Updated: 26 July 2022

Teaching Theory & Practice *

UH Hilo Course Materials

Inquiry: teaching science as science is done.

Science can be learned, and
the ability to teach science can be learned.

More on my teaching philosophy (from 2011) and practice (conference-proceeding article from 2022)...

Undergraduate Researchers

  1. Kenji Emerson (BS Astronomy & BA Physics, UH Hilo class of 2019): Stacking analysis of Si IV-selected absorption-line systems in SDSS DR7; funded through NSF AST-1615296 (summer) and Hawai`i/NASA Space Grant Consortium (HSGC) Fellowship (academic year): 2017−2018
  2. Tino Wells (BS Astronomy & BA Physics, UH Hilo class of 2019): Classifying multi-ion absorption-line systems in SDSS DR7 with non-parametric clustering analysis; funded through NSF AST-1615296 (summer) and HSGC (academic year): 2017−2018
  3. Kyle Cannoles (BS Computer Science, UH Hilo class of 2017): Study of hierarchical clustering analysis for CS422: "Database Analytics"; spring 2017
  4. Chantelle Kiessner (BS Astronomy & BA Physics, UH Hilo class of 2019): Analysis of strong C IV absorption-line systems in high-resolution spectra; funded through HSGC Traineeship (academic year); fall 2016
  5. Alex Hedglen (BA Astronomy & BS Physics, UH Hilo class of 2017): Organizing and processing spectra of 30 galaxy-quasar pairs; funded through HSGC Traineeship (academic year); summer 2015−spring 2016
  6. Jasmin Silva (BS Astronomy & BA Physics, UH Hilo class of 2017): Stacking analysis of multi-ion absorption-line systems in SDSS DR7; funded through HSGC Fellowship (academic year) and UH Hilo Seed Grant (summer), spring 2015−spring 2016
  7. Iosefa Trainer (math major, UH Hilo): Classifying multi-ion absorption-line systems in SDSS DR7 with non-parametric clustering analysis; funded through UH Hilo Seed Grant; spring 2015
  8. Robert Ponga (BA Physics & BS Astronomy, UH Hilo class of 2015): Analysis of strong C IV absorption-line systems in high-resolution spectra; UCSC Jr. Specialist (summer 2014) and HSGC Fellow (fall 2014); summer 2014−spring 2015
  9. Natalie Nagata (physics major, UH Mānoa): Stacking analysis of dual-selected (C IV and Mg II) absorption-line systems in SDSS spectra; funded/organized through Akamai Workforce Initiative Internship; summer 2014
  10. Eduardo Seyffert (BS Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering, MIT class of 2014): Survey for intergalactic Mg II absorption-line systems in SDSS DR7 quasars; funded/organized through the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program and AST-1003139; 2011−2013

"What One Astrophysicist/Professor/Chair/Human Parent Does," What Physicist Do series, Sonoma State University, 2 November 2020

Presentation: PDF

Description: Broad talk about responsibilities of a professor: instruction, research, and service, folding in recent chair duties, and work-life balance.

"Kamehameha Coding Academy," Kamehameha High School, Kea`au, fall 2015−spring 2016

Description: After-school introductory computer science class, organized by Michelle Correia (chemistry and astronomy)

"Follow the STEM-Brick Road," Amelia Earhart Girls Engineering Day, Waiakea High School, 10 October 2015

Presentation: PowerPoint | PDF

Description: The Waiakea Robotics Club and the Zonta Club of Hilo co-sponsor the Amelia Earhart Girls Engineering Day at Waiakea High School in Hilo to motivate young women to be interested in STEM. For the third annual event, I presented on: (1) why one should pursue higher education; (2) why one should pursue higher education in STEM, (3) how I achieved my current positon, (4) how autonomy, mastery, and purpose (TED talk; animated) are what motivate people; (5) what obstacles hinder women (and others) in STEM—stereotype threat, imposter syndrome, implicit bias; and (6) what helps with these issues.

"Labor Pains: Fighting for Women in Science" panel, UH Hilo, 23 April 2015

Description: The aim of the panel is to motivate a broad audience to care about science, gender diversity in science, and what can be done to increase gender diversity in science. Topics to include career options for graduates with a chemistry degree, women scientists' research, and why women leave the sciences. Sponsored by UH Hilo Women's Studies Program and the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Hilo Branch.

Advertisements: Hawaii Tribune-Herald; UH Hilo Stories, News

"Is Science a Meritocracy?: Issues of Diversity & Equity"

  1. Physics & Astronomy Colloquium, Valparaiso University, 23 October 2020 (PDF)
  2. Natural Sciences Senior Seminar, UH Hilo, 18 September 2020 (PDF)
  3. Natural Sciences Senior Seminar, UH Hilo, 16 September 2016 (PDF)
  4. Natural Sciences Senior Seminar, UH Hilo, 25 September 2015
  5. Department of Physics & Astronomy Public Talk, UH Hilo, 23 October 2014 (Video)
  6. Natural Sciences Senior Seminar, UH Hilo, 19 September 2014 (PowerPoint, PDF)

Abstract: The gradual attrition of students at all stages on the path to a science-related career is commonly called the "leaky science pipeline." Certain gender and/or racial groups leak out faster at any or all stages. These groups are underrepresented because their demographics in science-related professions do not reflect the national profile. In this presentation, the demographics of scientists in various fields will be presented. The common issues proven to adversely affect certain groups-stereotype threat, impostor syndrome, implicit bias-will be described. Research-based suggestions to combat the adversity will be given.

"The Universe in Absorption"

  1. Public Lecture Series, UH Hilo, 15 July 2015 (PDF)
  2. The Universe Tonight, Maunakea Visitor Information Station, 4 October 2014 (PDF)

Abstract: It is often said, "all astronomers have is light to study the universe," because astronomical objects can't be studied in the lab. This presentation focuses on how astronomers can even learn from the absence of light! As light from bright, distant objects traverse the universe, intervening gas clouds—between, around, and in galaxies—absorb the light at wavelengths characteristic, albeit redshifted, of the chemical elements in the clouds. By identifying and modeling the elements associated with absorption-line systems, we learn about how gas is processed through and dispersed from galaxies over cosmic time.

Discussion Leader, MIT Department of Physics Diversity & Inclusion Luncheon series, December 2012

Program description: Ed Bertschinger, chair of the physics department, organizes a monthly luncheon and discussion series on issues of diversity and equity in the sciences. I organized and led the December 2012 discussion on impostor syndrome (the feeling that one does not deserve her/his current position but arrived there by luck) and how best to disseminate information and help students suffering from I.S. (see AAS CSMA newsletter report; original PDF with better formatting and complete text). For this discussion, I was nominated for and received the MIT School of Science 2012 Infinite Kilometer Award.

MIT 8.02t: Physics II Section Leader 2011

Program description: All MIT undergraduates must take and pass "8.02: Introductory Electricity & Magnetism." The majority enroll in 8.02t—the technology enabled active learning (TEAL) format (available since 2003). In the TEAL course, students work and learn in small groups, where they complete in-class problems and experiments or simply discuss concept questions. The TEAL classroom is designed against the traditional lecture format. It is comprised of many round tables that see 3 groups of 3 students each; all walls are covered with whiteboards, and many host projection screens. A typical two-hour session is filled with several short mini-lectures interspersed with concept questions (clicker system), demonstrations, and group problem solving time. I taught one of eight sections in the spring of 2011 (≈50 students). TEAL would not work without a high instructor-to-student ratio, and I led a team of one graduate TA, three undergraduate TAs, and one technical instructor for our section.

UCSC Summer Session I Instructor 2008

Program description: AY5: "Introductory Astronomy−The Formation and Evolution of the Universe" is an introductory astronomy course for non-majors that satisfies the quantitative (Q) and introduction to natural science (IN) general requirements. Instructor "playbook" available (PDF).

COSMOS 2004−2007

Program description: California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science is a month-long residential camp for high school students that takes place at four UC campuses, including UC Santa Cruz. The Cluster 7 astronomy course is described in "The CfAO's Astronomy Course in COSMOS: Curriculum Design, Rationale, and Application" (PDF; Cooksey et al., Learning from Inquiry in Practice, 2010, ASP Conf. Ser., 436, 395).

Lead Astronomy Instructor, Stars and Cells 2007 (incomplete instructor "playbook" PDF)

Lead Astronomy Instructor, Stars, Sight and Science 2005, 2006

Variable Stars Project Advisor, Stars, Sight and Science 2004

Professional Development Program 2004−2008

Program description: Center for Adaptive Optics PDP is a comprehensive science education program, whereby professionals from a variety of fields and professions learn about education theory and techniques at a workshop, then implement this education into a variety of programs, and, often, cycle back through the workshop to improve upon their practice. The formal description of the PDP is given in "Cultivating Scientist- and Engineer-Educators: The CfAO Professional Development Program" (Hunter, L., Metevier, A., Seagroves, S., Porter, J., Raschke, L., Kluger-Bell, B., Brown, C., Jonsson, P., & Ash, D. 2008). My personal narrative of my experience with the PDP and teaching is available here.

Design Team Leader and Design Consultant 2008

Design Consultant 2007

Discussion Leader 2006

Facilitator 2005

Participant 2004

Maui Community College

Program description: special lab for Mark Hoffman's physics/engineering course at Maui Community College

Co-facilitator, Color and Light inquiry, December 2004, 2005

Teaching Assistant

AY16: "Life in the Universe", fall 2003

* My teaching training, experience, and style comes predominately from the CfAO Professional Development Program, described in this article (PDF).