November 2022: Drew Rosen
University of Maine, Orono, ME
- Member since 2020
- Postdoctoral Research Associate
- Orono, ME
I have wanted to be a physicist for most of my life. After receiving my bachelor’s and master’s in physics, I made the obvious choice to enter a physics Ph.D. program. However, this route to a career in physics proved to be challenging due to struggles with the departmental qualifying exam, ultimately leading to my departure from the program. This situation forced me to understand why I really wanted to pursue physics and to reflect on whether or not I should leave the field entirely.
After spending considerable time rebuilding myself and looking inward, I realized that I enjoyed helping people learn. On top of that, I often questioned why classes were taught the way they were and had my own ideas on how things should be changed. Combing my love of teaching with my love of physics made pursuing physics education research the obvious choice.
Looking back now at my life, I can honestly say everything I’ve done and experienced has helped prepare me to do physics education research. Learning physics for more than a decade has helped shape the way I approach problems, including making connections between ideas that may not be at their face be related. My experiences teaching undergraduate courses in NYC taught me about systemic inequity and how personal experiences can shape your views on physics. My science communication training has reshaped the way that I present my science, not simply as a voice but as a member of a conversation. Doing a science education Ph.D. gave me the tools to conduct both quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research studies. Additionally, this Ph.D. helped shape my perspectives on the nature of science as well as gave me an understanding of the history of science education and the role the past has on how science classes are taught today. As someone who finds all of these things (and more) interesting, an interdisciplinary field like PER became an obvious fit for me.
Attending the annual AAPT meetings have provided me the opportunity to meet and interact with the people of the physics education research community. Prior to my first meeting, I was familiar with many researchers through the articles they published. Through attending meetings regularly, I have begun to feel a sense of belonging amongst like-minded individuals helping me to transition from feeling like an outsider to becoming a more deeply involved researcher within the community. To me, AAPT represents a perfect intersection of the "physics researcher" and "educator" aspects of my professional identity.
The continuous thread throughout my life, beginning from an early age and continuing to this day, has been the infectious need to spread to others my passion for learning and science. I know that being part of AAPT and a member of the physics education research community will allow me to continue along this arc for the rest of my life.