July 2021: Fatma Salman

Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT

Fatma Salman

  • Member since 2010
  • Dean of Academic and Student Affairs
  • Manchester, CT

About Fatma

I am Dr. Fatma Salman. I have 25+ years of experience in higher education. I hold a B.S. and M.S. in Physics from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. I earned my second M.S. and subsequent Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Central Florida (UCF), and I completed my Ph.D. in 2007 with several publications involving research on semiconductors and diffusion behavior of ions into thin films. I also was a candidate in UCF’s Ph.D. in Physics Education program in 2008-2010.

My Physics journey started with the appearance of corroded batteries in a junk drawer and it evokes fond memories. My earliest curiosity involved studying batteries from a household flashlight in attempt to understand how electricity is generated. I serve the physics community in multiple capacities; a Professor of Physics, advisor, mentor, MCC Campus Director to the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC), Chair of the Science Department at MCC and now as the Dean of academic and student affairs at Manchester Community College (MCC). I have also fulfilled duties as a member of multiple committees dedicated to planning and enhancing institutional goals for student and faculty achievement at MCC. And I also participate in initiatives to propose new policies on academic standards and review existing policies.

I’m an active member of multiple professional organizations such as the American Physical Society (APS), and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). AAPT membership has given me the benefits of attending conferences and workshops, access to peer-reviewed contents for physics educators and involvement as a vice chair to the AAPT Committee on Women in Physics, and the opportunity to attend several national and international conferences. I was also an organizer for the “Success Stories” of Female Physicists in the AAPT Winter Conference (2019 and 2020) and chaired an international conference involving Science, Technology, and Engineering.

Most gratifyingly, I am a proud advocate for diversity in the sciences and academia as a whole. I am a vocal supporter of young female physicists, and have been invited as a speaker and panelist at institutions such as Rochester Institute of Technology (IRT) and Bucknall University in Pennsylvania to speak on how social factors such as gender and race affect the landscape of academics. As someone who is underrepresented in almost all the academic fields I occupy, I understand the significance of diversity and the celebration of differences.

My favorite part of teaching physics is “When you have that light bulb moment and a student suddenly grasps a difficult topic, that’s just the best thing”.