Laura McCullough's Home Page

Laura McCullough 116 Church Street SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455 (612) 625-9323 

   (I'll put a picture here someday!)

About me:

B.A. in physics from Hamline University in 1994
M.S. in physics from the University of Minnesota in 1997
Ph.D. in science education, from the University of Minnesota, in progress, advisor Pat Heller

I have held a couple of jobs including fast-food and retail work. Then I figured out that working at school is a lot better than any of those! As an undergrad, I have been a tutor, a teaching assistant, and a lab manager. Then I got into grad school where I get a job called "Research Assistant." That means I do whatever needs to be done, including tutoring, assistant teaching, lab managing, etc. You get the point.

For the last couple of years I have been the senior grad student in our research group, which means I do everything. Well, maybe it only seems that way. But I have been collecting our quarterly data, analyzing the data, helping out with our TA Orientation and seminar, helping out with my advisor's projects (see CPU below), teaching, doing my own research, volunteering in student government, and you can't forget that little thesis thing.


What I am doing now:

Most of my time right now is spent at school, where I am working on my Ph.D. This includes classes, taking data for my thesis, working on projects our group is interested in, and all the miscellaneous items that arise. I am planning on graduating in the spring of 2000, and then I will be looking for jobs. I still am deciding on what types of jobs I am interested in, so I am very open right now.
When I am not at school or working on school things (it does happen occasionally!) I enjoy reading science fiction and fantasy books, working jigsaw puzzles, doing counted cross-stitch, and gardening. I also love to bake your basic yummy things: chocolate chip cookies, apple pie, that sort of thing. Of course, these all take second place to spending time with my husband, Kelly, and our two cats.
If you enjoy SF&F books, let's talk! Kelly and I have a list of our recommended SF&F - about 200 books or so. Comments? Email Kelly or me and let us know what you think is great.
Kelly has recently been published! Take a gander at Weird Tales magazine, the July/August 1999 issue. This is really exciting news for us.


Presentations I have made:

"Computerizing Undergraduate Laboratories" Contributed, 1999 Minnesota AAPT Spring Meeting, Saint Paul, MN
"Computerizing Undergraduate Laboratories, Second Year Results" Contributed, 1999 AAPT Winter Meeting, Anaheim, CA
"Computerizing Undergraduate Laboratories Part 3: Initial Results" Contributed, 1998 AAPT Summer Meeting, Lincoln, NE
"Evaluating a New Laboratory Design" Poster Presentation, 1998 AAPT Summer Meeting, Lincoln, NE
"Computerizing Undergraduate Laboratories: Initial Results" Poster Presentation, 1998 Physics Education Research Conference, Lincoln, NE
Thesis summary Presentation, 1998 Physics Education Research Conference, Lincoln, NE
"Computerizing Introductory Problem-Solving Labs" Contributed, 1998 Minnesota AAPT Spring Meeting, Winona, MN.
"Gender Differences on Multiple-Choice Conceptual Tests" Contributed, 1997 Minnesota AAPT Fall Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.
"Computer Diagnostic Testing about Charge Flow in Circuits" Contributed, 1997 AAPT Summer Meeting, Denver, CO
"Gender-Fair Instruction: What is It and How are We Doing?" Invited, 1997 AAPT Winter Meeting, Phoenix, AZ.
"Gender Differences on Multiple-Choice Conceptual Tests" Contributed, 1996 AAPT Summer Meeting, College Park, MD.


Other cool stuff I have done:

I have been a part of the CPU project since 1996, helping to develop and test classroom materials. The CPU project is aimed at creating laboratory and computer-based materials to support a learning environment where students take primary responsibility for developing valid and robust knowledge in physics. It's great fun in the classroom - gives you lots of teaching thrills. I also have helped out in our Physics 1911 class for elementary-education majors, using CPU materials. I have been the support person for the course, doing equipment, helping the instructors, and also teaching it when necessary. I love this class - it is lots of fun, and makes a nice change from dealing with the engineers and our calc-based intro course.

Instructor, CI 5145 TA Orientation, Summer 1998. I was the main instructor for our summer TA Orientation course and the winter and spring TA seminars. The summer orientation is a three-week course for 4 credits that all our new TAs are required to take. The seminars are weekly meetings which give TAs a chance to discuss teaching issues and problems.

Instructor, CI 5533 Studies in Science Education, Winter 1999. This was a neat opportunity for me to teach a grad-level science ed course. The students are mostly high school teachers working on their master's degrees.The course is designed to give them an introduction to doing research in the classroom. Lots of work (especially when I was still taking classes!) but a great experience.

Attended a NSF Faculty Enhancement Conference at Harvard University  "Teaching Conservation Laws First", June 1998 (WOW!)

Attended a AAAS/Project 2061 Training Seminar, did consulting work for Project 2061, June 1998

Webmaster for U MN Physics Education site, 1997-98

U of MN Council of Graduate Students Vice President for Internal Relations, 1998-99
U of MN Council of Graduate Students Policy and Review Council Student Chair, 1997-98, 1999-2000
U of MN Council of Graduate Students Policy and Review Council Student representative, 1998-99
U of MN Council of Graduate Students Representative for the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, 1997-99
Graduate Student Representative, Graduate School's Academic Grievance Committee, 1998
Graduate Student Representative, Education and Psychology Policy and Review Course Proposals Committee, 1999
Member, Subcommittee on Graduate Experiences in Ethical Research,Education and Psychology Policy and Review Council, 1998

Volunteer Guide: Opportunity Day for Girls, 1996-1998

Outstanding TA Award, University of Minnesota Physics Department, 1996
Emma K. Malmstrom Summer Research Scholarship, Hamline University, 1993


About that thesis, Laura...

My thesis involves looking at the calculus-based introductory physics laboratory. We are developing software and problem-solving labs for use with computers, and I am comparing the computerized labs and our traditional labs. Things I am interested in looking at include:

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author. The contents of this page have not been approved by the University of Minnesota. 

Back to Physics Education Home Page 
Last Updated: July 29, 1999