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Dr. Richelle Teeling-Smith

Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy

I love the 'family' feel of this institution and I love how connected and close my students are with each other, with the faculty, and with the campus community as a whole.


Ph. D., Physics, The Ohio State University
M. S., Physics, The Ohio State University 
B. S., Physics, Kent State University 


Hartville, Ohio

Thought-Provoking Research

I currently do a lot of physics education research focused specifically on the integration of computation into physics, physical science, and mathematics courses, and the impact on the development of students' computational thinking skills and conceptual gains. This research very naturally informs my own teaching pedagogy and as a result, I have integrated a lot of computational projects into my own courses. I do this both at the introductory level, as well as with the engineering and physics majors who take my upper-level courses. Students learn to use computational tools, such as Mathematica, Matlab, Python, VPython, Javascript, etc., to solve complex scientific problems and to develop their own models for interesting physical systems.

The other facet of my research the study of nanoscale systems in biology and materials science using electron paramagnetic resonance imaging. This unique technology acts like an MRI, but for very small systems, such as single DNA molecules, proteins, nanoparticles, and novel semiconductor materials. Aspects of this technology are actively being integrated into courses, such as solid state physics, and our advanced physics labs, where students are learning about various imaging techniques, optics, and hands-on data acquisition and analysis.

Favorite Part of the Job?

I have two favorite aspects of my work. First, I deeply enjoy working with my students. This is true both in the introductory courses as well as in advanced courses and through research. This daily interaction with so many bright young men and women makes me feel inspired to keep doing this work. Second, I love the multi-faceted nature of what I do. I enjoy my time in the classroom, I enjoy working with the students on projects, and I enjoy the balance with research. This job is never monotonous and each day seems to bring something new and interesting.

The Mount Union Difference

I attended large state schools for both my undergraduate and graduate education and I have been very pleasantly surprised by the culture that I have found here at Mount Union. I love the 'family' feel of this institution and I love how connected and close my students are with each other, with the faculty, and with the campus community as a whole. I grew up in this area and am happy to again be close to my family. I was also in search of an institution that would allow me to focus on being a good teacher, to work with physics students both at the introductory and advanced level, and to work on my own research. It's the balance of these things which is the key, and I found that balance here.

Physics at Mount Union 

Two things make the physics program at Mount Union unique. First, our major is designed to be flexible. Many of our students double major or minor in topics other than physics: mechanical engineering, music, computer science, math, Spanish, theater, Japanese, etc. The list goes on. We know that our students have broad interests and we work really hard to support that and make sure that they are still able to pursue their other interests, along with their degree in physics. We want you to be a whole person and to have a happy and healthy balance in your life.

Second, we focus on hands-on, independent learning experiences. Students learn by "doing" rather than just listening. In many of our courses, you will be working with your hands, designing and building your own experiments. We will guide you but we want you to develop those critical skills that will get you that internship or job when you are finished at Mount. We also assist each of our students with securing internships and applying for jobs or graduate school.