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Physics Education Research Conference 2023 Plenary Speakers

Ximena C. Cid, California State University - Dominguez Hills

Ximena Cid is a Chicana and Yaqui physicist; physics educator and physics education researcher. Her professional career has seamlessly incorporated advocacy for increasing diversity and supporting minoritized populations in STEM and physics. She is currently Associate Professor and Chair of the Physics department at California State University Dominguez Hills. She is likely the first Indigenous person to chair a physics department in the country.

In addition to chairing her department, some of her leadership endeavors include serving as past board member of National Society of Hispanic Physicists (NSHP), co-founding the Society of Indigenous Physicists (2020), and facilitating or co-facilitating professional development sessions for faculty, institutions, and organizations across the country.

Ximena was named fellow of AAPT in 2021 and was awarded the Homer L. Dodge citation for distinguished service to AAPT in 2018.

Kim Coble, San Francisco State University

Kim Coble is a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at San Francisco State University. Her research centers on creating innovative, active learning environments that engage students in realistic scientific practices and foster a sense of belonging, recognizing the strengths that diverse learners bring to the classroom and to STEM professions, and understanding students' ideas about modern topics and practices in science. She has created pedagogy courses for graduate teaching assistants and undergraduate learning assistants as well as faculty communities of practice that center asset-based, equitable, inclusive teaching strategies, supporting these scholars in changing the culture of our institutions and field. She is a fellow of the American Astronomical Society and past chair of the education committee, having served on a number of other committees and task forces related to education and equity for AAS, AAPT, and AIP. She was the 2023 recipient of the AAPT John David Jackson Excellence in Graduate Physics Education Award.

Nekeisha Johnson, North Dakota State University

Nekeisha Johnson is a PhD student at NDSU in the Physics and DBER programs. She is serving as the graduate student representative for PERLOC and the PERLOC liaison for PERCoGS. She enjoys helping to organize PERTG and PERCoGS happenings and supporting graduate students in PER community. At NDSU she works as a TA and has been working to rewrite the introductory physics labs to better serve the hybrid demands of the university. She also serves as the leader of the NDSU DBER graduate student organization, organizing both social and professional events to support an interdisciplinary community, and serving as a liaison between students and faculty when the need arises.

Outside of academia, she is a belly dancer, a Blood on The Clocktower storyteller, and an escape room addict. She's also that weird neighbor who takes her cat for walks in a stroller.

W. Brian Lane, Co-Director of Northeast Florida Center for STEM Education, Instructor of Physics

W. Brian Lane has taught physics in the university context for 15 years. After completing a PhD in theoretical condensed matter physics, he pivoted into Physics Education Research. Since then, he introduced the Letter Home as a post-lab writing activity, he has studied the use of computation in teaching and learning physics, and he is now helping to launch a multi-institution study of grading practices in physics education. He has been actively involved in the PICUP community of practice by organizing webinars, delivering workshops and presentations, publishing and reviewing content for the PICUP Collection of Exercise Sets, and hosting the popular Let's Code Physics educational YouTube channel. Outside of physics education, Brian enjoys playing and writing for the Pathfinder tabletop roleplaying game, where he has the distinguished title of Infinite Master.

Kris Lui, OPTYCs

Kris Lui is the Project Director for The Organization for Physics at Two-Year Colleges. She spent 13 years as Professor of physics at Montgomery College (Germantown, Maryland) where she developed student-centered curricula for introductory physics courses, coordinated the physics and astronomy classes, and developed a Faculty Program for Active-Learning in STEM as co-PI of a STEP grant funded by NSF. She also served as Faculty Advisor for various student groups, including the Engineering Club, and the Women in Science Club. Although always interested in teaching and learning, Kris found her calling as an instructor during her graduate studies, and pursued a career in teaching. She obtained her Ph.D. in experimental condensed matter physics from the University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta), and her undergraduate in a cooperative education physics program from the University of Guelph (Guelph, Ontario). Her scholarly interests lie in the realms of cognitive science as related to student learning and the gendering of science. Outside of academics, Kris enjoys knitting, gardening, and snacks.

Jose P. Mestre, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

José P. Mestre is an emeritus Professor of Physics and Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research focused on the learning of physics in areas such as the acquisition and use of knowledge by experts and novices, transfer of learning, and problem solving. He was among the first to publish scholarly articles on the use of classroom polling technologies (clickers) to promote active learning in large classes, and was a co-developer of Minds-On Physics, an activity-based high school physics curriculum that is heavily informed by learning research. Most recently he co-authored a book titled The Science of Learning Physics, which discusses how physics education research can inform teaching and learning. Mestre has offered Congressional testimony on The Science of Learning and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Mary Urquhart, University of Texas, Dallas

Dr. Mary Urquhart is a planetary scientist by training with a Ph.D. in Astrophysical, Planetary, and Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Colorado at Boulder and postdoctoral experience at NASA Ames Research Center and NASA JPL. She is an associate professor and head of the Department of Science/Mathematics Education in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Texas of Dallas (UT Dallas), and an affiliate associate professor of physics. She also serves as director of the UTeach Dallas secondary STEM teacher preparation program and the physics and Earth/space science content specialist for the UT Dallas Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program in Science Education. In 2022-2023, Mary is the immediate past president of the national UTeach STEM Educators Association (USEA) and is active in USEA communities of practice. She is also the 4-year college representative on board of the Texas Section of AAPT as well as a Texas Space Grant representative. Her current scholarly and creative is in instructional design for conceptual change, teacher education and professional development, and assessment. She serves on multiple multidisciplinary research teams involving educators, physicists, computer scientists, animation experts, and geoscientists.

Dean A. Zollman, Kansas State University

Dean Zollman is University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics at Kansas State University. He also holds the title of Distinguished University Teaching Scholar Emeritus. From 2001 to 2011 he was William and Joan Porter Professor and Head of the KSU Physics Department. He has focused his scholarly activities on research and development in physics education since 1972. He has received five major awards – the National Science Foundation Director's Award for Distinguished Teacher Scholars (2004), the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Doctoral University Professor of the Year (1996), and American Association of Physics Teachers' Lillian McDermott Medal (1995) and Oersted Medal (2014) and the GIREP Medal (2019). Dr. Zollman served on the International Commission for Physics Education from 2002 to 2011. He has twice been a Fulbright Fellow in Germany, once each at Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (1989) and the Institute for Science Education at the University in Kiel (1998).

Recent research, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, has included: Visual Quantum Mechanics, instructional materials for students with limited experience in either physics or mathematics. Modern Miracle Medical Machines investigated the transfer of students' learning as they learn about applying physics to medical imaging. This research was applied to creating instructional materials to help non-physics students understand the physics of medical imaging. Physics Pathway developed sophisticated digital video systems to help teachers who are new to physics teaching make the very large step from having completed a physics course in college to teaching the topic to bright high school students. The system combined then state-of-the-art digital video library technology, pedagogical research, and materials contributed by master teachers. National Study of Education in Undergraduate Science investigated how science courses taken at the university level affect the way (or if) elementary school teachers teach science.

In addition to numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals, Dr. Zollman is co-author of six videodiscs for physics teaching, the Physics InfoMall database and one textbook. Dr. Zollman was a member of the team that created the National Research Council's report on physics education, Adapting to a Changing World - Challenges and Opportunities in Undergraduate Physics Education.