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Abstract Title: University physics students’ attitudes and experiences in informal physics programs
Abstract: Substantial resources are directed toward public engagement by the physics community, but there is still much to understand about physicists' initial motivation for involvement, their experiences and their reasons for sustained participation. Previous research (Poliakoff & Webb, 2007) expanded on the theory of planned behavior to identify predictors of scientists' intentions to participate in public engagement. We use this theory to investigate the factors that contribute to physics students' decisions to participate in informal science programs. We conducted interviews with university students that volunteered in an afterschool physics program for K-8 students. Interviews were analyzed using content analysis. Findings indicate that previous participation in informal activities, attitudes towards engaging with the community, and recognition from peers are common themes in university students' initial reasons for involvement. The emergent themes of a sense of community and the enjoyment of sharing physics are related to students' persistence in the program.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster Presentation

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Kathleen Hinko
University of Colorado Boulder
440 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 512-785-8435
and Co-Presenter(s)
Claudia Fracchiolla - University of Colorado Boulder
Simone Hyater-Adams - University of Colorado Boulder
Noah Finkelstein - University of Colorado Boulder