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Undergraduate students create MSU Physics Education in Ghana Initiative

Undergraduate students Gabriel Moreau, Evan Brook, Dylan Smith, Aalayah Spencer, and Matt Ring have created the MSU Physics Education in Ghana Initiative in the Department of Physics and Astronomy under the guidance of Associate Professor Danny Caballero. This initiative started in the fall semester of 2018, when these students reached out to Prof. Caballero with the desire to learn about physics education and support the growth of physics programs in Africa. This idea was inspired by a similar program, run by the University of Nottingham, that travels to Ethiopia to provide high school teachers with a two week training program. The state of physics education in many countries in Africa remains highly theoretical, as the cost of creating and maintaining laboratory exercises is out of reach for many schools and educators in Africa. In Ghana, for example, many institutions are helping to modernize physics education to reach the goals set by the Ministry of Education.

To achieve this goal, the students applied for mini-grants provided by the Year of Global Africa at MSU with the help of Prof. Caballero. They obtained a total of $6,000 to jumpstart their initiative, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy has generously agreed to match this funding in the sum of $800. The team will be traveling to Ghana in May to establish contacts with the Ministry of Education, meet high school educators, and to better understand the needs of Ghanaian physics students. They will return to Ghana this Fall to begin implementing the education program. This will be a unique opportunity for the team to experience and learn from a different culture, and to establish contacts with Ghanaian academics during the visit.