December 2021: Phoebe Sharp
George Washington University, Washington, DC
- Member since 2020
- Graduate Student
- Washington, DC
Along with being naturally curious, having a supportive network of teachers and professors has made all the difference in my education. I had always felt comfortable asking questions and assured them that I would be a better student and scientist when I walked away from our discussions. I want all students to have that supportive, encouraging community, allowing them to be as inquisitive as they wish. That is why I have loved being a member of AAPT. This community of educators that prioritize the physics they are teaching and their students' well-being is such a special place that deserves to be celebrated.
I first felt that I belonged to the physics community at the Summer AAPT/PERC 2020 in Provo, Utah. I was attending on behalf of the American Physical Society (APS) and would go again for the connections and the sense of belonging that I found. I remember walking through one of the poster sessions and realizing how many aspects of physics and physics education that I had not even considered when thinking about the experience of learning physics. Seeing how many different perspectives and approaches to improve and support physics education was so eye opening. The conversations I had and friendships I made during that conference have made me a better physicist and a better person.
Even though I am now a Ph.D. student in experimental nuclear physics, working within AAPT to foster a better community among physicists is a big part of my physics identity. I am currently helping AAPT’s SEA Change Project evaluate many aspects of what AAPT does for its membership. Being on a team of other physicists that care about this professional society’s impact has been very powerful and enlightening. I come into this project as a graduate student representative on the APS Topical Group for Physics Education Research (GPER) from the Physics Education Research Consortium on Graduate Students (PERCoGS). Being involved in these projects and seeing through the lens of education and community has helped me to work collaboratively on my thesis experiment. As I work to teach students that are new to the experiment, and as I communicate my findings to my collaborators, I am grateful for the perspective that AAPT has given me.