Noyce Scholarships Offer Opportunity

SPU is privileged to be a PhysTEC Noyce site awarding scholarships to qualified physics students who are interested in making a difference in students’ lives by teaching in high-needs school districts.

But who are these students? Read on to learn about Katie Klug and Benjamin Zupke, two SPU Noyce scholars, and review other scholars on the SPU Noyce site. If you’re interested in joining this inspiring group of people, email Lane Seeley.

Meet Noyce Scholar Katie Klug

Katie KlugKatie Klug has a Master of Arts in Teaching degree (2010), with certifications in chemistry and physics. She is teaching at the high school level.

What Teacher has been most influential in your life?
My high school chemistry teacher made me reconsider my sworn hatred of science and see how I could apply my skill in math to “real life.”

What experiences are you currently looking forward to in this coming year?
I’m teaching in the Lake Washington District now at the high school level, and have already thoroughly enjoyed the first weeks of the school year. Though it’s still hard to believe I got a job my first year out of the MAT program, I’m so excited to see how far my students grow this year and how much I develop as a teacher and mentor.

Read the rest of Katie’s profile.

Meet Noyce Scholar Benjamin Zupke

Benjamin ZupkeBenjamin D. Zupke is pursuing his Washington State teacher certificate and a Master in Teaching through the Alternative Routes to Certification (ARC) program at Seattle Pacific. He wants his certification in physics and plans to teach at the high school level.

What are you most excited to be offering to your students?
I am most excited to become a teacher and fulfill the role model figure that most teachers have for their students. I am also excited to share with students the wonders of physics and how it is such an integral part of our daily lives and if they are to pursue a career in the science field that they might never get bored with their work.

Anything you would say to someone considering applying for a Noyce scholarship?
I have been told and I believe that this scholarship is a great way to help pay for tuition costs, and its requirements can easily be met. For one year of tuition help you will need to serve in a public school classified in a high-needs school district for two years. The wonderful part about this is that even though the first two years or so of your teaching career are the toughest, by the end of it you will know if you want to become a teacher. With the Noyce scholarship you are able to minimize the cost of becoming a teacher and if you do not like it after giving it a shot for two years, the scholarship requirements have already been met. So if you are a person who is strongly considering teaching as a career it is a great scholarship that allows you to get started into that career.

Read the rest of Benjamin’s profile

The Robots, the Computers, and Everything

Robots and Elementary Kids

On February 23, 2010, the SPU Physics Department hosted 56 enthusiastic fifth-grade students and their chaperones from Maple Elementary School on SPU’s campus for a college immersion day.

The day’s programs were funded by a generous grant from the Huston Foundation. The Physics Department, the SPU Art Center, and the SPU Library collaborated to make the day extra-special for the elementary students.

Thirty-two SPU students — a group of elementary pre-service teachers and physics learning assistants — led activities throughout the day, including a game about the water cycle and some physics laboratory explorations. In the afternoon, the group visited the SPU Art Center Gallery to see an exhibit called “Visions From the Robopocalypse.”

The elementary students’ were inquisitive and excited, which encouraged the students’ SPU hosts. Several of the students said they were surprised at how much fun science lessons could be. And all the students were impressed with the Gwinn Commons dining hall — a place of unlimited French fries!

Excerpts from the Maple Elementary students’ thank-you letters to the Physics Department

“My favorite part was everything. The robots, the computers and everything. I hope this will be my University when I grow up.”

“I also like the part where we did the water cycle game outside. I didn’t know that a water droplet could stay in the ocean for so long. The robot art gallery was fun too, about the dancing robot.”

“I had a lot of fun and learned more about the water cycle. I also enjoyed the physics lessons. The food at the cafeteria was great. I would like to go to college sooner.”

“I loved coming to SPU. My grandma has not been to a field trip in almost 17 years. She also loved it. The water cycle game was my second favorite. I got 15 ocean beads and 15 cloud beads. It was the best field trip I’ve ever had.”

“Thank you for the all expense paid field trip. The lessons were very fun! My favorite one was the lights and optics. We explored with lasers and rainbows. I felt like James Bond when we explored with the lasers!”

Visualizing Physics

Justin RuskIn Autumn Quarter 2009 and Winter Quarter 2010, the Physics Department worked with Karen Gutowsky-Zimmerman, Professor of Visual Communication, and her class to develop new visual representations of physics concepts.

This collaboration encouraged visual communications students to think through the ways that physics works in the everyday world, and it deepened the Physics Department’s understanding of the value of the visual representation of scientific models. Check out some of the students’ final projects!

Danelle Vermeulen
Phase Change Through States of Matter” (PDF)
How Phase Change Makes a Difference” (PDF)

Jack Stoller

Gas and Diesel” (PDF)
Gas Molecules” (PDF)

Justin Rusk

Energy Transfers and Money” (PDF)
Electromagnetic Solar Energy” (PDF)