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Gina QuanSpotlight Archive

Member Spotlight

Gina Quan
Graduate Student, University of Maryland, College Park Campus, College Park, MD

I joined AAPT in 2012 as an undergraduate physics student researching physics education. At the suggestion of my mentor, Angie Little, I attended the 2012 Winter Meeting in Ontario, California, to learn more about physics teaching and physics education research. I was thrilled to meet welcoming and supportive people at the meeting, and I now consider them to be some of my dearest colleagues and friends. Since then, AAPT meetings have played an integral role in developing my ideas and building friendships and collaborations.

I enjoy being a part of the AAPT community because it is a place where research and practice come together. My graduate work involves the design and research of several settings: 1) a summer camp in modern physics and engineering design for high school girls 2) an undergraduate physics seminar that engages students in physics research and 3) a Learning Assistant (peer-educator) course for undergraduate engineering majors. In these settings, I have been fortunate to collaborate and co-teach with many talented people including Chandra Turpen, Ayush Gupta, Andrew Elby, Emilia Tanu, Sonali Shukla, and Cindy Hollies. Some of my most rewarding teaching moments have been seeing the brilliant ideas that students come up with and supporting them in refining those ideas. My dissertation studies how students come to engage in authentic physics practices and how this can support their long-term trajectories in physics.

I am passionate about supporting my professional communities by creating spaces for people to learn and grow together. In particular, I am committed to making physics more inclusive and contesting typical weed out practices that are common in physics. I recently co-organized the panel, Creating Inclusive Environments at Conferences, at the 2017 AAPT Winter Meeting with Dimitri Dounas-Frazer and Ellie Sayre. It has been wonderful to see the steps that AAPT is taking to make our professional organization more inclusive and I am excited to continue contributing to those efforts. I am also a founding member of the PER Consortium of Graduate Students (PERCoGS). We support graduate students through all areas of graduate student life, including normalizing struggles, building community, and providing professional development sessions at AAPT meetings. Seeing PERCoGS ideas come to life has been one of the highlights of my graduate student experience.

Throughout my time in graduate school, my most fulfilling work has been in collaboration with others who are dedicated to transforming their communities. I am a co-founder of the Access Network, a national network community dedicated to fostering community and supporting diversity efforts in undergraduate physical science programs. My long-term goal is to continue conducting research that broadens our understanding of learning and informs the practical construction of more inclusive learning environments.