I love physics, and my goal is to become a physics teacher, either for K-12 students or for undergraduate students who will become K-12 teachers. I am passionate about improving the lives of underprivileged children through excellent education, and I believe that studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is the best way for students from low-income backgrounds to find high-paying jobs and economic stability. I want to help make that happen.
I originally went back to college to earn a degree so that I could support my family and break the cycle of poverty for my children. In community college, I fell in love with mathematics and physics, and I came to Texas State to become a physics major. In the physics department at Texas State, I have been actively involved in education outreach activities with the Society of Physics Students and have assisted with the department’s teaching mission through the Learning Assistant program. Through these activities, I became interested in understanding more about how people learn physics and what motivates them to continue to study science and mathematics. For the last year and a half I have worked as a Research Assistant with Dr. Eleanor Close, studying the development of physics identity in undergraduate students and presenting our research at national conferences and in peer-reviewed publications.
Did you know that if a student identifies as a “physics person,” they are more likely to choose a STEM major? In the research I am working on now, we are trying to understand how students come to identify as physics people. We hope that we can learn how to support more students, and especially students from under-represented groups, in developing their identity in ways that help them complete degrees in STEM. After I receive my bachelors degree, I will continue this research while I'm pursuing my masters degree in physics at Texas State. Once in the graduate program, I will become eligible for student loans again – the funding I'm seeking now is what I need to make it through this year and finish my bachelor’s degree.
Any amount you can give is helpful. I'm imagining 500 strangers contributing $10 each, or 200 strangers contributing $25 each. Every dollar helps me get closer to graduation and to my goal of working to improve physics education for future generations of students.
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- Shana Hoffer
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