science

A Look at the High School Biology Teacher Workforce

Name of Publication: 
Inside Higher Ed
Excerpt of Article: 

EDITOR'S NOTE: Kennesaw State co-authors include Samuel J. Polizzi, postdoctoral associate; Jeremy Jaggernauth, KSU alum and private sector statistical analyst; Herman E. "Gene" Ray, assistant professor of statistics; and Brendan Callahan, assistant prfoessor biology education.

July 28, 2015 

Biology educators occupy nearly half (44 percent) of all high school science teaching assignments -- more than double the percentage of chemistry educators, according to a new study published in BioScience. The biology education workforce increased some 50 percent between 1987 and 2007 due to biology’s “gateway” status among the high school sciences, the study says. The female proportion of the biology workforce also grew over the same period, from 39 to 61 percent. That’s more than in all other science, technology and math fields, according to the study.

At the same time, biology educators were more likely than their colleagues in other fields to teach outside the discipline. The number of biology educators with more than 20 years of teaching experience also dropped by some 20 percent between 1990 and 2007. Lead author Gregory T. Rushton, an associate professor of chemistry at Kennesaw State University, and his co-authors note that this is due in part to increasing numbers of teachers entering the workforce after careers outside education, for whom “the biologist identity may be stronger than that of teacher.”

Rushton and his colleagues propose stricter certification requirements for biology teachers and more targeted professional development. They also propose matching curricula to teachers’ expertise, as opposed to offering “a static, predetermined slate of science courses at each school.” The longitudinal study is based on the National Center for Education Statistics’ Schools and Staffing surveys from 1987 through 2007.

 

‘It’s just an incredible day’: Local astronomers talk about Pluto

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
by Hilary Butschek
July 15, 2015 12:21 AM | 1164 views |
This image provided by NASA shows Pluto seen from the New Horizons spacecraft on Monday. The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Fla, on Jan. 19, 2006. <br>AP
This image provided by NASA shows Pluto seen from the New Horizons spacecraft on Monday. The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when New Horizons departed Cape Canaveral, Fla, on Jan. 19, 2006. 
AP
 

MARIETTA — Local astronomers are rejoicing at the images of Pluto taken by a NASA spacecraft Tuesday morning that show a new clarity to the makeup of the dwarf planet.

Eric Smith of Marietta, a lecturer who teaches astronomy at Kennesaw State University, called it a landmark achievement. 

“It’s the first time we’ve actually seen Pluto as more than just a speck. In previous images, it looks more like a star. You can’t see surface photos and you can’t make out its size,” Smith said.

The United States is now the only nation to visit every single planet in the solar system. Pluto was No. 9 in the lineup when the New Horizons spacecraft departed Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Jan. 19, 2006, but was demoted seven months later to dwarf status. 

The $720 million mission that took nearly a decade, came to a peak at about 7:49 a.m. Tuesday when it did a flyby of Pluto, about 3 billion miles from Earth. New Horizons took high definition images of Pluto that Smith said will help scientists learn about its history.

“We’re doing this because this is some of the earliest material of the solar system. Learning about Pluto gives us a view of structures that old. We’ve seen asteroids and they’re also very, very old, but they’re more like rocks. Pluto is much more icy. We’re hoping to learn about its atmosphere, its geography and how the object is structured because we don’t know any of this. Pluto has been a complete mystery,” Smith said.

Jennice Ozment, a Walton High School honors chemistry teacher and former astronomy teacher, said she saw the first images of Pluto taken Tuesday.

“The detail in the first image is already so spectacular, and they’re talking about having more images in the coming days. It’s so much more complex than what we thought it was. Just from the craters on it we can tell it has led a rough life,” she said. 

Ozment pointed out that the trip to Pluto happened on the 50-year anniversary of the Mariner 4’s flyby of Mars that yielded the first close-up pictures of the red planet.

“That makes my heart flutter,” Ozment said. “I know that sounds silly, but it’s just an incredible day.”

Smith said Pluto was originally considered a planet but lost that status around 2005 when scientists discovered there were other space objects in the sun’s orbit that were larger than Pluto that were not considered planets.

“That spurred the argument, well, why isn’t that a planet too, and it forced the International Astronomical Union to create a definition for what a planet is because before it was just, ‘we know it when we see it,’” Smith said.

Smith said the organization decided that a planet is round, orbits the sun and is on its own, not one of a belt of objects.

Pluto is part of a belt called Kuiper Belt, so it was labeled a dwarf planet, Smith said.

John Grunsfeld, NASA’s science mission chief, said Tuesday was historic.

“This is truly a hallmark in human history,” Grunsfeld said. “It’s been an incredible voyage.”

At a news conference Tuesday NASA officials unveiled a picture of Pluto taken just Monday. The icy, impacted world — a fusion of peach and brassy colors with bright spots at points northward, including the now-famous heart, and darker areas around the equator — drew oohs and aahs.

New Horizons already has beamed back the best-ever images of Pluto and big moon Charon. Pluto also has four little moons, all of which were expected to come under New Horizons’ scrutiny.

On the eve of the flyby, NASA announced that Pluto is actually bigger than anyone imagined, thanks to measurements made by the spacecraft, a baby grand piano-size affair. It’s about 50 miles bigger, for a grand total of 1,473 miles in diameter. But that’s still puny by solar-system standards: Pluto is just two-thirds the size of Earth’s moon.

—The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Read more:  The Marietta Daily Journal - It s just an incredible day Local astronomers talk about Pluto

 

Kennesaw State named leader in graduating physics teachers

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 

 

by Philip Clements

March 21, 2015 04:00 AM

MARIETTA — Kennesaw State University has been recognized by a national science organization as one of the leaders in the preparation of physics teachers, an area with a major shortage.

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition — or PhysTEC — selected KSU as one of only 11 inductees into its inaugural “The 5+ Club,” which is made up of colleges and universities that graduate five or more physics teachers in a given year.

Monica Plisch, a principal investigator and project director for PhysTEC, said the organization is a project of the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers.

“We’re two of the leading professional societies in physics,” Plisch said. “Our mission is to improve the education of future physics teachers.”

She said PhysTEC has directly funded more than 40 physics departments in colleges and universities throughout the country to help them improve their physics teacher education.

In its 2014 report, the American Association for Employment in Education found the teacher shortage is the highest in physics among 59 education fields. Similarly, the National Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics reported in 2013 “the need for qualified teachers is greater now than at any previous time in history.”

David Rosengrant, associate professor in physics education at Kennesaw State University, said it feels great to be singled out by PhysTEC as a leader in the field.

“A lot of people see physics as a typically low-enrollment major, so there’s always the question of ‘Why should we continue to really support some programs that have such few students?’” Rosengrant said. “So, to be recognized as, ‘Hey, you’re actually one of the top performers,’ I think helps shows everyone the importance of getting good quality teachers out there.”

WHY KSU?

Plisch said KSU has had more success than other universities in producing physics teachers partly because of its unique program.

“They have a specialized program for preparing physics teachers,” she said. “Not just science teachers, but they have specific training on not only the physics content but also how you actually teach physics.”

Plisch said KSU has a “top-notch” faculty and has developed a reputation over time.

“So, anybody who is interested in teaching physics, I would expect that they would take a strong look at Kennesaw State simply because they have a really excellent program,” she added.

“A lot of education programs, they’re more general (and) focused on science education and you might get one methods course on how to teach science education,” Plisch said, noting a program like this might have one future physics teacher compared to 10 future biology teachers, so physics can easily be overlooked.

“I think it’s kind of a situation where, if you build it, they will come,” Plisch said. “So Kennesaw State has specialized in physics teacher preparation, and I think they’ve built a reputation in that area and they’ve been able to attract large numbers of future physics teachers.”

Plisch said the U.S. Department of Education found “fewer than half of all secondary physics teachers have a degree in the subject,” which she said is much less than other disciplines.

Rosengrant said because a lot of physics teachers aren’t trained in physics, they don’t have the content background and there’s some apprehension that might affect their teaching.

“So, what happens a lot of times, especially in physics, is you get teachers who may not be as comfortable with the material,” he said. “But, if a student can see that their teacher (or) their instructor is excited about the material, it’s easier for them to buy into it.”

Rosengrant said, for instance, when he went to get his degree in education, he was lumped in with all of the other science educators and taught how to teach in general.

“The mentality was, ‘You have a content degree and we’re going to teach you how to teach and you’re going to figure out how to make the two work in a classroom,’” he said, noting it wasn’t until he went back to school specifically to learn how to teach physics that he was able to effectively teach the subject.

OPTIMISTIC FUTURE

Plisch said there are several reasons why there is a shortage of physics teachers, including an overall shortage in people pursuing physics degrees.

“If you look at the number of graduates in the life sciences (such as biology, zoology and botany) and compare that to the number of graduates in physics, it’s a 10-to-one ratio,” Plisch said.

Rosengrant said physics sometimes has a negative reputation of being a difficult and challenging field of study, so a lot of people are discouraged from attempting to study it. He noted students’ interests regarding post-secondary study is based on their high school experience.“So, if they have poor experiences in high school with physics, they’re less inclined to want to study it in the future. It’s almost like a domino effect — when you have a shortage of highly qualified teachers in physics, you don’t bring more people into it because you don’t have people getting the students excited about it as much.”

Both Plisch and Rosengrant said it’s important to keep producing good physics teachers because they keep the cycle to improve physics education going. By contrast, if there aren’t many good physics teachers, then students won’t be as interested in the subject and there will be fewer people pursuing physics as a discipline.

“There’s going to be teachers retiring, there’s going to be more students taking science classes (and) there’s going to be more students taking physics,” Rosengrant said. “So we need to get more teachers into the classrooms.”

High demand for physics teachers and an increase in the number of students taking the subject both contribute to the shortage of physics teachers, Plisch said.

About 40 percent of all high school graduates have taken at least one physics course before they graduate, Plisch said, compared to about 25 percent 15 years ago.

She said the increase in students being educated in physics is already contributing to an increase in people pursuing degrees in physics.

“I think what happens is once students get exposed to physics in high school — and if they had a good experience and they had a good teacher — they get turned on to physics,” Plisch said. “But if they never had that experience in high school, how can you expect somebody to chose that as a major in college.”

 

KSU hosts high school science bowl Saturday

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal and WRCB-TV
Excerpt of Article: 
by Damon Poirier
January 27, 2015 04:00 AM | 612 views | 
 
 

KENNESAW — The Kennesaw State University College of Science and Mathematics will host the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science’s High School Sub-regional Science Bowl from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Clendenin Building, 1000 Chastain Road in Kennesaw.

More than 16 competition four- to five-person teams from high schools around the state of Georgia will attend the event. The top three teams will advance to the Regional competitions at Armstrong State University in Savannah. Winners from regionals will advance to the national competitions sponsored by the U.S. Dept. of Energy from April 30 to May 4.

For more information, visit http://science.kennesaw.edu/news/2015/012715.html.

 

Read more:  The Marietta Daily Journal - KSU hosts high school science bowl Saturday

 

Additional coverage on WRCB-TV:

http://www.wrcbtv.com/story/27969738/kennesaw-state-to-host-high-school-...

Chip off the block - Father, son to receive diplomas together at KSU commencement

Name of Publication: 
The Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 

by Rachel Gray

May 12, 2014 04:00 AM
Gage Doss, left, and his father, Greg Doss, stand together at Sprayberry High School, where Greg teaches. Both father and son are set to receive diplomas together at Kennesaw State University Tuesday. Greg will obtain his Ph.D. while Gage will receive a degree in statistics. Staff/Jeff Stanton
Gage Doss, left, and his father, Greg Doss, stand together at Sprayberry High School, where Greg teaches. Both father and son are set to receive diplomas together at Kennesaw State University Tuesday. Greg will obtain his Ph.D. while Gage will receive a degree in statistics. Staff/Jeff Stanton
 
 

KENNESAW — A father and son who share a passion for numbers and science joined together on their final academic projects in order to graduate on the same day from Kennesaw State University.

Greg Doss, 53, and his son, Gage Doss, 24, of Cartersville, will each receive diplomas during the evening commencement ceremony Tuesday.

On May 13 and 14, almost 2,200 graduates will walk across the stage at the KSU Convocation Center.

“To be honest, I thought it was a novelty for us to walk together,” Greg Doss said. “Not only do I get to watch (my son) walk across the stage, I get to participate with him.”

Robert S. Godlewski, a spokesperson with the University Relations department at KSU, said although the college cannot confirm this is the first father-son dual graduation from the school on the same day, it is a very rare and unique happening.

“We have not been able to pin down any such occurrence in the last 50 years,” Godlewski said.

Greg Doss, who has been an engineering, drawing and design teacher at Sprayberry High School in Marietta for seven years, said he treats his students like adult engineers, allowing them to explore their own ideas and concepts.

“They never cease to amaze me,” Greg Doss said.

Greg Doss calls the students “amazing” and very “inspirational,” but is providing his own inspiration as an example of a man who has never stopped pursuing higher education.

When he graduates, Greg Doss will become the first doctoral student in the Bagwell College of Education to receive a degree in the educational leadership concentration.

The doctorate will make Greg Doss a triple alumnus, with an undergrad degree in secondary mathematics education and a master’s degree in educational leadership, both from KSU.

Gage Doss said he has always found working with numbers appealing because the field is logic based and structured. “I had an affinity towards math since I was very little,” he said. “It makes more sense to me than any other subject.”

Although it is easy to say “like father, like son,” Greg Doss said his son is “far more advanced than me.”

“He has already far surpassed my knowledge base in mathematics,” Greg Doss said.

This advanced knowledge was a great help to Greg Doss, who asked his son to “provide the heavy number crunching” for his dissertation. The team used data from local school districts to compare the number of teachers and academic leaders represented from the baby boomer, Generation X and millennial generations.

Greg Doss said he does not have any firm plans to go back to school again.

When asked by his wife, Kim, what he plans to do next, Greg Doss said he responded, “I don’t know, but I am looking for my next learning opportunity.”

Both father and son say it was Kim who has stood behind both of them the whole time. And lucky for her, Greg Doss said, she will only have to attend one graduation ceremony.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal - Chip off the block Father son to receive diplomas together at KSU commencement

Kennesaw State, NASA promote STEM education in girls

Name of Publication: 
Examiner.com
Excerpt of Article: 

The growth of women entering highly competitive fields in science and technology are forcing some colleges and universities to look to the preteens of today for the jobs of the next decade. A group of sixth graders attended a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) educational workshop hosted by Kennesaw State University on Monday as the school looks to inspire girls interested in STEM-related fields. One of NASA's educator-astronauts was in attendance to help motivate and give advice to over two-hundred students from across north Georgia. Read more about Dottie Metcalf-Lindenburger's visit to KSU on Examiner.com.

Atlanta Science Fair at Kennesaw State University

Name of Publication: 
Atlanta Journal Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

Kn

Aiming for the stars

Name of Publication: 
Marietta Daily Journal
Excerpt of Article: 
 
National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger speaks to a group of middle school girls, including students from J.J. Daniell Middle School, as a part of the Girls’ Adventures in STEM
(science, technology, engineering and math) workshop at Kennesaw State University’s on Monday. Metcalf-Lindenburger spoke about her experiences as an astronaut and her time aboard the International Space Station.

Kennesaw State University Professor Teaches Chemistry in Puerto Vallarta

Name of Publication: 
VirtualVallarta.com
Excerpt of Article: 
a-chemistry
 

Published Mar 21, 2012, 1:03pm

This winter, Professor Laurence Peterson has been teaching high school chemistry at the American School in Puerto Vallarta (ASPV) while on a leave of absence from his full-time teaching at Kennesaw State University (Atlanta, GA). Under the auspices of the Science Coaches program sponsored by the American Chemical Society (ACS), Peterson has been teaching one day each week along side ASPV’s chemistry teacher, Adam Kilner.

Peterson has brought into the classroom some of his practical experience in the chemical industry to enable the 24 junior level students taking chemistry to understand how chemistry impacts their everyday life.

The students at ASPV have learned about the use of bromine compounds to fire-retard plastics, the production of fuel-grade ethanol from corn, the availability of “green” polyesters to make plastic beverage bottles based upon poly lactic acid that readily biodegrade in the environment as well as the adverse implications from the human consumption of ethanol-containing beverages. The latter subject was taught using an online, freely-available case study from Chemcases.com developed by funding from the National Science Foundation and designed to teach both the chemistry of alcohols as well as their physiological effects.

The Science Coaches program sponsored by the ACS is designed to bring experienced teachers from academia and industry into the high school classroom to help make chemistry more interesting and relevant as well as attract more students into STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. The ACS provides grants for equipment and supplies to participating schools while teachers like Peterson donate their time to help bridge the gap between theory and practice in science education that are worldwide concerns.

Source: Arturo Romero

 

Kennesaw State joins group to boost minority enrollment

Name of Publication: 
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Excerpt of Article: 

 

    By Laura Diamond

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    12:21 p.m. Friday, October 28, 2011

    Kennesaw State University announced Friday that it joined a statewide push to increase the number of minority students who earn degrees in math, science, technology and engineering.

    Other Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation members are: University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Perimeter College, Southern Polytechnic State, Ft. Valley State and Savannah State universities.

    The group is sponsored by the National Science Foundation and provides students with mentors, research opportunities and financial aid.

    Find this article at:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/kennesaw-state-joins-group-1212045.html

    Please see additional coverage below:

    Kennesaw State works to recruit more minority students

    Atlanta Business Chronicle by Carla Caldwell, Morning Call Editor

    Date: Monday, October 31, 2011, 7:08am EDT

    Kennesaw State Universityofficials want more minority students to attend the Cobb County, Ga., school’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs, reports the Marietta Daily Journal.

    KSU is the latest Georgia college to join the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

    Peach State LSAMP provides services including academic enrichment, financial support, peer and faculty mentoring, research opportunities and summer bridge programs.

    There are 8,135 minorities enrolled at KSU, approximately 34 percent of the student population, the Marietta newspaper reported.

    KSU trying to recruit more minority students to science programs

    by Lindsay Field
    lfield@mdjonline.com The Marietta Daily Journal

    10.28.11 - 11:59 pm

    By Lindsay Field

    lfield@mdjonline.com

    KENNESAW — Kennesaw State University is encouraging minority students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the school, the school said Friday.

    KSU has become the most recent Georgia college to join the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

    There are 8,135 minorities enrolled at the school, approximately 34 percent of the students population.

    Peach State LSAMP provides services such as academic enrichment, financial support, peer and faculty mentoring, research opportunities and summer bridge programs. Students at the college are recruited into the program by Dr. Army Lester and his colleagues at KSU.

    “We’ve seen the need and we’ve been addressing the need in a number of different ways over the years,” said Lester, a biology professor at KSU. “This is an excellent opportunity to fuel what we were already doing.”

    Lester, who will work directly with the students participating in the program, said that this program is the first of its kind at KSU to focus on students already enrolled. Previously, they have focused only on recruiting students.

    “From a social point of view, (the program) provides well-prepared and capable students who can go out and do the good works of the university,” he said. “(LSAMP) provides (the school) with a vehicle to make sure that our students are the best they can be and do the work that’s expected of them.”

    The Peach State LSAMP is a collaborative effort to increase the number of under-represented minority students statewide who complete undergraduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

    “Minorities are not entering the science professions in higher numbers,” Lester said. “It’s almost as though we have this significant component of the population that is being left behind. We’re trying to make sure that everyone who is capable can contribute maximally.”

    As a new LSAMP member, KSU recently conducted its first “Lab Coat Ceremony” for 25 undergraduate science and math students in the College of Science and Mathematics.

    These students, who range from freshmen to seniors, are pursuing science and math degrees as part of the program.

    In addition to KSU, the LSAMP alliance consists of seven institutions with the University of Georgia serving as the lead institution. Other members include Fort Valley State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Perimeter College, Savannah State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.

    Copyright 2011 The Marietta Daily Journal. All rights reserved.

    © mdjonline.com 2011

     

    KSU tries to recruit minority students to science programs

    by Lindsay Field
    lfield@cherokeetribune.com Cherokee Tribune

    10.28.11 - 11:59 pm

    KENNESAW — Kennesaw State University is encouraging minority students to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics at the school, the school said Friday.

    KSU has become the most recent Georgia college to join the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation.

    There are 8,135 minorities enrolled at the school, approximately 34 percent of the student population.

    Peach State LSAMP provides services such as academic enrichment, financial support, peer and faculty mentoring, research opportunities and summer bridge programs. Students at the college are recruited into the program by Dr. Army Lester and his colleagues at KSU.

    “We’ve seen the need and we’ve been addressing the need in a number of different ways over the years,” said Lester, a biology professor at KSU. “This is an excellent opportunity to fuel what we were already doing.”

    Lester, who will work directly with the students participating in the program, said that this program is the first of its kind at KSU to focus on students already enrolled. Previously, the university focused only on recruiting students.

    “From a social point of view, (the program) provides well-prepared and capable students who can go out and do the good works of the university,” he said. “(LSAMP) provides (the school) with a vehicle to make sure that our students are the best they can be and do the work that’s expected of them.”

    The Peach State LSAMP is a collaborative effort to increase the number of under-represented minority students statewide who complete undergraduate degrees in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

    “Minorities are not entering the science professions in higher numbers,” Lester said. “It’s almost as though we have this significant component of the population that is being left behind. We’re trying to make sure that everyone who is capable can contribute maximally.”

    As a new LSAMP member, KSU recently conducted its first “Lab Coat Ceremony” for 25 undergraduate science and math students in the College of Science and Mathematics.

    These students, who range from freshmen to seniors, are pursuing science and math degrees as part of the program.

    In addition to KSU, the LSAMP alliance consists of seven institutions with the University of Georgia serving as the lead institution. Other members include Fort Valley State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia Perimeter College, Savannah State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.

    Copyright 2011 Cherokee Tribune. All rights reserved.

    © cherokeetribune.com 2011

    5 Metro Atlanta colleges join organization to increase minority STEM majors

    Submitted by Beth Sawicki, Where U Live Producer

    Friday, October 28th, 2011, 1:29pm

    Topics: Schools

    PrintE-mail

    ATHENS, Ga. -- Seven colleges and universities in Georgia are making strides toward increasing the numbers of minority students interested in STEM disciplines.

    The schools are part of an organization known as the Peach State Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation(LSAMP), a collaborative effort to reach underrepresented minorities and encourage them to pursue majors and careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

    The University of Georgia is the lead institution for Peach State LSAMP. Four more of the schools are in Metro Atlanta: Georgia Tech, Georgia Perimeter College, Kennesaw State University and Southern Polytechnic State University.

    Other participating institutions include Ft. Valley State University near Warner Robins, and Savannah State University.

    "This country desperately needs more talented young men and women pursuing the STEM disciplines if we are going to successfully compete in the new global trade arena," said Ron Matson, dean of Kennesaw State's College of Science and Mathematics.

    With a student focus in mind, each participating school provides services that assist with the transition from high school to college, integrate minorities into the academic environment, and interest them in research and internship opportunities in the STEM fields. Peach State LSAMP creates academic enrichment, financial support, and peer and faculty mentoring, all with the goal of interesting more students in subjects that will greatly benefit them, as well as society, in the future.

    Topics: Schools

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