST, NSTA, WSTA...).

Hunter G. Close, Texas State University – San Marcos

Hunter Close has been working in physics education since 1995, when, after earning his B.A. from Rice University, he began teaching at Jones High School, in Houston, Texas. In 1998 he left Houston to study History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University, Bloomington, which granted him a M.A. in 2000. He then joined the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington and earned his Ph.D. in 2005. His research at UW focused on describing student thinking about momentum, rotation, friction, and related issues. Currently, his professional attention is directed towards teacher preparation and professional development. In particular, he is interested in how a central principle of eliciting and responding productively to student thinking could provide the essential framework for teacher education. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Physics at Seattle Pacific University and is involved in several ongoing projects related to promoting formative assessment among K-12 science teachers.

Lezlie S. DeWater, Seattle Pacific University

Lezlie Salvatore DeWater is an elementary teacher presently on professional leave from Seattle Public Schools to work as a Master Teacher in the Physics Department at Seattle Pacific University. She received her BA from Western Washington State University and her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction with a science emphasis from the University of Washington. Lezlie has held numerous positions with Seattle Public Schools: a classroom teacher, an assistant science supervisor, a science specialist, and science resource teacher. She spent seven years as visiting lecturer with the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington. During this time she served as an instructor in courses for both pre-service and inservice teachers. In Lezlie's current role at Seattle Pacific University, she is teaching and co-teaches physics and science education courses, developing and implementing professional development workshops for teachers, and rethinking and restructuring teacher preparation courses.

Angie DiLoretto, Bellevue School District

Noah D. Finkelstein, University of Colorado-Boulder

Noah Finkelstein is an Assistant Professor of Physics whose research is in physics education, and particularly the role of context in student learning. He is PI or Co-PI six nationally funded grants to create and study conditions that support students' interest and ability in physics. These research projects range from the specific (how do students use representations or analogies in learning physics), to the course-scale (the role of computer simulations in learning, or implementation of Tutorials), to the departmental / institutional scale (what models of educational reform are sustainable and scalable?).This research has resulted in over 40 publications in refereed venues. Finkelstein serves on four national boards in physics education: the Physics Education Research Leadership Organizing Council, the Executive and Advisory Councils of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PTEC), the Forum on Education of the American Physical Society, and the Public Policy Council of the American Association of Physics Teachers. In 2007 he won the campus-wide teaching award, the Boulder Faculty Assembly's Excellence in Teaching Award.

Frank Kline, Seattle Pacific University

Corinne A. Manogue, Oregon State University

Dr. George D. Nelson is the director of Science Mathematics, and Technology Education and professor of Physics and Astronomy at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

From 1996 to 2001, he was director of Project 2061 and a member of the senior staff of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  From 1989 to 1996 Dr. Nelson was associate vice provost for research and associate professor of Astronomy and Education at the University of Washington.

From 1978 to 1989 he served as a NASA astronaut and flew as a mission specialist aboard three space shuttle flights.  Dr. Nelson was the pilot of the first operational flight of the manned maneuvering unit.  He also served on the crew of the flight of Discovery in September 1989 immediately following the loss of the Challenger. He has advised NASA through service on a number of committees, most recently as chair the Hubble Space Telescope Servicing Missions 3A and 3B External Independent Readiness Review Team.

He received his B.S. in physics from Harvey Mudd College and M.S. and Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Washington. He lives in Bellingham with his wife, Susie.

Michael Marder, University of Texas at Austin

Michael Marder is Professor of Physics and a member of the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics, internationally known for its experiments on chaos and pattern formation, and for many years ranked #1 in the nation by US News and World Report. He specializes in the mechanics of solids, particularly the fracture of brittle materials. As Associate Dean for Science and Mathematics Education in the College of Natural Sciences, Michael Marder is co-director of UTeach, the University program for preparation of secondary mathematics and science teachers, is helping to introduce active learning techniques into undergraduate teaching, and runs a program to help low-income grade-school children prepare for careers in mathematics and science.

Lillian C. McDermott, University of Washington

Lillian Christie McDermott received her B.A. from Vassar College and Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics from Columbia University.  She is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Physics Education Group at the University of Washington in Seattle.  For more than three decades, Professor McDermott has been conducting research on the learning and teaching of physics and applying the results to the development of curriculum for university students and for K-12 teachers of physics and physical science.  She is committed to preparing teachers to teach science by inquiry.

Jim Minstrell, University of Washington & FACET Innovations, LLC

Monica Plisch, American Physical Society

Dr. Monica Plisch is Assistant Director of Education for the American Physical Society (APS) in College Park, Maryland.  She manages several initiatives within the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) project, including the PhysTEC coalition of more than 110 institutions committed to improving the education of future physics and physics science teachers.  Before coming to the APS, Dr. Plisch served as Director of Education Programs at the Center for Nanoscale Systems, at Cornell University.  She developed programs for pre-college students and teachers to learn about contemporary physics and developed an undergraduate lab course on nanotechnology.  Dr. Plisch completed her doctoral studies in physics at Cornell University, and her dissertation research was in the field of nanomagnetics.

Lane Seeley, Seattle Pacific University

Lane Seeley is Associate Professor of Physics at Seattle Pacific University. He earned his M.S. from Montana State University in 1996 where he was introduced to physics education research by Greg Francis. He earned his Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics at the University of Washington working with Gerald Seidler. Since joining the faculty at Seattle Pacific University in 2001 he has worked closely with colleagues to build a close knit physics department which is primarily focused on student learning. More recently, the department has focused increasing attention on supporting K-12 physics and physical science teachers. Lane has played an active role in the development of web based diagnostic tools for physical science teachers. He has also worked with colleagues to provide content-rich professional development for K-12 teachers. Lane leads the PhysTEC project at Seattle Pacific and has worked with colleagues to build and sustain a Learning Assistant program which provides undergraduates with an opportunity facilitate small group learning and explore the challenges and rewards of physics teaching.

MacKenzie R. Stetzer, University of Maine

MacKenzie R. Stetzer is a Research Assistant Professor in Physics at the University of Washington.  He received an A.B. from Bowdoin College and a Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Pennsylvania (2000).  He joined the UW Physics Education Group in 2001.  In addition to his research on student understanding of physics, he is deeply involved in the group's programs for the preparation and professional development of K-12 teachers and graduate TAs.

Kathee Terry, Bellevue School District

Stamatis Vokos, Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo

Stamatis Vokos, Professor of Physics at Seattle Pacific University, has directed several projects on the learning and teaching of physics and has contributed to local and national science reform efforts K-20. In particular, he has provided leadership to teacher education and enhancement programs in Washington State, in which nearly two thousand preservice and inservice educators have participated. From 1995 until he joined SPU in 2002, he contributed extensively to the research and curriculum development efforts of the Physics Education Group, notably Physics by Inquiry, an inquiry-based curriculum for the preparation of teachers, and Tutorials in Introductory Physics, a supplementary curriculum for the introductory physics course. At SPU, Vokos and his colleagues in physics and science education are involved in research and development projects on undergraduate course reform and teacher education and enhancement. Funding from NSF, the Boeing Co., and the PhysTEC project has enabled a multi-year collaboration with FACET Innovations LLC to improve the effectiveness of the teaching of physics at a systemic level. A crucial component of the model at SPU is the incorporation of Master Teachers in the instructional and research program of the Physics Department.

Elaine Woo, Seattle School District