January 2017: Tommi Holsenbeck

Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama

Tommi Holsenbeck

  • Member since 1987
  • Physics Specialist
  • Montgomery, Alabama

About Tommi

As a first year teacher I was contacted by mail from AAPT about the member benefits; especially The Physics Teacher. I enjoyed professional journals in my education classes and was interested in a physics one.

Because of my AAPT membership I had the opportunity to attend a workshop, PRISMS, in Iowa the summer after my first year. This was the first opportunity of many interacting with the physics community introduced by AAPT. Others are:

  • LabNet-Tufts University
  • Exploring Patterns in Nature/Fractals – Boston College
  • C3P – University of Dallas
  • TYC Physics – Lee College, Joliet Junior College and Estrella Mountain Community College.

I attended a few national meetings when they were close to my home, but in 2004 I was selected as a PTRA and have attended most meetings since that time.

I am the Secretary/Treasurer, re-elected/appointed over a number of years in the Alabama Section of AAPT. We try to keep the Section current and constantly changing from the Space and Rocket Center, to Shrimp Dinners in Mobile, to overnight retreats with excellent catering by physics spouses, to expanding our reach with half of the attendees from K-8 schools. The Section also reaches out at the Alabama Science Teachers Association meetings and sponsors a session at every annual meeting.

Alabama has an award winning, unique program called Science in Motion. There are 11 sites at universities in Alabama each housing the teachers (Biology, Chemistry and Physics/Specialists) driving 33 vans with over $300,000 of equipment each. These vans share labs, activities and science technology with every public high school in the state. The specialists train teachers in the summer and during the school year at Science in Motion content specific workshops. AAPT has made its mark on the Physics Specialists. Four specialists are current PTRAs and are conducting some workshops funded by AAPT and the Bauder Fund at the February Section Meeting in 2017. The Section always enjoys presentations by the ASIM physics specialists too.

My favorite part of teaching physics is sharing with students and teachers how much I love the subject. Everything in physics is concrete and can be shared concretely with students and teachers alike. I hope each student and teacher I have worked with in my 29 years can sense my love of the physics possibilities and how ardently I want to share it with everyone!