OPTYCs SPOTLIGHT 2023 Issue 10

June 14, 2023 Issue #10

SPOTLIGHT is the OPTYCs bi-weekly newsletter. It brings you OPTYCs activity updates, highlights from recent publications related to physics education, and news & resources for Two-Year colleges.



Would you give us a few minutes of your time to help us continue to improve? We have developed a short survey with our grant’s external evaluators, Stephanie Chasteen and Miranda Chen Musgrove.

The participant survey is here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/OPTYCs-2023

It will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Please submit by June 15.

Not only is your feedback helping us plan for the next year and beyond, it also provides the National Science Foundation with evidence that OPTYCs is accomplishing its goals. By showcasing successes and using our community to inform our plans, we will be in a stronger position to advocate for further financial support in the future.

Thank you in advance for your generosity in taking time to do this survey.  

If you have any questions or concerns about the survey, feel free to reach out to Stephanie (stephanie.chasteen@icloud.com) or
Miranda (miranda@gosheneducationconsulting.com).

Thank you for engaging with OPTYCs in our first year! 

Upcoming events

  • Workshop: LaTeX 2023 Workshop -


  • AAPT-TYC Tandem Conference. Saturday, July 15, 2023 Sacramento, CA, AAPT National Summer Meeting. A one-day event that brings together faculty teaching physics, astronomy, and physical science at two-year colleges to share ideas, learn from each other, and build community.
Recent OPTYCs events

New Faculty Development Series

The NFDS immersion conference was held June 1-3 in Omaha at Metropolitian Community College. There were 19 new participants representing states from Maine to California. The group of 19 participants worked on lab techniques, classroom management and alternative problem formats. It was energizing for both the participants and the leaders alike! In addition to the OPTYCs leaders, 4 alumni of previous new faculty workshops helped lead and present as OPTCYs continues to grow leaders for this grant and the future.

Sitting on Floor: Tiffany Kwong, Angela McClure, Raeghan Graessle, Laura Romanovich, Theresa Aragon
Sitting on Bench:Shari Ward, Brittney VornDick, Kurt Shults, Leif Anderson-Monserratte, Farzan Ghauri, Krista Wood
3rd Row Standing:Kathryn Roman, Nedar Zargar, William Heidorn, Jorge Palos-Chavez, Brooke Haag, Stephanie Chasteen, Djemoui Bouzidi, Libby Schoene, Tom O’Kuma, Kendra Sibbernsen
Back Row Standing:Bogdan Leu, Tim Jones, Masha Okounkova, Scott Sawyer, Tony Musumba, Paul D’Alessandris, Dwain Desbien, Stefan Stoianov, Jonathan Pugmire
Todd Leif, Photographer

Kris’ corner

Tips, summaries, and musings from Kris Lui (OPTYCs Director)

From The Science of Learning Physics: Cognitive Strategies for Improving Instruction

By Jose P. Mestre & Jennifer L. Docktor, World Scientific (2021)

The Testing Effect

Evidence shows that being tested on material promotes longer-term retention (weeks after the testing event) as compared to simply studying the material. Note that studying is more productive in the short term (hence students’ perception that cramming is effective). Clearly communicating this effect can help them with learning.

Note that testing need not always be in the form of summative exams. Students who practice with old exams under authentic conditions will see much more robust retention than spending the equivalent amount of time studying. You can also provide students with in-class opportunities, such as presenting a problem that is known to elicit incorrect intuitive solutions, then allowing students to reflect on conditions where concepts are applicable as well as where they are not relevant.


Number of Florida public high school students taking physics drops 6.6% from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022



Books, Articles & Media

Kathy Loves Physics & History  The format is simple. Kathy stands in front of the camera and tells stories about physics and physicists. But she does it in an engaging style and brings out details that are often hidden or ignored in the history of physics. 



The work of OPTYCs is supported by NSF-DUE-2212807.