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Jiajia DongBucknell University Physics Professor, Jiajia Dong, Named Academic Director of United States Physics Team

Immediate Release

College Park, Maryland, January 24, 2019.—The American Association of Physcs Teachers has announced the appointment of Jiajia Dong, Associate Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Buckell University, as Academic Director of the United States Physics Team Program. Dong earned a BA in English and B.S. in Physics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, P.R.China in 2003 and a Ph.D.in Physics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA in 2008.

She has been working with the physics team since 2009. Collaborating with a team of dedicated and talented coaches, she finds it particularly rewarding to involve a broader base of high school students in team selection and training. As she embraces the new role of Academic Director, it is her hope that the US Physics Team will continue to challenge the best of the US students and represent the US at the international olympiad stage.

In 2009 she joined the U. S. Physics Team Program as a coach.  In 2017 she became a Senior coach, and she became Co-Academic Director in 2018.

About the Team
The United States Physics Team Program includes recruiting, selecting and training teams each year to compete in the International Physics Olympiad Competition. This selection process begins in late January when high schools register their students to participate in the F=ma exam. Approximately 400 top scorers on this first test advance to the USA Physics Olympiad Exam.

The USA Physics Olympiad Exam is used as the basis for selection of the 20 members of the U.S. Physics Team. These students, from schools all over the United States, travel to the University of Maryland-College Park at the end of May for the annual U.S. Physics Team Training Camp. There they engage in ten days of intense studying, testing and problem solving.

At the end of that training camp, five students are selected for the "Traveling Team." The Traveling Team will return for three additional days of intense laboratory work before they are ready for the International Event. The Interniational Physics Olympiad is a nine-day international competition among pre- university students from more than 60 nations. At the International Physics Olympiad, the competitors are asked to solve challenging theoretical and experimental physics problems.

Begun in 1967 among eastern European countries, the International Physics Olympiad Competition gradually grew to include many western countries during the 1970s. In 1986, under the direction of the AAPT Executive Officer, Jack Wilson, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) organized the United States Physics Team for the first time.

The 1986 team was made up of 20 talented high school physics students who had been nominated by their teachers. Following a rigorous program in the physics department of the University of Maryland, five students were selected to represent the U.S. in London. This team brought home three bronze medals—more medals than any team had ever won in their first competition. Since that time, the United States has consistently ranked near the top ten of all nations.

The International Physics Olympiad Competition now attracts teams from all over the globe.

About AAPT
The AAPT is the premier national organization and authority on physics and physical science education with members worldwide. Our mission is to advance the greater good through physics education. We provide our members with many opportunities for professional development, communication, and student enrichment. We serve the larger community through a variety of programs and publications. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

For more information: Contact David Wolfe, Director of Communications, dwolfe@aapt.org, (301) 209-3322, (301) 209-0845 (Fax)