2017 Barbara Lotze Scholarship Winners


College Park, Maryland, United States, January 16, 2018 –The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) announced today that the 2017 Barbara Lotze Scholarship for Future Teachers has been awarded to Marika Fox, Clark University; Melissa Klara Kovar, Boston University; Jamie Lehnen, University of Houston; Chloe Larissa Schmidt, University of Illinois; Krystina Williamson, Barnard College; and Destiny Withrow, Waynesburgh Central High School. 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

Marika Fox, a student at Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, said, "I started my studies in education as soon as I started college as well;during my first year I took a course in urban education that had a required component of weekly observations in a nearby public high school. I also declared my physics major during my first year, since I knew from then that I was committed to the subject and thoroughly enjoyed the introductory classes from that year. Physics and teaching are two of my biggest passions in life, and I would like nothing more than to continue on my current path towards making them my life's work, but in order to complete my education I need financial help with covering my tuition. I would be extremely grateful to be awarded this scholarship so I can alleviate that worry and focus on doing everything I can to fully prepare myself to be the best teacher I can be, for the sake of my future students.

Michael C. Boyer, Marika's academic adviser, observed, "Beyond Marika's performance in my classes, I find Marika personable and driven. On entering Clark she already had a clear idea that she wanted to major in Physics and minor in Education. She is aware of opportunities available to her, such as study abroad, and wants to take advantage of them.

Melissa Klark Kovar, a sophomore at Boston University explained, I believe that my commitment to teaching is evident through my physics and education coursework, my extensive classroom experience, my involvement in science education outreach activities, and my enthusiasm for becoming an exceptional physics teacher. This scholarship will enable me to further my education as a physics teacher and provide me with additional opportunities to impart the knowledge that I have gained, with my future students. I look forward to giving back to the next generation by building confidence and motivating my own students to appreciate their strengths and achieve their own goals and aspirations.

Mark D. Greenman, Melissa's mentor and past recipient of AAPT's Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in High School Physics Teaching, noted, "She has all the personal qualities and is building the academic and experiential background to become a truly gifted science teacher."

Jamie Lehnen currently attends the University of Houston and expects to graduate in 2018. Regarding her path toward a career as a physics teaching she observed, "Beyond my research, I have also been teaching at different high schools throughout Houston for the last few years as part of my requirements with teachHOUSTON. I am currently doing a student teaching semester at MacArthur High School in Aldine ISD as one of their regular physics teachers. The school is a Title I high school, where most students are Hispanic, ESL, and live well below the poverty line. Teaching physics at a school like this has been the most character-developing semester of my undergraduate career thus far. Though it is not the easiest school to teach at, MacArthur has convinced me that teaching physics, especially in a high-needs school district, is exactly the career I want to pursue following my graduation."

Her teacher, Paige Evans, observed, "Jamie is motivated, intelligent, and hard-working;she approaches all tasks with a desire to succeed that would impress anyone. From visiting with her, I learned that she has served in several leadership positions both in and out of the science field. She is very well-rounded and a great communicator. After one conversation with Jamie, you will realize that she genuinely cares about the well-being of others. I believe that she will be a leader in the field of physics education.

Chloe Larissa Schmidt holds a B.S. degree in Civil Engineering. After working as a transportation engineer and serving as a volunteer with youth she discovered that she is passionate about teaching and is returning to school starting her second undergraduate degree at Illinois State University in the Physics Teacher Education program. She noted, "With a background in engineering and an awesome teaching program at Illinois State, I am ready to achieve the first career goal I've ever been excited about: becoming a physics teacher."

Scott Jones, who coached Chloe at the University of Illinois where she developed into a national-class runner, qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Track &Field Championships and scoring in the Big Ten conference, observed, "I am confident she possesses the cognitive ability, self-motivation, empathy and awareness to become a transformational teacher."

Krystina Hollie Williamson, a student at Barnard College says, "This past summer I had the opportunity to teach rising ninth graders chemistry and physics through Breakthrough Collaborative. Although the learning curve was steep it culminated in being the most rewarding experience of my life. During that program I learned how to plan an engaging lesson. I practiced my teacher presence and taught students how to craft the perfect lab report. My students learned the physics of paper airplanes and discussed the best types of renewable energy. Being able to witness the 'a-ha!' moments on my student's faces after solving a difficult problem thrilled me and reaffirmed my dream to be a physics teacher."

Reshmi Mukherjee, Helen Goodhart Professor of Physics at Barnard College, observed, "Krystina has a wonderfully outgoing personality, and she was an active participant in class discussions. She was not afraid to ask questions in class and volunteered to answer the ones I raised. In addition, Krystina was one of a handful of students who volunteered to participate in the classroom Physics demonstrations. She displayed an active curiosity and a genuine interest in learning. She also seemed to take a special interest in hearing about astrophysics research (my area of expertise) when I spoke about it in class. Krystina was a regular participant in help/office hour problem solving sessions, and was on top of her work. She did not hesitate to ask for help when she needed it."

Destiny Withrow, a senior at Waynesburg Central High School, will attend Slippery Rock University. She noted, "I was enrolled in physics during my junior year of high school and I am now enrolled in AP Physics in my senior year. I have been accepted to Slippery Rock University, where I will be enrolled as a full time student, pursuing a career in Secondary Education-Physics. I will also be striving to receive an additional certification in math. Receiving this scholarship would be an honor and greatly benefit my journey to success."

Her teacher, Daniel L. Higinbotham, said, "I had the privilege to teaching Destiny Physics last year in her junior year as well as AP Physics this year at Waynesburg Central High School. I think she is an exceptional student as can be seen by her progress in my class. She seems to be self motivated and has an excellent work ethic. She completes all of her work in a timely manner and is always utilizing her time wisely. If she gets stuck or needs assistance on a problem she does not hesitate to ask for my help. I feel that she will be very successful both in school and as a physics teacher.

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)