Cool Star Lab Presents Work at 2016 Physics Education Research Conference

Mike Lopez, Isabela Rodrigues and Adam Burgasser presented their early analysis of an experimental Physics course at the 2016 Physics Education Research Conference in Sacramento, CA. This was the first PERC for all three researchers. In addition, former Cool Star Lab member Dianna Cowern was on hand for the overlapping American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) meeting presenting her work on the Physics Girl video series.

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Past and present Cool Star Lab members at the 2016 PERC; from left to right: Isabela Rodrigues, Dianna Cowern, Adam Burgasser and Mike Lopez.

The primary research presentations focused on analysis of an experiment conducted in Fall 2015 to implement Cooperative Problem Solving (CPS) in the large Physics 1A Introductory Mechanics course. The current course format, which is lecture-based, does not specifically build up students’ problem solving skills, skills that students often struggle with and which may benefit them more in their other majors and in their future careers. Inspired by work being done by Thomas Gredig at CSU Long Beach, I implemented a form of CPS as described in Heller & Heller (2010) as a flipped-format course, with online video lectures providing the primary instruction and class time primarily devoted to problem-solving skills and techniques.  To validate the model, Adam taught 9 sections of the CPS course with 1 (large) section of interactive lecture. The work presented at the PERC was a preliminary analysis of student outcomes.

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Cool Star Undergraduates present research at SCCUR

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Cool Star undergraduate researchers Ivanna Escala and Michael Lopez presented their research at the 2014 Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research (SCCUR) at CSU Fullerton on November 22, 2014.  SCCUR presenters undergo a competitive selection, and this was the first time students working in the Cool Star Lab attended SCCUR, joining 7 other UCSD students from different majors.

Ivanna Escala, who presented a poster on her research aimed at determining the physical properties of unusually magnetically active late L and T dwarfs, reported on her experience:

The Southern California Conference for Undergraduate Research was an excellent opportunity to share my own work with a community of fellow undergraduate researchers.  Witnessing the breadth of the topics covered at the conference, from fields such as astronomy to chemistry and psychology, truly provided me with a sense of the degree to which undergraduates actively contribute to existing bodies of knowledge. Discussing my research in astronomy, and topics in astronomy and physics in general, was a pleasure, particularly because I felt that I was helping to spread knowledge and foster interest in the field. On a personal level, I found the conference very rewarding in that it reinforced my enthusiasm and passion for astronomy; it will likely serve as a stepping stone in my path toward a career in the astrophysical sciences.

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Michael Lopez, a McNair scholar who gave a well-attended talk on his work analyzing the near-infrared spectrum of the young brown dwarf  WISE J0528, reported on his experience:

The SCCUR is the third conference which I have participated in, and it was an enjoyable learning experience because it was the first one outside of UCSD. I really enjoyed it because there was only one other person who I knew was going to the conference and it was off campus so I did not know what to expect. For the first time I was presenting to a completely knew audience. The setting was very presenter friendly. There were many more students from all over the nation and a few faculty attending my presentation in a spacious room. This made it less intimidating and I had fun talking to them about their projects and their experiences. This is also the biggest conference I have attended. There were so many students from all over California and some form other states. As a result the oral and poster presentations were very diverse. It was neat to go through the program and read so many interesting project titles from different disciplines. I believe this was a good experience in presenting with not really knowing your audience or what the environment is going to be like and to meet other students.

Congratulations to Ivanna & Mike on their participation in the conference!

 

Cool Star Lab Undergraduates Present Research at Research Symposium

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Undergraduate researchers in the Cool Star Lab presented their year’s work on May 28th, during the UCSD Faculty Mentor Program Undergraduate Research Symposium. This was the first Symposium to feature poster presentations by undergraduates.

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