Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

2019-20 Handbook for Physics and Astronomy Graduate Students

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Research Programs

Physics and Astronomy Education Research

Professor Eugenia Etkina

I am a professor of science education in the Graduate School of Education. My training is in physics, astrophysics and pedagogy. I teach physics and astronomy, prepare high school physics teachers, run professional development programs, and do research on student learning. The first 13 of my career were spent teaching high school physics in Moscow, Russia. After I received my Ph. D. in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University I joined the Rutgers Graduate School of Education. While working in a high school I developed an approach to teaching physics which mirrors processes that physicists use to construct knowledge. I did research on the effectiveness of this approach on student learning of physics concepts, development of their epistemology, and scientific abilities. Now I work in close cooperation with physics faculty to incorporate this approach into introductory physics courses. I am also the coordinator of Rutgers Physics Teacher Preparation Program. This is a unique program as it combines physics and pedagogy to prepare a new generation of physics teachers - those who not only understand physics but know how help students learn it. Rutgers University now is a national leader in physics teacher preparation. Currently I am interested in the transfer of scientific abilities that undergraduate students acquire in modified introductory physics courses (we just received an NSF grant to study this) and in the transfer of pedagogical content knowledge by physics teachers. I publish in physics education journals such as American Journal of Physics, Physical Review, The Physics Teacher, and in science education research journals such as Journal of Research in Science Teaching, Science Education, the Journal of Learning Sciences, etc. I chair dissertations of students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy working on Physics Education Research Projects and dissertations of students in the Graduate School of Education.

Professor Geraldine L. Cochran

Geraldine L. Cochran is a physics education researcher and an Assistant Professor in the Office of STEM Education and the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Rutgers University. She is also a member of the TRIAD Coalition at Rutgers. She has been a part of the physics education research community for more than 17 years and in 2019 was awarded the Homer L. Dodge Distinguished Service Citation for her contributions to the American Association of Physics Teachers. Cochran's research interests include creating inclusive spaces for physicists and physics students, course transformation at the high school and introductory collegiate level, and examining admissions and retention in graduate physics programs.

Professor Mohan Kalelkar

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Revised September, 2019