Summer Meeting 2023 Logo

SM23 Highlights

Attendees: 782
Exhibitors:  20
Workshops:  28
Commercial Workshops: 9
Sessions:  95
Topical Discussions: 7
Posters:    (poster topics 12)

Program Committee Chair: Kelli L. Warble

Assistant Program Chair: Anne Cox

Meeting Structure Committee: Jon Anderson, Alice D. Churukian, Elaine Gwinn, Jan Landis Mader, Duane B. Merrell, Adebanjo Oriade, Toni Sauncy, Brad R. Conrad, Ex Officio, Tiffany M. Hayes, Ex Officio.

Meeting Planning Committee: Brad Conrad, Debbie Andres, Cerena Cantrell , Alice D. Churukian, Tiffany Hayes, Jonathan Perry, Gabe Spalding, and Kelli Gamez Warble.

One of the most historic cities in California, Sacramento boasts an impressive array of landmarks, parks, amenities and other points of interest. The city welcomed physics educators as AAPT gathered to collaborate and share research.

Several Pre-conference meetings were held in support of AAPT's mission supporting physics education. AAPT High School Physics Teacher Camp, a self-organizing opportunity for teachers of high school physics classes to discuss topics such as inquiry labs, standards-based grading, video analysis, equity, and other issues important to high school physics. The registrants determined the topics and shared teaching ideas with a small group.

The Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year (BFY4) 2023, The Fourth Topical Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College (BFY IV) took place from Wednesday, July 12-14 at California State University, Chico in Chico, CA. The goal of the BFY IV Conference was to expose attendees to a broad range of contemporary instructional lab experiments appropriate for sophomore-, junior- and senior-level college physics courses, while also serving as an opportunity to discuss a range of curricular models that allow for enhancement of the undergraduate physics major. This goal was met through a combination of hands-on small-group workshops, plenary talks, panel discussions, poster sessions as well as informal conversations.

The Tandum TYC Meeting, a one-day event brought together faculty teaching physics, astronomy, and physical science at two-year colleges to share ideas, learn from each other, and build community. It was a productive day of activities with new skills and ideas to enhance student success, and advancements in knowledge and tools.

Welcome 23 TYC 23 Game Night 23 Solar Viewing 23


Physics Education Researchers participated in the post-meeting PER Conference, Working Together to Strengthen PER Community of Practice (

PASCO sponsored a special event with drinks and appetizers at the nearby Sheraton Grand Hotel. Memers mingled with fellow educators, met the PASCO team, and entered to win PASCO products for their physics course.

AAPT hosted a retirement celebration for Dr. Robert Hilborn, AAPT's Associate Executive Officer, in honor of his many years of service to AAPT.

Hilborn reception 23 Pasco event 23 Apparatus23 Speed Networking23

Much anticipated features of the Summer Meeting, The AAPT Fun Run/Walk, The High School Physics Photo Contest, Demo Show, Game Night, Speed Networking, Safe Solar Observing Share-A-Thon, First Timers Gathering, Two-Year College Meetup, and the Apparatus Competition, are always highlights and this year they were exceptional.


Jeffrey BennettThe Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award was given to Jeffrey Bennett in recognition of his notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics. Bennett is a astronomer, teacher, and writer.  His talk, Pathway to a Post- Global Warming Future — Teaching a Scary Topic with Inspiration, Not (Only) Fear, helps students deal with their despair when it comes to the topic of climate change, which is unsurprising given that the media often portrays our climate future as a choice between bleak and bleaker. But it doesn’t have to be that way, because if we understand the science behind global warming, then we can also see pathways to its solution. In this presentation he showed how he approaches the topic “with inspiration, not (only) fear,” by providing simple ways to discuss global warming science, consequences, and solutions. In this way, students (and adults!) can begin to envision the possibility of creating a “post-global warming” future within their own lifetimes, meaning a future in which the threat of global warming will have been relegated to the history books. While much of the science will be familiar to physics teachers, I hope you will take away a few concrete ideas to help you in your own teaching.

Alice FlarendThe 2023 Paul Zitzewitz Excellence in K-12 Physics Teaching Award winner was Alice Flarend, a physics teacher at Bellwood-Antis High School, Bellwood, PA. This award recognizs contributions to pre-college physics teaching and awardees are chosen for their extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to their students.  In her talk, The Power of Words, she argued that language is an often overlooked but powerful pedagogical tool in the classroom. Of course, we all talk to our students, but do we talk with our students? Are we the only ones talking? Using language for learning means not only the language a teacher uses in explaining ideas, but also the opportunities the student has to communicate. Students have different experiences that influence their path to building an interconnected model of the world of physics. In building a more robust and nuanced model, they need to share their understandings, explain their unique connections and evaluate the ideas of others. Physics classroom should be filled with student voices and student ideas.

Catherine HerneThe Summer 2023 recipient of the Homer L. Dodge Citations for Distinguished Service to AAPT was Catherine Herne, Associate Professor in the department of Physics and Astronomy at the State University of New York at New Paltz, in New Paltz, New York.  Herne has been a key leader of AAPT’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The efforts of the Task Force will reshape the Association’s understanding of how to best serve its diverse membership, and will support both teachers and students of physics in the 21st century. Her leadership was central, and her work enabled the Task Force to complete its initial goals.

The 2023 Fellows: Lin Ding, Physics Education Researcher at the University of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio.


Challenges and Innovations for Inclusive Assessments for Blind Students in STEM by Cary Supalo, Educational Testing Service (ETS)

In a recent collaboration, the Educational Testing Service and the Carnegie Foundation announced this new refocus on skills development in assessment – a priority that will redefine how STEM assessments are designed and conducted in the United States. This presentation will describe where we are today with assessments, how new innovative technologies are shifting the needle towards assessments for skill development and away from timebased approaches, and discuss some innovations on the horizon. Inclusive assessment design works in conjunction with inclusive curricula. As textbook publishers and science education technology firms become more inclusively minded, so too will the STEM subject fields. As STEM industry standards shift towards inclusion, so too must the education profession. Inclusion can and will be the future of STEM education.

Anna QuiderAnna Quider

Dr. Anna Quider brings over 15 years of experience and award-winning leadership spanning higher education, the federal government, and the nonprofit sector to helping clients define and achieve their strategic goals. As a former professional astrophysicist, Anna unites a systems-thinking, analytical approach with enthusiasm and creativity to support clients in co-creating unique solutions to their challenges and driving measurable results. She adeptly guides clients through complex issues and ambiguity, with particular strengths across the science, technology, innovation, and higher education sectors; federal government processes and engagement; program and process optimization; and stakeholder engagement. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are Quider’s foundational values and she utilizes a DEI lens for her engagements.  Her talk introduced federal science policy by examining the current federal science funding and policy landscape and exploring its impact on the fields of physics & astronomy and higher education. She discussed her experience as a physicist-turned-policymaker working within the federal government at the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Department of State, and external to the federal government as a higher education and science advocate.

TKnowles_2023 imageEAM-UP Together: Supporting African American Student Success through Systemic Change TEAM UP Together Update by Arlene Knowles The 2020 TEAM-UP report, The Time Is Now: Systemic Changes to Increase African Americans with Bachelor’s Degrees in Physics and Astronomy, states that unsupportive environments in many physics and astronomy departments and enormous financial challenges faced by African American students contributed to their underrepresentation in these fields. To address these issues systemically, TEAM-UP Together (TU-T), a new collective action initiative led by the American Institute of Physics, American Association of Physics Teachers, American Astronomical Society, American Physical Society and the Society of Physics Students, was started. TEAM-UP Together takes a multipronged, multilayered approach to support the scientific community in taking the next bold step to double the number of African American students earning physics and astronomy bachelor’s degrees annually by 2030. This program provides direct support to Black students, while providing funding and resources to physics and astronomy departments committed to doing the work needed to address STEM equity at their institution and design programs that support the success of Black students. In this plenary, Ms. Knowles will discuss the work that TU-T is doing to engage the community in this program, the impact the program is having on students today, and the future plans for creating systemic change that will transform the education of students, especially, Black students.

Rachel Ivie Beyond Representation: Data to Improve Equity in Physics and Astronomy Diversity in Physics and Astronomy Update – Rachel Ivie The American Institute of Physics (AIP) collects data on the representation of women and members of other underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy at all levels, from high school students to faculty members. Although indicative of some trends, these data do not tell the whole story. For physicists and astronomers who persist despite being underrepresented, data show that there are additional barriers to equitable participation. For example, women physicists who responded to a global survey reported that they have less access to career-advancing resources than men reported. In addition, AIP’s TEAM UP report documents factors that contribute to the low numbers of Black undergraduate students in physics and astronomy. A recent AIP study of the effects of COVID on undergraduate physics and astronomy students showed more negative effects for those who are from marginalized groups than for those who are not marginalized. The effects of barriers such as these combine to create an accumulation of disadvantage that can set back individual scientists’ careers and impede scientific progress. Data on inequity in physics and astronomy are essential so that we may design programs and practices that will allow full participation for all.

We thank PASCO for sponsoring the Special Event and badge holders, Vernier for their support of the 5K Fun Run Walk and Physics Photo Contest, and Sacramento for a warm welcome.