2005 Area Committee Reports and Review Board Comments
Published April 10, 2007, 2:46 p.m. EDT
Below are the 2005 committee annual reports and the respective comments of the Review Board.
2005Committee on Apparatus
This committee’s focus is the apparatus used for teaching physics, and all the associated knowledge necessary to get it into the classroom and use it in for physics teaching. This includes apparatus for lecture demonstrations and hands-on laboratory learning, as well as for outreach activities. To this end we sponsored the following competitions, workshops, sessions, workshops, and cracker-barrels during 2005.
Gregory Puskar organized the session on Laboratory and Demonstration applications from Einstein’s 1905 papers at the Winter Meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The speakers were Kyle Fornish, Dean Hudek, and Jeffery Klenzing. More than forty attended, making the session a success.
The paper sessions, co-sponsored by PIRA, were a huge success. The subject was Topics from Einstein for Demos and Labs in the World Year of Physics. The Monday session, organized and presided over by Dale Stille, was standing room only, and highlighted invited talks by Richard Berg of Maryland, and Urs Lauterberg of Berne, Switzerland, both excellent and very well received. A second session (EE), on the same topic was held on Wednesday and presided over by Zig Peacock. Dean Hudek organized the Instructional Apparatus Cracker-barrel, co-sponsored by the Committee on Laboratories, which was well received with about thirty-three participants. The group shared much good and useful and enlightening information about instructional apparatus. The PIRA Resource Room, organized by Machele Cable, was outstanding this year, with visitor traffic very heavy through the room for the entire meeting. The room, staffed by the Instructional Resource Specialists of PIRA, featured a vast array of educational items including live on-site demos, books and manuals, and several neat give away and make and take items, notably a huge supply of strong permanent magnets donated by Jose Feliciano.
This was a banner year for Apparatus Committee due to the hard work of the event organizers and all who helped with their events, and support of AAPT and Bauder Fund. Many thanks to the Bauder Fund for its continued support of the many of the Apparatus Committee sponsored events.
Judging from the 2005 summer meeting at Salt Lake City PIRA has had a busy and highly visible year. The well attended workshops, PIRA sessions, and Resource Room, were a testament to the hard work that the members put into preparing for Salt Lake City. A huge thanks goes to Zig Peacock, our University of Utah PIRA member extraordinaire, for helping pre-plan and coordinate most of these activities and also for allowing his office space to be used as a shipping repository for the many packages that we and other groups had shipped to the meeting.
PIRA elected Brian Anderson as it’s new Vice President. Stephen Irons was re-elected as Treasurer-Newsletter Editor.
PIRA celebrated its 20th year anniversary at the Salt Lake City meeting. The PIRA organization held the first official meeting early in 1985. The 2005 PIRA business meeting ended with a cake and (pseudo)-champagne celebration to mark this milestone.
The Lecture Demonstrations workshops I and II present the current edition of the 200 most important demonstrations for an introductory physics course. Dave Maiullo and Dale Stille were co-leaders of the group of experts who presented the PIRA 200. A poll of presenters found a combined total of 175 years of demo experience amongst them. This year’s workshop was the smoothest running in recent memory, is due to the fact that we used one of the finest sets of demos in USA, managed by, and much of it created by, our own Zig Peacock, and thus we didn’t have to ship or bring anything to the meeting. The pure joy that we all had, presenting these demos, was also very evident and added a special excitement to the presentations.
Sadly, this is Dave Maiullo’s last year as workshop leader after eleven years of solid service, the we applaud him for his hard work and dedication. Our Syracuse PIRA member, Sam Sampere, will take Dave’s place for the 2006 meeting.
The PIRA Session: Topics from Einstein for Demos and Labs had two sessions to accommodate the many invited and contributing speakers. Dale Stille organizer of both sessions presided on Monday, while Zig Peacock presided on Wednesday. A highlight was the talk by Urs Lauterburg, PIRA member from Berne Switzerland, who spoke to a standing room crowd and also showed an excellent video of Einstein’s favorite and most frequented places where Herr Einstein lived in Berne.
With the World Year of Physics 2005 in full swing, and events and activities inspired by this anniversary has pushed “Physics Outreach” to the forefront for many educational organizations, schools, and universities. Reports by many of these were a focus of the Salt Lake City meeting (See http://www.aapt.org/Events/WYP, or http://www.physic2005.org for information on upcoming events in your area, and throughout the USA).
Dean Hudek and Mary Creason and colleagues presented the Introductory Instructional Laboratories and the Advanced and Intermediate Instructional Laboratories workshops to an audience of eager participants. Information on obtaining, building, maintaining and teaching with laboratory setups was stressed. The positive experience participants and presenters enjoyed show the success of these workshops. In the future as new things, such as laboratory notebooks and an informational website about these workshops should be available by the Syracuse meeting.
The PIRA Resource Room, organized and directed by Machele Cable, had “Make and Takes” as the main attraction with items and expertise being provided by Dick Berg, Kelly Beck, and Tom Senior during the two day run. We thank them for all their hard work. The “University of Minnesota Demonstration Handbook was on sale in the Resource Room this year thanks to a great effort by Machele Cable and Brian Anderson.
For the past several years PIRA has made an intensive attempt to make available all the references used in the making of the PIRA Demonstration Bibliography. The UMN Handbook is the reference that is the backbone for the Bibliography, and we are very glad to see it come to circulation again. Thanks go to Dale Stille for his yeoman efforts on this project The PIRA Resource CD was also a featured item at the Resource Room. Machele Cable does an outstanding job compiling this resource for distribution by PIRA with this year’s version having the support of Vernier Software as a new sponsor. Support for the Resource Room was also provided by PASCO and the Bauder Fund. The success of the Resource Room is due in part to these sponsors and PIRA is greatly appreciative of their efforts and support. A big “Thank You” also goes out to honorary PIRA member Anne Marks for all the hard work and time she put into this years Resource Room.
The Apparatus Committee and PIRA thank Zig Peacock and Sid Rudolf and their colleagues at University of Utah for doing such an excellent and tireless job of dealing with all of our many needs, packages and special requests.
The Apparatus Committee continues to benefit greatly from the many valuable contributions made by PIRA and its members. The Committee is also very grateful for the help it receives from its many "Friends of the Committee".
-Anthony Papirio, Chair
Review Board Response
We applaud the valuable complimentary efforts between the Apparatus and Laboratories Committees, while they still have quite distinct charges, namely: Apparatus Committee (apparatus, experimental systems, and procedures for demonstrations and laboratories) and Laboratories Committee (pedagogy, curricula, and fundamental issues in teaching laboratories at all levels). We also feel the close association between the AAPT Apparatus Committee and PIRA serves to strengthen and stimulate both organizations.
We especially encourage continuing Apparatus Committee efforts with intermediate and advanced laboratories and appreciate your recent suggestions of those who might well serve on a new AAPT taskforce on advanced labs in 2006. The stipulation of the Bauder Fund for apparatus innovation (and communication of exemplary practices in demonstrations and labs) provides special motivation for continuing proposals regarding apparatus, and we encourage both PIRA and Apparatus to continue to creatively make such proposals to our Bauder Committee.
The AAPT continually works to make physics at all levels visible and significant at our national meetings, and we recognize that the Apparatus Committee has long played a strong role in such efforts. We encourage your recent efforts to strengthen the Apparatus Competition and to conduct a variety of apparatus workshops at our meetings. We deeply appreciate the importance of this hands-on, experimental physics part of the AAPT tradition.
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2005 Committee on Education Technologies
The Committee on Educational Technologies (CET) identifies, communicates, and promotes new developments in educational technology and their applications to physics teaching and learning. The committee’s primary means to accomplish these goals are sponsoring sessions, workshops, and tutorials; and operating our two competitions at the national meetings of the AAPT. During 2005, the committee sponsored a total of 12 workshops, eight tutorials, and 10 sessions at the two national meetings. During the summer meeting in Salt Lake City, the committee sponsored its annual photo and video competitions.
This year, I would like to emphasize the photo contest, which has become one of the highlights of the summer meetings. Ten years ago, the contest drew dozens of entries. Over the last few years, this has grown to hundreds, and the quality has increased significantly. This year, we had 530 entries, including students from Israel, Canada, South Korea, and China. Each year, the top 50 photos in each of two categories are displayed and judged at the summer meeting. Further, top entries have been featured in AAPT posters and calendars, and on the AAPT website. Winners have also graced the covers of The Physics Teacher, and Announcer. Photos have also been used in such publications as the Queensland Science Teacher, and Imagine, a magazine published by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth.
The committee would like to thank Vernier Software & Technology for its sponsorship of the competition. We would also like to recognize Mary Winn, a longtime friend and sometime member of the committee who for many years has handled all of the efforts associated with this project.
The committee’s most serious concern is with the rising cost of and associated limits on the number of workshops and tutorials that can be offered at the national meetings. We conducted a survey during the 2004 Summer Meeting to assess the educational technologies members’ interests in various technologies and conference presentations. The survey results indicate that members prefer workshops, and want a balance between cutting-edge and established technologies.
It was also clear from the survey that cost and scheduling influence workshop attendance. To reduce costs to AAPT and to participants of our tutorials and workshops, the committee uses a variety of methods to lessen our dependence on rented computers. For instance, we continue to host “BYOL” (Bring Your Own Laptop) tutorials, in which participants are encouraged to bring their own computers. Participants in these tutorials have an experience that is shorter, but in many cases just as active as that normally found in a workshop. The committee would like to consider opportunities to expand these offerings beyond the traditional weekend slots preceding the meeting.
The committee continues to seek ways to tailor its offerings to the needs and interests of the AAPT membership. We plan to occasionally follow up the aforementioned survey with similar studies, as the interests of the membership evolve. In the meantime, the AAPT community is encouraged to attend the committee’s meetings during national meetings, and to forward suggestions or requests to the committee.
-Andy Gavrin, Chair
Review Board Response
The CET committee is to be commended for the growing success of the photography and video contests. Perhaps it is time to consider expanding these or similar competitions (e.g., simulation, website, etc.) to post-high school students. Another option would be to have the competition and judging done electronically. The committee is also commended for gathering information on how better to serve the needs of AAPT members. The review committee encourages the committee to seek way to offer workshop, tutorials, etc. for members who are not able to attend national meetings. Perhaps the committee could apply for a grant to provide regional workshops sponsored by a consortium of AAPT sections or via distance learning.
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2005Committee on Graduate Education in Physics
The joint AAPT-APS Task Force on Graduate Education, which was initiated by this committee in 2003, completed its report. It is available through the AAPT website and has been distributed to members of the committee. It was scheduled for discussion at the APS council meeting this past December, and will be presented to the AAPT leadership. Renee Diehl, our past chair, and Michael Paesler, a committee member, served on the Task Force. We urge that it be distributed to all physics department chairs.
The sole graduate student member of this committee, Ari Turner, solicited input from other graduate students on how they felt education might be improved. Suggestions ran the gamut from compacting and combining fundamental theoretical courses, such as electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics, to designing short (i.e., one to four weeks) special topics courses on focused issues such as numerical methods, renormalization techniques, and astrophysics. For example, a month-long course on stars might integrate nuclear physics, magnetohydrodynamics, radiative transfer, and thermodynamics. They felt that such courses would instill a sense of excitement about their physics education. Another suggestion was to supplement their courses with physics biography and history. With this richer perspective, they would be better able to separate the truly significant domains of physics from merely evanescently scintillating regions. They suggested also that novel educational models around the nation should not only be catalogued but also be evaluated for effectiveness.
The Graduate Education in Physics Committee has continued to sponsor physics and physics education sessions at AAPT national meetings. At the 2005 Summer Meeting in Salt Lake City, we sponsored a crackerbarrel session, presided by Andrea Palounek of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which invited discussion regarding how the national laboratories might assist the attainment of national standards in physics education. Committee member, Ari Turner, organized an invited session that presented roles played by physics graduate students in K-12 education. This program is being supported by NSF Graduate Teaching Fellowships. The excitement of those in this program was so high that another invited session, “Graduate Students Revisit K-12,” co-sponsored by the Physics in Pre-High School Education and the Physics in High Schools committees, was featured at the 2006 Winter Meeting in Anchorage. The Graduate Education Committee also sponsored both a tutorial and a crackerbarrel session on information literacy at the 2005 Summer Meeting, both run by committee member Pat Viele. An additional crackerbarrel session on “Information Literacy and the Physics Curriculum” took place in Anchorage, also under the aegis of Viele.
The enthusiasm of our former chair Renee Diehl, Ari Turner, and myself at having Paul Steinhardt, the Albert Einstein Professor in Science at Princeton University, featured as a plenary session speaker culminated at the 2006 Winter Meeting with Steinhardt’s presentation “A Tale of Two Universes.” The Graduate Education in Physics committee also organized an invited session in Anchorage on “The Physics of Global Warming.” Co-sponsoring this session were three area committees: Science Education for the Public, Physics in Undergraduate Education, and Physics in High Schools.
-Leaf Turner, Chair
Review Board Response
This has been a good year for the Graduate Committee. Your open discussion of the draft report “Graduate Education Task Force” at the Salt Lake meeting seemed to play a valuable role in determining the report’s strengths and limitations, while both summarizing the current state of graduate programs and making recommendations for the future. The report was subsequently well received by the APS Council in November 2005 following a fine presentation by Renee Diehl. The creative suggestions noted above from Ari Turner are especially appropriate considering the fundamental conclusion of the taskforce report–namely, that very little has changed in graduate physics curricula or teaching perspectives for several decades. The Executive Board would welcome practical proposals that might result in a fuller airing of the needs of graduate physics education.
Your committee should be especially cognizant of AAPT’s commitment to increase our involvement in both graduate and undergraduate physics education in major universities. To that end, Charlie Holbrow is serving as our first Senior Staff Physicist (SSP) of AAPT, and he is charged with increasing the effectiveness of our service role and visibility within research universities. He plans to meet with the Graduate Education committee, and would like to hear your ideas while also reporting on current AAPT initiatives at the graduate level.
Finally, your committee has surely played a critical role in adding physics excitement on many fronts to our Anchorage and Syracuse meetings, and we recognize and thank you for those initiatives.
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2005Committee on History & Philosophy of Physics
An understanding of the history and philosophy of physics can make the study of physics a more human and a more humane experience. It can provide insight into the analysis and reasoning used to develop and advance our understanding of nature. It can also suggest the assumptions, both implicit and explicit, rules present in that process. The History and Philosophy of Physics Committee provides a forum for such considerations.
At the 2005 Summer Meeting in Salt Lake City the committee sponsored a contributed session on “History and Philosophy in Physics Teaching.” At the Winter Meeting in Anchorage we sponsored an invited session, “Lessons from the Good Friday Earthquake,” featuring three experts from the Anchorage area, and a contributed session on “History of Physics.” Robert Morse conducted a History and Philosophy committee sponsored workshop on “Franklin and Electrostatics.”
The Committee has also suggested a plenary speaker for the 2006 Summer Meeting in Syracuse to help commemorate the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth. At Syracuse we will sponsor two sessions, one invite/contributed on Franklin and another contributed and more general session. Further, David Maloney will give a committee-sponsored workshop arising from a contributed paper presented previously in Salk Lake City. There has been discussion of a session at Greensboro related to the 50th anniversary of the International Geophysical Year.
The History and Philosophy Committee, because of the varied background of its members, has had interesting and informative meetings, which have produced a similar array of sessions, tutorials, and workshops. We would hope to continue that tradition.
-Steven Hoffmaste, Chair
Review Board Response
The History and Philosophy Committee continues to make important contributions to AAPT. Its programs add necessary context and interest to the teaching of physics. The upcoming 75th birthday of AAPT and the 300th of Benjamin Franklin give additional opportunities for this committee to continue its works.
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2005Committee on the Interests of Senior Physicists
The national meeting in Salt Lake City was something of a rebirth. There was enthusiasm and, more important, there were ideas as we look ahead. Here, in brief, are the results of the CISP meeting in Salt Lake City:
We are going to organize activities for seniors at AAPT meetings. In the discussion, there was general agreement that special events (get togethers) for retirees might induce more seniors to come to meetings. It might provide us with a little espirit which could be a model for the PER folks.
In Alaska (yes, in January), we arranged a breakfast for retirees and the response was tremendous. In Alaska we had a session on “Life During Retirement.” The desire was to have three physicists tell the audience how interesting their life is after retirement. Speaking at this session were Richard Jacob, Ed Taylor, Kenneth Ford, and Norman Chonacky.
Two sessions have been discussed for Syracuse: “Physics from the Outside” (speakers from other disciplines who have something to say about physics) and “Preparing for Retirement.”
A motion was made: Continue CISP for two more years. The motion passed unanimously.
-John S. Rigden, Chair
Review Board Response
The Review Board is heartened to hear about the “rebirth” of this committee. As AAPT begins to have larger numbers of retired and almost-retired members, it is important that we consider how best to provide services to these groups. While most of our meetings focus on issues directly affecting physics and pedagogy, we need to be attentive to the broader personal and professional interests of our members.
The committee’s efforts to provide a forum for senior physicists to ruminate openly about their professional and personal perspectives promote a healthy view of physicists as people with broad social, economic, and cultural interests.
The committee might consider organizing a meeting session on the economics of the retired life, with specific attention to various pension and tax issues that surely affect many of the attendees at our meetings.
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2005 Committee on International Physics Education
The Committee on International Education continues to support its mission of connecting AAPT members with physics-related activities and physics teachers from around the world. Our tasks include sponsoring topical sessions, announcing international conferences, participating in international activities, and providing information and assistance to our international colleagues.
The committee continues to sponsor “Physics Teaching Around the World” sessions at AAPT national meetings. The 2005 Winter Meeting in Albuquerque featured “Denmark, Vietnam, and China,” while the Summer Meeting in Salt Lake City included the United States, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zambia. The committee also sponsored a tutorial on “Conservation Laws, Symmetries, and Reaction Diagrams.” The committee sponsored one contributed session during the 2006 Winter Meeting in Anchorage. We have been encouraging members to submit posters at future national meetings to promote and accommodate more international contributions.
For the past few years, we have published a list of upcoming international physics conferences in the Announcer. These are also updated on our committee website (www.cs.luc.edu/luc/physics/aapt). Many of our members have attended these conferences and presented papers at AAPT national meetings. Countries that have hosted recent conferences include China, Iceland, India, and South Africa. Some of our members and friends have also been involved in international teaching through work at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo, Canada, and of service to the International Young Physicists Team, which participates in the Physics Olympiad in various countries around the world.
The AAPT’s Fuller Fund continues to be an important endowment that serves the AAPT membership by providing physics teachers from developing countries with two-year memberships to AAPT. The nomination procedures have been updated to increase committee involvement. The AAPT Membership department has updated the chair on nominees and the list of former recipients, helping the committee monitor and assist with each step of the nomination, selection, and award processes. The Chair and nominators now follow up with the nominees to ensure that the process flows smoothly.
Over the past year, the Committee on International Education has pursued the following activities:
Per Bernie Khoury’s suggestion, our members and friends will invite international authors to contribute one-page commentaries to the Announcer. Committee members will edit the articles and work with the AAPT Publications staff to publish the articles.
Some of our members have suggested that AJP and TPT articles be available on the Web for underdeveloped countries included on the Fuller Fund list. The Chair is in the process of contacting the AJP and TPT editors to discuss the feasibility of this issue. The AAPT Executive Board will have final approval on this project.
Suggestions were solicited for sending donated equipment to underdeveloped countries. U.S. mail would probably be the most economical and feasible delivery method, but weight limits might prohibit sending all but the lightest equipment. A suggestion was made that committee funds could be used to pay shipping fees.
Our list of contacts in other countries is outdated. We have used this list in the past to stay informed on physics teaching conferences and activities in other countries. Members and friends will contact their international colleagues for volunteers, and the list of names and countries will be posted on our website. The Chair will maintain an email list of these contacts.
The Committee on International Education does much of its communication and business via the AAPT listserv. Members and friends from many countries participate in our discussions. This keeps everyone informed about the committee’s activities and outside opportunities. We are also coordinating efforts with AAPT staff to send welcome email messages to international attendees at AAPT national meetings.
Information will be posted on the AAPT’s Committee on International Education listserv, and we will also create a link from our website to the listserv. Any time our website is updated, the Chair will send a message to the listserv to alert members and friends. Further, when members and friends travel overseas, they have volunteered to send messages on the listserv, enabling us to exchange information on teaching matters with the host country.
We continue to make progress in extending our activities and outreach worldwide. Our members and friends are to be commended for their contribution to the committee.
-Gordon Ramsey, Chair
Review Board Response
The Committee on International Education (CIE) has played an active role in promoting its mission. Through the use of the AAPT Fuller Fund, the Committee continues to attract new international members to our organization, providing us with a rich suite of diverse resources. With poster sessions playing a more visible role in our national meetings, the Board encourages the CIE to work with other area committees in hopes of attracting a stronger international presence to our posters, workshops and paper sessions. We trust the CIE will also encourage and welcome international members to participate in the service aspects of our organization.
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2005Committee on Laboratories
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2005Committee on Minorities in Physics
The mission of the Committee on Minorities in Physics (COMP) is to:
1. Seek more effective means of recruitment and retention of minority members of society in physics classes and physics related careers;
2. Seek methods of aiding minority physicists to overcome barriers to career development; and,
Communicate to the AAPT membership and to the community at large the findings of the committee, through approved AAPT channels.
To meet these mission goals, the following activities have been completed or are in progress.
COMP now has an entry in the AAPT listserv, aaptmip-l, which can be reached via:
AAPT website: www.aapt.org/Membership/listservs.cfm
The list is open to all; thus, committee members and the AAPT community in general can now comment on COMP issues, and are welcomed and encouraged to do so.
AAPT 2005 Winter Meeting
COMP sponsored a workshop for high school physics teachers of Native American and Hispanic students. Fred Begay of Los Alamos National Laboratory secured funding for the workshop, and AAPT provided significant help with the logistics. COMP also sponsored the session "Physics and Astronomy in Native American and Hispanic Cultures."
2005 Summer Meeting
COMP sponsored a workshop on “Reaching, Teaching, and Keeping Underrepresented Groups in Physics,” as well as sessions on “What Do Teachers (K-20) Need to Know” (co-sponsored with Women in Physics), and “Closing the Gap Between Understanding and Action: Strategic Issues in Diversity,” all moderated by John Burciaga.
Anchorage and Beyond
COMP had one session at the 2006 Winter Meeting in Anchorage, titled “Physics in Africa.” COMP also assisted with the “Students to Experience Engineering and Science (SEES)” program, lead by Betty Preece and the Women in Physics Committee. There are also several activities planned for the 2006 Summer Meeting in Syracuse. COMP also plans to contact minority college students seeking careers in physics teaching to see how AAPT and COMP can assist them in achieving their goals.
-Floyd James, Chair
Review Board Response:
The Committee on Minorities in Physics (COMP), like the AAPT national organization itself, has the arduous task of recruiting and retaining new members. Attracting more minorities will increase the breadth and depth of our physical membership, and provide numerous platforms AAPT can build upon. Educational opportunities in the 21st century have drawn more minority students into our classrooms. Today we see more African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, non-traditional students, ex-military service officers, older-adult students, single parents, and women that are pursuing undergraduate degrees, many of which have an interest in becoming physics teachers. As a professional organization, AAPT has the opportunity to help many of these individuals achieve their educational goals. COMP is one of AAPT’s strong arms in this endeavor.
Building and expanding communication networks will help COMP achieve its mission. The Board encourages COMP to inform AAPT area chairs and section representatives about their goals and needs in order to make more minorities aware of AAPT opportunities and services. Through COMP’s leadership, AAPT could establish a more visible presence with other minority-based groups such as the Association for Women in Science and Engineering, the National Society of Black Physicists, and the National Society of Hispanic Physicists.
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2005 Committee onPhysics in High Schools
The Committee on Physics in High Schools continues to serve the high school community. The committee does this by providing student contests, publications, awards for high school teachers, and en