July 2024

Who is Dr. M.?

I am a Professor in Science Education at the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. I work with future and practising teachers, trying to help them become effective in teaching mathematics and science. I am also actively engaged in science outreach activities in BC, Canada and internationally. I work with the Scientists and Innovators in the Schools, as well as with other organizations. My other professional interest is engagement in Women in Science organizations.  I am also actively engaged with BC Association of Physics Teachers and in 2011-2012 I was a BCAPT President. In 2008-2013 I was a member of the Executive Board of the American Association of Physics Teachers.

I study how teachers of science can use technology to help students learn science more effectively. I am especially interested in interactive technologies such as electronic response systems, computer simulations, data collection sensors, etc. In addition I study how (the process) university faculty adopt new technologies and what can be done to help them in this process.

A few words about me…

On May 28, 2010 we became Canadian citizens. This was a very special event for our family. We have been in Canada since 2004 and the more we live here, the more we love Canada and the Canadian people.

I was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine (former USSR) in 1970. Kharkiv is a large city with a population of about 1,500,000. It is a home to many colleges and universities. I have always been interested in science and mathematics. My mother is a math teacher and my father is an engineer. My grandparents were engineers and doctors. I always wanted to be like my Mom. Like her, I graduated from the Kharkiv State University with M.S. in theoretical physics. At the age of 21 my husband, my younger sister and I immigrated to Israel where I pursued my interest in physics teaching. I graduated from Bar-Ilan University earning a Teaching Certification. In 1993, I started working as a middle school mathematics and then high school mathematics and physics teacher. I also worked at the Weizmann Institute of Science where I helped develop workshops for in-service physics teachers. Many of these workshops were focused on the use of technology in teaching (computers, various sensors, computer simulations).

At the Weizmann Institute I realized that I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. in physics education. I enjoyed teaching in Israel, although it was not easy for me, as I had to learn Hebrew and get used to Israeli youth. This was a very important experience for me. The most interesting teaching experience though was my work at the Engineering High School for gifted students at the University of Tel-Aviv. I also coordinated enrichment programs for gifted children at the Weizmann Institute of Science. After my husband graduated with the Ph.D. (in physics) from the Weizmann Institute we decided to continue our education. In 1998 I started a Ph.D. program at the University of Texas in Austin, which I completed successfully in 2001. I investigated the effect of project-based instruction in introductory physics courses for future elementary school teachers on their interest in science. I was very lucky to have Prof. Marilla D. Svinicki as my graduate adviser. Her passion for teaching and for research on teaching and learning coupled with her dedication to her students made a huge difference in my life. She will be forever a role model for me. In 2001 I became involved in the American Association of Physics Teachers and this changed my life forever…

From 2001-2004, I was a post-doc fellow at Rutgers University in NJ, where I participated in the projects of the Physics Education Research Group and taught undergraduate physics. I was very fortunate to help establish a physics program at the Douglass College – the Women’s college at the Rutgers University. There we introduced studio-based physics teaching, where the students were tutorial sessions and labs were intertwined and the students could use technology (such as Logger Pro, computer simulations, etc.) to test their ideas. This was a great experience for me. In 2004, my family moved to Vancouver, where I continued doing what I love: teaching physics! I worked at the Department of Physics and Astronomy and at the Skylight – Centre for Science Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science (till 2007). In May of 2007 I became an Assistant Professor in Physics at Ryerson University, in Toronto, ON. During July 2007 – December 2009, I was involved in a few very interesting technology-related projects, such as the Hewlett Packard Educational Technology Grant (click here.) In the Fall of 2009 I was offered an Assistant Professor position at the University of British Columbia, at the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, where I am currently employed. During this time I have received a number of teaching and research awards, research and teaching grants. I have also published many papers and supervised a number of graduate students. You can read about them on my CV. I was promoted to the Associate Professor in July of 2015. I enjoy working with my colleagues very much.

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