February 2024: Deepshikha Shukla

Rockford University, Rockford, Illinois

Deepshikha Shukla

  • Member since 2013
  • Professor of Physics; Associate Vice President – Business Innovation & Dean
  • Rockford, Illinois

About Deepshikha

I was trained in Theoretical Nuclear Physics, however, my passion lies in teaching and it extends to educational outreach to marginalized communities in the US and internationally. I co-led a partnership with Kids Around the World, an organization that builds playgrounds in some of the most marginalized communities in developing countries so that these could then develop as centers for social growth. This partnership included my students assisting with the building of the playground and teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities to local school children in Ecuador in the summer of 2022. At Rockford University, I established an annual "STEM Camp." As a member of the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative, I taught Physics to Buddhist monks in the Gaden monastery in Mungod, India. At the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG), I led a STEM Outreach program called "Tech Savvy for Girls" in collaboration with the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I have been recognized for community-based learning efforts and for promoting Women in STEM initiatives. I'm a member of Sigma Xi (the scientific research honor society) and served on the organizing committee for the 2019 Annual Sigma Xi Meeting and Student Research Conference. My students have received Grants in aid of research (GIAR) from Sigma Xi and also won awards for undergraduate research.

I currently serve as the Associate Vice President of Business Innovation and Dean (College of Professional and Extended Learning) at Rockford University in Rockford, IL, USA, and I am a Professor of Physics. I have previously served as the Dean of the College of Science, Math, and Nursing and as the Interim Provost at Rockford University. My professional journey includes terms as a postdoctoral researcher and as a faculty member at various institutions in the US including the George Washington University (Washington, DC), University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill, NC, and Greensboro, NC), and James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA). I completed my Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from Ohio University and MBA from Rockford University, both in the USA. I was the recipient of the Division of Nuclear Physics' best dissertation award in Nuclear Physics.

I discovered my love for teaching after the birth of my son. I stepped away from full-time work and worked as an adjunct faculty at James Madison University. Subsequently, I sought out full-time primary teaching positions and joined AAPT to learn more about teaching and pedagogy. Teaching in general and interactions with students, in particular, made me realize every day the power of education to transform lives. The opportunity to continuously learn from students is alluring! The AAPT new faculty workshop was instrumental in defining my pedagogical style. I attend and present at the national AAPT meetings at regular intervals and these meetings provide interaction with other like-minded Physics instructors and much-needed refreshers. I am very active locally and serve on the Executive Council of the Illinois Section of AAPT (ISAAPT). Under my leadership, Rockford University hosted the joint fall meeting of ISAAPT and Wisconsin Area Physics Teachers in 2017 and is scheduled to host again in 2024. I also received the 2021 ISAAPT Distinguished Service Citation award.

Although my early efforts in outreach were focused on girls and women, it has now evolved to support all marginalized populations. I find myself engaged in scholarly work on barriers to student success; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in education, training, workplace; Sustainability; etc. I am especially interested in how modern technology can aid societal growth.