Round Table Discussion

The Perception of Physics by Youth

Saturday, November 6th, 3:30 – 5:30 pm (EST)

A large factor contributing to the under-representation of historically marginalized groups in physics stems from the fact that there is a lack of interest in physics from students at an early age. We hope to shine some light on this issue and talk about physics education and ways we might be able to provoke interest among young students. During these two hours, our speakers will engage in conversations over physics education and topics of equity, diversity and inclusion within physics in Canada.

Meet the speakers for our round table discussion below!

Ana Sofía Barrows (she/her)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist, Professional Engineers Ontario

Ana Sofía Barrows is the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at Professional Engineers Ontario. She holds a Canadian Certified Inclusion Professional (CCIP) designation and has a multidisciplinary educational background in Medical Physics, Leadership and Inclusion. She has coordinated multiple initiatives focused on advancing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, and has spoken about the lack of diversity in STEM and academia, privilege, and allyship in multiple channels such as CBC’s On the Money, CBC radio, and multiple conferences and panels.

Ana Sofia is the author of the article,  “So, you want to host an inclusive and accessible conference?”, published in FACETS Journal,  and she has written for publications such as the Canadian Science Policy Centre, and Latinos Magazine.

Ana Sofia’s Scientific interests include: Physics (Radiation therapy/proton therapy/ dosimetry). Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in STEM (Understanding the role of privilege in STEM education, decolonization in STEM, actionable strategies to implement inclusion in academia). Science Communication (Making science communication more accessible, inclusive and promote diverse representation).

You can learn more about Ana Sofia at this website.

Joe Muise (he/him)

High School Physics Teacher, St. Thomas More Collegiate

Joe Muise has been teaching physics in Burnaby, BC for eighteen years, and in that time has seen the number of his students interested in physics increase steadily. He actively encourages all students to engage in physics, but has made special efforts to encourage the young women in his school and beyond. For the past two years he has been the Canadian representative with STEP UP – developing Canadian editions of lessons promoting participation in physics to female high school students. He has been fortunate enough to attend professional development workshops at LIGO and CERN and actively promotes the addition of modern physics to high school physics courses. His other teaching passion is finding experiential learning opportunities for his students. He is currently leading his fourth group of students through the Canadian Light Source’s Students on the Beamlines program, where they design and conduct research at Canada’s national synchrotron. A group of his students were the first Canadians to compete in the European Space Agency’s CanSat competition in 2019. Joe was the 2020 winner of the Canadian Association of Physicists Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics for British Columbia and the NSTA Robert E. Yager Award for Exemplary Teaching.

As a high school teacher, I am always looking for ways to bring active learning to my physics classes. I have worked to adapt teaching techniques from the field of Physics Education Research to the high school setting – for example Peer Instruction, Cooperative Group Problem Solving and Two-Stage Exams. I survey my students regularly to get a their feedback on all new initiatives (and the ones I’ve been using for a long time) to make classes engaging and suited to what helps my students develop a figured world where they see themselves as physicists.

Learn more about the “Students on the Beamlines” program here.

Lisa Cole (she/her)

Director of Programming for Kindergarten to Industry (K2I) Academy, York University – Lassonde School of Engineering

Lisa Cole is the Director of Programming for Kindergarten to Industry (K2I) Academy at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University! She is a passionate educator, system leader in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education and committed to public education. Lisa is an award winning high school physics/science and mathematics teacher and former president of the Ontario Association of Physics Teachers. Lisa is passionate about equitable access to STEM education and is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM/STEAM. Lisa has experience providing teacher workshops across Ontario (conferences and local training sessions), consulting on the development of resources for teachers, managing large scale projects, developing multi-stakeholder partnerships, and facilitating diverse teams. Lisa believes that STEM literacy is important for all learners. Through her work, she hopes to inspire educators, students, and communities to become future innovators, critical thinkers and problem solvers.

As the Director of Programming at K2I Academy, Lisa works with innovative partners to design and implement initiatives that tackle systemic challenges in STEM/STEAM education. The K2I Academy is working differently with partners from kindergarten to industry with a shared purpose – to dismantle systemic barriers and to build sustainable programs that diversify representation in STEM professions. We are committed to building sustainable programs that focus on equitable and inclusive program design that strives to diversify the STEM profession – kindergarten to industry.

Learn more about the Kindergarten to Industry (K2I) Academy here.

Dr. Martin Williams (he/him)

Faculty Professor and Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning, University of Guelph

Professor Martin Williams’ teaching has been recognized through several awards including the Canadian Association of Physics Medal for teaching Undergraduate Physics. His innovation and passion for teaching physics and his focus on student engagement in the classroom and deep learning have all been celebrated. Prof. Williams is also a dedicated researcher in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. While he continues to teach physics, he is also the Director of the Office of Teaching and Learning (OTL) at the University of Guelph.

Dr. Williams’ primary research interest is Physics Education and he is especially interested in exploring Gender in Physics; a detailed understanding of who chooses to study physics and why is still largely unknown. One of the most obvious manifestations of this is the under-representation of women in physics classrooms and physics related professions. His second area of focus is the use of technology in the Physics Classroom.