I'm currently a fourth-year graduate student working in Physics Education Research with co-advisors Dr. Robert Beichner and Dr. Michael Paesler. My thesis project involves the implementation of smartphones' internal sensors into physics labs.
Colleen was born in Buffalo, New York and graduated in 2008 from Canisius College with a BS in Physics and BA in Mathematics. While at Canisius, Colleen discovered the joy of teaching both math and physics to undergraduate students. She then went on to obtain her MS in Applied Mathematics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 2010. Having missed the world of physics, she applied to the graduate program at NCSU and began research in biophysics. Realizing that her true passion was for pedagogical research, she began working in the PERD group with Dr. Paesler and Dr. Beichner.
Colleen’s current research attempts to minimize the pedagogical barriers that are often encountered in a typical instructional physics lab. Colleen is developing a smartphone app that will access the raw data outputted by its internal sensors which include an accelerometer, a gyroscope, and a camera. The smartphone can then be used to collect data in the lab in lieu of “black boxes” that are time-consuming and difficult to use. The hope is that students will feel more comfortable using equipment that is already familiar to them and they will be able to focus more on the physics concepts at hand.
Her other interests include the creation of a physics lab curriculum that caters directly to life science majors.
Colleen has taught vector geometry, differential calculus, and multivariable calculus. She has been a teaching assistant for elementary calculus, trigonometry, linear algebra, elementary calculus with matrices, geometry, mathematics of design, and two SCALE-UP physics classes, one for elementary education majors and another with Dr. Beichner designed for engineering majors. She has also been a lead TA for both calculus-based and algebra-based electricity and magnetism labs.