How Outreach Changed My Career Plans

Share This:



SPS Chapters on Outreach

How Outreach Changed My Career Plans


Jason Bier, SPS Member, Adelphi University


Lab4Kids participants build mini DC motors out of batteries. Photos courtesy of Matthew Wright.

                              “The meaning of life is to find your gift.
                               The purpose of life is to give it away.”

                              — widely attributed to Pablo Picasso

When I came to Adelphi University, I wanted to pursue a physics degree but was also dead set on becoming an engineer. Throughout my first few semesters, I began to question this career plan. I adored physics and its ability to explain the inner workings of the world and the grander universe around us. I also realized that I wanted to offer my knowledge and life experience to others—to open doors for the next generation of learners.

I started problem-solving my future. I searched for a career in which I could better see my effect on those around me, where I could satisfy my desire to serve others and hopefully make a direct impact on their lives. After participating in Adelphi’s physics education outreach program, Lab4Kids, I realized that teaching physics was the perfect blend of all these factors. 


Author Jason Bier sharpens his teaching skills during an outreach event.

The physics department at Adelphi, led by Professor Matthew Wright, our department chair, is eager to open its doors to all who are interested in learning about physics. Through Lab4Kids we host various events that involve either traveling to local high schools or inviting high school students to our department. Because Lab4Kids enjoys any opportunity to reach out to the community and share our knowledge and experience, we extend our impact far beyond campus. During events we engage the students in activities and experiments such as pumpkin drops and building miniature DC motors out of batteries. We show them how physics is ever present in their lives and explain some of the phenomena we experience on a daily basis.

My experience with Lab4Kids culminated in an internship with a middle school enrichment program last summer in which I designed curriculum based on the work we had done all year with Lab4Kids. Each week I created and implemented experiments and competitions ranging from an egg drop with straws and tape to bridge building with popsicle sticks and glue, visualizing magnetic fields with iron filings, creating holograms, and measuring the speed of sound.


Students sort through pumpkin drop data during a Lab4Kids event.

The students I worked with enjoyed the interactive experiments and were eager to understand the science behind them. On some of the hottest days of our Long Island, New York, summer, I witnessed students excitedly inquiring about concepts like force and acceleration as they worked to protect their eggs during the egg drop. I saw them collaborating with classmates to build the strongest bridge and claim victory over their friends. It was a wonderful sight to see—kids engaged and having fun with physics. 

I see attending college as a way to gain a better understanding of the world around me and access new opportunities. The impact Lab4Kids had on me during my time at Adelphi cannot be understated. Interacting with and inspiring the next generation of students gave me a glimpse of the kind of impact I could have on others in my future endeavors. 

I’m now pursuing a career in physics education. Being part of the Adelphi physics program and Lab4Kids gave me both the confidence that I’m making the right choice for myself and hope for my future in teaching. I believe I can be a guiding force for students, helping to open new doors and reveal new opportunities through learning.

Interested in Teaching Physics? 

Check out the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) at Student members of SPS are eligible for free membership in AAPT. For details see

Test Drive a Career at SPS Jobs

Check out SPS Jobs for internship, research experience, and job postings in physics, astronomy, and related fields:


More from this department

SPS Chapters on Outreach