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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  2. Due to the growing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges and universities either canceled or remotely hosted their 2020 National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) programs. This analysis is part of a larger study examining the impact of these fully remote experiences on professional and psychosocial factors such as mentees' sense of belonging, identity, and self-efficacy and their retention in STEM degree programs. We present a single-student case study and describe the dramaturgical analysis which centers on identifying five fundamental constructs within the data: objectives, conflicts, tactics, attitudes, and emotions. These items investigate what the participant in the remote REU program experienced and how this experience changed the ways in which he thinks about his future career decision-making. Our analysis explored four different sub-narratives: lack of community in virtual REU, mentor support, perception of the "real" nature of the experience in a virtual format, and future career decision-making. The mentee reported that this experience was highly beneficial and that he developed a sense of belonging and identity, despite working remotely -- often from his own bedroom.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 10, 2022
  3. Physics is a degree that supports many career paths, and students often develop preferences for particular methods, such as theoretical, computational or experimental. However, it is not well understood how those preferences develop and affect students' later career decisions. We used Social Cognitive Career Theory (SCCT) as the basis for interpreting students' decision-making processes. SCCT provides a framework for connecting learning experiences, self-efficacy, and outcome expectations with students' interests, goals, and decisions. Semi-structured interviews with 8 physics students were conducted. This analysis focuses primarily on a single student to provide space to explore all three method specializations (theory, computation, and experiment) in more depth. We find that the availability of resources and learning opportunities had a significant impact on students' career choices. Theoretical and computational experiences were readily available through classwork, undergraduate research, and could be worked on at home and in peer study groups. Students lacked the ability to work on experimental physics outside of infrequent classroom opportunities and could not build peer networks that supported their experimental skill growth, which was linked to lower interest and self-efficacy in regards to experimental physics.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 10, 2022
  4. null (Ed.)
    PhysPort is a professional development website for physics faculty to develop their teaching through research-based resources. As part of PhysPort's ongoing research efforts, we conducted interviews with 23 physics faculty from diverse instructional and institutional contexts in the US. From our interviews, we sought common experiences, motivations, and pain points to develop personas--person-like constructs--of physics faculty in the US. Our research focuses on the perspectives of the key users of our site, and thus we take a user-centered perspective rather than a researcher-centered perspective. We developed personas, which are person-like constructs that are developed based on salient characteristics of actual users, that enable designers to create resources to meet actual user needs without designing for the idiosyncrasies of specific users. We present our set of six personas of physics faculty members: a faculty member who is new to improving his teaching; one who takes up his department's practices; one who wants her teaching to feel good; one who is comfortable in her teaching; one who is continuously improving; and one who solves big problems in her department. These personas of physics faculty making changes to their teaching can be used more broadly to improve the design and development of professionalmore »development resources and activities for physics faculty.« less