Darsa Donelan Named as 2023 Recipient of the Doc Brown Futures Award
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
College Park, Maryland, United States, August 2, 2022—AAPT has announced that the 2023 recipient of the Doc Brown Futures Award is Darsa Donelan. The Doc Brown Futures Award recognizes early-career members who demonstrate excellence in their contributions to AAPT and physics education and exhibit the potential to serve in an AAPT leadership role. The award will be presented during the 2023 Winter Meeting.
"Being selected for this award has made me feel very accepted by the physics teaching community which is not something that I have always felt from the broader physics community. I am so happy to be valued for who I am and what I do." said Donelan.
A member of AAPT since 2014, they earned a B.S. in Physics and B.A. in Mathematics at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and a Ph.D in Physics at the University of Florida. Donelan is Continuing Assistant Professor at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota.
In 2019 Donelan joined the AAPT/NASA collaboration to produce space science themed educational supplements supported by a grant from NASA. Their scientific background in planetary science and obvious skill in teaching and working with students made for an ideal addition to the team. Our team is an eclectic group with a range of skills and background, and Donelan fit right in. At the time, we had received instructions from the project leadership at Goddard Space Flight Center that we could expand of context area beyond heliosphysics to include subjects like planetary science. This led to the development of tutorials on Habitable Zones, Exoplanet Atmospheres, and Stellar Spectra. Donelan was essential not only to the development of these materials but also in the professional development that we provide to teachers around their use. Moreover, they have increasingly played a leadership role, attending meetings of the Space Science and Astronomy committee, representing our team.
Donelan brings the same care to their service work that they do to their teaching. At Gustavus Adolphus College, they have served on th Nobel Conference Planning Committee and advised both physics clubs (Rocketry Club and Society of Physics Students) and clubs that support marginalized students (Womxn in Physics Club, Queers and Allies). And their work extends beyond their own college. Donelan has been important to the success of the Faculty Online Learning Communities that follow the AAPT's New Faculty Workshop, always willing to help colleagues.
About the Award
Robert William Brown (Distinguished University and Institute Professor in the physics department at Case Western Reserve University) has had a rewarding five-decade career in teaching, research, and entrepreneurship. An Inaugural Fellow of the AAPT, Doc Brown is associated with a number of educational innovations, including an early use of a fiberoptics electronic educational environment (1980s), of an early use of undergraduate teaching assistants (1990s), of published PER work on both “post-exam syndrome” and its treatment, and “cycling” or structured revisiting of classroom material. His teaching led to the writing of a thousand-page MRI textbook, which has been called the "daily companion of the MRI scientist.” Doc Brown has received five regional national teaching honors on his innovations in undergraduate and graduate teaching, and in 2004 received the AAPT Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching National Award. A partnership with his wife, Janet Gans Brown has taken them to highlight the importance of AAPT in a shared life and their gratitude by this endowment.
AAPT is the premier international organization for physics educators, physicists, and industrial scientists—with members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.
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