Dr. Beth Cunningham's Opening Remarks at WM11
I also want to give my deepest appreciation to Warren Hein who was a solid part of AAPT’s Executive Office for over 14 years, including serving as Executive Officer for the last two years. His work as Executive Officer helped AAPT overcome some challenges, financially and otherwise. The association was in good shape when I took over just last week. Without Warren’s deep commitment to AAPT and willingness to do some heavy lifting, the new Executive Officer would have had many more challenges to face.
I want to talk to you about what AAPT means to me and why I am so excited to have a bigger role in the Association. Some of the most important people in my life have had AAPT as a part of their lives. I have seen first hand the value of AAPT to their professional and personal development as physics educators. Let me give some examples. My father, who was a physicist, first introduced me to AAPT by taking me to a meeting when I was still an undergraduate student. He taught at a regional campus of Kent State and was the only physicist on his campus. Many of you know how this feels. He became very involved in AAPT and even organized an Ohio Section meeting on his campus. He attended national meetings on a regular basis, too, and my mother often attended those meetings with him. (She has many stories to tell about interacting with other spouses at the meeting as well as staying in the dorms). Why did he value AAPT membership?
I’ve learned over many years that these same values are held by every single member of AAPT. David Wolfe (my spouse) is a long term member of AAPT and served as president of the Central Pennsylvania Section. We’ve had many conversations in the evening about the impact of AAPT on members including us. Jim Stith who has been a very good mentor, has made AAPT a big part of his life. His actions reflect his love of physics and his concern for the next generation of physics educators. I’ve known Jack Hehn for many years and I’ve seen in many ways how he supports AAPT and our mission. So you can see that many of the most influential people in my life have made AAPT a part of their lives. I could list many other AAPT members who are wholeheartedly committed to AAPT. I’ve especially seen the deep devotion of many members to AAPT over the last few months after I joined the AAPT national office in October.
I’ve been in the national office for over three months now. This transition period provided an opportunity for me to learn more about the operations of AAPT. I’ve discovered a number of things (many not surprising):
Over the next year I will continue to meet members, learn more about the day-to-day operations at the national office, interact with other association executive directors, and attend meetings in the DC metro area and other locations. I encourage you to give me your input. I want to know how best to serve you and the Association. I also want to assist in making this association as effective as possible.
Finally, I feel very lucky to be a part of this association and help shape the future of physics education. I look forward to working with you in the years to come. Thank you and enjoy the rest of the meeting.