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AAPT/PTRA Teacher Professional Development Intern
American Association of Physics Teachers
Helping Physics Teachers Teach
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the AAPT Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) aim to improve the teaching and learning of physics and physical science for all teachers and students in the United States. The PTRA program provides professional development on physics content, teaching techniques based on research in physics education, and integration of technology into curriculum. The program maintains a nationwide cadre of more than 150 accomplished high school teacher-leaders who are trained and continually involved in professional development. These teacher-leaders are certified as PTRAs by AAPT to lead workshops throughout the country.
Working with PTRA teacher-leaders and AAPT staff, Justine is designing and revising resources for AAPT’s high school teacher professional development programs. Justine is supporting the Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRAs) as they develop and test activities associated with heliophysics topics in coordination with NASA-Goddard. He is also support eMentoring and online learning by assisting with pairings of mentors and mentees, program evaluation, arranging for a webinar series, and streamlining online resources.
As an SPS intern at the American Association of Physics Teachers, I learned more than I could have ever expected. I came to Washington D.C. in May with a basic understanding of the Minnesota state education, and I had never been required to think beyond that district and state level. This summer was all about stretching me to wider perspectives. I am now looking at issues on a broader national and systemic level. I was fortunate enough to not be focused on one project this summer but to be involved in several with various goals. My projects ranged from grants working to increase the number of women in physics to influencing the perception of teaching as a whole in our society and designing a professional development experience for K-8 teachers at the AAPT Summer Meeting. Most importantly, through all of my different projects this summer, I have built relationships that will support me the rest of my life. I have worked with influential individuals that have already began to guide and advocate for me within the community more than I could have asked. With that, I know my experience this summer has shaped my career path. While I know that I will be teaching in my own high school physics classroom in just a few weeks, I do not know where I will be in ten years, but wherever that is, I know I will get there with the help of the community of people I have met this summer who support me, along with my own determination and hard work. I ultimately cannot wait to see what that looks like.
I am from St. Paul Minnesota, and graduated this spring from Bethel University with degrees in both K-6 Elementary Education and 5-12 Physics Secondary Education. While at Bethel, I have been involved with many groups including SPS, Sigma Pi Sigma, and Sigma Zeta. Additionally, I love kids. I have spent my school year and full time summers working at the preschool on campus with toddler age children. I have been most honored to contribute to the Bethel community by co-founding and leading the first Women in Physics and Engineering group at Bethel.
My two majors, elementary education and physics, seem contradictory, but my passion lies in STEM education for all students especially in elementary. I believe that science is an exploratory field, and it should be taught as an exploratory subject. Student learning will be longer lasting if they discover the content rather that receive the information. As I move forward in my career, I hope to make a positive influence on not only one school, but in STEM education as a whole.