Saturday, February 07, 2009

WOOT WOOT I'm going to the Spring APS meeting

So my research prof has asked if I would be interested in presenting my research into differences in performance between men and women on the Force Concept Inventory, a test of basic understanding of Newtonian principles administered at the beginning and end of algebra and calculus based introductory physics courses, at the 11th Annual Meeting of the Northwest Section of APS.

While I'm not interested in going into Education Research and I'm not doing this as a Senior Project (or actually getting credit at all for this this quarter) it is something that I approached him and the other prof who is working on Physics Education research with at the end of last quarter and am highly interested in. I actually chose to get into Physics partly because my dream job is working for the NSF on working on increasing accessibility and retention of women and girls in STEM fields, so it kind of makes sense that this is what I am now doing. (Even though I am now in the mathematics department and in love with group and field theory and research I would never turn down a job at the NSF doing that.)

I am really excited and may be paying out of pocket (since I will have graduated at the end of this quarter) for one credit of independent study to work on this and to get departmental funds to present this at the APS conference. We also talked about me presenting it at scholar's week since it comes after the APS conference and I will already have everything put together. Also, even though this is not a senior project and I'm not officially a physics major I agreed to present my findings to the Physics Department as studies have shown that non-traditional teaching methods, i.e. those that incorporate interactive sessions, show greater improvement in women's scores then in men's (men's scores generally improve well no matter what teaching method is used.)


I have to work on my presentation skills. Hopefully I will be able to post some of my findings here as I work on them more. I just received some new data so I'd like to add that first before I start talking about it publicly.