2016 Barbara Lotze Scholarship Winners


College Park, Maryland, United States, January 19, 2017 – The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) announced today that the 2016 Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Teachers has been awarded to Shannon Armstrong, Grove City College; Janea Edgel, Brigham Young University; Raven Marie Hernandez, University of Wisconsin-River Falls; Jessica Kjeldgaard, Drury University; Jason May, Boise State University; Wesley Morgan, Brigham Young University; and Brett Powell, Lock Haven University. Supported by an endowment funded by AAPT Member, Barbara Lotze, the scholarship provides a $2,000 stipend to outstanding future high school physics teachers.

About the Recipients

Shannon Armstrong, a student at Grove City College said, "I have worked as a teaching assistant for an introductory physics class. This job has given me a lot of experience and practice working with physics students and explaining physical concepts to them. I also serve as an Outreach Coordinator for Grove City College's chapter of the Society of Physics students, which involves planning the annual Physics Day for local elementary school students. I have helped with this event in the past and enjoyed watching students discover physics for themselves through various activities we provide for them. This year, I will be responsible for planning these activities and coordinating the event."  

Doris J. Wagner, Professor of Physics at Grove City College praised her commitment to excellence in teaching. "Shannon has been a valuable contributor to my PER group, and she demonstrates outstanding teaching potential through her TA work."

Janea Edgel, a senior at Brigham Young University explained, "One of my favorite parts of my time at Brigham Young University has been participating in Physics outreach. I began helping with outreach my freshman year and continued until my junior year. It has given me the opportunity to share my love and enthusiasm with students of many different ages. I also had the opportunity to work with a professor at BYU to get a grant to put on a day of STEM exploration for young women middle school age. About 150 young women came to participate. I coordinated the efforts between 6 different STEM organizations on campus. It was an incredible experience. I loved being able to help the young women gain confidence and knowledge about subjects in STEM and develop a desire to pursue the subjects further."

Robert Tinnell, physics teacher at Northwest Career and Technical Academy, Las Vegas, NV recommended her saying, "Near the end of undergraduate degree, Janea took time off of school in order to be a representative for her church –to go on her Mormon Mission. When this young lady returned, she was transformed. Her experiences with people of diverse backgrounds and interests gave her an inner strength beyond what most young people of her age have attained. Her care for others was amplified. After her mission was over, she was not able to immediately return to BYU to finish her degree. Rather than wasting this time, she applied and was accepted as a substitute teacher here in the Clark County School District. When a teacher here at Northwest was forced to take an extended leave, Ms. Edgel was able to substitute for his classes, which included Physics classes. She was able to lead the students through several units in that time. In talking to the students afterwards, it seems as if some of the best experiences and the deepest learnings of the year came from her tenure in that classroom. To be able to step into someone else's class and be that successful is a true harbinger of greatness in the field to come."

Raven Marie Hernandez currently attends the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and is expected to graduate in 2017. Raven mentioned, "Ever since my first physics class in high school, I've known I wanted to teach this subject. I found myself sitting at my desk surprised at how interested I was in the material. I had always liked science, but no biology or chemistry class ever got me as riled up as that physics class. I had decided at that point to be a teacher, and this was the subject I wanted to continue to learn about as a career. Since then, I've spent hours upon hours learning and helping others try to understand physics, and I can honestly say I am on the right track."  

Earl Blodgett, Professor of Physics and Assistant Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, said, "I am very confident in Raven's potential as a future high school physics teacher. She has the requisite intellectual aptitude, the emotional stability and a desire to help others learn that should enable her to be a top-flight teacher."

Jessica Kjeldgaard is a member of the class of 2017 at Drury University. In reflection Jessica said, "My life experiences have all pointed me towards becoming a teacher and these experiences have strengthened my skills necessary to be successful at it. My personality, drive, leadership, organization, responsibility, and relational skills have all been challenged and strengthened through my education and life experiences. I know that teaching physics in a high school setting will be the most fulfilling career for me. I look forward to helping students reach above and beyond what they thought possible."  

Brant Hinrichs, Assistant Professor of Physics, said, "Jessica is a vocal and active participant in whole class discussions as well and works hard to get a consensus and get everyone on board with it. She is always up for discussing any point that gets raised. A great thing about Jessica is that she is a very mature learner. That is, while others are sometimes focused on just getting to an answer, she is most intent on making sure she understands the material as she goes along. She knows that she really only understands if she can say it or work it out for herself."

Jason May, a student at Boise State University and a member of the class of 2017, said, "I am currently employed by the Department of Physics as a Laboratory Instructor for several lower-level physics courses. I specifically sought out this type of employment with aspirations that it would further develop my teaching experience. In the past two terms when teaching, I have focused on implementing my knowledge from the IDoTeach program classes, a replication site of the UTeach STEM teacher preparation program from the University of Texas at Austin, into my lab sessions, to give another, more rigorous setting for my pre-service education."

Tiffany Watkins, Lecturer and Advising Coordinator in the physics department at Boise State University, said, "Jason is always very enthusiastic, personable, reliable, and from my discussions with students in the course, they seem to love going to lab and interacting with him. He diligently prepares each week for both labs, and often comes to me with questions about parts he doesn't understand. He will one day make an excellent high school physics teacher."

Wesley Morgan, a student at Brigham Young University, discovered his love for teaching while serving as a missionary and English teacher in Paraguay. When he returned home, he left his "Engineering major and decided to teach Physics, which is one of my passions. I feel like a good teacher can teach anything they know well, so I decided to pick something I love and share that excitement with students."

Duane Merrell, Associate Teaching Professor at Brigham Young University, recommended Wesley saying, "Wesley will be a physics teacher. He will elevate the students he teaches just as he elevates the students he works with in classes now. Wesley has taken extra physics teaching courses, more than are required for licensure while here at BYU. He has added physics by inquiry, kinematics (311) and electricity (310) to get a better perspective of engaged learning by students vs. information giving and direct teaching techniques.

What a young teacher with a great upside. He is already starting at a great spot and will be a poster child for young physics teachers quite soon. I have the privilege to work with many young physics teaching majors and Wesley is easily in the top 5%.

Brett Powell, is a member of the class of 2017 at Lock Haven University, stated, "I love helping others;it brings me happiness. In high school and college, I have always helped others academically whenever asked. I hope to be both an excellent physics teacher as well as someone who understands and teaches about the importance of the sciences."

John Reid, Professor of Physics at Lock Haven University, said, "Brett takes his studies very seriously and has proven to be a great asset as an assistant." "Brett is a smart and highly motivated student."

Previous Scholarship Winners

A list of previous winners can be found on the AAPT website at http://www.aapt.org/programs/grants/lotze.cfm.

About AAPT

The AAPT is the premier national organization and authority on physics and physical science education with members worldwide. Our mission is to advance the greater good through physics education. We provide our members with many opportunities for professional development, communication, and student enrichment. We serve the larger community through a variety of programs and publications. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

For more information: Contact David Wolfe, Director of Communications, dwolfe@aapt.org, (301) 209-3322, (301) 209-0845 (Fax)