I am a Lecturer in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at Penn State University.
My professional activities and interests include:
- Penn State classes: Astro 001 The Astronomical Universe, Astro 006 Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe, Astro 010 Elementary Astronomy, Astro 011 Elementary Astronomy Laboratory, and Astro 602 Supervised Experience in College Teaching
- Previous classes: Introductory Physics - Newtonian mechanics, E&M, and Thermodynamics, Introductory Calculus, and Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe
Faculty Teaching Professional Development -- I co-founded a STEM education teaching group to bring together faculty across all science disciplines to share teaching ideas, review results of education research, and bring in speakers on teaching and education topics
Graduate Teaching Assistant Professional Development -- I oversee the training and mentoring of the graduate TAs in the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics. While a graduate student myself, I helped develop a style of peer tutoring that I still use and advocate as a professor. See an editorial I wrote in Spark, the Astronomy Education newsletter, Fall 2011. (PDF copy here)
Education Research -- My primary research interest is how to more effectively teach science to non-science majors. I am a member of the Community of Astronomy Teaching Scholars (CATS), a National Science Foundation funded network of astronomy researchers and educators. See my recent peer-reviewed articles on work I did with Dr. Michael Rogers at the Ithaca College Physics Department
- Multidimensional Education Research: Managing Multiple Data Streams: how to combine qualitative data (e.g. interviews) and quantitative data (e.g. test scores) into a rich data set (published in AER)
- Is There a Back of the Room When the Teacher is in the Middle?: a study of a novel classroom design to see if there is a region where the "A" and "F" students naturally cluster like there is in a traditional lecture hall (published in JCST)
Academic advising -- New Student Orientation (formerly called FTCAP), and Astronomy undergraduate majors
Science Policy -- I spent the fall & winter of 2007 as a Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellow in Washington DC at the National Academies. See my editorial encouraging Astronomers to consider science policy in the AAS newsletter, issue 139. (PDF copy here)
Outreach -- I am active in making astronomy and science accessible to the general public, including kids. I participate in many public outreach events, including AstroFest, Exploration Day, and Expanding Your Horizons.
Committees -- I am on the PSU Astronomy & Astrophysics Climate Committee, the undergraduate curriculum committee, and I am the Astronomy Department representative on the PSU College of Science Climate and Diversity Committee.