Mount Union Professor Awarded $25,000 Research Grant

December 04, 2017

Dr. Richelle Teeling-SmithALLIANCE, Ohio – Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Mount Union, has been awarded a $25,000 research grant from the American Institute of Physics (AIP). This grant, known as the Meggers Project Award, is designed to fund projects for the improvement of high school physics teaching in the United States. 

Teeling-Smith, in collaboration with a team at The Ohio State University, has helped develop and implement a set of interactive computer programming activities designed to be integrated into high school and introductory college physics courses. This project, known as “The STEMcoding Project”, offers free in-class activities, professional development for Ohio science and math teachers, and summer programming camps for middle and high school students. Teeling-Smith will be hosting the first northeast Ohio STEMcoding summer camp on Mount Union’s campus this summer.

Teeling-Smith recently presented this project at the Ohio Section Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers. She has also partnered with Mount Union students to conduct research on the impact of these interactive programming modules on student conceptual gains introductory physics courses.

“I’ve already begun working with three of our physics majors on the STEMcoding Project,” Teeling-Smith said. “This is an excellent opportunity for these undergraduate students to get some hands-on research experience. With their help, I hope to further explore the impact of these programming modules on how well students learn physics concepts.” 

Teeling-Smith earned her bachelor’s degree at Kent State University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from The Ohio State University. Prior to teaching at Mount Union, she taught at Marion Technical College. Her research is in physics education as well as the development of tools and techniques for multi-modal detection of nanoscale systems.

"For Dr. Teeling-Smith to start her career at Mount Union with a grant of this caliber is awesome,” said Dr. Bob Ekey, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. “It demonstrates her commitment and our institution's commitment to the importance of teaching and technology and the connection of our students’ success to an innovative high school experience in physics."

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