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OSAPS/MI-AAPT 2018 Spring meeting

Joint OSAPS/MI-AAPT 2018 Spring meeting

Michigan State University is jointly hosting the Spring meetings of the Ohio-Region Section of the APS and the Michigan Section of the AAPT.

Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24, 2018
Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824

The theme of the Spring meeting is Promoting a diverse and inclusive future for physics and astronomy.

Questions? Please email the chair of the Organizing Committee at


Advanced registration is now available through the APS system.
Register for the meeting online. 
Download the PDF registration form. 

On-site registration will be available in the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building.


  • APS Member: $50 ($60 after the early registration deadline)
  • Non-APS Member: $60 ($70 after the early registration deadline)
  • High School Teacher/Student/Retired APS Member: Free
    Students includes both undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Banquet Ticket Regular: $35
  • Banquet Ticket for Students: $15

Abstract Submission

  • Abstracts for APS and OSAPS members should submit their abstracts through the APS website. The deadline for abstracts submitted through the APS system is March 9, 2018. Submit an abstract though APS
  • MI-AAPT members who are intending to present will be asked to submit through the usual MI-AAPT form when it becomes available.

Travel grants for students

Students presenting at the meeting may apply for a travel grant from OSAPS. Submit a travel grant application


Come join your colleagues for two days of collaboration, leanring, and communication at the 2018 Spring Meetings of OSAPS and MI-AAPT on the Michigan State University campus in beautiful East Lansing, MI! Symposia on Friday evening and Saturday morning will emphasize research, programs, and practices that promote diversity and inclusivity in physics and astronomy across K-12 and university education. An optional Friday evening banquet will also take place.

Invited speakers

  • Emily Dare (Assistant Professor of STEM education, Michigan Technological University)
  • Monica Plisch (Director of Education and Diversity, American Physical Society)
  • Adrienne Traxler (Assistant Professor of Physics, Wright State University)
  • Susan White (Assistant Director, American Institute of Physics)

The finalized program is online. A summarized schedule appears below.

Friday, March 23

  • 2:00pm - 4:00pm OSAPS business meeting (1312C BPS)
  • 4:00pm - 5:00pm Registration Open (BPS Atrium)
  • 5:00pm – 5:15pm Arrival; Welcoming remarks (1415 BPS)
  • 5:15pm – 6:00pm Plenary 1 (1415 BPS, Monica Plisch)
  • 6:00pm - 7:15pm Poster session (BPS Atrium)
  • 7:15pm - 8:00pm Catered dinner (BPS Atrium)
  • 8:00pm – 8:45pm Plenary 2 (1415 BPS, Susan White)

Saturday, March 24

  • 8:00am - 9:00am Registration Open; light breakfast (BPS Atrium)
  • 9:00am - 9:45am Plenary 3 (1415 BPS, Emily Dare)
  • 10:00am – 10:15am Coffee Break (BPS Atrium)
  • 10:15am - 12:00pm Parallel Sessions 1 (various rooms)
    • Physics Education OSAPS/MIAAPT joint session 1 (1400 BPS)
    • Applied Physics and Materials Science 1 (1420 BPS)
    • Condensed, Soft Matter, and Chemical Physics (1300 BPS)
  • 12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch (BPS Atrium)
  • 1:00pm – 1:45 pm Plenary 4 (1410 BPS, Adrienne Traxler)
  • 1:45pm – 2:00pm Coffee Break (BPS Atrium)
  • 2:00pm - 3:15pm Parallel Sessions 2 (various rooms)
    • Physics Education OSAPS/MIAAPT joint session 2 (1400 BPS)
    • Applied Physics and Materials Science 2 (1420 BPS)
    • Theoretical Physics (1300 BPS)
  • 2:00pm - 3:30pm NSCL tour
  • 3:30pm - 4:15pm MI-AAPT Business meeting (1415 BPS)


Michigan State University is located in East Lansing, MI. The 2018 Spring Meeting will occur on the first floor of the Biomedical and Physical Sciences Building (see map here). Directions to campus are available on this University web page.


After 6pm on Friday and anytime on Saturday, free parking is available in Lots 40 and 41 as well as Ramp 1 -- all near Biomedical and Physical Sciences between North and South Shaw Lanes (see map here). 


There are several hotels in the area that have availability. 


Conference attendees will have complimentary wireless access while on campus. Attendees can self-register using "MSUnet Guest 3.0" network or sign-in through "eduroam" if the attendee's home institution participates in Eduroam.

Spring 2018 OSAPS Plenary Speakers

Monica Plisch (Director of Education and Diversity, American Physical Society)

APS Programs to Promote Diversity and Inclusion
The American Physical Society (APS) has a number of programs to advance diversity and inclusion in the physics community. These initiatives promote equity and inclusion for women, underrepresented ethnic and racial minorities, and LGBT+ physicists, including students at a range of educational levels and professional physicists. Program goals and activities are informed by national statistics, peer-reviewed literature, and the voices of physicists and physics students. APS programs have demonstrated national impact in addressing some of the most critical issues facing the physics community, and other disciplinary societies have looked to APS programs as models. A total of 14 Education and Diversity staff members, 3 standing committees, and hundreds of volunteers and members work together to implement APS programs, with support from government funding agencies and private foundations and donors, in addition to significant APS support.

Bio Sketch: Dr. Monica Plisch is Director of Education and Diversity at the American Physical Society (APS). She leads a number of initiatives to advance diversity and inclusion in physics, and serves as the APS staff liaison to the APS Committee on Minorities. Monica leads the Inclusive Graduate Education Network (IGEN) project, and serves on the project management team for the APS Bridge Program, which has increased participation of underrepresented minorities in doctoral programs. Her department administers the Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), attended by most of the female physics majors in the nation. Monica also leads the National Mentoring Community, with a mission to support student success for underrepresented minorities at the undergraduate level. She served as APS staff liaison for the ad hoc Committee on LGBT Issues, which produced an influential national report. In addition, Dr. Plisch leads initiatives to improve physics education, including the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), a project of the APS and AAPT to address the national shortage of qualified K-12 physics teachers. Monica completed her doctoral studies in physics at Cornell University. She is a Fellow of the APS.

Susan White (Assistant Director, American Institute of Physics)

Diversity & Inclusion: Counting things that count
Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts. We know that there are underrepresented groups in physics and astronomy. In this talk we will look at the representation of underrepresented groups from the students taking high school physics through the students earning PhDs in physics and astronomy. Women are underrepresented. African Americans are underrepresented. Hispanics are underrepresented. Native Americans are underrepresented. We will review the numbers. Then we will look beyond representation at additional factors that count.

Bio Sketch: Susan White is the Assistant Director of the Statistical Research Center (SRC) at the American Institute of Physics. She received her PhD in Business Analysis from Texas A&M University, where she specialized in time series forecasting and quantitative methods. Before coming to the SRC, Dr. White was a professor of management science for twenty years and taught various courses in statistics and operations management to undergraduates and graduate students in Texas, Louisiana, and Washington, DC. She directs the SRC's Nationwide Survey of High School Physics Teachers at the SRC and contributes to other research efforts including the academic workforce in physics and astronomy.

Emily A. Dare (Assistant Professor of STEM education, Michigan Technological University)

Fostering Physics Learning and Interest for Middle School Girls and Boys through STEM Integration
It is well-known that women are highly underrepresented in the field of physics, typically comprising only around 25% of physics bachelor's degrees. Although many factors impact one's career decisions, one factor that is thought to play a significant role related to STEM careers is K-12 educational experiences. By exploring what those educational experiences are and how they impact students' interest and attitudes towards careers in physics and other STEM fields, educational researchers can shed light on understanding why few women choose to pursue STEM careers. Reforms in K-12 science education that push for a more integrated approach to science through the incorporation of other STEM fields in meaningful contexts provide an ideal opportunity to explore how such changes impact student interest. This is increasingly important for underrepresented populations in STEM, such as women. This presentation will focus on the perceptions of 6th grade students regarding physics and physics-related careers. This work explores similarities and differences of girls' and boys' perceptions of physics and physics-related careers through surveys and focus group interviews as they are immersed in a classroom that combines girl-friendly instructional strategies (Häussler et al., 1998; Newbill & Cennamo) with an integrated STEM framework (Moore et al., 2014). Understanding these perceptions may lead to identifying what type of classroom culture fosters students' interest and self-concept in physics, and may further reveal pathways to interest more young women in pursuing physics-related careers.

Bio Sketch: Dr. Emily Dare is an Assistant Professor of STEM Education at Michigan Technological University, where she has been since Fall 2015. She holds a B.S. (Brandeis University, 2008) and M.S. (Tufts University, 2011) in Physics and a Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction - STEM Education (University of Minnesota, 2015). Her main research interest is in understanding how to positively impact young girls' attitudes towards and interests in STEM careers, primarily focusing on disciplines of high-underrepresentation, such as physics and engineering. Through this, she works with both teachers and students to understand how science and integrated STEM instruction at the K-12 level impacts differences in young girls' and boys' career interests.

Adrienne Traxler (Assistant Professor of Physics, Wright State University)

Gender in physics education: Looking back and looking forward
A decades-long body of physics education research (PER) has sought gender differences in students’ participation, performance, or attitudes toward physics. Though valuable, this work tends to rely on quantitative comparisons between binary and opposed groups. This framework is well suited for drawing attention to inequities in access or classroom support. However, such a "first order" approximation omits many details of students' experiences and identities, and presupposes unbiased instruments to measure learning--a claim that is often untested. To address the pervasive challenges of sexism in our classrooms, whether entering from wider society or in physics-specific manifestations, we must broaden our understanding of gender. I will discuss some past trends and under-studied areas of gender-focused PER, and supplement with work from science education, gender studies, or more recent PER that breaks the mold of earlier studies. These alternate approaches showcase the power of qualitative methods, question the binary deficit-based model of gender, and explore complexities of identity such as the intersection of race and gender. I will conclude by suggesting new physics investigations that might grow from an expanded gender framework.

Bio Sketch: Adrienne Traxler is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Wright State University. Her research focuses on physics learning environments at the university level. She uses network analysis methods to model student collaborations and mixed methods to study diversity and equity issues in physics, with a focus on gender. Her recent work includes using networks to model student collaboration in discussion forums and extending science identity frameworks to study disability in physics. She has served as a peer mentor for several Faculty Online Learning Community cohorts, which sustain the APS/AAPT/AAS New Faculty Workshops by building community and supporting scholarship of teaching and learning for participants. She is a past chair of the AAPT Committee on Women in Physics, and current editor of the Physics Education Research Conference Proceedings.