CSULB Physics features in the 5+ Club, again!

Published January 17, 2023

PhysTEC (Physics Teacher Education Coalition) aims to recruit, train and support a large network of physics teachers to address the STEM needs of our nation’s high schools.

In 2010, the departments of Physics & Astronomy and Science Education at CSULB received a grant to implement PhysTEC initiatives, proceeding to develop courses for physics majors to explore and develop teaching skills in conjunction with inservice teachers. We succeeded in creating a regional network of area physics teachers through monthly demo days and an annual Open House. The APS (American Physics Society) credits us with developing a "national model for STEM teaching."

The strong relationship between Physics and Science Education means that Physics majors are made aware of teaching careers from faculty in the department and can take the single subject science credential. While grant funding ended in 2013, the two departments continue to work together to produce Physics teachers. This is our third time being members of the exclusive 5+ Club! (more than 5 Physics teachers credentialed in a single year).

Support from the CSU Math Science Teacher Initiative (MSTI) allowed us to offer a series of courses for a cohort of in-service teachers to earn an additional authorization to teach physics. This community engagement supports the adoption of California's Next Generation Science Standards which requires that all students should be taking high school physics.

In addition to the 5+ Club awards, the CSULB Physics alumni teachers received recognition by American Physical Society's Local Physics Teacher of the Year.

  • Tamara Araya: Sato High School, California State University, Long Beach (2022)
  • Thomas Zook: Marina High School, California State University, Long Beach (2021)
  • Heather Stirewalt: Whittier High School, California State University at Long Beach (2019)
  • Justin Fournier: Cypress High School, California State University, Long Beach (2018)

Department Highlights

Other highlights for the Physics and Astronomy Department include:

  • Over the past years, the department has hosted the monthly PhysTEC Demo-Days for teachers to share topic-specific demonstrations and best practices and to collaborate  with one another. The Demo-Days continue to attract a wide and diverse audience. In Fall 2022, over 50+ attended the PhysTEC Demo-Days.
  • We will be members of the 5+ club next year, too, as a result of the MSTI cohorts. What is really exciting, though, is that we would have been members of the 5+ club even without these MSTI supported cohort. See how CSULB compares to other top producers.
  • Dr. Laura Henriques was elected as Fellow in the American Physical Society (2021) for "exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise in physics research, important applications of physics, leadership made in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education."
  • Dr. Chuhee Kwon won the APS woman physicist of the month in December 2016.
  • The Department won an award for "Improving Physics Undergraduate Education" from the American Physical Society in 2016.