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AAPT Symposium on Physics
Education and Public Policy
Tuesday, January 7 • 1:30–3 p.m. • Grand Ballroom B
Policymakers formulate decisions everyday that impact curriculum, standards, funding, and
many other aspects of physics education at all levels. AAPT works with a number of partners to
keep policymakers informed on the views of physics educators and to suggest appropriate policy
options within the Association’s sphere of influence. This session brings together individuals who
play pivotal roles in helping to shape policies and who provide information to policymakers.
We hope to provide a look at the process of policy making as well as actions you might make to
contribute to decisions about policies affecting physics and STEM education.
This Symposium is being partially sponsored by funds contributed to the Memorial Fund in
memory of Mario Iona. Iona, a long-standing and dedicated AAPT member, was the first Chair
of the Section Representatives and served on the AAPT Executive Board, was a column editor
The Physics Teacher
, presenter at many national AAPT meetings, recipient of the Robert A.
Millikan Award in 1986, and relentless champion of correct diagrams and language in textbooks.
Contributions to the Memorial Fund provide support for many AAPT programs such as the
Noah Finkelstein, Professor of Physics at University of Colorado at Boulder
Juan-Carlos Aguilar,
Division of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment, Georgia Department of Education,
Atlanta, GA 30334;
Juan-Carlos Aguilar is the Georgia Department of Education science program manager. He over-
sees state policy in the area of science education, coordinates K-12 science curriculum develop-
ment, co-directs Georgia’s K-12 STEM initiative, supervises the alignment of the state assessments
with the Georgia Performance Standards for science and serves as liaison between the Georgia
Department of Education and the different science organizations across the state, as well as the
Georgia Department of Education and the Georgia University System in the area of science. He
is the president of the Council of State Science Supervisors, an organization composed of science
education specialists who serve at the state, territorial, or the protectorate educational agency
in the United States and U.S. Territories. In addition, Aguilar was the principal investigator on
the Georgians Experience Astronomy Research in the Classroom grant ($1.3 million) funded by
Paula R. Heron,
University of Washington, Dept. of Physics, Seattle, WA 98195;
Paula R.L. Heron is a Professor of Physics at the University of Washington. She holds a BS. and
an MSc in physics from the University of Ottawa and a PhD in theoretical physics from Western
University. She joined the Physics Department at the University of Washington in 1995. Her re-
search focuses primarily on student ability to apply what they have learned about the dynamics of
point particles in more advanced contexts involving elastic media, rigid bodies, etc. She has given
numerous invited talks on her research at national and international meetings and in university
science departments. Heron is co-founder and co-chair of the biannual “Foundations and Fron-
tiers in Physics Education Research” conference series, the premier venue for physics education
researchers in North America. She has served on the Executive Committee of the Forum on Edu-
cation of the American Physical Society (APS), the Committee on Research in Physics Education
of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and on the ad hoc National Research
Council committee on the status and outlook for undergraduate physics education. In 2007 she
was elected Fellow of the APS. In 2008 she shared the APS Education award with colleagues Peter
Shaffer and Lillian McDermott. Heron is a co-author on the upcoming 2nd edition of
Tutorials in
Introductory Physics
, a set of instructional materials that has been used in over 200 institutions in
the US and that has been translated into German and Spanish.
Juan Carlos Aguilar
Paula Heron
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