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STEP UP: Supporting Teachers to Encourage the Pursuit of Undergraduate Physics for Women

STEP UP: Supporting Teachers to Encourage the Pursuit of Undergraduate Physics for Women

Monday, April 22, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Zoom Colloquium, see link
Prof. Zahra Hazari, Florida International University

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Abstract: In the US, nearly half of students taking physics in high school are women, but only a fifth of the students interested in physics majors in college are women. This issue has persisted over decades. As such, the STEP UP project ( launched a nationwide initiative in the US to mobilize and help physics educators better engage women in physics by disrupting narrow perceptions of physics and promoting communal classroom cultures. This talk will present some of the research evidence used by STEP UP to develop, test, and promote strategies that facilitate the physics identity development and future physics intentions of young women. These evidence-based strategies are being used by physics educators as part of the national campaign, which has grown to include a network of more than three thousand physics teachers, faculty, students, and community members, to inspire a new generation of women physicists. (Supported by the Moore Foundation and National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1720810, 1720869, 1720917, and 1721021).

Short Bio: Zahra Hazari is a Professor in the Department of Teaching & Learning and STEM Transformation Institute as well as affiliate faculty in the Department of Physics at Florida International University. She holds a B.S. in physics and mathematics, M.S. in physics, and Ph.D. in physics education. Her doctoral and postdoctoral work were at the University of Toronto and the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Dr. Hazari’s research focuses on reforming physics learning environments in an effort to improve inclusivity for marginalized groups in physics, especially women. This work has led to her being elected a fellow of the American Physical Society (APS) and earned her a National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award. She has served on several Editorial Boards (Physical Review PER, JRST, AERJ) and Committees for Women in Physics (APS, AAPT).