APS News

October 2020 (Volume 29, Number 9)

Bouakham Sriri-Perez Named 2020 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year

By Leah Poffenberger

The Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC), a project aimed at addressing the shortage of qualified physics teachers, annually recognizes outstanding physics educators with the PhysTEC Teacher of the Year award. The 2020 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year is Bouakham Sriri-Perez, who teaches physics at Duncan Polytechnical High School in Fresno, CA.

PhysTEC is a partnership between APS and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) with a mission of improving physics teacher education programs to increase the number of highly qualified physics instructors in the US. The Teacher of the Year award, which has one national winner and four local winners, is an effort to highlight alumni from PhysTEC member institutions who embody the best in physics teacher preparedness.

Sriri-Perez, a graduate of California State University, Fresno—a PhysTEC institution—has spent her 20-year career as a physics educator striving to create accessible and exciting classroom experiences for her students. At McLane High School, where she taught before Duncan Polytechnical High School, Sriri-Perez doubled the number of physics classes. At Duncan, she was responsible for building the school’s physics program, resulting in physics becoming a required—and appreciated—subject.

A hallmark of Sriri-Perez’s teaching is her efforts to decrease the “phear of physics” many of her students have when entering a physics class for the first time. Her strategies of recruiting and connecting with students in the classroom has inspired a number of her students to go on to study physics at Fresno State.

Sriri-Perez Bouakham

Sriri-Perez Bouakham

Sriri-Perez has shown a dedication to improving her own teaching and classrooms, often seeking further training to improve her skills as a physics educator and pursuing grant opportunities for classroom equipment. She also has served as a Master Teacher in the Fresno Teacher Residency Program and mentors student teachers who go on to become physics instructors.

The PhysTEC Teacher of the Year National Winner receives special recognition at the PhysTEC conference, funding to attend two professional physics conferences focused on education and teacher preparedness, and a grant for classroom materials of $1,000.

Local PhysTEC Teachers of the Year will receive a certificate of recognition as well as a spotlight on the PhysTEC website and in local press. These winners are:

  • Jonathan Welling: Wasatch High School, Brigham Young University
  • Melissa Girmscheid: Centennial High School, Arizona State University
  • Janice Trinidad: Cedars International Next Generation High School, University of Texas, Austin
  • Margaret "Meg" Helmes: Williamsville Alternative Instructional Model (AIM) High School, SUNY Buffalo State College Department of Physics

To learn more about PhysTEC, its member institutions, and the Teacher of the Year award, visit phystec.org.

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: David Voss
Staff Science Writer: Leah Poffenberger
Contributing Correspondents: Sophia Chen, Alaina G. Levine
Publication Designer and Production: Nancy Bennett-Karasik

October 2020 (Volume 29, Number 9)

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Articles in this Issue
Bouakham Sriri-Perez Named 2020 PhysTEC Teacher of the Year
APS Seeks to Better Serve Industrial Physicists
The APS Division of Plasma Physics
PhysicsQuest 2020 Goes Live with New Online Features
2020 Apker Award Finalists
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PhysTEC Launches Two New Regional Networks
APS Congressional Science Fellow Put Scientific Skills to Use During COVID-19 Crisis
Neutrinos Underground, Overhead, and Online
Physics In a Virtual World
Education and Diversity News
This Month in Physics History
Office of Government Affairs
FYI: Science Policy News from AIP
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