November 2023: Abby Bogdan
Seton Hill University, Greensburg, Pennsylvania
- Member since 2021
- Assistant Professor of Physics
- Greensburg, Pennsylvania
My entry into teaching physics was fairly prosaic. I grew up in a family of engineers, so a career in the sciences seemed natural to me. Plus, among a variety of interests, I had a passion for anything aviation-related (a passion that once led to a failed experiment and a broken arm). I also loved learning and school so I thought that I might want to teach. When I took physics in high school, it seemed like a perfect match: a science that I could teach at the high school or college level and one that could also help me understand the mechanics of flight.
After receiving my bachelor’s degree in physics, I continued on to get my Ph.D. and, since I knew I wanted to teach, chose to focus on physics education research. During that time, I joined AAPT to engage with the physics education research community. Once I graduated, I took a job teaching physics at a small liberal arts college, where the focus is on teaching rather than research. Now I find AAPT to be a valuable resource both for research and especially for teaching. Whenever I attend a meeting, I come back with new ideas to try in my classrooms. I’ve also joined my local AAPT section, where I’ve served on the executive committee and am currently serving as the section representative. Although I wasn’t sure what to expect initially when joining the section, I found it to be an extremely helpful place for sharing teaching ideas and for building a local community.
At my current institution, I teach introductory physics to non-physics majors. Although I miss higher-level physics, one of the things that I love about teaching introductory classes is the opportunity to think deeply about the basics and to learn about new, practical applications for my students. I’m inspired whenever a student comes up with a new way to connect concepts or to think about things, and I enjoy the challenge of instilling an appreciation, or even a passion, for physics to students who might never have studied it before.