2023 National Board of Directors Election Candidate for Two Year College Representative

David MarascoDavid Marasco (he, him, his)

Current Position
Professor, Foothill College Physics, 12345 El Monte Road, Los Altos Hills, CA, 94022.

B.A. Philosophy, UC San Diego
B.S. Physics, UC San Diego
M.S. Physics, Northwestern University
Ph.D. Physics, Northwestern University

Professional Experience:
Professor, Foothill College, 2012-Current
Associate Professor, Foothill College, 2008-12
Assistant Professor, Foothill College, 2004-8

Honors and Recognitions:
Fellow, AAPT, 2021
John & Suanne Roueche Excellence Award,  League for Innovation in the Community College, 2012

AAPT Life Member

AAPT Activities:
NCNAAPT Program Chair (2011-current)
NCNAAPT President (2011-2016)
NCNAAPT Section Rep (2016 - current)
Committee on Diversity in Physics (2017-2021, Vice Chair 18-19, Chair 19-20, Past Chair 20-21)
Special Project and Philanthropy Committee (2019-21, Chair 20-21)
Meetings Committee (2019-2021, 2022-current)
Nominating Committee (2021-2022)
DEI Task Force (2021-23, co chair from 22-23)
Two Year College Committee (2022-current)
Secretary of Section Reps (2022-current)
DEI Council (2023-current)

Other Professional Activities:
Co-coordinator for Mentoring for the Organization for Physics at Two Year Colleges (OPTYCs).

Candidate Statement:
I became a member of AAPT in 2004.  I was starting my current position and my father, a long-time AAPT member, suggested that I take advantage of the AAPT summer meeting that was occurring nearby. It was a seismic experience for me, and dramatically changed how I taught my classes.  For many years following I spent my time at the local level, first attending and then helping organize and lead meetings of the Northern California/Nevada chapter.  In 2016 AAPT’s summer meeting was once again local, and since my son was a certain age, I was able to step back up to national conferences. Since then I have missed only one meeting, and this summer I am planning to take my son, an aspiring high school science teacher, to our summer meeting.

When I reflect upon AAPT and what it has meant to me and my career, it is so much more than a new set of tools or a nice bundle of teaching resources.  It is relationships and friends.  It is the sense of joy when you see somebody you know from across the hotel lobby or exhibit hall.  It is the wisdom that is passed across Zoom rooms, and the excitement of meeting new people who could be future thought-partners.  My local AAPT section feels like family to me, and I have strong relationships with folks I have met at summer and winter meetings.  AAPT’s strategic plan is a strong balance of  both developing and providing resources for physics educators, and building a community where physics teachers and those who support them can grow and thrive.  As a Board member I would invest in efforts to provide said resources, and would also endorse measures that encouraged connections between members, especially for those who are new to either the organization or our meetings.  We need to create an environment where new people feel welcome, and part of the family.

When I attended the summer meeting in 2016, it started very much like my previous experience in 2004.  I went to workshops and sessions, and learned new information and skills that would improve me as a teacher.  Then I went to the Committee on Diversity in Physics meeting, and it shifted everything.  This was more.  The work done here made it worth committing to finding the resources to travel to two conferences a year as a TYC instructor.  I was on the committee the next year, and eventually served as Chair.  During this time, AAPT experienced many DEI challenges; in some we responded well, and in others we did not.  Following a fourth year on CoDP as past chair, I also served on AAPT’s DEI Task Force, and have committed to the new DEI Council, to help AAPT advance as an organization.

During my time on both the Nominating Committee and various DEI-related committees, I’ve gained insight into how AAPT works well and where it faces barriers to success.  I see an amazing collection of talent and goodwill, but also understand that there are structural issues in terms of communication and leadership turnover that have made things difficult.  The Board has already started addressing some of these issues, and I would help continue the progress being made. Additionally, as someone who is both still engaged in leadership at the local AAPT level and a Section Rep, I would also continue the Board’s efforts in strengthening these bonds.  This is especially important as partnering with sections is a possible pathway to rebuilding our high school membership, which continues its slow but steady decline.

AAPT has been an amazing part of my career.  I consider it to be my professional home.  Almost everything that I’ve done in physics education I’ve done with partners, and for the most part I’ve found those wonderful people through AAPT.  Now my child wants to be a science teacher.  I’d like AAPT to be the same fountain of relationships and resources for his generation as it was for me.  I know that we face some daunting challenges as an organization, and would like to be part of the way forward.