2019 National Board of Directors Election Candidate for Vice President

Toni SauncyToni Sauncy

Texas Lutheran University
Chair, Department of Physics
  Harold T. Johnson Professor in Pre-Engineering
Department of Physics
Texas Lutheran University
Seguin, TX 78155


  • May 1998 Ph.D. Applied Physics, Texas Tech University, Focus: Applied Solid State Physics/ Semiconductor Materials Science
  • May 1995 M.S. Physics, Texas Tech University
  • Dec 1992 B.S. Mathematics, Magna cum laude, Texas Tech University

Professional Appointments

  • Texas Lutheran University, Physics Department - Associate Professor and Chair (2014 – present)
  • American Institute of Physics Division of Education - Director, SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma (2012-2014)
  • Angelo State University Department of Physics, Professor (2011-2014), Associate Professor (2005-2011), Assistant Professor (2000-2005)
  • Western Illinois University Physics Department, Assistant Professor (1998-2000)
  • Texas Tech University Physics Department, Instructor and Lab coordinator (1998)

Honors and Awards

  • 2018 Texas Lutheran University Harold D. Bier Teaching Award
  • 2018 Texas Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers Mary Beth Monroe Award for Distinguished Service
  • 2017  Fellow - American Association of Physics Teachers
  • 2017 Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service - American Association of Physics Teachers
  • 2016 TLU Student Government Association Faculty Member of the Year
  • 2014 Outstanding Service Commendation – Society of Physics Students National Council
  • 2012 Outstanding Physics Professor – Angelo State University Society of Physics Students
  • 2010 Angelo State University President’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service
  • 2010 Outstanding Physics Professor - Angelo State University Society of Physics Students
  • 2007 Outstanding Society of Physics Students Chapter Advisor Award
  • 2003 Outstanding Physics Professor - Awarded by ASU Society of Physics Students
  • 1998 Outstanding Doctoral Student Instructor - Texas Tech Graduate School
  • 1994 Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society Induction
  • 1993, 1994, 1995 Achievement Rewards for College Scientists Foundation Scholarship
  • 1997 Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award -Texas Tech University Department of Physics
  • 1997 Peter J. Seibt Scholarship in Experimental Physics-Texas Tech University Physics
  • 1996 Outstanding Graduate Student Service Award -Texas Tech University Physics
  • 1994-1997 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship


  • American Association of Physics Teachers (and Texas Section AAPT)
  • Society of Physics Students
  • American Physical Society  (and Texas Section APS)
  • Council on Undergraduate Research

Relevant Professional Activities Service and Leadership

Abbreviated summary and a few highlights of service and leadership in AAPT and other professional organizations

  • 2019 – present Advanced Lab Physics Association (ALPhA) Regional Director (Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma) tasked with organizing regional meetings for Beyond First Year lab instruction
  • 2018 – present Vice Chair (Chair – elect), Council on Undergraduate Research, Physics and Astronomy Division (CURPA) (CUR Member since 2005, CURPA Councilor since 2014) working to build collaborative efforts across societies for the benefit of students and faculty in physics and astronomy with interest in the integration of research with teaching
  • 2018- present Advanced Lab Physics Association (ALPhA) Board Member
  • 2018- present Member, AAPT Area Committee on Women in Physics
  • 2017 – present Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress Executive Planning Committee
  • (PhysCon2019); Workshop/Breakout subcommittee chair and lead organizer
  • 2017- 2018 Chair AAPT Area Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
  • 2016-2018 APS Forum on Education Executive Committee
  • 2015-2018 Member, AAPT Area Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education
  • 2015-2016 AAPT Lotze Scholarship Committee
  • 2012-2015 Editor, Journal of Undergraduate Research in Physics (JURP) SPS - American Institute of Physics Division of Education
  • 2012-2014 Director-SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma: Lead the effort to successfully plan and carry out PhysCon2012 – The Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Physics Conference with scientific partners Kennedy Space Center and University of Central Florida; revised membership management system for the organization; developed new initiatives with AIP member societies to bolster undergraduate participation and recognition of faculty working with undergraduate physics students; formalized collaborative work between SPS and AAPT to carry out the SEES outreach events at AAPT Winter Meetings
  • 2010-2011 Chair, Faculty Senate Angelo State University
  • 2009-2012 President, Society of Physics Students National Council. Continued worked that led the group toward the SPS Diversity statement (adopted by SPS in 2009), helped to coordinate SPS National Council outreach events.
  • 2005-2009 Society of Physics Students Zone 13 Councilor (SPS National Council member) Served as the first co-chair of the SPS National Council Diversity Committee that worked toward adoption of a general SPS Statement on Diversity
  • 1993-present Active member of the Texas Section AAPT Most recently as the Four-Year College Representative on the TSAAPT Executive Committee (2016 – 2019), formerly TSAAPT President (2009-2010); served previous terms as four-year college representative; service includes chairing the local organizing committee for several section meetings, and creating a TSAAPT student presentation award, and conducting numerous workshops aimed at career development initiatives for faculty and students.


I am honored and humbled to be among those considered for the position of Vice-President of AAPT. This puts me in the company of friends and colleagues that have been and continue to be mentors, role models, and well – heroes, for me as I have navigated my way through what I sometimes refer to as my “accidental” career as a physicist. I say this because I began my quest for higher education a little later than some, with the sole purpose of becoming a high school math teacher. It was in the darkness of the optics lab, a class taken to “check a box” for my minor in physics, that caused my attention to turn toward other things. It was there, with the help of a skilled lab instructor that I fell in love with all the physics things. Even though my goal of becoming a high school math teacher was altered, teaching never left my trajectory. But, like many graduate students, my first encounter with the professional physics community was within a more “traditional” research community. As I began my first position as a faculty member, I realized quickly that I needed a community that would support the synergy between my desire to be a better teacher and continue my interests in experiments and lab-based research. It has been relationships in AAPT, and strong connections with SPS that have supported those efforts.

AAPT serves as the primary community for all of us involved in teaching and learning physics. The influence of AAPT goes well beyond the classrooms of our members and reaches deep into the fundamental and applied research efforts all over the world. How? I believe strongly that it is through the work of passionate, inspired and dedicated physics educators that the curious are spurred on to learn, explore, and discover in ways that we have yet to imagine as we lay the necessary foundations. The AAPT community has been the foundation of my own journey to be that kind of educator. I am still learning, and AAPT facilitates that.

The value that I find in my association with the AAPT community is, unlike all the physics things, immeasurable. AAPT meetings are places of welcome, where I feel empowered to ask questions, even if I should probably already know the answer. AAPT is the place where you can find folks who know what is “in between the lines” in an instruction on how to get a new lab going or help us find better ways to explain that tricky thing that just does not seem to get through. It is a place of sharing and genuine interest in a common goal, teaching and learning physics.  The connections made at our gatherings are the seeds of relationships that support careers for a lifetime. I hope to work toward expanding the reach of AAPT as the inclusive, welcoming home that makes connections between physics educators at all levels and from all backgrounds.

I have spent my career devoted to making connections surrounding the undergraduate physics community. I chose a career in primarily undergraduate institutions, sandwiched in between the graduate community, where many of my students would go after their time with me, and the K-12 community, where students begin to find their path. I have found that AAPT as a community works tirelessly to attend to this full range of “K-life” physics education. I like being in the middle and working to find new ways to smooth the transitions, for the community to work synergistically to ensure that all students can experience the wonders of physics and get a glimpse of the mysteries of the universe. AAPT stands ready to continue growing and meeting the on-going challenges of this work. I welcome the opportunity to be part of the strong leadership that shepherds efforts already making an impact on diversity and inclusion and making real headway in understanding how students from all backgrounds can best learn physics. My goal is to see that AAPT as an organization stays at the forefront of these initiatives. AAPT enhances the forward progress of physics, and all that it involves, by deepening and expanding the relationships between all the teachers and learners of physics, “K-life”, and I would welcome the task of being part of that leadership team.