March 2020: Danny Doucette
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Member since 2014
- Graduate Student
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
When I think of the AAPT profiling me, I imagine myself as a disco ball. The spotlight strikes a cluster of mirrors, reflecting light not on me but on a shimmering hall of brilliant educators whose expertise, kindness, and contributions far outshine anything I have done as a high school teacher or a graduate student in physics education.
Reflected light shines on an online community of physics teachers who work tirelessly to create, innovate, and share materials and ideas. Illuminated is the Physics Teacher Camp, a highlight of summer AAPT meetings; the Underrepresentation Curriculum, which teaches students about social issues with science; and the wonderful community of educators that connects through blogs, podcasts, and twitter. These are the people who inspired me as a high school teacher, and whose ideas and professional camaraderie make me joyful and optimistic about teaching physics.
Dancing light shines on physics education researchers, too, especially my mentor Dr. Chandralekha Singh. Research provides solid footing for large-scale educational changes, validates teaching strategies and insight into how students learn and experience physics classes, and helps us sharpen the questions we ask to better understand the way forward as an educational community. The broader physics education research community, connected through journals and summer meetings and professional organizations, shares its expertise so generously: my reflected light shines on hundreds of outstanding researchers whom I know through papers and posters and talks, as I try to find ways to contribute usefully.
My professional organization, the AAPT, is highlighted by the glitter of reflected light. Gleaming bright are summer AAPT meetings, The Physics Teacher, and the brilliant community the AAPT supports. Grad students like me are welcomed and empowered by groups like PERCoGS. And, most valuable of all, it is through the AAPT and related organizations that I have been able to hear the wisdom of peers and elders whose luminosity has historically been eclipsed, and whose profiles I look forward to reading in future spotlights.