October 2017 Member Spotlight - Eric AyarsSpotlight Archive

Member Spotlight

Eric Ayars
California State University, Chico
Chico, California

Like every kid, I was born with the desire to figure out how everything worked. In this regard, I just never grew up; so of course, I became a scientist. In high school, I came to see physics as the broadest of the sciences, and I found myself enjoying the challenge of describing everything in terms of a minimal set of equations. Physics seemed like the best course of study to find out the most about how everything worked.

In college, I was blessed with some extraordinary teachers. Dr. Bill Mundy, in particular, had an enormous influence on my career direction. With his mentorship both in class and out I came to see teaching as more than a job. It’s a craft, an art, a weapon in the fight to make the world better.

When I graduated from college, I took a job working in tech support at PASCO Scientific where Paul Stokstad and other colleagues encouraged me to pursue my dream of teaching. It was Paul who, as a parting gift when I went on to grad school, signed me up with the AAPT. I’ve been a member ever since. AAPT membership has been critical to my success in college teaching. AAPT has given me opportunities to meet with others to share ideas for labs and student research projects. Through these connections, I "steal" teaching techniques from the very best instructors, and in my own small way, I pay it forward by doing the same for other physics teachers.